before you become familiar with regular expression syntax, it just annoys you. after you become familiar with it, you become annoyed that you can't use it more widely. for example, i'm often wanting to search for words that match some sort of pattern. most dictionary searches will only tell me "this is a word" or "this is not a word", but if i want to know which words end with "tionally", these dictionary searches are useless. onelook dictionary search allows you to search for patterns such as "*tionally". while this is better than most dictionary searches, it would be really nice if it supported more complicated patterns, like everything you can do with regular expressions. for example, say i wanted to find words that had only a single vowel repeated at least three times (like "banana"). with regex, this is easy: /(.*?[aeiou]){3,}/ (i haven't tested this, which means it almost certainly doesn't work.) of course, most people would look at that and wish there was an internet protocol for throwing shoes at people. but there's no reason why onelook (or someone else) couldn't implement regular expressions as an option that most people would never use. the ARTFL Project is actually closer than onelook to providing full regex word searches. but it still doesn't allow me to find words like banana.

 

today (2/28) is a national holiday in taiwan (where i am). this is something i knew nothing about before i came here, so i thought i might use this opportunity to educate you, assuming you also know nothing about it. basically, on this day in 1947, the KMT government began a genocide of the taiwanese which resulted in the murder of somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 people (by most estimates). you can read more about it at The February 28 Holocaust and Remembering 2-28. or you can read a critique of 2/28 memorials:Taiwan Independence and the 2-28 Incident.

(unfortunately, the critique is really of taiwan independence, and 2-28 is just used as an excuse to villify pro-independence politicians. i don't have much opinion on taiwan independence, but i don't care much for the opportunistic (ab)use of people's deaths to support political opinions of any sort.)

so anyway, as my (one) taiwanese friend was telling me about the history of 2/28, i began to wonder why the KMT was still a relatively well-supported political party in taiwan. he said every country has a dark past. i guess what the KMT did following 2/28 wasn't much different than the american democratic party supporting slavery before the civil war, and yet most african americans vote for that very part.

(don't get me wrong - i'm not advocating voting republican. but i am advocating third-party voting.)

 

i have very little sense of smell. today i came across a post by tom coates: On people who can't smell... this is not something most people discuss, nor something most people have the vocabulary to discuss. i'm not sure which is the cause and which the effect. but having been empowered by a vocabular lesson from tom, i'm excited to say that i have anosmia. (or maybe just "partial anosmia", but anyway...) i also learned from tom that there are treatments for anosmia. i'll have to do some more investigating when i am back in america. (like tom, this doesn't strike me as a serious problem.)

right now, i think i'm probably experiencing a small bit of what woman once felt (maybe some still do) when they learned words like "feminist" and "sexism". actually, "anosmiac" is not currently a word. right now, it seems there is no word to describe the person who has the condition of anosmia. but i'm confident "anosmiac" will find it's way into the english language after we bring about Global Anosmiac Liberation#8482;.

 

famous open-source musician fred rogers (i hear he also had a television show) died yesterday. a sad day for sweater-wearing folks everywhere.

 

as i happened upon a few links to news.com, i thought to myself "what a great domain name". news.com could easily compete with google news, even with poorer service, just because the address is so easy for users to remember - "you want news? go to news.com..." sadly, this domain name is largely wasted to promote the CNET brand. as if to formalize this brand-over-service strategy, CNET owns com.com, allowing it to redirect news.com to news.com.com. so news.com doesn't really exist in the sense that you can never load a page from the news.com domain. some day, domain names will fade away in favor of auto-generated site descriptions. maybe only then will CNET regret their failure to capitalize (intransitively) on the news.com name.