Trends In Babblage

     Yes! It’s another Fran Porretto coinage! But it strikes me (of course) as one that’s of particular relevance to contemporary discourse. It is intuitively obvious, isn’t it?

     Steven Hayward at Power Line has produced a concise translation table for specifically left-wing babblage. I shan’t invade his copyright by reproducing it here. But Gentle Readers should definitely go and have a look.

     Time was, I compiled a Dictionary of Government Doublespeak which summarized all the obfuscations, specious locutions, and anfractuosities I could track down in political speech. I’ve reposted it in the Baseline Essays section. However, perhaps it should be augmented with Hayward’s collection. I’ll leave it to my Gentle Readers to decide.


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    • Steve Walton on June 10, 2022 at 1:43 PM

    Makes me think of a mechanical computer, too close to “Babbage”. On the other hand, “bland” is close to “land”, and “paged” is close to “aged”, so there’s that. On what tiny clues do these meanings pivot!

    And a “split” is close to “slit” or “spit”. Hey, a game could be made out of this! (Rushes to computer to write program to analyze all of English to find all the words that can be formed from other words by subtracting one letter…then realizes that’s probably already on the internet and so drops the project. Yet another way the internet is destroying creativity.)

    1. Well, if you need something to help pass the time, find all the English words of four letters or more that can be made from the letters of RUMPLESNITZ. I guarantee you’ll be at it for a while. 😉

        • Steve Walton on June 10, 2022 at 2:12 PM

        Pretty sure there’s a program somewhere hiding in plain sight on an old disk drive that calculates the number of valid words from any subset of letters given to it. (You can tell I’d rather write a program than play most games.) In fact, one research subject you can really lose yourself in is attempting to find the best algorithm for compressing a body of text. Compression can really be improved by using the results of that study that showed you can read a thing perfectly even if a large percentage of the letters are missing or wrong — if the first and last are correct. What you are adding to the decompression algorithm is your human ability to error-correct by some mechanism that we can’t write down.

        But that brings me too quickly to pondering the nature of reality, so I shy away from it these days. Don’t want to end up in a lunatic asylum (do those still exist?) or anything.

        1. I’m sure there are already programs that will do a better job than an unaided human, but that’s not what puzzles like this are for. There are chess-playing programs that cannot be beaten even by the world’s top grandmasters. But human beings still play chess — some of them for big prizes.

          (Bonus points to anyone who knows the origin of the word RUMPLESNITZ — without using a search engine!)

          As for reality, that’s for people who can’t handle science fiction.

            • Steve Walton on June 10, 2022 at 4:42 PM

            Something to do with slaying dragons, if I remember correctly.

          1. Yup! “The Fifty-First Dragon,” by Heywood Broun.

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