Quick #Scrumble update

Quick update for Scrumbleteers–

 The next Scrumble round will begin Saturday, 4 July at 0:00 Pacific
Time, or 8:00 GMT.

 For people looking for a hard and fast deadline, Marty and I sat down
tonight and estimated how far out we need to move the first milestone.
We’re probably looking at late July as a date when your hacks must be
finished to be part of the first batch, but we need to confirm that
with O’Reilly. We’ll get back to you soonest. We are reading and
editing your hacks!

 I thought people would like to know that the Scrumblers working on
Mind Agility Hacks are on the whole hugely more productive than the
non-Scrumblers by some metrics. Whether this is because Scrumble makes
you productive, or because productive people love to play Scrumble, is
hard to say, but hard figures are forthcoming in the book.

 Make the enemies of Scrumble tremble, O ye mighty!

 Stormhair Rainbowbeard

#Scrumble round 3 update (retry)

Sigh… Please pardon my itchy pinky finger, which fired this message
off before I was done. Starting again…


 Hail, Scrumblers!

 If you are seeing this in email and not in Twitter, it may be because
you’re not checking Twitter for the #scrumble hashtag. It is as easy
as pi (the first three digits anyway) to go to Twitter.com, search for
#scrumble in the right pane, and make your search permanent. Then
check back every couple of days. Please. Scrumble is a Twitter
experiment, so why should we have to rely on Web 0.0 technologies like
creating a mailing list to stay current? If you’re a Twitter hater or
something, make a special account just for Scrumble, then delete it
when we’re done. Please. Think of my puppies.

 Enough. Now, I made a mistake in my last post
(http://rwhe.posterous.com/scrumble-round-3-begins) when I said Lion
had 0 at the end of Round 1, so he was down to -2 points at the end of
Round 2. In fact, he already had 1 point, so it’s not quite so bad.

 Also, partially in recognition of the fact that it’s hard to reward
people over the Net (what have I got that Google hasn’t got?), I’ve
added the following rule:


 At her discretion, a Scrumblegiver may award a point of honor to a
player for a mighty deed he performed on the previous round, but which
he neglected to pledge beforehand. The Scrumblegiver may award
multiple points, but only one per deed from the previous round.


 I am hereby awarding Limbic a point for his doughty efforts on “Take a
Semantic Pause” last round (and truth to tell, from before Scrumble
started). He’s just had bad timing, failing to pledge his deeds before
he does them. He’s back up to 0.

 The revised scores stand as follows.

 Stormhair = +3 (continues to be Scrumblegiver)
Yatima = +1
Limbic = 0
Lion = -1

 That’s it for now, but remember, as your local public radio tells you…

 …It’s not too late to pledge.



#Scrumble round 3 begins

Once again, gods and goddesses, heroes and heroines, let’s get ready
to scrumble!

 For those who are just joining us, Scrumble is a productivity
technique from the upcoming book Mind Agility Hacks, sequel to Mind
Performance Hacks. These are the short rules for your part in a round:

 1. Toast a god or principle you believe in.
2. Toast a hero, a person who embodies those principles.
3. Boast about one or more of your accomplishments.
4. Swear an oath that you’ll accomplish one or more deeds.

 For every deed you accomplish by the next scrumble round, you gain 1
honor. For every deed you don’t, you lose 1 honor.

 That’s it. The current full rules are here:



 Now I, Stormhair Rainbowbeard, Scrumblegiver, toast the principle of
persistence with this 128-ounce Super Big Gulp of coffee-flavored
1,3,7-trimethylxanthine, trimethylxanthine, theine, methyltheobromine,
for it is only persistence and coffee that have gotten me through the
last few hellweeks of trying to restore the Mentat Wiki and four
others, while working full time, commuting three hours a day, and
desperately trying to write Mind Agility Hacks as well.

 And I, Stormhair Rainbowbeard, Scrumblegiver, toast every human being,
alive or dead, who has ever made it through a day- or week-long
meditation retreat, with her legs falling asleep, and back aching, and
brain falling asleep, and mind aching, without screaming. I toast them
all — and all sentient beings — with this demitasse of green tea.

 And I, Stormhair Rainbowbeard, Scrumblegiver, boast with this jug of
white lightning, which contains every color of the rainbow in my
mighty beard, that I have fullfilled two of the three oaths I swore at
the last scrumble: (1) to comment on all hacks submitted to me, and
(2) to submit two hack drafts to Marty (Mediate Your Environment and
Roll the Mental Dice). However, I failed at my oath to write a Great
Tale, with a lesser tale for everyone in the Scrumble. Thus:

 Previous score = +2
Fulfilling two oaths = +2
Failing one oath = -1
TOTAL = +3

 And I boast that although I have not completed many hacks since the
last scrumble, yet I broadly continue to add material to existing
hacks, and shall continue to do so.

 And I boast that my comrade in arms Yatima has fulfilled his oath to
address issues in the Enter the Third Dimension hack, adding material,
and beginning has draft, before the end of Thor’s day, 28 May 2009.
One point of honor to Yatima, for a total of +1!

 And I boast that my comrade in arms Limbic has completed a draft of
his Take a Semantic Pause hack, as he swore he would in our first
scrumble. Alas, he didn’t boast he would do so beforehand, so gains no
points of honor. His score remains -1.

 And I weep into my cup that Lion scores -2 this round, for a total of
-2, for failing to fulfill his two oaths, of (1) providing graphics
for his marginalia hack and completing the second draft, and (2)
submitting the draft of a second hack. I note that part of the problem
was Google Docs, which was down when Lion had time to work on his
hacks, although the current scrumble round was extended for just that
reason. I also note that he can retroactively change his -2 honor to a
+1 or +2 if he actually did his work offline while Google Docs was
down, and can get it to me soon.

 Thus, the scores are as follows:

 Stormhair = +3 (continues to be Scrumblegiver)
Yatima = +1
Limbic = -1
Lion = -2

 And finally, I, Stormhair Rainbowbeard, Scrumblegiver, swear by this
goblet of Iw HIq, or Klingon blood wine (because I’m on a conlang
kick), that I shall do the following mighty deeds by the next scrumble

 1. As I failed to last time, I will write a Great Tale, with a lesser
tale for everyone partaking in the scrumble.
2. I will submit at least three hack drafts to Marty, whether new, or
revised per her previous comments.
3. I will transcribe all of my notes for the book from the month of
May, and then remain current.
4. I will create a page for Mind Agility Hacks on the Mentat Wiki.
5. I will pester everyone who has agreed to scrumble but has not yet
joined us at the feasting table.
6. I will upgrade my new netbook, which just returned after a 10-day
keyboard repair, to Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix, so that it is a worthy
tool for writing on the road, and does not hang on an hourly basis, as
it does with the factory-installed OS.

 All drink! Skål!

 The Scrumblegiver

Reviving the conlang Schklorpya for the "Invent Your Own Culture" hack

I’m working on a new hack for *Mind Agility Hacks* called “Invent Your
Own Culture” or perhaps “Build a World”, For an example, I was
thinking about an artlang, or artistic constructed language, that I
put some time into when I was a kid in the 1970s and 1980s, and
haven’t looked at since the early 1990s. It was called Schklorpya and
was the language of a race of pessimistic, six-legged lizard people
who lived on a grey, rainforest planet (kind of like Seattle, where I
now live, but didn’t at the time).

 I wanted to use Schklorpya in my hack, and build a world around the
language, as Tolkien famously did, but locating my written notes on
Schklorpya would be hard. However, when I awoke this morning, I
realized that I had posted notes on it to the Conlang mailing list
many years ago. I googled the name of the language and found my post


 It’s a big archive, so I’m copying and pasting the Schklorpya part
below. Meanwhile, I’ve ordered *Language Universals and Linguistic
Typology: Syntax and Morphology* by Bernard Comrie from Amazon and
will be cracking it this weekend for a crash course on “real”

 Schklorpya doesn’t seem to me as embarrassing a botch as I’d feared it
might be after all this time — it even has some Whorfean effects such
as “zord” being the unmarked form of the word “cloud”, and “zord’y”,
meaning “sky”, being a marked form. That’s good, because unlike some
conlangs, which are constantly in flux so that no one can ever learn
them, I’d like later versions of Schklorpya to be
backwards-compatible. I’m actually more embarrassed by my ghastly
misspelling of the contraction “y’all” in the message below than I am
by my presentation of the language, however unripe. On the other hand,
I may grow more embarrassed the more I learn, but on the gripping
hand, I hope to always provide a plausible intramundane rationale for
my newbie mistakes. I guess that’s one of the benefits of constructing
a world along with the language.

 And then there’s plain fiat, which I expect to resort to when I
synchronize the calendars of our planet and theirs in some convenient
way… It’s fun to be a god.


***** begin old email *****

 Date: Wed, 28 Aug 91 14:43 EDT
From: Ronald Hale-Evans
Subject: Schklorpya (retry)
To: conlang@buphy.bu.edu

 Here are some rough notes on a language I developed when I was a kid (middle
school through high school). They are far from complete, but I thought I’d let
ya’ll have a taste before I do much more work on it, seein’ how slow conlang
has been lately.

 Schklorpya is the language of a (science-fictional!) race of intelligent
six-legged reptiles known as the Shvorn. Their pessimistic worldview can be
seen reflected in their language; “zord” means “cloud”; “zord’y” (“not-cloud”)
means “sky”. (Pretty heavy cloud cover on their planet.) I had a few things in
mind when I created this language: English backwards through a tape recorder,
Russian, and the language the creature in the Mos Eisley Cantina speaks to Han
Solo (“Oota doota, Sooloo?”) Speak it as if it had tones. (It doesn’t. Try
accenting it like Swedish.)

 Following are some vocab and grammar notes and a few examples of Schklorpya as
She is Spoke.


Bimini – to be tall or long
Bjjork – to go
Gnarp – to take
Kord – to be good
Kyorpnyn – to do, make; to be (exist)
Moyrgatroy – to be peculiar, to be flawed
Prentoll – to praise or love
Sclrump – to eat
Tnyet – to have
Viirt – huge
Yorll – to be long

bomuu – bowl, cup, container (of)
kordaluu – pleasure; enough (of)
korduu – good; goodly amount (of)
slavuu – piece (of)
tevuu – string (of)

bortta – money
hkomo – human (Homo sapiens)
klord – song
korl – rock
morb – word
moyo – tree
nvo – green, greenness
platya – paper
schklorpya – mouth; language
sclrumpsh – food
shvorn – Shvorn, person (human = hkomo)
yak – milk
zord – cloud
zord’y – sky

kra – ped (hand = kra’yo; foot = kra’ko)
lejbij – joint (elbow = lejbij’yo; knee = lejbij’ko)
lomp – shoulder or hip (shoulder = lomp’yo; hip = lomp’ko)
tan – digit (finger = tan’yo; toe = tan’ko)

 bo – middle limb (which humans do not possess)

 body = yoboko ?
human body = yoko ?

interrogative – hkai
exclamatory – orp
‘p – forward, future
‘d – backward, past
‘z – present
‘y, ya – negative

 byup – 1st p.
kank – 2nd p.
nord – 3rd p.

 ii- – masc.
el- – fem.

 To form plurals, double the root:

 bomuu-bomuu korl – bowls of rock
el-byup’byup – we (f.pl.)
bomuu korl-korl – a bowl of rocks

nyni’p, o’p – toward
nyni’d, o’d – from

1 – slupp
8 – kor
9 – kor-slupp


hk – loCH
uu – fOOd
sclr – just like it looks!



 .slupp slavuu zord

One raindrop (lit. “piece of cloud”)
Shny’Yorll’z o’d might lengthen from
bomuu zord’y the bowl of the sky
o’p moyo nvo.

toward a tree of green.


 ?Gnarp’d kordaluu bortta, hkai ii-kank’kank hkai?
Did you (m. pl.) have enough money?

 !orp ii-kank Moyrgatroy orp!
You (m.s.) are f*cked in the head!


 That’s it for now. Lots of unexplored territory here, stuff I haven’t looked at
in years. There are some regularities that just seemed to appear magically in
the language (e.g. the -uu words) that I would like to analyse and expand.
Sorry I haven’t given much in the way of grammar.

 Ron Hale-Evans

 ***** end old email *****

Fw: quark "What’s the Good Word?" from alphaDictionary.com

Thanks, Mel. I knew about the provenance of the word, but I’m not sure
I made the connection that Gell-Mann chose it because he thought there
were only three of them.

 The song is sung by four nosy seagulls, who are at the same time the
four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and four gossipy old
men, and many other things besides. It’s a sarcastic ode to King Mark,
who is just then being cuckolded (“hasn’t got much of a bark”) by his
wife Isolde and Sir Tristan.

 Just thought you might like to know.


 On Fri, Jun 5, 2009 at 6:52 AM, Melinda Hautala wrote:
> — On Fri, 6/5/09, Dr. Goodword wrote:
>        • quark •
>        Pronunciation:
>                kwahrk or kwawrk
>        Part of Speech: Noun, Verb
> Meaning: 1. [Mass noun] A soft, low-fat cheese made from skimmed milk.  2. [Noun] Any one of six postulated elementary particles making up protons and neutrons, having an electrical charge one-third or two-thirds of that of an electron. 3. [Intransitive verb] To caw, to croak.
>        Notes:
>                A connection between subatomic particles and low-fat cheese was too great a challenge to resist.  How could English support two unrelated nouns as unusual as quark? In fact, the nouns turn out to be unrelated, though one comes from the verb via a bit of serendipity, as the History will show.
>        In Play:
>                I will not dismay our physicist-readers with a feeble attempt to use the scientific term correctly but will defer to an article of April 23, 1967 in The Observer: “If quarks exist, they would represent a more fundamental building brick of matter than any yet known.” The other two meanings are more straightforward: “Farnsworth loved sitting on the back porch in the soft, spring evenings, listening to the frogs quark in the millpond, while feasting on a bowl of fresh, bubbly quark.”
>        Word History: James Joyce never dreamed of the impact his poem in Finnegan’s Wake would have on the history of science: “Three quarks for Muster Mark!/Sure he hasn’t got much of a bark/And sure any he has it’s all beside the mark.” But, according to physicist Murray Gell-Mann, he was strongly influenced by this poem when he chose quark to name this particle (at the time Gell-Mann thought that there were only three quarks).  Joyce was using the noun from the verb quark “to caw, croak”.  There is also a noun, quark “low-fat chese”, which originated in the Slavic word twarog “curds”, probably taken from Sorbian, an West Slavic language related to Polish spoken in tiny enclaves throughout eastern Germany.

Ludism.org wikis are back up

The wikis hosted at Ludism.org went down on 9 May 2009 because of a
hardware failure. These included the Mentat Wiki, Piecepack Wiki, Game
Design Wiki, Glass Bead Game Wiki, and Seattle Cosmic Wiki. As I write
this, 31 May, they have been restored with most of their functionality
(and some they didn’t have before). They are accessible in the usual
ways, including the Ludism.org front page (http://www.ludism.org/). To
the best of my knowledge, no data has been lost.

 All of the wikis have migrated from MoinMoin software
(http://moinmo.in/) to OddMuse software (http://www.oddmuse.org/).
MoinMoin served us well for several years, but it is an overly complex
package and was very difficult to maintain, upgrade, and — as it
happened — restore from backup.

 OddMuse is simple, robust, easy to upgrade, and has excellent antispam
measures. It can do just about everything MoinMoin did and more,
including importing our old wiki pages, unchanged. No one I know who
has ever migrated from MoinMoin to OddMuse has regretted it.

 The wikis now use a combination of the old MoinMoin markup styles
(http://www.oddmuse.org/cgi-bin/oddmuse/Moin_Markup_Extension) and the
Wiki Creole standard
Translation from the old sites isn’t perfect, so individual wiki
users will have to touch up pages here and there, as will I.

 One of the new antispam measures is QuestionAsker, which requires you
to answer a question before you can save your edits to a page. These
are very simple questions that wouldn’t fool a human using the wiki,
only a spambot.

 I hope that most of the changes are simple and transparent, but there
will probably be some things to discuss. I intend to add some
documentation about the transition to the wikis, but please feel free
to ask questions on whatever wiki you’re using, or email me at
rwhe@ludism.org. The OddMuse Wiki itself also has plenty of relevant
documentation (http://www.oddmuse.org/).

 Thanks go to Alex Schröder
(http://www.oddmuse.org/cgi-bin/oddmuse/Alex_Schr%C3%B6der), the
creator of OddMuse. Alex and OddMuse have so far been a dream to work

 Thanks for your patience and understanding. I hope the Ludism.org
wikis are now even more fun and useful than they were. Please spread
the word that they’re back up.

 Ron Hale-Evans
Maintainer, Ludism.org