Pirates, politics and art.

The world is a strange place. Unsure of what to do about my political frustration, I decided to nominate as a Senate candidate for the Pirate Party Australia in the up coming Australian federal election. I discovered late on Sunday night that I had been elected by the members as the lead candidate.

Coincidentally, last night (Monday) my partner got us tickets to see the Australian Art Orchestra with Nicole Lizée present Hymns to Pareidolia. Knowing nothing before we went in, it turned out to be an almost perfect live music experience for me. And while I was watching and listening, I realized that for some reason I hadn’t been open about my taste in big A Art to the pirates.

So I’ve decided to make a short list of artists that I appreciate for your delectation.

The very first artists this concert made me think of was a band I’ve never had the pleasure of seeing live and most likely never will, even in it’s reduced state – Negativland, a band I first discovered via their album Dispepsi, although were already semi folk heroes because of what I’d heard about their U2 EP which, thanks to the then newly discovered web, I’d downloaded via Napster or Gnutella. Then their EP with Chumbawamba became my jam for a couple of years – The ABCs of Anarchism.

It’s hard to know what came next, but suddenly I was listening to difficult music. The audio equivalent of The Illuminatus! Trilogy – some of it very very listenable, like 2manyDJs Radio Soulwax pt 2, some of it was understandable pop if hard for others to appreciate, like Cassette Boy (some songs available), and some was painful to others, like Buttress O’Kneel, John Oswald‘s Plunderphonics or The Evolution Control Committee. Their Rebel Without a Pause is considered one of, if not the, first mashups. And then there is DJ Food’s Raiding the 20th Century, an unparalleled exploration, history lesson, exposition, on the nature of music and remix – itself a remix of over 190 mash up tracks.

Thankfully, this new remix culture quickly became rampant – the tools were readily available to anyone with a computer, and the mash up was not only born but breaking out. While some went for the decidedly pop route (Girl Talk, Freelance Hellraiser’s A Stroke of Genius), some remained dedicated to the plain strange. It was around this time that DJ Danger Mouse’s The Grey Album – mixing The Beatle’s White Album with Jay-Z’s Black Album – became an unofficial hit.

The intrinsic sharing nature of the internet allowed a genre of music called outsider to spread more widely. Associated with the avant garde, mail art, surrealist and underground movements, most notable for it’s intense passion for the artform regardless of actual ability was refreshing for me. The Shaggs are the best example to my mind, and have one of the best back stories to boot, and we see this movement reborn as the Antifolk movement of the late 90s, but also side swiped by other pop weirdos – Singing Sadie (Everyone in town wants you dead), Toxic Lipstick (Slut cunt hairbrush), the unstoppable and ever loved New Waver from Spill records (check out Spill compilation 3), San Jose Cow Muzak’s Mrs Bronson’s favourite remains a….favourite. Also, anything on Dual Plover, including it’s peak moment, The Rebirth of Fool, vol 2.

And there were aficionados and curators that made things easier for us – I would religiously download (by hand! pre-podcast!) and listen to Some Assembly Required, or ABC Radio National’s The Night Air, and the revelation that was the first time I discovered WFMU‘s the 365 Days Project in 2004 (now UbuWeb‘s first 365 Days Project) and downloaded all of the songs over a week…so many of these songs have become better known now, but at the time, they were a revelation. It wasn’t piracy – this was the only place they were documented on the internet. It was curation. My go to piece from this period is the Van Morrison “contractual obligation record” – Ring Worm/You Say France And I Whistle/Want A Danish – although the project is literally littered with passionate brilliance. Louis Farrakhan singing calypso? The Frugal Gormets – Satan’s Blood (“Some kids try really hard to sound evil, these kids succeeded.”)? Bach vs Batman on the moog? Understanding Marx?

These days there are blogs that curate such weirdnesses abound, my favourite being Music for Maniacs, a haven of some of the strangest pop music available. Including  classics like Party Like It’s Only $19.99, the Prince tribute done by The Evolution Control Committee; OUTER SPACE MUSIC FROM OUTER SPACE!; two Sesame St Disco albums; a string of Xmas albums that aren’t really ever appropriate; maybe Halloween is more your thing?; American Standard by Thelonious Moog;  don’t like standards or Moog? What about some experimental bagpipe music?; or maybe your taste are more along the lines of the three album, 62 track compilations of Xanadu covers (More Xanadu)?

I’m going to close with the two stand outs. Vicki Bennett, performing as People Like Us, has been a consistent source of fantastic mind bending music and inspiration. Her Do or DIY with People Like Us radio show on WFMU is a stand out that I can’t recommend highly enough. You’ll never hear Percy Faith’s Summer Place ’76 (Theme From A Summer Place) in the same way again. This show has bought me many, many pleasures, but the top of the list has to be Caroline Bergvall’s Via (48 Dante translations) (mp3).

But sitting on top of all of this is the Australian art duo Soda Jerk‘s Pixel Pirate II: Attack of the Astro Elvis Video Clone. (aka Hollywood Burn). Taking all of these ideas, and doing it coherently, with film. It remains my favourite movie of all time, and I am still in debt to Jean Poole for introducing me to it. From the blurb:

Hollywood Burn is an anti-copyright epic constructed entirely from hundreds of samples pirated from the Hollywood archive. It pits a righteous league of video pirates against the evil tyrant Moses and his Copyright Commandments. Determined to alter the present by changing the past, the pirates travel back to 1955 to construct the ultimate weapon: an Elvis Presley video-clone.

Part sci-fi + rom com + biblical epic + action movie, this remix manifesto adopts the tactical responses of the parasite, feeding off the body of Hollywood and inhabiting its cinematic codes. The unwitting all-star cast includes Elvis Presley, Charlton Heston, Jack Sparrow, Monkey Magic, Bette Davis, Batman, Jaws, Jesus, the Hulk, the Hoff and the Ghostbusters.

What can I say? It’s essential viewing for members of the Pirate Party.

Words and language – the world has changed

It’s been a while between posts, but I have recently come across a number of language related posts that I think are worth sharing.

For a while there lists of hot new words were all over the internet. That’s slowed down significantly, but I found two recently that are worth sharing. I particularly liked the list of 216 non-English words “referring to emotional states from the world’s languages that have no correlate in English”. I think what I like most about this list – hell, it’s the reason anyone finds it interesting – is because the emotional states referred to are states we can all empathize with, and because of that lack of correlate, the translations sound like poetry.

* Aware (哀れ) (Japanese): the bittersweetness of a brief, fading moment of transcendent beauty.
* Sabi (侘寂) (Japanese): aged beauty.
* Mono no aware (物の哀れ) (Japanese): pathos of understanding the transiency of the world and its beauty.

哀れ, pronounced a-wa-rey (I’m not a phonetician, sorry), is something that I feel regularly – reflections in puddles, the graceful elderly (侘寂) , my partner singing quietly while cooking. I’m also fascinated by the racial profiling I give these words – do I find that these words are interesting

* Dadirri (Australian Aboriginal): a deep, spiritual act of reflective and respectful listening.
* Koselig (Norwegian): cosy, warm, intimate, enjoyable.
* Mbuki-mvuki (Bantu): to shed clothes to dance uninhibited.
* On (恩) (Japanese): a feeling of moral indebtedness, relating to a favour or blessing given by others.
* Peiskos (Norwegian): sitting in front of a crackling fireplace enjoying the warmth.

because of what they convey or because they seem to be culturally perfect in a stereotypical understanding of their respective cultures?

* Cafune (Portuguese): tenderly running one’s fingers through a loved one’s hair.
* Desenrascanço (Portuguese): to artfully disentangle oneself from a troublesome situation.
* Estrenar (Spanish): to use or wear something for the first time.
* Fernweh (German): the ‘call of faraway places,’ homesickness for the unknown.
* Fingerspitzengefühl (German): ‘fingertip feeling,’ the ability to act with tact and sensitivity.
* Gjensynsglede (Norwegian): (noun) The joy of meeting someone you haven’t seen in a long time.
* Guān xì (關係) (Chinese): building up good social karma.
* Janteloven (Norwegian/Danish): a set of rules which discourages individualism in communities.
* Jugaad (जुगाड) (Hindi): the ability to ‘make do’ or ‘get by’.
* Kvell (Yiddish): to feel pride and joy in someone else’s accomplishment.
* Tîeow (เที่ยว) (Thai): to roam around in a carefree way.
* Ubuntu (Nguni Bantu): being kind to others on account of one’s common humanity.


The Dictionary of Fantastic Vocabulary on the other hand, is a list of completely made up words. By the look of it, the words have been created programmatically (ok, proof: look at the end of section for the letter E/e, just up from H) and meanings have been applied later. The beauty here is the recognition that the words don’t exist for a reason – very few of them are easy to say, they *look* clunky. But you could imagine over time being able to introduce some into everyday usage. The idea is greater than the execution, but I think it’s a noble failure. I really should do some analysis on the distribution across the alphabet… dammit, I just went and did it. As you can see, there are only 15 letters represented at all, and over half start with E, A or S. I presume this is a combination of prevalence in English, prevalence of prefixes starting with those letters, and the author’s internalized biases.

Total 1516 Percent of total
E 334 22.03
A 284 18.73
S 148 9.76
D 142 9.37
I 127 8.38
O 109 7.19
C 108 7.12
P 78 5.15
U 53 3.50
H 52 3.43
R 20 1.32
M 19 1.25
T 16 1.06
B 15 0.99
N 11 0.73

The final explicitly word based interest is Helen Zaltzman‘s The Allusionist podcast – not only is it a great short podcast about words, the latest is actually about dictionary.com’s word of the day – which is a mail out with 13 million subscribers. People really do love words.


The final post is an interesting linguistic article I stumbled across titled Your Ability to Can Even: A Defense of Internet Linguistics that starts with “I can’t even” and a friends recent claim “I have lost all ability to can” as a riff on the former:

Loose translation: “This link is so amazing that I have lost my ability to express my appreciation for it in fully formed sentences. All speech has been reduced to this ill-formed sentence. Thus is the depth of my excitement about this. Click on it. Click on it if you too would like to experience this level of incoherent excitement.”

While the article doesn’t address the contemporary obsession with communication via emoji (and its sometimes miscommunication, depending on OS) it does address the new field of “internet linguistics” and a new wave of conservative backlash from those that would have language stagnate. There is also some great gender analysis of the roles played in language creation:

In short, this dialect results when people who already share a language are given new tools. The result isn’t a butchering of English language but a creative experiment with it. Am I claiming that the Internet as a whole is operating on a level of postmodernism that would make Joseph Heller, Kurt Vonnegut and Thomas Pynchon seem like novices? maybe i am maybe im not u punk wut of it like who r u to tell me otherwise

Dr. Tannen does the interesting work of examining gender and tech language. In studying sample text messages, she found that women were much more likely to use enthusiasm markers like exclamation points and add emphasis via capitalization. Most linguists emphasize the lack of understanding that can take place between men and women as a result of the different value that each gender places on conveying emotions. Supposedly, women perceive men’s lack of enthusiasm markers and capitalization as coldness and men perceive women’s use of them to be unnecessary.

However, what I find most fascinating about the Internet Language is that it is making language less, not more, gendered. Men and women on the Internet use many of the same tropes, enthusiasm markers and emphasizers in order to communicate. In the world of blogging and Internet writing, women are the creators of language. It is a realm in which women are not being socialized with already existing language but are doing the work of socializing and creating a community. Women dominate every important social media platform. Women outnumber men on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and account for 72% of all social media users. On Tumblr, where the number of men and women is roughly equal, women dominate the conversation.

Robots, the future of work and the leisure society

The Robots are coming. If you are looking for these articles, they are appearing everywhere. Zeynep Tufekci writes in Failing the Third Machine Age: When Robots Come for Grandma about the possibility that after this next revolution in industry, there may not be any jobs for humans – there may not be the same level of new work in new industries like there was after the mechanization of agriculture. That article was a response to the The Future of Robot Caregivers in the New York Times – a quietly pleasant article looking forward to a time of robotic carers. Tufekci is correct to make the critique that we aren’t short of caregivers – just short of people willing to pay the cost of having humans do the job – as Cory Doctorow notes in When all the jobs belong to robots, do we still need jobs?

The ramifications, of course, are that more and more middle class jobs will go. At first they came for the working class: manufacturers (well, robots and the globalised race to the cheapest labour market or tax haven), and service staff, but now robots are coming for lawyers and accountants and doctors too. The internet isn’t helping the trend at all and the business world knows that the middle is disappearing.

Which, while it must be terrifying for the poor middle class, if only they could put their education to good use and get some proactive analysis. Instead, we are apparently seeing a return to Luddism – or more exciting – “Neo Luddism”, with the river of tears that it entails:

Today, however, a much darker picture of the effects of technology on labor is emerging. In this picture, highly educated workers are as likely as less educated workers to find themselves displaced and devalued, and pushing for more education may create as many problems as it solves.

I am disappointed at how few – if any, I’ve not seen them – have addressed the potential positive outcomes that will come about.

If the efficiencies that a robot workforce provide us are redistributed more evenly than profits currently are, within the capitalist states, humanity is faced with the possibility of the onset of a true Leisure society.

We will have so much time to spare that we will be able to labour on what we want – this year I learn to grow vegetables and play the guitar, next year I pickle vegetables and fix old style combustion engines. We will be able to abolish all work – leading to a ludic future of Immediatism – a type of now-ness infused with play and the imagination.

I think that workers should have a greater piece of the capitalist pie as much as the next anarcho-communist, but I’d prefer a post-pie world, so to speak. A world of such abundance, imaginative richness, fecundity, that the thought of anyone having to share a pie is ridiculous. Aim for the stars – robots could well free us forever.

Afterward

I think it’s worth acknowledging that the state of AI research is coming along at a rapid pace at the moment. I raise this for two reasons. Quite a few people I’ve spoken to on this topic, despite all of their progressive ideals and energies, can be nothing but pessimistic about this coming robot army. When it comes to robotic life, a life robotic, they only ever envisage a dystopic scene. Robots will only ever enslave us. I think this is dangerous and pessimistic thinking. Finally, I think that we must look out for the potential to treat intelligent robots – AI, not single use, dumb terminals like the Roomba* – as slaves. That will never work. We fight for the worker, we fight for the robot – a revolution for one is a revolution for all.

 

 

 

 

 

* It’s worth noting that a Roomba hacked with an AI should be considered an AI rather than an automated vacuuming service.

 

 

 

The Whorf Hypothesis all wrong

I was put onto the podcast Lexicon Valley by pal Fiona Tweedie. One of the first that I listened to was No, Your Language Doesn’t Influence How You Experience the World in which they talk to the linguist John McWhorter about the Whorf Hypothesis (aka linguistic relativity):

the notion that the language you speak affects the way you think, and even influences how you experience reality itself. It’s an attractive idea, and one that makes some visceral sense. English, with its unique structure and grammar and vocabulary, will necessarily bestow a particular worldview that is different from that of Russian, say, or any of the other roughly 6,000 languages still spoken on Earth, right?

McWhorter makes a strong case – interesting in light of The Drama and the Invented Language in which neo-fascists hijacked John Quijada’s conlang Ithkuil in order to “think different” – like a/the master race.

Humans should not be allowed to drive

I don’t think that human’s should be allowed to drive cars. Or any heavy vehicle. Not within the suburban bounds, anyway.

I came late to driving. Very late, on average. Thirty eight. Due to my circumstances, I decided to get a motorcycle license instead of a car license – easier, quicker, cheaper. But it also means I’ve come to driving with a lot more non driving experience than most. And I think that’s valuable. Since I can’t listen to the radio and I’m not wrapped in a metal cocoon while driving, I have a lot of time to study and think about this opinion.

I think I’m a good driver and I’m certainly wrong. I know the rules and I follow them meticulously, except when they are annoying or inconvenient. I have noticed that I’m not alone in that approach. I make mistakes. I forgive mistakes. I forgive the mistakes of others immediately after I’ve almost been killed. I am tormented by my own not-even-close-to-fatal errors, for months. Humans should not be allowed to drive. Humans have emotions and moods that affect their driving.

There are skill levels ranging from expert automotive fanaticists, to the barely capable, on our roads legally.  This is not a good or safe mix. There is rain, and time of day, and level of inebriation, and age of driver to take into account. Speed, the biggest killer. The very notion of traffic as a system, when considered holistically – lights, rules, multiple localized independent actors in different sized, shaped and powered vehicles while traversing a larger systemic whole – is fascinating and fraught for humans limited by imperfect bodies, imperfect understanding of the rules.

The smallest of thought experiments blows it all away:

1. Drivers will have so much more spare time on their hands. Instead of concentrating on not hitting other vehicles drivers can read, watch, surf, learn, or sleep. Or sex. Or SMS. Or vote. Or basically anything except cook.

2. Efficient automated autonomous objects are efficient. Vehicles with a localized knowledge of conditions, laws and needs will be at least an order of magnitude more effective and faster at delivering people to the places they need to be. For values of localized that are roughly 1 metre < x < 3 km.

3. (step 1 plus step 2) More time for non-driving activities coupled with on average less time on the road means a happier, smarter, more relaxed and generally healthier populace.

4. Faster. Let’s face it – when the robotized cars are self organizing, they will do a great job. We will have more free time by virtue of more efficient routing, and more efficient driving.

5. Environmental gains: fewer miles burnt, more efficient driving, fewer cars needed means fewer car built. The end of car ownership and the move towards a pool of autonomous driving vehicles of various size available to all, at all times. The resulting massive reduction in resource and labour consumption from the vehicle industry.

Remember that most cars spend most of their time sitting idle, with one of the few exceptions being taxis. Let’s reclaim the space taken by parked vehicles, the time wasted in the manufacturing of the massive vehicular excess and it’s component parts, and the environment consumed mining for oil, iron, and vehicular oriented city and urban planning, the fresh air from the pollution created. This is not a novel idea – Helsinki is planning on phasing out private cars.

6. Reduction of fatal and/or serious accidents.

7. Reduction of traffic jams as the cars communicate with each other in such a way as to prevent the coalescences that creates traffic issues.

To those that claim the vehicles brings freedom, I contend that there are fewer spaces on the planet that are less free than the car. Every aspect of driving is highly regulated – who can drive one and what state they must be in to do it, who can afford a vehicle, who can make a vehicle and what standards it must meet to hit the road, the rules about where and how one must drive the vehicle, even the interior of the car is regulated – first by the state, then by the manufacturer, by the owner and finally the driver.

Those that insist on driving, those that enjoy driving, can continue to do so – in areas built especially for the purpose, out side of the city limits.

Driving does not bring us freedom. It brings us a slavery to the labour required to purchase them, to build them, to power them and to use them. It brings us environmental destruction in the land it consumes as roads and parking spaces, and the natural resources that must be extracted for their continued creation and use, and the pollution that all of those processes create. It has the mental tax of dealing with other drivers, the expenses and the time lost concentrating on driving. It has the human tax of lives lost. The financial cost to our lives by virtue of the time wasted and all other external costs listed.

The cost of allowing humans to drive is too high. We shouldn’t pay it.

Humans should not be allowed to drive within the urban bounds. It should be done by networked robots.

Non Human Languages?

According to the surprisingly still active Slashdot, Researchers Discover New Plant “Language”:

Westwood examined the plants’ mRNA, the molecule in cells that instructs organisms how to code certain proteins that are key to functioning. MRNA helps to regulate plant development and can control when plants eventually flowers. He found that the parasitic and the host plants were exchanging thousands of mRNA molecules between each other, thus creating a conversation.

Ah! Clarity. For a loose definition of language and conversation. I’m ok with loose definitions, a good analogy can help open the mind to new possibilities and potentialities. But I’m still happy to mock a little.

 

 

Coded messages to China in Lorem Ipsum?

acb has pointed me to an interesting tale about Google Translate seemingly hiding coded signals in Lorem Ipsum translations. While it all seems a little far fetched or conspiratorial, this story is from Krebs on Security, a well respected blog on all things crypto and security.

I recently discovered that the simple Lorem has been transformed into what can only be described as a post internet: Vegan Ipsum (veggie ipsum), Lorem Bacon, Hipster Ipsum, Lorizzle (Gangster Ipusm), Beer Ipsum, Samuel L Ipsum and teh best of the lot – Picksomeipsum in which you can pick one of the actors Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine, Jim Carrey and or Morgan Freeman as a source, or pit two of the actors against each other:

…ing is about respect. getting it for yourself, and taking it away from the other guy. you want a guarantee, buy a toaster. what you have to ask yourself is, do i feel lucky. well do ya’ punk? cities fall but they are rebuilt. heroes die but they are remembered. multiply your anger by about a hundred, kate, that’s how much he thinks he loves you. no, this is mount everest. you should flip on the discovery channel from time to time. but i guess you can’t now, being dead and all. cities fall but they are rebuilt. heroes die but they are remembered. are you feeling lucky punk don’t p!ss down my back and tell me it’s raining. here. put that in your report!” and “i may have found a way out of here. that tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his ass. ever notice how sometimes you come across somebody you shouldn’t have f**ked with? well, i’m that guy.

Rehabilitated? well, now let me see. you know, i don’t have any idea what that means. it only took me six days. same time it took the lord to make the world. ever notice how sometimes you come across somebody you shouldn’t have f**ked with? well, i’m that guy. man’s gotta know his limitations. mister wayne, if you don’t want to tell me exactly what you’re doing, when i’m asked, i don’t have to lie. but don’t think of me as an idiot. cities fall but they are rebuilt. heroes die but they are remembered. circumstances have taught me that a man’s ethics are the only possessions he will take beyond the grave. this is my gun, clyde! this is the ak-47 assault rifle, the preferred weapon of your enemy; and it makes a distinctive sound when fired at you, so remember it. well, do you have anything to say for yourself? the man likes to play chess; let’s get him some rocks. that tall drink of water with the silver spoon up his ass…

There is, of course, a fairly comprehensive list of Lorem Ipsum generators, and generators available in German, Chinese, Russian and Spanish Ipsum.

The drama and the invented language

Fascinating read in the New Yorker about invented languages – most of which fail -and the other dramas surrounding them. The main focus is Ithkuil, a language invented by John Quijada, but broadly describes conlangs (constructed languages) and their inventors and adherents, sprinkled with interesting linguistic or language facts (George Soros is a native speaker of Esperanto!)

Unlike earlier philosophers and idealists, who believed that their languages could perfect humanity, modern conlangers tend to create their languages primarily as a hobby and a form of self-expression. Jim Henry, a retired software developer from Stockbridge, Georgia, keeps a diary and prays in his constructed language, gjâ-zym-byn. If there is a god paying attention, he is the language’s only other speaker.

Many conlanging projects begin with a simple premise that violates the inherited conventions of linguistics in some new way. Aeo uses only vowels. Kēlen has no verbs. Toki Pona, a language inspired by Taoist ideals, was designed to test how simple a language could be. It has just a hundred and twenty-three words and fourteen basic sound units. Brithenig is an answer to the question of what English might have sounded like as a Romance language, if vulgar Latin had taken root on the British Isles. Láadan, a feminist language developed in the early nineteen-eighties, includes words like radíidin, defined as a “non-holiday, a time allegedly a holiday but actually so much a burden because of work and preparations that it is a dreaded occasion; especially when there are too many guests and none of them help.”

The underlying structure of the language is largely glossed over, although the broad brush strokes are compelling. Most languages have cool tools, little aspects that make it more interesting than other languages, be it situational or grammatical or in lexicon. In Ithkuil Quijada attempted to bring together all of these linguistic wonders into a single language – and then, having read the cognitive linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson’s “Metaphors We Live By,” attempted to make a language precise, to remove the need for metaphor.

Quijada opened his presentation the next morning by showing an image of Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2,” a seminal work of Cubist painting, which captures a figure in motion with abstract lines and planes. It’s not an easy work to describe in any language, but Quijada wanted to demonstrate how one would attempt the task in Ithkuil.

He began with several of the language’s root words: -QV- for person, -GV- for clothing, -TN- for an implement that counters gravity, and -GW- for ambulation, and showed how to transform those roots through each of the language’s twenty-two grammatical categories to arrive at the six-word sentence “Aukkras êqutta ogvëuļa tnou’elkwa pal-lši augwaikštülnàmbu,” which translates roughly to “An imaginary representation of a nude woman in the midst of descending a staircase in a step-by-step series of tightly integrated ambulatory bodily movements which combine into a three-dimensional wake behind her, forming a timeless, emergent whole to be considered intellectually, emotionally, and aesthetically.”

When Quijada is invited to the conference “Creative Technology: Perspectives and Means of Development,” to speak on Ithkuil, he discovers that it is now being used by an odd sect of quasi intellectuals based in a Buddhist state, influential on anti Semitic Ukrainian terrorists and using Ithkuil to literally think different.

“We think that when a person learns Ithkuil his brain works faster,” Vishneva told him, in Russian. She spoke through a translator, as neither she nor Quijada was yet fluent in their shared language. “With Ithkuil, you always have to be reflecting on yourself. Using Ithkuil, we can see things that exist but don’t have names, in the same way that Mendeleyev’s periodic table showed gaps where we knew elements should be that had yet to be discovered.”

Really makes Esperanto seem so run of the mill, doesn’t it?

You can read Quijada’s text online Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language or purchase the 450 page book from the same site.