Monday

The Hearing Aid - What's Next?

As we grow older, things stop working as well as they may have when we were younger; hearing and vision losses can be particularly frustrating because of our overwhelming reliance on those senses.

The hearing aid seems like a simple idea, but one that can be quite complex in practice. The generally accepted task of the hearing aid is to clarify vocal information, so that the wearer is not always having to ask their fellows to repeat themselves every few minutes.

As far as the existing tech and where it may be going, here is a good, short video from Leo LaPorte (The Tech Guy!) as a caller poses the question after realizing that he may indeed need to start using such a device. Leo makes a couple of interesting observations about hearing aids in general, and some forthcoming technology in particular.


Wendy's Planning For A Smartphone-Ordering Future

Dublin, OH based Wendy's fast food chain is moving away from fully-staffed restaurants to self-ordering kiosks, and ultimately expect a future where many burgers and spicy chicken sandwiches will be ordered online and paid by smartphone.
"They are looking to improve their automation and their labor costs, and this is a good way to do it," said Darren Tristano, vice president with Technomic, a food-service research and consulting firm. "They are also trying to enhance the customer experience. Younger customers prefer to use a kiosk."
Business Insider


Sunday

Just For Fun

Ah, the struggle...

Arr, Shakespeare Sounded Like A Pirate

William Shakespeare is a name that has reverberated for centuries throughout the English-speaking world, and yet there are still a few mysteries surrounding him - perhaps not surprisingly since he lived hundreds of years ago (he died in 1616).

Some still wonder if the plays attributed to him were actually written by him, or by others like Francis Bacon or Christopher Marlowe. Another puzzle that probably does not occur to most of us is what did English sound like at the time of Shakespeare?

It's not something just asked out of curiosity (although it is interesting), but it affects the way the language "works" within the spoken plays. Shakespeare used particular rhythms and cadences, and things like puns and homonyms in his writing that sometimes don't quite work in modern English.

Although classic actors like Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Laurence Olivier sound great when delivering Shakespeare's lines, they are using "correct" English, the so-called "Received Pronunciation" (the way all the BBC announcers used to sound in the 1950's). But did Shakespeare sound like that? Nope, not even close.

While we can't time-travel back to the late 1500's to visit a live performance, linguists and other academics have a pretty good idea of what those presentations might have sounded like - and it's kind of surprising. 



Saturday

Average Human Expectancy Continues To Rise

Average life expectancy continues to rise, although perhaps not completely as one might expect, as far as the specific countries involved. For example, it's expected the average female life expectancy for a female child born in South Korea in 2030 will be 90 years, but around 83 years in the USA.

90 years of age was typically considered the upper limit for average human lifespan, although this new data may cause that to be revisited. The average female life expectancy in the USA in 1900 was approx. 48 years, males were 46 years.
The study, published in [British Medical Journal] The Lancet and funded by the UK Medical Research Council, revealed all nations in the study can expect to see an increase in life expectancy by 2030.
Science Daily