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Why you shouldn't pronounce 'omicron' with a Greek accent
Plus: Yuletide mice, drone claws, surveillance toys and more!
The omicron variant of covid, which emerged in November, raised questions.
Like: “Is omicron more contagious or deadly?” And: “Will omicron create more lockdowns or extend the pandemic?” But mostly: “How do you say ‘omicron’?”
The consensus on Twitter seems to be that, because "omicron" is a Greek word, we should all pronounce it like Greek speakers do.
Some news articles arrived at the same bad place. For example, when Mother Jones Deputy Editor James West seeks out the "correct pronunciation" by surveying scholars of the Ancient Greek language, he’s confusing readers.
And news outlets like The Wall Street Journal and Bustle are leading readers astray with headlines that say "you're probably saying omicron wrong," then go on to talk about how it should be pronounced like the ancient Greeks did.
The confusion reveals a larger misunderstanding about how pronunciation works.
While I can't do much to protect you from the covid variant, I can protect you from trepidation about saying "omicron" and, in fact, any other word — especially those originating in languages other than English.
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Mike’s List of Brilliantly Bad Ideas
1. Christmas tree mouse is a ho, ho, horrible idea!
Designer Q Seo came up with a Christmas mouse that looks like a Christmas tree, for some reason. To use his TREE Mouse, you grip the tree like you’re a giant in the forest ready to rip it up by the roots. Then you bend the “tree” to control the movement and position of the mouse pointer — more like a joystick than a mouse.
2. Finally: Claws for your drone!
Stanford University eggheads Mark Cutkosky and David Lentink invented these 3D printed legs and feet that work like the claws of a falcon. Called the “stereotyped nature-inspired aerial grasper,” or SNAG system, the legs enable a drone to land on a tree branch. When the inside of the claws touch a branch or pole, they grip it regardless of size or unevenness, and a balancing process is initiated where the drone leans forward to balance. Best of all, it can grab objects off the ground or snatch them out of the air and carry them back to the user — objects like a bag containing a to-go order of burger and fries, rodents or even other drones. All I want for Christmas is: drone claws!
3. What every child wants to find under the Christmas tree: A surveillance camera!
You can buy the My Very Own Secret Fairy fake surveillance camera for kids on the Amazon UK website. Just mount it on the ceiling of your child’s bedroom, and they can bask in the warm glow of its blinking light and the joy that comes from pretending that Big Brother is always watching! One review says it all: “If you buy this, you are a bad parent.” Batteries not included.
Mike’s List of Shameless Self Promotions
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This Week in Tech, with host Leo Laporte!