MT VOID 06/17/11 -- Vol. 29, No. 51, Whole Number 1654

MT VOID 06/17/11 -- Vol. 29, No. 51, Whole Number 1654

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Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society
06/17/11 -- Vol. 29, No. 51, Whole Number 1654

Table of Contents

      Frick: Mark Leeper, Frack: Evelyn Leeper, Back issues at All material is copyrighted by author unless otherwise noted. All comments sent will be assumed authorized for inclusion unless otherwise noted. To subscribe, send mail to To unsubscribe, send mail to

Point of Law (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

If the law treats a corporation like it was a person, does that mean if it can be found to kill someone it can get capital punishment? [-mrl]

Why E-Books Aren't There Yet (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):

My favorite is, "An unfinished e-book isn't a constant reminder to finish reading it." [-ecl]

Did Mike Tyson Give Away His Face? (comments by Mark R. Leeper):

The editorials I write for the MT VOID generally reflect what I am thinking at the time I write them. That is one of the reasons that sports rarely get (gets?) mentioned in my editorials. I have remarkably little knowledge or interest about sports, certainly far less than the average person. We live in a society that assumes people know far more about sports than I do. (The example I like to give is that if prime numbers are mentioned in the newspaper, it will be followed by the phrase "those numbers divisible only by one and themselves," assuming that people do not know what prime numbers are. On the other hand a phrase like "a touchback to the end zone" is often published under the assumption that of course the reader knows what that means. (Now don't go writing in to explain it either. I am perfectly happy in my ignorance.) Anyway, that is why sports rarely comes up as a subject in the MT VOID. One odd exception to this rule seems to take place. The name Mike Tyson does seem to come up. I guess the man leads such a bizarre life that his presence bleeds over into other subjects.

I wrote about Mike Tyson back in 1997 when he lost his temper and bit each of Evander Holyfield's ears in a fight. See:

Well, Tyson has found his way into another editorial, and this time it was equally innocent. It is once again an issue involving human flesh, but this time it is Tyson's. It seems a tattoo artist, one S. Victor Whitmill, tattooed Tyson's face with a large garish tribal tattoo. The tattoo in its own way became famous. So much so that somebody in the production of the comedy film HANGOVER II decided that it looked like it should be embarrassing and had the character played by Ed Helms get a nearly identical tattoo when he us non compos mentis due to strong drink. The tattoo shows up in a lot of promotional material for the film and Whitmill saw his design being used by Warner Brothers.

Whitmill sued Warner Brothers, trying (but failing) to get an injunction on the release of the film. If this tattoo had been on a portrait in a museum apparently Whitmill might have had a better case. The fact is that the tattoo is on human flesh, that of Mike Tyson. A work of art in an art gallery is certainly eligible for copyright protection. If you want to wear your hair the way James McAvoy wears his, can McAvoy's hair stylist sue you for stealing his design. If this tribal tattoo is copyrightable, can the tribe sue Whitmill for copyright infringement? Does it make a difference that the tattoo is being used to mock the original rather than is being used as an homage? And if it is mocking, it is mocking Whitmill or Tyson? How different does a tattoo design have to be before it does not violate? Mike Tyson was in the original film HANGOVER and will be in the upcoming sequel. Apparently he agrees with Warner Brothers using his tattoo in the film. Does Whitmill have a right to say that Tyson cannot give permission to Warner Brothers to use this feature of his face because it is now owned by Whitmill?

At least we live in times where amazing things can be done with digital images. Warner Brothers says the disputed tattoo will run only in the theatrical run. When HANGOVER II goes to DVD it will be a different tattoo, according to Warner Brothers. (Again, how different is different enough?) And most importantly, does Mike Tyson no longer have ownership of his own face?

Mike Tyson is once again in a bizarre situation. [-mrl]

More on the Above Editorial (comments by Josephine Paltin and Mark R. Leeper):

Attorney Josephine Paltin responds:

In general, creative works are protected by copyright. It's not the flesh, but the creative work that is being copyrighted. Someone I know had a tattoo parlor as a client; the client had posted some of his designs on a web site as "merchandise" or offerings available. A Chinese outfit stole the designs and was selling them on T-shirts. The tattoo parlor hired my acquaintance to help resolve the issue.

This is a bit different because the medium is flesh, but we don't know all the facts, and it's really not ephemeral. In general, though, stealing other people's creative work (appropriating, copying, distributing, showing, or otherwise profiting from the work of another, etc.) is really nasty and not funny. Everyone likes to make fun of Tyson and his tattoo artist because the subject is rather déclassé, but I don't really see it that way. The movie people could easily have used another face tattoo but they are profiting from choosing that particular one. [-jp]

Mark replies:

You are right that the facts can make a difference and here I think they make all the difference. Mike Tyson is a character in the film and the previous film. It is not a case of using this tattoo, which they happened to see on Mike Tyson. It is instead a case of a character borrowing a tattoo, whatever that tattoo looks like, from the character Mike Tyson and then being embarrassed by it. Tyson is saying that, yes, in the film another character can imitate a tattoo he sees on my character in the film. It seems unreasonable for the tattoo artist to say he has the power to veto that plot unless he gets paid. And the tattoo is a tribal design that the tattoo artist probably borrowed without recompensing the tribe. [-mrl]

Jo responds:

Hmmm. I'll take the side of the copyright owner anyway, because (1) we don't know that the artist's design is derivative of an existing tribal design; if the artist created it, he own the copyright unless it's derivative (a legal term, not a wishful interpretation, that jury must decide), and (2) Tyson does not own the copyright to the tattoo unless he made formal legal arrangements to do so, so his opinion has no legal standing whatsoever--the logical extension of that is that people can freely copy anything they see anyone else using (e.g., hardware, software) or wearing (e.g., clothes) without regard to the rights of the creators of these things--that is stealing. For example, if a movie plays a song on its soundtrack or in the movie's plot, the movie producers pay royalties to the musicians/performers involved --so why is it okay to copy a piece of visual art? I don't see it.

The bottom line is that copyright law favors the creators because such works are so easily stolen by others, who often feel a sense of entitlement or innocence in doing so, but who generally would side with the copyright owner if their livelihood were freely appropriated by others. [-jp]

Be Careful What You Wish For (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):

In Starbucks baristas air their complaints about customers. Some are reasonable (and predictable): customers who talk (often loudly) on cellphones, even while ordering, customers who block the condiments table by having conversations there, and so on. But they also have a couple that make no sense.

For example, one is "The woman with the 15-word (or so) drink order. 'I'd like a Venti, sugar-free, non-fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup.' I bet you would!" Well, Mr. Barista, who invented the concept of a Venti, sugar-free, non- fat, vanilla soy, double shot, decaf, no foam, extra hot, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha with light whip and extra syrup? This order is a product of Starbucks marketing--before Starbucks, no one would dream of having an order like that! So it is hardly reasonable to object when someone orders one.

Another one is "the customer who is defensive about Starbucks sizes. 'I speak four languages and unfortunately Starbucksese isn't one of them.' Since words and reading are tricky for these folks, I like to have them point to the cup they want." Well, I am one of these customers. On a good day, when I have time, I'll figure out which Starbuck's size I want. If I'm pre-occupied or in a hurry, I'll ask for a small, medium, or large, and assume that anyone working a coffee shop counter knows the meaning of those perfectly ordinary English words. If the clerk tries to insist that I speak Starbuckese, I'm likely just to leave. If I'm going to learn a new language, it had better be useful for more than ordering coffee in a single coffee chain.

Apparently if you want a Starbucks that calls its sizes small, medium, and large, you have to go to China. The non-alphabetic writing system makes it difficult to create these sorts of pretentious names for sizes.

More on this at . [-ecl]

SUPER 8 (film review by Mark R. Leeper):

CAPSULE: J. J. Abrams, as homage to the early Steven Spielberg, writes and directs a pastiche of Spielberg's early juvenile films. A group of friends making an amateur zombie film one night witness a train derailment that involved more than meets the eye. They are soon caught up in a situation of global proportions. This would have been a fun drive-in sort of film, not the deepest film, but fun aimed at young teen level. On those terms it is acceptable family fare. Spielberg is one of the producers, by the way. Rating: +1 (-4 to +4) or 6/10

Warning: Very minor spoilers. I have tried to spoil much less than most other reviews I have seen, but this review is probably not spoiler-free.

The year is 1979. Thirteen-year-old Joe Lamb (played by Joel Courtney) is still getting over the loss of his mother four months earlier and having some run-ins with his father, the Ohio town sheriff's deputy. Joe likes monster movies and his friends Charles (Riley Griffiths), Preston (Zach Mills), Martin (Gabriel Basso), and Carey (Ryan Lee) are making a zombie movie in the old Super 8 film format--the same format that Spielberg used as a boy. Tentatively joining the group is attractive Alice (Elle Fanning). As they are trying to film a night scene in a railroad depot they witness a train derailment right in front of--and, in fact, all around--them. The train derails when it hits a pickup truck on the tracks, but only Joe sees that the pickup's driver intentionally derailed the train. Examining the pickup, the band of friends find it was driven by their school science teacher who warns them they are in danger for what they have seen and, they must keep it quiet. But what exactly have they seen? The mystery deepens when they discover that the train was an Air Force military transport carrying tens of thousands of vaguely cube-shaped metal pieces, all identical. And there may have been more than that aboard that train. The train crash, loud and scary, is the showpiece of the film. Nothing after it quite comes up in spectacle.

The film has a lot of touches, especially allusions to Spielberg films or 1970s films. There are bits borrowed from E.T., THE GOONIES, and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND. There are also some touches from J. J. Abrams. As with CLOVERFIELD, the title SUPER 8 totally conceals the subject matter of the film. For one familiar reference Joe's hobby is putting together Aurora models of his favorite monsters. The film takes place in 1979, about fifteen years after the availability of the Aurora kits that Joe assembles. But it is possible he finds them in places like flea markets and yard sales. There are plenty of little details for people who were horror film nerds in the 1970s.

Some script logic seems a little half-baked. At one point the Air Force evacuates the town on the pretext that people need to be protected from a wildfire. They then proceed to do things to the town that will be impossible to explain later. What are they planning to tell the people? But where this film stands out is its attention in creating characters. Like Jamie in EMPIRE OF THE SUN, Joe in this film gets his power from his innocence. Joe loves horror films like Jamie loved airplanes.

Abrams might have brought his own special style to this story as he did with STAR TREK. Sadly no. It is just the sort of film that Spielberg might have made around 1979. The special effects are a little better. SUPER 8 seems intended to be little more than a nod to films like THE GOONIES. It certainly does not rise above them in spite of better special effects. The viewer should see it not expecting one of the great summer films, but just a minor summer kids film. It is good enough to meet that expectation. I rate SUPER 8 a modest +1 on the -4 to +4 scale or 6/10.

Film Credits:

What others are saying:


X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (film review by Dale L. Skran, Jr.):

Once again, the summer is upon us, and we are spared those tedious "serious" winter movies! Except, maybe, in the case of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. Directed by Matthew Vaugh (LAYER CAKE, STARDUST, KICK-ASS) this prequel to the successful trilogy of "X-Men" films starring Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier, takes a darker and harder edge than the earlier films. Supported by a strong cast, FIRST CLASS tells the tale of the founding of the X-Men in what has been called the Marvel Cinematic Universe to differentiate it from the Marvel Comic Universe. Fanboys (and girls) are warned that although the firm in spiritually fully in line with the "X-Men" comics, there are so many continuity deviations from the comics that it must be thought of as an alternative universe version of the X-Men.

James McAvoy, who portrays Charles Xavier, and Michael Fassbender, who plays Eric Lensherr (Magneto) do an excellent job, and their relationship forms the core of the film. The movie follows two threads--Xavier's wealthy boyhood and Lensherr's death camp experiences--to the point where their lives cross and they join together to battle Sebastian Shaw (played by Kevin Bacon) and his Hellfire Club. It turns out that Shaw is the Nazi who killed Lensherr's mother, and the fires of revenge burn brightly in him. The weaknesses of young Xavier are on full display as he ignores his "sister" Mystique (played well by Jennifer Lawrence) while hitting on every cute girl he meets using his patented pick-up lines spun from his genetic knowledge. Meanwhile, Lensherr has honed himself into a ruthless Nazi-hunting machine, and this is fully expressed in some brutally violent scenes.

The battle between Xavier and Lensherr for Mystique's soul provides a lot of dramatic tension, and gives Magneto some extremely powerful scenes. Magneto's unconditional acceptance of Mystique contrasts with Xavier's somewhat patronizing affection for her. The difference between the leader who, in the defense of a minority, advocates peace (Xavier/King/Rabin) and the leader who advocates war (Magneto/Malcom X/Begin) is drawn, and perhaps more clearly than ever in FIRST CLASS. The full strengths and weaknesses of both positions are on display, and Magneto is more understandable, more sympathetic, and more appealing than ever before. We are reminded strongly why Magneto is one of Marvel's greatest villains and most interesting characters.

There are superhero battles aplenty, and a good bit of pure fun, but the movie is a bit jarring to the modern sensibility. Set in 1963 during the Cuban Missile crisis, male sexism is fully displayed, as is a good deal of female flesh, all in the service of the plot, of course. The original X-Men (in the movie, not the comic!) consist of Banshee (sonic powers, including flight), Havok (a powerhouse of energy), Darwin, (super-adaptation), the Beast (animal strength and flexibility), and Angel (flight and acid spitting). Along with Xavier (a telepath), Magneto (magnetic powers), and Mystique (shapeshifter with a blue natural form), they are arrayed against Shaw (can absorb and send back energy) and his Hellfire Club, including Emma Frost (telepath, diamond skin, and skimpy white bikini), Azazel (blue skin, teleportation, agility), and Riptide (creates tornadoes). This all has only a little bit to do with what happens in the comics, but is great to look at and well played, with a Oliver Platt in a strong supporting role as a CIA agent leading a black ops division. The plot is at least comprehensible, and keeping in mind that super-human powers are used aplenty, even plausible. One slight annoyance is that there is no teaser scene at the very end of the movie as is typically the case for the Marvel films.

Overall, I'd rate this at least a +1, possibly a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale. I keep coming back to some of Magneto's lines--he is pretty convincing, and in many ways the better man than Xavier. The movie is what I would call a hard PG-13. The F-Bomb is used in one funny scene, and there is a good bit of suggestive material of the playboy club type, as well as some cold, violent scenes of torture. There is also an extended beginning in the death camps that some may find too disturbing for their taste. The first few minutes of this segment is a scene-for-scene re-shoot of the first three minutes of the first "X-Men" movie but with different actors, followed by new material also set in the death camps. Hence, recommended for older teens and adults who know what they are getting into. [-dls]

FUZZY NATION by John Scalzi (copyright 2011, Audible Frontiers, 13hr 48min, narrated by Wil Wheaton and introduced by John Scalzi) (audiobook review by Joe Karpierz):

Many of you out there probably have me at a disadvantage; I've never read H. Beam Piper's LITTLE FUZZY. I never had the urge or the inclination to do so. However, I do like everything I've read written by John Scalzi. So, I decided, "What the heck, let's check this thing out and see how it is." After all, because I haven't read LITTLE FUZZY, I have no preconceived notions about FUZZY NATION, Scalzi's reimagining of Piper's novel. I wouldn't fall into the trap of "oh, he got this wrong, what is he *doing* here?", etc. So, it was with high expectations that I started listening to the novel.

Jack Holloway is independent mining contractor working for ZaraCorp on Zarathustra 23, with his dog Carl, whom he has taught to set off explosives with the push of a button. One fateful day, Jack is out doing his thing, setting some explosives on a cliff face, after which Carl does the deed. The good news is that indeed the explosives go off and a HUGE seam of valuable jewels called sunstones is uncovered. This can make Jack rich, since all contractors get a cut of the take. The bad news is that the explosion caused the collapse of the cliff, which is bad under current ecological law. Chad Bourne (going with the movie spelling here, given that I don't have the book in front of me), his contractor rep for ZaraCorp, knows about the cliff collapse and is in the process of cancelling Jack's contract when Jack pulls a legal fast one on him. You see, Jack was a lawyer in a previous life, and has since been disbarred, which he doesn't like to talk about. The problem for ZaraCorp is that Jack has them over a barrel over some legal technical issues regarding some of those self-same ecological issues and how they relate to independent contractors. Jack gets his contract renewed, and cuts ZaraCorp back into the action.

But Jack is a pain in the behind to ZaraCorp because it turns out that the seam of sunstones, which he now owns the rights to, is bigger than anybody thought--probably the biggest sunstone find EVER. And ZaraCorp wants him out of the way. And there's another problem. Jack and Carl go back to Jack's home/shelter in the trees (you can't live on the ground because of all sorts of nasty critters that will eat you, unless you have special technical equipment to keep them away) and discover a little furry critter in the house. Not only does the critter, which Jack dubs a "fuzzy" appear to be smart, it is incredibly cute. Soon he has a family of them in the house. He calls a biologist friend of his, Isabelle, to show her what he's found. You see, the other piece of the puzzle is that a planet cannot not be mined and exploited if it is home to a sentient species. Up until now, only two other species have been found sentient--are the fuzzies a third?

And thus the battle between Jack and ZaraCorp begins. Isabelle believes they are sentient based on her limited knowledge of these things. Neither Jack nor Zaracorp want the creatures to be sentient. If they are, then all mining must stop, and both Jack and the company stand to lose a fortune. Things get sticky when someone tries to kill Jack--and this leads to all sorts of political skullduggery including bribes, threats, and all sorts of other mean nasty stuff. And Jack slowly but surely sees things in a different light, such that his life will be changed forever.

This is a fine book, and one that many of today's authors ought to look at as an example of something that is extremely fun to read and that doesn't beat you over the head with a message. Oh, there are messages there, but the reader/listener is too engaged in the story itself to may that much attention to them. It's well written, moves at a fast pace, and has the reader both laughing and crying.

I cannot possibly say enough good things about the narrator of the book, Wil Wheaton. We all remember him as Wesley Crusher from Star Trek: The Next Generation (most of us not too fondly). He is, however, a FANTASTIC narrator for FUZZY NATION. He keeps the tempo appropriate, speeding up when he should, slowing down when it calls for it. He had me in stitches at times when Jack was dealing with the fuzzies, and he (I'm not ashamed to admit it) had me in tears in a few places. He doesn't try to do female voices, but it never seems to matter. The only voice that was not his own occurred later in the book, and I will not spoil it for you by teling you about it. Wheaton is masterful here.

I really do highly recommend this audiobook.

The running time I've listed above is a bit misleading, as it includes the original LITTLE FUZZY by H. Beam Piper. I did not listen to it, as I did not want to essentially listen to the same story twice in succession, although it might have been interesting to compare the two side by side. Maybe another time. In anycase, FUZZY NATION is a tad longer than LITTLE FUZZY here in audiobook form--FUZZY NATION coming in at around 7 hours. [-jak]

X-MAN: FIRST CLASS and Numbers (letters of comment by Jerry Ryan, and Tim Bateman):

In response to Mark's review of X-MEN: FIRST CLASS in the 06/10/11 issue of the MT VOID, Jerry Ryan writes:

Just saw X-MEN: FIRST CLASS last weekend with my son, who is a bit more of a fan than I am.

His review was that "I'd read that it was the best superhero movie made, better even than DARK KNIGHT. It's not. But it's definitely in the top tier." I agree with him.

Originally I thought that Shaw wanted a nuclear war because his mutation allowed him to absorb and redirect all energy ... if he could absorb a nuke then he would be all powerful, no? In which case, why didn't he steal a nuke ... or go stand near a nuke being tested?

But then I remembered there's a bit of dialog where they talk about nuclear energy causing mutations ... didn't they hope to wipe out non-mutants and accelerate the creation/evolution of more mutants? [-gwr]

Mark responds:

If he wipes out all the non-mutants there would be nothing to watch on television. Seriously how does he know that extreme radiation will not kill off mutants as well? What kind of a world will be left for mutants if all the non-mutants are killed? They certainly did not make much of a case that a post-nuclear holocaust would really improve the lot of the mutants. [-mrl]

Tim Bateman writes:

"I am told that most of the team of mutants were not in the X-Men at the time the story takes place. Apparently only The Beast is authentic to that time," writes Mark. On a point of pedantry, none of the characters "is authentic to that time" as the film is set around the time of the Cuban missile crisis, which took place in October, 1962. The first issue of "The X-Men" is cover-dated October, 1963. For the record, if anyone's interested, the membership at that point was Professor X, Cyclops, the Beast, the Angel, Iceman and, joining in that very issue, Marvel Girl.

I do wonder, I must say, that a film about which you have so many quibbles, of varied sizes, still manages to attain the mark of 7/10.

On a different topic: thank you for the explanation of integers, complex numbers and the like--useful to me as a layman (even if I didn't get the more complex stuff). [-tb]

International Space Development Conference and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (letter of comment by Fred Lerner):

In response to Dale Skran's report on the ISDC in the 06/10/11 issue of the MT VOID, Fred Lerner writes:

I really enjoyed Dale Skran's report on the International Space Development Conference. It would never have occurred to me to attend one of these things, but after reading Dale's account I'd be sorely tempted. In any event it cheered me up considerably to know that such a thing exists.

And in response to Dale Skran's review of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO in the same issue, Fred writes:

I also found Dale's review of THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO very thought-provoking. I read all three of the books, and saw all three of the (Swedish) movies, and enjoyed them all thoroughly. (It did take me a bit of effort to get through the first couple of chapters of DRAGON TATTOO; the translator's command of idiomatic English wasn't all it could have been.) But while Dale's reservations about the book didn't persuade me that I shouldn't have enjoyed it, he certainly made me think again about my experience with it. [-fl]

This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper):

I recently listened to an audio book version of PEBBLE IN THE SKY by Isaac Asimov (read by Robert Fass) (ISBN 978-1-602-835931). People have been saying for a long time that Asimov was not very good at writing female characters, and in this they are right; Pola Shekt is barely one-dimensional and is more a walking stereotype than a character. But the fact is that Asimov's male characters are no better. Dr. Shekt, Joseph Schwartz, and especially Bel Arvardan are just as one-dimensional and just as stereotypical as the female characters. This was the first Asimov work in a long time not published in ANALOG, supposedly for two reasons. One, Asimov wanted to show that his writing was *his*, not John W. Campbell's. And two, Asimov was distressed at the direction ANALOG was taking with the Dean Drive and various paranormal concepts. The latter reason is why it is ironic that what brings about the solution in the novel is a pseudo-scientific process that gives Joseph Schwartz all sorts of psychic powers: telepathy, mind control, and so on. The "Foundation" series has its problems, but it is much better than this. I probably loved it when I first read it, but it has not aged well.

WORD PLAY: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE TALK by Peter Farb (ISBN 0-679-73408-2) is old enough that some of theories expounded in it have since been discredited--in specific Benjamin Lee Whorf's theories about the Hopi language and theory of time. Of others I am not sure of their status. For example, the ways languages divide the color spectrum are many, but there appears to be a consistency. Languages start with words for black and white. Next to come is red, followed by green then yellow, or yellow then green. Then comes blue, followed by brown. Eventually other terms may be added--orange, pink, gray, purple, violet, and so on--but these are much less common.

(Farb refers to these as terms in the color spectrum, but that is not, strictly speaking, accurate. White and black are not elements of the spectrum, nor is brown.)

Other statements, too, are outdated, such as, "almost no one speaks Mandarin Chinese outside western and northern China and Taiwan." He says English is spoken as a first or second language by 750 million people, or 20% of the world's population, and Mandarin Chinese by 450 million (12%). The current figures are 950 million English speakers (14%), and 1,365 million Chinese speakers (20%). However, the nature of the written languages makes English more adaptable to computers, a factor that was nowhere in Farb's view in 1973.

The section on how different languages, or rather different cultures, round numbers is, I think, just wrong both in terms of cause and in terms of being outdated. Farb says that we have the 9-second 100-yard dash, and the French have the 10-second 100-meter dash. But it is not a function of the English and French languages, even though Farb talks about "the French speech community" and "English-speaking peoples." In 1973, when the book was written, metrication had not yet taken hold in Britain, Australia, etc. Now that it has, and assuming metrication included sports, I am sure the British et al refer to the 10-second 100-meter dash. (And I doubt that in 1973 the French-speaking Quebeçois referred to metric units, though they do now.)

And after spending most of the book explaining why no language is inherently more difficult or easy, since children learn any of them at about the same speed, he then writes, "If some accident of history had made Celtic rather than English the language of Great Britain and if Britain had similarly risen to prominence, the peoples of the world would have had to learn an extremely difficult language, judging from present-day Welsh." [-ecl]

                                          Mark Leeper

Quote of the Week:

         The gods are amused when the busy river 
         condemns the idle clouds.
                                          --Rabindranath Tagore

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