intersecting intelligence distributions, bears and humans | behaviour and intelligence news at
abelard's home latest changes & additions at link to document abstracts link to short briefings documents quotations at, with source document where relevant click for abelard's child education zone economics and money zone at - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net latest news headlines at abelard's news and comment zone
socialism, sociology, supporting documents described Loud music and hearing damage Architectural wonders and joys at about abelard and visit abelard's gallery Energy - beyond fossil fuels France zone at - another France

news and comment
behaviour and intelligence

article archives at abelard's news and comment zone topic archives: behaviour and intelligence

for previously archived news article pages, visit the news archive page (click on the button above)

New translation, the Magna Carta

site map

This page helpful?
Share it ! Like it !

intersecting intelligence distributions, bears and humans - the auroran sunset

“Back in the 1980s, Yosemite National Park was having a serious problem with bears: They would wander into campgrounds and break into the garbage bins. This put both bears and people at risk. So the Park Service started installing armored garbage cans that were tricky to open -- you had to swing a latch, align two bits of handle, that sort of thing. But it turns out it's actually quite tricky to get the design of these cans just right. Make it too complex and people can't get them open to put away their garbage in the first place. Said one park ranger, "There is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bears and the dumbest tourists." ”

the web address for the article above is




from herd mentality to individualism

Islamic psychology is not inflexible. It is much more subtle than, for instance, socialism. Many agents of Islam are seeking power by many routes. That some believe in magic spells and/or magic numbers would not be inconsistent with such primitivism. [It has been suggested that Islamic terrorists choose attack dates for being magical or otherwise ‘significant’ numbers.]

Many humans are still attached to ritual. Ritual gives comfort to the sheep. Ritual can be used to engender solidarity among the herds.

We are not going to get a sane planet in one mighty leap.

A central longer-term objective must be to modernise the Middle East.

I am more concerned with long-term objectives, rather than the more obvious immediate necessities such as whacking hezbollox, or lassoing a few would-be jihadi lunatics, ambitious to blow up buildings or aircraft.

I want the conditions in place that Islam can either modernise, or fade away. To me, the problem is little different than that caused by papism or socialism.

But it is socialism that has killed hundreds of millions, not papism or Islam. Both papism and Islam teach concern for the individual, not the madness of the beehive. Islam has been contaminated by the beehive mentality (as are all cults) to varying degrees.

To shepherd humanity from herd mentality to individualism, while not losing some solidarity and care for the weak, is no easy road.

It is that transition that concerns me.

the web address for the article above is

different responses to invasive english from around the world - the auroran sunset

From a correspondent:

Where the Welsh do speak Welsh, it is mostly a Welsh riddled with English words for anything invented after 1900.

The French even have a committee to invent French words for the English that is constantly being imported. Perhaps the Frogs hope in 100 years that people will believe they invented these words. But I expect they’ll all be speaking English by then.

I expect there’s some Welsh enthusiast sitting on the top of a slag heap doing the same.

Some of the less ego-bound and infantile cultures actively embrace the importation of English words into their language, Japanese being a good example of this. Using English in your Japanese is considered cool.

They have one of their alphabets (really a syllabary), Katakana, that is almost exclusively used for their (non-Chinese) imported words. Mostly the Japanese steal from English, but they have no qualms about stealing from elsewhere.

The only people I’ve heard complain about these words are English-speaking foreigners trying to learn the language (including me at times ^_^), because the mutilation of the words in order to fit Japanese sounds makes these words very hard to understand. And because they are “foreign”, we should obviously know what every single one of them means. Not only do the Japanese mangle the sounds, by they also go in for radical abbreviations.


  • taberu [tay-beh-roo] is a table. One of the easiest.
  • terebi [teh-reh-bee] is a television. Japanese doesn’t have ‘v’ sounds. Nor do they have ‘r’ or ‘l’ sounds, but a single sound that mixes the two and usually gets (imprecisely) recognised as an ‘r’ by English-speakers. The word is also abbreviated.
  • sekuhara [seh-koo-ha-rah] is sexual harassment.
  • arubaito [ah-roo-buy-toh] is part-time work (from the German for ‘work’)

All these are everyday words and the Japanese make no attempt to find ‘native’ substitutes. But then the Japanese never have had problems with taking advantage of the clever ideas of others.

Various Arabic speakers I have spoken to claim that Arabs hate to use English words and work very hard to not do so. Having listened to various things on al Jazeera and the like, I’m skeptical of those claims.

When doing A-Levels, there were a number of Thai students in my maths classes. They would often converse in Thai when discussing difficulties solving a particular problem. Because they used so much English in their Thai, it was often possible for me to work out which question and what about the question they were discussing.

marker at

Icelandic word usage [information from Arminius]
Officially sanctioned Icelandic words for commonly used, modern objects
Icelandic English approximate Icelandic meaning  
sími telephone thread  
rafmagn electricity amber power  
jóveldi republic nation-power  
vindill cigar something wound  
sjónvarp TV throwing of vision  
háskóli university high-school  
rökfrĉi logic argument-science  
verkfrĉi engineering work/action-science  
efnafrĉi chemistry matter-science  

marker at

In France they have: [information from Xavier]

French English    
logiciel program    
ordinateur computer    
courriel e-mail    

The French have assimulated various English words (though sometimes with modified spellings), which are used widely, and officially: STOP, le sandwich (plural: sandwichs), le week-end, le poney, le western-spaghetti.

And from the common origins of the English and French languages - the Romans, William the Conqueror, Henry II and his children - come many words that look the same but may, or may not, have similar meanings [chip in French means a crisp in English; a frite is an English chip]; or have been assimulated in the other direction - that is French to English, with envelope and restaurant.

marker at

Not all foreigners are as insecure as the Welsh, French or Icelanders. I’m told that even the French generally ignore the directives on word usage.

Like with Japanese, and other languages with more confident speakers, English has always imported useful words from around the world with great ease:
English original language
umbrella Russian
alcohol Arabic!
cockroach American Indian
ketchup Chinese
robot Czech
yacht Dutch
sauna Finnish
trousers Gaelic
ethnic Hebrew

These borrowings come quite apart from all the French, German, Latin and Greek that dominates English vocabulary.

related material
amusing kanji/japanese: deciphering japanese: three 'alphabets' (part 1 of 3)

end note

  • An alphabet contains more basic sounds that can be combined to form syllables. A syllabary contains only the syllables themselves. The characters in an alphabet can be pronounced differently according to their context. Syllables are essentially constant.

the web address for the article above is _english_110806