Monday, February 19, 2007


Grr.. Can't use this new blogger account in Safari. Writing a new post causes the spinning ball of business to appear and drives Safari to 100% CPU. Firefox it is then.

I was tracking down the source of the name "Iceland." Someone else saw the Icelandic name "Ísland" and thought that it was the same as the English word "Island". It's not. Years ago I read that in the 1800s there was a mistaken belief that the then correct English word "iland" was derived from the French "isle" so they stuck an "s" in there that didn't belong. Silly grammarians. See this
and related threads for details.

I also looked up why Iceland got its name. Wikipedia's History of Iceland says:

The first Scandinavian who deliberately sailed to Garðarshólmi
was Flóki Vilgerðarson, also known as Hrafna-Flóki (Raven-Flóki).
Flóki settled for one winter at Barðaströnd. It was a cold
winter, and when he spotted some drift ice in the fjords he
gave the island its current name, Ísland (Iceland).

I decided to double check the source, which is the Landnámabók or "The Book of Settlement". I don't know Icelandic but my Swedish and the Wikipedia page were enough to get me to this quote:

Þá gekk Flóki upp á fjall eitt hátt og sá norður yfir fjöllin fjörð
fullan af hafísum; því kölluðu þeir landið Ísland, sem það hefir síðan heitið.

which I roughly translate as (guesses in []s)

[Then] Flóki went up the mountain [a ...] and looked [north over the ...] fjord
full of [half]-ice; [they] [called] [their] land "Iceland", [as it's been called since that time]

Lots of guesses, and knowing what it's supposed to say does help, but still neat that I could do it! Plus, I think Icelandic uses such cool letters.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


To add to the list of things not to do: incautiously peel a potato with a brand new peeler. A 1/2 sq. cm of skin doesn't coagulate quickly. I'll wait a bit more with this bandage before replacing it with the 3rd.

Good thing I finished the first draft of my PyCon talk earlier today. Hard to type w/o me left index finger. This also means I won't be going into the hot tub this evening. Did I mention that this casita compound includes a hot tub?

Friday, February 09, 2007

have your cake and eat it too

I bought a book of English idioms translated to Swedish when I visited the UK a couple of weeks ago. It was a cool find. I've been asking people "give me an idiomatic expression" then looking it up to see the Swedish version.

Many of them mean the same, but not all. As an example, though not from the book, using "guinea pig" to mean a test subject is translated correctly to "försökskanin" or "researcher's rabbit."

Dana wanted to know "have your cake and eat it too." It's "båda äta kakan och ha den kvar" which is directly translated as "both eat the cookie and have it remain".

That ordering make more sense to me. In English at least "and" can mean a temporal ordering. "Go to the store and buy food" means "Go to the store and then buy food." If I have my cake then of course I can eat it. But if I said "eat my cake and have it too" then the conflict stands out.

Learning Swedish helps me understand my native language.