Where do you find the time?

It’s occasionally been found in speeding taxis and Paris hotel rooms. Alpine meadows and mourning doves are rich in it, though can be hard to find. Forget about fountains and rainbows, they’re myths. Rarely it falls from geese flying north. Sometimes sunlight on water contains trace amounts. Check in the attic and under the peonies, but it moves fast and is hard to catch. Now and then it has been stolen from babies sleeping on airplanes. From girls reading in parks. From headlines and editorials. If you never take a water aerobics class, you’ll have more time than some. Give up all hope, and you might get a little more. Say no. Smile. Read. Read even when you should be sleeping. That time counts double. I-95 is a gold mine, though you’ll have to fight others for the time found there. Take the bus. Follow the river. Don’t be afraid to be late. Read poetry. Poetry gives time back, but most people don’t know it. Never watch television. Movies are fine. Documentaries are better. Sometimes, read novels in translation. Just consider it. Don’t remodel your kitchen. Don’t remodel anything. Don’t even think about it! Hire a babysitter, or not. Make do. Let your spouse help. Stay calm. Go to New York. Leave New York. Again, never take a water aerobics class. Don’t get a dog. Decorate minimally, including holidays. Maintain no position on Halloween costumes or children’s birthday parties. Use gift bags. Shop rarely. Spot clean. Keep a notebook. Copy. Borrow. Mimic. Steal. Never offer to be class parent. Volunteer elsewhere, if you must. Do not scrapbook. Avoid cooking. Bake once in a while. Rewrite, repeat. Listen to music. Have a drink.

If you do all this, one day you might find a package on your doorstep. Open it carefully. Inside will be time, tied in bundles of a thousand, smelling of jasmine. Congratulations! It’s all yours. Now hide it well.

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2010/12/13kane.html

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To study the evolution of the language, a few students at Harvard have come a nifty little yet powerful Google tool that lets you track the usage of words or phrases over a period of time. Once you feed in your query it scans the entire corpus of over 200 million Google books to arrive at very interesting trend graphs.

As I see it, the Books Ngram Viewer could be used not only to track the evolution of language and trends over time, but also to compare and contrast the frequency of certain terms online and in print (perhaps when used in tandem with tools akin to Google Trends.)

The tool can be tried here: http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/info

And the piece of research on cultural evolution basis Google Books as printed in Science is here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2010/12/15/science.1199644

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