Jewish date: 16 ’Av 5770 (Parashath ‘Eqev).
Today’s quasi-holiday: Take Your Houseplants for a Walk Day.
Worthy causes of the day: “Save BioGems: Take Action: Protect the Redrock Wilderness” and “Shine Sunlight on Election Spending”.
Today’s news and commentary:
- “Urban Air Pollutants Can Damage IQs Before Baby's First Breath”
- “The assault on large families”
- “Our Neandertal Brethren”: Long story made short: modern humans have some Neanderthal ancestors. All those of you who make jokes about “cave men” might want to rethink whether this is a good idea.
- “Should you worry about the tags on Wal-Mart underwear?”
- “Saturn's Moon Spawning Moonlets”
- “Californians give a whoop – or I hope they do.”: If you ever wondered why it is necessary to vaccinate your children…
Public domain image of the dreaded SarcMark via WikipediaToday’s weird thing is a controversy brewing in the field of punctuation. There is a company pushing a trademarked punctuation mark, the SarcMark, as a marker of sarcasm. While a sarcasm mark is a great idea, seeing that printed text does not capture all the tones present in the spoken word, including sarcasm, the idea of a punctuation mark one has to pay to use has raised a few hackles, not to mention some sarcasm. Thus a site has been created in protest of the SarcMark, Open Sarcasm Manifesto. Open Sarcasm Manifesto promotes the use of the Ethiopic sarcasm mark, also known as Temherte Slaqî, which looks like this: ¡ The Ethiopic sarcasm mark has the great advantage that it is looks identical to a standard Unicode character (U+00A1 INVERTED EXCLAMATION MARK) and thus can be used freely on almost any computer with no additional software whatsoever; you just type option-1 on your Macintosh. So for the Open Sarcasm people, I applaud their idea of all of us taking after the Ethiopians and making use of the inverted exclamation mark for sarcasm. As for the SarcMark people, I really feel the urge to shell out money just so I can make sarcastic comments on the Internet¡ Great job, and let me know when you want to charge me for a “raise eyebrow” character, too¡ As for the rest of you, enjoy and share the weirdness.