Archive | November 9, 2013

You Already Know One Word in Every Language on Earth

huhHuh?

Via Los Angeles Times.

Humans speak many languages, but we may be united in our confusion. A new study examined languages from around the world and discovered what they say could be a universal word: “Huh?”

Researchers traveled to cities and remote villages on five continents, visiting native speakers of 10 very different languages. Their nearly 200 recordings of casual conversations revealed that there are versions of “Huh?” in every language they studied — and they sound remarkably similar.

While it may seem like a throwaway word, “Huh?” is the glue that holds a broken conversation together, the globe-trotting team reported Friday in the journal PLOS ONE. The fact that it appears over and over reveals a remarkable case of “convergent evolution” in language, they added.

“Huh?” is a much-maligned utterance in English. It’s seen as a filler word, little more than what’s called a “conversational grunt,” like mm-hmm. But it plays a crucial role in conversations, said Herbert Clark, a psychologist at Stanford University who studies language.

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Bronies are Crashing America’s Economy

My-Little-Pony-Friendship-is-Magic-my-little-pony-friendship-is-magic-32310685-1600-1000Okay, maybe not crashing the economy, but the My Little Pony-loving subculture does catch a little flack in this article from American Public Radio. Disinfonaut “Anarchy Pony”, why must you anger The Economy? ScapePonies!

New numbers out Thursday show America’s third quarter gross domestic product rose 2.8 percent, well above what economists predicted. The headline number may sound good at first, but it masks signs of ongoing economic weakness deeper in the report.

A bit of digging shows that 0.83 percentage point of the GDP boost came from the change in real private inventories. It may sound like an obscure technicality, but it is not. It’s actually quite simple and simply bad.

“Stores were accumulating a lot of goods to sell, but people weren’t buying them,” says Julia Coronado, chief North American economist at BNP Paribas.

You can see this at Big Fun Toy Store, a Cleveland shop specializing in collectibles.

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Immigration Reform 2013: McDonald’s Supports Immigration Reform — But For All the Wrong Reasons

AynRand-NewYork

Low wages make Ayn Rand smile

Is McDonald’s and the Cheesecake Factory concerned about losing access to cheap labor?

via Policy Mic

McDonald’s might be adding a new item to their value meal: amnesty.

The company was among the 104 co-signers of a letter addressed to Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) advocating for the legalization of 11 million undocumented residents through new visa programs. You may be wondering why places like McDonald’s and the Cheesecake Factory are lobbying for immigration reform in this manner. While they have stated that they wanted to “bolster the availability of a workforce at all skill levels,” that is likely not the only reason.

The Center for Immigration Studies points out that this letter cited a recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report that stated the immigration reform would bolster the economy. This means that these corporate giants are channeling their moral compass and bettering our country, right?

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Philip H. Farber on Memetic Entities

Philip H. Farber is the founder of a system of magical practice that synthesizes elements of magick, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and hypnosis to create a “magick about magick,” or Meta-Magick. His book Meta-Magick: The Book of ATEM invites readers to participate in the creation of the memetic entity “Atem.” In this segment, he discusses the concept of memetic entities from a magical perspective.

 

 

Imperium Pictures is currently completing The Gent (a feature starring Genesis P-Orridge, Philip H. Farber, Douglas Rushkoff et al) and a short on solid rocket fuel developer/occultist Jack Parsons in which British director Ken Russell portrays Aleister Crowley.

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Police Search Goes Too Far Up Man’s Anus

It’s like a scene from Breaking Bad where Hank is absolutely convinced there are drugs stuffed up his suspect’s rear end. New_Mexico_State_PoliceIn New Mexico (natch), real life police subjected a man to eight searches, including digital penetration of his anus, three enemas, two X-rays and a colonoscopy. And they still didn’t find any drugs! Reuters reports:

A New Mexico man has filed a lawsuit claiming police subjected him to repeated anal probes and enemas after a routine traffic stop because they suspected he was hiding drugs.

David Eckert, 54, claims violations of his civil rights in the lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico in August but not make public until this week, his lawyers said on Wednesday.

“This suit is about stopping officers and doctors from subjecting people in their custody and control to unlawful sadistic medical procedures that violate the most intimate parts of the human body,” attorney Shannon Kennedy said.

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DARPA To Spend $70 Million Investigating Brain Implants

alzheimersThe ostensible purpose is to better treat mental illness, but I think we all know what the experimental research wing of the military’s real motives are. As reported by the Boston Globe:

The federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, known as DARPA, announced Thursday that it intended to spend more than $70 million over five years to jump to the next level of brain implants, either by improving deep brain stimulation or by developing new technology.

The new program, called Systems-Based Neurotechnology and Understanding for the Treatment of Neuropsychological Illnesses, is part of an Obama administration brain initiative that is intended to promote innovative basic neuroscience. Participants in the initiative include DARPA, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation.

DARPA’s project is partly inspired by the needs of combat veterans who suffer from mental and physical conditions, and is the first to directly invest in researching human illness as part of the brain initiative.

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The Battle Over The Future of Journalism is Becoming More Intense

free pressNew York, NY: I was among the many media wannabe reformers to attend the tenth anniversary party of Free Press, the mostly online organization and lobby that promotes itself as a movement to transform our media system, and save our democracy.

I certainly support their policy goals like net neutrality and curbs on media consolidation,  and also admire their staying power, even if their style is very upwardly mobile, and rather un-left like, starting with this trendy soireee in an ultra modern upscale hotel lounge where drinks went for $15.00.

Free Press has been very effective in raising large sums of money using top-down means of organizing support.  (To be honest, as the editor of Mediachannel.org, a site that is barely holding on, I am a bit jealous of their evident skills as fundraisers and organization builders.)

I would like to see them do more to encourage other progressive groups to do more than electoral politics and take on media issues.… Read the rest

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