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What is Lorem Ipsum?

Sorry for the conspicuous lack of post last week – would you believe some roadworks cut through my phone line?  I mean, without internet, what’s the point in getting out of bed?  Anyway, onwards and upwards, tally ho!

Lorem Ipsum

Have you ever seen the following text anywhere?

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Lorem Ipsum, as it is called, is simply dummy placeholder text used in typesetting since the 1500s and now often used in web design too.  It’s used to show what the font and layout will look like without distracting you with real content.  It has a relatively normal distribution of letters so looks like normal text even if it looks odd on closer inspection.  It looks much better than this:

Content here content here content here content here content here content here content here content here content here.  Content here content here content here content here content here content here content here.  Content here content here content here content here content here content here content here content here content here content here.  Content here content here content here content here content here content here.

But it’s not just random pseudo-Latin text that someone made up.  It comes from a book by Cicero in 45 B.C. and therefore is over 2000 years old (2058, to be precise).  The book is called “de Finibus Bonorum et Malorum” (The Extremes of Good and Evil) and is a thrilling treatise on ethics.  Lorem Ipsum is not an exact copy of the passage but is similar enough for the connection to be obvious.  Here is a bit of a translation of the original text:

No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.

There, now you know what Lorem Ipsum is and instead of saying “what’s all this flipping Latin for?”, you can now say “Ah this is Cicero – no one rejects…”.  All this information came from lipsum.com by the way; go there for more juicy Lorem Ipsum facts and a generator.

If Cicero seems a bit dull, there are lots of alternatives out there, although some are more serious than others.  Here’s a few:

That’s it, but before I go, here’s something I came across recently:  Coffitivity.  The idea is that ambiant noise helps with creative work by keeping you alert but also calm.

Bye chaps, see you next week, unless they cut my phone line again!  Fingers crossed.

11th May 2013

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