Ours vs. the Queen's

Differences between our English and the Queen's, as noticed by someone from India.
Anecdotes abound about the misunderstandings that arise when foreigners come to America thinking they know the language, and stories like this have enlivened many a dinner table over the years. My own favourites find the English hoist by their own petard, if not by their own pedantry. One young man, in the course of a passionate courtship, told his American girlfriend, "I'll give you a ring tomorrow." All he meant was that he would call her by telephone. But she understood him to have offered betrothal, and the relationship didn't survive the misunderstanding. That story is probably bettered by the hoary tale about the English girl who asked an American hotel clerk to "knock me up in the morning". She merely wanted to be woken up; the horrified American understood her to be soliciting a pregnancy.

The Strike

One of the writers from the Daily Show explains the writer's strike. It's pretty funny, you should watch. Plus, there's a guest appearance by a Daily Show correspondant!


Finally, someone has done a scientific study of the accuracy of mechanics. When Trust in an Expert Is Unwise - New York Times
At only 27 of the 40 garages did mechanics tell Mr. Schneider that he had a disconnected battery cable, the very problem to which he had pointed them by saying his car didn’t always start. Only 11 mentioned the low coolant, a problem that can ruin a car’s engine. Ten of the garages, meanwhile, recommended costly repairs that were plainly unnecessary, like replacing the starter motor or the battery. (Tellingly, his results were in line with what the Automobile Protection Association found when it performed its experiments in Canada.)

In all, only about 20 percent of the garages deserved a passing grade. “And that’s with a pretty low bar,” Mr. Schneider told me. “I’m even allowing them to have missed a blown taillight that should have been caught.”


Charlie Stross, a science fiction author, has written a great little essay on his impressions of Japan. He does a good job of describing how simultaneously familiar and strange Japan is.