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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday Night Links 2.

* Nate Silver crunches some more numbers, this time on the environmental indifference point.

* Neoconservatives against American soccer. More from Matt Yglesias.

* When will the MSM force Obama to take responsibility for what he did to Mark Sanford's marriage?

* On a more serious note, Larval Subjects has a nice rant on a subject I touched on earlier, namely the ugliness of the media's silly obsession with the details of Mark Sanford's love life and in particular Olbermann's insufferable behavior on his show last night.

* AmericaBlog has an idea for some political hardball: bring the DOMA repeal up for a vote this week.

* Neo-Whorfianism: How does language shape the way we think? Via MeFi.

Follow me to Pormpuraaw, a small Aboriginal community on the western edge of Cape York, in northern Australia. I came here because of the way the locals, the Kuuk Thaayorre, talk about space. Instead of words like "right," "left," "forward," and "back," which, as commonly used in English, define space relative to an observer, the Kuuk Thaayorre, like many other Aboriginal groups, use cardinal-direction terms — north, south, east, and west — to define space.1 This is done at all scales, which means you have to say things like "There's an ant on your southeast leg" or "Move the cup to the north northwest a little bit." One obvious consequence of speaking such a language is that you have to stay oriented at all times, or else you cannot speak properly. The normal greeting in Kuuk Thaayorre is "Where are you going?" and the answer should be something like " Southsoutheast, in the middle distance." If you don't know which way you're facing, you can't even get past "Hello."