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Watch a 12-Year-Old Jazz Prodigy Play the Piano

Forget sports trophies or honor roll certificates; Joey Alexander, a 12-year-old jazz pianist, is receiving Grammy nods. The pint-sized prodigy from Indonesia is in the running for two categories this year—making him one of the youngest musicians ever to earn a nomination.

According to CBS, Alexander received his first keyboard when he was 6 years old. Though he took a few piano lessons, he reportedly learned the instrument largely by listening to jazz records and YouTube videos. And it's paid off.

At age 9, he won the Master-Jam Fest in Ukraine. Wynton Marsalis, iconic jazz trumpeter and the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center, saw a video of Alexander performing, and invited him to make his New York debut at a gala held at the venue in 2014.

After wowing crowds and critics during that performance, Alexander and his family moved to New York City to further his career. Last spring, he released his first album, My Favorite Things (Motéma), which in December was nominated for Best Jazz Instrumental Album and includes a track nominated for Best Improvised Jazz Solo.

Want to watch Alexander play the piano before the awards on February 15? Check out the above video, or watch CBS News’ recent interview with the rising star.

All images courtesy of YouTube.

[h/t CBS News, The New York Times]

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The Evolution of "Two" in the Indo-European Language Family
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The Indo-European language family includes most of the languages of Europe as well as many languages in Asia. There is a long research tradition that has shown, though careful historical comparison, that languages spanning a huge linguistic and geographical range, from French to Greek to Russian to Hindi to Persian, are all related to each other and sprung from a common source, Proto-Indo-European. One of the techniques for studying the relationship of the different languages to each other is to look at the similarities between individual words and work out the sound changes that led from one language to the next.

This diagram, submitted to Reddit by user IronChestplate1, shows the word for two in various Indo-European languages. (The “proto” versions, marked with an asterisk, are hypothesized forms, built by working backward from historical evidence.) The languages cluster around certain common features, but the words are all strikingly similar, especially when you consider the words for two in languages outside the Indo-European family: iki (Turkish), èjì (Yoruba), ni (Japanese), kaksi (Finnish), etc. There are many possible forms two could take, but in this particular group of languages it is extremely limited. What are the chances of that happening by accident? Once you see it laid out like this, it doesn’t take much to put *dwóh and *dwóh together.

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Beyond Plumbing: 19 Other Jobs on Mario's Resume
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Nintendo made news this week by subtly announcing that Mario is no longer a plumber. In fact, they're really downplaying his whole plumbing career. On the character's Japanese-language bio, the company says, "He also seems to have worked as a plumber a long time ago."

But Mario has always had plenty of jobs on the side. Here's a look at his resume:

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