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The Days Keep Getting Longer … Literally

Keeping track of time is never easy without an accurate clock and so people have come up with a number of different folk methods to keep themselves on pace. One of the most common techniques is to introduce a multi-syllable word as you count seconds so that you don’t count too fast. The …

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Visualizing English Word Origins

I have been reading a book on the development of the English language recently and I’ve become fascinated with the idea of word etymology — the study of words and their origins. It’s no secret that English is a great borrower of foreign words but I’m not enough of an …

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Wisconsin Voters Banished to NULL Island

The top headline in my local paper this morning was “Glitch puts some Wisconsin voters in Africa” … an interesting thing to ponder over a bowl of Quaker Oatmeal Squares. I suppose this problem merits at least some attention given the heated political climate surrounding the state’s voter redistricting process. But headline …

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Canine Cop in Constitutional Crisis

[There have been some interesting topics flitting about the blogosphere in the past weeks but I’ve been too busy with other stuff to comment. To eliminate some of the backlog, I’ve decided to try and do a few quick takes. First up: Franky the chocolate lab.] There is a Florida legal …

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Earnings and Unemployment by College Major

The Wall Street Journal recently published a table of income and unemployment data  that presented pay and employment rates for various college majors. The original study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce contained enough additional details that I thought it might be worth trying to incorporate the information …

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Have the Mainstream Media Jumped the Shark?

There was a recent article in Slate that asked why the mainstream media was having such a tough time figuring out the message of the Occupy Wall Street protestors. Now, I wouldn’t call myself a full-throated supporter of #OWS, but I do think that it’s pretty easy to understand why they’re …

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Politicians Discover Data Science

During the 2008 U.S. Presidential campaign, the online design community devoted a lot of pixels to comparisons of the two candidate’s web sites (a few great examples here, here, and here). The overall consensus was that Obama won the war for eyeballs by emphasizing design, web usability, multimedia, and robust social networking. According to an …