quasigeostrophy: (Bender Fart)
You might think an internal plug for a special guest seminar in my department from a senior climate scientist at NCAR would be free of pop science sensationalist language.

You'd be wrong. To wit:

Global warming is, therefore, not just a threat for the future. It is already happening, endangering the health and welfare of the planet. (Emphasis mine.)

Last time I checked, the projected temperature rise, even from the dramatic hockey-stick model graphs, is a handful of degrees Celsius. Pretty extreme, yes, but the planet has been warmer in epochs long before we were here. Sure, the effects of global warming in the long term may endanger the health and welfare of humans and other species on the planet, but I think the planet itself will be fine.
quasigeostrophy: (Default)
From [livejournal.com profile] phinnia et al. - list your languages, computer and standard, and your relative fluency in them. if you speak with a particular accent, list that too.

Computer languages:

C - Enough to get by with some basics. The course I took last year didn't quite get to linked lists, binary files, bitwise manipulation, or even officially, file I/O (although I used that in the course project), but I think if I need those I can handle them from here.
Perl - Self-taught enough to do some basic scripts, including web forms. Been a few years, though, so I doubt I could do much w/o a reference nearby.
PHP - Barely enough to throw some basic scripting into some HTML.
HTML - Fluent in basic static web pages. Tables still give me headaches sometimes, and I stay away from frames.
Fortran - Got very proficient in high school and early college the first time around, then didn't see it again until a brief refresher last fall and then when I started working with it this semester for my radar project. Will probably become quite fluent by the time my Ph.D. rolls around...
Pascal - Early personal history same as Fortran. Does anyone use Pascal anymore since C came along?
6809 Assembly Language - I still remember some of this, from some friends and I teaching ourselves when we had TRS-80 Color Computers in high school, but I'm not so sure it would be of much use today. :-)
NCL (NCAR Command Language) - This is a new one for me, and so far it's pretty easy. I'd say I'm nowhere near fluent, but getting there quickly, and I may get to go to Boulder this summer for a training class at NCAR on the subject.

I never have been able to make an intuitive leap to any object-oriented language, like C++ or Java, but I've also neither spent the effort nor cared all that much. I can read just about any procedural language and figure out what is going on, but I remember my first attempts at studying TARGA 2000 SDK code when I was at Truevision in the mid-to-late '90s, in C++, and just seeing all these class declarations. Where did the program actually do anything? :-)

Human Languages:

English - Well, I like to think I'm somewhat decent at this one.
German - Enough to get around in non-English-speaking sections of Germany, as long as native speakers slow down - it's difficult for me to process what I'm hearing in German if it is at the same conversational speed as I'm used to with English, but I can speak it fine.
French - I managed to buy stamps at a post office in Paris without English, but it also involved some pointing. I can probably get my face slapped just about anywhere in France. In Quebec, however, all I can do is tell someone the time of day.
Dutch - Meh. I'd have liked to have had some practice when I was in Amsterdam and Hilversum, but they're so proud of their English abilities they want to speak English.
Afrikaans - I had a South African friend many years ago who taught me way too much of this. It's a very efficient language - no conjugating verbs, no declension. But she also taught me that it's more fun to swear in English.
Spanish - Despite the influx into this country, I have no interest in this one except listening to some music, mainly from an aesthetic standpoint. I can make my way in it crudely, though.

I can probably get my face slapped in several other languages, from Hindi to Russian to Japanese, but not much beyond obscenities I've picked up from friends and/or slang dictionaries.
quasigeostrophy: (stupid show)
Kansas City Teen Suspended for Using Spanish outside of Class in School

WTFBBQ?

To some extent, I support the idea of an official language (or languages as the case may be). However, I also support anyone's right, when not communicating in an official capacity, to speak whatever the hell language he or she damn well wants! When I was working at Sears in college in the late 1980s, my friend A and I, when we didn't want someone else in the store to know what we were saying to each other, would use German. And I'm sure that's what the problem is at the KC school in the story linked above. Was he communicating with a teacher? No. Was he in class? No. Let him speak Spanish, Sanskrit, Esperanto or Klingon if he wants, for crying out loud!
quasigeostrophy: (snoopy share)
I'm going to have to become much less anal about my own grammar and, particularly, spelling. Reading today's Forecast Discussion from the local NWS office:

...THESE SEPARATE FEATURES MERGE TOMORROW MORNING AND DROP A LARGE SCALE TROF OVER THE STATE. COLD ADVECTION BEGINS TONIGHT IN THE WAKE OF THIS TROF...

I hesitated a moment before realizing what a TROF was, that it wasn't some acryonym. :-) I've seen other examples in official notices like this, but TROF for trough was particularly amusing. It reminds me that at one time (around 11th grade), I was really pushing for the Unifon alphabet.
quasigeostrophy: (Dru needs Geek)
Funny, this is one of the few Germanic languages I know practically nothing of (but I've wanted to):

You Should Learn Swedish

Fantastisk! You're laid back about learning a language - and about life in general.
Peaceful, beautiful Sweden is ideal for you... And you won't even have to speak perfect Swedish to get around!

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