Actually, scientists are finding that the ability to detect sarcasm really is useful. For the past 20 years, researchers from linguists to psychologists to neurologists have been studying our ability to perceive snarky remarks and gaining new insights into how the mind works. Studies have shown that exposure to sarcasm enhances creative problem solving, for instance. Children understand and use sarcasm by the time they get to kindergarten. An inability to understand sarcasm may be an early warning sign of brain disease.
It’s too late to use this insight at family Thanksgiving dinners, but Christmas is coming.
A would-be saboteur arrested today at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland made the bizarre claim that he was from the future. Eloi Cole, a strangely dressed young man, said that he had travelled back in time to prevent the LHC from destroying the world.
… They talk endlessly about cutting government spending, and yet they keep spending more. They talk about massive unsustainable debt, and yet they keep incurring more. …
No, they don’t feel the same urgency that we do. But why should they? For them business is good; business is very good. Seven of the ten wealthiest counties are suburbs of Washington, D.C. Polls there actually—and usually I say polls, eh, they’re for strippers and cross country skiers—but polls in those parts show that some people there believe that the economy has actually improved. See, there may not be a recession in Georgetown, but there is in the rest of America.
I’m glad. This is a drum that needs beating, almost as much as the crony capitalists need beating. By continuing to address the topic, she sheds light on the source of some of our nation’s greatest troubles, and ways we can fix them. More light, I would say, than two months of silly #OWS self-indulgence. Good for her.
I watched William Shatner‘s documentary The Captains the other night. The concept is simple: Shatner, the actor who played the captain in the original Star Trek series, goes around interviewing the actors who played captains in the later series. Here’s the trailer:
There’s not a whole lot to the movie, but I thought two things were interesting. First, each of the captains agrees that the star of a television series is overworked. Well-compensated, yes, but also subject to 40 weeks of endless 14, 16, or 18-hour days. I did not know that. It was for each of them a source of great difficulty in their family relationships, and several said it was a major contributor to a divorce.
Second, I was interested to see Shatner asking the other captains about life after death. Of course, he is in his 80s now, and he knows he will eventually follow Scotty, Bones, and the Great Bird of the Galaxy to wherever it is people go when they aren’t here any more.
It’s been a fair while since I mentioned my search for the perfect monospaced font to use in Terminal.app, MacVim, and similar apps. But there’s a new contender: Ubuntu Mono. (Click the picture for a bigger version.)
(Gruber kind of dismissed the rest of the Ubuntu family, but he agrees the monospaced fonts are nice.)
Awkward delays arise, and repainting of the e-Ink screen sometimes lags. But, overall, the experience is quite good and, in some situations, noticeably better than using the previous iteration’s buttons. This is especially true of picking items from lists or selecting text in specific areas of the screenâ€”touch, even on a screen that isn’t especially responsive, is simply much faster than navigating via repeated button presses.
Also this: “But if your focus is on reading, I would actually recommend the bottom of the line model. It’s lighter and more comfortable to hold in one hand, and the touch screen doesn’t really make the page turning experience that much better.”
So I got a new Kindle Touch for my birthday last month. Except I didn’t actually get it. I just got a promise it would eventually arrive someday Real Soon Now.
That’s okay. I can cope with delayed gratification. Except when suddenly everybody and their uncle is posting reviews of the Kindle Fire. Now I demand to know why the more exotic Kindles shipped before mine!