- I have a correction to make; yesterday I made mention of the new Girl Genius Kickstarter campaign, which I said had launched overnight. From looking at the Kicktraq data, it appears that it actually launched ten days prior, and the Foglios were unusually quiet about it; the soft launch ended when they messaged backers of prior Kickstarter campaigns, and what I thought was a hundred grand of progress in a day was actually the result of a week and a half. The soft launch also produced the weirdest funding trendline I’ve ever seen, along with a multi-peak daily data graph. Regardless, they’re well over goal, have maxed out the stretch goals, and there’s a mention of new ones coming soon.
Soft launches, man. Confusing.
- Speaking of Kickstarts, I am surprised to see that The Best Book has moved from a small but respectable 6% funded day-after-launch (15 April, as discussed here) to a not very encouraging 15% funded a week in. Guys. A Paul Southworth-illustrated kids book about the joys of reading is in danger of not funding and I feel this is partially my fault for not hyping it sufficiently.
Consider it hyped, and consider this a call to action — the youngest readers (slash-listeners, since this is pitched at the real young’uns) will not discover a love of books on their own; they must be taught and trained and raised right and if this book doesn’t succeed, every single one of you will be contributing to the future decline of reading. Get backing, get talking.
- From the That’s A Relief department: Ursula Vernon and her travel companions have returned from their sojourn in Africa, with magnificent animals seen, adventure embedded firmly in brains for eventual sharing, and the Life List just a wee bit longer¹. What struck me about Vernon’s first writeup of the experience (apart from the fact that the well known Weirdness Field that surrounds her did not result in her being named Queen of the Were-aardvarks or some such) is a discussion she had with her guide about the hegemony of language:
“There is no word,” he explained. “Not in Setswana. We say water bird, but then we use the English, kingfisher.”
“Oh,” I said again. “There isn’t a word. Okay.”
He frowned down at the paper. “Ah … there is a book. In eighteen-hundred, a man went all around Botswana and collected all the Setswana words. If you look in that book, there may be a word. But we do not know the word now. It is …” He trailed off, waving the tip of the pen in that I-am-trying-to-think-of-a-word motion (which may not be completely universal, but seems to hold up pretty well between Botswana and here.)
“Lost?” I suggested after a minute.
“Lost. Yes. There was a word, I think. It is lost.” He handed me back the paper.
I felt a pang of guilt, as if my native language was a dog that had bitten his. English sheds words constantly, of course, but usually not to replace them with someone else’s. And Setswana is a language with many, many native speakers — Wikipedia says over five million — and on no one’s list of endangered languages. Many of the parks were named in Setswana, and he’d told us both the common Setswana names of animals and sometimes the word in the regional dialect. But here I’d stumbled onto a word that had simply slipped away and been replaced by English.
If that bit of sic transit gloria mundi is too much to contemplate, Vernon’s latest middle-grades book — Castle Hangnail — is out today, and thus you may cheer yourself up with a copy of that.
- Finally, happy birthday to two of the most original, relentlessly cheerful gentlemen in webcomics or any other endeavour: Chris Yates and Frank Gibson were both born this day, and that makes this a Good Day.
Spam of the day:
if you decide on the wrong people or company to help you out in loan mod, you happen to be putting your loan along with your you will find greater danger.
Why yes complete stranger with a partial command of the language of international finance, I would very much like to trust you with a high-value loan modification. In other news, deposed Nigerian princes like me.
¹ And by wee bit, I mean 154 new birds.