Friday, August 14, 2009

Google: Ørsted

I got a charge out of today's Google logo mod.I have a colleague who takes some level of offense at what Google does or doesn't do with their logo modifications (Google Doodles). Such is his right. And I suppose it's my right to consider such ranting to be silly. He and I disagree on more things than we agree on, so it all works out.

Anyway, good for Google for throwing some props to good ol' Hans Christian on the occasion of his 232nd birthday. More details from The Guardian's Technology Blog.

If I might, I'd like to make a pitch to my physics-teaching colleagues: Can we go with "Ørsted" rather than "Oersted" when writing the man's name? Once upon a time, typesetting was limited and work-arounds had to be made. But the 1950s are over. Computers have replaced typewriters. Proportional fonts have replaced monospaced ones. Type one space (not two) after a period. And make use of that international character set when appropriate!


UPDATE: Apparently some searchers thought today's Google Doodle was a bomb. Sigh.


Eric W. said...

I wouldn't say monospace fonts are dead. Obviously you've never opened on that shiny MacBook Pro of yours. :)

Stevie Ray said...

Ørsted? - it’s ØK with µe!

Lee Trampleasure said...

"Ørsted" vs "Oersted"

I wouldn't fuss over this too much. Clearly, when we write a Chinese or Arabic name in English, we use the English letters that best approximate the sound of the word. So, since the Ø is not in the English language, if we want our students to know how to pronounce it, it may be useful to use "Oe" (although honestly I'm not sure how I'd pronounce that if I had never heard it before).

I'd much rather focus on people using only one space after a period, and using bold instead of typing in all caps :-)

Dean Baird said...

@Eric: When you turn in a paper that you wrote in, send me a copy and I'll retract my plea.

@Lee: We all have access to the so-called "international set" on our computers these days, so I recommend that we accent, umlaut, etc., where appropriate. It makes us look less parochial, and I'm all for that. No need to shelter kids from non-English characters. We teach them most of the Greek alphabet in physics!

My understanding is that Ørsted is correctly pronounced "UR sted," not "OR sted." The spelling "Oersted" doesn't inform *me* of pronunciation clues that the simpler (English) "Orsted" doesn't.

Chinese, Arabic, etc., characters may someday become as easily accessible as the international character set is today. But that bridge is too far down the road for me to cross it just yet.

Dean Baird said...

I just noticed that Facebook flags "jalapeno" as a typo, but accepts jalapeño as correct. So does Blogger.

Eric W. said...

I've written pieces of significant length in vim before.

Eric W. said...

Also, about using Oe for Ø: The same substitution is made for ö in German (and is common within the German language, not just used by us silly Amurricans), and the two letters have similar phonetic values. Pucker your lips and make the normal English "o" sound, and that's what it sounds like. It's similar to the French nasal "u" sound. But who cares about the French, really.