31 January 2013

Evolution of Language: The Good, The Bad and The Annoying

As a relatively loyal Linux user, I had never heard the term "Apple Ecosystem" until just a few weeks ago. Recently, though, it's been coming up constantly. Every time I hear it, I feel like Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."  

Generally, I enjoy the fluidity and adaptability of language, American English in particular. I didn't realize how amazing this is until I was in Mallorca for a conference. We had a local tour guide for a day, and someone recommended that she "google" something. She commented how much she liked how we could make new words as needed in English, and that she didn't think it was as common in Spanish.

However, I don't think absconding with a word and diluting the incredible complexity associated with it, as in the case of the new 'ecosystem', has any additive value to the language. And it drives me crazy.

10 January 2013

Nerdy Delicious

Math Scales of Beer!
During Christmas break, I spent several days in Denver, and stumbled on a really fun little place called Euclid's in LoDo.

Happy hour is called study hall and the beer menu is categorized by complexity, with each level labeled as a different kind of math! Normal restaurant review things like food and service were also outstanding.

It was an excellent find.

01 January 2013

Reflect from a distance

City Lights of North America (NASA Visible Earth)

During a summer of undergrad research, the student who was training me left for three weeks to go to Japan. Our project was not in its most successful phase and the industry PI had been increasingly merciless in hounding this student. Upon returning from Japan, he seemed unruffled by the external hazing we were receiving, a dramatic shift from his extreme distress regarding the PI and project even as he left the lab to drive to the airport.

I attributed it to the relaxation of a vacation, but he told me that whenever you have to make important decisions or solve hard problems, you need to get away from it for a little while. You can see things from a different perspective, let your mind work in the background, and be away from the immediate environmental pressures associated with whatever you're trying to sort out.

I try to take a least one big trip a year, just to invite a little perspective shift in. I particularly like it around the new year, where I can look at bigger pictures goals without being distracted by the small things that become clutter in your life at home.