(Recovered suggestion box item) The famous team of Siri and Alexa

In January of 2018 CIDU Bill implemented a Contact form page*, and during February 2018 a few readers used that form to send in their suggestions for cartoons to run and analyze on CIDU. We recently stumbled on that cache, and will be running three.

Thanks to Bill Kiraly for this near-synchronicity, which he calls “Great synchronicity for Feb 1 Non Sequitur and Jan 30 Speed Bump”.

*Original Contact form now at https://cidu.info/contact/ . Updated Suggest-A-CIDU form page now at https://cidu.info/suggest-a-cidu/

Not a natural language among them

I remember running into a well-meaning person who heard the linguistics lecturer use the term “natural language” and tried to object that no language or dialect is actually more natural — that is, “better” in some way, or more suited to learning — than any other. Which is something that audience would not disagree with, in general, among the set of languages they were discussing. (Which of course, were just those natural languages.)

But of course there are several ways some communication system or notation system can be called a language but is not a natural language. Roy’s list includes two major types, and misses a couple other categories. (But we don’t get to hear if he has command of other natural languages.)

Here’s an amusing talk I ran across recently, which may be fun for those with either practical programming experience in a few different computer languages or anyhow a reading/browsing acquaintance with them.

Bonus post: a 64-year-apart synchronicity

Today’s Hi and Lois makes a joke about virtual backgrounds in video app meetings. I’ve seen plenty of video-meeting comics in the last year or so, and maybe a few touching on virtual backgrounds, but this particular one triggered a memory for me:

The memory it triggered was of a MAD Magazine story about fake backgrounds for video calls. The technology it used was “camera phones” — which did exist, but not as an everyday thing generally available to the public — and with fake backgrounds being provided not electronically but as physical backdrops that could be pulled down from a spring-loaded roller, like a certain kind of window shade.

I recalled the piece going thru a series of examples like “Fool your boss”, “Fool your wife”, etc., and finally a “Fool Yourself” where the wrong backdrop was chosen. In today’s cartoon, Hi is almost doing a “Fool Yourself”, if he were using a virtual background but accidentally used a beach or other recreation scene while talking about being in a sickbed or maybe hard at work at his home office.

In trying to track down the MAD piece, my first partial success, with two panels of the MAD story, was at a Peewee’s Playhouse site, in a two-step indirection story that I didn’t entirely follow. But that gave me the 1957 date and the name of the artist, George Woodbridge.

That led soon enough to a Tumblr for MAD fans, and this full image of the original piece!