Eclectic

Language, computing, and other topics

Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Where Did Sputnik Get its Name?

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Postage stamp shows Earth in orbit around Sun with a man-made object in Earth orbit.

On October 5, 1957, the Soviet newspaper Pravda announced that the Soviet Union had launched a 184 pound object into Earth orbit. That first satellite has since come to be known in the English-speaking world as Sputnik. In the West it is now widely assumed that the Soviets chose the word sputnik as the name for their satellite because it means “fellow traveler.” This is not what actually happened.

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Written by David Chappell

March 25th, 2020 at 12:54 pm

Posted in russian,science,space

Fire Dogs

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The following story is from Lev Tolstoy’s First Russian Reader of 1875. This is my translation. As far as I know it has never before appeared in English.

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Written by David Chappell

January 3rd, 2018 at 4:24 pm

Posted in liturature,russian

Communicating Clearly About Computing

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Those of use who work in IT are frequently called upon to explain our work to people who are less familiar with computers than we are. It should be our goal to speak and write as clearly as possible. To do that we must avoid jargon, slang and expressions which are easily misunderstood. We should not write to be understood. We should write so as not to be misunderstood.
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Written by David Chappell

January 14th, 2016 at 9:43 pm

Draco’s Policies were Draconian

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Have you every wondered why we call a harsh policy “draconian”? This is one of those words which comes from the name of a famous person.
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Written by David Chappell

January 14th, 2016 at 6:35 pm

Posted in language