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    • CommentRowNumber1.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2010
    • (edited Aug 14th 2010)

    A couple of new pages have appeared, theory of primes and PrimeDeGold, the latter being the author of the former (and itself). They seem like nonsense, but perhaps someone (Andrew? Toby?) is doing testing? Or else testing for a sort of spamming?

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2010

    Preime De Gold IP 72.55.87.5 US UNITED STATES MICHIGAN DEARBORN – HENRY FORD COMMUNITY COLLEGE

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeAug 13th 2010

    Apologies, I didn’t spot the nature of this thread until it was brought to my attention. (For future reference, I think it’s okay to put “possible spam” in the discussion title.)

    It’s certainly not me and I thoroughly doubt it would be Toby. We do our experiments in a confined environment where we’re not going to hurt anyone.

    Our standard operating procedure for spam is to blank the page, rename it to ’spam: original title’ (unless the original title is offensive in some way), and add it to ’category: spam’.

    Given the hour, and that I can’t see any links on those pages, I deem it worth waiting until the time when Toby usually clocks on just to check that it’s nothing to do with him. Otherwise, we’ll treat it as I’ve said.

    • CommentRowNumber4.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2010

    I’ve changed the title of the thread, so that this can be found in the future if someone searches for ’spam’.

    • CommentRowNumber5.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2010

    And I just remembered that I can’t edit from home (just tried to blank the page as per Andrew’s comment).

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2010

    I’ve now blanked these two.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2010

    But these pages aren’t spam!

    It seems obvious to me that this is an overenthusiastic college student ranting about prime numbers. The user page has a bit of an ad for the University of Michigan, but that’s appropriate there. I would rather make this person feel welcome, while gently explaining that their contribution was out of place. It’s probably just a student who likes the Riemann Hypothesis and doesn’t realise that we’re not a random math site.

    I have restored PrimeDeGold and put up a (hopefully) helpful message in case the student comes back. I have left spam: theory of primes where Andrew put it for now, but I’d like to move it to theory of primes > history, so that we’re not calling it what it’s not. Then we can redirect theory of primes to prime number; actually, there’s no reason not to do that anyway, so I will.

    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2010

    Vær så godt!”, as they say here. No objection from me.

    (I seem to recall that you (Toby) only use the word “spam” in its strictest sense of unwarranted advertising. I tend to use it for just anything unwanted.)

    • CommentRowNumber9.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2010

    Not advertising, but inappropriate bot-generated material, although of course there’s a large overlap between those. (Technically, it’s not supposed to be spam unless it’s a bulk message, but it seems to me that it’s irrelevant to us if other people are getting the same thing. What matters is that it wasn’t written for us.) Considering the other things that we have in the spam category, I wouldn’t want an honest mistake to end up there, and that’s what this looks like to me, although it’s hard to be sure.

    • CommentRowNumber10.
    • CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
    • CommentTimeAug 15th 2010

    Andrew, I’d love it if you included translations of Norwegian phrases you casually drop here and there.

    • CommentRowNumber11.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    Thanks for clarifying, Toby. I know you make this distinction, that’s why I just put up a notice here.

    • CommentRowNumber12.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    Todd, I’m assuming that there’s not a hidden “Stop it with all the Norwegian!” behind that as I think you’d actually say that (note: I wouldn’t be offended if someone said that; I’m well aware that little things like that can be really annoying).

    Vær så godt literally means “Be so good”, but as an idiom it means more like “be my guest” (in the nice way). It’s what you say when telling everyone to start eating, it’s what the shop assistant will say when handing you your shopping, it’s what you say to your child when they ask if they can do something (and it’s something that’s fine for them to do!).

    • CommentRowNumber13.
    • CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    I would say that! No, having just gotten back from Germany (where I was under a constant barrage of German, a language I do not speak, or hardly speak), I’m not shy about asking naive questions. Norwegian looks fun and exotic to me, and probably an interesting challenge to those learning it. Thanks for the translation!

    • CommentRowNumber14.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    It is a spam. Drunk colege student or not, writing a sentence like “RH is true, and go forever Maize and Blue!” and considering such quasipoetry a contribution to a serious collaborative text, is below a level of well-raised 4-th grader of elementary school. It is like somebody writing en entry better mathematics and entering parola like:”Marx and Engels were the best mathematicians in history”. Restoring drunk rhyme from dorms in Michigan means encouraging college drinking and making random phone calls in the middle of the night. We happen to be URL-phone number which they called.

    • CommentRowNumber15.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010
    • (edited Aug 16th 2010)

    Re Norwegian: I suspect it should be comparatively easy to learn for native English speakers. I am no linguist, but it is evident that when starting in southern Germany and travelling to the German coast (with their ancient Platt-speakers) then over Denmark to Sweden/Norway and then across the sea to Great Britain one re-traces an ancient language path.

    I just was in Denmark for two weeks. One finds such nice sequences of point-mutations as

    • German: Laterne

    • Danish: lanterne

    • English: lantern .

    • CommentRowNumber16.
    • CommentAuthorzskoda
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    I do not see any permutation in the example :) Just presence/loss of nasal/nasalisation and flexion endings.

    • CommentRowNumber17.
    • CommentAuthorUrs
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    Not permutations, but insertion/deletion of letters.

    There are better examples, but I will refrain from discussing linguistics now.

    • CommentRowNumber18.
    • CommentAuthorTodd_Trimble
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    Urs, no need to respond to a linguistic comment if you are busy with other things, but “comparatively easy to learn” compared to what? Both Norwegian and English are classified as Germanic languages, and therefore share some common ancestry in vocabulary. But the majority of English words derive from Romance languages (Old French back to Latin, mostly), whereas German vocabulary has largely evolved to develop its own equivalents for foreign words from its internal stock of word stems, whose meanings are not necessarily easy for English speakers to guess or deduce. (Or so I am led to believe from my encounters thus far, admittedly not extensive. My wife’s family hails from Germany and every five years or so I find myself surrounded by German speakers; I pick up what I can. A more systematic study is now in order!)

    I don’t think the orthography and phonology of German is very problematic for English speakers. But the morphology is another story: German is rather more inflected than English (and more inflected than French, say), and word order is often different too. I think this makes it tricky for English speakers.

    I know nothing about Norwegian, but my guess is that it might present difficulties for English speakers similar the ones mentioned for German, and has some extra little orthographic and phonological twists which add some extra complication.

    But I guess that neither compare to the difficulty for English speakers in learning a Slavic language. :-)

    • CommentRowNumber19.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010
    • (edited Aug 16th 2010)

    It is said in the UK that speakers of Geordie (the dialect of Newcastle upon Tyne) are understood in Norway and vice versa. There was extensive Norse settlement in Northumberland in the early middle ages.

    A friend of mine who worked in Denmark for a time, said that he felt that Danish was almost understandable, but it was as if the Danes were speaking a language that he had known but had forgotten. (England and Denmark were a single kingdom for a short time in the 11th century under Cnut usually called Canute in English history books.)

    There was a lot of interchange between the three nations for a long time so the three languages interacted a lot. But Andrew is the expert!

    • CommentRowNumber20.
    • CommentAuthorAndrew Stacey
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    I’ve resisted joining in this discussion as long as I can, but the mention of Geordie has brought temptation to the level of irresistible!

    Whilst I would in no way class myself as an expert, it’s true that I find the similarities and differences between the languages fascinating. I didn’t grok the connection between “impression”, “expression”, and “pressure” until I learnt the Norwegian words (“intrykk”, “uttrykk”, “trykk”) and say the similarity there. And seeing a sign for a pedestrian road made be wonder about another English word: “gangvei” literally means “walking-road” and “vei” is pronounced much like “way”.

    In particular, there is an amazing amount of similarity between Geordie (and the other north-eastern dialects and the Scottish dialect (of English, that is, not Gaelic)) and Norwegian. Indeed, the phrase “Ah go’h yem“[1] means exactly the same when said in Newcastle as Trondheim. (My wife is from just north of Newcastle so she’s the expert.)

    The relationships between Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish are complicated but essentially there’s a core that is mutually comprehensible. I find Danish easier to understand than Swedish, but that might be because I’ve met more Danes that Swedes. As for the relationship to English and German, then they say that if you’re not sure of the Norwegian then you should choose the English or German term and choose the German twice as often as the English.

    But my greatest discovery is the existence of a transposition in the dictionary! If you look in a Norwegian-English dictionary for the word “rye”, you will find that it means “rug”. And it doesn’t matter which language you look in.

    [1] That’s my attempt to transliterate it. In Norwegian, it would be “æ gå hjem”. In both cases it means “I’m going home”.

    • CommentRowNumber21.
    • CommentAuthorTim_Porter
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010
    • (edited Aug 16th 2010)

    I believe that Scots is recognised as a separate Germanic language now. It is descended from Anglish(!) the language of the Angles as against the Saxons. Look Scots up in WIkipedia. The article is quite interesting.

    • CommentRowNumber22.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    writing a sentence like “RH is true, and go forever Maize and Blue!” and considering such quasipoetry a contribution to a serious collaborative text

    Why would somebody writing this on the page about themself consider it to be a serious contribution? They are just introducing themself (as a fan of the Riemann Hypothesis and the University of Michigan). You should see the crap that people put on their Wikipedia user pages!

    On the other hand, ‘We define a prime as any natural number that is not the product of two or more smaller natural numbers.’ and even ‘Euler’s Fundamental Axiom (Goldbach’s Conjecture) is the greatest idea in number theory, and therefore it’s the greatest idea in mathematics.’, while mistaken, are the sort of things that we do put on the Lab (although I think that it is only John who would write ‘Can you guess why?’).

    I don’t understand why we should attribute the worst possible motives to everybody and try to thrust them away if they’re not found pure. There’s a good chance that this writer will never come back, but if they do, they’ll now find a message that I hope will be helpful.

    • CommentRowNumber23.
    • CommentAuthorTobyBartels
    • CommentTimeAug 16th 2010

    Re: linguistics

    I find Danish easier to understand than Swedish, but that might be because I’ve met more Danes that Swedes.

    The linguists say that Danish and Norwegian (especially written Norwegian Bokmål) are more closely related than either is to Swedish.

    it is evident that when starting in southern Germany and travelling to the German coast (with their ancient Platt-speakers) then over Denmark to Sweden/Norway and then across the sea to Great Britain one re-traces an ancient language path

    Theoretically, the path went from the German coast, through Frisia, and thence across the sea, without going to Norway first. However, we English speakers borrowed a lot of vocabulary from the Danes during the time that they ruled eastern England, including our third-person plural pronouns and nearly every word that begins with ‘sk’.

    I can usually understand a Norse phrase once I see it translated. ‘Vær så godt!’ is obvious now.

    Look Scots up in WIkipedia.

    Handy link. And also this.

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