Can Money Buy Happiness? (The Atlantic)

Money childSpend money on experiences, not things, says traditional wisdom. But think about it: some goods can too be “experiential.” Imagine you buy (and subsequently learn how to play very well) a guitar: you get the psychological benefits of mastery, self expression, and connection with others through music. The Atlantic gives you a quick and handy guide for which categories of goods are likely to boost happiness – and which are likely to lose their luster.

Bowdoin Team Heads to Brazil for Robot Soccer World Cup

Soccerball with flags in net

Now that the FIFA World Cup contenders have finished battling it out, another international soccer competition is just getting started in Brazil — only this time, the players aren’t human.

Five Bowdoin students are on their way to Logan Airport this morning for a flight to João Pessoa, Brazil, for RoboCup 2014 — an annual competition between teams of autonomous, knee-high robots whose soccer-playing prowess reflects the skill and hard work of their programmers.

“Everything the robots do on the field is the result of a program written by students,” said Professor of Computer Science Eric Chown, coach and faculty advisor to the team, noting that the technology has made remarkable advances in the past decade. “We make progress every year, and over the years that’s a lot of progress.”

Read more about the exploits of Bowdoin’s robotic soccer team.

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Pound Sign? Hashtag? Octothorp? (The Atlantic)

twitter-logoAs of last week, the Oxford English Dictionary officially recognizes the word “hashtag,” made popular by Twitter and also functional on Instagram and Facebook. On social media, the hashtag (#) is used to categorize posts, photos, comments, etc. with a common thread (for example, #WorldCup2014 is trending now). Before that, it was a common phone command (“press the pound key”) and an early programming signal. In our technology-oriented modern world, it’s snuck its way into conversation, too, which Jimmy Fallon relentlessly mocks in his “#hashtag” sketches with celebrities. #ClickHereToReadMore from #TheAtlantic.

Where Do Those Brand Names Really Come From? (Slate)

White Coke Can256


Names like Sprite and Verizon automatically conjure images in our minds of fizzy beverages and cell phones. But why “Sprite”? Why “Verizon”? Subtle and strategic reasoning goes into brand names like these – a sprite, for example, is a lively and energetic elf or fairy, perfect for the effervescent image Coca Cola marketers wants to promote for their lemon-lime soda. Other tactics including drawing from Latin roots and combining words (think “veritas” and “horizon”).