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Is Your Best Friend a Bro, Dude or Buddy? It Depends on Where You Live
Using the location data attached to billions of tweets, these maps indicate where the five best friend words — bro, buddy, dude, fella, and pal — occur most frequently.
A man's best friend is his dawg. Or his pal, bro or buddy, depending on preference. And, more relevant for this blog, depending on location. Revealed for the first time, thanks to the big data generated by gazillions of tweets: the geography of dudeness.
Dude may be just one of many options the English language has for men to refer to their male BFFs. These maps show that it is by far the most widespread of five such colloquial vocatives examined by Quartz magazine. However, its fight for the hearts and minds of American guys – hey, there's another one – is not over. In certain parts of the country, bros, buddies, pals and fellas are firmly standing their ground.
These maps are based on quantitative research by Jack Grieve, a forensic linguist, and Diansheng Guo of the University of South Carolina. Using the location data attached to billions of tweets, they generated maps indicating where these five vocatives occurred most frequently, via a technique called hot-spot testing.
Perhaps counter to the intuition, these terms, all quite generic and equally brief, have very specific geographic spreads (see #679 for earlier, similar maps on the occurrence of uh and um in the US).
Texas is bro country. But the term also covers the entirety of Oklahoma, and almost all of Louisiana and Arkansas, plus good chunks of Kansas and New Mexico. A mid-sized gathering of bros straddles the Michigan-Indiana border, and a tiny bro community lives by the seaside on either side of the Virginia-North Carolina state line. As an abbreviation of brother, the term bro predates the colloquialism of the surf culture one would instinctively associate it with – unless the Elizabethans were already catching waves back in the 1660s, when its first use is attested. As one of the most stable words in the Indo-European language family, both across languages and in time, brother is a word with a large family, including the Old English broþor, the Lithuanian broterelis and the Old Persian brata.
As a term of familiarity rather than familial connection, it is attested from 1912 in American slang.
If you call your bro a buddy, you're most likely a Minnesotan, an Iowan or an Ohioan. Quite possibly a Kansan, an Arkansan or a West Virginian. And more than maybe a North Dakotan, a Nebraskan or a Kentuckian. Far out west in Montana, a lost tribe of Buddies is clinging to the Canadian border.
First attested in American English in 1850, buddy could be a modified version of brother, but also of butty, a British colloquialism for companion (attested from 1802) that may be linked to the early 16th-century term booty fellow, as in someone who shares in the plunder. Another possible source is the use of butty as 'work-mate' by miners in England and Wales from the mid-19th century onwards.
They may not be everywhere, but dudes are spread out across the nation both in numbers and regions like no other. Dudes rule coastal and southern California, but are surprisingly absent from the East Coast, where they originated. They rule the southwest, notably Arizona and New Mexico, but their presence across Texas contrasts with a curious absence in the central part of the state. It's as if this heart of dudeness was ripped from Texas and dropped in the Great Lakes states of Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, which are as heaving with dudes as are Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas and Kansas.
The earliest mention of dude is from 1883, as New York slang for a 'fastidious man', possibly as an abbreviation of Yankee Doodle, after the dandyish protagonist of that folk song. Other theories relate it to Low German Dudendop ('fool, dunce'), Saterland Frisian Duddigegen ('idiot'), or duddies, the Scottish word for clothes.
Back East, the term was used especially fashion-conscious men, while out West, it described any urbanite who stood out from the rough-and-tumble locals. As quoted in this travel journal from 1883: "[The Montana cowboy] is convinced that a person caught in the act of wearing a white linen collar, and who looks as though he might have recently shaved or washed his face, must be a dude, true and proper".
After World War I, the Eastern word attached itself to the Western phenomenon of the 'dude ranch'. The term describes guest ranches catering to Easterners coming to indulge in the nostalgia of the Wild West, after it was safely won. The locals called these tourists tenderfoots, greenhorns or dudes. The latter word apparently lacked the negative connotation of the former two, since the industry in 1926 founded the Dude Ranchers Association (which is still active).
In the 1960s, dude was co-opted into surfer slang as a general term for any male person. From the 1970s, it entered the mainstream and is now used to address anyone informally, including females (variations such as dudess and dudette having waned in popularity).
The 1998 movie The Big Lebowski gave the term another popularity boost. Its protagonist, a laid-back loser known as the Dude (“or His Dudeness, or Duder, or, you know, El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing”) infused the term with a scruffiness quite the opposite of its original, well-groomed connotation.
Mississippi is the home of the fella, with significant spillover into Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas. A smaller core of fella-ship is found in southeastern Indiana, leaking into Ohio and Kentucky. The last major concentration of fellas is found in a band cutting across Nebraska into Ohio. Cut off from the major centers of their preferred denomination, a small group of fellas straddles the Montana-North Dakota border.
Originally, a fellow is a business partner, someone who puts down money in a joint venture. The roots of the Old English felawe and the Old Norse felagi are fe (goods, money, fee) and lag (society, community). Used in a more general sense as 'any male person' from the 15th century onwards, although it is also applied gender-neutrally, for example in the King James Bible (Judges 9:37: And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows).
Men call other men pals in most of North Dakota and Minnesota, and contiguous bits of South Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. And almost nowhere else, except for two remarkable exclaves: an island of pals centered on eastern Kentucky, and a toehold in southwestern Utah. There also seems to be a relatively high frequency of pals in and around New York City.
Pal is one of the few English words in common usage to derive from Anglo-Romani, the language spoken by Gypsies in Britain. Others include lollipop (originally: candied apple) and chav (derogatory term for working-class youth). It is related to (continental) Romani phral and Sanskrit bhrātṛ, and cognate with English brother and Latin frater.
In its first attested usages, pal described a partner in crime: “When highwaymen rob in pairs, they say such a one was his or my pal”, wrote G. Parker in 1789. Later, the term more neutrally referred to a friend or associate. “Guppy”, Dickens wrote in Bleak House (1853), “we have been pals now for some years!”
The Quartz article mentions some caveats to the research, one being that due to its widespread use in other contexts, the vocative reach of man could not be gauged. Which is a bummer, man.
The research does seem to indicate that fella and pal may have their best days behind them. Perhaps they will one day be replaced by imports from other parts of the English-speaking world. Vocatives like mate, bloke or chap. After all, one of the most generic vocatives of all, the ubiquitous guy, started out as the English catholic terrorist Guido ('Guy') Fawkes.
But perhaps future history books will overlook him for the triple vocative of the rather splendidly-named Californian musician, Guy Mann-Dude.
Many thanks to Toon Wassenberg for sending the link to the article on Quartz, and to its author Nikhil Sonnad for granting permission to re-use some of the images accompanying the article.
Strange Maps #694
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
What is human dignity? Here's a primer, told through 200 years of great essays, lectures, and novels.
- Human dignity means that each of our lives have an unimpeachable value simply because we are human, and therefore we are deserving of a baseline level of respect.
- That baseline requires more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose.
- We look at incredible writings from the last 200 years that illustrate the push for human dignity in regards to slavery, equality, communism, free speech and education.
The inherent worth of all human beings<p>Human dignity is the inherent worth of each individual human being. Recognizing human dignity means respecting human beings' special value—value that sets us apart from other animals; value that is intrinsic and cannot be lost.</p> <p>Liberalism—the broad political philosophy that organizes society around liberty, justice, and equality—is rooted in the idea of human dignity. Liberalism assumes each of our lives, plans, and preferences have some unimpeachable value, not because of any objective evaluation or contribution to a greater good, but simply because they belong to a human being. We are human, and therefore deserving of a baseline level of respect. </p> <p>Because so many of us take human dignity for granted—just a fact of our humanness—it's usually only when someone's dignity is ignored or violated that we feel compelled to talk about it. </p> <p>But human dignity means more than the absence of violence, discrimination, and authoritarianism. It means giving individuals the freedom to pursue their own happiness and purpose—a freedom that can be hampered by restrictive social institutions or the tyranny of the majority. The liberal ideal of the good society is not just peaceful but also pluralistic: It is a society in which we respect others' right to think and live differently than we do.</p>
From the 19th century to today<p>With <a href="https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?year_start=1800&year_end=2019&content=human+dignity&corpus=26&smoothing=3&direct_url=t1%3B%2Chuman%20dignity%3B%2Cc0" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Google Books Ngram Viewer</a>, we can chart mentions of human dignity from 1800-2019.</p><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg0ODU0My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUwMzE4MX0.bu0D_0uQuyNLyJjfRESNhu7twkJ5nxu8pQtfa1w3hZs/img.png?width=980" id="7ef38" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9974c7bef3812fcb36858f325889e3c6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
American novelist, writer, playwright, poet, essayist and civil rights activist James Baldwin at his home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, southern France, on November 6, 1979.
Credit: Ralph Gatti/AFP via Getty Images
The future of dignity<p>Around the world, people are still working toward the full and equal recognition of human dignity. Every year, new speeches and writings help us understand what dignity is—not only what it looks like when dignity is violated but also what it looks like when dignity is honored. In his posthumous essay, Congressman Lewis wrote, "When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war."</p> <p>The more we talk about human dignity, the better we understand it. And the sooner we can make progress toward a shared vision of peace, freedom, and mutual respect for all. </p>
Scientists find that bursts of gamma rays may exceed the speed of light and cause time-reversibility.
- Astrophysicists propose that gamma-ray bursts may exceed the speed of light.
- The superluminal jets may also be responsible for time-reversibility.
- The finding doesn't go against Einstein's theory because this effect happens in the jet medium not a vacuum.
Jet bursting out of a blazar. Black-hole-powered galaxies called blazars are the most common sources detected by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Cosmic death beams: Understanding gamma ray bursts<div class="rm-shortcode" data-media_id="cu2knVEk" data-player_id="FvQKszTI" data-rm-shortcode-id="c6cfd20fdf31c82cb206ade8ce21ba3f"> <div id="botr_cu2knVEk_FvQKszTI_div" class="jwplayer-media" data-jwplayer-video-src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"> <img src="https://cdn.jwplayer.com/thumbs/cu2knVEk-1920.jpg" class="jwplayer-media-preview" /> </div> <script src="https://content.jwplatform.com/players/cu2knVEk-FvQKszTI.js"></script> </div>
Pfizer's vaccine needs to be kept at -100°F until it's administered. Can caregivers deliver?
- Fair distribution of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines is especially challenging because they need to be stored at extremely cold temperatures.
- Back in 2018, the WHO reported that over half of all vaccines are wasted worldwide due to lack of cold storage, and they were only talking about vaccines that need to be chilled or kept at standard freezer temperatures.
- Real-time logistics data, location tracking, and information about movements are crucial to track shipment progress, product temperature and other conditions.
Cold chain logistics could make or break the magic bullet<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg2MTU3OC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDM5MDY0OH0.fyg7n5tmvLPr3j0ZyZRLCUPPxLyKOHKuyip27uWpu9I/img.jpg?width=980" id="33fc2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa7232b11171da23dac492d27ffde7c2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Chilling truths for many sectors<p>Public health organizations can't afford to waste vaccines, but they also can't afford expensive storage solutions. Deep freezers that can store the vaccine at -80°F or lower are too expensive for rural hospitals, plus the U.S. is facing a shortage of such freezers, even as manufacturers are scrambling to speed up production and shipment carriers scramble to outfit their containers. </p> <p>"In this financial environment, you can imagine that there is simply no consideration of rural hospitals purchasing storage equipment for this ultra-cold distribution," <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2020/11/11/rural-hospitals-cant-afford-freezers-to-store-pfizer-covid19-vaccine/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">noted</a> National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Morgan.</p> <p>Back in 2018, the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/07/the-biggest-hurdle-to-universal-vaccination-might-just-be-a-fridge" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">WHO reported</a> that over half of all vaccines are wasted worldwide due to lack of cold storage, and they were only talking about vaccines that need to be chilled or kept at standard freezer temperatures. </p> <p>Few states in the U.S. are equipped to meet the cold chain challenge. Washington State's health department doesn't have a way to store Pfizer vaccine at a cold enough temperature. Many newer EU member states are in a similar position, along with much of South America, Africa, and Asia. States such as Arizona, North Dakota, and Oregon include large rural communities, tribal lands, and migrant communities, none of whom are easily reachable. </p> <p>If public health bodies are unable to store the vaccine for longer periods of time, the onus rests on cold chain logistics to deliver it within a shorter period of time.</p>
Improved logistics data can play a role<p>Shipping companies need the ability to transport vaccine batches swiftly, with transparent tracking, to their final destinations, if they're going to be trusted to supply rural and hard-to-reach areas.</p> <p>"Cold chain logistics isn't just a matter of profit and loss. It can mean the difference between life and death for communities and individuals who are relying on vaccines and pharma products to arrive in their original condition," explained Janne Juhala, CEO of Logmore, via email. A supply chain condition analytics company, Logmore <a href="https://venturebeat.com/2020/11/25/logmore-launches-first-logistics-monitor-designed-for-covid-19-vaccine-delivery/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">is launching</a> a new product, Logmore Dry Ice, to help efforts to protect the COVID-19 vaccine in transit. </p> <p>Real-time logistics data, location tracking, and information about movements are crucial to track shipment progress, product temperature and other conditions. For example, transport companies need to know if a shipment has been exposed to the sun, or get alerts to change the dry ice. </p> <p>Pharma companies require this data so they can <a href="https://www.pharmasalmanac.com/articles/anticipating-the-logistics-of-a-covid-19-vaccination-effort" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">quickly rescue delayed vaccine shipments</a> before they spoil, while accurate notifications that a shipment has been compromised enables public health authorities to rely on the integrity of the vaccine. </p>
The logistics industry is preparing for its biggest challenge<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg2MTU4MC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODA5ODczOX0.XyuPVNRuQUuSdAHJ78rAVxu7indqel9q9qbfytO2Rxo/img.jpg?width=980" id="49614" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2656c4a329ec9435aae6d11427831e7e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Global cooperation is vital<p>Global planning and cooperation is vital to plan the timing of vaccine shipments, so that they are not ruined by air or land freight delays; ensure they aren't held up by needless paperwork in a transit country; and protect vaccines from being seized and redirected. </p> <p>"The partners have to collaborate," <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/covid-19-vaccine-rollout-calls-for-supply-chain-collaboration-logistics-chief-says-11603713612" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">said Detlef Trefzger</a>, CEO of global shipping concern Kuehne + Nagel. "If you don't… you might run into a capacity shortage or equipment shortage."</p> <p>TIACA and Pharma.aero called for air cargo stakeholders to collaborate to map storage capabilities and accelerate roll out of digital tracking and monitoring systems, and on governments, customs authorities, and border agencies to remove barriers to movement of COVID-19 vaccines. International organizations also need to work together to build cold chain capacity in developing countries. </p> <p>Logmore's Juhala echoed this sentiment. "Logistics companies can only take matters so far. With the COVID vaccine specifically, the world is relying on effective communication with government bodies and public health organizations," he said, "so having verifiable data about the conditions of each shipment adds a much-needed layer of accountability."</p>
When times get tough, the tough get going<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDg2MTU4My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODY2NjA1MX0.9Dc8d3nLCF6fBMetIkGKZle8SFLyDv76oUj8ZW-c-UA/img.jpg?width=980" id="ef3be" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="ea587f91a0394c1624dd63b835885807" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Britons could start receiving the vaccine within days.
- The U.K. issued emergency authorization Wednesday for the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first nation in the West to approve a rigorously tested vaccine.
- The U.S. will meet on December 10 to decide whether to approve Pfizer's vaccine, which achieved an efficacy rate of 90 percent in clinical trials.
- Moderna has also produced a vaccine that could be approved in the U.S. later in December.
Credit: Lubo Ivanko via Adobe Stock<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The government has today accepted the recommendation from the independent <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/medicines-and-healthcare-products-regulatory-agency" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)</a> to approve Pfizer/BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine for use," said a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care. "This follows months of rigorous clinical trials and a thorough analysis of the data by experts at the MHRA who have concluded that the vaccine has met its strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness."</p><p>Why did the U.K. beat the U.S. and other Western nations to approving the vaccine? The reason lies in the rigorousness of testing on which nations are basing their decisions: The U.K. chose to rely on findings reported by Pfizer itself. Meanwhile, the U.S. is having regulators independently examine raw data behind tests on Pfizer's vaccine.</p><p>F.D.A Commissioner Steve Hahn defended the administration's slower pace on Wednesday during a Facebook live stream.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We have to go through it very carefully," he said, declining to announce a concrete timeline for the potential distribution of the Pfizer vaccine. "All I can tell you is not knowing the data, [it will be] very soon after those meetings. I don't want to get ahead of the data … it wouldn't be the first time that the FDA and Advisory committee has found surprises."</p>
Credit: Pixabay<p>On December 10, the F.D.A. will decide whether to issue emergency approval of the vaccine. If authorized, health systems in the U.S. could receive the first rounds of vaccines on Dec. 15, according to an Operation Warp Speed document obtained by CNN. The document estimated that 22.5 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine will be produced in December.</p><p>Moderna has also produced a COVID-19 vaccine with a high efficacy rate. The F.D.A. will meet Dec. 17 to discuss approving that vaccine, which, like Pfizer's, uses messenger RNA to trigger an immune response. Moderna says its <a href="https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/11/absolutely-remarkable-no-one-who-got-modernas-vaccine-trial-developed-severe-covid-19" target="_blank">vaccine has an efficacy rate of about 94 percent</a>; Pfizer reported a rate of 90 percent. Similar to the U.K., the first Americans to receive COVID-19 vaccines will be the elderly, healthcare workers, and people at risk due to preexisting conditions.</p>