Links, August 2022


links history linguistics language media

First I have this amazing oral history of the production of certain aspects of the video game Red Alert 3. Specifically the story is about how this incredible cut scene, starring Tim Curry as a high camp Soviet general blasting off into space, came to be. It’s astonishingly detailed and manages to go far beyond “pretty funny clip”. It talks about how casting and producing these little fragments of video for video games works. It answers the question of how in on the joke various parties are. Finally, it’s a tribute to how much Tim Curry threw himself into the ridiculous brief.

I love this linguistics blog by a bunch of professors at the University of Pennsylvania. These people share my particular kind of brain worms about how words work and where they come from. This post isn’t complicated. It’s just a set of sweet idioms in Japanese about cats and dogs and some guesses at what they might mean about how we see animals.

I was in Barcelona this spring (along with thousands of other twenty-somethings from London) and was reminded again that Barcelona kind of isn’t Spain, it’s Catalonia. The language is everywhere, the flag. Anyway, the point is I don’t know enough about Catalonian separatism and this article in The Baffler taught me a lot.

I have a friend who despairs that the people he manages at work can’t do anything useful with spreadsheets, an incredibly specific and funny thing to complain about. Anyway I saw this video of Joel Sapolsky, who I guess worked on Excel at Microsoft? This seems to be a video of him berating his employees at Stack Overflow for their poor Excel skills and giving them a grumpy tutorial in how to do it right. Anyway, it’s information dense and reminds me of a dear friend.