The Null Device


Pentagon Papers investigative journalist Daniel Ellsberg's letter to Amazon concerning its termination of WikiLeaks' hosting:

I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.
For the last several years, I’ve been spending over $100 a month on new and used books from Amazon. That’s over. I have contacted Customer Service to ask Amazon to terminate immediately my membership in Amazon Prime and my Amazon credit card and account, to delete my contact and credit information from their files and to send me no more notices.
I'm sure Amazon won't mind. For every liberal they've lost, they will have won several Fox News viewers. They'll just have to stop selling books with long words in them.

censorship journalism wikileaks 0

Europe's greatest linguistic curiosity is arguably the Swiss village of Bivio (which, in Italian, means "crossroads"), whose 200 or so inhabitants juggle several languages and dialects, depending on context, and yet somehow manage to get along:

A quarter speak the official language, Italian, one fifth speak Romansch, while the majority speak some variety of German. Amazingly, they all seem to understand one another. At the grocer's, everyone speaks their mother tongue, and everyone gets the right change.
They're well-trained. At the kindergarten, they speak Italian on Tuesday and Surmiran, a Romansch dialect, on Thursday. The rest of the week, the kids alternate between the two, but in the playground, the German dialect Bündnerdeutsch rules. On Sundays, they may attend the Catholic church, where the priest preaches in Schwyzerdütsch, or the Protestant one, where High German is the order of the day.
Bivio's days as a curiosity may be numbered, though; Swiss German is becoming increasingly dominant, and the primary school will start teaching English in 2012.

europe language switzerland 0