Archive for May, 2009

The new name

May 16, 2009

We in the Western world are used to names being fixed since our birth. In other cultures it is different. Indians, for example, used to take new names after significant events. Chinese children were sometimes given permanent names only at the age of three, when a monk would visit their house and choose a name for the child.

Nowadays, most urban Chinese have English names. They select these names for themselves in English lessons at school. Then they use those English names when talking to Westerners.

The modern Westerner has a name he chooses for himself, too. It’s the Web name. If one acquires even a little Web fame via one’s blog or some social site, the username becomes a name for all practical purposes. Sometimes, people are even called by their Web names in real life. (This hasn’t happened to me yet, though.)

My seven-year-old son already has a Web name he has invented for himself, and I’ve heard a friend call him by that name. Now that’s a child of the 21st century!


May 1, 2009

The Rite of AshkEnte, quite simply, summons and binds Death. Students of the occult will be aware that it can be performed with a simple incantation, three small bits of wood and 4cc of mouse blood, but no wizard worth his pointy hat would dream of doing anything so unimpressive; they knew in their hearts that if a spell didn’t involve big yellow candles, lots of rare incense, circles drawn on the floor with eight different colours of chalk and a few cauldrons around the place then it simply wasn’t worth contemplating.

This quote from Terry Pratchett reminds me of programming.