It just looks better that way

In Old English the past tense of “can” did not have an “l” in it, but “should” and “would” (as past tenses of “shall” and “will”) did. The “l” was stuck into “could” in the 15th century on analogy with the other two.

From Arika Okrent, in a MentalFloss piece about the weird history of some spellings. The piece has other examples of spelling changes to conform words to some aesthetic or another, even when those changes were inconsistent with the history and etymology of the word. And here’s a reminder to myself about the author’s book on invented languages.

Allagash Wilderness, Maine

Will, Jon, Joe, Ted, and I arrived at Telos Landing with plans to run the Allagash Wilderness Waterway. As we prepared to embark, the park ranger appeared with a tape measure and told us our kayaks weren’t canoes. Section 2.3 of the Allagash rules and regulations is quite clear: “A canoe is defined as a […] » about 500 words

The Rules, 2007

ContentsOpen SourceBuilt for RemixingWell Behaved and SocialWeb 2.0 has matured to the point where even those who endorse the moniker are beginning to cringe at its use. Still, it gave me pause the other day when Cliff (a sysop) began a sentence with “Web 2.0 standards require….” Web 2.0 is now coherent enough to have […] » about 700 words

Reviewing FCC Rules on WiFi Use

I wasn’t really paying attention in June when WiFi Net News reported on a FCC decision regarding control of WiFi: The FCC says landlords, associations can’t regulate Part 15 use: The FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology says that the function of regulating and coordinating frequency use is reserved to the FCC itself. It’s a […] » about 400 words