There is no antipode for this podcaster’s home

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Today’s we have a rather obscure technical term from the world of geography. Antipodal is a word I came across in a BBC article. The article is about a replica of the U.K.’s famous stonehenge. This new henge is antipodal to the original. Which is to say it is on the opposite side of the Earth.

Antipodal points also called antipodes are points on the surface of a sphere that are diametrically opposed. So if you could tunnel straight through the center of the earth you would emerge at the antipode of where you started. For example the Antipode Islands of New Zealand are so named because they are roughly on the other side of the world from the Crown of England.

After learning this word I decided to figure out what is the antipode of my new home in Cincinnati. For this I turned to a new piece of free software, Google Earth. Google Earth is amazing. It is a digital map of the entire Earth. You pick any place on earth and zoom in on it. As you zoom in the software displays ever more detailed satellite photos of the area. Depending on the area the photos maybe be so detailed you can see your car parked in front of your house. Add to this the amazing topographic detail that displays 3d hills and mountains; animation that lets you tilt your view so you can appreciate the topography and the ability, and this is this coolest, to “fly” from one location to another. I can’t praise Google Earth enough. It can be downloaded from earth.google.com. Sorry it is Windows only.
So I used Google Earth to find my house by using my address. I noted the latitude and longitude. Then I switched the north for south and subtracted 180 from my longitude. This spun the globe and displayed my antipode. Sadly it is an uninteresting spot in the middle of the South Pacific.

Antipode comes to us by way of the Greek anti meaning opposite or opposed and pod meaning feet.
I have a little house keeping today. I need a little help. I am considering renaming Today’s Podcast. I think the name is too vague and confusing. The name doesn’t really describe the content of the shows and it can be confusing talking about today’s Today’s Podcast. Or even tomorrow’s Today’s Podcast.

Please help me by emailing me your suggestions. My email address is scott at todays podcast.com.

UPDATE: Gerry of Vancouver BC. corrected my methodology. I first stated you could switch East for West but that only works if you are 90 degrees east or west. The correct method is to subtract 180 degrees from longitude. Thanks Gerry.

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This podcast is not canonical, but the Daily Source Code will be part of the canon

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Today we have a request from Will Simpson. The word is Canonical and it came up in a recent episode of the Gillmor Gang.
In this clip Jon Udell used canonical to describe a standard permanent link.
Two side notes: This Gillmor Gang, from July 2nd 2005, is very interesting. They discuss some of the emerging issues with podcasting and audio blogging. For example how do you properly site an audio clip you play in you podcast. Unlike a text entry I can’t very easily give you a link back to the entire Gillmor Gang episode.
I would also like to praise John Udell. He does some great screencasts of interesting Internet phenomena. Tune in later this week for more on screencasts.

Back to canonical. It is an interesting word with a rich history and many definitions that vary based on the context. They include:

  • Appearing in a Biblical canon.
  • Related to canon law– the laws of the Roman Catholic and/or Anglican churches.
  • Conforming to orthodox or recognized rules.
  • In math canonical refers to the standard form or the simplest form.
  • In linguistics it is the simplest form possible without loss of generality. Opposite of nonstandard.
  • Pertaining to or resembling a musical or literary canon.
  • Authoritative.
  • Standard.

This is a seemingly diverse group of definitions but in short canonical is an adjective that means standard, generally accepted, essential or a significant part of the history. If you decide to do a little more research on canonical and it’s root canon at Wikipedia be prepared for a lot of disambiguation pages.

Obviously a word this rich has rich etymology too. It made it way from the ancient Greek kanon to the Old English and Old French to the Middle English to modern English. The Greek kanon means rule or rod.

Will, thank you for the great suggestion. Will has an a wonderful portfolio of photographs available at PalousePhotography.org. My favorite is the “Palouse Morning on Linville Road.” Check out last weeks post to learn about the Palouse.

Will also reminded me “there is a popular Linux distro, Ubuntu, available from [a] philanthropic organization called Canonical –Canonical.com/ which is doing great work.”

I would now like to welcome all the new iTunes subscribers. I hope you are enjoying Today’s Podcast and podcasting in general. Please tell you friends about podcasting.

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Who will be the podcasting ombudsman?

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Today’s word was suggested by Brian over at the Mostly Trivial podcast. The word is ombudsman, and Brian found it in recent post at Slashdot.org.

An ombudsman is person who acts as an mediator between an organization and its public or constituency. They are often charged with investigating complaints.

The ombudsman in the Slashdot post is a blogger who writes on video games. You can read his posts at vgombud.blogspot.com.

You can subscribe to the Mostly Trivial podcast at MostlyTrival.com

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This is a redundant audio podcast

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Today’s word is redundant. It is an adjective with several related definitions. It means extra, profuse, superfluous, no longer needed or duplicate. For example describing Adam Curry as a married husband is redundant. If he is married we know he is a husband.

The term redundant is also used to describe backup systems that take over when the primary system fails. Redundant servers is one way major internet companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft ensure you can always reach their sites.

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An acronym from last weeks podcast, not quite

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Today we have a word that describes words- acronym. An acronym, like most words that end in -nym or -onym, describes a word or a name. An acronym is a word formed by the initial letters of a longer term. My favorite example is laser. Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.

It is important to contrast an acronym with an abbreviation. An abbreviation, like IBM or ADR is not pronounced as a word. Each individual letter is pronounced.

Some good acronyms include Radar, Nato and Opec.

Acronym comes from the combination of the Greek akron and onoma. Akron means tip or end and onoma mean name.
A interesting modern acronym phenomenon is the recursive acronym. In a recursive acronym one of the words that makes up the initials is the acronym. Gnu, the popular linux flavor is a well known example. Gnu stands for Gnu is Not Unix. I suspect the most recognized recursive acronym is VISA. What Visa is a recursive acronym? I know. I was surprised too. Visa is the VISA International Service Association.

You can look up most acronyms at:

Both are great sites for research and browsing the amazing variety of acronyms and abbreviations.

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An beautiful photo podcast becomes a horse

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Today I have a word that was inspired by a photo taken by Will Simpson of PalousePhotography.com. When you are back at your computer be sure to take a look at the beautiful photo titled “Palouse Morning on Linville Road.”

Today’s word is Palouse. It is a proper noun. It both the name of a river that flwos through north western Idaho and south eastern Washington state. It flows west into the Snake River. Palouse is also the name of the fertile hilly region in the same region.
I have never heard of this region but Will’s beautiful photo made me want to visit.
Will also shared with me an interesting fact- the Palouse was home to the Nez Perce tribe. The Nez Perce are credited with developing the Appaloosa horse. Originally the Nez Perse breed was called a Palouse horse. Eventually the name evolved to Appaloosa. So I guess we get two words for today.

I first came across Will’s podcast when he suggested the word abracadabra. Unfortunately Will hasn’t been podcasting lately, but his photos and earlier podcasts are available at PalousePhotography.org.

A final note about Will: He is an artist living in Moscow Idaho. You can see some incredible examples of his wood working at kestrelcreek.com.

Happy Independence Day Podcast

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Happy Independence Day!

A few word from the founding fathers of the United States.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one
people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with
another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and
equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle
them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they
should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of
Happiness.

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I bet there aren’t too many podcasters familiar with marching in lockstep

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Today’s word is a request from a long time ago and country far away- Germany. Lockstep was requested by Nicole from Useful Sounds.

Lockstep is a noun. It can be a way of acting in complete uniformity with someone or something else. A boy who follows his older brother around and imitates everything the brother does could be describe as being in lockstep with his brother. It can also be an specific inflexible process. Such as the rules for arming a nuclear weapon. I don’t know the rules but I suspect they must be followed to the letter.

Although I couldn’t find an etymology of lockstep I will hazard a guess. I think it comes from military training were solider must march so close together their steps and legs appear locked together.

An idiom with a presumably similar etymology but opposite meaning is “to march to a different drum.” For more information on this idiom and many others check out Robert Diem’s The Daily Idiom podcast.

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I never knew I was an ADR editor and a podcaster

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Today’s word is actually just initials. They are A.D.R.. And they have been haunting me for years now. When I see a movie at the theater I like to stay and watch the credits. I think it is interesting to see how many people it takes to make a movie and what interesting jobs they have. Like a gaffer, a best boy or the second assistant to Ms. Jolie’s hairdresser.

Now ADR always comes up with all the audio related jobs, but I have never figured out what they stand for. Well they stand for Automatic Dialogue Replacement. The ADR editor is the person who is responsible for rerecording the dialog tracks in a movie. This is usually done when the original scene was recorded with too much background noise. The actors watch the film and their lips while rerecording their dialog.

This editing it is also done to change the actual dialog or inflection of a line. In these cases the scene probably can’t reveal the actors lips moving to the wrong line.

Next time you are at the movies take an extra five minutes and read the names people who made the movie and see who the A.D.R. editor was.

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An ad hominem argument against wireless ipods? Never.

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Ooh. Today we have a Latin term- ad hominem

Ad hominem is an adjective that describes an argument that appeals to personal considerations. It is most commonly used to describe arguments that attack a person instead of their logic. For example- Adam Curry thinks Apple should add wireless capabilities to their iPods. Adam Curry is an idiot, therefore Apple should not add wireless to iPods. This argument is a logical fallacy because it is predicated on Adam is an idiot. It attacks him personally instead of his idea. Therefore it is an ad hominem argument.

Just for the record I don’t think Adam is an idiot and I certainly would like to wirelessly sync my iPod with my computer.

An historical note for the lexophiles. This definition of ad hominem is new. The old, more historically accurate definition describes an argument not designed to attack the opponent but to appeal to the listener’s emotions. For example if I was running for mayor I could argue, “This city needs more playgrounds for the poor, suffering, disabled orphan.” By describing the orphans as poor, suffering and disabled I am appealing to the emotions not to logic. This argument fits the historical definition of ad hominem arguments.

In my experience I have never heard or read ad hominem describe an argument that didn’t attack an opponent. So if you read it or hear it probably means someone is attacking an opponent personally instead of their argument.
In either case these types of arguments, though perhaps effective, are usually a big no-no in formal rhetoric or debate.

Since ad hominem is Latin it doesn’t have an etymology just a translation. Ad means “to” and hominem means “man”. Ad hominem literally means “to the man.”

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