He aquí los pensamientos aleatorios de un epistemólogo andante.

I dream of a world where chickens can cross the road without having their motives questioned.

피할수 없는 고통이라면 차라리 즐겨라

As of June, 2013, I have assumed a new identity: I am a cancer survivor. "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

"A blog, in the end, is really not so different from an inscription on a bone: I was here, it declares to no one in particular. Don't forget that." - Justin E. H. Smith

재미없으면 보상해드립니다!

"All things are enchained with one another, bound together by love." - Nietzsche (really!)

Leviticus 19:33-34

Donc, si Dieu existait, il n’y aurait pour lui qu’un seul moyen de servir la liberté humaine, ce serait de cesser d’exister. - Mikhail Bakunin

Solvitur ambulando.

"Sometimes I wonder why I even bother to soliloquize. Where was I?" - the villain Heinz Doofenshmirtz, in the cartoon Phineas and Ferb.

"Do unto others 20% better than you would expect them to do unto you, to correct for subjective error." - Linus Pauling

Blogging online since 1965

Who Is Jared?

  • My name is Jared Way. I was born in rural Far Northern California, and became an "adoptive" Minnesotan. I have lived in many other places: Mexico City, Philadelphia, Valdivia (Chile), Los Angeles. And for 11 years, I was an expatriate living in South Korea. In the summer of 2018, I made another huge change, and relocated to Southeast Alaska, which is my uncle's home.
  • For many years I was a database programmer, with a background in Linguistics and Spanish Literature. In Korea, worked as an EFL teacher.
  • In June, 2013, while I was in Ilsan in South Korea, I was diagnosed with cancer, and underwent successful treatment. That changed my life pretty radically.
  • Currently, you could say I'm "between jobs," somewhat caretaking my uncle (to the extent he tolerates that) and getting adapted to life in rural Alaska after so many years as an urban dweller.
  • These bloggings, then, have been my random jottings on the subject of my mostly pleasant life among the Quasi-Confucian Cyber-Industrial Paleolithic Peninsulites of Lower Far Siberia.
  • I started this blog before I even had the idea of going to Korea (first entry: Caveat: And lo...). So this is not meant to be a blog about Korea, by any stretch of the imagination. But life in Korea, and Korean language and culture, inevitably have come to play a central role in this blog's current incarnation.
  • Basically, this blog is a newsletter for the voices in my head. It keeps everyone on the same page: it has become a sort of aide-mémoire.
  • For a more detailed reflection on why I'm blogging, you can look at this old post: What this blog is, and isn't.
  • If you're curious about me, there is a great deal of me here. I believe in what I call "opaque transparency" - you can learn almost everything about me if you want, but it's not immediately easy to find.
  • A distillation of my personal philosophy (at least on good days):
    I have made the realization that happiness is not a mental state. It is not something that is given to you, or that you find, or that you can lose, or that can be taken from you. Happiness is something that you do. And like most things that you do, it is volitional. You can choose to do happiness, or not. You have complete freedom with respect to the matter.
  • "Ethical joy is the correlate of speculative affirmation." - Gilles Deleuze (writing about Spinoza).

My Life Online

  • Like most people, I spend a lot of time online, although I try to limit it somewhat. Here is a somewhat-annotated list of the "places" where I spend time online.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
  • Knowledge and News
  • "Social Media"
    • I don't really "do" social media. I have a membership at Facebookland but I never log in there. I don't like it.
    • I have a membership at The Youtubes but I mostly use it for work. I also listen to music on youtube, frequently - I prefer it to typical streaming services, for example.
  • Humor and Cat Videos
  • A Diversity of Blogs - I read these a lot.
  • Blogs of people I actually know
  • Geofiction - this has evolved into a significant "hobby" for me. I like to draw imaginary maps, and there is a website that has enabled this vice.
    • I worked as a volunteer administrator for the site OpenGeofiction on and off for a few years. I created (but no longer maintain) the site's main wiki page: OGF Wiki. I am not currently working as administrator but I remain active on the site.
    • The above work has required my becoming an expert in the Openstreetmap system. Openstreetmap is an attempt do for online maps what wikipedia has done for encyclopedias. I have considered becoming an openstreetmap contributor, but I feel that my current location in Korea hinders that, since I don't have a good grasp Korean cartographic naming conventions.
    • Starting in April, 2018, I decided somewhat capriciously to build my own "OGF stack" on my own server. This was not because I intended to abandon the OGF site, but rather because I wanted to better understand the whole architecture and all its parts. I built a wiki on the Mediawiki platform (the same as wikipedia). This wiki has no content. I built a map tileserver and geospatial database, which contains a very low resolution upload of an imaginary planet called Rahet. And I built a wordpress blog, which is a separate, low-frequency blog intended to focus on my geofictional pursuits rather than this more personalized, general purpose blog. All of these things can be found integrated together on my rent-a-server, here: geofictician.net
  • TEFL - my "profession," such as it is.

October 2018

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Long Time Blogging

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2017.01.06

Comments

I am not sure what people mean, exactly, when they say "speed demon," and to different people it may mean slightly different things, depending on generation, maybe.

The dictionary says it is a Americanism, and I find from the Google Ngram corpus that it was likely coined in the 1900-1913 period (with the early rise of the automobile at the time, presumably not coincidentally). Its highest single-year usages were 1917, 1933, 1943, 1945, 1947, 1948, 1954, 1962 (and several more following its re-popularization in the 1990s), all of which double or triple the base usage rate of usage from the 1920s to present.

Ngram data for "Speed Demon":

1913: First recorded use in the Google Books American English (AE) corpus: 1913. http://tinyurl.com/z7kbzgd

1929: First recorded use in the Google Books British English (BE) corpus: 1929. http://tinyurl.com/jesd5qu

At its BE peak, late 1940s to early 1950s, "speed demon" made appearances at a rate one quarter the rate in the AE corpus; at all other times after it begins appearing in BE (1930s on), the BE rate seems around one tenth the AE rate.

Following a huge jump in usage in 1917, the phrase stabilized by 1920 at a rate we can consider the base rate, as it is near the rate for the next century (i.e., to the present day).

Relative frequencies, roughly, for "speed demon" in the AE Corpus (Smoothed for decades; non-smoothed for individual years to identify peaks):
1912: 0
1920: 100
1930s: 135
1940s: 200
1943: 265 (a peak year)
1950s: 170
1954: 290 (a peak year)
1960s: 100
1970s: 100
1980: 100
1990: 200
2000: 275
2003: 335 (the highest-ever peak year)
2008: 275 (last year of Ngram)

My personal impression was that the phrase was a bit old fashioned (I will have first heard it in the early 1990s), but the data says that at that very time it was rising steadily -- its renewal began in the early 1980s and continued through the late 1990s, reaching its highest usage frequency ever by the 2000s, and staying high.

This raises a few 'linguistic' questions, among which are:

(1) Why did the phrase take off in the 1910s? ("the automobile" is not a full answer, by which I mean that while is the technological context in which the phrase emerged, but why did "speed demon" gain popularity and win out over or push out similar phrases?);

(2) What caused the phrase to stay in the language, and not to fall away and become, as so many now-forgotten slang words/phrases do, 'era specific', to be subsequently not used, or used ironically only, or used to specifically and deliberately recall the era of popularization (e.g. 1960s' "groovy");

(3) What caused the renewed rise in usage in the 1940s, the clearest trend in the smoothed Ngram data? What caused its decline in the late 1950s?

(4) What caused the renewed rise in the 1980s? (

For questions three and four, I would suggest that the answer is U.S. militarization, and further that this essentially explains the phrase itself over the past century. In the early 1940s, the phrase rode the coattails of cultural militarization in the gear-up to fight Japan and Germany and then the total mobilization for that fight through 1945, and then U.S. pursuit of global military commitments from the late 1940s.

Note that 1930, 1937, and 1938 were low-ebb years for "speed demon" in the AE corpus, and also years that isolationism prevailed in political discourse. On the scale used above (1920=100), the phrase would get only 35 for 1930 and 80 for 1937-1938, respectively, soon taking off, from 1939, to reach about 265 by the key war year of 1943 and staying high over the next decade.

The initial take-off of "speed demon" occurred in 1917, during the U.S. militarization for WWI. The USA's key war year of 1917. This was just four years after the phrase's first ever appearance in the corpus.

This narrative seems consistent and confirmed by its highest-ever usage year being 2003, the year of the then-popular Iraq Invasion and the pro-military sentiment following Sept 11 2001]

We also see, in more-or-less the eras of most 'pacifism' and/or disgruntlement with U.S. militarization, the lowest sustained usage rate (1960s-1970s).

Is there an alternative explanation? It does seems that "speed demon" owes its life, and survival through the years, principally to U.S. militarization.

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