History of English (combined) (by OUlearn)
With greater interconnectedness and the availability of instant communication nearly world wide, do you think English will lose many words from here on out? I’m inclined to think the big changes from here on out are likely to be the result of (1) necessity (new science, medicine, tech, etc) and (2) vogue (thanks, French).
I was recently asked in an interview how many gas stations there are in the United States. Immediately, I knew the point of this question was not the answer, but the process. In addition to that, it seemed the kind of question Google interviewers throw around to discern a candidate’s critical thinking skills.
With that knowledge, I was kinda thrilled to be asked one of these questions. Even more than that, I was asked one I had never heard or contemplated before.
I looked up from the table I sat at with my three interviewers and stared into the florescent lights. I started thinking about where I grew up, went to college, moved after college, and live now. Somewhere between these very different locations was a decent average for the number of gas stations per square mile. I made sure to disregard convenience stores/bodegas entirely. Then, to even out my person experiences, I thought of a map I’d seen recently depicting population density versus IP addresses as points of light in the continental US. The western US drops off until the coast, so I wanted to keep that in mind. Ultimately, I didn’t care for the number I came up with, so I doubled it.
When I explained this process to my crowd, along with a quip about growing up where churches had a 2:1 ratio to gas stations, I got a big laugh.
Today, I finally got around to checking my number. I guessed around 13000. It seems I was right for about a decade ago, but that the number is probably closer to 16000 now (different sources disagree). Still, I think that guess is pretty respectable.
(via Watch all the greatest “Walterisms” from Fringe!) Even if you don’t love Fringe, you have to love John Noble’s acting. I’m telling you, you have to.
For my last day at my tech support job, a colleague sent me this video.
Excuse me, I’m a little verklempt. Talk amongst yaselves. I’ll give you a topic: Dr. Phil and Oprah have a child and it doesn’t initiate the end of days. Discuss.