LONDON – It weighs in at more than 130 pounds, but the authoritative guide to the English language, the Oxford English Dictionary, may eventually slim down to nothing. Oxford University Press, the publisher, said Sunday so many people prefer to look up words using its online product that it's uncertain whether the 126-year-old dictionary's next edition will be printed on paper at all.
The digital version of the Oxford English Dictionary now gets 2 million hits a month from subscribers, who pay $295 a year for the service in the U.S. In contrast, the current printed edition — a 20-volume, 750-pound ($1,165) set published in 1989 — has sold about 30,000 sets in total.
It's just one more sign that the speed and ease of using Internet reference sites — and their ability to be quickly updated — are phasing out printed reference books. Google and Wikipedia are much more popular research tools than the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and dozens of free online dictionaries offer word meanings at the click of a mouse. Dictionary.com even offers a free iPhone application.
By the time the lexicographers behind the century-old Oxford English Dictionary finish revising and updating its third edition — a gargantuan task that will take a decade or more — publishers doubt there will be a market for the printed form.
"At present we are experiencing increasing demand for the online product," a statement from the publisher said. "However, a print version will certainly be considered if there is sufficient demand at the time of publication."
Nigel Portwood, chief executive of Oxford University Press, told The Sunday Times in an interview he didn't think the newest edition will be printed. "The print dictionary market is just disappearing. It is falling away by tens of percent a year," he said.
His comment related primarily to the full-length dictionary, but he said the convenience of the electronic format also is affecting demand for its shorter dictionaries.
It's too early to predict whether digital dictionaries will completely wipe out the printed format, and Portwood stressed that Oxford University Press has no plans to stop publishing print dictionaries. Schools still rely primarily on printed versions, the publisher said, and demand for its best-seller, the Advanced Learner's Dictionary, is still high among nonnative English learners.
Ben Robinson owns a micro-print version of the full Oxford that requires a magnifying glass to read, but the London part-time writer said he rarely uses it these days. Instead, he now consults the iPhone dictionary and thesaurus most often, and sometimes uses the online Oxford English Dictionary when he wants to find out the full history or more meanings of a word.
"Few people own the full version so maybe now that it is online more people can gain access to it," said the 30-year-old. He would still mourn the loss of the printed version, he added.
Launched in 2000, the online Oxford also makes it easier for its publisher to catch up with rapid semantic changes and new words.
Editors put updates out every three months. In March, for example, they added words such as "techy" and "superbug" to the online version.
The dictionary was first published in parts starting in 1884. It kept growing for decades until the complete text went out in 1928. It was the first comprehensive English dictionary since Samuel Johnson's "A Dictionary of the English Language" was published in 1755, and has since evolved to become the accepted authority on the meaning and history of words.
The version users now consult — the second edition — has 291,500 entries, plus 2.4 million quotations as sources. Unlike shorter printed versions such as the single-volume Oxford Dictionary of English, it doesn't track current usage.
A team of 80 lexicographers are preparing the third edition of the dictionary, which is just one-quarter finished. Oxford University Press hasn't yet given a date for when the third edition will be ready.
In December, the online version will be relaunched to include a historical thesaurus to make cross-referencing easier.
By SYLVIA HUI, Associated Press Writer
here's the next best thing to do. Fool your body into thinking you're feeling great
* First, we're going to slowly ease that tension out of the body. Sit on a chair with legs crossed. Pretend that your ankle is a pen and use it to write the alphabet. Repeat with the other ankle.
* Next, place your thumbs at the edge of your eyebrows, on each side of our head. Slide them up, stopping at the corner of the head, almost into the hairline. Press the thumbs into each side of the forehead; hold for a few seconds and then release. Repeat five times. By doing this, you release emotional stress because these pressure points a re linked to the emotional centre of the brain.
* Eat an orange. The vitamin C helps detoxify the body. Chewing on a handful of roasted cashew nuts can also be a good upper. Nuts contain magnesium and essential fatty acids that help boost moods.
* Change the breathing. Lie on your back, with the fingertips of one hand nesting between the breastbone and the solar plexus. Place the other hand on the belly. Taking deep breath through your nose push out your stomach as you inhale, thus filling your lungs. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly exhale. As oxygen replenishes your brain, use your fingertips to lightly stimulate the calming areas of your body and you'll feel more relaxed.
* The brain believes in the images it receives. So creative visualisation can quickly top up your happiness levels. Imagine the sun sending heat and light to your arms and legs. Soak in that sensation and feel the joy slowly seeping in.
From: Ashraful Amin
It comes from Central America and is found from Mexico to Panama. It is quite common in its zone, but it not easy to find because of its transparent wings, which is a natural camouflage mechanism.
A butterfly with transparent wings is rare and beautiful. As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change. Rivaling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glasswing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green, and red.
All things beautiful do not have to be full of color to be noticed: in life that which is unnoticed has the most power.
WASHINGTON – A newly discovered type of oil-eating microbe is suddenly flourishing in the Gulf of Mexico.
Scientists discovered the new microbe while studying the underwater dispersion of millions of gallons of oil spilled into the Gulf following the explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.
And the microbe works without significantly depleting oxygen in the water, researchers led by Terry Hazen at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, Calif., reported Tuesday in the online journal Sciencexpress.
"Our findings, which provide the first data ever on microbial activity from a deepwater dispersed oil plume, suggest" a great potential for bacteria to help dispose of oil plumes in the deep-sea, Hazen said in a statement.
Environmentalists have raised concerns about the giant oil spill and the underwater plume of dispersed oil, particularly its potential effects on sea life. A report just last week described a 22-mile long underwater mist of tiny oil droplets.
"Our findings show that the influx of oil profoundly altered the microbial community by significantly stimulating deep-sea" cold temperature bacteria that are closely related to known petroleum-degrading microbes, Hazen reported.
Their findings are based on more than 200 samples collected from 17 deepwater sites between May 25 and June 2. They found that the dominant microbe in the oil plume is a new species, closely related to members of Oceanospirillales.
This microbe thrives in cold water, with temperatures in the deep recorded at 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit).
Hazen suggested that the bacteria may have adapted over time due to periodic leaks and natural seeps of oil in the Gulf.
Scientists also had been concerned that oil-eating activity by microbes would consume large amounts of oxygen in the water, creating a "dead zone" dangerous to other life. But the new study found that oxygen saturation outside the oil plume was 67-percent while within the plume it was 59-percent.
The research was supported by an existing grant with the Energy Biosciences Institute, a partnership led by the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Illinois that is funded by a $500 million, 10-year grant from BP. Other support came from the U.S. Department of Energy and the University of Oklahoma Research Foundation.
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer
This image provided by NASA Tuesday Aug. 10, 2010 shows a long-exposure Hubble Space Telescope image of the majestic face-on spiral galaxy NGC4911 locateddeep within the Coma Cluster of galaxies, which lies 320 million light-years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices.
Arizona’s a crazy place right now, what with all the immigration laws and Sheriff Joe’s chain gangs, and what-not. Heat must really make people crazy.
And that’s got to be the inspiration for this new sport to come out of the state:
Drinking milk can work wonders for your ageing bones, says a new study.
For example, healthy men and women who supplemented their diets with a daily intake of 1,200 mg of calcium - or four glasses of milk - reduced their risk of bone fractures by 72 percent.
Researchers from University Hospital Zurich and Dartmouth Medical School divided 930 healthy men and women aged 27 to 80 into two groups for a four-year study.
One group was given a placebo, while the other took a daily calcium supplement containing 1,200 mg of calcium daily - the recommendation for adults over 51 years.
Researchers found that those receiving an additional 1,200 mg of calcium were significantly less likely to have a bone fracture of any sort during the four-year period, including everyday activity fractures (bone breaks that occurred while walking or standing).
In fact, during the four-year intervention, not a single adult receiving calcium experienced a fracture tied to everyday activities - fractures that researchers call 'potentially preventable' and more likely linked to bone health.
To sustain the benefits, researchers found that the adults needed to maintain their calcium intakes. After the four-year supplementation period ended, the bone benefits dissipated, underscoring the need to adopt lifelong habits, like drinking milk, to prevent bone loss.
Adult bones continue to grow in density and strength until about age 35. Poor bone health and bone fractures can have negative consequences for adults of all ages, interfering with recreational activities, ability to work or physical capacity to exercise and stay healthy.
These adult bone fractures may also be an early sign of risk for osteoporosis - a serious condition of brittle bones afflicting more than 10 million Americans.
From : Sana Iqbal
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Most young Americans entering university this year can't write in cursive, think email is too slow, that Beethoven's a dog and Michelangelo a computer virus, according to an annual list compiled by two academics at a US college.
To students who will get their bachelor's degrees in 2014, Czechoslovakia has never existed, Fergie is a pop singer, not a duchess; Clint Eastwood is a sensitive movie director, not Dirty Harry; and John McEnroe stars in TV ads, not on the tennis court, Beloit College's "Mindset" list says.
The Mindset list was first compiled in 1998, for the class of 2002, by Beloit humanities professor Tom McBride and former public affairs director Ron Nief.
It was intended as a reminder to faculty at the university that references quickly become dated, but quickly evolved to become a hugely popular annual list that gives a snapshot of how things have changed, and chronicles key cultural and political events that have shaped a generation.
In the first Mindset list, McBride and Nief found that youngsters born in 1980 had ever known only one pope - Polish-born John Paul II, who was elected to the papacy in 1978 and died in 2008.
For the class of 2003 -- born in 1981 and featured on the 1999 Mindset list -- Yugoslavia never existed and they were puzzled why Solidarity was sometimes spelled with a capital S.
Solidarity with a capital S was the first and only independent trade union in the Soviet bloc. It was created in 1980 and went on to negotiate in 1989 a peaceful end to communism in Poland, making the country the first to escape Moscow's grip.
Nief and McBride take a year to put the list together, gathering outside contributions and poring over journals, literary works, and the popular media from the year of the incoming university students' birth.
"Then we present the ideas to every 18-year-old whose attention we can get and we wait for the 'mindset moment' -- the blank stare that comes back at you that makes you realize they have no idea what you're talking about," Nief told AFP.
Those moments make it onto the list, alongside interesting historical snippets like the fact that since the class of 2004 was born in 1982, all but one national election in the United States has had a candidate in it named George Bush.
The list also chronicles geopolitical changes, and sometimes depressingly highlights how little progress has been made on key issues, such as the fight against AIDS.
The class of 2004, for instance, "never referred to Russia and China as 'the Reds'", and in the year they were born, 1982, "AIDS was found to have killed 164 people and finding a cure for the new disease was designated a 'top priority' for government-sponsored research."
The class of 2005 -- born in 1983 -- thought of Sarajevo as a war zone, not an Olympic host, and had no idea what carbon paper was.
Apartheid never existed in South Africa for the class of 2006, and for the class of 2007, "Banana Republic has always been a store, not a puppet government in Latin America."
The list is a mirror of how rapidly perceptions can change: to the class of 2013, boxer Mike Tyson was "always a felon" but to students who graduated five years earlier, Tyson was "always a contender."
The list makes some people feel old, like those who remember what Michael Jackson looked like when he was singing in the Jackson Five or recall the days when there were only a handful of channels on television.
But they're not the only ones who get the blues over the list.
"There are 25- and 26-year-olds that tell us they feel old when they read the list," Nief said.
"Just two years ago, there were some students who learned to type on a typewriter," but others in the graduating class of 2012 didn't know that IBM had ever made typewriters, said Nief.
Few students in the class of 2009 knew how to tie a tie and most thought Iran and Iraq had never been at war with each other.
And for US students who got their bachelor's degrees this year, Germany was never divided, professional athletes have always competed in the Olympics, there have always been reality shows on television and smoking has never been allowed on US airlines.
/by Karin Zeitvogel