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Friday Five: Pussyvans, PRISM and the Queen

Elliot Bentley

In this week’s collection of off-topic links, we celebrate the return of a classic band and learn the difference between geeks and nerds.

Time for JAXenter’s weekly roundup of off-topic links!
Have a great weekend, everyone.

Through a PRISM darkly

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 24 hours,
the biggest news story of the day – and possibly the year – is the
“PRISM” program

According to British newspaper The Guardian, PRISM allows the US
government “direct access” to the servers of Google, Apple,
Microsoft, Facebook and Skype.

This is said to include “email, video and voice chat, videos,
photos, voice-over-IP (Skype, for example) chats, file transfers,
social networking details, and more”, though all companies named
have denied knowledge of any such “back door”.

The director of US national security has
that such measures are important and contain “numerous
safeguards that protect privacy and civil liberties” – but many
have spoken out in opposition, including
Senator Rand Paul
and the

The best part of it all, though? As with any major event, the
parody Twitter accounts.

2. Geeks vs nerds

What’s the difference between a geek and a nerd? The age-old
question has finally been answered by data scientist Burr Settles,
who analysed
2.6 million tweets
in order to find which words occurred most
often alongside ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ respectively.

Extremely geeky words included ‘culture’, ‘ipod’ and ‘webcomic’,
while nerdy words included ‘celist’, ‘biochemistry’ and
‘studymode’. Words considered both geeky and nerdy included
‘gamer’, ‘starwars’ and ‘glasses’. Settles concluded:

In broad strokes, it seems to me that geeky words are
more about stuff (e.g., “#stuff”), while nerdy
words are more about ideas (e.g., “hypothesis”).

3. One for spermologers

Speaking of definitions, Death and Taxes have put together an
excellent list of
obsolete words due a comeback

A few of our favourites:

  • Groak: To silently watch someone while they are
    eating, hoping to be invited to join them

  • Jirble: To pour out (a liquid) with an unsteady hand:
    as, he jirbles out a dram

  • Pussyvan: A flurry, temper

4. New Nine Inch Nails

So much for “wave goodbye”, eh? Industrial rock pioneers Nine
Inch Nails – a band which primarily consists of Trent Reznor – have

released their first new song
in five years, with an album
coming in early September.


Reznor has hardly been AWOL in the intervening time, scoring The
Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and releasing
several records as part of How To Destroy Angels. However, ‘Came
Back Haunted’ sees a return to a more classic NIN sound – big
choruses and angsty lyrics intact. Worth a listen.

5. Look ma’am, I’m on TV!

And finally… In British news, this morning saw
H.R.H. Queen Elizabeth II grace the BBC Television Center with her
regal presence. The visit, which saw Queen Liz being given a tour
of the new building (and a performance by The Script), culminated
in a surreal ‘photobombing’ live on BBC News.

Reflected the broadcast commentator: “That is one of the most
bizarre bits of television that the BBC has produced for some

photo by sburke2478.

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