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Tag: punctuation

The Galtees and the Irish apostrophe

Sunday, 10 June, 2018

Today’s climb of the Galtees, the Munster mountain range that encompasses Tipperary and Limerick, is in aid of the Mercy University Hospital Foundation, which does good work for the people of Cork and neighbouring places.

The Galtees

Punctuation note: When referring to the Galtees, there is no need for an apostrophe. In Ireland, though, the fact that the apostrophe is seldom used to form a plural noun in English, is ignored, generally, and the general punctuation rule that the possessive of a singular noun is formed by adding an apostrophe and s, whether the singular noun ends in s or not, is applied arbitrarily.


Intelligence: artificial and emotional

Thursday, 4 August, 2016 0 Comments

This short clip about an AI unit that is “anything but artificial” is the the creation of Dennis Sung Min Kim. He describes it as a “First year film at the University of Pennsylvania, taking around ten months for completion.”

Empathy has been termed the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. In his best-selling book Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty, Simon Baron-Cohen, Professor of developmental psychopathology at the University of Cambridge, writes:

“It allows us to tune into how someone else is feeling, or what they might be thinking. Empathy allows us to understand the intentions of others, predict their behavior, and experience an emotion triggered by their emotion. In short, empathy allows us to interact effectively in the social world. It is also the ‘glue’ of the social world, drawing us to help others and stopping us from hurting others.”

Simon Baron-Cohen? Yes, he is the cousin is the actor Sacha Baron Cohen. Why no hyphen in the latter name, but one in the former? It’s because of a typographical error in Simon Baron-Cohen’s first professional article. He didn’t correct the publisher’s misspelling, but he did adopt the punctuation mark.


I believe in capitals and the occasional comma

Tuesday, 9 June, 2015 0 Comments

“James Joyce is a good model for punctuation. He keeps it to an absolute minimum. There’s no reason to blot the page up with weird little marks.” So said Cormac McCarthy in a rare 2008 interview with Oprah Winfrey.

McCarthy’s combination of declarative sentence and minimalist punctuation can be seen at work in this graphic excerpt from Blood Meridian:

Toward the morning they saw fires on the horizon. Glanton sent the Delawares. Already the dawnstar burned pale in the east. When they returned they squatted with Glanton and the judge and the Brown brothers and spoke and gestured and then all remounted and all rode on.

Five wagons smoldered on the desert floor and the riders dismounted and moved among the bodies of the dead argonauts in silence, those right pilgrims nameless among the stones with their terrible wounds, the viscera spilled from their sides and the naked torsos bristling with arrowshafts. Some by their beards were men but yet wore strange menstrual wounds between their legs and no man’s parts for these had been cut away and hung dark and strange from out their grinning mouths. In their wigs of dried blood they lay gazing up with ape’s eyes at brother sun now rising in the east.

The wagons were no more than embers armatured with the blackened shapes of hoop-iron and tires, the redhot axles quaking deep within the coals. The riders squatted at the fires and boiled water and drank coffee and roasted meat and lay down to sleep among the dead.


Cormac McCarthy and the art of minimalist punctuation

Thursday, 11 October, 2012

Some writers make their money by inserting commas; others by leaving them out. Cormac McCarthy, who was 79 in July, is one of the latter. His prose is extraordinarily beautiful and all the more so because he is sparing with punctuation: “They’d had their hair cut with sheepshears by an esquilador at the ranch and […]

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