Wednesday Wordplay: Voltaire and a texting world-record



Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation, for ’tis better to be alone than in bad company.
           — George Washington

Live well. It is the greatest revenge.
           — The Talmud


cynthia ozick I’m not afraid of facts, I welcome facts but a congeries of facts is not equivalent to an idea. This is the essential fallacy of the so-called "scientific" mind. People who mistake facts for ideas are incomplete thinkers; they are gossips.
           — Cynthia Ozick

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
           — Sidney J. Harris


Regimen is superior to medicine.
           — Voltaire


Sometimes creativity is a compulsion, not an ambition.
           — Ed Norton, Entertainment Weekly



English teenager breaks texting world record



Samsung Galaxy S

25.94 seconds. That’s how fast Melissa Thompson of Salford, England, was able to type a complex sentence, which makes her the new Guinness World Record holder for fastest typing on a phone.

The sentence for this particular record, as determined by Guinness, reads as follows:

The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

Before Thompson, teenager Franklin Page of Seattle held the record, typing the same sentence in 35.54 seconds in a competition in early 2010.  (nearly 10-seconds slower!)

Interestingly enough, Melissa claims she’s out of shape as far as texting goes. She used to send a lot of text messages to her boyfriend Chris — 40 or 50 per day day, she says — but after they moved in together she hasn’t been texting as much.

But when Samsung Corp. invited her to have a go at breaking the world record, it turned out her fingers were in better shape than she thought; she texted faster than anyone else and by a large margin. The new world record still awaits official approval from Guinness, but if it turns out to be legitimate, the title of the world’s fastest texter will move from the U.S. to England.

More info here.


Actor Kal Penn becomes arts groups liason for the White House!

Actor Kal Penn Joins White House Staff

Great news! The Obama administration is definitely following through on their promise to support the arts in a greater way, knowing that a vibrant American arts community creates a more vibrant American society.  Specifically – actor Kal Penn, known for his roles in the "Harold and Kumar" movies and the television series "House," has been hired by the White House to serve as a liason between the administration and arts groups.

Kal Pen of "Harold and Kumar" and "House" "I was incredibly honored a couple of months ago to get the opportunity to go work in the White House," Penn told Entertainment Weekly. "I got to know the president and some of the staff during the campaign and had expressed interest in working there, so I’m going to be the associate director in the White House office of public liaison."

"They do outreach with the American public and with different organizations," Penn continued. "They’re basically the front door of the White House. They take out all of the red tape that falls between the general public and the White House. It’s similar to what I was doing on the campaign."

The actor acknowledged that he would be taking a pay cut to take the job.

"There’s not a lot of financial reward in these jobs," he said. "But, obviously, the opportunity to serve in a capacity like this is an incredible honor."

White House spokesman Shin Inouye confirmed to the Associated Press that Penn would join the White House staff. In addition to serving as a liason between arts groups and the administration, he will also work to connect the president to Asian-American and Pacific Islander communities.

Penn’s start date has not yet been set. His character on "House" apparently committed suicide in last night’s episode.   (aside: Eek!)