FYI: I’m in the process of bringing my blog “in-house” at my root domain. I still haven’t finished setting things up there, but even once I have I see myself staying very active in the Micro.blog community ☺️ It’s a great thing about MB – you can host wherever you like, but by adding your RSS feed to your MB account you can participate on the site as an equal citizen.

If you want to read more about my reasoning, I’ve posted that on the “new” blog already. Otherwise, the experience of anyone following me on Micro.blog should remain pretty much exactly the same? But I have a lot of work yet to do to bring my “new” blog up to scratch. So, bear with me as I get things up and running! 🚧🔨🏗

📷 As I’ve mentioned before I no longer eat mammal meat, which is mostly easy peasy but just occasionally I get the craving for some ham or bacon. Now there are vegan (wheat protein-derived) imitations in the supermarket, I can once again treat myself 😇 (Day 7 #mbfeb prompt.)

a plate with a fried egg on avocado toast and a slice of imitation bacon on it

📚 It’s been so long since I’ve actually read a whole book at this point, I think because I started one I’m not really into, and I keep casting about for things to do that are not reading it. Time to start reading Becky Chambers’ A Closed and Common Orbit to break the cycle. 🚀

📷 For today’s photoblogging challenge, the day 6 prompt is sport. Viv and I go for different AFL teams, and nearly every year (until last year, for obvious reasons…) we try to go to the Sydney Swans vs Essendon Bombers game. This is us at the SCG one freezing night in May 2019.

a white woman in a purple hooded coat and a Sydney Swans scarf, sitting close to an Indian man in a blue hoodie and (just visible) Essendon Bombers scarf, both smiling at the camera

Mental models of languages

So as we know, children acquire their native language by being exposed to lots and lots of input in that language, internalising it, and not only memorising vocabulary but also developing mental rules (the grammar) of how that language is spoken. As such, when we come to be adults, we have a very sophisticated mental model for what’s grammatical and what’s not in our native language. As far as linguists are concerned, it is this, and not the rules handed down by style guides or generations of English teachers, that determines what is an acceptable English utterance and what is not (and the same in any other language).

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📷 Day 5 of the photoblogging challenge has the easiest prompt… pets! 🤣 For this one, have an old photo of my cat Gidget and my parents’ dog Gizmo. They may be different species but they’re still BFFs, and have been since Gidget was about 14 weeks old. 🐱🐶

top-down photo of a tabby cat and a little white dog, on some foam padding in a backyard

📷 Day 4’s prompt is layers, which I found a tricky one 🤔 Melburnians are known for our prodigious wearing of layers in the winter, so I went and found a selfie from July. Under this coat I’d have had a jumper or vest and a proper shirt on! Not to mention my multilayered mask 😷

a selfie where I'm indoors in a disposable mask and light blue winter coat

Online anonymity is a right, not a privilege

Here’s a great TechDirt article on the importance of online anonymity. As it points out, the only people claiming that real-name policies will fix online abuse are those with power in society. Not only is it not true (apparently users are more likely to post abuse when using their real names, not less), but requiring the use of real names can act as a gag order on many people – and cynically, I think this is the real motivation behind the call.

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Improving load times by fixing my images

As I mentioned in my post about Gemini, mine is a lightweight website for the most part; it’s built with a static site generator, I don’t use any heavy Javascript includes, and there are certainly no ads or trackers. The main exception I mentioned then was images: these were, by far, the major thing blowing out the filesizes (and loading times) of my pages and I knew there were improvements I could make to how I dealt with them.

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photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society. See her homepage here.