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Comment Re:African or European? (Score 1) 205

You have a limited understanding of the variety of Latin declension. Greek words were commonly used in Latin, with their forms adapted to a greater or lesser extent.

"Octopus" means "eight-footer". To see how to decline it, we have only to look at the word "tripus", meaning "three-footer". Its plural was "tripodes". Based on this:

In the singular

  • Nom/voc: octopus
  • Acc: octopoda (octopodem)
  • Gen: octopodos (octopodis)
  • Dat: octopodi
  • Abl: octopode

In the plural

  • Nom/voc: octopodes
  • Acc: octopodas (octopodes)
  • Gen: octopodum
  • Dat: octopodibus
  • Abl: octopodibus

The forms in parentheses are more Latinised ones. To Latinise it even more, one could change the po to pe, but that would be going over the top.

These are the scholarly forms. It's not inconceivable that the noun could become misconstrued as second-declension in spoken Latin (this happened with polypus), but to deliberately do so would be to put a mistake in the Romans' mouths. Whether we think of it as Latin or Greek, its plural is "octopodes". For English usage, however, the anglicised "octopuses" is usually better.

Comment Re:Video (Score 3, Informative) 205

I'm not sure from the Google Scholar description of this 1999 paper whether it refers to mention of octopus tool use in 1940 or in Roman times:

... Historia, Liber IX, 48; Plinius Secundus, 1940) reported a description of tool-using behaviour ...

Perhaps someone with a subscription can check it out.

No need. Pliny's Natural History was published at some point around AD 78. However, when you cite your sources as a scholar, you put the date of the edition you have in your hands. Hence, this person put "1940".

Comment Re:Notecard In Wallet For Life (Score 1) 1007

That's a good idea, but don't actually write down the real password. Instead, write down a password reminder. For example, have a case-switching rule. So, if your wallet says "sLash.r0X", your real password is "SlASH.R0x". Or else write it backwards, etc.

Still change your passwords if the slip of paper is stolen, though.

Comment Re:Hashing Works (Score 2, Interesting) 1007

Yes, I have a similar mental hash, although it is more complicated and so the password is longer. It makes sure that no two sites have the same password, so no one can get into my e-mail, say, just because they have found my Slashdot password. They take too long to type in, though, so I let Firefox remember them. Firefox protects them all with one master password that I enter once per session. In turn, my entire home directory (including the Firefox profile) is on a TrueCrypt partition (protected by a completely different passphrase). Incidentally, any sensitive files are encrypted with GPG (with a completely different, long passphrase) before being stored on the TrueCrypt partition for good measure.

If you are worried that your mental hash is easily crackable (e.g. you use "SDpass" for Slashdot, "FBpass" for Facebook... haha, OK that's an exaggeration), then obfuscate it further by using a real hash. Run "SDpass" through md5sum, and you get "6809ec345ad1a2b72f9f8a6e3f96266b". "FBpass" becomes "5b128c5443f4467dfdd4553c3f9a6733". It is not realistically possible for anyone to see any connection between the two. Should you find yourself on a computer lacking md5sum, you could use online services such as in order to get the hash. (The paranoid will obviously want to do so only in an emergency, as it will be sent over the Web in plaintext, although nobody will have any reason to think it is a password.)

Since md5sum output is limited to the characters 0123456789abcdef, you may want to manually add a few more fixed characters (such as "#@S|-|") to the final product. That way no one can get access, even if they see you generating the hash.

Comment Re:This is news? (Score 1) 808

You have to be intelligent to join mensa, but if you're smart as well, you'll know only stoopid people crow about joining mensa.

That's fine, as long as you apply the same principle to people who crow about having that master's degree, or having led that department for ten years. Otherwise it's envy.

Comment Win some, lose some (Score 1) 1231

Karmic Koala fixed a few bugs for me. It has, however, stopped me installing Firefox extensions. I'm going to the Ubuntu Forums now to fix that.

It's probably my fault, because at the same time as upgrading, I also moved all my configuration files around and encrypted my whole drive. This makes it hard to tell whether any given problem is due to the upgrade or to my messing around. I'm also using the 64-bit edition, which could add compatibility issues.

Comment Re:Webmail + encryption? (Score 1) 451

That is: if anyone figures out a way to combine end-to-end encryption with web based e-mail (popular as it is).

I take it you are not familiar with the FireGPG browser extension. I can encrypt text, decrypt text and verify signatures on any website with a couple of clicks. There is Gmail integration too.

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