things I find when searching “studying at caltech library”, trying to find a quiet place to read my pile of papers.
As this 2014 Oakland Institute report—which I wrote about here—shows, large financial firms are snapping up farmland, switching from row crops to almonds and other nuts, and dropping in wells, positioning themselves to cash in on Asia’s rising, almond-munching middle classes.
don’t you love it when URLs have spelling errors?
the ongoing switch from row crops like vegetables to nuts plays a role in subsidence. You can fallow fields of annual vegetables during droughts, but almond trees need a steady supply of water for years.
Shibboleths have been used by different subcultures throughout the world at different times. Regional differences, level of expertise and computer coding techniques are several forms that shibboleths have taken.
The Dutch used the name of the seaside town of Scheveningen as a shibboleth to tell Germans from the Dutch (“Sch” in Dutch is analyzed as the letter “s” and the digraph “ch”, producing the consonant cluster [sx], while in German it is analyzed as the trigraph “sch,” pronounced [ʃ]).
During World War II, some United States soldiers in the Pacific theater used the word lollapalooza as a shibboleth to challenge unidentified persons, on the premise that Japanese people often pronounce the letter L as R or confuse Rs with Ls; the word is also an American colloquialism that even a foreign person fairly well-versed in American English would probably mispronounce or be unfamiliar with. In George Stimpson’s A Book about a Thousand Things, the author notes that, in the war, Japanese spies would often approach checkpoints posing as American or Filipino military personnel. A shibboleth such as “lollapalooza” would be used by the sentry, who, if the first two syllables come back as rorra, would “open fire without waiting to hear the remainder”.
In October 1937 the Spanish word for parsley, perejil, was used as a shibboleth to identify Haitian immigrants living along the border in the Dominican Republic. The president of the Dominican Republic, Rafael Trujillo, ordered the execution of these people. It is alleged that between 20,000 and 30,000 individuals were murdered within a few days in the Parsley Massacre although more recent scholarship and the lack of evidence mass graves puts the actual total as low as 1000.
The legend goes that before the Guldensporenslag (Battle of the Golden Spurs) in May 1302, the Flemish slaughtered every Frenchman they could find in the city of Bruges, an act known as the Brugse Metten. They identified Frenchmen based on their inability to pronounce the Flemish phrase schilt ende vriend (shield and friend), or possibly ‘s Gilden vriend (friend of the Guilds). However, many Mediaeval Flemish dialects did not contain the cluster sch- either (even today’s Kortrijk dialect has sk-), and Mediaeval French rolled the r just as Flemish did.
Bûter, brea, en griene tsiis; wa’t dat net sizze kin, is gijn oprjochte Fries (About this sound example (help·info)) means “Butter, rye bread and green cheese, whoever cannot say that is not a genuine Frisian” was used by the Frisian Pier Gerlofs Donia during a Frisian rebellion (1515–1523). Ships whose crew could not pronounce this properly were usually plundered and soldiers who could not were beheaded by Donia himself.