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.: January 2010 --> January 2010

January 2010

» In his survey of the history of Modern English, Rutgers University English professor Jack Lynch argues that the English language is in great shape - Exhibit A: SMS shorthand. To break the rules, you have to know the rules! And this intriguing idea: "All the signs point to a fundamentally reconfigured world in which what we now think of as the English-speaking world will eventually lose its effective control of the English language." His book is The Lexicographer's Dilemma, and it sounds just fabulous to me. (via mamr)  [ 01.04.10 ]

» Goodbye Brad. Thank you for showing us what it means to be a hero (from An Interview with Brad Graham).

 [ 01.06.10 ]

» NYT: A large study has found that women with partners tend to put on more weight than single women, whether or not they have children. Associate Professor of Epidemiology Maureen A. Murtaugh has suggested that women with partners may have more active social lives and therefore spend more time eating in restaurants. "They serve a 6-foot man the same amount as they serve me, even though I'm 5 feet 5 inches and 60 pounds lighter," she reasons. But I think she has this exactly wrong.

My guess would be that there are 2 factors at work:

1) Single women have a greater investment in maintaining their figures in order to maximize their attractiveness. Or maybe it's more accurate to say that women who have settled down stop caring about a few extra pounds as long as their partner still finds them attractive.

2) It's a drag to cook for one, but it can be very rewarding to cook for an appreciative audience. I spent many years cooking for myself, but eventually I began eating more meals in restaurants, and then all of them. Cooking for myself was just too much trouble. But when a new boyfriend entered the scene, my interest in cooking would rekindle.

And, while restaurant portions are big, most home recipes are portioned for 4 people. The cook may intend to save half the pot to freeze for another meal, but when 2 hungry people sit down to a delicious meal, and there's more right there on the table.... Well, that food in the middle of the table is already paid for, and it always seems that just a little bit more won't hurt.

Is there a similar study for men? Or is science only concerned about the size of women's bottoms? / (1) Comments / [ 01.07.10 ]

» Everyone's linking to it for a reason: If you haven't yet read Roger Ebert's reflections on losing the ability to eat, drink, and talk, do it now.  [ 01.07.10 ]

» A Little Weekend Reading: Two Gentlemen of Lebowski. Prithee enjoy.  [ 01.08.10 ]

» Michael Kinsley thinks he knows why readers are abandoning newspapers for the Internet. Hint: it has nothing to do with technology. (Although the inverted pyramid style does: sequencing facts in order from most important to least important allowed the typesetter to shorten any story to fit the available space without concern that important details might be lost.)  [ 01.08.10 ]

» In order to combat binge drinking, a top UK girl's school is organizing wine tastings for their 16-year-olds. (via se)  [ 01.11.10 ]

» NYT: 10 Ways to Cut Your Travel Costs This Year.  [ 01.12.10 ]

» The Great Joe Rollino has passed on at age 104. Never heard of him? Neither had I - but his story is too good to miss.  [ 01.12.10 ]

» Why Marlowe is still the chief of detectives. (via mamr)  [ 01.13.10 ]

» Haiti Disaster Relief: How to Contribute.  [ 01.13.10 ]

» NYT: Jane Brody on the secrets to living long and well: Diet and exercise.

In a 2006 study of people aged 60 to 79, those who were assigned to walk briskly three days a week for 45 minutes a day experienced an increase in the brain's volume, especially in regions involved in memory, planning and multitasking.

Nuff said.  [ 01.14.10 ]

» A Little Weekend Reading: Is the US exporting its forms (and fashions) of mental illness to other cultures?

"We might think of the culture as possessing a 'symptom repertoire' -- a range of physical symptoms available to the unconscious mind for the physical expression of psychological conflict," Edward Shorter, a medical historian at the University of Toronto, wrote in his book "Paralysis: The Rise and Fall of a 'Hysterical' Symptom." "In some epochs, convulsions, the sudden inability to speak or terrible leg pain may loom prominently in the repertoire. In other epochs patients may draw chiefly upon such symptoms as abdominal pain, false estimates of body weight and enervating weakness as metaphors for conveying psychic stress."
[...] There is now good evidence to suggest that in the process of teaching the rest of the world to think like us, we've been exporting our Western "symptom repertoire" as well. That is, we've been changing not only the treatments but also the expression of mental illness in other cultures. Indeed, a handful of mental-health disorders - depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and anorexia among them - now appear to be spreading across cultures with the speed of contagious diseases. These symptom clusters are becoming the lingua franca of human suffering, replacing indigenous forms of mental illness.

 [ 01.15.10 ]

» What would Martin Luther King tweet? Phenomenal. (via @anildash)  [ 01.18.10 ]

» Genius! Garter stitch in the round, with no purling. (via tk)  [ 01.19.10 ]

» Tomorrow, January 20, 2010, profits from any app you buy from Indie+Relief will be donated to Haiti.  [ 01.19.10 ]

» Robin Sloane applies the lessons of economics to writing and making other art.

Flow is the feed. It's the posts and the tweets. It's the stream of daily and sub-daily updates that remind peo­ple that you exist.
Stock is the durable stuff. It's the con­tent you pro­duce that's as inter­est­ing in two months (or two years) as it is today. It's what peo­ple dis­cover via search. It's what spreads slowly but surely, build­ing fans over time.
I feel like flow is ascen­dant these days, for obvi­ous reasons - but we neglect stock at our own peril.

It's all true. After this page, the most popular parts of this site are my Zoom Teeth Whitening Caution (it hurts!) and Eating Organic on a Food Stamp Budget which, people tell me, they "read like a novel".

Robin may overestimate the rate of flow which is necessary to keep you on the radar, but she is absolutely correct in understanding that it is a necessary mix. (via @jayrosen_nyu)  [ 01.20.10 ]

» Stop me if you've heard this one before: A man walks into not one, but two, cell phone stores eager to buy a phone. In both stores, the staff is so uninterested in responding to his needs that he ends up not buying anything.... The cell phone industry is surely on a par with cable providers in its avaricious and cavalier attitude toward its customers.  [ 01.21.10 ]

» Dahlia Lithwick: Why aren't we talking about the new accusations of murder at Gitmo?

Scott Horton's devastating new exposé of the possible murders of three prisoners at Guantanamo in 2006 is...simply too terrible to allow to be true. Which is why it has been mostly ignored this week in the mainstream American media.

Read it and judge for yourself.  [ 01.21.10 ]

» Smart pills are a "disruptive innovation about to happen".

When one of Proteus's pills is taken, stomach fluids activate the edible communications device it contains, which sends wireless signals through the body to another chip worn as a skin patch or embedded just under the skin. That, in turn, can upload data to a smart-phone or send it to a doctor via the internet. Thus it is easy to make sure a patient is taking his pills at the right time, to spot adverse reactions with other drugs and so on.

Don't miss the caption on the photo. (via MikeK)  [ 01.22.10 ]

» String Theorist Erik Verlinde has proposed that gravity is an entropic force emerging from the fundamental properties of space and time.

To understand what Verlinde is proposing, consider the concept of fluidity in water. Individual molecules have no fluidity, but collectively they do. Similarly, the force of gravity is not something ingrained in matter itself. It is an extra physical effect, emerging from the interplay of mass, time and space, says Verlinde.

"It is not even a theory yet, but a proposal for a new paradigm or framework. All the hard work comes now." - Erik Verlinde  [ 01.22.10 ]

» Two weeks ago, when Google announced that it would no longer censor search results in China, half of the Internet jumped for joy, and the other half sneered with cynicism that Google hadn't been doing that well in China anyway.

In its announcement, Google stated that Chinese attackers have accessed 2 Gmail accounts and stolen intellectual property - Google company secrets. Additionally, Google has found evidence that, independent of this attack, Gmail accounts belonging to advocates for Chinese human rights have been routinely accessed by third parties, probably as a result of poor security practices on the part of those individuals. As a result, Google has announced that they "have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on".

Wait - how did Google jump from "We have been the subject of an attack" to "We will no longer censor search results in China?". I think I know.

Continue reading entry »
/ (3) Comments / [ 01.26.10 ]

» Robin Sloan on the ways in which people are using interface elements as storytelling devices. Watch this Google ad (my favorite) and tell me if it isn't a perfect short story. Yes, understanding the narrative depends on a great deal of context - they used to call that "allusion" back when stories were told on paper. (via waxy)  [ 01.26.10 ]

» Plus this: Scheduling recess before lunch results in less food waste, higher consumption of milk, fruit, vegetables, and water, increased academic time, and fewer behavior problems. Not only are the kids not rushing lunch to get to recess, I'll bet they are hungrier when they sit down, and less likely to turn their noses up at foods they might have been skeptical about before. "Kids are calmer after they've had recess first. They feel like they have more time to eat and they don't have to rush." Janet Sinkewicz, principal of Sharon Elementary School in Robbinsville, N.J. / (2) Comments / [ 01.27.10 ]

» Exercise is anti-aging at a cellular level! Scientists are wondering how much exercise is necessary to see these effects; I'm wondering if the effects are as profound if you start exercising at a later age (or if the exercise will just stop you where you are when you start).  [ 01.27.10 ]

» The roughly 20-year-old delivery man upon soliciting my signature: "You are 21 aren't you?" Me, grinning: "I know it's hard to tell sometimes." Young man, I salute you!  [ 01.27.10 ]

» Seven tips from a home baker. I think it may be time for me to start mastering sourdough and other naturally leavened breads. WildYeast and The Fresh Loaf as good starter (ha ha!) resources.  [ 01.28.10 ]

» Wow. Stephen Fry is a convert.

There are many issues you could have with the iPad. No multitasking, still no Flash. No camera, no GPS. They all fall away the minute you use it. I cannot emphasise enough this point: "Hold your judgment until you've spent five minutes with it". No YouTube film, no promotional video, no keynote address, no list of features can even hint at the extraordinary feeling you get from actually using and interacting with one of these magical objects. [...] The moment you experience it in your hands you know this is class. This is a different order of experience. The speed, the responsiveness, the smooth glide of it, the richness and detail of the display, the heft in your hand, the rightness of the actions and gestures that you employ, untutored and instinctively, it's not just a scaled up iPhone or a scaled-down multitouch enhanced laptop - it is a whole new kind of device. And it will change so much.
Newspapers, magazines, literature, academic text books, brochures, fliers and pamphlets are going to be transformed (poor Kindle). Specific dedicated apps and enhancements will amaze us. You will see characters in movies use the iPad. Jack Bauer will want to return for another season of 24 just so he can download schematics and track vehicles on it. Bond will have one. Jason Bourne will have one. Some character, in a Tron like way, might even be trapped in one.

I've been mostly uninterested in this device, but this review has me curious. And Mr. Fry is the second person I've heard describe the device as "magical". I wonder if that's because they were primed by the keynote to use that term, or if it really is that?  [ 01.28.10 ]

» Five Ways the iPad Will Change Magazine Design. (via @jayrosen_nyu)  [ 01.28.10 ]



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