Summary of “There’s a Dark Side to Meditation That No One Talks About”

We’ve all heard about the benefits of meditation ad nauseam.
In addition to calming the mind and body, meditation can also reduce the markers of stress in people with anxiety disorders.
This demanding and sometimes intensely distressing side of meditation is rarely mentioned in scientific literature, says Jared Lindahl, a visiting professor of religious studies at Brown University, who has an interest in neuroscience and Buddhism.
Along with Willoughby Britton, a psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Brown, the two meditators have co-authored a study that documents and creates a taxonomy for the variant phenomenology of meditation.
To conduct their research, the pair interviewed 60 Western Buddhist meditation practitioners who had all experienced challenging issues during their practice.
They included both rookies and meditation teachers, many of whom had accumulated more than 10,000 hours of meditation experience in their lifetime.
Most would not imagine that these side-effects could be hiding behind the lotus-print curtains of your local meditation center.
Who runs into the unexpected hurdles? What are the unique set of factors involved? In which ways do teachers assist students who are struggling? The answers, which still require future research, may one day be relevant to the ways meditation is used as therapy.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How ‘smart’ email could change the way we talk”

Predictive text algorithms, which use what we have typed in the past to suggest the next words in a sentence as we write, already feature on most smartphones.
One study found that secondary school children who used predictive text on their mobile phones made more spelling errors than non-users.
One year-long study found that secondary school children who used predictive text on their mobile phones made more spelling errors than non-users, but university students who used the technological writing aid made fewer grammatical errors.
A predictive text system that has been trained using text from positive online reviews might tend to suggest words that are more positive as a result.
“Predictive text systems are starting to offer suggestions that are longer, more coherent, and more contextual than ever before,” says Ken Arnold, a researcher at at Harvard’s school of engineering and applied sciences who was involved in the study.
“It’s exciting to think about how predictive text systems of the future might help people become far more effective writers, but we also need transparency and accountability to protect against suggestions that may be biased or manipulated.”
“For children whose reading may be stronger than their spelling ability, autosuggest will facilitate their ability to communicate effectively online, thereby opening up texting to a younger age group, or to children who may be struggling with more conventional literacy.”
Others are using the technology which underpins predictive text to write new forms of fiction.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Exercise Your Brain to Improve Memory in Retirement”

You can strengthen certain memory skills, and improve your overall brain health and cognitive function.
Brain training games are widely advertised, but the benefits are limited.
Memory games may improve your memory slightly, and language games may boost your language ability a bit, but there’s no proof yet of any major changes beyond that, says D.P. Devanand, director of geriatric psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
Research does prove that taking care of your overall brain health helps improve your brain function and memory.
A healthy brain actually begins with your heart, Devanand says.
Being social helps, because social interaction stimulates the brain.
A recent Johns Hopkins University study showed that seniors who tutored in Baltimore schools had improved brain performance.
Keep your brain active by taking classes to learn new skills or teach yourself to use new technology.

The orginal article.

Summary of “38 Americanisms the British Can’t Bloody Stand”

We may now think of the “Stiff upper lip”-showing fortitude in the face of adversity and self-restraint in place of quivering-upper-lip emotion-as a quintessentially British attribute, but the phrase originated in America in 1815 and became popular thanks to the success of a poem by the American women’s rights activist Phoebe Cary, which featured the lines “And though hard be the task, / Keep a stiff upper lip.”
The reliable, talented, and influential British journalist Matthew Engel, author of the tremendous That’s the Way It Crumbles: The American Conquest of the English Language, is the acknowledged authority on Americanisms that have successfully invaded British English.
The list of them is lengthy-and, as Matthew points out, includes “Lengthy,” as well as “Reliable,” “Talented,” “Influential,” and “Tremendous”: “All of these words we use without a second thought were not normally part of the English language until the establishment of the United States. The Americans imported English wholesale, forged it to meet their own needs, then exported their own words back across the Atlantic to be incorporated in the way we speak over here. Those seemingly innocuous words caused fury at the time. The poet Coleridge denounced”talented” as a barbarous word in 1832, though a few years later it was being used by William Gladstone.
Some modern American imports Matthew can’t stand- among them “Faze”, “Hospitalize,” “Elevator,” “Rookies”, and “Guy,” “Less and less the centerpiece of the ancient British festival of 5 November -or, as it will soon be known, 11/5. Now someone of either gender.” However, sometimes, he concedes, American phrases can have “Vigor and vivacity”: “A relative of mine told me recently he went to a business meeting chaired by a California woman who wanted everyone to speak frankly. It was ‘open kimono.'”.
Here are just 38 of the Americanisms it seems the British public really can’t stand.
The phrase I’ve watched seep into the language is “Two-time” and “Three-time.” Have the words double, triple, etc.
Using “Alternate” for “Alternative” deprives us of a word.
“Reach out to” when the correct word is “Ask.” For example: “I will reach out to Kevin and let you know if that timing is convenient.” Reach out? Is Kevin stuck in quicksand? Is he teetering on the edge of a cliff? Can’t we just ask him?

The orginal article.

Summary of “15 Obscure Words for Everyday Feelings and Emotions”

When it comes to describing hard-to-describe feelings and emotions, much is made of the English language’s shortcomings: We either have to turn to foreign languages to describe situations like coming up with a perfect comeback when the moment has passed, or else use resources like the brilliant, but sadly entirely fictitious, Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows or Meaning of Liff.
So vast is the English language that words for feelings and emotions, and to describe the human condition, have actually found their way into the dictionary.
Here are 15 more obscure English words to describe feelings that are otherwise indescribable.
Croochie-Proochles The superb Scots dialect word croochie-proochles means the feeling of discomfort or fidgetiness that comes from sitting in a cramped position.
That’s nikhedonia-the feeling of excitement or elation that comes from anticipating success.
AlysmAlysm is the feeling of restlessness or frustrated boredom that comes from being unwell.
Misslieness The Scots dialect word misslieness means “The feeling of solitariness that comes from missing something or someone you love.”
Euneirophrenia is the feeling of contentment that comes from waking up from a pleasant dream, while malneirophrenia is the feeling of unease or unhappiness that comes from waking up from a nightmare.

The orginal article.

Summary of “15 Obscure Words for Everyday Feelings and Emotions”

When it comes to describing hard-to-describe feelings and emotions, much is made of the English language’s shortcomings: We either have to turn to foreign languages to describe situations like coming up with a perfect comeback when the moment has passed, or else use resources like the brilliant, but sadly entirely fictitious, Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows or Meaning of Liff.
So vast is the English language that words for feelings and emotions, and to describe the human condition, have actually found their way into the dictionary.
Here are 15 more obscure English words to describe feelings that are otherwise indescribable.
Croochie-Proochles The superb Scots dialect word croochie-proochles means the feeling of discomfort or fidgetiness that comes from sitting in a cramped position.
That’s nikhedonia-the feeling of excitement or elation that comes from anticipating success.
AlysmAlysm is the feeling of restlessness or frustrated boredom that comes from being unwell.
Misslieness The Scots dialect word misslieness means “The feeling of solitariness that comes from missing something or someone you love.”
Euneirophrenia is the feeling of contentment that comes from waking up from a pleasant dream, while malneirophrenia is the feeling of unease or unhappiness that comes from waking up from a nightmare.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Cultural History of First Words”

Laden with the promise of a new life, a first word is a new person’s first expression of self, even if it’s just to label the dog, ask for food, or say hi.
In the cultural history of first words, we can say with confidence that they’ve always existed.
The oldest comes from 1602, when a French physician named Jean Héroard was assigned to keep a diary about the growth and development of the first legitimate heir to the French throne in eighty years, the dauphin who would become Louis XIII. That first word, as Héroard wrote it, was hé, or, as we’d translate it into English today, “Hey.” After Héroard, we have no record of another first word for another eighty-four years.
After the dauphin’s hé and Sewall’s “Apple,” the next first word was recorded in 1839, when Charles Darwin recorded his first son’s development, including his first word, “Mum.” It meant “Food” or “Give me food,” Darwin tells us.
Around the same time that Darwin, Taine, and other Europeans were grappling with children and the evolutionary history of language, the first commercial baby books for recording important moments, including first words, began to appear in America.
Online library records for about twenty baby books from the early twentieth century in a UCLA special collection showed that about two-thirds of them provided space for a “First word” or “First words.” The most effusive, a book from 1910, asked, “What were the first wonderful words?” One asks for “Baby’s sayings” and another asks for “Speech” and “Vocabulary at 18 months.” About a third of the books prompted nothing of the sort, asking instead about first pictures, birthdays, Christmases, teeth, and trips.
Though my first words were perhaps not prophetic, Picasso’s first word was “Piz” and Julie Andrews’s was “Home.”
Your first words were everyone’s first words, spoken over and over by endless generations of babies trying to break through.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Murderer Who Helped Make the Oxford English Dictionary”

Simon Winchester, in his brilliant best-selling book about William Minor’s contributions to the OED, The Professor and the Madman, explains the innovation beautifully: “The OED’s guiding principle, the one that has set it apart from most other dictionaries, is its rigorous dependence on gathering quotations from published or otherwise recorded uses of English and using them to illustrate the use of the sense of every single word in the language. The reason behind this unusual and tremendously labor-intensive style of editing and compiling was both bold and simple: By gathering and publishing selected quotations, the dictionary could demonstrate the full range of characteristics of each and every word with a very great degree of precision.”
The one and only object that likely occupied more space in Minor’s mind than his nighttime harassers was the Oxford English Dictionary.
Back in 1861, when he was a first-year medical student at Yale, Minor had helped contribute to the Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language.
The Oxford English Dictionary was a chance to make amends, and Minor took to the task with the zeal of a man who had nothing but time.
The editors of the dictionary had advised volunteers like Minor to focus on rare or colorful terms, eye-grabbing words like baboon or blubber or hubbub, and to ignore grammatical filler like and, of, or the.
For the rest of the 1890s, Minor would send as many as 20 quotations a day to the subeditors in Oxford.
His submissions had a ridiculously high acceptance rate; so high that in the OED’s first volume-then called A New English Dictionary, published in 1888-James Murray added a line of thanks to “Dr. W. C. Minor, Crowthorne.”
It was around this time, as Minor recuperated in the infirmary, that he stopped contributing to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Do Canadians Say ‘Eh’?”

Canadians are not particularly amused when you eagerly point out their “Eh” habit, but the word has become emblematic of the country in a way that is now mostly out of their control.
There are a few major ways a Canadian could use “Eh.” The first is while stating an opinion: “It’s a nice day, eh?” Another would be as an exclamation tag, which is added to a sentence in order to indicate surprise: “What a game, eh?” Or you could use it for a request or command: “Put it over here, eh?” And then there’s the odd example of using it within a criticism: “You really messed that one up, eh?”.
Elaine Gold, the founder of the Canadian Language Museum and a recently retired lecturer at the University of Toronto who’s studied “Eh,” used the example of a military sergeant shouting, “Forward march, eh?” It’s a command, but emphasizes that the listeners agree with it, that somehow the decision to march has been made and agreed upon by everyone.
Within Canada, saying “Eh,” especially the narrative “Eh,” is considered kind of a hick thing to do.
“Right,” “Okay,” “Yes,” and “You know” are all used in some of the same ways as “Eh.” In French, “Hein” is quite similar, as is the Japanese “Ne,” the Dutch “hè,” the Yiddish “Nu,” and the Spanish “¿no?” These differ in some ways from “Eh,” as “Eh” can be used in some ways that the other tags cannot be and vice versa, but what really makes “Eh” different is less about the way it’s used and more about its place in Canadian society.
The stereotype of Canadians saying “Eh” is so strong that Canadians have ended up reclaiming the word for themselves, even those Canadians who don’t actually use it very often.
A popular children’s book about Canadian culture is titled “From Eh? To Zed.” The first prime minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald, is often referred to as “Sir John Eh.”.
Even if the stereotype of the obsequious Canuck comes from outside the country, from brash Americans who don’t much care whether or not the listener feels included in their statements, Canadians have claimed “Eh” as their own.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Murderer Who Helped Make the Oxford English Dictionary”

Simon Winchester, in his brilliant best-selling book about William Minor’s contributions to the OED, The Professor and the Madman, explains the innovation beautifully: “The OED’s guiding principle, the one that has set it apart from most other dictionaries, is its rigorous dependence on gathering quotations from published or otherwise recorded uses of English and using them to illustrate the use of the sense of every single word in the language. The reason behind this unusual and tremendously labor-intensive style of editing and compiling was both bold and simple: By gathering and publishing selected quotations, the dictionary could demonstrate the full range of characteristics of each and every word with a very great degree of precision.”
The one and only object that likely occupied more space in Minor’s mind than his nighttime harassers was the Oxford English Dictionary.
Back in 1861, when he was a first-year medical student at Yale, Minor had helped contribute to the Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language.
The Oxford English Dictionary was a chance to make amends, and Minor took to the task with the zeal of a man who had nothing but time.
The editors of the dictionary had advised volunteers like Minor to focus on rare or colorful terms, eye-grabbing words like baboon or blubber or hubbub, and to ignore grammatical filler like and, of, or the.
For the rest of the 1890s, Minor would send as many as 20 quotations a day to the subeditors in Oxford.
His submissions had a ridiculously high acceptance rate; so high that in the OED’s first volume-then called A New English Dictionary, published in 1888-James Murray added a line of thanks to “Dr. W. C. Minor, Crowthorne.”
It was around this time, as Minor recuperated in the infirmary, that he stopped contributing to the Oxford English Dictionary.

The orginal article.