What’s Elvish for tired

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’m tired and should go to bed. Today was not one of my better days.

However, my cat sensed that my day was poor and quietly curled up my arms, rubbing her head against my chin, purring like mad. I took her for a walk on our deck, and she now thinks I’m better than catnip.

Then I watched my new copy of the extended version of Lord of the Rings, a present from my roommate. The MTV re-make of the Elvish council was a hoot. When I got to the scenes where the characters were speaking Elvish, I turned to my roommate and proudly said, “I know the wife of the person responsible for the Elvish speech”.

“You know Hugo Weaving’s wife?”

I explained that, no, Dorothea’s husband David was the linguist responsible for the Elvish speech throughout the movie. I hope Dorothea will be pleased to know that my roomie was far more impressed at this association then he would have been had I known Hugo Weaving’s wife.


The saga of RDF continues

Recovered from the Wayback machine.

The posting I wrote on Friday about RDF has triggered much debate (in posting and at xml-dev), which is a goodness. I think it’s also triggered much misinterpretation and misunderstanding, which is what happens when a debate occurs across threads of mailing lists and weblog comments.

There has been summary attempts of the debate, such as at O’Reilly Network and at Joe Gregorio’s, but I’m not going to attempt to summarize it myself. Why? I have a viewpoint in this, and this would slant my summary. I’d rather just provide the links and let you form your own summation.

However, I do want to clarify something with my own position.

First, I’m not speaking for the RDF Working Group, in any way. I am giving my own viewpoints and opinions, which the WG may not agree with. No one can speak for the WG members, but they, themselves.

Additionally, I do not discount the complexity and difficulty inherent with RDF. I am aware, all too aware, of how complex the RDF Model documents can be. I know that there is much of the lab and not enough of the real world associated with the effort. And I’m not trying to dismiss people’s concerns with the model or the RDF/XML serialization when I say that we need to release the RDF specification rather than start over.

When I say that I don’t have problems with the RDF/XML, people should be aware that this is because I spent an enormous amount of time with the RDF specifications learning the core of the RDF model. I then spent a considerable amount of time learning how RDF is serialized with RDF/XML. I will now spend a significant amount of time reading through the newly released specifications to see where my understanding differs from the newest releases.

All of this has taken time and effort. I do not deny this.

I also don’t deny the importance of people being able to read and write RDF/XML. However, my interpretation of XML has been, and continues to be, that it’s a mechanical language rather than a biological one, and that it must be accurate, consistent, and reliable in a mechanical sense first, and foremost. Within these constraints, though, we should work to make the syntax as biologically understandable as possible.

Ultimately, I’m not trying to defend RDF/XML as much as I’m trying to generate understand that the problems people are having with RDF/XML aren’t consistent, and may not necessarily be problems with RDF/XML, at all.

Tim Bray creates RPV, which makes the RDF triples easier to read, but Simon St. Laurent says he doesn’t think in triples. Simon, on the other hand, is more concerned that RDF is having a deleterious effect on XML directly, as witness discussions about Qnames and URIs. These are two separate interpretations of “what’s wrong”, and lumping them all together into vague generalizations such as “RDF is ugly” or “RDF/XML is ugly” won’t help anyone.

Because of the discussions in the last week, I am re-visiting the chapters I wrote on the RDF specification for the Practical RDF book, coming in with a fresh perspective, and a better understanding of what the heck I need to write about. Unfortunately, I know enough after this weekend to be aware that this is going to be the most difficult technical writing task I have ever had. Can I clarify RDF and RDF/XML to the point that everyone understands both equally?

Exactly how does one achieve the impossible in 10,000 words, or less?

Posted by Bb at November 18, 2002 10:32 AM

Critters Weblogging

The white mouse

Coming back from dinner tonight, in the grass next to one of the dumpsters was a white mouse. Not a small white mouse, a larger one, almost as big as a small rat. And its fur was luminescent and shiny— softly glowing against the dark wet of the ground.

This is something you don’t see everyday, a white mouse. It’s not a rat because I know rats; I had to work with rats when I was getting my Psychology degree. In fact, I became fairly adept working with rats. For instance, I found that the trick to getting a rat that’ll make you look good in your research is to use a fat rat. Fat rats are fat because they learn quickly in order to get the most food.

This rat selection strategy backfired on me one day, though. I was working with a nicely plump rat, conditioning him to wait for a signal to press a lever; if he did, he would get some food. However, if he pressed the lever before or a second or two after the signal — no food.

He sat there passively until I pressed the signal for the first time, then jumped to his feet and raced to the lever: pushing on it with all of his might. My teacher saw this and insisted I use a new rat because I was the one who was supposed to be learning how to work with rats, and a too-smart rat was a bit of a cheat. Unfortunately, all that was left by this time were skinny creatures with vacant eyes who couldn’t find food if you shoved their noses into it.

Anyway, back to the white mouse. As far as I know, white mice aren’t naturally occurring, so I have no idea where this one came from. I imagine someone could have dumped a pet, but white mice are not supposed to be good pets. In fact, white mice are almost always bred for testing within chemical or biological research facilities.

I know that Monsanto is only a few miles away. Makes me wonder about that luminescent quality of the mouse.

As I was researching the white mouse, I stumbled on to an interestingly different, somewhat macabre story, White mice and Dead Cats. Written by a weblogger.

Mice and webloggers do proliferate, don’t they?