Weekend Reading

Typography + Language + Writing Systems = Afrikan Alphabets I am quick to confess that I am an easy sell-out to a top piece of print, yet at times this has been thwarted by unresolved issues that I hold with the graphic design profession. As an individual who mediates between art and design, I am careful not to shoot myself in the foot here. Geektastic stuff, if you aren’t excited by the title, probably best to move on… The making of a cinematic linguist’s office Ever since the first trailer for the upcoming science-fiction movie “Arrival” came out back in August, we here at Language Log Plaza have been anxiously awaiting more glimpses of Amy Adams. Arrival is fast becoming …

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Kate Tempest

Head slightly bowed, Kate Tempest casts a slightly shy, almost apologetic figure as she walks on stage to a huge roar. After thanking us for being there, and some heartfelt indications of how much she likes the ‘people and soul’ of Glasgow, she pauses and says she has something to ask us. She’s there to play through her latest album (Let Them Eat Chaos) from start to finish. The tracks will take us through the lives and stories of random strangers living on the same street. She talks of connection, of pushing aside prejudice and hate, and how we need to learn to love more. She asks if we are up for the journey this evening, and if so, ‘let’s …

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Why I love films

I recently saw the movie Arrival at the cinema. I was sitting about four rows from the front, dead centre, and was soon immersed in the story that was playing out. From the opening scene, that long fade from dark to light, the framing of the shot out across the lake, to the first hint at the doorways the main character will need to navigate (figuratively and literally) I was hooked. I’ve always been drawn to beautiful cinematography, to the point where movies like Road to Perdition stick in my mind more for that long shot of the car driving through the rain with the fields beyond disappearing over a low clouded horizon, than it does for the story itself. …

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Weekend Reading

Noisli – Improve Focus and Boost Productivity with Background Noise Now, put your headphones on and start boosting your productivity. I’m a bit of a sucker for these things but this one is a good one, calming too if you get the right combo. Productivity Is Really About What You Don’t Do The best productivity tip I ever got was the idea of a “stop-doing list” from Jim Collins. In this Age of Distraction, we’re all dodging and weaving between so much incoming information that what you don’t do on a daily basis has become as important—if not more—as what you do execute on. Can you tell I’m on a bit of a ‘get stuff done’ kick at the moment? …

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Weekend Reading

“It’s an exercise in seeing”: An artist’s mind-opening ritual of doodling on Sundays Sundays used to be sacred, reserved for prayer, family or sightseeing. Today, a third of busy Americans let work seep into their weekends, according to a 2014 National Bureau of Economic Research study. There is a lot to be said for switching off. That reminds me, must buy more Lego.. The average Netflix subscriber watches almost twice as much Netflix as they did 5 years ago Netflix says it will produce a whopping 1,000 hours of original TV shows and movies in 2017, and that’s a good thing since people keep watching more and more Netflix. The number of hours of Netflix the average subscriber watches has …

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Weekend Reading

Trump warning: Skip the first two links if you want to avoid Trump related links (I know, I’m feeling very fatigued by the whole thing too). President Trump’s First Term On the morning of January 20, 2017, the President-elect is to visit Barack Obama at the White House for coffee, before they share a limousine—Obama seated on the right, his successor on the left—for the ride to the Capitol, where the Inauguration will take place, on the west front terrace… Between now and then we will have a much better understanding of what President Trump will do. I have the fear. Motherhood: A letter to my girl The man we were talking about in the bath on Monday night won …

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Dark is the light

This post is an attempt to process my own thoughts about recent news and my reaction which has been to shy away from any mention of ‘Trump’. Perhaps it’s just fatigue, but perhaps that fatigue is partly my own doing? Read the news, pick your flavour. Trouble is what news? And are you getting the differing flavours and view points you need? Social media pulls us towards people who share our viewpoints, sure we all have a few dissenting voices here and there but those are largely filtered by our choices at the outset. Because of that the opposing views that seep into my social media bubble are far removed from what I believe and all the more shocking for …

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Weekend Reading

Why we need loneliness Loneliness is epidemic, and in the coming years it could explode. Forty percent of people age 65 and older report being lonely at times. And the percentage of people living alone has been rising steadily since the 1960s. Lots of negative connotations around loneliness but we all need a little space. So, if you could budge over a bit, that’d be grand! Stick to a Weekly Routine to Add Flexibility to Your Schedule Having a daily routine helps you develop good habits and stick to your goals. If you have a hectic schedule, though, forcing certain types of work into every day can be counterproductive. Instead, build a weekly schedule. Counter-intuitive advice? Wonderful life hack? Yet …

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Weekend Reading

Inside the Lively World of Competitive Stone Skimming Fog shrouds Easdale Island, a windswept 62-acre chunk of slate, grass, and shrubs just off Scotland’s west coast, as rain intensifies on the roof of the Puffer Bar and Restaurant. I thought I was doing well with 5 or 6 ‘bounces’. Amateur! The origins of the high five, and its inventor – an unsung gay pioneer In 1977, Glenn Burke, a rookie outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, lifted his arm high above his head and slapped palms with his teammate Dusty Baker to celebrate a milestone home run, marking what is widely regarded as the first documented instance of a high five. I was gonna write …

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The old room

His chair sits to one side of the bay window. The unloved leather is cracked, shiny dark patches worn smooth, seams barely holding on, tired with all the life it’s seen. Cold air creeps through the rotting window frame, tickling the rising pale curls of smoke as they fade into nothing. Beside the chair a small table, the walnut ringed with decades of cold drinks. On it a small wooden pipe stand, a heavy oversized cut glass ashtray, and a leather pouch spilling pungent dried entrails. Another puff; a draw and dull pop from his lips as the last embers glow and die. Fragrant fumes drift on the gentle draught as he watches nothing beyond the glass outside. The mantelpiece …

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