Thursday, 3 July 2014


Languages animate objects by giving them names, making them noticeable when we might not otherwise be aware of them. Tuvan has a word iy (pronounced like the letter e), which indicates the short side of a hill.
I had never noticed that hills had a short side. But once I learned the word, I began to study the contours of hills, trying to identify the iy. It turns out that hills are asymmetrical, never perfectly conical, and indeed one of their sides tends to be steeper and shorter than the others.
If you are riding a horse, carrying firewood, or herding goats on foot, this is a highly salient concept. You never want to mount a hill from the iy side, as it takes more energy to ascend, and an iy descent is more treacherous as well. Once you know about the iy, you see it in every hill and identify it automatically, directing your horse, sheep, or footsteps accordingly.
This is a perfect example of how language adapts to local environment, by packaging knowledge into ecologically relevant bits. Once you know that there is an iy, you don’t really have to be told to notice it or avoid it. You just do. The language has taught you useful information in a covert fashion, without explicit instruction.
- K. David Harrison, The Last Speakers

Guddle, guddle

Toil and trouble.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Free Audiobooks

This site gives you two free audiobooks a week over the summer!

This Week’s Audiobooks:
Available to download free June 12 – June 18


By Elizabeth Wein

Read by Morven Christie & Lucy Gaskell
Published by Bolinda Audio
Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends. But then a vital mission goes wrong….


By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, & Elizabeth Sherrill
Read by Bernadette Dunne
Published by christianaudio
Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the 20h century. In World War II she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps.

Thank you to Bolinda Audio and christianaudio for generously providing this week’s titles.

Available for a Limited Time: 
Remember — grab these titles before they are gone! Once you have downloaded the MP3 files, they are yours to keep.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Budget groceries - nice design!

I've recently started shopping at Morrisons.

I really like the design of their budget range.
They've kept the cost down by only using one colour (mostly), but made that a feature.  

According to a statement by the design company "Our identity for M Savers moves away from the cheap, cookie-cutter, corporate approach adopted by other supermarket value ranges. Individual hand drawn illustrations and typography used across 650 products dramatises the care and attention paid by Morrisons to their value offering. The result is charming, optimistic and makes you smile." and "hand crafted illustrations that inject humanity and heart"

Certainly works for me!

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Helpful customers

I just got an email from a customer because my website wasn't working.

So I looked into it, and discovered that, for some unknown reason, the e-commerce function had been deactivated. Fortunately, it was literally just a click of a button and it was sorted.

But what if she hadn't told me? How long until I would have discovered? How many sales would I have lost? Or potential customers, who might never have returned?

I'm very grateful!

So, if you find a problem on a website, find the contact details and tell them.

Uncle Gavin

Gavin Stewart Knox
23rd July 1946 - 20th April 2014