From The Derbyshire Email Bag: Big Dogs, Odd Numbers, And Big Words, Etc. [5 Items!]
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Just a few:

Turkmenistan's National Dog.  That would be the alabay, which I had things to say about in my November 13th podcast. 

I quoted a web page on the alabay describing this dog as "Body heavy, huge, balanced and muscular … Weight 40 to 80 pounds." Then I added: "That's a big dog."

Actually, 40 to 80 pounds is not a very big dog. The Derbs favor small dogs, twenty-something pounds in weight, so my judgment here is biased that way. Forty to eighty pounds does seem big to me. Dogwise, though, it's really not.

A friend with two dogs emailed in thus: "I heard your podcast while walking a 136-pound Great Pyrenees and his 90-pound sister ... I suspect your source got its units wrong, and it was 40-80 kilos, not pounds."

I suspect he's right. That web page I posted was a Russian one, and we all know about the Russian penchant for disinformation.

Also for dodgy websites: My security software had no problem with the page, but when my friend clicked on the link he got a DANGEROUS LINK! warning and retreated.


Derbyshire numerals.  In that same November 13th podcast, I had a segment about the county of Derbyshire, with which I have no connection other than that we—I and the county—share a name.

A listener reminded me of the system used for counting sheep in Derbyshire, one of many such in Britain. There is a Wikipedia page here.

A Derbyshire shepherd counts from one to twenty thus:

yain, tain, eddero, pederro, pitts, tayter, later, overro, coverro, dix, yain-dix, tain-dix, eddero-dix, pederro-dix, bumfitt, yain-o-bumfitt, tain-o-bumfitt, eddero-o-bumfitt, pederro-o-bumfitt, jiggit.

So on a Derbyshire hillside, eddero times pitts equals bumfitt. Practice!—there'll be a quiz period later.


Tucker Derangement Syndrome.  In my November 20th podcast I observed  that Tucker Carlson presents as "a milquetoast Civic Nationalist type," and that this is as much as you can expect from a commentator on prime-time TV. "I'll take what I can get," I added.

Of course I know that Tucker is never going to have me on his show, nor Peter Brimelow, nor Steve Sailer. He won't even have Ann Coulter or Michelle Malkin. That's what "milquetoast Civic Nationalist" means.

Some cautious, watery America First conservatism in prime time is better than none, though; and none is what we'll have when they cancel Tucker, as I believe they soon will.

As Peter Roff argued at RealClearPolitics the other day (though from a somewhat different perspective to mine), "The perfect should not be the enemy of the good ... Energy spent on fighting the movement’s allies is energy wasted." 


Benford's Law.  CompSci whiz Jen Golbeck tackles the meme—which I glanced at in my November 6th podcast—that Benford's Law can tell us something useful about the election results. Says she:

I am an expert with published research on Benford’s Law, the statistical pattern they are talking about. I’m going to tell you why they are doing it wrong and why, even if they did it right, it wouldn’t indicate fraud.

Seems to me Prof. Golbeck has laid that meme to rest. This does not of course mean that the election wasn't manipulated to ensure a Biden win. It was rigged nine ways to Sunday. It's just that Benford's Law is no help in proving the case.


"Arborose"?  In the October 16th podcast I uttered the following sentence:

Basil gets a good long daily walk: forty-five minutes around the quiet, arborose streets of our middle-middle-class suburb.

The drill with Radio Derb is that I send them a transcript as soon as I have one, in hopes they can distill a regular article from it to post. In the article thus distilled from the October 16th transcript a editor changed my "arborose" to "arboreal." Did I notice this? a reader wondered.

Yes I did. I always read my own stuff when posted. Narcissistic? Whatever.

There's a slight loss of meaning in going from "arborose" to "arboreal." The primary meaning of the suffix "-ose," according to my 1993 Webster's Third, is "full of"; so "arborose" means "full of trees." The word "arboreal," on the other hand, has the lame primary meaning "of or relating to a tree: resembling a tree." The secondary meaning is "inhabiting or frequenting trees."

Since our streets here aren't related to trees, and the inhabitants of my town don't inhabit or frequent trees (well, not much of the time), I think "arborose" is much the better word here. [Editor's note: He's probably right, but we err on the side of intelligibility, which means mostly using words readers won't have to stop and look up.]

If I were to raise the issue with an editor (which I didn't: not for nothing am I known in the trade as an easy edit) he'd probably point out that "arborose" isn't in the dictionary.

Indeed it isn't, not in my Webster's anyway; but "-ose" is, and writers have been appending it to Latin stems for centuries to make "verbose," "jocose," "otiose," "grandiose," etc.

Lexicographers excercise a fielder's choice when deciding whether to include words like this, whose meaning you can figure from their component parts. For example: If some branch of the Tree of Life contains many, many species, biologists say it is "speciose." This word is not in my Webster's Third, but the OED acknowledges it.

Please don't email in to argue about this. My email bag is already way too disputatiose. 



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