Week 5/12

Long at last we started learning a new language (Typescript) and framework (Angular) beyond 30mn ‘Hello World’ intros. Unfortunately, my excitement was sullied by my fear and the biases I absorbed talking to instructors that don’t like Angular (or rather prefer to React, another framework, or maybe I will go so far as translate it as being a “dialect” of Javascript). The thought did cross my mind, why spend a week learning a language and subsequently being tested on it that we are not going to use? But the answer came instantaneously, inspired by my previous experience studying human languages: learning a foreign language facilitates the acquisition of additional languages. This statement holds true even for languages coming from different language families. Due to my German knowledge and familiarity with structuring my thoughts so that the verb comes at the end, rather than the beginning like in English, I was able to apply this pattern to Japanese: verbs always come at the end of clauses, so there was at least one Japanese grammar point that didn’t boggle my mind. Even though Japanese and German come from completely different language families (Indo-European and Japonic, respectively), there are similarities between them. This idea of “shared” features among unrelated languages, or language typology, is a subject that particularly fascinates me. If I had continued my path in linguistics, I probably would have become a typologist, comparing languages across families and categorizing them according to common structures rather than by family. Even if languages developed independently from one another, they are all human languages and therefore adhere to the same constraints and creativities natural to all humans, and influenced by their own environment and histories. …

Week 3&4/12

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Week 2/12

Week 1/12


I love communication. I never studied it as a field in itself, but it made an appearance in all the domains I studied: as an undergraduate, I double-majored in Foreign Languages and Biology, where my niche fascination was cell communication. I pursued Linguistics for my masters degree, studying the science behind the foreign languages I learned and will never learn. Today, I am studying programming, the communication of technology.

I always thought I would study Ancient Greek when I retired because no one “speaks” Ancient Greek: there’s not really phonology or phonetics for you to master like learning a living language, so I wouldn’t need anyone but myself and a lot of free time. Programming languages are kind of like that, without Homer’s epics, of course. You still need to learn morphology and semantics, but you can sidestep phonetics, phonology, and pragmatics. …

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Providing online access to a museum’s collections and data is one thing, but developing a curated experience out of it is another

Data visualization is a great way to celebrate our favorite pieces of art as well as reveal connections and ideas that were previously invisible. More importantly, it’s a fun way to connect things we love — visualizing data and kicking up our feet for a movie night. All week, Nightingale is exploring the intersections between data visualization and all kinds of entertainment.

Data visualization can level up exhibits for both visitors and curators

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A mold (!) may contain the secret to curing vegetables in a quick way that brings a classic charcuterie flavor to all-plant dishes

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Photo: FoodCraftLab via Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Recently, however, a new method is producing vegan charcuterie that incorporates these three components. The core is an umami-bomb enzymatic powerhouse known as koji.

Koji is a mold that grows on just about anything starchy, usually cooked rice or barley. Its superpower lies in its enzymes, which rapidly and almost magically work to break down carbohydrates. Once koji spores have been inoculated on cooked rice, or other food, the enzymatic breakdown transforms flavor, taste, and aroma in less than 48 hours. If you were to look at a similar enzymatic process in fruiting fungi, such as standard oyster mushrooms, it can span several months rather than koji’s mere two days. …

I tend to go to exhibits rather blindly, that is to say, I don’t do my homework first. I think this is quite normal, but the academic inside of me feels a need to prepare in advance. Having prior knowledge tends to improve the experience, but at the same time, discovering a new art movement in a museum context is more exciting than the internet or in a book. Even a good book.

Honestly, this museum probably would have been one of the last museums I’d have visited just to check off all the museums. That’s what having artsy librarian friends is good for. I met this particular artsy librarian friend randomly in a bookstore near my apartment in Belleville. She was recommending graphic novels right and left to the two girls she was with, so I said to her, “it seems like you know a lot about graphic novels.” “Do you want a recommendation?” She asked me. Why, of course! And that’s how I became friends with Margot. …


Maxene Graze

From museums to data viz to koji.

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