1557: "Ozymandias"

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SocalPizza
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby SocalPizza » Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:45 pm UTC

Cervisiae Amatorem wrote:I kept reading this as "I met a traveler from an antique store.." I didn't get the joke.

I read it correctly now. I still don't get the joke.


As I said before, I am pretty sure this is a Civ 4 joke. I never played the game myself but my wife used to and I would always hear Leonard Nemoy saying things (in the game, not just in my head), often saying them repeatedly with the sentences cut off half way through. That would possibly explain the recursion element.

The quote from Civ 4 is for the tech advance "Construction" and reads in full: "And on the pedestal these words appear: 'I am Ozymandias, king of kings. Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains.' - Percy Bysshe Shelley."

I tried to post a link to a youtube clip of Nemoy saying it but the banhammer fell hard. It is at the 2:48 mark in the youtube video entitled "Civilization IV BTS - ALL Tech Quotes [Voiced by Leonard Nimoy]" if you are interested.

Perhaps this was Randall's way of indicating he's voting for Spock in the Twitter xkcdbracket final that's taking place today? Or jinxing Spock so that Buzz wins?

Of course, it's also possible this is not about Civ 4. That would indeed be a pretty niche joke. Who knows but the maker?

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JohnTheWysard
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby JohnTheWysard » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:42 am UTC

Recursion, n. See: Recursion.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Mikeski » Thu Jul 30, 2015 2:56 am UTC

Carteeg_Struve wrote:I initiated an infinite recursive loop thirty-five minutes ago.

Pft, if you had a real computer it would have finished in five.

JohnTheWysard wrote:Recursion, n. See: Recursion.

Hey, link your sources. :wink:

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brandbarth
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby brandbarth » Thu Jul 30, 2015 10:44 am UTC

Ozymandias. I never knew there where two of them, but I know now.

I met a traveller from an antique land
Where London stood, holding the Wolf in chace.
Who said: In Egypt's sandy silence, all alone,
He met some fragments huge, and stopped to guess
What this mighty City shows— The City's gone,—
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Stands a gigantic Leg, Near it, on the sand,
Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Which far off throw
The only shadow that the Deserts know: —
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer
Of cold command, we wonder: and despair!
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
Nought but three Legs remaining to disclose
The site of this forgotten Babylon.
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
"I am great OZYMANDIAS," saith the stone,
"The King of Kings; Look on my works,
Ye Mighty, the wonders of my hand.
And some Hunter may express:
What powerful but unrecorded race
Once dwelt in that annihilated place.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby SerMufasa » Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:57 pm UTC

My guess as to what the joke is:

The nature of the opening of the poem allows for recursion; something like Ode to a Grecian Urn does not.

That said, it may also be:

I met a traveler
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby airdrik » Thu Jul 30, 2015 8:08 pm UTC

kalira wrote:
airdrik wrote:
Echo244 wrote:Aren't the quotes in the strip angled so as to be close quotes? Which annoyingly makes it nonsense if you parse it as the closing part of something recursive.

Anyway. Hooray for recursion! Boo for Ozymandias going on forever without getting to the bit about nothing else remaining!


I don't know which locale you are from, but in the one that us USians are acquainted with, those are all open quotes (around here, quotes lean towards the content they enclose).


I don't know which locale you are from, but this USican has never used quotes that way. I've always slanted them inward toward the content (pointy bits pointing at the first and last letters). FWIW I was an English major undergrad, and have a Master's in linguistics, though TBF I don't recall discussing the subject in any of those classes. That statement is more a measure of how much I've written than an attempt at legitimizing my claim.

Code: Select all

“Good morning, Dave,” said HAL.

^Unicode appears to agree with me and Echo. Those were open and close quotes before they were put in the code box.

Must state for the record, though, that I parsed the comic just fine, and didn't even notice the "wrongways" quotation marks until they were mentioned here.


I suppose when using mini-slash-style quote marks like Randall uses in his comic, there isn't much consensus. Thinking about it I have seen it both ways (thus the best way to distinguish is by which side of the quote marks the space is on as one should always put the space to the outside of the quote mark, otherwise you are just asking for trouble). When I write them, I tend to angle them so that the tops are toward the content they enclose as that feels more appropriate.
When using more proper curly quotes, you are correct. Though from how I remember having learned them, it wasn't that they were to lean one way or the other, but that their concave side is toward the content they enclose, having a dot on the bottom of the open and top of the close quote such that they appear like mini 6s and 9s. To me, when both quote marks lean to the right, I find myself inclined to interpret the leaning as italicisation (though apparently this is typical/expected and I need to just get used to it).

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Wee Red Bird » Fri Jul 31, 2015 7:05 am UTC

SimonMoon5 wrote:If we had an index file, we could look it up in the index file.

'If' is the most powerful word in the English language.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby orthogon » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:43 am UTC

In English, the concave side is towards the quoted text, but in German (and often in English text written by native German speakers) the convex side is towards the quotation; furthermore the "opening" quote is lower, on the line. I've posted about this before, but I had a sudden realisation when reading Lynn Truss's Eats, shoots and leaves. There's a bit there where she talks about a common mistake/practice whereby people enclose things in quotes on signs etc., e.g. "eggs for sale", justifying this when questioned on the grounds that "it's me talking". She argues that this demonstrates a misunderstanding of what writing is: actually it's all you talking. But the exception is when you quote somebody else. I've wondered ever since wherever the German typography is coming from this viewpoint. It's all the writer's words except when the writer stops talking for a moment, with a closing quote appropriately placed on the line like a full stop, to let somebody else get a word in.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Jul 31, 2015 8:50 am UTC

SocalPizza wrote:I tried to post a link to a youtube clip of Nemoy saying it but the banhammer fell hard.

Read the Forum rules, they explain it quite nicely.
Mikeski wrote:A "What If" update is never late. Nor is it early. It is posted precisely when it should be.

patzer's signature wrote:
flicky1991 wrote:I'm being quoted too much!

he/him/his

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Eternal Density » Fri Jul 31, 2015 10:03 am UTC

What actually IS an antique land? I've heard of artifact lands, but not antique lands.
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:20 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:What actually IS an antique land? I've heard of artifact lands, but not antique lands.


Obviously a land from Antiquities.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Eoink » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:27 pm UTC

Old use of the word, meaning historical or ancient.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby karhell » Fri Jul 31, 2015 1:42 pm UTC

Eternal Density wrote:What actually IS an antique land? I've heard of artifact lands, but not antique lands.

See this Ming vase ? It's an antique. Now as I push it out of the window, watch how the antique lands.
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby HES » Fri Jul 31, 2015 2:04 pm UTC

karhell wrote:watch how the antique lands.

Superb.
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby BlitzGirl » Fri Jul 31, 2015 3:51 pm UTC

*twitch*
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby ucim » Fri Jul 31, 2015 9:36 pm UTC

karhell wrote:watch how the antique lands.
BlitzGirl wrote:*twitch*
Many years ago I made a film in which a character drops a priceless ceramic artifact on the floor as an act of spite. The prop was not in fact priceless, of course, but we only bought one. Rehearsals (with somebody catching the prop) went fine, but when we did the shot for real (without the catcher), there was something I didn't like about the way the scene was progressing, so I called "cut!". Unfortunately, this was just after the character had let go of the vase, and before the OTT taught me about time travel.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby XopherHalftongue » Sat Aug 01, 2015 3:10 am UTC

This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

And THAT, Mister Chomsky, is why you DO have to account for stack limits in your model.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby orthogon » Sat Aug 01, 2015 12:38 pm UTC

XopherHalftongue wrote:This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

And THAT, Mister Chomsky, is why you DO have to account for stack limits in your model.

Not sure what Chomsky had to say, but Pinker certainly discusses that issue. He suggests that there isn't a stack as such, just a small number of memory locations; furthermore one is devoted to each type of structure in the language. This means that you can nest clauses provided you only have one of each type. It's as though you could nest an "if" inside a"for" loop, or vice versa, but not one "if" inside another.

Sentences like your example are called "centre-embedded" and are hard to understand to the point of being ungrammatical (in a descriptivist sense). However, it's possible to have very deep "nesting" provided the structure is "left- or right-branching". Examples are "my father's sister's son's daughter's friend's mum"; this is easy to understand, since the previous concepts are dealt with completely before the next one is introduced. This seems to me to be analogous to tail-recursion and doesn't need a stack for the same reason. (It might be difficult to follow but for reasons of memory when picturing the family tree, rather than parsing).

I don't think this is the whole story, though. "Do you know where the batteries that the camera that you bought are?" is kind of OK. I suspect it's something to do with the question "do you know where x is" being common enough that the listener can anticipate the "are" before the inner relative clause is introduced so it isn't really needed and doesn't trip them up when it appears.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby rmsgrey » Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:28 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:I don't think this is the whole story, though. "Do you know where the batteries that the camera that you bought are?" is kind of OK. I suspect it's something to do with the question "do you know where x is" being common enough that the listener can anticipate the "are" before the inner relative clause is introduced so it isn't really needed and doesn't trip them up when it appears.


Except that the clause about the camera is missing a verb - I'd suggest "takes", "uses", or "needs" but you could also replace the first "that" with "for" and give a complete sentence (with less nesting).


XopherHalftongue wrote:This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

And THAT, Mister Chomsky, is why you DO have to account for stack limits in your model.


This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn that the maiden all forlorn miked tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Znirk » Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:29 am UTC

orthogon wrote: I've wondered ever since wherever the German typography is coming from this viewpoint. It's all the writer's words except when the writer stops talking for a moment, with a closing quote appropriately placed on the line like a full stop, to let somebody else get a word in.

Interesting thought, but no. To the German eye, that closing quote is an opening quote. Also note where the space goes.

For extra complication: German text typeset in Switzerland tends to use «French» rather than »German« guillemets (but without the French extra space). This breaks the German traditional convention, but has the advantage of consistency between the four national languages.

Nannycase, German handwritten text usually has „this style“ of quote marks.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby mathmannix » Mon Aug 03, 2015 4:56 pm UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
XopherHalftongue wrote:This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

And THAT, Mister Chomsky, is why you DO have to account for stack limits in your model.


This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn that the maiden all forlorn miked tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

This is Jack, by whom the house that the malt that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn that the maiden all forlorn that the man all tattered and torn kiss milked tossed worried killed ate lay in was built.
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby ucim » Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:22 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:This is Jack, by whom the house that the malt that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn that the maiden all forlorn that the man all tattered and torn kiss milked tossed worried killed ate lay in was built.

This is Jill. With that pail of water, so much time taking, stop!

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby rmsgrey » Mon Aug 03, 2015 5:49 pm UTC

mathmannix wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
XopherHalftongue wrote:This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

And THAT, Mister Chomsky, is why you DO have to account for stack limits in your model.


This is Jack, who the house that the grain that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn that the maiden all forlorn miked tossed chased caught nibbled lay in was built by.

This is Jack, by whom the house that the malt that the rat that the cat that the dog that the cow with the crumpled horn that the maiden all forlorn that the man all tattered and torn kiss milked tossed worried killed ate lay in was built.


It's an ancient nursery rhyme with many, many, many variants. Wikipedia lists: "Some versions use "cheese" instead of "malt", "priest" instead of "judge", "cock" instead of "rooster", the older past tense form "crew" instead of "crowed", or "chased" in place of "killed"." - and those are just the variants that met Wikipedia standards for verifiability...

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby Pfhorrest » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:23 pm UTC

"I am Facebookandias, Friend of Friends! Look upon MySpace, ye mighty, and despair!" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the tweets and livejournals stretch far away...
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby dp2 » Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:08 pm UTC

twistolime wrote:So... still no guesses for what the joke is? I'm going to give the illustrious author enough credit to believe that just referencing recursion is not the whole punchline.

Maybe it stemmed from thinking about the nested narrators of the original poem.
The narrator
The traveler
The pedestal
The sculptor
Ozymandias

So it's recursion, but erroneously passing this instead of this->child.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby peregrine_crow » Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:28 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:It's an ancient nursery rhyme with many, many, many variants. Wikipedia lists: "Some versions use "cheese" instead of "malt", "priest" instead of "judge", "cock" instead of "rooster", the older past tense form "crew" instead of "crowed", or "chased" in place of "killed"." - and those are just the variants that met Wikipedia standards for verifiability...


I had never heard of it, so I guess I'm one of the lucky ten-thousand today. It doesn't quite replace "Monkeys monkeys monkeys kick kick kick" as my favorite unparseable, but grammatically correct English sentence, but it is really cool, so thanks for posting it everyone :D .
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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby orthogon » Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:09 am UTC

rmsgrey wrote:
orthogon wrote:I don't think this is the whole story, though. "Do you know where the batteries that the camera that you bought are?" is kind of OK. I suspect it's something to do with the question "do you know where x is" being common enough that the listener can anticipate the "are" before the inner relative clause is introduced so it isn't really needed and doesn't trip them up when it appears.


Except that the clause about the camera is missing a verb - I'd suggest "takes", "uses", or "needs" but you could also replace the first "that" with "for" and give a complete sentence (with less nesting).

Whoops. I guess that kind of proves Pinker's point, given that the sentence I claimed was easy to understand wasn't actually correct. And the sentence with the missing verb sounds wrong in the same way as all over-nested centre-embedded sentences.

@znirk thanks, interesting.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1557: "Ozymandias"

Postby airdrik » Thu Aug 06, 2015 5:51 pm UTC

If we are allowed to do such indefinite nesting of clauses, we could apply that to the buffalo buffalo buffalo ... sentence, such that each instance of the noun buffalo which hasn't already been qualified as being buffaloed by Buffalo buffalo is thus qualified, resulting in an infinite sequence of "buffalo"s:
Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo ... buffalo buffalo buffalo ... buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo ... buffalo buffalo buffalo ....
And so long as all Buffalo buffalo buffalo all Buffalo buffalo, then the sentence remains accurate.


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