Archive for August, 2009

Concentrating on Focus

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into an article with a very provocative title: Is Google Making us Stupid? Ordinarily, these types of articles strike me as the older generation failing to cope with technological changes, and decrying the younger crowd for embracing them.  I generally find reading such articles to be unrewarding, but this one was different, because lately I had been asking myself a similar question.  Not so much whether Google makes us stupid, but if getting much of my information from reading blogs, Wikipedia, and other web pages was changing the way that I read and the way that I think.

In contrast to the title of the article, I don’t think this is all bad.  For instance, the instant access to supporting or contradicting information in the form of hyperlinks or the ability to do a quick Google search is certainly a good thing.  Now, we no longer have to confine ourselves to the limited and perhaps biased view of just one author, which certainly has the possibility of increasing the amount of critical thinking done while reading.

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Let’s Make Up New Words Oxt Weekend

One of my my side interests outside of physics is linguistics.  One interesting topic that fits into this interest is the creation and spread of new words.  Most of these new words are created and spread in an organic way that is difficult to trace.  However, sometimes people try to create and spread new words for a variety of reasons.

One such movement was brought to my knowledge recently: oxt weekend.  “Oxt” is supposed to be an easy way to say “not this [weekend], but the [weekend] after.”  There are some good things about this idea: it solves an ambiguity in our language, it’s pretty easy to remember, and they’ve got a good-looking website, and are taking advantage of social networking sites.

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