Archive for May, 2017

Langauges Probably Aren’t All Equally Expressive

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Take the relationship between race and IQ as a given. This means that it would be extremely unlikely that the national language of a group would not reflect the average intelligence of that group, just as the language used by the more intelligent differs from the language used and understood by the less intelligent. This interests me as a student of Ancient Greek. Talking to others, most people seem to think that foreigners just say the exact same things using different sounds in other languages. I think this is not true. I think there must be differences in what can be expressed between languages, and that the differences are not just cultural, but related to group IQ. My evidence for this is the use in English almost exclusively of Greek and Latin words (however mangled over time by the Gauls, Norse, and Saxons) for abstract concepts.


Saturday, May 20th, 2017

I have an ongoing pointless debate with a friend who thinks he’s “conservative” yet voted for Hillary Clinton. In any case he is unsurprisingly anti-bitcoin. Can’t be bothered to own 20 bux worth of it and I’m a bad “evangelist” because it’s too inconvenient to use and so on.

Anyway we had the following exchange (one of many at various but monotonically increasing btc price points over the last several years):

Κασσάνδρα: you can buy 20 bux of btc you know. it’s an educational experience. process for moving it around is the same no matter the amount. and unless australia is more insane than the us, no tax enters into it until you sell it in X country.

Trojan: it’s the time involved not the hassle.

Κασσάνδρα: it’s the same time involved in putting your cc # into amazon.

Trojan: so whats the advatage? I have money to lose by learning something?

Κασσάνδρα: you don’t have 20 bux?

Trojan: how about I invest 0 and lern something?

Κασσάνδρα: you sound like an economist

Reading a Greek Text

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

For the past month or so, I’ve been having some success reading a particular Ancient Greek text called "The Anabasis", and written by Xenophon. This is an account of the adventures of 10,000 Greeks who joined forces with a Persian prince in an attempt to sieze power in Persia.

This is a great text for beginners because Xenophon’s style is straight forward, and the narrative is exciting as well as being easy to follow. It is essentially a sequence of battles interspersed with colorful anecdotes about grand practical jokes, persuasive oratory, local flora, fauna, and peoples.

I use three books to read this text. One is the Loeb’s edition, which I use as the primary source. The two other books I use are Clark’s interlinear translation and John White’s “Illustrated dictionary to Xenophon’s Anabasis,” which has an invaluable etymological breakdown of many of the words it defines.

I generally read about one page per day using the follwing technique. I first scan Clark, noting down words I will have to look up. When I’ve reached about 15 words, I stop scanning and mark my place in the book with a pencil. Next I look up each word in White, making sure to understand its grammar and etymology (which helps a lot in commiting the word to memory). I underline with a pen words that I’ve looked up in White, so that I can test myself when I encounter them again later when thumbing through the dictionary. Finally, I attempt a reading of the text in Loeb, occasionally referencing the English translation on the opposite page, or Clark, when I run into some difficult grammar.

With the preparatory vocabulary work, I find I can read a fragment from Loeb’s quite enjoyably, and this technique has kept me engaged and learning for a good while now. I look forward to being able to tackle more than one page at a time, and ultimately to a second reading, which should go much much faster.