Justin B. Rye graduated from a Scottish University in Linguistics, worked for a short time as a sysadmin, and then spent the last 10 years unemployed. He built computers out of spare parts and wrote science fiction. He put his studies and interests together in a web page called Futurese, where he explores how English in the US will change over the next 1,000 years. He starts 1,000 years ago and extrapolates changes into the future. With a great focus on pronunciation (reading the IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet, helps), and some very interesting theories, it invites a lot of idle speculation that is a great way to look at the future.
Just a short sample… In 3000 AD we will say:
Za kiad w’-exùn ya tijuh, da ya-gAr’-eduketan zA da wa-tAgan lidla, kaz ‘ban iagnaran an wa-tAg kurrap…
Originally found in BoingBoing, through a blogger called Presurfer.
Lexicographer Erin McKean writes in Boston.com that English and any other language is designed to be upgraded constantly, and an inalienable right of speaking is inventing and using new words. Where would we be without it?
Microsoft has gotten its act together in forming a small team to develop software independently. The results are amazing. Photosynth is online software that “stitches” you photos together. We used to do this with paper pictures, taking many shots of the same thing, and pasting the pictures together in kind of a collage. Here it is done automatically, and beautifully. There are a million ways to exploit this. I’m going to make my first one this afternoon.
POV means Point of View. There are now 2 or 3 short, very funny, videos about college life using a first-person point of view. This means that we can hear what the person is thinking. The one I like best is the bored student in the classroom. Please remember, this is college humor, so things like sex and drinking come up often at this site.
Jajah, an Internet telecommunications company, and IBM have teamed up to create a service that allows anyone to use a phone to translate between Chinese and English. For free (well, the price of the phone call, unless you use Jajah, or its competitor, Skype, for free). It works in reverse, too.
Some great art work of Tokyo scenes like Shibuya as if all humans were gone for about 50 years. Tokyo Genso (Fantasy). Reminds me of the book out a couple of years ago, The World Without Us, by Alan Weisman.
A very interesting linguistic analysis of the Beatles songs, and how meaning is conveyed by chord change. Written by Ger Tillekens from the Netherlands, this requires some knowledge of music, and of linguistics, but is an amazing look at how the two interact to provide meaning.