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Imagine that your job is to preserve every word and make it tell a story. Meet the lexicographers behind the OED

The English language evolves at such a pace that, for the OED lexicographers, the goalposts aren’t so much shifting as sprinting away from them. Once a word has gained its place, it may be moved – for example, to be listed as a variant spelling – but it is never taken out, meaning that the dictionary only ever expands. (This is true even of mistakes. The word “astirbroad” was added in 1885, but when an editor came to revise it in 2019, they discovered that it was an early-modern typo: the typesetter for the 17th-century book in which the word was originally found had dropped the word “stir” into “abroad”. Still, astirbroad remains.) Nor is the OED limited to British English: the dictionary includes varieties spoken outside the UK – what its editors refer to as “World Englishes” – from Singapore to Jamaica.

#oed #language #english

The perfect crime – undone by the perfect email backups

“You mean,” came the horrified question, “when we press delete, the emails don't actually delete, they get saved to backup tape?”

Back-to-office mandates won't work, says Salesforce's Benioff

Salesforce is no stranger to the debate, having cancelled the lease on an unbuilt 325,000 square foot (30,193sqm) tower. Last year, Brent Hyder, Salesforce president and chief people officer, said that “the employee experience is about more than ping-pong tables and snacks” as he announced an end to the assumption that most staff would work from the office, and introduced a flexible working plan.

This week CEO Marc Benioff has gone further, saying an enforced return to the old normal won't be successful.

#business #work

The Rabbit Died

The scientists have said to prepare for another Covid Winter. Listen to them.

#covid19

The Controversial Economics of Abortion Law

Competing views on the economics of abortion were a part of the Court’s considerations. A group of 240 female researchers who oppose abortion filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that abortion access had set women back after Roe. Legalization, they argued, coincided with more women falling into poverty, women reporting lower levels of happiness in surveys and fewer women saying they were in satisfying long-term relationships.

An opposing group of 154 economists, led by Prof. Myers, filed their own amicus brief in response, pointing to “a substantial body of well-developed and credible research” that contradicted the anti-abortion brief. They argued that in giving women more control over their childbearing preferences, abortion legalization led to a range of social and economic benefits for women, particularly related to education and work.

Research on these questions hinges on the fact that a number of states legalized abortion before the Supreme Court did so nationally with its 1973 decision in Roe. Economists saw an opportunity to examine the economic and social effects of abortion access by looking at the states that had legalized abortion by 1970—Alaska, California, Hawaii, New York and Washington—and several others that had liberalized restrictions. By comparing them to states that legalized later, they had a natural experiment.

#uspol #abortion #economics

Introduction: The Questions of Minimal Computing

Broadly speaking, minimal computing connotes digital humanities work undertaken in the context of some set of constraints. This could include lack of access to hardware or software, network capacity, technical education, or even a reliable power grid.

#digitalhumanities

Government Watchdogs Attack Medicare Advantage for Denying Care and Overcharging

Congress should crack down on Medicare Advantage health plans for seniors that sometimes deny patients vital medical care while overcharging the government billions of dollars every year, government watchdogs told a House panel Tuesday.

#uspol #healthcare

Samsung accused of cheating on hardware benchmarks ... again

#samsung #televisions

“Not that we cheated or anything, but we want to make it clear that we're totally allowed to cheat.”

An algorithm to detect and hoodwink benchmarking software is just what Samsung was accused of employing in those earlier examples. The chaebol never denied or admitted any wrongdoing, instead arguing it wasn't obligated to tell consumers if its devices included code that allowed it to best benchmarks.

Google sidelines engineer who claims its AI is sentient

#ai #google

Lemoine, a military veteran who has described himself as a priest, an ex-convict and an AI researcher, told Google executives as senior as Kent Walker, president of global affairs, that he believed LaMDA was a child age 7 or 8. He wanted the company to seek the computer program’s consent before running experiments on it. His claims were founded on his religious beliefs, which he said the company’s human resources department discriminated against.

“They have repeatedly questioned my sanity,” Lemoine said. “They said, ‘Have you been checked out by a psychiatrist recently?’” In the months before he was placed on administrative leave, the company had suggested he take a mental health leave.

Geico facing payout to woman who got HPV after sex in car

#insurance

In February 2021, M.O. notified Geico she planned to seek a $1 million insurance settlement against the man. She argued the man’s auto insurance provided coverage for her injuries and losses.

The insurance company refused the settlement offer, saying the woman’s claim did not occur because of normal use of the vehicle, according to court documents.

In-utero COVID exposure tied to language, motor delays by 1 year

#covid #longcovid

The study authors cautioned that larger follow-up studies on the potential link between infected mothers and infant neurodevelopmental delays are needed. “Whether a definitive connection exists between prenatal SARS-CoV-2 exposure and adverse neurodevelopment in offspring is not yet known, in part because children born to women infected in the first wave of the pandemic are younger than 2 years of age,” they wrote.

Insurance Ban on Russian Tankers Could Help Cut Moscow's Energy Revenues

#insurance #russia

The U.S. has already outlawed imports of Russian oil and the European Union has agreed to prohibit seaborne imports of Russian crude in six months. On top of that, the bloc has worked toward coordinating with some Group of Seven members on a ban on the insurance services needed to ship Russian oil anywhere in the world.

Perhaps the Only Thing Worthy of Veneration: Brevity

#usconstitution #uspol

Brevity may be the soul of wit, but you won’t find much wit in the American Constitution. The longer the document endures, the clunkier many of its qualities appear to contemporary readers: no direct election of the president, unbearably high amendment procedures, no mention of judicial strike down power for Acts of Congress, and no explicit acknowledgement of major constitutional principles such as democracy, the rule of law, or the separation of powers....

And while new Supreme Court appointments often turn into a constitutional lovefest, many contemporary constitutional scholars harbor a growing tide of resentment against the American Constitution…and for good reason: its faults are many, not least when it comes to its democratic nature.

Some Ads Play on Streaming Services Even When the TV Is Off, Study Finds

#advertising #business

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”

Some 17% of ads shown on televisions connected through a streaming device—including streaming boxes, dongles, sticks and gaming consoles—are playing while the TV is off, according to a study by WPP PLC’s ad-buying giant GroupM and ad-measurement firm iSpot.tv Inc.

That is because when a TV set is turned off, it doesn’t always send a signal to the streaming device connected to the TV through its HDMI port, GroupM said. As a result, the streaming device will continue playing the show and its ads unless users had exited or paused the streaming app they were watching before turning off their TV.

IBM ordered to hand over ex-CEO emails plotting cuts in older workers

#discrimination #ibm #aging

In one of the many ongoing age discrimination lawsuits against IBM, Big Blue has been ordered to produce internal emails in which former CEO Ginny Rometty and former SVP of Human Resources Diane Gherson discuss efforts to get rid of older employees.

When Egypt was Black

#history #race

The war had brought the global color line—long recognized by African Americans like W.E.B. Du Bois—into the backyard of Egyptian nationalists. But rather than develop this insight into solidarity, as Du Bois did in his June 1919 article on the pan-Africanist dimensions of the Egyptian revolution for NAACP journal The Crisis, Egyptian nationalists criticized the British for a perceived mis-racialization of Egyptians as “men of color.”...

Pharaonism, a mode of national identification linking people living in Egypt today with the ancient pharaohs, emerged in this context as a kind of alternative to British efforts at racializing Egyptians as people of color.... Pharaonism positioned rural-to-urban migrants in the professional middle classes as “real Egyptians” who were biological heirs to an ancient civilization, superior to Black Africans and not deserving of political subordination to white supremacy.