5.0130 Responses: Bugs; OE Font; Citations (3/104)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Mon, 10 Jun 91 17:53:33 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0130. Monday, 10 Jun 1991.

(1) Date: Fri, 7 Jun 1991 10:32:44 -0500 (30 lines)
From: Dennis Baron <baron@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Hopper's bug

(2) Date: Fri, 07 Jun 91 01:00:00 EDT (44 lines)
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA>
Subject: OE Font

(3) Date: Sat, 08 Jun 91 10:02:01 EDT (30 lines)
From: Peter Ian Kuniholm <MCG@CORNELLC>
Subject: Re: 5.0089 Citations

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Fri, 7 Jun 1991 10:32:44 -0500
From: Dennis Baron <baron@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Hopper's bug

A correspondent mentions the old saw about Grace Hopper finding a bug
(literal) in a computer and generating the computer bug (figurative)
from that. Writing in _American Speech_ 62 (1987): 376-78 Fred Shapiro
of Yale looks into this bit of etymological folklore. Hopper et al
apparently did find a moth in the Mark II computer at Harvard in 1945;
the moth is taped to Hopper's computer log and preserved in the Naval
Museum. However as Shapiro notes, _bug_ had the sense `defect or
fault in a machine' as early as 1889, when it was used by Thomas
Edison (_OED_); Edison used the term as early as 1878, and Shapiro
suggests the term was a general one in engineering in the 1800s.
What amused Hopper and her colleagues was that here was a real bug
causing a mechanical defect that was already called a bug. Hopper's
log entry reads "First actual case of bug being found."

There are many instances of etymological folklore. The word _quiz_
was not invented by an Irish theater owner who spread it across Dublin
overnight. _Woman_ does not derive from _womb-man_ or _woe to man_,
as was (and often still is) popularly supposed by those not up on their
historical linguistics. And William Kruck, in his monograph _Looking
for Dr. Condom_ (1981) convincingly demonstrates there was no such
gent. We don't know who Kilroy was, if anyone, and the claim of
some fraternity brothers at the Univ. of Kansas that they invented
_humongous_ in the 1970s remains not proved. Nor did German fail by
one vote to become the official language of the US in 1776 or even
in 1795. And Eskimo (more properly, Inuit) does not have zillions
of words for snow. So there.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------53----
Date: Fri, 07 Jun 91 01:00:00 EDT
From: Brian Whittaker <BRIANW@VM2.YorkU.CA>
Subject: OE Font

A few years ago I prepared a bit-mapped (Imagewriter) font called NY OE.
Basically, this is the standard New York font with additional characters
(thorn, eth, yogh, macron for vowels, short macron for i, all in upper
and lower case, as well as a few useful symbols, like a sans-serif x for
unstressed syllables, an arrow and a full height vertical bar for
dividing rhythmic feet, grammatical units, or whatever). I also
developed full character sets in several sizes not provided for
New York, such as 28 pt, to permit "Best" quality printing in 14 pt.

I chose to do an enhancement of the existing New York font rather
than starting from scratch because many people were already using
it for their word processing and converting to NY OE would involve
a minimum of change in lineation, pagination, and so on.

I can send the file in binhexed and stuffed via e-mail to
anyone who is interested. If that presents technical problems,
I can send a disk by conventional mail. The file also contains
some notes on criteria for typographic design of new characters
for existing fonts, so that the new characters don't stand out
like sore thumbs. There is no shareware fee, but I do appreciate
feedbback, basically a note telling me who is using the font and
how it is working out. I can foresee trying to explain to a
promotion and tenure committee that making yoghs out of dots is
a worthwhile service to the scholarly community.

Anyone interested in Anglo-Saxon England from any disciplinary
perspective should investigate ANSAXNET, a list run by Pat
Conner. Roughly half the big names in the field are on this
list and the overall quality and spirit of intellectual gererosity
are quite remarkable. ANSAXNET features a file server that has
a laser font in addition to NY OE, some useful utilities, and
Pat Conner's own _Beowulf Workstation_, a model of what an
educationl HyperCard stack should be. To join, contact Pat at
the following address:

Brian Whittaker
Atkinson College, York University

BrianW@YorkVM2 (Please don't omit the W)
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------34----
Date: Sat, 08 Jun 91 10:02:01 EDT
From: Peter Ian Kuniholm <MCG@CORNELLC>
Subject: Re: 5.0089 Citations

TO: Humanist family in general.
RE: comments that were circulating last month about footnotes.

Two comments:

1. Footnotes/citations that are inserted to lard up a text and impress
(?) the reader with one's erudition are a curse, both to the typesetter
and the rea der. It is the sort of thing that students are expected to
do to prove that they have done their homework.

2. ON THE OTHER HAND, having done research in third-world countries
where lib rary facilities were less than totally satisfactory,...with
gaps in the periodi cal files and with no hope whatever of getting all
quoted documents, I found my self grateful for whatever bibliographic
information was provided, no matter how seemingly arcane or inane or
repetitious or superfluous. (And I should ima gine that this applies as
well to people in colleges/universities on this conti nent whose
libraries are in a bind and whose inter-library loan resources (if
extant) are severely limited.)

Accordingly, I tend to quote chapter and verse at all times. Readers
with well-endowed libraries can pass some of the footnotes by, having
already seen them. Others may find them useful, or so I like to delude

Peter Ian Kuniholm