Yoda Speak: Orig Trig vs. Prequels

Something always bothered me about how Yoda speaks in the prequels and I couldn’t put my finger on it until now.

Yoda Speak, for those unawares, is a term to describe the Jedi master’s speech patterns in Star Wars. Like this, it sounds. It’s where instead of using the standard Subject, Verb, Object pattern typical of English (i.e. “I like turtles”), it uses the Object, Subject, Verb pattern (i.e. “Turtles, I like”). But is this really how Yoda spoke? I’ve taken the time to do an analysis, and the results will shock you!

I re-watched all of Yoda’s scenes in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi from the original trilogy and all the Yoda scenes from The Phantom Menace of the prequels. I did not watch Yoda scenes from the other two prequels as YouTube was not as accommodating and there’s no way I’m expending extra effort to be tortured by those disasters. I counted how many times Yoda uses the normal Subject, Verb, Object (SVO) pattern, the “Yoda Speak” Object, Subject, Verb (OSV) pattern, and the irregular Object, Verb, Subject (OVS) which sounds odd (i.e. “Luminous beings are we”) but not as clearly differentiable from regular English as Yoda Speak.

It should also be noted that these three types don’t account for the entirety of Yoda’s dialogue. Sometimes he says things that are grammatically incorrect (“Yoda not far.”), one-word interrogatives or exclamations (“Looking?” “Patience”), or only uses a subject-pair and leaves out any object (“I know”). Yoda also prefers to use “not” in replace of “doesn’t” as in “size matters not,” or “wars not make one great.” I’m not counting those here, even if they might fall into one of the categories, simply because I’m more focused on SVO representing normal speech and OSV representing Yoda Speak. When referring to percentages, these refer to the three-category total, not the entire dialogue.

After counting the three types of sentence structure, I then calculated their percentages to see how representative Yoda Speak really is. Turns out, it depends entirely on which movie and trilogy you’re watching.

Yoda - Empire

This is the first time the audience is introduced to Yoda. At first, we don’t realize that this crazy swamp hermit is a Jedi master, but he eventually reveals himself to Luke. He then trains him for a brief period before Luke leaves to give a hand in Cloud City.

Continue reading “Yoda Speak: Orig Trig vs. Prequels”

We’re Bringing it Back! (Part 1)

I’ve written here before about how nobody in history is really ahead of their time because ideas in the past must be looked at in their own context, and it’s utterly impossible to separate those ideas from the culture of their generation. However, that doesn’t mean that things that were totally popular in their own time can’t find new uses in the future, so here’s 8 things from history that are making a comeback.

Zeppelins

Airships once held the future for aviation. People thought these behemoths would litter cityscapes like floating urban sky-whales.  That’s why skyscrapers like the Empire State Building were designed with docking ports for zeppelins and why Lakehurst, New Jersey used to be a city people have heard of. Then several different high profile disasters put an end to all those dirigible dreams, condemning blimps to cameos at football games and supporting fringe GOP candidates. First the Akron, the US Navy’s signature airship, went down off New Jersey killing all aboard, then the airship that went to look for survivors of the Akron went down, then the Akron’s sister airship crashed, and finally, after the US had all but given up on the ships, the Germans sent the Hindenburg over to get everyone excited again. That didn’t work too well.

Via Wikipedia

With that the era of airships ended and planes took over forever…or did they?  Several companies, both in the US and Germany are not only bringing zeppelins back, but hailing them as the future of transportation. And it’s not just corporate spokespeople hyping their product, truthful folks also see promise in bringing the ships back. They’ve pointed to several advantages they have over planes, like transporting cargo without the need for infrastructure like runways, doing it at a much cheaper fuel cost, and able to take off and land almost anywhere. The only problem appears to be the dwindling global helium supply, which the ships require in massive amounts. And yes, they look all cool and futuristic because steampunk stopped being cool in 2009.

Aeros
Aeros

Continue reading “We’re Bringing it Back! (Part 1)”

Were the Founding Fathers Christians? A Dumb Question that Needs an Answer

An easy way to measure the relevance of questions is to quickly check in with Google’s autocomplete for a reading of the public consciousness. A search for “Were the founding fathers…” quickly leads to “Christian” as the top choice, followed by “democratic reformers,” “deists,” and “liberals.” It turns out the second choice of “democratic reformers” ranks so high because it’s the title of a chapter in a history textbook, which also might point to how kids do their homework these days. Nonetheless, two of the top three questions were about the Founding Fathers’ religion, apparently a lot of people want an answer to what seems like a fairly simple question.

It’s not. Continue reading “Were the Founding Fathers Christians? A Dumb Question that Needs an Answer”

Six Tips For Destroying the Competition in Geoguessr

I just discovered the insanely addictive Google-maps-based game Geoguessr. If you’re not familiar with it, the game picks out a random Google street view location and you have to figure out where you are. It’s essentially a role-playing game where you pretend you blacked-out and/or were kidnapped by Carmen Sandiego, and woke up in a strange place on Earth. The closer you guess to the correct location, the more points you get. Sometimes you get placed on a busy interstate and can easily figure out your position, other times you’re on a desolate highway or on a small winding forest road which looks like it could be anywhere in the world. These 6 simple hints will allow you to zero-in on your location quickly, or at least ensure that you’re not guessing the wrong hemisphere.

1. Google Street View’s Range

Despite Google’s seemingly endless panopticonic abilities, they still have only mapped a small portion of the world’s streets. This information is by far the most important thing to know as it literally cuts your guessing options in half. It also explains why you’ll get a ton of locations in Brazil, the US, and Canada as opposed to other places in the Americas. Check out this map.

Street View

Think you might be in an African country? Bam! This map narrows your choices to about 3. Just placing your guess within South Africa will guarantee you about 2000 points. Continue reading “Six Tips For Destroying the Competition in Geoguessr”

Is AMC’s The Walking Dead Racist? Revisited

About half way through season 3 of AMC’s hit zombie show, The Walking Dead, I wrote a post asking whether the show was running into some serious racial problems in how they portrayed the black characters. Comparing the TV show with Kirkman’s comic, my main argument was essentially that the writers and producers made some rather questionable and outright unnecessary choices for the characters. Tyreese from the comics was replaced by either meek T-Dog or white Daryl/Shane, Michonne was re-written as a Zulu warrior, and the show seemed to have a quota for the number of black characters allowed, killing off one to immediately make room for another.

It’s now a year later and we’re nearly halfway through another season; it’s also a good time to revisit the question for several reasons. First, the racial component of the show has changed considerably. In my last post I lamented the omission of Tyreese, who has now appeared as a major character along with a bunch of other black characters, none of which appear to be red shirts. Second, we’re at a point in the season where the show has temporarily leveled off and has shifted its focus back on the governor plotline, so unlike the last post, I don’t expect the writers to completely undo one of my points in the coming episodes. Third, this blog sees a spike in traffic every Sunday because of the first post, and I’d rather not disappoint all of those coming here with some outdated nonsense. Oh, and at this point I should also mention that SPOILERS for the comic (and maybe the show) will follow.

Continue reading “Is AMC’s The Walking Dead Racist? Revisited”

Evaluating 6 Hilarious Celebrity Conspiracy Theories

We live in a world that loves conspiracies, not that a world has ever existed without conspiracies. But in an increasingly information-based society, conspiracy theories provide people with a supposed access to inside and privileged information. Most times these theories are limited to governments and secret societies but sometimes they drift into the world of pop culture where they transcend basic gossip and become much more hilariously involved. While political conspiracy theories tend to focus on shadowy organizations and complex plots, those surrounding celebrities are more visceral and interest-driven. They show that a conspiratorial world view is not necessarily political but just has to focus on a world hidden from view.

Continue reading “Evaluating 6 Hilarious Celebrity Conspiracy Theories”

Cracked’s War on Plagiarism (UPDATED)

Let’s face the facts – plagiarism is rampant on the internet. Things are so easily reproducible and audiences so numerous that people can pretty much get away with copying things whenever and wherever they want. Plagiarism is also nothing new, it’s been around for millennia. Yet whereas before it was essentially taken for granted or existed in a totally different cultural context, nowadays it takes on a whole new and much more destructive force.

A couple hundred years ago content creators and writers existed almost exclusively as members of the upper class – people of their own means that could afford to spend their days on creative pursuits. The poor and proletariat were confined to their farms or factories and the middle class just plain ol’ didn’t exist. Presently, writing is a profession like any other. People compete to have their work published, to get their ideas to the public, and to garner an audience. And the vast majority of these people are not independently wealthy. As the internet more and more becomes the medium for this type of work, it also exposes anything published more easily to theft and to those who would take advantage of someone else’s idea to call their own.

This emerging dynamic is what makes this new type of plagiarism so problematic. There is now even a new strain of thought that everything on the internet is in the public domain and that nobody really owns any idea out there. Early in 2013 some obviously talented, yet unfortunately misguided individual got a brief moment of fame by posting a hilarious parody of chef Guy Fieri’s menu, only to have his reputation shattered when it was discovered that he had stolen all his jokes from other Twitter users. However, many also defended him, using some populist conception of fair use, and of course bringing out the tired old line that “all comedians steal.” This belief is so rampant among audiences that Patton Oswalt finally felt he had to say something and went on a totally-justified rampage against those stealing his jokes.

That brings us to Cracked.com, one of the largest comedy sites on the internet, and therefore used to people lifting all sorts of content from them. And guess what? They don’t take too kindly to it. Furthermore they don’t take too kindly to plagiarism in any form. First off, the site relies on submissions from their audience – sure they have some regular columnists and full-time funnynauts, but on any given day at least half of their content is from the average Joe (full disclosure – this average Joe included). Because of this, and probably also because they’re not run by total assholes, they have a very strict plagiarism policy where if you’re caught doing it you will be banned. It’s the internet so you can always come back under a different name, but then that involves trying to publish your work (or I guess someone else’s work) under an alias, which might work great if you’re Stephen King, but notsomuch if you’re just some random writer.

Continue reading “Cracked’s War on Plagiarism (UPDATED)”