Miscellaneous internet links/Vermischtes aus dem Internet

Google operator AROUND

Lifehacker sets out how to use the undocumented Google search operator AROUND.

Just on a cursory examination, I did three searches:

state AROUND (1) witness
state witness
“state witness”

The second two both had examples of state’s witness, but the first didn’t. However, changing the (1) to (2) did.

A Lifehacker commenter gave a link to a Google page on various other operators.

Google translating patents

I mentioned this topic last week under Google and the EPO. The IPKAT (Jeremy) has now taken the topic up in Gained in translation: Google comes to help the EPO (with a nice image).

Quoting the press release and commenting in brackets:

The collaboration aims to offer faster and cheaper fit-for-purpose [this begs the question: “which purpose?” It seems to the IPKat that patents are read for more than one reason] translations of patents for companies, inventors and scientists in Europe. Today, anyone wishing to register a patent must do so in one of the EPO’s official languages – English, French and German. They then need to arrange for translation of the patent – at their own cost – into the languages of all countries in which they wish the patent to apply. This complexity means that many European patents are not available in all national languages or legally binding in all the EPO’s member states. Similarly, anyone searching for information in patents published in foreign languages finds it difficult to retrieve data relevant to their research projects.

A final remark:

Merpel says, when are they going to invent a device that translates English-language patent documents into English too?

The decline of the English language

Following a Daily Mail article about adults dumbing down the English language, there is a nice piss-take by Martin Robbins in the Guardian, The sinister threat to our language and brains.

Since all change in society is by its very nature sinister, evil, and evidence of spiraling decline, Mrs Clair sensibly believes that it may be too late to “turn the tide on our declining English”.

“Their language is deteriorating. They are lowering the bar. Our language is flying off at all tangents, without the anchor of a solid foundation,” she warned. In the past, that foundation was comprised of a solid blend of Greek, Latin, Arabic, Celtic, Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Germanic, French and Romance influences, giving English the famed consistency and simplicity of structure that helped it to become a global language. But now, two thousand years of careful development looks set to be wiped out in a generation as young English people irresponsibly try to meddle with it themselves.

A couple of the commenters were not too sure whether the article was serious or not.

Peter Harvey also commented on Ms Clair in his blog last week, under the heading Spelling and dunces.

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