Minimizing the Annoyance of the Mobile Phone

In the early days of the telephone, the problem of speaking level was widely noted and discussed. The technological innovation was clever: a small amount of a person’s voice was fed back to the earpiece, and people then naturally adjusted the loudness of their spoken voice to produce a comfortable level of feedback in the earpiece. Numerous studies in auditory psychophysics were performed to determine the correct amount of this…

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Let Cookie Monster be Cookie Monster

In the interests of teaching kids not to be gluttons, CTW has transformed Cookie Monster into just another monster who happens to like cookies. His trademark song, “C is for Cookie” has been changed to “A Cookie Is a Sometimes Food.” And this is a complete and total reversal of Cookie Monster’s ontology, his telos, his raison d’etre, his essential Cookie-Monster-ness. If the Cookie Monster is no longer a cookie…

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Emails 'pose threat to IQ'

The distractions of constant emails, text and phone messages are a greater threat to IQ and concentration than taking cannabis, according to a survey of befuddled volunteers. Doziness, lethargy and an increasing inability to focus reached “startling” levels in the trials by 1,100 people, who also demonstrated that emails in particular have an addictive, drug-like grip. –Martin Wainwright –Emails ‘pose threat to IQ’  (Guardian)

Shakespeare's Birthday Celebrations

Tradition has it that William Shakespeare was born on 23rd April, three days prior to his baptism recorded at Holy Trinity Church in 1564. The 23rd April is also the date of his death in Stratford aged 52. Shakespeare�s birthday was first celebrated in 1824 with a procession through the streets to Holy Trinity Church, a dinner and a few speeches. Over the years the tradition has grown to include…

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The Fortunes of Formalism

[A] de-emphasis in the academy in recent years on the formal elements of poetry, in favor of the social, legal, historic, and cultural background to literature, has meant that even doctoral candidates in English need not concern themselves overly with poetic form. Another quick but, I think, telling example: I was serving on a panel of poetry judges, and as the panel proceeded to deliberate, one judge, a university professor…