This week Opus Magnum is rounding out our list of the ten most popular posts from 2012. Today we’re down to #4. This post is another long-time favorite from our Jargon Genesis series – the final Jargon Genesis post in the top ten – explaining the history of the term, “Throw in the towel,” which actually originated as “throwing in the sponge.”
This week and next Opus Magnum is looking back at our ten most popular posts from 2012. Today we’re down to #6. This post is another long-time favorite as it actually is from 2010, an investigation into the origins of the classic business cliché “Outside the Box” from our Jargon Genesis series.
Here’s the puzzle that’s believed to have coined the phrase. Your task: Link all 9 dots using four straight lines or less, without lifting the pen.
This week and next Opus Magnum is looking back at our ten most popular posts from 2012. Today we’re down to #8. Thie post must be a long-time favorite as it actually is from 2010, an investigation into the origins of the term “Thrown Under the Bus” from our Jargon Genesis series.
As it turns out, Newsweek traced the popularization of the phrase back to Cyndi Lauper!
By Dr. Mark Spriggs, from the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship newsletter
About 10 years ago, I felt like an NFL player when Dean Puto told me I had been traded from the Marketing Department to the Entrepreneurship Department. My first and most daunting challenge was learning to spell entrepreneurship. Is that “per” or “pre;” “eu” or “ue?” I imagine some of you went through the same transition when you discovered, or were told, that you were a social entrepreneur. You thought you were running a nonprofit. You knew your organization was attempting to solve the problems of poverty, disease and hunger, or provide literacy training or medical care to people, all to help resolve the social inequities we see every day in the world, and someone said “What you are doing is social entrepreneurship” and you had to figure how to spell it, too.
But proper spelling was just the beginning, wasn’t it? Next you asked yourself and those around you “What exactly is a social entrepreneur?” I avoided the question until St. Thomas announced we were hosting the 2009 Opus Prize. One of the principles of the Opus Prize is social entrepreneurship, and people were asking me about the social entrepreneurship activities of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship and the Opus College of Business. So I did some investigating, and found that social entrepreneurship includes a number of exciting and worthwhile activities.
From Scientific American‘s Mind Matters Blog: Are there hidden messages in your emails? Yes, and in everything you write or say, according to James Pennebaker, chair of the department of psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Pennebaker has been a leader in the computer analysis of texts for their psychological content. And in his new book, “The Secret Life of Pronouns,” he argues that how we use words like “I,” “she,” and “who” reveal secrets of our psychology.
The UST MBA Communication Labs help our students to master this kind of communication skill. Communication lab instructors are professionals who bring their experience coaching corporate leaders into the UST MBA classroom—enhancing your ability to communicate skillfully using effective writing, persuasive speaking and successful media management. Student presentations in core classes are captured on video, then critiqued and evaluated by instructors who provide invaluable feedback to further growth and development of effective business leaders.
Read an interview about Pennebaker’s findings in Scientific American‘s Mind Matters Blog.
I was recently reading an article and learned the story of the phrase “Pushing the Envelope.” I know we’ve covered that here on the blog before but I thought it would be worthwhile to repost that tale today:
When I considered the phrase, “pushing the envelope,” I assumed its origin had something to do with seeing how much one could fit into a paper envelope. I pictured an eager administrative assistant stuffing an envelope full and then adding one more piece of paper, really “pushing the envelope.”
But I was sorely mistaken! We have written record that during World War II, a test pilot’s job was to “push the envelope,” speaking of the mathematical envelope, not the paper one. This envelope is defined as the locus of the ultimate intersections of consecutive curves. Huh?
Before you head out to lunch today, you may want to read this…
If you’ve ever waited tables, chances are you’re a good tipper. At least, that’s the case with me. I remember those double shifts at the restaurant during college, making $2.17 per hour plus tips. It was hard and often thankless work, but the tips made up for it, when people were tipping well, that is.
NPR recently ran a report that delves into the economics behind why we tip. Do you tip out of gratitude for good service, out of guilt, or out of social pressure?
A quick look into the etymology of the word “tip” brings to light myriad acronyms which supposedly explain the origin of the word but are all incorrect. “To Insure Prompt Service,” “To Insure Proper Service,” “To Improve Performance,” “To Inspire Promptness,” or “To Insure Promptness” are a few mentioned by Wikipedia. (I won’t go into the erroneous use of “insure” in this context rather than “ensure.”)
My question is, why nine? Why not cloud two or forty-four or six hundred thirty-seven? It seems we’ll never know with certainty why “on cloud nine” was selected to refer to a very, very happy person, but I have a theory that could make the numerical selection less arbitrary. First, let’s dispel some myths.
Some have erroneously stated that cloud nine traces back to the US Weather Bureau’s classification from the 1950’s, the level of the fluffy cumulonimbus. But since there were ten levels by the bureau’s definition, why would someone who is supremely happy be a level below the highest? I’m afraid I wouldn’t have an adequate superlative to describe happiness on level ten, if that were the case.
Another error is to claim cloud nine originated from one of the stages along the way to enlightenment for a Bodhisattva. Once again, though, this is a ten level process. If we were to accept this theory as true, I would assert that “the whole nine yards” originated from American football! 1st and 9 anybody?
If thieves in our current criminal system think they’ve got it bad, they should do some research on the miners from Mendip, England several hundred years ago. In a publication entitled “6 Laws of Mendip Miners,” the punishment for theft is clearly laid out:
If any man… do pick or steale any lead or ore…the Lord or his Officer may arrest all his lead and Oare House or hearthes with his Grooves and Workes and keep them in forfeit… and shall take the person that hath soe affeended and bring him where his house or worke and all his tooles and instruments are… and put him into his house or worke and set fire in all together about him and banish him…
In other words, if he steals, he’s fired! Literally.
With commencement ceremonies for the university taking place last weekend, it got us thinking about the genesis of some of the traditions that take place at graduations around the world. Many of you had the distinct honor of walking down an aisle, mortarboard on head, participating in a ceremony to commemorate the attainment of your UST graduate business degree. In this proud moment you were comforted by the tones of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance, March No. 1.” (The part we all recognize comes in at about 1:51.)
If you grew up in the United States, you heard this song for your undergraduate, high school, 8th grade, and possibly even your kindergarten or pre-school graduation ceremony. So where did this piece come from, and how has it become so engrained in our commencement culture? Allow me to illuminate your minds on the subject.