19 Nov

Snail art

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slavin:

“Dyed snail excremental that have been altered by a diet of colored paper. The snails are fed a strict regime of colored cellulose paper and because they cannot assimilate the paper’s pigments, their bodies reject the color of the ingested paper creating colored excitements. Applications include floor tiles and can be used for packaging.” (at Material ConneXion)

17 Nov

Focus group anecdote

The story is told of a focus group for a new $100 electronic gadget. The response in the focus group was fabulous, people all talked about the features of the new device with excitement.

At the end of the session, the moderator said, “thanks for coming. As our gift to you, you can have your choice of the device or $25.”

Everyone took the cash.

(via tomwhitwell)

16 Aug

On ette

If you track this process over a long enough time-period, you’ll find plenty of cases where a word’s meaning has shifted from negative to positive, or vice-versa. For instance, sophisticated was once an insult (meaning ‘dishonest, deceitful’), and complacent was once a compliment (meaning ‘pleasant, obliging’).

Could –ette be making the same kind of journey? It’s not inconceivable, but on balance I don’t think so. Present-day English speakers may not make the old connection with cheap imitation materials, because most of those words have fallen out of use. But –ette remains common in its diminutive sense, so there’s still a basis for younger speakers to deduce that female-referring terms of the form X + ette imply ‘little X’ as well as ‘female X’—and potentially to find that insulting, just as feminists of my generation did.

https://debuk.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/ette-ymology