We're all Bostonians now (well, at least the English are)
Everyone knows the dropped R’s of the Boston accent. It’s accepted wisdom that it started with Boston Brahmins trying to ape an English accent back in the 17th century to sound more ”English”. In his book, “Speaking American: A History of English in the United States”, Linguist Richard Bailey’ suggests that the R’s dropped here first then the practice spread back to England.
The most interesting of these seventeenth-century pronunciations involves the pronunciation of r in the middle and at the ends of words. While the omission (or vocalization) of r is a prestige feature in modern British English, it was very much a rustic feature in seventeenth-century England. In the evolution of r -less pronunciations, Boston led the English-speaking world in the development of norms that would later become important among opinion leaders in southeast England
You can read the excerpt from the book about Boston here and listen to a conversation with a linguist about it here.
Beats the hell out of that little hibachi I used to have.
Using just a wood puck made of recycled scraps and a ventilation fan this $200 portable grill gets to 1,110ºF in five minutes. At least that’s what they promise.
The Cook-Air gains its power from a combination of a wood fire and a five-speed electric ventilator that literally fans the flames. Cata Marketing, Inc., the company that sells the grill, says that it only takes a small piece of wood to start a roaring grill fire.
Boston City Hall doesn’t have a ton of fans. It’s a hulking, brutalist building surrounded by a sea of bricks. It’s worth knowing the story of how it came to be, though. How you feel about it says a lot not only about your feelings on modernist architecture but also on how architecture can change the way a city is viewed.
Yet it wasn’t aliens who brought it here. Surprisingly, it was a group of Boston politicians and businessmen, along with two young architects named Gerhard Kallmann and Michael McKinnell, who conceived of the building as a dramatic gesture intended to help usher in a new era in Boston history. This year marks the 50th anniversary of a decisive moment in that campaign: namely, an unusual design competition mounted by Mayor John F. Collins, in which architects were invited to imagine a brand-new, forward-looking home for Boston’s city government.
This guy in Canada has been digging out his basement using only scale model sized, radio controlled construction equipment for the last 15 years. This is totally astounding.
A Canadian guy named Joe has been digging out the basement of his house using nothing but radio-controlled scale model construction equipment… since 1997. Yes, you read that right — he’s been digging out his basement for 15 years — with nothing but little R/C tractors, diggers and even a miniature rock crusher! Amazing.
At an average rate of eight or nine cubic feet of earth moved each year, the process has been absolutely glacial. But what do you expect when every morning he drives his little excavator on its transport truck down to the basement, unloads it, and then uses it to dig out the basement walls.
Then Joe uses the excavators to load R/C trucks and they work their way up a spiral ramp to the basement window where the soil gets dumped outside.
Then, once it’s outside, he uses bulldozers to consolidate the pile of excavated dirt.
It turns out the early reporting on Amazon selling whale meat (including some sourced from Japan’s Antarctic “research” expeditions) had real legs. The Guardian reports:
Environmental groups are claiming a major victory after the online retailer Amazon removed whale meat products from its site in Japan.
Amazon was accused of hypocrisy by the UK-based environmental investigation agency (EIA) after investigators found 147 whale products for sale on the site, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Seattle-based company.
The products contravened the firm’s policy of refusing to advertise unlicensed or illegal wildlife products, including endangered species.
For you urban planning/design & architecture junkies
This is a really interesting Kickstarter project… I’ve given $25 so I can get a copy of the book when it’s done.
“I Want to be METROPOLITAN” is a research on mini-metropolises, using Boston as a case study to provide a different reading of the city. The study focuses on showing the efforts that the city of Boston has made in order to grow with metropolitan characteristics while remaining at a much smaller scale than cities like New York, London, or Tokyo. The morphology of Boston has been achieved through different metropolitan interventions that occur at different scales. These are divided at an infrastructural scale, urban scale, and architectural scale. By means of analyzing these different aspects, we can compose a vision of a future Boston, or Fictitious Boston, derived from its metropolitan potential.
This book intents to create a dialogue that addresses the missing topics in urbanism for smaller, slower, and much more stable cities around the world.
It’s nearly completed, but we are in the process of working with local graphic designers to fine tune the visual aspect of the book.
We need to cover some of the production costs in order to publish it, and that’s where you come in! Help us finish the book!
After the NYT piece last week that went in-depth into the paradox that Federal spending critics (largely Republican-represented states) tend to be the biggest recipients of those same Federal programs, TPM created this map that gives a pretty succinct description of this fact.
The map expands on that by adding to the story the amount of dollars each state gets for each dollar it pays into Federal coffers.
My OP-1 assignment tonight… teach myself how to program the grid drum sequencer, record multiple tracks, lift/drop loops, mix and bounce it all over to a short minute-ish long track and compress/convert it to mp3. Success!
4/4 is easy to program on the sequencer so it, sadly, sounds a bit house-y, but, as a first attempt, it’s not terrible even though the only reason I probably don’t cringe listening to it is because listening to it reminds me of all the a-ha moments I had when I was making it.
I’m sure I’ll live to regret posting this up here.
“The only question left: Is Darrell Issa a mole that’s secretly working for the Democrats? If you wanted to send the message that Republicans have a serious problem with female sexuality and independence and are willing to move heaven and earth to take away the rights of ordinary women, you couldn’t have concocted a better illustration that today’s hearings.”—Slate’s Double X blog commenting on today’s Republican hearings on contraception and “religious freedom” (which, with each passing day, would seem to be more and more of a red herring).
This primer on dealing with those in the workplace that we’d rather not was posted The Awl recently. It’s meant for young’uns newly entering the workforce. I think it’s good for anyone.
From time to time I am asked by young people for advice in matters of work and life, generally by people who have mistaken my age for seniority. I don’t really have any advice, though, is the problem, beyond some basics and also “don’t do what I did,” but usually it goes like:
1. Why don’t you think about that over the weekend and if you still feel that way on Monday, you can totally send that email, okay?
2. Yes, you should not worry too much about the consequences and you should definitely quit your job that you hate and it’ll probably all work out great. Job quitters are the happiest people around.
3. Pretty much the rest boils down to which moles people should get looked at and why Maalox is the best and how quarterly taxes are a necessary evil.
But now I realize that I do have a bit of work-related advice for young people! And it’s something you maybe actually need to know.
As you, observant young person, have likely seen, in pretty much every decent-sized workplace you will find in a big city, there are an assortment of types.
• There is an array of normal, helpful, kinda boring, kinda decent, maybe-fun people who do most of the work.
• There are the funny, or super attractive, or moody, or, most often, very sleepy people, who appear on the surface to be engaged in the work and a vast benefit to the office, because they likely make you laugh or they make the office sexier, but they are just biding time at the office, because they have a Dream Career. In New York City, about 1 in 20 of these types are going to be mildly locally famous, at least in their chosen field of sculpture or knitting or standup or whatever. That’s fine; let them follow their dreams. At least 5 out of 20 of them are going to be sending you annoying invites to comedy shows for the next 20 years, but you know what? You should actually go to one of those once. It’s not that bad. Just be nice. Maybe you’ll even enjoy it! Live a little! But most importantly, the good will that you accrue for this act will follow you for years.
• Then there are a smaller number of operators, divas, drama queens, vampires, bitter underminers and soulless careerists. This is what we are concerned with today.
This time it’s not the folks who are convinced—against all rationality—that vaccine additives cause autism. This time it’s folks complaining (and going to court about) their liberty is being violated because of a perceived lack of religious freedom in the form of two kids that were sent home from school because they weren’t vaccinated:
Obviously, this is not about children’s rights. The children’s rights are being violated by their parents, who believe their right to use their children as symbols to prove their piety trumps their children’s right to health. Of course, we live in an environment where conservatives are claiming that it’s a violation of “religious liberty” if you can’t force your beliefs on others. The degradation of understanding of what a right is and who has it is one that historians of early 21st century America will find fascinating, I’m sure.
These folks are trying to nullify a law that would keep these unvaccinated kids out of school if classmates are carrying communicable diseases such as measles, mumps, and chicken pox. Freedom of religion also means, depending on the person, freedom from religion, and, if I had a kid who got a dangerous disease like measles or mumps from another kid who was unvaccinated, I would not be nonplussed (yes, that’s the right way to use that word).
In preparation for what ended up being a big night for Adele, the WSJ posted a story about why tear-jerkers, as a lot of her songs are, are so effective in bringing out emotion… and why we can’t stop listening.
An appoggiatura is a type of ornamental note that clashes with the melody just enough to create a dissonant sound. “This generates tension in the listener,” said Martin Guhn, a psychologist at the University of British Columbia who co-wrote a 2007 study on the subject. “When the notes return to the anticipated melody, the tension resolves, and it feels good.”
Chills often descend on listeners at these moments of resolution. When several appoggiaturas occur next to each other in a melody, it generates a cycle of tension and release. This provokes an even stronger reaction, and that is when the tears start to flow.
When the music suddenly breaks from its expected pattern, our sympathetic nervous system goes on high alert; our hearts race and we start to sweat. Depending on the context, we interpret this state of arousal as positive or negative, happy or sad.
If [Adele’s] “Someone Like You” produces such intense sadness in listeners, why is it so popular? Last year, Robert Zatorre and his team of neuroscientists at McGill University reported that emotionally intense music releases dopamine in the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, similar to the effects of food, sex and drugs. This makes us feel good and motivates us to repeat the behavior.
The story has plenty of embedded clips that demonstrate this.