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Mark Atwood
There is no standard central registry of names in the US. Your "legal name" is whatever you say it is, with the restriction that you may not change your name to commit fraud or try to avoid a debt. The flip side of that is you have very few avenues to force anyone else to encode or display your name in the manner you prefer. If you change your name or have a name that is awkward to deal with, the obligation is generally on you to work out a working relationship with everyone else who needs to know your name.

A "legal name change" is just a helpful service provided by your local government court that lets you publicly declare and record a new name, bound to your previous name, on standard papers that other government agencies and various private organizations MAY (but not MUST) pay attention to.

There are multiple issuing authorities for IDs. Public, private, commercial, corporate, educational, military, government, ... An authority to issue IDs reaches only as far as their legal mandate, and no farther, except by rough consensus and a need to make stuff work.

Each issuing authority gets to have their own regularization rules and database schema. They will pick what works for them, and have very little interest or budget in completely reworking their databases and processes to accommodate someone who is being a pain in their ass.

Whenever you intersect with government, just expect ascii7 smashing.

US banking know-your-customer rules require ascii7 smashed names for account holders, both individuals and companies, to interface to government banking regulators and auditors.

The US interstate Driver License Compact imposes ascii7 smashing and length limits, for database and lookup compatibility reasons. When a cop looks at your DL (which you do have to give him if he's detained you while you are driving a car), it had better match what pops up on his terminal when he enters the the license# and/or the plate#, or you may be are about to have a bad day.

Things don't get a lot better when dealing with passports, from any country.

Passports impose ascii7 (with various accent composition hacks) and length limits, by treaty.

Different countries impose additional different rules and length limits, for reasons various and mostly stupid. Some countries try to appear to still permit accent marks, by trying to encode accents using various slightly different composition encodings layered on top of ascii7, and hoping that everyone uses the same encoding. This kind of sort of mostly works, except when it doesn't.

Passports from countries with widespread non-latin charsets will require an ascii7 smashed name, and often require a specific approved romanization algorithm, or an approved thesaurus, or both. Such a passport MAY have an additional field for the name in a local charset, but that is entirely at the option of the issuing authority.

What is printed on the passport photo page should match whats printed in the "machine readable zone", which should match whats on the rfid chip. "Should".

Most countries require air, sea, and rail carriers to pre-transmit passenger manifest before arrival. The names on those manifests also get ascii7-smashed, and any accent composition stripped, and had better match what's printed in your passport, or you are going to have a rough time boarding at departure, or clearing passport control at arrival.

Internal and external passports in China used to also require a field encoding the name in the form of Chinese telegraphy numbers, to sidestep transliteration issues between the various Chinese languages. I don't know if it still does.
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When I first was taught how to write, the ampersand glyph was not in the lesson plan. And every time I tried to "draw the character", it came out looking horribly wrong. I gave up, and for my own personal notes, I would use an idiosyncratic glyph that looked like a joined plus sign instead. Until finally, I decided I was going to fix that, and found a youtube video of someone writing the glyph. Aha, I had been doing it backwards! Now I do it correctly, and it looks correct

This little story unfolds a bit larger. Looking at a letter on a page no more teaches how to scribe it than looking at a photograph of a drawing teaches how to draw.

I love the concept of writing glyphs that are beyond the standard "latin letters and arabic numerals, with accents". I love "lost letters" and various conscripts. But without stroke order information, and preferably videos, I can learn to read them, but not learn to write them.

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In the original Ender's Game novel and original trilogy, the Formics' entire moral justification was: "We were only intending to commit a home invasion and armed robbery of someone else's home, steal all their stuff, throw them out of their home, and beat them up while we do it."

The whole "we didn't mean to actually kill anyone" on their part has a lot less foundation to it, once you realize that.

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What books have you read in a language other than one you know?

When I was studying French in public school, I read three books in that language: "Le Petit Prince", "La Belle et la Bête" (very abridged short version), and the first volume of "Valérian et Laureline". I read them by making enlarged photocopies, and then grinding over them by hand with a pencil and a dictionary. (There was, of course, no Google Translate back in those days.)

Have you ever done anything similar?
What language and what book?
How did you do it?

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Current Location: Seattle
Current Music: YellowBrickCinema’s Study Music & Concentration Music

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I'm about 20% of the way through reading Moira Greyland Peat's horrifying childhood autobiography "The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon", and I'm having to keep a firm grip on a pressurizing bubble of rage, disgust, and horror.

I knew it was bad, but I hadn't realized how bad it was. And what's worse, is the reality was again even worse than what she has put in the book, since she said she's left many things out of the book that she was not able to separately corroborate.

People knew. Lots of people knew. Lots of people still knew, who now surely are hoping they die of comfortable old age before Moira's book prompt more people to remember, and speak what they remember, and name the people they remember...

(I just wrote, erased, rewrote, and erased again a number of paragraphs here. I may let it keep getting reworked in my head, and I may write it out again later.)

Burn it all, with white hot fire.

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I'm normally known to be pretty chill about "newcomers" to Seattle, as they keep coming and coming and coming... I've only lived here 18 years myself. I moved here myself.

BUT

There is a class of newcomer that I too am losing my patience with.

They are recognizable by their shiny new luxury car, almost always a BMW, and their leathery tan skin and expensive non-northwest-style clothes, and they are DEFINED by their very aggressive speedy driving style, lots of zooming squealing, and their willingness to blare their horn whenever they see someone in front of them who is not as as aggressive or as speedy as them.

Every week more and more of them infest South Lake Union, and infest the rest of Seattle, and infest the surrounding exurbs. Zoom zoom screech screech honk honk.

Some of them have been overheard to complain about the overly yielding overly polite style of Seattle drivers. Something about 'if only everyone drove more aggressively, we could all get everywhere faster", and what I hear is "if we were all assholes, we could all be assholes together".

No, they are just assholes, and I'm getting tired of it, and tired of them. This is not SF, this is not LA, this is not NYC, this is not DC, and this is especially not Masshole Boston. People who want to bring their type-A personality "get the hell out of my way, I'm an important person on my way to important meetings" asshole driving culture with them, are not welcome here.

Unfortunately, I don't know what to do about them

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Current Location: South Lake Union, Seattle, Washington

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When I was taking an Uber to the SEA airport last week, there was streaming music running on the stereo in the car. Not too loud, just low background music.

Toward the end of the ride, as the car turned off the exit to the airport, "Sabotage" came on.

I waited a bit, for the extended guitar riff in the middle, and then asked from the back seat, "Isn't that Classical Music?"

The driver waited a measure, and then right on cue, said "Yes, Doctor, it would seem to be."

He got 5 stars, AND a tip.

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The following parable narrative never stops being appropriate:

===
Me: I don't want to take away dog owners' rights. But we need to do something about Rottweilers.
You: So what do you propose?
Me: I just think that there should be some sort of training or restrictions on owning an attack dog.
You: Wait. What's an "attack dog?"
Me: You know what I mean. Like military dogs.
You: Huh? Rottweilers aren't military dogs. In fact "military dogs" isn't a thing. You mean like German Shepherds?
Me: Don't be ridiculous. Nobody's trying to take away your German Shepherds. But civilians shouldn't own fighting dogs.
You: I have no idea what dogs you're talking about now.
Me: You're being both picky and obtuse. You know I mean hounds.
You: What the fuck.
Me: OK, maybe not actually ::air quotes:: hounds ::air quotes::. Maybe I have the terminology wrong. I'm not obsessed with vicious dogs like you. But we can identify kinds of dogs that civilians just don't need to own.
You: Can we?
===

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On this day in 2009, I took a long walk barefoot ankle deep in the water of the Pacific Ocean on the beach at Waikiki just after sunset, my last day there for that trip. That trip marked the beginning of the end of The Crazy Time that had consumed most of the previous year.

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When I was in college, one of my Research Assistant jobs was to do clerical and basic number crunching work for base knowledge surveys. It takes scrupulous and expensive controls to prevent roughly a third of the surveys from being randomly answered for the lulz. Even with the most scrupulous controls and careful interview technique, there is still roughly 5% noise.

In other words, any newspaper headline of a newspaper article that is a restatement of the abstract of some random paper from some random academic journal based on some survey, especially if its a prepub paper or open access journal, that is of the form of "ONE THIRD OF LILPUTIANS ARE STUPID, ACCORDING TO SURVEY", is rank bullshit, and is anti-knowledge, as in anyone who reads it is less informed afterwards than before.

Show me the survey questions, the interview technique, the responder selection process, the population size, the population demographics, the pre-survey stats oversight board approval, the post-survey stats oversight board signoff, and the raw data, and THEN we will talk.

(My lead researcher when I was a RA sat on several of those Stats Oversight Approval Boards. I got well schooled in several of the ways that a researcher could lie to themselves, knowingly and unknowingly.)

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