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25 July 2008 @ 05:57 am
Mexican truck driver fined $500 by Alabama cop for not being able to speak English, although he communicated with the cop in English. FTA: "Federal law requires that anyone with a commercial driver's licence speak English well enough to talk with police." But earlier in the article it also says this: "Castillo, who says he speaks English at roughly a Grade 3 level, said he understood when the trooper asked him where he was heading and to see his commercial driver's licence and registration. He said he responded in English, though he speaks with an accent. Castillo wasn't speeding, and the inspection and computer check turned up no offences." Wait, what? Surely no racism is involved here.

Actual headline: 100 'slightly contaminated' from French reactor: Fourth incident at nuclear facility in recent weeks, second at same plant. Wait, "slightly" contaminated? Is that like being slightly pregnant? Yes, we're surrounded by tiny amounts of radiation, from your monitor to your microwave. But if it was an inconsequential, unremarkable amount of radiation, then there was no real contamination to speak of. So the employees were either exposed or not. MAKE UP YOUR DAMN MIND /rage

Google unveils Knol, a cross between Wikipedia and a social blogging tool. I really don't get it. It's not exactly a wiki and not really a blog.

Lewis Black: It's the End of an Empire sale and everything must go.

Air gutair: SERIOUS BIZNESS. Bettie then ran over to the judge’s table where we all got a good look at her pinky toe, which by then, was broken in half, bleeding, with white bone showing. She beat out the two technically superior contestants, but I mean... Bone was showing. She was declared the winner and promptly whisked away to the emergency room.

Scientific American: How anecdotal evidence often undermines scientific results. Would explain the persistence of a lot of irrational beliefs in humans.

10 uses for old airplanes.

Speaking of which, Indian sells plane tickets for flight that doesn't go anywhere. No, seriously.

Today in Rotten History:

Today in 1915, 800 Western Electric employees and their family members perish on the chartered steamer Eastland, when in utter irony, its new lifeboats cause it to become top heavy and capsize in Chicago's harbor.
Current Mood: sleepy
co_techieco_techie on July 25th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
"Federal law requires that anyone with a commercial driver's licence speak English well enough to talk with police." I don't know if the newspaper is just doing some seriously shoddy reporting, or if the law is actually worded this way - but what in the world is the "well enought to talk to police" standard? Completely subjective, gives each cop complete discretion on the road to decide whether s/he likes the English or not. Essentially, it doesn't give license holders enough notice as to how they can practically comply with the law! Grrr ...
_53_53 on July 25th, 2008 03:45 am (UTC)
Not to mention, the dude and the cop communicated in English. Broken English still counts as English as far as I know.

Also, what about deaf/mutes who can only communicate using sign language? Would they get a $500 ticket too? I mean technically that's not English either, and I don't think all cops know ASL....
co_techieco_techie on July 25th, 2008 03:49 am (UTC)
Re: deaf/mutes - I can't imagine them getting commercial licenses to drive tractor trailers. They have to be able to use the communication systems I'd think. Their inability to do so may be a justifiable reason to discriminate against them. I don't know for sure though how that actually works.
_53_53 on July 25th, 2008 03:57 am (UTC)
Yeah, good point. But still, that whole story is all about the WTF LULWUT o.O
My lack of responsibility is entirely your fault: odisorderata on July 25th, 2008 03:01 am (UTC)
For a second there I thought I read 'Air Quatar'.

THAT WOULD ROCK, as the name of an airline.
_53_53 on July 25th, 2008 03:46 am (UTC)
The country I grew up in (the UAE) borders an Arab country named Qatar.
My lack of responsibility is entirely your faultdisorderata on July 25th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
! - hah, small world :D
comanche_rider: bakerycomanche_rider on July 25th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
*perplexed blink*

Um. Half the drivers in this city can't speak English even at Grade 3 level. The police are pretty much required to speak Spanish (it's not actually on the contract, but it's expected). Hell, anyone with a job is expected to know basic Spanish. I hate Spanish but I still know basic Spanish. XD
_53_53 on July 25th, 2008 03:48 am (UTC)
My mom can't get a job coz she's not "bilingual," which is defined as being fluent in two languages, although my mom is fluent in about four.... because apparently Americans define "bilingual" as knowledge of English and Spanish. WTF?

The tragic irony: our last names before she remarried was/is Santiago. Go figure.
comanche_rider: Headachecomanche_rider on July 25th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)

A normal conversation when I mention that I'm bilingual goes as follows:

"Oh, I'm bilingual."

"Oh, I didn't know you were from Mexico!"

"...I'm not..."

"But you just said-"

"Bilingual means two languages."

"English and Spanish."

"...No, English and French, just a little Spanish..."

"You mean they speak French in Mexico these days?"

It's sad really. I cringe to think of all the strokes I'm going to cause when I figure out Russian. The poor things are already thinking too hard.
co_techieco_techie on July 25th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)
This story made me cry. Even though I live in South Florida and should know better.
Aparna: Smileinspirethoughts on July 25th, 2008 03:27 pm (UTC)
Nice! Liked the use of old planes.

Yes, that was an really sad episode for the memberes who died in 1915.
jixel: fishjixel on July 25th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
ask not for whom the bell knols?
i have knol idea what that's about. suppose it's google trying to get on the wikiwagon? but with real authors instead of just open source (w)hacks?

i wonder if that scientific american was based on facts or just anecdotal evidence
_53_53 on July 25th, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
Re: ask not for whom the bell knols?
Thing about Knol is that apparently no one else can edit the article you wrote. So it's like one giant blog with individual articles that can't be edited or challenged? I mean how would that work as a wiki? o.O
jixeljixel on July 25th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC)
it sounds like they want "authoritative" entries

so yeah i spose it's more an invitational blog?
Joojewelsl85 on July 25th, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
I'm somewhat baffled by the law. Sure, the cops speak English. But there is no OFFICIAL language in this country, so how the fuck can they make it ILLEGAL to not know "enough English" to talk to an officer?