Today on ruining childhood memories…

Until this evening I thought the only person who had done the most damage to the Star Wars brand was George Lucas himself.

Then Joey deVilla (a.k.a “Accordian Guy”) posted this video on his blog today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wffwg7pA0t8 (Warner had it removed :/)

Judging by the age of this video, and the fact it now has north of half a million views, there’s likely a kid out there wishing he’d encountered something as comparatively benign as nude pics of his mom online rather than this video. Yikes.

Zen and the Art of Aircraft Maintenance

From the “never would have thought of that” files…

Officials at Nepal’s state-run airline have sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, the Hindu sky god, following technical problems with one of its Boeing 757 aircraft, the carrier said Tuesday.

Source: Reuters

Now I’m all good with the “to each their own” approach to life but I’ve got to say I wouldn’t be too reassured if I was sitting in the airport and heard the announcement:

“Ladies and Gentlemen thank you for your patience during the delay. The captain has arranged for the sacrifice of two goats and is confident there will be no further mechanical issues with your plane today. We are now ready to start boarding….”


“Damn, that plane did not sound healthy as it went over…”

I wonder if Boeing will update some of the localized versions of their maintenance manuals now?

Hat tip to Rick Segal for catching this one…

Photo: Joe Dunckley

Machine Translation and the case of the Offensive Couch

Note: This post contains a couple of racial slurs in the context of the story – there’s no real way to tell it without using them so if you’re easily offended you may wish to skip this one.

A few weeks ago up here in Toronto there was an unfortunate case where a family purchased a brand new leather couch and shortly after delivery their seven-year old daughter found a label on it. Not an unusual story unless you also take into account the family was black and the label in question used the term “Nigger-brown” to describe the colour of the couch.

Needless to say they weren’t happy and this story got into the news cycles locally, and within a week I caught the story on CNN. An interesting update on the story came out today though which makes it a candidate for this blog: The label is being blamed on an error by Chinese-English translation software.

“We got the definition from a Chinese-English dictionary. We’ve been using the dictionary for 10 years. Maybe the dictionary was updated, but we probably didn’t follow suit,” said Huang Luoyi, a product manager for the Beijing-based Kingsoft Corp., which manufactures the translation software that produced the offensive description.

“I know this is a very bad word.”

He explained that when the Chinese characters for “dark brown” are typed into an older version of the company’s Chinese-English translation software, the word “nigger” comes up

Yikes. It’s an unfortunate case of “Garbage In/Garbage Out” but I still can’t believe that along the way someone didn’t catch it – if there was ever a justification for human, in-country review of any translation this is certainly one of them.

The company is assuring everyone that the slur has been removed from new versions of the software.

It’s Beginning….

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

GPS leads man off cliff

A MAN who died in a New Year’s Eve cliff fall after becoming lost in the Kanangra-Boyd National Park was believed to be following directions provided by a GPS satellite navigation device when he went over the edge.
The 31-year-old Toukley man had been searching for a walking track in the national park, near Oberon in the state’s Central West, when he fell.

Inspector Steve Hall from Bathurst police said yesterday the group was believed to have been using the GPS device but it was unclear who had been carrying it at the time of the accident.

Source: Daily Telegraph (Australia)

Sure, he wasn’t in a car, but still. Perhaps a cleverly disguised BETA test?

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