19 November 2004


In chess, an isolani is a pawn that does not have any friendly pawns in neighboring files. This is a frequent result of various gambits and counter-gambits, and creating an opposing isolani is a frequent object of high-level players. An isolani is considered a weak point in the pawn structure—and, at master level and above, one's pawn structure is a critical indicator of one's strength. Such weak points often become the focus of attacks, with many of the more-powerful pieces on both sides ranged in attack or defense of the isolani.

The IPKat notes another instance of European isolationism at work (naturally enough, involving the French language). Given that France and Benelux are the European exponents of strong droit morale—so much stronger that it causes an immense amount of difficulty when dealing with, say, photographs originating there—it seems to me that there's little excuse for publishing a finding that one of those nations is not complying with EU copyright law in French only. But I can't say I'm entirely surprised.

Americans, though, are much more famous for our linguistic isolationism than are them durned furriners. Today's Frankfurter Rundschau includes a fascinating and educational piece on as Islamic demonstration against terrorism in Köln involving 30,000 people. Many of the people who most need to read the piece won't, though, as it's in German—and particularly colloquial German at that.

Finally, though, some hard numbers are starting to come in on record-company profits in the age of digital music—and they're not nearly as gloomy as the RIAA (for one) would have you believe. Of course, that's in Europe; but then, there are more people in Europe than in the US, and the size of the market shouldn't really matter, should it?