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The Word Origin Calendar [03 Sep 2009|10:54am]

fadedjae
slang - In eighteenth-century England, "slang" referred not to colloquial speech but those most likely to coin terms to keep outsides out of the conversation - namely criminals, or "fast, slang men" who had reason to disguise their intentions from their potential victims.

adumbrate - In Latin, umbra means "shadow," the sort of thing that an umbrella makes. To "adumbrate" is to bring something forth from those shadows - to explain a mystery, for instance. Strangely, though, "adumbrate" can also mean to cast a shadow over something, which makes the word an autoantonym, a word that contains contradictory definitions.

Jeep - There are two theories for the name of the ever-popular vehicle introduced in 1940 for military use. The first, and probably correct, owes to the acronym given to it by the Army: GP, meaning "general purpose." The second, which is more attractive but a touch far-fetched, is the vehicle was named for a character in a 19302-era cartoon whose cry was "jeep, jeep" and who was able to clamber over any obstacle.

funny bone - The spot where the arm bones called the ulna and the humerus join is particularly sensitive, for there the skin is about the thinnest it is anywhere on the body and the nerves rise close to the surface. Banging the joint against a table or counter is anything but funny, but some wag in the early 1800s decided that "humerus" and "numerous" made for a nice pun - thus, "funny bone."

stool pigeon - A "stool pigeon" was an unfortunate bird tied to a stand to lure hunting birds, such as hawks and falcons, into a trap by which they could be caught and then trained. In English slang, a "stool pigeon was a minor criminal whom the police, promising a lighter sentence, would send out to entrap a bigger crook. That sense has largely disappeared, and now we use it to mean a prisoner who informs on his or her fellow inmates.

hypothesis - A builder in ancient Greece, setting about making on of that land's magnificent structures, would start with a "hypothesis": that is, a foundation, from the words meaning "to place beneath." In scientific parlance, a "hypothesis" is the foundation of a theory, which may or may not be proven wrong but at least has some basis.
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The Word Origin Calendar [13 Aug 2009|11:22am]

fadedjae
nincompoop - In legalese, non compos mentis means that a defendant is not mentally sound enough to represent his or her affairs or person. Samuel Johnson, the great English lexicographer, suggested that this phrase is the origin of "nincompoop," meaning an incompetent or foolish person. The evidence for the connection is scant, and the term may instead have been a slangy extension of the word "ninny."

snarky - To be "snarky" is to be archly irritable or short-tempered. The adjective, once found almost exclusively in British English, dates to 1906. In the postwar era, Americans discovered the term and have happily used it ever since. It originates in the old verb to snark, meaning to make a kind of nose-trumpeting snort of the kind a disbelieving listener might make on hearing a preposterous claim.

picnic - This term for an alfresco meal has common origins with the word pique. In French, that means "pick at," as with a chisel or a knife - or perhaps a fork. The French word for the meal is pique-nique, the latter term being a sort of baby-talk rhyme.

sledgehammer - Grisly as it sounds, some sturdy warriors a thousand years ago preferred to fight not with swords or spears but with huge iron hammers that could crack armor open as if it were a walnut. Originally called simply a "sledge," such an implement bore the name of its functions: it comes from the same root as our word slay. The redundant "hammer" was added in the late eighteenth century.

hypochondria - The term "hypochondria" comes from the Greek words hypo, under, and chondria, ribs, and refers to the place where the bodily humors governing health and illness were thought to reside.

bumpkin - This unflattering word for a rural dweller has been in English for centuries. The word comes from the Dutch boomken, "little tree," which was presumably used to suggest shortness and stoutness.
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Question to all [10 Aug 2009|12:52am]

kolesoro123
Hey guys! I'm going to get an MBA degree as I found on the website the information that average MBA salaries 2009 is twice higher than before getting  MBA. I would like to hear some opinions, is it true? Does anybody have such an experience or maybe know any evidence of that. Thanks.


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The Word Origin Calendar [17 Jul 2009|10:40am]

fadedjae
kudos - In the original Greek, this word, meaning "praise," os the singular; the plural is kudoi. Because of it's s ending, Greekless English speakers have treated it as a plural, assuming that a single bit of praise is a kudo. The origin of the word lies in akouein, the verb meaning "to hear," as in "I hear you have done something praiseworthy. Kudos!"

Canada - When a French expedition under Jacques Cartier arrived at the narrows of the St. Lawrence River in 1534, scholars conjecture, its members encountered the Huron-speaking Indians who called the collection of longhouses where they lived kanata, "a gathering of houses" or "village." The French recorded this as "Canada,"" and the name has been in use ever since.

Kalamazoo - For some reason, comedians say, words with a k sound are funnier than words without. "Kalamazoo," the name of the Michigan city, has a slightly unreal, Dr. Seuss sound made more unreal in the old phrase "from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo." The name comes from a Pottawatomie Indian word meaning "boiling water," referring to rapids in the Kalamazoo River.

Mandarin - The official language of China is Putonghua, the Beijing dialect of the language Westerners refer to as "Mandarin." The term comes to us circuitously by way of the Portuguese manarim, which shares a root with the word mentor and means counselor or advisor; the Portuguese borrowed it from Hindi, which in turn took it from Sanskrit. IT may have referred to to the highly bureaucratized Chinese royal government, made up of rank after rank of state counselors and ministers.

woodshed - Musicians use "woodshed" as a verb meaning "to practice." In another old-fashioned phrase, "to be taken to the woodshed" means to be pulled aside for punishment. In both expressions, the ruling idea is that the woodshed, a place were firewood was stored to keep it dry, is a place of privacy where practicing - and punishment - can take place out of the public eye.

OPM - Investment bankers once were the only ones to use this phrase, which means "other people's money," just the thing a bank is in the business of using. The term has since spread beyond the boardroom. Whether vagabonds borrowed it from bankers of the other way around, the old hobo slang term "OPs" meant "other people's cigarettes," something a hobo might beg for.
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Japanese healthcare [02 Jul 2009|10:26am]

fadedjae
Japan has two health insurance systems: shakai hoken (best translatable as "society-person insurance") which covers employees in larger companies, and kokumin hoken or "citizen's insurance," available to employees of smaller companies as well as the self-employed. Each system requires monthly premiums based on income and covers 70% of health care costs, as well as 100% for certain groups such as children under 5. The other day I got a a new insurance card with an interesting feature: a place to sign on the back if I agree that my organs can be harvested if I'm ever declared to be brain dead. This is part of a new movement to update Japan's outdated definition of death, finally allowing for people to specify themselves as organ donors and providing guidelines for declaring when a person can be removed from life support in accordance with their wishes. Lawmakers recently revised an asinine law that prohibited anyone under the age of 13 from participating in any organ transplant operations, which required that all patients with these needs travel outside of Japan to seek care, or die.

JList, June 26, 2009
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The Word Origin Calendar [29 Jun 2009|04:19pm]

fadedjae
[ mood | chipper ]

shirk - Now used almost always in the sense of avoiding doing one's rightful duty -shores, homework, military service, and the like - the word "shirk" once denoted someone whose laziness had an evil or harmful intent. A "shirk," in short, was a parasite or sponge, not a goof-off. The word, of Germanic origin, shares a root with shark - not the animal, but the person who makes a living bilking honest people out of their wages.

noon - In roman time-reckoning, developed in a sunny and temperate land, the middle of the day occurred at around what we call 3:00 p.m., roughly nine hours after sunrise. This hour was called nonus, meaning "the ninth hour" and referring to the middle of the afternoon. In our system of reckoning, "noon" now stands at the middle of the twenty-four hour day.

Q-tips - In 1923, an engineer named Leo Gerstenzang noted that his wife was cleaning their daughter's ear canal with a small ball of cotton attached to a toothpick. Afraid that the toothpick might hurt the girl, he created a rolled-paper, blunt-ended handle to which a cotton ball was glued so that it could not come off. He named the invention "Baby Gay" after his daughter but in 1926 changed the name to "Q-tips," the Q being an abbreviation for "quality."

rickety - Rickets, a skeletal disorder in infants caused by a lack of vitamin D, is seldom encountered in the United States these days. The disease, from the Greek rhachis, "spine," was once much more common, leading to this adjective, which means "being or appearing to be so unstable as to be in danger of falling at any moment."

I'll be a monkey's uncle - Now a somewhat old-fashioned exclamation of surprise, this expression barely concels the fierce battles of evolution at the time of its coinage in the early 1920s, arguments made famous by the so-called Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925. The phase also has a hint of confusion, suggesting that apes descended from humans and not, as Darwin maintained, that apes and humans had a common ancestor.

piping hot - Once a proud tagline for restaurant coffee, "piping hot" means hot enough to send steam pip-pip-pipping out of the complaining seams where metal pipes meet.

kow-tow - In premodern China, a sign of absolute subservience was to bow deeply and fall on the ground, touching one's forehead to the floor. This act came into English as "kow-tow," from the Chinese kotou, meaning "to knock one's head." Metaphorically, it now means to yield slavishly to another's demands.

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The Word Origin Calendar [23 Jun 2009|03:51pm]

fadedjae
huaraches - "You see 'em wearing their baggies / 'huarache' sandals too," sang the Beach Boys in their 1963 hit "Surfin' U.S.A" Surfers loved the woven leather shoes. The word comes from the Tarascan Indians, meaning "shoe." It is the only word from that language to have come into English.

Roger Wilco - In the shorthand used by American radio operators during World War II, "Roger" represented the letter R and stood for the word "received," as in "Message received." "Wilco" was an abbreviation of the phrase "will comply." The phrase, thus meaning, "I have received orders and will obey them," has been a staple ever since.

stroke - The usage of "stroke" to mean "cerebral hemorrhage" is curious, inasmuch as the original sense of the noun is "to touch gently." The medical term takes its meaning from an unrelated verb, though, which means "to strike hard," whether with a hand or a weapon; it has its origins in a medical text of the late sixteenth century that refers to the seizure, then called apoplexy, as "the stroke of God's hand."

horse latitudes - In the regions thirty degrees north and south of the equator, the winds are fickle: sometimes they blow hard, and sometimes they hardly blow at all. In legend, sailors whose ships were becalmed threw horses and other cargo overboard to lighten their load and move forward, but the term likely comes from the Spanish phrase golfo de las yeguas, "gulf of the mares," referring to the waters at that latitude off the coast of northwest Africa.

freak - An oddity of nature, a "freak" was originally someone whose mind twisted and turned without pattern or warning. The word comes from the Old English verb frician, "to dance," which does not survive otherwise.
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The Word Origin Calendar [29 May 2009|04:21pm]

fadedjae
fathom - Used to measure oceanic depths, a "fathom" is 6 feet long. The word comes the Old English faethm, meaning the length of a man's outstretched arms - a figure that, of course, varies from man to man.

jaywalk - Jays, like all relatives of the raven, are clever birds. Somehow, though, in the America Midwest, their name came to be applied to a stupid or simple person, the kind who might wander out into traffic without waiting at a corner for a signal. The word, which dates to about 1917, has nothing to do with the way the bird hops around.

discount - In ancient markets, prices were calculated with stones on a board. A seller with a flair for drama might have swiped some of those stones from the board, an act that a Roman might have called a discomputare, "taking away from the count." English borrows the term by way of the French d'escompte

pawn - The lowest, more readily sacrificed chess piece takes its name from its military counterpart, the foot solider - in Latin, pedonem, which also gives us, via Spanish, the word peon.

kit and caboodle - In eighteenth-century English slang, "the whole kit" referred to the totality of a person's possessions or the company he or she kept, as in "she brought the whole kit," or "he and his whole kit just showed up." On the American frontier, the phrase became "the whole kit and caboodle," the latter being a slang term meaning "crowd" - thus, "the whole bunch and whole bunch."

quiz - Originally, "quiz" referred not to a brief test but to a person whole looked strange or acted strangely. Jane Austen continued the sense of oddness when one of her characters asks, "Where did you get that quiz of a hat?" The current usage probably comes from the Latin quis?, the question word meaning "Who?"
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The Word Origin Calendar [20 May 2009|02:37pm]

fadedjae
baffle - Now meaning "to confuse," baffle originally meant "to disgrace," deriving from the Old Norse word bagr, "clumsy" or "uneasy." The sense is distantly retained in the noun form, a "baffle" being a structure used to impede the flow of gases or air to reduce noise. A "baffle" is thus something that trips up movement.

keep mum - Mum is the sound a person makes by speaking without opening his or her lips: mumbling, in other words. To "keep mum," in early English usage, therefore mean something like "don't give any details," rather than "speak unintelligibly." The sense changed over time to mean "keep silent," as in the parallel expression "mum's the word."

blush - When our faces redden in shame owing to some gaffe real or imagined, we often feel as if were were on fire: the skin prickles, the pores open, the perspiration flows. Though the origins of the term as obscure, "blush" probably derives from the Old-Germanic blisan, the ancestor of our word "blaze."

tapioca - A gummy starch that is obtained from the root of the cassava plant, which is native to South America. The name comes from the Portuguese pronunciation of a Tupi Indian phrase that means "the juice from a removed heart."

toady - In early England, where toads were thought to be poisonous, traveling quack-medicine salesmen employed assistants called "toadeaters" who would pretend to eat an unfortunate amphibian and then to get better once they'd had a swig of the salesman's magical elixir. The word "toady," meaning an unthinking henchman, turns up as an abbreviation of "toadeater" in about 1690.
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The Word Origin Calendar [08 May 2009|11:34am]

fadedjae
cumulus - A fluffy type of cloud, "cumulus"" is related to the same Latin root that gives us "cumulative" and "accumulate" and means "piled up." The Indo-European root underlying it, though, gives us words such as cave and cavity, the transference in meaning being the pile that is left when one digs a hole. Luke Howard, a British pharmacist and cloud watcher active in the first half of the nineteenth century, invented the cloud classification.

California - In the Spanish epic poem called The Deeds of Esplendian, which dates to about 1500, "California" occurs as the name of a mythical island governed by an Amazonian queen and laced with gold mines and other treasures. The name may be linked to the Arabic word caliph, meaning "ruler." When Spanish explorers reached the tip of Baja California in the 1530s, the applied the name to the new land.

ibid. - Found in footnotes, "ibid." is an abbreviation of the Lain word ibidem, "in that very same place." It is used in a note to indicate that the source is the same as that for the preceding note.

salary - In the cash-strapped days of the early Roman Republic, soldiers were given a small allowance with which to buy salt, essential to their ability to march and fight. This was called salarium, "salt-payment," whence our term.

moot - If you committed a crime in Anglo-Saxon times, you would be taken to a gemot, a court of law where the fact of that crime would be established and the trial referred to another kind of court. A "moot court," therefore, was all talk and no action, which gives us the modern sense of something that is theoretical or not open to further discussion, as in a "moot point."

as happy as a clam - Animal scientists have long debated whether animals have emotions - they do, most agree - and what level of intelligence is required to possess such feelings. Clams are not known for emotional or other intelligence, but the original New England Saying "as happy as a clam at high tide" is self-explanatory: at high tide, clams are covered in mud and water, safe from predators and secure in their burrows.
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The Word Origin Calendar [04 May 2009|12:18pm]

fadedjae
avant-garde - In French, avant-garde refers to a military unit that precedes the main force while traveling - the vanguard, in other words, literally meaning "before the guard." In English, the word now refers sto something that is ahead of the curve of fashion or commerce, such as a brand of clothing or, more often, an artistic style.

ecology - German scientist Ernst Haeckel coined the term "ecology" in his 1866 book, General Morphology of Organisms, composing it from the Greek words oikos, "house," and logos, study." Thus, "ecology" is the study of how our home, in the largest sense, works.

blazer - In the nineteenth century, members of the famed rowing crew of St. John's College at Cambridge University, in England, wore distinctive bright red jackets. In the slang of the day, the crewmembers call the jackets "blazers," so bright that they might set fire to something. The term derives from the Old English blaese, "torch."

hedge fund - A term coined in 1967, "hedge fund" refers to a kind of investment that, unlike a mutual fund, is not open to the public and is usually managed by an individual broker. The "hedge" component refers to the practice of investing by distributing fund so broadly - in, say, both stocks and bonds - that regardless of whether a given company within it loses or fails, the overall portfolio will yield a profit.

auburn - The name of a light-brown or dark-blonde color, usually of the hair, "auburn" derives from the Latin alburnus, meaning the bright, whitish light of alba, "dawn." The Old French auborne kept the meaning of white or blonde, but when it came into Middle English as aborne, it sounded close enough to "brown" that it came to be associated with that darker shade.
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The Word Origin Calendar [21 Apr 2009|11:22am]

fadedjae
[ mood | exhausted ]

formula - In Latin, forma means "a customary practice" or, in a religious context, " a ritual," something that has to be observed the same way each and every time. "Formula," literally a "little forma," first meant a ritual quickly performed, such as bowing at the door to the household gods. Eventually it came to mean a procedure of any kind, then a rule for arriving at an answer.

scot-free - In medieval England, a scot was a special tax imposed by the sheriff, usually to meet his salary and payroll. To go "scot-free" meant to avoid paying taxed, a privilege normally available only to the rich and powerful.

miracle - At heart, a "miracle," from the Latin miraculum, is something to gaze upon in wonder, relating to vision words such as "mirror" and "mirage." It translates the New Testament Greek word semion, meaning "sign," as in a portent of divine power.

nitty-gritty - A nit is the egg of a louse, and the grit is a corn kernel that has been boiled, dried, and turned into a meal. A nit in such surroundings would be a tiny thing among tiny things, the origin of this rural African American expression meaning something like "the most essential details" or "the most basic facts of the matter," as in the jazz musicians' phrase, "Let's get down to the nitty-gritty."

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The Word Origin Calendar [14 Apr 2009|12:43pm]

fadedjae
verdigris - Vert de Grece, or "green of Greece," is an old-fashioned term for the patina that forms on copper and copper alloys such as brass and bronze, the result of exposure to air. Most metal statuary has a layer of "verdigris" atop it; without it, the Statue of Liberty would be the color of a new penny.

break bread - It is difficult to sustain hostility, it's said, once you've shared a meal with an enemy. The expression "break bread," in this peacemaking sense, comes from the New Testament and refers to the kind of bread that would have been common in the Holy Land - an unleavened load that breaks at the touch, now called matzo.

parish - Originally an administrative district of the early Christian church, a parochia came to have the same rough meaning as a diocese; the word came into English by way of its French spelling. Civil parishes, which layered secular government atop church government, were common in England and France, but they were confined to New England and Louisiana in the United States. Parish government still endures in the latter.
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The Word Origin Calendar [09 Apr 2009|04:27pm]

fadedjae
Adirondack - According to the Mohawks, their neighbors and sometimes rivals, the Algonquin Indians who lived in the mountains of what is now northeastern New York, were such poor hunters that they had to eat tree bark in the winter. The Mohawk Hatirontak, meaning "tree-eater," gives us "Adirondack."

flimflam - Alas, life is full of con artists, whose very presence has led to the development of a whole vocabulary of words relating to cheating, swindling, lying, and betraying. A Viking would have been shamed not by being conned, though, but by being flimmed, made fun of in a way suggesting that perhaps he wasn't so tough after all. Flim entered into the language of the lowland Scots, who brought it to the American South, where "flimflam" was the slang equivalent of "bamboozle."

hangnail - A hangnail doesn't really hang. It does cause pain, however, which in Old English is ang, related to the German word angst. The word angnail originally applied only to a painful corn, then, amended to "hangnail," was used to describe the flap of skin that results from a misgrown fingernail.

manga - The Japanese word manga, mostly used to refer to a modern comic-book style of illustration, has roots in a phrase that means "a rambling or aimless picture" - in other words, a scribble. The noted nineteenth-century artist Hokusai used it to refer to his doodles, and the word took an approving turn. A manga turned into moving form is called an anime, a Japanese version of the word "animated."

absurd - Something "absurd" is so off the wall or outlandish that it's not to be taken seriously. Originally deriving from the Lain word surdus, "deaf," it meant "badly out of tune," and by extension, "senseless."
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The new Twilight sequel [03 Apr 2009|10:19am]

fadedjae
Vampire pumpkins and watermelons are a folk legend from the Balkans, in southeastern Europe, described by ethnologist Tatomir Vukanović. The story is associated with the Roma people of the region, from whom much of traditional vampire folklore, among other unusual legends, originated.

The belief in vampire fruit is similar to the belief that any inanimate object left outside during the night of a full moon will become a vampire. According to tradition, watermelons or any kind of pumpkin kept more than ten days or after Christmas will become a vampire, rolling around on the ground and growling to pester the living. People have little fear of the vampire pumpkins and melons because of the creatures' lack of teeth. One of the main indications that a pumpkin or melon is about to undergo a vampiric transformation (or has just completed one) is said to be the appearance of a drop of blood on its skin.

From Wikipedia
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The Word Origin Calendar [31 Mar 2009|10:24am]

fadedjae
grapefruit - American English speakers knew this tropical fruit by its French name, pamplemousse, until the early 1820s, when it was finally planted in Florida. Presumably some local thought that name too fancy, and renamed it because of the resemblance of its close-growing fruit to clusters of grapes.

alopecia - This medical term, referring to a complex of conditions that involve sudden and sometimes inexplicable hair loss and baldness, comes from the classical Greek word for fox, alopex. The term refers not to a quick-moving, healthy specimen, which has a luxurious mane, but to a fox that is similarly distressed with mange.

penne - In Italian, a bird feather is called a penne - the origin of our word "pen," the writing utensil. The pasta with this name resembles the shaft of a father, with its thin shape and hollow interior. One of the most popular dishes made with it, penne all'arrabbiata, translates to "angry feathers," so called because of the abundant hot pepper used in the tomato sauce.

zombie - In the practice of voodoo, the resurrection of the dead is something best left to the gods, or nzambi in various Bantu languages of Africa. When humans do the resurrecting, the results are likely to be flawed, as thousands of horror movies attest. The use of the word to indicate the walking dead, a staple of such films to this very day, dates only to 1946.

peony - Members of the genus Paeonia can reach ten inches in diameter and occur in almost every color except blue. The perennial, which can live to be a hundred years old, takes its name from the Greek place name Paionia, protected by the god Apollo, who governs both doctors and warriors - both of whom were grateful for a healing salve made from the flowers.
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[27 Mar 2009|04:35pm]

fadedjae
Clement Vallandigham (July 29, 1820 – June 17, 1871) was representing a defendant in a murder case for killing a man in a barroom brawl. Vallandigham wished to prove the victim had in fact killed himself while trying to draw his pistol from a pocket while rising from a kneeling position. As Vallandigham conferred with fellow defense attorneys in his hotel room, he decided to show them how he would demonstrate this to the jury. Grabbing a pistol he believed to be unloaded, he put it in his pocket and enacted the events as he imagined them to have happened, shooting himself in the process. Vallandigham proved his point, since the defendant, Thomas McGehan, was subsequently acquitted and released from custody. Vallandigham, however, died of his wound and was buried in Woodland Cemetery, Dayton, Ohio.


(From Wikipedia)
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The Triangle Shirtwaist Fire (or, And You Thought Your Job Was Bad) [26 Mar 2009|11:14am]

fadedjae
(I'm always finding these things the day afterward...)

Yesterday was 98th anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. "The company employed approximately 600 workers, mostly young immigrant women from Germany, Italy and Eastern Europe. Some of the women were as young as twelve or thirteen and worked fourteen-hour shifts during a 60-hour to 72-hour workweek. According to Pauline Newman, a worker at the factory, the average wage was six to seven dollars a week, at a time when the average yearly income was $791. At most, Triangle Factory employees earned $338 a year."

On March 25, 1911, on the eight floor of Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Building (now known as the Brown Building - part of the NYU campus), a fire began. Most of the seamstresses who worked on the 8th floor and below were able to evacuate, but the unfortunate women on the 9th floor up received no warning of the fire. By the time they realized that the building was on fire, one stairwell was already filled with smoke and fire and the other exit was locked. The elevator had stopped working and the one fire-escape had broken. Realizing there was no escape, some women - 62 of them - jumped out the windows to their deaths.

"Occasionally a girl who had hesitated too long was licked by pursuing flames and, screaming with clothing and hair ablaze, plunged like a living torch to the street. Life nets held by the firemen were torn by the impact of the falling bodies." (Louis Waldman)

148 people died.

Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the owners, were acquitted, but later found guilty in a civil trial. They hardly suffered: "The insurance company paid Blanck and Harris about $60,000 more than the reported losses, or about $400 per casualty. In 1913, Blanck was once again arrested for locking the door in his factory during working hours. He was fined $20."

(From Wikipedia)
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[25 Mar 2009|12:38pm]

fadedjae
Yesterday was Ada Lovelace Day, an "international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology."

Lovelace was the only child of poet Byron and his wife Anna Isabella Milbanke. She was also the first computer programmer, writing programs for Charles Babbage's analytical engine before it had even been built:

During a nine-month period in 1842–43, Lovelace translated Italian mathematician Luigi Menabrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of notes. The notes are longer than the memoir itself and include (Section G) in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program. (From Wikipedia)
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The Word Origin Calendar [20 Mar 2009|12:40pm]

fadedjae
malarkey - As a piece of nonsense to be dispensed with immediately, "malarkey" - humbug or bunkum, in earlier times - has been with us since humans learned to speak. The origin of the word is unknown, however. Some scholars link it to the Irish pronunciation of the proper name Malachi, others to the Greek malakos, which means soft or effeminate. In print, it dates only to 1922, when it turned up in a San Francisco newspaper.

ibuprofen - This nonsteroidal crystalline compound, used as an anti-inflammatory and painkilling medication, was first brought to market in 1967. Its inventor, a British chemist named Stuart Adams, named it after its ingredients and qualities: i(so) bu(tyl) pro(pionic) fen ( that is, phenyl). He soon lost the rights to his invention, but the new owners of the patent kept the name.

clandestine - A clam is a secretive creature, given to hiding itself when it senses danger. Its name, in fact, derives from the identically formed Latin adverb clam, meaning "secretly." Combined with the root of our word "destiny," "clandestine" means something like "intended to have an outcome that is unknown to you and me," describing activities that are done on the quiet for illicit and possibly malign purposes.

accordion - Borrowed from the French, the German akkor means "harmony" or "concord of sounds." Fans of the accordion, a musical instrument invented in Austria in 1829, will agree that it makes a pleasing variety of noises, though those who are not so fond of the instrument may not be in accord.
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