How German companies adopted English as their lingua franca


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Seems like no one has a choice these days to not learn English.

Even German car icon VW last year announced that it would make English the corporate language for its 120 sites worldwide. No other German company employs more people abroad — 340,000 of the 626,000 total last year.

This was a controversial decision. The German Language Foundation, which has set itself the task of protecting the language, was so furious at VW that it sold its company shares in protest. “The words Volkswagen and German unfortunately no longer go together,” fumed the foundation’s chairman Walter Krämer. “I am appalled at how recklessly our elites are giving up their own language and culture.”

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Caludia Obmann — Handelsblatt Global

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How Prussian blue changed everything


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Not my favorite color.

The creation of Prussian blue was the result of a simple error by two German alchemists, Jacob Diesbach and Johann Konrad Dippel. While mixing a batch of cochineal red, Diesbach was alarmed to discover that his concoction had turned a deep blue. After much investigation, he determined that this was the result of a chemical reaction caused by animal blood found in contaminated potash provided by Dippel. The world’s first synthetic pigment was born.

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Christie’s

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Office Space Time Loop: From Open Plans to Cubicle Farms and Back Again


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Do you sit in a cubicle or in an open space?

As Nelson foresaw, Action Office II cubicles went on to become a commercial success and its systems were widely imitated by other companies. Along the way, though, much of the optimism and modular vision was lost. Today’s “cubicle farms” are often static, cramped and the subject of derision in popular media (including Office Space and The Matrix). Herman Miller stills sells a variety of Action Office systems, some of which look quite elegant and functional, but the associations they conjure have changed a lot over the decades.

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Kurt Kohlstedt — 99% Invisible

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Parents in a Remote Amazon Village Barely Talk to Their Babies—and the Kids Are Fine


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Recently, I heard a podcast on two approaches to parenting – the gardener and the carpenter. Today’s needull looks at a society vastly different from the westernized rich society.

The researchers observed, anecdotally, that language development appears to be slightly delayed in the Tsimané—but this does not seem to matter. The children grow up to be fully functioning, communicative and productive members of the community. In fact, as interactions between Tsimané and other Bolivians increase, many of the children are becoming bilingual in Spanish as well at their native Tsimané language.

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Dana G. Smith — Scientific American

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THE SECRETIVE FAMILY MAKING BILLIONS FROM THE OPIOID CRISIS


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Story about a rich secretive family and their fortune. Sounds familiar?

That may be because the greatest part of that $14 billion fortune tallied by Forbes came from OxyContin, the narcotic painkiller regarded by many public-health experts as among the most dangerous products ever sold on a mass scale. Since 1996, when the drug was brought to market by Purdue Pharma, the American branch of the Sacklers’ pharmaceutical empire, more than two hundred thousand people in the United States have died from overdoses of OxyContin and other prescription painkillers. Thousands more have died after starting on a prescription opioid and then switching to a drug with a cheaper street price, such as heroin. Not all of these deaths are related to OxyContin—dozens of other painkillers, including generics, have flooded the market in the past thirty years. Nevertheless, Purdue Pharma was the first to achieve a dominant share of the market for long-acting opioids, accounting for more than half of prescriptions by 2001.

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Christopher Glazek — Esquire

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Alien and pregnancy


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Looking at Alien through the gender prism.

Alien has some mixed signals to send about women. On the one hand, signs of the female dominate in the film: the operating system of the ship is called Mother and the men in the crew aren’t macho at all. Nor are the women particularly feminine. The sole survivor is a woman called Ripley, played by Sigourney Weaver, who is tall, striking and very capable. She’s often cited as one of the first female action heroes in twentieth century cinema. ((The proof? Even when she is struck still by the horror of the alien, she keeps on strategizing. Her dash for the ship at the end is panic-stricken, but also calculated.) Ripley’s gender is such an exception that that Alien is often understood as upending the casual misogyny and gender dynamics in many horror and action films. And yet Weaver’s casting was a last minute choice; writers, producers and Scott had all thought she would be male. The aliens’ physiology was also a decision after the fact; the Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger had been drawing their eroticized shapes for years before filming began, and Scott’s genius was in importing Giger’s creepy grace rather than creating it from scratch.

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Jenni Quilter — Avidly

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The evolution of the Federal Reserve’s promises as recorded on their banknotes


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Promises made on banknotes have changed over time. Interesting blog looking at these changes.

Most members of the public don’t know how the underlying monetary systems work, but they do see what is printed on its banknotes. To the public, the morphing set of promises on the face of a Federal Reserve note would have been one of the more visible manifestations of a shift from a mish mash of paper currencies issued by two different institutions and pegged to gold… to one single legal tender currency issued by the U.S.’s now-dominant monetary institution, the Fed—the Treasury receding into the background.

The complete article

JP Koning — Moneyness

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