Behind the ‘flight of stairs’

You may not know the term “nouns of assemblage” by name, but you definitely know it in practice. Nouns of assemblage are everyone’s favorite trivia question, and they’re practically never-ending: What’s a group of owls called? A parliament. Hippopotamuses? That would be a bloat.

Everyone loves a murder of crows, and we reference flights of stairs without even thinking twice about how that’s kind of a weird term for them. Though collective nouns exist in other languages, English is particularly full of these colorful, largely nonsensical linguistic specimens. In fact, many may have originated as a means to show off obscure, cultured, and self-consciously amusing vocabulary.

Who decided that certain objects and animals require specialized terms when they congregate, and why? Great question. Let’s gather to discuss.

I have had the exact same questions in the past, but did not have the patience or the time to dive deep into the etymology of these terms. This was an interesting terse read.

Source: Quartz Obsession, January 4, 2019

Edison

I was reading some daily news about the financial market and how GE has suffered to hold any growth value this past year. Reading more about GE, ended up eventually with a Wikipedia article on Edison. This is ripe full of historic trivia, links and facts and certainly looks well curated. Though I think Tesla was a genius, Edison holds his place as a fantastic businessman of his age. The link below certainly provides more details that I was not aware previously. I am sure you will learn a thing or two as well today.

Source: Thomas Edison – Wikipedia

Onam Sadhya

One of my favorite festivals in the recent past. Food replenishes not just your body but takes a deep root in your soul, elates the mood, excites the mind, and brings renewed life to the being. A bad meal does the exact opposite. My opinion, that is why importance is given to food during days of celebration, as you make the best of memories, eating and drinking the things you like, among people you love. Feeling fortunate to not eat to live, or live to eat. But sensibly enjoying it when necessary.

Never, ever, deny a sadhya once in a while. Feel it. Love it. Embrace it.

Celebrate the harvest and the return of a beloved mythical king with this 26-dish Malayali feast.

Source: Onam Sadhya

After twenty years

Used to be one of my favorite short stories and have long since forgotten. I guess when one grows and tries to gather meaning from books and shows, this somehow subtly stood apart. Written in plain words with no complex plots. A story that reminds one of long lost friends and responsibilities with an exquisite undertone of genius. Rather hard to explain now but was distinctly powerful in conveying morality to a little kid once. Enough talk, here you go.

http://www.classicreader.com/book/1745/1/

India Vs United States

No, unlike what the title suggests, this ain’t a war or a competition. It is just a comparison that caught my eye. Literally. Here’s one of the comparisons.

India Vs US Economy

Some of the comparisons are quite interesting and mind boggling. But it is unfair in many cases due to the fact that the results are not normalized based on available land area and/or total population. I mean literacy rate, murder rate and beer drinking capita seem way off, just to name a few. No but seriously, the results are informative and if truly factual, gives a nice overview of avenues for India to improve.

Link via India Vs United States: Economy, People, Environment & Military.

I am very proud on how far we have come and maintained the stability and growth with more than a billion people in a land that’s only twice the size of Texas. And all that, without leaving behind much of the cultural heritage and the vagaries of languages and religion omnipresent in every corner. There is so much I want to do for her, but so little time, before I go to sleep…

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Tips for texting via email

I just got this in an email. This is useful if you are in front of a computer and want to send a message to somebody without going through the painful process of texting from an antique cell phone (Gaa. I need a new phone).

Anyway, now you can email short messages, reminders, phone numbers and other important stuff to any mobile phone that supports text (SMS) messaging. Note: This might work for only carriers in the US and check with your mobile carrier regarding the charges for text messaging under your plan, of course!

1. Create a new email message.

2. In the “To” text box, enter the cell phone number using the following syntax:
10-digit-number@carrierdomain.com

Here is a list of some major carrier domains:

Alltel @message.alltel.com
Cingular/AT&T @txt.att.net
Nextel @messaging.nextel.com
Sprint @messaging.sprintpcs.com
T-Mobile @tmomail.net
VoiceStream @voicestream.net
Verizon @vtext.com
Virgin Mobile @vmobl.com

3. Create a message of 160 characters or less. You can also attach a .jpg file, if the cell phone you are sending to supports images.

4. Send the email.

And voila.

More dirty jobs, in science

I am a big fan of Mike Rowe, from the “Dirty Jobs” fame and have a fascination to really weird jobs that people have to do, every day, while I sit here in front of my computer, complaining about the compiler spewing out unrecognizable error messages, in a nice air-conditioned room, with a cup of hot coffee by my side. Of course, people do these jobs, not because they entirely like it but most times, these jobs are so specialized that the bang for the buck is usually high. This might particularly true for the weird jobs you encounter in scientific fields.

And yes, all that rant does lead to something sensible. I stumbled on to this video with a description by the assistant editor of Popular Science Magazine. He lists a few of these kooky professions and what it takes in a honest day’s work. Watch it below.

And I remembered, during one of my tours of a nuclear power plant, someone mentioned how they had a problem in one of their spent nuclear pools and a nuclear pool diver came to the rescue to set things straight. I was of course, baffled by this whole idea of a human being submerged in such a hostile environment but later realized, this was another one of those “on a need to do” professional occupations. Here’s are couple of sites that gives more information about the the nuclear divers.

1) Life of a Nuclear Diver.
2) Nuclear Divers, A Definite Breed
3) And to end this post, another great video of a dive walk through inside the Phenix nuclear plant, in France. The audio is in French but the video is worth a thousand words.

Very interesting and that is just way too cool for words !