## Monday, February 2, 2009

### ¡Mierda santa! ¿Es aprendiendo invadiendo mi cabeza?

Translation for those of you apparently not as edumucated as I: Holy Shit! Is Learning Invading My Head?

Imagine my surprise today when I ran across this. My first reaction was, "Some asshole is translating my blog into Spanish and plagiarizing the whole damned thing." To be honest, that idea didn't last long at all. Based on my deep knowledge of The Simpsons and Telemundo, I'm confident that the erudition contained in my blog wouldn't appeal to a Spanish audience. They like Bumble-Bee men, Call-in Psychic shows and and Maury Povich ripoffs. (Someone needs to help them with the Call-in Psychic show, 'cause the one I saw recently hadn't figured out how to air the caller's side of the conversation. I have no way of judging the psychic's response, since I don't speak Spanish, but I'm laying odds that even the folks who could understand her would have benefited from something other than minutes-at-a-time of her shaking her head understandingly while listening to a long question the audience couldn't hear.) (Note: Any Spanish speakers who are offended by this are invited to respond as nastily as they like as long as the response is in Spanish and therefore indeciferable to me. Thanks.)

My second thought was: Maybe I learned Spanish without realizing it and started translating my archives.

Most people would test this hypothesis by trying to read their new Spanish Langauge blog. I however, decided that if I had learned Spanish in my sleep, I had probably picked up some other previously misunderstood subjects...like higher math!

This is when I decided to test the hypothesis. I did a quick search and found the following problem which would have been beyond my pre-osmosis-learning self.

If one train leaves Baltimore traveling at an average of 45mph and another train leaves San Diego traveling at an average of 57 mph, what time will lunch be served at Horace Pittelkow Memorial Jr. High School.

My first reaction to this was, "Hah, that's a trick question. Trains on the Atlantic Seaboard rarely attain speeds of even 35 mph." My second reaction was to decide that even if I were to stipulate the existence of this East Coast SuperTrain, the question would be impossible to answer without knowing the school's time zone.

I went back and found another question:

$T(x)=g(x) + \sum_{i=1}^k a_i T(b_i x + h_i(x))$ for $x \geq x_0.$
I took one look at this and somehow, I just knew that the answer was...BLUE. Now, things were getting exciting.

I went back and looked at my brilliant Spanish Language blog...and discovered that I could only make out the words in Yiddish. This is when I thought to scroll further down and discovered that not only had I seemingly learned Spanish overnight, so had all of my readers...including Juan el Cientifico. Now it was one thing to imagine that I had been magically imbued with new knowlege overnight, but my readers at the same time? Clearly that would be just silly.

I've wracked my brain and I can't come up with the solution to this enigmatic conundrum. It is unknowable and I'll have to be satisfied with that answer until a better one is postulated. In fact, I'm willing to let this whole thing remain one of the great mysteries of civilization...like how do thermos bottles know whether to keep stuff hot or cold.

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BTW, If you feel the need to explain this to me, of course, I'm only joking. Everyone knows it was done by Spanish Helper Monkeys. Duh!

John the Scientist said...

"how do thermos bottles know whether to keep stuff hot or cold"

'Cuz we science types fill 'em with Maxwell's Demons.

Eric said...

I ran my blog through that thing, and all my photographs from the last two days were still in English.

I guess there are still some bugs to be ironed out.

(Though I really do want to go around saying, "Bien hecho, la ciencia dudes!" Apparently "science dudes" is basically the same in all languages or something--I think I've stumbled across a Rosetta Stone of sorts.)

Eric said...

Yep, I have! According to Google, "science dudes" in French is "la science dudes."

We now know how the Universal Translator in Star Trek works.

FIRST CONTACT:
KLINGON WARLORD: K'r'aufp pn'la hach kr'pla cha'n k'fla science dudes k'lap'na'ach!

STARFLEET CAPTAIN: What did he just say?

SCIENCE OFFICER: Something about "science dudes."

Random Michelle K said...

Does this mean the Internet can magically teach me other languages?

I'd like to learn Russian with minimal work. Can you arrange that?

Jim Wright said...

Oh fuck.

Next it'll be "Press 1 to hear Nathan blather on in English. Press 2 for Espanol. Que Bueno! Press 3 to view actual pictures of Nathan's Painful Ass, er pancreas, on your cell phone...

Don't be going all international on us, Nathan.