Alien Languages

If we met aliens, would we be able to talk with them? Certainly not the way we’ve been going about it so far, thinks John Wenz.

It's sort of a macro version of semiotic domains, an idea that says that literacy isn't reading—that literacy is sort of anything, really. Literacy is actually a system that you understand. For example, a small child may not be able to read yet, but he might understand the schematics of a particular video game and understand its visual cues. Preverbal children might also understand, use and teach each other Baby Sign Language. That constitutes its own literacy. There are some scientists who say that even by concentrating on radio alone we're losing potential messages. There are a host of other things that might happen. A big flash of laser light in the sky. Gamma rays. Robotic invasion bringing humanity to its knees. The “X-Files” episode where aliens send fake cockroaches as probes.

Jennette McCurdy of the Nickelodeon stable writes about her online courtship with Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons, and about social media as both scrapbook and performance space:

the Andre Drummond I got to know in person is the same person he projects online, but it’s important to remember that the image displayed through a screen is in fact just that – a display. A person doesn’t converse in 140 characters, they don’t react in filters, and a well-played moment doesn’t loop itself every 6 seconds. We don’t live our life in glossy little quips, blips, and fragments, regardless of the fact that that’s what we’re encouraged to do in this day and age.

The Negative Canon is a collection of the most popular and enduring bugaboos among grammar prescriptivists.


Snark Free Day” turns out to be an effort by a PR group to get people to be less mean to celebrities, but there could be some value in seeing if you can avoid carping on things for an entire day.


A recent discovery of 2 million-year-old skulls suggests that a number of pre-human species might actually just be widespread variants of a single Homo Erectus species.


Daniel White collects MS-DOS viruses, many of which were more creative than just your typical smash-and-spread worm.