Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tonal Lego Language

Intonations and Inflections to save confusion for users both young and old
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
  [vote for,

OK, here goes my first post, and I'll freely admit the idea is a direct influence of Boxjam's Doodle (see link), but no-one seems to have made the jump to actually suggesting it.

The problem is this: When delving into the bottom of your lego box with your friend/ brother/ sister/ son/ daughter/ neices/ nephews/ friend's kid, desperately searching for a block, how do you easily differentiate between a two by four block, a one by four block and a two by two block? They were all called four-ers when I was younger. Add the one by eight block and all the permutations that the flat and beveled pieces added, and you can see why the tonal system needs to be systemized (systemised?) and implemented.

Of course, the other possibility is that it already exists, and I'm just tone deaf...

yamahito, May 05 2002

Boxjam's Doodle http://www.boxjamsd...com/d/20011119.html
The comic that is the inspiration.. [yamahito, May 05 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Cactus Jack http://www.bbc.co.u...2/alabaster/A330427
About halfway down. [calum, May 06 2002]

Rayford's piece finder http://www.halfbake..._20Divining_20Stick
I want one. [yamahito, May 08 2002, last modified Oct 17 2004]


       So that I better understand: Are you proposing that the various lego blocks all emit a different audible tone when they are touched?
bristolz, May 05 2002

       No, just that there is some verbal way of descriminating different sorts of lego simply.
yamahito, May 05 2002

       Ah, the link cleared it up.  Maybe the word "intonation" or "inflection" would work better? Or not . . . perhaps I am just slow.
bristolz, May 05 2002

       Pastrifying this just because I love legos, and always suffered from lego communication difficulties. I had a ten-gallon oil-drum filled with 'em, and finding the right one took forever. I needed some sort of divining stick to find the one I wanted. Maybe they could be encoded with digital chips according to type, and you could have some sort of programmable finder that would beep when you got close.
RayfordSteele, May 05 2002

       This could create a whole new type of abstract art form: random lego constructions based on classic songs.
RayfordSteele, May 05 2002

       How many permutations could you create with a simple word like "four" just by pronunciation? Rember that "FOUR!" must be reserved for incoming golfballs. To cover all the colors and configurations of a x4 Lego, I'd think you need a lot. Could this be applied to other things too? For example, instead of a thousand different dog breeds, just go back to "dog", but say it slightly different for each breed. OK, one step further, only say "thing", but how you precisely say it might imply anything from a Miniature Poodle to a 2x2 Red Lego. This is getting difficult, but no one ever said eliminating those goddamn adjectives was going to be easy.
spartanica, May 06 2002

       How about adopting one of the African languages that use a lot of "clicks" ?
half, May 06 2002

       a 2 x 4 is properly called an Eric.
po, May 06 2002

       UnaBubba: yup, except the "problem" becomes the solution.   

       Spartanica: I wasn't thinking of going so far as to tackle colours too...   

       If you were to stipulate that you called all bricks by the number of bumps on the longest side, I think you'd only really need four variations.   

       po: what's the story behind that?
yamahito, May 06 2002

       A 2x4 lego brick is properly called a "Cactus Jack." Aaaah, memories.
calum, May 06 2002

       Wow: already two (non-numerical) contenders for a 2x4.. so c'mon po, calum, which is it? And why? I'm bursting with curiosity..
yamahito, May 06 2002

       This was the system that me and my brother developed:   

       Where n is a whole number
A block of 2x'n' is called a 'n'
A block of 1x'n' is called a Single 'n'
A block of 2x10 (the biggest) is called a 'Long'

       When it is a plate piece
A plate of 4x'n' is called a Flat 'n'
A plate of 2x'n' is called a Double flat 'n'
A plate of 1x'n' is called a Single flat 'n'

[ sctld ], May 06 2002

       I say [ sctld ]'s solution is pretty good.  Hard to beat the simplicity.
bristolz, May 06 2002

       [bristolz]: yeah, I guess... it's just that four syllables seem so long..   

       It just needs to be standardised. Perhaps they could teach it in primary schools?   

       [calum]: Ok, now I feel *really* dumb..   

       [blissmiss]: sorry, I'll try to contain myself.
yamahito, May 06 2002

       If it makes you feel any better syllable-wise, the most common pieces ('n' & Flat 'n') have a maximum of two syllables.   

       The system is actually fully complete, and just so that i can label this idea baked, i may document it fully.   

       In fact, test me with any Lego piece, and i will amaze and astound you by correctly naming it using the [ sctld ] old time good stuff lego naming tonic- er, i mean system.
[ sctld ], May 06 2002

       Hmmm... how 'bout bevels?
yamahito, May 06 2002

       windows and top roof bits (known to us professionals as alfreds and jesses
po, May 06 2002

       2x2 bevels : Outer Roof Corner/ Inner Roof Corner   

       2x'n' Roof top bit : Roof Cap 'n' (followed by 'Flat' or 'Steep', depending on type of roof brick required)   

       1x4 Window : Thin Window 2x4 Window : Thick Window Both can be postfixed with 'With Glass' or 'With Shutters' or 'With Glass & Shutters'.
[ sctld ], May 06 2002

       You've already used flat for the thin ones.
yamahito, May 06 2002

       Yes, but when you use the prefix roof, it should tell you that there are only two types of roof tyles : the ones that are 3-wide, and the ones that are 2-wide. Flat refers to the 3-wide, since they have an almost flat gradient in comparison. Steep, of course, refers to the 2-wide roof bricks as they are steep in comparison to the 3-wide roof bricks.   

       The 3-wide roof tiles are like the roof version of the Flats, where as the 2-wide roof tiles are the block version.
[ sctld ], May 06 2002

       I can see you publishing a book on this, sctld. And I'd buy it. But somehow it seems so... sensible.   

       I'm going to go learn cantonese as a first step on the road to tonal enlightenment...
yamahito, May 06 2002

       Kind of put a damper on your whole plan, didn't it? Mahaha!
[ sctld ], May 06 2002

       My mum always taught me never to trust anyone who said MwuHahahaha! ... And that tidy, logical mind, turning like razor sharp clockwork confirms my suspicions..
yamahito, May 06 2002

       ..with a simile, in this case, huh?
yamahito, May 06 2002

       1 by 4: Ishi   

       2 by 4: Nishi
juuitchan3, May 07 2002

       RayfordSteele: "Maybe they could be encoded with digital chips according to type, and you could have some sort of programmable finder that would beep when you got close."   

       How about: a programmable glove; hook it up to your PC, use the special Lego database to select the shape and colour of brick you're after, slip glove onto hand, delve into that ten gallon tub of lego, stir it around a bit, pull it out and there, clinging to the glove like burrs to a wooly jumper, are the parts you seek.   

       It works using nano-cro (tm), velcro on an atomicly small scale. The bricks look smooth, but each one is covered with the tiniest, wee-est loops possible, of a shape individual to the brick type and colour. The glove is covered in prehensile bristles or hooks which can be adjusted to pick up a designated loop type. This would never work.   


       Each brick is potentially electro-magnetic. The glove is permanently magnetic and transmits a signal to switch on specific brick types.
Saveloy, May 08 2002

       Saveloy: Rayford already did this one: see link. He didn't do the magnetism bit, though I did think about it. Problem is, what do you do with all your pre-magnetised lego?
yamahito, May 08 2002

       Thanks for the link, yamahito, I hadn't seen that thread. The advantage of the glove over the stick (sounds like the start of a good aphorism...) is that it doesn't just locate the brick, it picks it up too. As for pre-magnetised bricks, I'm not sure what you mean; are you referring to specialist lego bricks that are magnetic *already* (ie its part of their normal design), or are you assuming that once a brick has been instructed to magnify itself, it will remain magnetic? If the latter, I'd make it so that the bricks only stay magnetic (electro-magnets, remember) whilst receiving the signal from the glove, which would have a very short range. Or you could just switch the glove off. Summat like that.
Saveloy, May 08 2002

       By premagnetised bricks, I mean all the ones in the box under my bed at home
yamahito, May 08 2002

       I used to just tip the whole box out over the playroom floor and crawl around till I found what I wanted. No need for speech since (could you have guessed?!) I was an only child. Always left me with interesting dents in my knees, though.

The kids these days don't need this system, although it sounds sensible and pretty much foolproof they way you are describing it. These days they have so many more pieces than the standard bricks and bevels. It's really a shame, all the unusal sets we used to get (Technics and Scientific) alongside the dominant basic bricks and bevels, are now the only stuff you can get. I should think it limits the inventiveness you can develop when the weird asymmetric and flashy things only fit a few others. The flashiest things in my collection were differently coloured head visors for the little chaps.
sappho, May 08 2002

       I believe you are confusing identification and Permutations. ID is an 1 X 4 or a 2 X 4 legos and, A permutation is an algorithm that continues to infinity, and equals something as it approaches its definition.   

       like define X squared in 2 or 3 dimensional space as x becomes closer and closer to 0.   

       I learned all this useless Einstein Math and Nuclear Particles concepts in High school and additional college from a professor from france with 2 different color shoes he taught us Einstein Geometry. He was thrown out for not teaching us Calculus II. he had his own books that he xeroxed to the class.
Bixbyte, May 24 2002

       I like to hope that, after GCSEs, A-levels and four years of degree study, I know a little about maths, but I'd just like to say   


       I think the word permutation was used here as "an ordered arrangement of the numbers or terms of a set" which is an acceptable definition in terms of language usage. Not the same as the precise one I was taught in Stats, but Mathematics is not the only language...
yamahito, May 24 2002

       Advanced lego Calculus: why it isn't taught, I'm not certain. You could approximate all sorts of integrals with legos...
RayfordSteele, May 24 2002

       I'd also like to say that when I said differentiate...
yamahito, May 24 2002

       Hi yamahito,   

       My father did not give me Legos. He taught me Chess and he gave me a Camera when I was about 5 years old. I have shot many photos and learned how to beat my teacher of chess. I never played Legos. Wish I did!
Bixbyte, May 27 2002

       its called LEGO, not legos [Bixbyte] you poor thing, and that does so explain such a lot.
po, May 27 2002

       //Both wrong. A 2x4 is called an "enforcer".//   

       OK [UnaBubba], I give up; what is it that you were able to enforce by means of a two-by-four length of Lego? And did it hurt much?
pertinax, Jun 20 2006

       Stupid little firefighter figure would not pay protection money to prevent his fire house from being deconstructed. Sent a couple of guys with a 'four' to convince him.
methinksnot, Jun 20 2006


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