Diurnal and Nocturnal; Log-Blog #02: Tuesday, September 11, 2007

(blogs, or logs, of Word-Info site activities, daily and nightly)

The "journal" continues into day two.

Today will be consumed with working on the aesth-, esth- unit which includes English words from Greek origins meaning, "feeling, sensation", and "sense perceptions". There are many words that have been completed; however, there are still a considerable number which need definitions.

This is one of the first groups that I worked on way back in 1991, but which has expanded considerably since then.

As I look at the list, I see that it has 22 pages of 321 words; and of those words, I see about 65 words which need attention; either as duplicates or those in need of definitions.

I just got back from a workout at a nearby "fitness studio". This is necessary because of back problems which are alleviated by doing certain exercises. Now, I am back to my tasks.

A few words about when and why these lexigraphic efforts started

When I was teaching in a Department of Defense high school in Wiesbaden, Germany, starting way back in 1966, I was teaching a course in Reading Improvement. We had a vocabulary text; however, I didn't think it was adequate; so, I started to collect my own lists of words.

After several years of collecting, revising, and organizing; I self-published a book in 1991, titled: Robertson's Words for a Modern Age; A Cross Reference of Latin and Greek Combining Elements. I still have about 200 of them stored in my basement.

I spent more money on the publication and using different promotional people than I ever recovered. Finally, on March 8, 1996, I created my first web site (wordfocus.com).

After many months of learning HTML coding, I made my lists, but this was not the most efficient way to set up a dictionary. It was in about 2005, or 2006, that I found an ISP (Internet Service Provider) who improved the way I do the lexicon by including better searches (for one word at a time), simplifying the entry of words and definitions with AUTOMATIC alphabetizing of words (now almost 57,000) in a unit, AND the alphabetization of the more than 3,600 units.

Although costly, additional improvements have been made; including, multiple-word searches and a suggested list of available words when anyone misspells a word, or words, in the search requests.

Other improvements, which people probably would not notice, provide for search results of hyphenated words and abbreviated elements (with periods).

The dictionary is now programmed with what is called PHP [(originally "Personal Home Page" tool) and now stands for PHP Hypertext Preprocessor; a server-side programming language used for the efficient delivery of web pages and services]; a form of data programming. Expensive to implement, but so much more efficient and convenient for users; as well as, for me to add words and their definitions.

When the data from the previous HTML (HyperText Markup Language) were transferred to the new PHP program, many errors resulted and these are being corrected almost daily. Note: data is a plural form, not a singular term.

Are all of these efforts worth the time, expenses, and efforts? Some how, I rather think of the project as my "child" and, as with human children, I am committed to doing whatever I can to provide for the welfare of this "child" and to see that it is able to achieve its worthy goals of providing the best English vocabulary resources of words that come primarily from Latin and Greek origins.

There are additional features which are being developed and I will present them next time.

More information about H.G. Wells and his forecasts

Yesterday, I started to introduce an article from the September-October, 2007, issue of The Futurist titled: "Anticipations: The Remarkable Forecasts of H.G. Wells" by Paul Crabtree, pages 40-46.

"In 1901, H.G. Wells looked to the century ahead and predicted suburbia, flying machines, American superpower status, and moving sidewalks, but he had a few misses, too."

One of his first predictions included the "decline of the steam engine and the rise of new modes of transportation"

  • The first chapter of H.G. Wells' Anticipations analyzed developments that would lead to increases in the speed of travel in the course of the twentieth century.
  • Mr. Wells pointed to factors that would likely result in the decline of steam power for ships and railroads in favor of the internal combustion engine and turbines.
  • He indicated that rail traffic would find its greatest use in hauling heavy goods, and he discussed the pending decline of railroads compared to road traffic and cars; including the coming of limited-access freeways (expressways).
  • He projected the development of vehicle-free areas in town or cities; subways; and large-scale use of moving sidewalks.
  • A footnote in this chapter discussed flying machines.
  • Mr. Wells proposed that although aircraft will be in use in the twentieth century, they will not "come into play as a serious modification of transport and communication."
  • His forecast of freeways (auto-bahns, in Germany), traffic-free malls, and strict regulations concerning vehicles and traffic flows in downtown areas, seems prophetic.
  • Mr. Wells correctly forecast the moving sidewalks, but he overestimated their significance and prevalence.
  • Ironically, because he didn't anticipate airports, he didn't foresee that airports will be the main use for such sidewalks in the future.
  • Subways get little mention, probably again because of his emphasis on the idea of the moving sidewalks.

I will include more about this article in my next journal entry; when H.G. Wells made predictions about new ways to live in city-suburb complexes.

Index of journal, or log-blog entries, regarding the Word Info site activities.

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