Etymology: Analytics

For a long time, whenever I typed the word "analytics" I would see a red squiggle indicating a spelling error. I figured the word must have been new, but it's been around since the late 1500s.

But not the definition that I was thinking of analytics as:
n. The collation and analysis of data or statistics, esp. by computer, typically for financial or commercial purposes; the data that results from this; (also) software used for this purpose.
This definition is very recent compared to the one used in philosophy:
  • 1966 - Econ. & Polit. Weekly 15 Oct. 377/1   A correct conclusion from the analytics of comparative statics.
  • 1980 - Amer. Banker (Nexis) 25 July   Understanding the analytics, setting servicing standards, and selling the system to branch operating folks.
  • 2001 - Financial Times 27 Jan. 9/7 (advt.)    All the features active traders need, including news, charts, analytics and direct trading capabilities.
  • 2009 - A. Kaushik Web Analytics 2·0 xiii. 394   In the last few years I have implemented at least 25 analytics tools on my blog.


Etymology: Thong

There are just some words that make me titter. Titter, for example, is hilarious. The other day I saw a coworker wearing a sandal known as a thong. Thong is DEFINITELY a word that makes me titter. The main reason? This book. It was very popular during my intern days and it still makes me laugh today.

So I looked up the word "thong" in the old Oxford English Dictionary, one of my absolute favorite databases. There are meanings, sure. I included the first one. But I love learning about a word's different forms and its etymology. Here's what we have for "thong" from the OED:

Pronunciation: Brit. /θɒŋ/, U.S. /θɔŋ/, /θɑŋ/Forms: α. OE ðwong, ðuong, ðwangc, þwæng, ðuuencg, OE–ME þwang; ME thuang, ME (Sc. and north.–18) thwang (ME thwange, twange, 15 thwangue), ME–16 Sc. thwayng. β. ME þwong, þuong(e, ME thwong(e (dial. twonge). γ. ME þong, ME– thong, (ME þonge, thongh, 15–16 thonge, 15 thongue). δ. ME thownge, thowyng; dial.17–18 thung, thunk, thonk.(Show Less)Etymology: Old English þwang , þwǫng strong masculine (also feminine); also, Old Northumbrian plural ðuuencgu , N. Anglian þwænga , agreeing with Old Norse þvengr ( < þvaŋgiz ); all from ablaut stem *þwing- , *þwang- , *þwung- , to restrain < Indo-European root *twenk : compare German zwingen : see twing n., twinge v.1, and compare the dialect form whang n.1

Definition: a.) A narrow strip of hide or leather, for use as a lace, cord, band, strap, or the like.

I also thought this sample sentence was funny:
1981 - H. Engel Ransom Game (1982) xxx. 197 She..handed me a pair of Japanese thongs. I slipped them on and felt the skin between my first two toes protest.

Etymology: Podcast

This word was a surprise! I could have sworn that I was listening to what I thought were called "podcasts" back in the early 2000s - 2001, 2002 or so. But according to the trusty ole Oxford English Dictionary, the word sprouted in 2004?!?


Work according to Studs

"Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying."


Treat Yo Self: Top 10 Ways to Escape Reality and Relax

Lifehacker is really great. Sometimes, they just provide simple reminders on how to stay sane. This post is a perfect example: Top 10 Ways to Escape Reality and Relax. My current faves: reading, writing and cooking.


Pixars 22 Rules of Storytelling

Writing well is hard. The most compelling writing is always a story, whether you are talking fiction or nonfiction. In my daily work as a fundraiser, I am always looking for stories that will interest alumni and donors. It's not the big, fancy building they want to hear about, but the way the big, fancy building will change students' lives.

To be a half-decent at writing, you have to do it all the time. The truth is, I have been a writer for a long time, but I always feel like I need to do it more often. Back in October, I came across Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling in a webinar. Sadly, it was just the other day I finally went back through my notes and I'm so happy I did. These rules are writing gold.


Robo-Bees. Pollination. Wuuut?

I about fell out of my chair when I read this little blurb from Scientific American about Robo-Bees could aid insects with pollination duties. I guess I forgot how advanced drones really are now. I was first reminded at the super bowl this year when 300 of them were in perfect formation for the halftime show. Amazing.

While I think this is a very innovative solution to this problem, two things come to mind:
  • Drones can literally become the flies on the walls. Pretty creepy. Pollination today, super spy technology tomorrow.
  • Why don't we figure out how to save the bees, too? We're innovative enough to do that, as well.