May 3, 2016

Brain Map Of Responses To Words

A couple of scientists, using MRI, have mapped which parts of the brain respond to certain words. If you want the original article in Nature, here it is. But what you want to see is this easy to understand video.

And then what you want to see is this interactive 3D map of the brain. Click on a spot and it tells you the words that activate that area. Here are some sample results:
Brain Word Map 09.41.34

Brain Word Map 09.41.48

Brain Word Map 09.42.55

Brain Word Map 09.43.16

Ideas: they need to do this with other languages too, and with different dialects of English, to see the differences and similarities; where are the obscenities?; technical words and jargon - let's see how those get mapped.

permalink | May 3, 2016 at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

November 6, 2015

Two Reasons For Decline Of Canadian Bees

And those reasons are:

  1. "One reason is that they are imported from locations with warmer climates."
  2. "Another reason is they are not used to Canadian cold weather."

Uh, aren't those kinda sorta the same reason? "Another is that when they froze solid they would not fly."

permalink | November 6, 2015 at 09:32 PM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2015

Geodesic Dome Glut (I.E. Two) For Sale In The High Desert

You've got your choice:

Real estate agents are allowed to break the English language in order to facilitate sales.

permalink | August 18, 2015 at 07:58 AM | Comments (0)

June 30, 2015

U.S. Has The 2nd Largest Population Of Native Spanish Speakers In The World

52.6 million, they say, while Spain has only 46 million. Mexico takes the top spot with 121 million. The U.S. Census estimates that the U.S. will surpass Mexico by 2050, when they expect the number of native Spanish speakers in the U.S. to have become 138 million.

permalink | June 30, 2015 at 09:56 PM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2014

American Language Map

Maps showing the most frequently spoken languages in the U.S. after English and Spanish. In Washington, Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska the third most spoken language is Vietnamese. In California and Nevada, Tagalog. In Arizona and New Mexico it's Navajo.

permalink | May 19, 2014 at 07:35 PM | Comments (0)

February 23, 2014

Amtrak Has A Plan

A plan to give free (or low cost) residencies to writers. The residencies will be on Amtrak trains, of course. They've made two test runs and are devising the rules & procedures now. It'll be like a revival of the Federal Writer's Project, sorta. I mean, they are going to be traveling around America, right, so some of them will probably be inspired to write something about America...although they might just as well be inspired to write about trains in India.

permalink | February 23, 2014 at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2014

10% Off!

You know how the city is trying to get all its contractors to cut their rates by 10%?
AHED (5685)

Actually, to be entirely fair, I suspect this was done by the company that dug that trench and put down the new pavement you see on the right; not by a contractor to the city. BTW, what are those people doing going around digging trenches? They're not undergrounding power lines. Somebody please tell me it's Verizon putting in fiber.

Thanks to Russ Martin for pointing me to this.

Ya know, the customers at Gypsyland might just enjoy this at is. Leave it as is and maybe they'll start bringing friends here to see it.

permalink | February 14, 2014 at 01:04 PM | Comments (1)

October 25, 2013

"You suck, sir."

A high school English instructor (in America?) shares brief interactions with his students. For instance, October 17, 2013:

Grade 11 Student: "Sir, if you didn't have cell phones when you were our age, how did you talk to friends on the phone, especially girls?"

Me: "We rarely talked too long on the phone back then because everyone's parents would answer the phone first. Plus, everyone had only one line to share with the whole family, so no one could hog the line."

Her: "That sounds horrible."

Me: "I just realized this is my generation's walked-barefoot-to-school-in-the-snow story."

Her: "What?"

Me: "Nothing."

permalink | October 25, 2013 at 09:18 AM | Comments (1)

July 1, 2013

Word o' the day


1. A view stubbornly held in spite of clear evidence that it's wrong.
2. A person who holds such a view.

permalink | July 1, 2013 at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2013

Best Used Car Ad Ever

It begins:


Fabricated from rare minerals excavated from the core of Mount Olympus, artfully designed by Zeus and skillfully handcrafted in the Land of the Rising Sun by the deft hands of the infamous 7 Samurai. This Japanese rice-rocket is unquestionably the most heroic form of transport since the Apollo 11 lunar module.

Searching for a delightful automobile to ferry you to Angus and Robertson to buy Fifty Shades of Grey, or perhaps cart little Timmy to clarinet lessons? Do me a favour, smash your laptop on the ground, give yourself an uppercut and take a good, long look in the mirror. Frankly, I'm offended.

If, on the other hand, you're hunting for the most diabolical slab of precious metal to be synthesised during the Big Bang, please continue…

To date, the most monumental day of your existence was your wedding, or the birth of your children. That's about to change! In fact, you'd trade your spouse and all of your offspring just to test-drive this barbarian.

...and continues in that vein.

permalink | May 15, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Comments (0)