There are HBS cases on Deflategate ("The purpose of the case is to teach a basic introduction to analytics and statistical analysis using a topical example.") and Beyoncé’s December 2013 unannounced album drop.
Ash Wednesday is so early this year
Easter, the day Christians commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is observed on the first Sunday after the “Pascal Full Moon” (the first full moon of spring) following the spring equinox. That day always occurs on March 21, according to a decree by the early Christian Church at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. and the Gregorian calendar introduced by Pope Gregory in 1582.+++
Therefore Easter can fall on any Sunday between March 22 and April 25.
in which paneer shows up in a "Middle East" buffet
Paneer is a fresh cheese common in South Asia, especially in Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi cuisines [...] The word "paneer" is of Persian origin. The Turkish> word peynir, the Persian word panir, the Azerbaijani word panir, and the Armenian word panir (պանիր), all derived from "paneer", refers to any type of cheese. The origin of paneer itself is debated. Vedic Indian, Afghan-Iranian and Portuguese-Bengali origins have been proposed for paneer.+++
how we (can) talk to our technology
“Most people have what we would call a telephone voice, so they actually change away from their local family accent when they’re speaking on the telephone to somebody they don’t know,” said Alan Black, a Scottish computer scientist who is a professor at the Language Technologies Institute at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.+
They also have a “machine voice”, he said. “People speak to machines differently than how they speak to people. They move into a different register. If you’re standing next to somebody in an airport or at a bus stop or something, you can typically tell when they’re talking to a machine rather than talking to a person.”
Black speculated that “one of the reasons they designed Siri to be fundamentally a polite, helpful agent who isn’t your friend but works for you, is to encourage people to be somewhat polite and explicit to her, rather than being very colloquial. Because speech recognition is always hard when you drop into colloquialisms.”
With speech recognition ever more widespread and efficient, our younger generation will grow believing chats with Siri and the new Amazon Echo are routine and genuinely useful; a far cry from when calls to utility companies became stilted shouting matches with machines that had trouble understanding “yes” and “no”, never mind “put me through to a real person, for God’s sake”.
But aside from Siri, proud Texans should worry about something else.
Long before machines who could understand you, cultural and demographic shifts were already moving people towards standardized English. In fact, mass media and migration are slowly killing the Texas twang.
“The way young people in Dallas or Houston speak nowadays is a lot closer to a regional common denominator accent than to what it was 50 years ago,” said Hinrichs, who is originally from Germany and directs the Texas English Project. “I never hear any of my students sound ‘Texan’ in class any more; but they can when they go home. The accent modularizes because people are more mobile and connected with the world.”
In effect, Texans are using the “telephone voice” in everyday life, partly thanks to the effects of TV and social media and partly because the influx of arrivals from around the country and overseas, so that everyone can understand each other. It is called “accent levelling”.
“Vocabulary is the first thing to go. Then syntax and pronunciation,” he said. Double modals such as “might could” and “oughta should”, and quirky regional expressions such as “doggone it”, “shucks” and “drat it” are dying out, replaced with more mainstream dialect and an accent often described as “midwestern”.
Black thinks that in coming years, programs such as Siri will go from being aloof in style to more familiar, understanding your language patterns as if they were a close friend rather than a casual acquaintance.
“Dialogue systems at the moment work pretty well, speech recognition has got substantially better,” he said. “I think what’s probably going to happen is a much more long-term rapport. It will know more about you. It will be able to answer the question sort of before you ask it – this is one of the things that Google Now’s aim is, answer the question before you actually ask. You’ll find that you can be less specific when you’re talking because it will know the sort of things that will be relevant. If you ask the time, the machine might say something like, ‘it’s OK you’ve still got three minutes before your meeting’, because it knows that you ask the time when you’re worried about the meeting, that’s what you always do.”
In other words, the future holds less southern charm, but fewer problems getting to the rodeo.
Massachusetts town names outsiders don't know how to pronounce
The name Scituate is derived from satuit, the Wampanoag term for cold brook, which refers to a brook that runs to the inner harbor of the town.+
Worcester Name Meaning
English: habitational name from the city of Worcester, named from Old English ceaster ‘Roman fort or walled city’ (Latin castra ‘legionary camp’) + a British tribal name of uncertain origin.
Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press
"Better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both."
Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. Because this is to be asserted in general of men, that they are ungrateful, fickle, false, cowardly, covetous, and as long as you succeed they are yours entirely; they will offer you their blood, property, life and children, as is said above, when the need is far distant; but when it approaches they turn against you. And that prince who, relying entirely on their promises, has neglected other precautions, is ruined; because friendships that are obtained by payments, and not by greatness or nobility of mind, may indeed be earned, but they are not secured, and in time of need cannot be relied upon; and men have less scruple in offending one who is beloved than one who is feared, for love is preserved by the link of obligation which, owing to the baseness of men, is broken at every opportunity for their advantage; but fear preserves you by a dread of punishment which never fails. Nevertheless a prince ought to inspire fear in such a way that, if he does not win love, he avoids hatred [...]+++
Returning to the question of being feared or loved, I come to the conclusion that, men loving according to their own will and fearing according to that of the prince, a wise prince should establish himself on that which is in his own control and not in that of others; he must endeavour only to avoid hatred, as is noted.
"that Britney Spears diner song"
Suzanne Vega wrote her wordy a cappella tune "Tom’s Diner" in 1981 during a visit to a diner in her neighborhood, the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The place itself is actually called Tom’s Restaurant and would become even more famous as the exterior of the diner frequented by the characters on Seinfeld. The song appeared as the opening track on Vega’s second album, Solitude Standing, in 1987, but her label passed it over as a single in the States, going instead for “Luka,” a beautifully melodic downer about an abused child. ("Luka" reached No. 3 on Billboard’s chart, so it wasn’t a bad decision.) But “Tom’s Diner” ended up with a much longer, more interesting life full of revivals, remakes, and other shots at immortality, including a prominent sampling in Fall Out Boy’s hit “Centuries” last year and a recent, well-received cover sung by Britney Spears on the Giorgio Moroder album Déjà Vu. Some of the other highlights of “Tom’s” enduring life:+
5. THE SONG BECAME SO POPULAR, VEGA WAS ABLE TO RELEASE AN ENTIRE ALBUM OF COVERS.
There have been many versions and samplings since DNA’s release, including an entire 1991 record called Tom’s Album that collected nine versions by other artists along with several Vega versions. It included a track by an act called Bingo Hand Job, which was the nom de plume R.E.M. used for a couple of secret London shows with English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg. Other “Tom’s” riffs explored accidental pregnancy (Nikki D’s “Daddy’s Little Girl”), the Gulf War (Beth Watson’s “Waiting at the Border”), and TV’s I Dream of Jeannie (Marylin E. Whitelaw and Mark Davis’ “Jeannie’s Diner”).
-"Facts About 'Tom's Diner' While You're Waiting for Your Coffee" (Mental Floss)
We started thinking about "Tom’s Diner" again earlier this year when electronic music pioneer Giorgio Moroder and iconic pop cyborg Britney Spears covered the song on Moroder's new album, Déjà Vu. It’s a world removed from Vega’s original — the same diner, perhaps, but festooned with gaudy disco fabrics and staffed entirely by robots — but it somehow taps into the song’s essential solitude. Britney stands in the eye of the storm as Moroder's production rages around her, observing both the diner’s patrons and his garish arrangement. Like Vega before her, she understands that "Tom’s Diner" isn’t a lonely song, nor is it sad. It just asks you to watch, digest, and react.
Urban Dictionary defines it as: "When a grown man has the emotional life of an angsty teenager he is said to be experiencing manpain, especially if he tries to compensate with macho behavior."
It came out of fandom, and Fanlore says:
mimesere is anecdotally credited with either being the originator or a very early adopter of the term, which she memorably describes from the character's point of view as being, "I'm a dude, this is my pain, this is the REASON FOR ALL MY DOUCHITUDE, BEHOLD MY EPICNESS AND DESPAIR," adding, "sometimes it leads to sitting in the dark, brooding." This adoption and popularization may have come through frequent conversations between mimesere and Jennifer_Oksana. Before its widespread adoption by slash fans, it was used by members of the OBSSE mailing list to refer to Mulder for typical manpain behavior and because of a script note by Chris Carter that refers directly to "the pain of being a man".(The citations date it to 2009.)
linaerys has a smart Tumblr post "Why is manpain so annoying?" (using the second Captain America movie -- The Winter Soldier -- as its main frame, but still comprehensible regardless)
TVTropes calls it "Mangst" (man+angst)
Question #4: Why aren’t we telling men to make the same changes?
This question has come up in many of the media pieces on the topic. Some people have said that these speech changes aren’t being suggested to men simply because men would never care to worry about such things. Others have argued that the advice is directed at women because this is just one more way we are telling women that they are doing something wrong.
Yet there’s solid research showing that these speech habits aren’t interpreted the same way when they are used by men as they are when they are used by women. One study found that the use of qualifying phases only had an adverse effect on the speakers perceived level of authority when the speaker was a woman.
Think about the meetings or conversations you’re part of. If a very senior man uses tentative language around his point, the people in the room might hear it as him thinking aloud. If he apologizes a lot or expresses doubts about his points, he might be seen as collaborative or humble. Yet if that very same language came from a woman in the company, in many instances it would be read differently. The stereotypes we hold – gender, racial and others – impact how we interpret the language that others use.
The Mystery of Separation+
The painting is my interpretation of the poetic center from the Book of Job. The subject finds himself separated from everything that he knows: his family, health and property. Now he finds himself further separated from his friends who insist on attaching their rational explanation for his suffering. As things get bleaker, the figure of Job fades away into the dark, almost ceasing to exist in his world. Beyond the surface of the narrative the driving force for the painting is the divine darkness revealed in the book. Although this story is from a battered and spliced text leaving the reader with many unanswered questions, there is no doubt something profound has taken place by the end of the story. While the starting point of the painting is the literal suffering of Job, my main concern is the sense I get of the unknowable, a world of quiet mystery that I am left with after reading such a tumultuous text.
learning songs (Elements & Animaniacs)
"The Elements" is a song by musical humorist and lecturer Tom Lehrer, which recites the names of all the chemical elements known at the time of writing, up to number 102, nobelium. It was written in 1959 and can be found on his albums Tom Lehrer in Concert, More of Tom Lehrer and An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer. The song is sung to the tune of the Major-General's Song from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.A nice video of the song
A 2013 article "12 Elements Discovered Since Tom Lehrer Set the Periodic Table to Music in 1959" -- the gallery has a short blurb about each element
A 2016 NPR article ("4 New Elements Are Added To The Periodic Table," January 4, 2016) says:
The elements' temporary names stem from their spot on the periodic table — for instance, ununseptium has 117 protons. Each of the discovering teams have now been asked to submit names for the new elements.From "Meet The Woman Who Discovered 3 Of The 4 New Elements":
With the additions, the bottom of the periodic table now looks like a bit like a completed crossword puzzle — and that led us to get in touch with [Paul] Karol[, chair of the IUPAC's Joint Working Party,] to ask about the next row, the eighth period.
"There are a couple of laboratories that have already taken shots at making elements 119 and 120 but with no evidence yet of success," he said in an email. "The eighth period should be very interesting because relativistic effects on electrons become significant and difficult to pinpoint. It is in the electron behavior, perhaps better called electron psychology, that the chemical behavior is embodied."
Karol says that researchers will continue seeking "the alleged but highly probable 'island of stability' at or near element 120 or perhaps 126," where elements might be found to exist long enough to study their chemistry.
International guidelines for choosing a name say that new elements "can be named after a mythological concept, a mineral, a place or country, a property or a scientist," according to the IUPAC.
There is no element named after her (yet), but Dawn Shaughnessy—a relatively young chemist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory—is one of the more prolific researchers in the small world of scientists who seek to create entirely new entries to the periodic table that most of us learned about in grade school.Bonus: the Animaniacs state capitols song ("Wakko's America") – to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw"
The team she leads, the Heavy Element Group, was part of the discovery of three out of the four new elements announced last week in collaboration with researchers in Russia and Tennessee. In total, she’s helped discover 6 of the 26 new elements added since 1940 (one, Livermorium, was named after her lab).
Uranium (atomic number 92) is the heaviest element stable enough to be found in nature. The new elements discovered recently were much heavier and unstable (numbers 115, 117, 118—the heaviest to date), which means they exist for only the smallest fraction of a second before breaking down into smaller parts. Typically, her experiments produce maybe 1 to 3 highly-unstable new atoms, if they are successful. They are made by formulating "target" atom and then smashing it with a beam of other atoms so that there’s a very small chance they combine to form a new element.
"It is getting more difficult to go up in atomic number because of the probability of these nuclei holding together for long enough to for us to detect them is getting smaller and smaller," she says. "We also need to look into alternate reactions for creating them, such as new beam and target materials. So we are still pushing for new discoveries, but there is research to be done in how to accomplish them."
Though others are already looking to push to create elements 119 and 120, her main focus for now is actually trying to create the tools so they can study the chemical properties of some of the lighter "superheavy" elements that have been created. The problem is that there are no instruments in existence that can operate as quickly as one-second time scales needed to measure the new elements.
As for why anyone would care to produce elements that aren’t very useful, exist only for a few seconds, and can’t even be studied, she speaks about the broader quest to understand the world around us.
"The interest in discovering new elements is to refine our theories about the existence of matter and how the nucleus is formed," she writes. "Every time we push the boundary of finding a new element, it helps to refine these models and our basic understanding of the extreme limits of matter."
Extra bonus: the nations of the world ("Yakko's World") as of 1993
"This Couple Built a Tiny House, But Now They Have to Live in It" (The Reductress -- a satire site)
New research suggests that it may be possible not just to change certain types of emotional memories, but even to erase them. We’ve learned that memories are uniquely vulnerable to alteration at two points: when we first lay them down, and later, when we retrieve them.
-"A Drug to Cure Fear" (NYT)