A Week in Links – 1/28 – 2/2, 2013

Culture and technology

_65518989_websites2_464From websites to call center recorded messages, it would seem the entire service industry has adopted a more familiar and approachable tone of voice to address its customers. An Irish comedian complains about over-familiar websites that use colloquial language in an attempt to seem more human.

BBC News – The rise of over-familiar websites

digitalWe tend to think that our modern technologies are superior to anything that has come before and we have an inability to imagine a future in which our present technologies may become obsolete. Yet it would seem some older technologies will outlast some of our state of the art inventions -at least in certain niche markets. In this article we learn how certain professions are keeping carbon paper and typewriters alive.

The Economist – Only the digital dies

International News

maliThe French intervention in Mali has quickly escalated over the course of the past few weeks. Many across the world wonder what has motivated a socialist president who proclaimed his would be a “normal” presidency eight months ago when he defeated Mr. Sarkozy and his imposing persona. Yet as important as what is happening in the capital of the ex-metropolis, perhaps even more important, is what is taking place internally on the ground, and the movements leading up to what may only be the beginning of a long-lasting intervention.

London Review of Books – What are they doing in Mali?

Spanish Language

azarosaThe vice-director of the Real Academia Española illuminates us on the differences between similar words that are confused by many native speakers, often with hilarious results (formica vs. fornica). The examples are extracted from the book La azarosa vida de las palabras. While quite illustrative to Spanish speakers across the world, the list admittedly includes words -and errors- that only occur in Spain.

ABC.es – Los veinte errores más vulgares de la lengua 

Psychology

dontwanderStaying focused on any one thing is one of the most significant challenges we face on any given day. Everything we aspire to -reading a book, mastering an art, meeting that deadline- is often marred by all those distractions that are constantly fighting for our attention. It turns out that, according to a study, we are happier when our minds are focused on the present moment -even if the task at hand is unpleasant.

Pacific Standard – Memo to the Mind: Don’t Wander, Be Happy

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