Archive for November, 2009

Beautiful, Seasonal, Notey

November 26, 2009
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Oxford Dictionary Word of 2009: UNFRIEND

November 17, 2009

Signifies the impact of Facebook on the culture. Unfriend means to remove someone as a friend on Facebook. As in, “I decided to unfriend my roommate on Facebook after we had a fight.” Just looking back at the words of the year for the past five years is fun. Tells us what we think is important in western culture:

— 2008 HYPERMILING: Keeping the tires on your car properly inflated to maximize your gas mileage and doing other things like removing roof racks.

— 2007 LOCAVORE: Eating locally grown food (in sync then with the seasons and the environment; not a big carbon footprint attached to your food either). Speaking of which, the word for 2006 was…

— 2006 CARBON NEUTRAL: Being carbon neutral involves calculating your total climate-damaging carbon emissions, reducing them where possible, and then balancing your remaining emissions, often by purchasing a carbon offset: paying to plant new trees or investing in “green” technologies such as solar and wind power

— 2005 PODCAST:  defined as “a digital recording of a radio broadcast or similar program, made available on the Internet for downloading to a personal audio player”. Seems almost old-fashioned now. SO mid 00s!

— 2004 BLOG: was Merriam Webster’s word of 2004; Oxford had it as the word of the Year in 2003!

Cultural barometer, for sure, this word of the year. From Susie Dent’s fanboys and overdogs:

1908 — Dow Jones
1918 — D-Day
1923 — environmentalism (interesting)
1947 — pop single
1959 — Barbie
1971 — gonzo
1980 — Reaganomics
1988 — vogueing
2000 — speed dating

The culture NOW, as reflected by THE WORD, is green focused and tech focused! What will the themes be in the next decade?

Wormonauts

November 17, 2009

This is simply a repost of today’s article on Schott’s blog, but it’s so good, and my mind is so full of worms since last night’s episode of House, that I think everyone will find it interesting: most especially the fact that 80% of a worm’s genetic makeup is identical to human. Talk about global connections!

Headline: Worms sent into outer space!

Reporting ahead of the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis, which will transport more than 4,000 Caenorhabditis elegans worms into space, Jacqui Goddard wrote in The Times of London:

The British wormonauts will spend 11 days in orbit more than 200 miles above the Earth, travelling 4.5 million miles, as part of a study that is expected to have important implications for future human space travellers.

Scientists at the the University of Nottingham, England, spent more than a year preparing for the wormonauts’ mission. According to Goddard, the worms are considered a good model for studying human physiology – in this instance, muscle wastage caused by space travel – because they share up to 80 percent of their genetic make-up with humans.
[from Schott’s Vocab, NY Times, 11/17/2009]

DJ Hero

November 5, 2009

What do you get when you combine karaoke with Guitar Hero?  DJ Hero!  Similar to Guitar Hero, being an expert gives you no edge on the competition.  But, fun rules and the reviews look good.  Let your secret Eminem shine…

dj-hero