November 19, 2013 |
This is how words are born. In 2002, an Australian man went to his “mate's” 21st birthday party. He got drunk, tripped on some steps and cut his lip. He took a picture of his injuries and shared it with his friends on an online forum. “And sorry about the focus,” he wrote, “it was a selfie.” That was the first recorded use of the word “selfie,” according to the word mavens at the Oxford Dictionaries, who research such things. On Tuesday, the Oxford Dictionaries declared “selfie” the word of the year for 2013, in honor of the relatively young coinage having taken over the world thanks to millions of smartphone self-portraits and the resulting shares in social media.
October 17, 2013 |
The Himalayan yeti - or some version of that mythical creature - may be a relative of an ancient polar bear, according to new research by a University of Oxford geneticist. Bryan Sykes, a human geneticist at Oxford, analyzed the hairs from two alleged yetis, one that came from an unknown animal mummy in the western Himalayan region of Ladakh and the other from an animal discovered 10 years ago in Bhutan. Sykes sequenced the DNA from each of the two hairs and then looked for a match in a large database of other animal genomes. [Updated 1:52 p.m. PDT Oct. 17: Sykes put the call out last year for samples from “formally undescribed species,” according to a release, and then chose 30 of what he deemed “credible” samples to test.
September 8, 2013 |
For many science fans, watching Stephen Hawking give a speech - perched on a stage, nearly motionless in his wheelchair, holding forth in the computerized voice that has become his trademark - is a rare treat. At Caltech, where the physicist comes for regular extended visits, people line up for hours for a chance to get a ticket. Those who can't get admission to the lecture hall watch on screens set up outdoors, craning their necks for a glimpse of their hero. LA Times: Stephen Hawking speaks to Cedars-Sinai staff in 2013 Now readers everywhere can share a piece of that experience, as Hawking's new memoir - which expands on his popular talks - goes on sale Tuesday.
August 28, 2013 |
If you were scandalized by Miley Cyrus' performance Sunday at the VMAs, get ready to have your shock codified in the English language. Oxford Dictionaries Online has formally announced that it's adding "twerking" as the newest verb to its ledger, as part of its quarterly update to its online resources. The formal definition? "Twerk, v.: dance to popular music in a sexually provocative manner involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance. " MTV VMAs 2013: Show Highlights | Best & Worst It joins other pop-culture effluvia like "selfie," "derp," "digital diet" and "Bitcoin" as new additions to the palette of modern language in the online edition.
August 28, 2013 |
The latest sign that the apocalypse is nigh arrived Wednesday when the eggheads behind Britain's Oxford Dictionaries announced plans to add four words that are hard to say without gagging a little. But, for the sake of illuminating our readers, we shall do our best to share them here. For, lo, their ascension into the mainstream reveals so much about the decline and fall of pop culture. Brace yourself. PHOTOS: Biggest tech flops of 2013 -- so far Selfie : This refers to the smartphone self-portraits that people take.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 30, 2013 |
British futurist James Martin, who predicted the ubiquity of computers and foretold the rise of the Internet in "The Wired Society," a 1978 book that was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, has died near his private island in Bermuda. He was 79. Authorities in the British territory said Thursday that an autopsy is pending for Martin, whose body was found by a kayaker in waters near the author's home. Police have said they do not believe a crime is involved. While on sabbatical from IBM in 1977, Martin made his first million dollars traveling the world and lecturing business executives on the coming computer revolution.