Monthly Archives: February 2013

7 health benefits of drinking hot cocoa | MNN – Mother Nature Network

7 health benefits of drinking hot cocoa | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

This is the best news I have had in a long time. It is hard to believe that something that tastes good can also be good for you. I do suppose, however, that before too long, someone will publish a contradictory article listing all of the bad things that hot chocolate can do to you.

Your Next Computer Will Live on Your Arm | Wired Business | Wired.com

Your Next Computer Will Live on Your Arm | Wired Business | Wired.com.

Clownfish are All Born Male, a Dominant Male Will Turn Female When the Current Female of the Group Dies

Clownfish are All Born Male, a Dominant Male Will Turn Female When the Current Female of the Group Dies.

This is just another example of life in the natural world that leaves me asking why?

NeuroLogica Blog » Another Alleged Spontaneous Human Combustion Case

NeuroLogica Blog » Another Alleged Spontaneous Human Combustion Case.

Weekend musing: the reusable delivery packaging idea | Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network

Weekend musing: the reusable delivery packaging idea | Plugged In, Scientific American Blog Network.

Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar is Wrong | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar is Wrong | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine.

You’ve probably heard the old story about the pedant who dared to tinker with Winston Churchill’s writing because the great man had ended a sentence with a preposition. Churchill’s scribbled response: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”

It’s a great story, but it’s a myth. And so is that so-called grammar rule about ending sentences with prepositions. If that previous sentence bugs you, by the way, you’ve bought into another myth. No, there’s nothing wrong with starting a sentence with a conjunction, either. But perhaps the biggest grammar myth of all is the infamous taboo against splitting an infinitive, as in “to boldly go.” The truth is that you can’t split an infinitive: Since “to” isn’t part of the infinitive, there’s nothing to split. Great writers—including Chaucer, Shakespeare, Donne and Wordsworth—have been inserting adverbs between “to” and infinitives since the 1200s.

Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Most-of-What-You-Think-You-Know-About-Grammar-is-Wrong-187940351.html#ixzz2KApGbfZ1
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I must admit, somewhat shamefacedly, that I once believed all of these myths. And that is a difficult admission to make. Why? Because I spent thirty years as an English teacher busily propagating those very myths. That means approximately five thousand innocent teenagers have been fed incorrect information. There is some comfort to be had, however, in that, believe it or not, I did not always have the full attention of every student for the entire duration of every lesson. In fact, it is entirely possible that virtually none of my students remember any such discussion. There were many days when they were obviously more interested in discussing the fact that my tie did not properly match my jacket or that my shoes were lacking polish.

I am really looking forward to a time when cars are really driverless for only one reason. They will save lives. We should see a dramatic reduction in traffic accidents as well as improvements in commuting time and fuel efficiency. At the same time, I hope we never lose the ability or the opportunity to drive our own car. The act of driving is a special kind of pleasure, as long as there is an open road ahead.

Grist

Driverless cars are coming to a street near you, and soon. “I think that genuine self-driving cars will be available within a decade and that they’ll be big game changers,” writes Kevin Drum, who’s been on a driverless-car kick lately. Or take it from Dan Gage, spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers: “That fully autonomous car of the future is not that far away.” Or just watch this:

Google has been testing driverless cars extensively. Nevada and California have passed legislation permitting them on the streets. Other states will soon follow suit. This is a near-future thing, not a sci-fi dream.

I happen to share Drum’s enthusiasm for driverless cars, and want to use it to make a larger point about social change.

Widgets and systems

Let’s think about the distinction between widgets (pieces of technology) and systems (the cultural, economic, and infrastructural systems in which technologies…

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