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Friday, January 9, 2009

Pueleve, Rismouse, Diereepr, Defacki

No, not a multi-ethnic law firm.

Not a spell for summoning a horrifying creature of Lovecraftian dimensions.

Not characters from Gravity's Rainbow.

Give up?

These are words that have appeared when YNSHC has posted comments to other blogs, or signed up for Google Mail, or attempted to sell his cousin's kidney on-- perhaps YNSHC has said too much.

In other (more conventional) words, these are examples of the web's ubiquitous security feature. Those apparently random character strings that one is meant to type into a box to ensure that one is. . . . Well, that one is a "one" and not some borglike entity bent on world domination through the acquisition of numerous e-mail addresses. The Solipsist himself, not being overly computer literate, is not clear on the reasoning behind the device: It seems to him that anyone tech-savvy enough to program a computer to spew random nonsense would, without too much additional work, be able to program that computer to recognize these embedded wordlets, but maybe not. Maybe that's why they're always squiggly and printed at various levels of legibility (even to human eyes).

One also wonders about the managers of these sites. Consider their choices. Some sites use actual words. Google, it seems, wants you to type in "words" that are not actually WORDS but look like they could be. Thus "pueleve" is not in the dictionary, nor are "rismouse," "diereepr," and "defacki." But they all look linguistically plausible. Pueleves and rismice sound like animals--the former perhaps a wild Portuguese chicken, the latter a Dickensian rodent. A diereepr would be a combination screwdriver and plow of Czech origins, and a defacki sounds like a term for a lovable fall-guy.

The question, then, is: If they're not going to use words, why use things that sound like words? Out of consideration for the human operator, who might have trouble typing "nfhew2nfr"?

(Digression: And now don't you start to imagine "words" everywhere? Those characters were typed while the writer looked away from the keyboard. But the primed mind sees in them "Nephew to infer"--perhaps instructions for reading a will? The same thing happens when you stare at license plates too long. End of digression.)

Or perhaps it's a straetgy to get you to quest linguistically, to look up the non-words and thereby stumble onto other sesquipedalian gems. Looking up "defacki" led to the discovery of "defalcate"--to be guilty of defalcation! (All right, all right: Defalcation: misappropriation of money or funds held by an official, trustee, or other fiduciary.) And that's actually useful! Now, instead of whining about, say, Bernie Madoff's swindle, we can pontificate about the rise of defalcation and the toll it is taking on society.

Ah, Google. . . .Is there anything your "do no evil" ways CAN'T improve?

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