Posts Tagged ‘language’


March 3, 2010

as part of the re-purposing of existing words:

Lymph , v. To walk with a lisp.

first to market? Stigler’s law of eponymy!

January 26, 2010

One of the greatest takeways from my semester at Yale was that no matter how original you think you are, or an idea you have, someone has thought of it before, and has a little academic activity established around that thought already.

some, hundreds of years ago.

so, a bit of humility

Stigler’s law of eponymy is a process proposed by University of Chicago statistics professor Stephen Stigler in his 1980 publication “Stigler’s law of eponymy”.  In its simplest and strongest form it says: “No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.”

Stigler’s Law was discovered many times before Stigler named it

Historical acclaim and reputation tend to be allocated to people unevenly. Scientific observations and results are often associated with people who have high visibility and social status, and are named long after their discovery. Eponymy is a striking example of this phenomenon. Particularly important scientific observations are often associated with a person, as in the case of Gaussian distribution, Halley’s comet, and Planck’s constant. Nature never works in isolation. Ideas arrive in parallel, and theoretical or practical works/experiments too are near simultaneous in time-space. It is the publicizing and recording of the work that assumes identity relationship with the one most famously connected with it. Indeed many ideas never see fruition for their time has not come or they are not fully recognised, appreciated or properly advertised.

Often the person who is associated with the particular observation, theory, or result was not its original inventor. Based on his studies on the history of statistics, Stephen Stigler therefore proposed his own “Stigler’s Law of Eponymy.” Stigler attributes the discovery of Stigler’s Law to sociologist  Robert K. Merton (which makes the law self-referencing).

merton, by the way. was a distinguished American sociologist perhaps best known for having coined the phrase “self-fulfilling prophecy.” He also coined many other phrases that have gone into everyday use, such as “role model” and “unintended consequences“. his son, robert merton is a noble prize winner in economics. he is the one of black scholes fame and long term capital management LTCM.

press here for a good article about how great ideas are not rare

who usually gets the credit? the most popular or powerful person at the time at which it gained wide acceptance.

the lesson here is:

  • there is already a principle named after a person for this. the  matthew principle, (more will be given to those that already have, matthew 25:29)
  • for israeli startups,  to invest in marketing

and time markets,

and get lucky.

some people

January 5, 2010

2. Ignoranus : A person who’s both stupid and an asshole.


January 4, 2010

The Washington Post’s Mensa Invitational  once  again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by   adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

i welcome you to do the same.

Here are the 2009 notable entries and winners:

Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

teddy bear

December 27, 2009

want to be appreciated?

a word to be remembered by?

how about a word and a toy?

A teddy Bear is called so because of, or after, Teddy Roosevlet.

the story is a good one.

an incident involving “strong men” and a fierce beast

a kind human act, one of a true sportsman

some reporter makes a cartoon out of it

a creative entrepreneur hears of the story and creates joy, a toy and money

another entrepreneur, in another corner of the world, comes up with the same idea, at the same time

since there is little IP involved, they compete, create a market for generations to come

from wikipedia:

The name Teddy Bear comes from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, whose nickname was “Teddy”. The name originated from an incident on a bear-hunting trip in Mississippi in November 1902, to which Roosevelt was invited by Mississippi Governor Andrew H. Longino. There were several other hunters competing, and most of them had already killed an animal. A suite of Roosevelt’s attendants, led by Holt Collier,[1] cornered, clubbed, and tied an American Black Bear to a willow tree after a long exhausting chase with hounds. They called Roosevelt to the site and suggested that he should shoot it. He refused to shoot the bear himself, deeming this unsportsmanlike,[2] but instructed that the bear be killed to put it out of its misery, and it became the topic of a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman in The Washington Post on November 16, 1902.[3] While the initial cartoon of an adult black bear lassoed by a white handler and a disgusted Roosevelt had symbolic overtones, later issues of that and other Berryman cartoons made the bear smaller and cuter.[4]

Morris Michtom saw the drawing of Roosevelt and the bear cub and was inspired to create a new toy. He created a little stuffed bear cub and put it in his shop window with a sign that read “Teddy’s bear,” after sending the bear to Roosevelt and receiving permission to sell the bears. The toys were an immediate success and Michtom founded the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co., which still exists today.[2]

At the same time, in Germany the Steiff firm, unaware of Michtom’s bear, produced a stuffed bear from Richard Steiff‘s designs. They exhibited the toy at the Leipzig Toy Fair in March 1903 and exported 3000 to the United States

Gemini and confusionism and ‘in be-twin’

December 18, 2009

‘Identical twins, Roselle, N.J.,’

“A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you, the less you know.”

Diane Arbus

trying to coin a new phrase for the following feeling, i shall call it ‘confusionism’. but as guy suggested it is perhaps better called ‘in be-twin’

Are you familiar with it?:

there are a set of twins somewhere in your family or in a close group of friends.

when they were babies, you could hardly tell them apart. once in a while you would find a way to differentiate, but next time you saw them, it did not work anymore. it was temporary.

over the next few years, you meet them every 3 months or so in some family function or friends get together. you try to find something that differentiates them, but it escapes you. the next time you see them they start talking. from now on, every time y0u see them, you try to find out something different in their clothing, then ask them for their names. for the rest of the evening, or afternoon, depending on the function, you can tell them apart if you can hold on to that thought, do not drink too much wine, or are not pre-occupied in your own thoughts. as they years go by, and they grow older. every time you talk to them you are under pressure.

‘who am i speaking to?’

‘ dani or rani?’, ‘zili or gili?’

should not these feeling have a word?

do you know what i am talking about?

in our home, this issue comes up as well:

my oldest daughter, and her brother, 6 years her young, have the same voice over the phone.

boy, it is really tough to tell them apart.

every time i call home, i am worried what if one of them answers and i get it wrong?

please send suggestions for how to name this feeling

identical mirage?

gemini spin?

confusionism!    (for now)


November 29, 2009

an option you do not intend to use, but you still see value in getting it, rather than dropping it.

Q: “want to go to a movie Friday night?”

A: “i usually stay home and watch tv, but lets discuss Friday eve”

as human beings, we know it ain’t going to happen, but we still want to obtain the droption, not realizing its value may be close to zero, and usually negative

VCs are a prime example of people obtaining and using droptions. especially not getting to back to a company with a ‘no’ early. they think that by waiting a week to a month something good will happen


November 29, 2009

as part of the new words series:


tactics to change reality.

e.g today is the first day of the rest of my life.

googol it

November 24, 2009

The name “Google” is an accidental misspelling of the word googol which was invented by a 9 year old boy, Milton Sirotta (who does not have a wikipedia entry – so much for words, coining them,  and fame).

A googol is the large number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros.

Columbia University Mathematics Professor,Edward Kasner is perhaps best remembered today for introducing the term “googol” in or about 1920[2]. In order to pique the interest of children, Kasner sought a name for a very large number: one followed by a hundred zeros.

On a walk in the New Jersey Palisades with his nephews, Milton and Edwin Sirotta, Kasner asked for their ideas. Nine-year-old Milton suggested “googol.”

Kasner popularized the concept in his book Mathematics and the Imagination (1940). A googol is of the same order of magnitude as the factorial of 70 (70! being approximately 1.198 googol, or 10 to the power 100.0784). In binary it would take up 333 bits. A googol has no particular significance in mathematics, but is useful when comparing with other very large quantities such as the number of subatomic particles in the visible universe or the number of possible chess games. Edward Kasner created it to illustrate the difference between an unimaginably large number and infinity, and in this role it is sometimes used in teaching mathematics.

News it!

November 23, 2009

Lately i am fascinated by words.

it is remarkable to me that we actually understand each other.

usually, when we talk, we understand each other quite well.

despite the fact that our brains and souls are very individual.

my appeal to you is let’s invent new words.

comments and suggestions are highly welcome. perhaps we can make some words really popular?

if i understand correctly, ‘quiz’ was invented in the University of Chicago in the 60s.

Wikipedia adds this note:

There is a well-known myth about the word “quiz”, which says that in 1791 a Dublin theater owner named James Daly made a bet that he could introduce a word into the language within twenty-four hours. He then went out and hired a group of street urchins to write the word “quiz”, which was a nonsense word, on walls around the city of Dublin. Within a day, the word was common currency and had acquired a meaning (since no one knew what it meant, everyone thought it was some sort of test) and Daly had some extra cash in his pocket. However, there is no evidence to support the story, and the term was already in use before the alleged bet in 1791.[1]

my new word for this post is:

‘News it’.

what does it mean? ‘

news it! – something you say to someone who just bought a new item. ‘תתחדש’ in hebrew

perhaps the salespeople at Banana Republic will great you on the way out with ‘News it’,  instead of ‘have a nice day’ or ‘thanks for shopping with us’