Meta B2.198

The title may make more sense if I note that the (natural) log of 9 is 2.198 (to four significant figures).

I decided it was time for a metablog as I have just discovered that GofaDM has sailed past its 600th post without even noticing.  This is not entirely my fault: the not noticing that is (WordPress no longer places this information on quite such a regularly viewed screen is in yesteryear), responsibility for the 605 posts can really only be laid at my door, unless you would prefer to blame society, my genes or my parents.  Given my daily (and still losing) struggle with brevity, this suggests there must be approaching half-a-million words of nonsense that I have now broadcast into the void.  OK, not wholly into the void: WordPress reports well north of 8000 page views, and this excludes the 104 poor unfortunates who receive an email whenever I give birth to a new cry for help (and they can’t all be bots – or is this how SkyNet begins, bots driven insane by the gibberings of an idiot?).

I can’t be sure as to the exact number of words used in GofaDM as WordPress does not offer a facility to count them (and I’m not pasting 605 posts plus comments into Word).  However, I have discovered it does offer Omnisearch – which promises (I kid you not) to “search everything” (though it gives no clue as to how long this might take).  I have mislaid a bunch of keys so I shall try it out on finding those later, if this succeeds I may finally be able to settle the uncertainty about what happened to Lord Lucan and Shergar.  Watch this space!

Given the sheer volume of stuff written about me (sometimes indirectly, but always by me) and the uniqueness of my name, I would have hoped for extraordinarily well focused advertising messages to bombard my web life.  This hope had been cherished in vain (in at least two senses of that word) – the ads that hit my screen seem woefully poorly targetted, and as a result are very easy to ignore.

I suspect if I could analyse the words used in this blog there would be some used with abnormally high frequencies.  I would imagine that the continued use of these causes a groan in the regular reader – or possibly the downing of liquour, for those indulging in a GofaDM drinking game (which if no-one else has devised, I should perhaps start work on) – whenso’er they recur.  I suppose this reliance on stale formulations could be considered part of my signature style, or more likely an indication of my twin failures of imagination and originality (which would make great names if anyone does have unnamed twins to hand), and may help later literary historians separate authentic GofaDM posts from the myriad fakes I like to anticipate.  Nevertheless, I shall try and avoid becoming a living cliché (to the extent I am so capable).

I rather fear that my tendency to obscure-up (one possible converse of dumbing down) and overuse of unexplained allusions mean that I should probably upgrade the Glossary.  In the absence of this update (which readers should expect to continue for the foreseeable future), readers may wish to revise UK radio comedy since 1950, cladistics, the game of Contract Bridge and the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, Flanders and Swann, PG Wodehouse and Douglas Adams (among others).

Ultimately, I have come to realise that the audience for this blog is myself – should it happen to make its way to a clone or a parallel-universe version of me (probably with a goatee), through some unexpected topologically feature of the spacetime continuum, all to the good – and so remain oddly touched (an alternative name for the blog, perhaps?) that others take the trouble to read the thing.  I rather fear I will continue to write it in the hope of some form of catharsis or a lucrative publishing deal presenting itself – until then, it’s just us.


11 thoughts on “Meta B2.198

  1. matathew says:

    Congratulations “sffoulkes” on 600+ Glimpses. An ambitious multi-volume oeuvre addressing contemporary issues in classical music, theatre, politics, cuisine, science, gymnastics and more, with style and wit.

    Please may I proffer some audience feedback:

    (1) “Meta B2.198 … The title may make more sense if I note that the (natural) log of 9 is 2.198 …” The explanation was indeed welcome, but surely using the natural log spells Bln 9? GCE maths courses and scientific calculators use “ln” for natural log and “log” for common log.

    (2) “the (natural) log of 9 is 2.198 (to four significant figures)” Are you sure? My calculator shows 2.1972.., which is 2.197 to four significant figures. Could be a schoolboy howler.

    (3) I feel that the reference to “the 104 poor unfortunates who receive an email whenever I give birth to a new cry for help … and they can’t all be bots…” is using a rhetorical device to duck an important issue. I suggest that each metablog should include a statistic to reflect the activity levels of people like me, and the other 104 amazing people, who follow GofaDM. Clearly we are not all bots because a handful of us do make comments, but could you summarise in each metablog the available evidence, such as it is, for the followers being active readers and sentient beings?

    (4) Whilst reading GofaM, I am occasionally baffled to see the word “neé” used where I would expect “nay”, e.g. “topical (neé political)”. I understand that “neé” is used to indicate a woman’s maiden name, but is there a joke here which I do nay get?

    I look forward with pleasure to continuing Glimpses.

  2. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    I will admit that ln is more commonly used when the base of the logarithm is e, but log is still perfectly valid. For aesthetic reasons I wanted the log to be >1, and so naturally(!) went for e as the base (rather than 10). My scientific calculator has not had a fresh battery since the 1980s, so I relied on Microsoft Excel which claimed 2.1977 – I am more than willing to believe your calculator is correct!

    I do firmly believe in your reality and that of a few others – however, the size of the comment text samples available is probably insufficient to qualify as a proper Turing test, so I may be mistaken.

    I believe “neé” is an adjective formed from the past participle of the French verb “to be born”, so it means “born” which I stretch to mean “previously” and sometimes really stretch to mean “alternatively” (which is very naughty). I have a feeling that once, when it was being applied adjectivally to something which could only be masculine I dropped the second e which indicates feminine agreement: I probably ought to do this more often, but I feel it would smack of even more eccentricity than I wish to evince. “Nay” wouldn’t work at all, even if used thrice and during a prologue.

    I fear I cannot promise pleasure from future Glimpses

  3. matathew says:

    Sorry, but I don’t buy your answer on point (3). I don’t use Excel, but LibreOffice Calc gives natural logs to at least 10 significant figures, which agree with my Casio calculator, so I simply don’t believe that Excel is only accurate to 3 significant figures. Are you absolutely sure about this? If so I will add it to my dossier of reasons why MicroSoft stuff is not fit for purpose.

    I’m still trying to understand your answer to point (4) re neé … so my team of scholars has gathered some examples from the annals of GofaDM.

    I have no problem with these: Alistair (né Alfred) Cooke, Oil of Olay (née Ulay), BBC Radio 4Extra (née 7) and Odds and Ends (née Sods). And indeed George (née Gideon) Osborne would also be fine, were he female.

    But the type I have trouble with are: confident (née brazen), very pink (née red) and stumbling (née bumbling). If I understand your explanation correctly, you’re saying that you originally wrote “brazen” but decided that “confident” was preferable etc. So it’s the other way round to using “nay” which would be “brazen, nay confident”?

    Perhaps you should expand the GofaDM glossary to include a section on “English idioms unique to GofaDM”!

  4. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    OK, I will give you point (3) – Excel is not the defective entity in this situation but the fading eyesight of the author. I have re-checked the result using eyes pre-attuned to the viewing of Arabic numerals and it is indeed 2.1972. This may be the most discussion on the subject of a single logarithm for many years – and I, for one, am proud to be a part of it. Next stop: Napier’s bones (or we could take in the slide rule?). Once I return to gainful employ, I may be forced to invest in some reading glasses (or a young amanuensis – which sounds more fun).

    I am slightly alarmed that you have searched the archive for my innovative use of née (though it might explain the weird 50 hit surge this site received yesterday) but I think it may be time to award you a passing grade on the unofficial Turing Test being conducted via GofaDM. It is good to know, that like other great writers before me, (one W Shakespeare springs to mind) I am stretching the language in exciting new directions. It would seem that I also used the feminine past participle of the verb “to be born” to mean “even” (and view the Chancellor as a girl, or perhaps just her over-sized blouse).

    I do like the idea of collecting the unique idioms of yours truly, but before I update the glossary I think I may need to mint (or even coin) a few more (boffice anyone?). We have left the generation of neologisms and new slang to the young and minority groups for far too long, it is time for the down-trodden, middle-aged (and classed) white male to be heard! I am also wondering how to capture my unique gestures and, perhaps, fashion-sense – though these may need a vlog or at least a sequence of stills to reveal their full horror.

  5. Semibreve says:

    Far be it from me to refrain from sticking in my oar…

    May I clarify, is the Chancellor deemed out sized or just his / her clothing as worn on the torso? I have long assumed that the person was large (and therefore any shirt designed to fit would be likewise) rather than a small or moderate sized person wearing a tent.

    Your views on the subject would be, if not actually welcomed, a reasonable assumption that I am a real person and not a bot. Something which, on a Friday afternoon, cannot always be assumed.

  6. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    I had assumed that the blouse was large – and I have always envisioned some flounces – but that its contents may not necessarily match. I’ve certainly never thought of the blouse as being a tight fit – so not bias-cut – and have not made a detailed study of the chancellor’s physique, but I think I was imagining him having quite a lot of room to manoeuvre within’t. However, my views may be far from canonical.

    I think you may be right that the taking of the Turing Test on a Friday may unfairly handicap any human participants but not a putative AI. I am not aware of any research in this area, but GofaDM would be happy to take funding from the ESRC (or any similar body) to pursue this line of enquiry further…

  7. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    Perhaps I should go further and clarify that the blouse would originally have been the property of a generously proportioned young person boasting paired X chromosomes, however, when applied to the chancellor (or A N Other) would (or at least could) be somewhat voluminous in its fit.

  8. matathew says:

    It would seem that I also used [née] to mean “even”” … Aha! Well I think any difference between “even” and “nay” is not worth arguing about, so I reckon I can mentally substitute “nay” for “née” (homophonically, in fact) and I will be fine.

    As a GofaDM follower, I suggest that the GofaDM customer services department has been characterised by obfuscation and blustering on all this. The two points I originally made (i.e. ln(9)=2.197 and “née” instead of “nay”) were expressed succinctly and have eventually been upheld. So a reply of “agreed”, although less entertaining, would perhaps have sufficed.

    I hope that the GofaDM glossary will be updated in a timely manner to include the “née” idiom. As the glossary page proclaims, “Never let it be said that this blog does not respond to feedback”.

  9. Stuart Ffoulkes says:

    Mr Collins would not agree that “nay” and “even” have the same meaning – he is very negative all round about the meaning of “nay”. So, I feel even (not nay) less able to use nay than née in future posts.

    One day the glossary will be updated. This day may lie a long way in the future – and given the absence of a customer service department, the response to feedback may continue in its traditional vein, i.e. it is received, considered and filed. Even the glossary is not so rash as to promise any action as a response.

  10. matathew says:

    You say that Mr Collins does not agree, but it is tricky to assert a negative. Have you asked him?

    Google’s definition of “nay”:
    1. or rather (used to emphasize a more appropriate word than one just used): “permission to build the superstore will take months, nay years”.

    Collins’ definition of “even”:
    20. used to introduce a more precise version of a word: “he is base, even depraved”.

    As I say, the difference isn’t worth arguing about.

    Moreover, Google gives “even” as a synonym for “nay”.

    I fear that you and I must agree to differ. Please feel free to file this feedback.

    • Stuart Ffoulkes says:

      It would seem that Messrs Collins and Google disagree fundamentally about nay. Perhaps Mr Webster would side with his compatriot? I shall have to seek out the full, multi-volume OED – both to check usage and etymology. I wonder if Mr Google’s nay is a US Anglicisation of my French earlier birth? Isn’t language fun!

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