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Shady Characters – The secret life of punctuation

Shady Characters – The secret life of punctuation
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Why so many scientists are so ignorant Sign Up for Our free email newsletters Science has enormous cachet and authority in our culture — for very understandable reasons! One recent example is Bill Nye, the "Science Guy," who isn't actually a scientist but owes his career as a popular entertainer to his purported scientific expertise. As Olivia Goldhill points out in Quartz, Nye's answer was as self-assured as it was stunningly ignorant. The video, which made the entire U.S. philosophy community collectively choke on its morning espresso, is hard to watch, because most of Nye's statements are wrong. Nye fell into the same trap that Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking have been caught up in. There's obviously a grain of truth in this. More to the point, and more practically, all of the institutions that make modern life possible, very much including experimental science, but also things like free-market capitalism, the welfare state, liberal democracy, human rights, and more, are built on philosophy.

5 Web Technologies and Trends to Watch in 2011 In 2010 we saw the rise of HTML5, the maturation of CSS3, the release of Rails 3.0, and the widespread adoption of the @font-face selector (part of CSS3) — among other things. In short: it was a busy year for advancing web development technologies. What will 2011 hold? Below is a list, compiled by Mashable editors of some of the web technologies and trends we think should be on your radar for the coming year. 1. jQuery Mobile jQuery has become practically synonymous with JavaScript, in large part because of its extensibility, ease of use and strong project leadership. - Christina Warren, Mobile Reporter 2. Internet Explorer 9 (IE9) is lightning fast, thanks to its use of DirectX 10 and hardware acceleration, vastly improving the speed and capabilities of the browser versus its competitors. - Ben Parr, Co-Editor 3. The Node.js website describes it as an "evented I/O for V8 JavaScript." - Josh Catone, Features Editor 4. - Erica Swallow, Assistant Editor 5.

Steven Pinker: 10 'grammar rules' it's OK to break (sometimes) Among the many challenges of writing is dealing with rules of correct usage: whether to worry about split infinitives, fused participles, and the meanings of words such as "fortuitous", "decimate" and "comprise". Supposedly a writer has to choose between two radically different approaches to these rules. Prescriptivists prescribe how language ought to be used. They uphold standards of excellence and a respect for the best of our civilisation, and are a bulwark against relativism, vulgar populism and the dumbing down of literate culture. It's a catchy dichotomy, but a false one. But this does not mean that every pet peeve, bit of grammatical folklore, or dimly remembered lesson from Miss Thistlebottom's classroom is worth keeping. How can you distinguish the legitimate concerns of a careful writer from the folklore and superstitions? A rule should be rejected, in contrast, if the answer to any of the following questions is "Yes." and, because, but, or, so, also dangling modifiers

How to Put Your iPad to Work The Ancient Roots of Punctuation In his new book, “Shady Characters: The Secret Life of Punctuation, Symbols & Other Typographical Marks,” Keith Houston reveals the stories behind esoteric punctuation marks, from the pilcrow (¶) to the manicule (☞) to the octothorpe, a.k.a. the hashtag. Many of these have their roots in ancient Greece or Rome, and have evolved over time in Medieval religious texts, Renaissance scholarship, and modern printed works (not to mention the Internet). Here, Houston, who lives in Scotland and also runs a Shady Characters blog, tells the origin stories of some of these marks. Octothorpe (#) Left, from the pen of Isaac Newton; right, detail from Johann Conrad Barchusen’s “Pyrosophia” (1698). The story of the hashtag begins sometime around the fourteenth century, with the introduction of the Latin abbreviation “lb,” for the Roman term libra pondo, or “pound weight.” Pilcrow (¶) Excerpt from a page from Villanova University’s “Rudimenta Grammaticæ” (1500). Ampersand (&) Manicule (☞) Diple (>)

Facebook 'Instant personalization' launches: How to disable it, and why Updated: see below. Facebook's 'instant personalization' feature allows the walls between the social network and the world to be broken through for a seamless experience for all. While many have not been able to access the instant personalisation feature yet, many have found that it is turned on by default so many will be entirely unaware the feature even exists. However, this raises concerns amongst the 500 million and growing population of the social network, with the potential for better targeted adverts and more of your data handed out to other websites. How it works Provided you are logged into Facebook, certain websites like Pandora and Bing can 'personalise' their sites with data provided from your account. Only certain sites can access this, and permissions need to be granted to do this. How to turn it off 1.

What Should We Call Self-Driving Cars? I’ve been writing about humanless carriages a lot recently. Okay, I know, “humanless carriages” is not an actual thing that people say. There are instead “driverless cars,” and “self-driving vehicles.” If driverless cars do eventually take over the roads, what will it do to the way we talk about driving? “A driver could come to mean the machine that drives just as a computer is a machine that computes,” Alexis Madrigal wrote for The Atlantic in 2014. It’s certainly less clunky than “autonomous,” or “self-driving,” and more precise than “driverless.” More than a century ago, there was a long debate over what motorcars should be called. This was, apparently, a matter that got people riled up. The goal was to find a term that was, the Times said, “at once significant, euphonious, and short.” “Of this wretched pair,” the Times groused, “it is hard to tell which is the more obnoxious. Here in the future, we face a similar etymological conundrum.

Free Software University Image by Marrying technology, innovation, and this curious Internet thing of giving stuff away for free, consultant and Cong-base Englishman, Lloyd Hardy, is hoping to kick start an online learning revolution. Hardy proposes to deliver university courses for free over the internet using an “open source” model. “My idea is that would-be students who, for a variety of reasons are unable to learn in the traditional way are able to access tuition from graduates working in industry in a structured learning environment in a virtual classroom,” said Hardy of the Free Software University (FSU). An IT Consultant, Hardy said the initial focus would be on technical courses. Hardy said FSU aims to “deliver free education to students in a sustainable environment without financial cost or the need for donations.” Tutors include new users “right up to published authors and software development companies,” he said. Licensing will fall under the Affero General Public License (AGPL).

Lengua española y periodismo (II) Hay un hecho de gran relevancia que los periodistas latinoamericanos y españoles creo que deberíamos tener muy presente. Hay tres lenguas de impregnación universal en Occidente: inglés, por encima largamente de todos, francés, en relativa decadencia, y español, cada día más pujante, con sus 450 millones de hablantes en todo el mundo. Y, así, el periodista que pueda ganarse la vida con esa lengua parte de una plataforma, un trampolín, superior a lo que pueda exhibir no importa qué otro idioma, sin excluir grandes expresiones culturales como alemán, italiano o ruso, del ámbito europeo. Por eso me parece urgente que, sobre todo nosotros los periodistas, seamos conscientes de la necesidad de mantener una unidad viable de la lengua, aunque siempre respetuosa del genio particular de cada área reproductora del castellano. Y ¿cuál es el estado, la salud de una lengua tan múltiple? Yo diría que básicamente bueno, aunque siempre necesitado de alguna atención.

Scrible Launches Rich Web Annotation App To The Public Startup Scrible is launching its rich web annotation tool to the public today. Scrible is also announcing that it has received a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The service’s bookmarklet allows users to save and organize web pages and richly annotate articles with highlighters and sticky notes. You can also share annotated web pages with others. All of your saved web annocations are stored within your Scrible account and the startup will index this so your can search and filter through your saved content. One of the virtues of using Scrible is that it saves the whole contents of the page for later, so the page and content is still saved in case the information changes or goes offline. Scrible faces competition from Instapaper.

Future - The secret “anti-languages” you’re not supposed to know Could you erectify a luxurimole flackoblots? Have you hidden your chocolate cake from Penelope? Or maybe you’re just going to vada the bona omi? If you understand any of these sentences, you speak an English “anti-language”. Thieves’ Cant, Polari, and Gobbledygook (yes, it’s a real form of slang) are just a few of the examples from the past – but anti-languages are mercurial beasts that are forever evolving into new and more vibrant forms. A modern anti-language could very well be spoken on the street outside your house. One of the first detailed records of an anti-language comes from a 16th Century magistrate called Thomas Harman. Byng we to Rome vyle to nyp a bounge, so shall we have lower for the bowsing ken – Thieves’ Cant As Green points out, many slang words concern our basest preoccupations. Yet the Thieves’ Cant also includes some intricacies that are not found in the informal language you or I speak. A “prigger of prancers”

How I Use Visualization To Drive Creativity This is a guest post by Mark Suster, a 2x entrepreneur turned VC. He sold his second company to, becoming VP of Product Management. He joined GRP Partners in 2007 as a General Partner focusing on early-stage technology companies. Read more about Suster on his blog at Bothsidesofthetable and on Twitter at @msuster. Creativity. As a practitioner of creativity rather than as an instructor of it I’m certain that there are many ways to get the creative juices flowing and how to release more creativity. Visualization is so important to help yourself & others conceptualize ideas. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: This is a long post, so I put an executive summary here if you want to get the point without reading all the detail. Almost all business success relies on creativity. What exactly is visualization? It’s why before every speech I call the organizer and drill them about who will be in the audience. When I write a blog post I often see the words before I write them. Strange, I know.