Salmoneus wrote:Besides, clockiness is confusing, because as the famous observation (Turing? Or one of his colleagues? can't remember) goes, clocks actually run anticlockwise.
Wait, what? Can you elucidate?
They run anticlockwise if you're the clock.
The hands appear to turn clockwise when you look at the clock from the front. But if you were the clock, you would feel your hands turning anticlockwise. [Or, if you prefer, the hands turn anticlockwise from the perspective of somebody inside (imagine you're looking through the face of Big Ben, for instance), or behind, the clock]
The context was cryptography, and it's a general "think outside the box" reminder, but more specifically it was about getting into the mindset of things like cryptographic processes, where the same thing is seen from two different directions (the sender and the receiver), for whom many things are opposite. Or not. For instance, it's sort of counterintuitive that if someone inside (or behind) a clock moves the hands forward ten minutes, somebody looking at the clock wanting to reverse
the effect has to repeat
the motion. [from behind the clock, I turn the hands 10 minutes anticlockwise. To reverse this, you, in front of the clock, also
turn the hands another
10 minutes anticlockwise (from your perspective)].
Anyway, it's not a blinding insight, but it's an interesting thought. And in this case, points out that the term "clockwise" requires not only knowledge of a convention about how clocks work, but also additional knowledge about assumed viewing points - it's easy to imagine a culture that judges motion relative to the thing moving, and hence sees clocks as moving anticlockwise. Indeed, in English, we typically say that someone has turned "left" or "right" relative the person themselves, even though this actually means they've turned right or left from out perspective (if I turn left, the visible parts of my body move to the right from the point of view of an observer), which, again, we don't have to do.
linguoboy: actually the original context was about ties, in the late 19th century. I ran into several remarks about "poplin ties", and finding out what poplin was linked me to rep, which is like poplin. Leading me to have no bloody clue what the difference is between a poplin tie and a rep tie.