Stupid

I’ve long wondered if the words “stupid” and “stooped” were related. Perhaps “stupid” was derived from the adjective “stooped” – as if, in 1300s England, someone decided that a handy personification of someone likely to come up with bad ideas was someone who was bent over, eyes-averted, perhaps shuffling, low-class, etc.. “Young master Chowderhead’s comments are stooped and infirm.” And then “stupid” became a spelling variant of “stooped”, etc..

Today, I finally looked it up.

stupid (adj.)

1540s, “mentally slow, lacking ordinary activity of mind, dull, inane,” from Middle French stupide (16c.) and directly from Latin stupidus “amazed, confounded; dull, foolish,” literally “struck senseless,” from stupere “be stunned, amazed, confounded,” from PIE *stupe- “hit,” from root *(s)teu- (1) “to push, stick, knock, beat” (see steep (adj.)). Related: Stupidly; stupidness.

And:

stoop (v.)
“bend forward,” Old English stupian “to bow, bend,” from Proto-Germanic *stup– (source also of Middle Dutch stupen “to bow, bend,” Norwegian stupa “fall, drop”), from PIE *(s)teu- (1) “to push, stick, knock, beat” (see steep (adj.)).

PIE being Proto-Indo-European, the reconstructed root language of most European and many central Asian languages.

So, the relationship between “stupid” and “stooped” isn’t a bit of middle-English wordplay. They are actually both derived, separately, through two different languages, from a word that meant to be beaten or hit. And they’ve preserved the sound of that original word for five thousand years.

Listening To…

  • Dave Brubeck Quartet – Time Further Out. This is the sequel to their incredible “Time Out” (even though there were three other Dave Brubeck Quartet albums released between the two). It has that same mix of hummable jazz tunes played in odd time signatures. It’s not as great as “Time Out”, but that’s fine. It’s still good.

    Dave Brubeck – Unsquare Dance

  • Dum Dum Girls – I Will Be. Lo-fi pop that recalls a specific very-early-90s SubPop sound: the sweetly strange DIY sound of bands like Vaselines and Beat Happening, not the fury and thunder of Nirvana and Tad. And there’s a touch of Siouxsie and Blondie, in there too. Fun stuff. 12 songs in 32 minutes.

    Fifa 11 Soundtrack – It Only Takes One Night

  • Sons Of Kemet – Your Queen Is a Reptile. Raucous hypnotic NoLa street marching band Afro-Caribbean modern/old-school jazz/dub. There are so many things going on in here, it’s hard to come up with a suitable description. Maybe just “funky” will do. Amazing and funky. Mostly instrumental, but when the vocals do appear, they’re amazing too. I love it.

    Sons Of Kemet – My Queen Is Ada Eastman (Audio)

  • David Bowie – Station To Station. I’m taking my time going through Bowie’s stuff. He was hit and miss – I love “Hunky Dory” and “Ziggy…”, but “Low” and “Scary Monsters” not so much. This is a hit. It’s only six songs, but lasts 38 minutes. Golden Years and TVC15 are great, as is the title track. Stay rocks a bit. The other two are good enough.

    DAVID BOWIE – TVC15 (Live At Musikladen 05.30.78)

  • The Ventures – The Ventures In Space. Surf rock! It’s the only surf rock I own, and I think this will probably be enough. But it sure is fun.

  • Led Zeppelin – Houses Of The Holy (remaster). I was listening to the original version a couple weeks back and decided that the sound was a bit flat and muddy. So, I picked up the remaster, and it does sound better. I hear a lot of small details in the guitar and vocals that I’d never heard before, and even the bass is audible here and there! The songs remain the same, just better. I think this might be their best overall record, even if II is still my favorite.

    Led Zeppelin – Over The Hills And Far Away

  • FONTAINES D.C. – Dogrel The great-grandsons of Gang of Four, or the grandsons of Bloc Party, or the sons of Protomartyr? All of the above! But it’s an honorable lineage and they represent it well. The tracks at the front of the album are taut and searing and angular but soften and pick up more melody as they go. I prefer the start.

    Fontaines D.C. – Hurricane Laughter (Darklands Version)

You?

MJP

“I’m going to be called Dr. Marijuana Pepsi!” she declared.

It’s fitting that an African American woman who has gone through life as Marijuana Pepsi chose as her dissertation topic: “Black names in white classrooms: Teacher behaviors and student perceptions.”

Bad Actor

I can’t believe I missed this at the time.

Turns out that the people in the crowd at Trump’s weird 2015 campaign launch announcement (when he descended the gold escalator) were paid actors. Well, since this is Trump we’re talking about, the actors were not paid until they filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, four months later.

Marching Towards Doom

For better or worse, it’s getting easier than ever to doctor video footage, and the latest development in this field is as scary as it is impressive. A new algorithm developed by researchers from Stanford University, Max Planck Institute for Informatics, Princeton University, and Adobe makes it possible to alter human speech in a video, just by changing the text in its transcript.

This method is said to alter the video while preserving the speaker’s characteristics. To accomplish this, the algorithm first reads the phonemes and pronunciation of letters and words from the original video, and creates a model of the speaker’s head to accurately replicate the speaker’s voice and movements.

Once you edit the transcript, the algorithm performs a search for segments containing lip movements that make the words you’ve typed in, and replaces the original phrase. But the replaced part can have a lot of pauses and cuts, because it’s stitched together tiny segments of video from across the clip. So, the algorithm applies some intelligent smoothing to make the edited video appear more natural.

We humans aren’t smart enough to not trust what our eyes and ears tell us. If we see a video of someone saying something, we’re going to believe she said it.