Posts from 26th March 2010

Mar 10

How Buzzwords Work (Maybe)

Proven By Science//5 comments • 666 views

I was lucky enough to attend a fascinating talk hosted by Mark Earls at the RSA last night on “cultural evolution” – using evolutionary theory to examine the mechanics of how stuff spreads through culture. I then came home and found a great Nitsuh Abebe post on my tumblr dashboard about music critic cliches – when and how they’re used.

The link between these two things? One of the most interesting parts of the talk was when Dr Alex Bentley of Durham university showed some analysis of the spread of “buzzwords” in academia – how particular language choices move through a population. He was looking at the change in use of words like “nuanced”, “apropos”, or “agency” as well as more obviously loaded terms like “Marxist” and words like “retarded” (which academics tend to use to mean ‘slowed’). So of course I found this quite exciting, as it seems to me not wholly unlikely that the use of words like “ethereal” or “soundscape” might well spread in similar ways.


Le Marechal (Cheesy Lover #76)

FT + Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 515 views

A raw, hard cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland, bought from Mons.

When I was buying this cheese, I noticed the name of the cheese very prettily raised around the side of the wheel. I didn’t buy anywhere near a large enough wedge to get whole letter, but what I have is a slice of hard, pale yellow cheese, turning translucent towards the edges. The cheese has been rubbed with a twiggy, grassy herbal mixture, which makes the rind a greenish-brown.

The texture’s slightly crumbly, reasonably soft and pliant, and melts happily in my mouth. It’s got some of the sweet nuttiness of a Gruyere, tasting of toasted butter and sweet hazlenuts, as well as a bright yoghurty tang. Some combination of its herbal rubdown and alpine origins give it a lovely floral undertone, and a smidge of the warm, fresh dried-grass aroma of henna.

The rind is chewy, and feels slightly waxy. Despite the grassy covering, it doesn’t taste of very much. It’s not unpleasant to eat, but I’ll not tell anyone off for not eating the best bit if it’s left on the side of their plate.

Pop World Cup 2010: Group F – Italy 1 New Zealand 3

FT/17 comments • 688 views

New Zealand enter this game with their tails up, this group’s only holder of three points after round one. If the Italians play as they did in the last game, they might chew those Kiwi tails right off.

Voting on this match finishes at midnight on the 1st April.