All the Colors in That Dress Go Back to the Same Etymological Source

Last night a picture of a dress launched a thousand arguments. Is it black and blue, or white and gold? Some people are completely convinced it’s one or the other. Others experience a flip back and forth between the two perceptions, seemingly at random. Vision scientists, and computer graphics programs have weighed in on the controversy, but what, you ask (as you always should), do linguists have to say? Well, as it turns out, something important. Something that may unite us all. You see, all the colors in that dress go back to the same Proto-Indo-European root, *bhel-.

Yes, *bhel-, which had the sense of “bright, shining” gave rise to various words for white. Blanche, blanco, and bianco in the Romance languages, belyi, bjal, and bialy in Slavic languages, blank, bleach, and pale in English.

What else is bright and shining? Fire. Blaze and flame also go back to *bhel-, and what color are things have been through a blazing flame? Black. Black also goes back to *bhel-.

Through the concept of brightness, *bhel- also went down various paths to emerge as blond and the Latin flavus, meaning golden yellow.

And finally, blue was handed down from Old French bleu which went way back to the *bhel- of whiteness and also meant pale, wan, or bruised. If skin is pale and bruised, what color is it? Blue.

So there you have it. The dress is not only an accidental exercise in the relativity of color perception, but a split mirror reflecting back to us 6000 years of language history. Black, blue? White, gold? As a matter of human cultural concept-making they are, when viewed at very long range (okay, very, very, very long range), one and the same. No need to fight about it. The dress is *bhel-.

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How to Spot the Convincing New Phishing Scam Targeting Netflix Users

Netflix may send customers the occasional email, but these messages will never ask you to provide them with personal or payment info. You'll want to keep this in mind if you encounter a new phishing scam that The Daily Dot reports is targeting the video streaming service's subscribers in Australia and the UK.

MailGuard, an Australian email security company, was the first to take notice of the fraudulent emails. While similar scams have targeted Netflix users in the past, this current iteration appears to be more convincing than most. At first (and perhaps even second) glance, the messages appear to be legitimate messages from Netflix, with an authentic-looking sender email and the company’s signature red-and-white branding. The fake emails don’t contain telltale signs of a phishing attempt like misspelled words, irregular spacing, or urgent phrasing.

The subject line of the email informs recipients that their credit card info has been declined, and the body requests that customers click on a link to update their card's expiration date and CVV. Clicking leads to a portal where, in addition to the aforementioned details, individuals are prompted to provide their email address and full credit card number. After submitting this valuable info, they’re redirected to Netflix’s homepage.

So far, it’s unclear whether this phishing scheme has widely affected Netflix customers in the U.S., but thousands of people in both Australia and the U.K. have reportedly fallen prey to the effort.

To stay safe from phishing scams—Netflix-related or otherwise—remember to never, ever click on an email link unless you’re 100 percent sure it’s valid. And if you do end up getting duped, use this checklist as a guide to safeguard your compromised data.

[h/t The Daily Dot]

Afternoon Map
Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site

[h/t Thrillist]


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