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Snaggletooth (episode #1560)

Many of us struggled with the Old English poem “Beowulf” in high school. But what if you could actually hear “Beowulf” in the English of today? There’s a new translation by Maria Dahvana Headley that uses contemporary...

Not My Circus (episode #1575)

Throwing cheese and shaky cheese are two very different things. In baseball, hard cheese refers to a powerful fastball, and probably comes from a similar-sounding word in Farsi, Urdu, and Hindi. Shaky cheese, on the other hand, is the grated...

Cocktail Party Effect

A lovely evening of classical music at San Diego’s new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park leads to a conversation with an audio engineer about the term cocktail party effect, referring to the brain’s ability to focus in on the sound of one...

No Cap, No Lie (episode #1566)

We take our voices for granted, but it’s truly miraculous that we communicate complex thoughts simply by moving our mouths while exhaling. A fascinating new book reveals the science, history, and linguistics involved in human speech. And...

Audio Escape Room Word Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has created an audio escape room. You’re trapped in a hotel and must figure out a series of clues from objects in the room to find your way out. See that Gideon Bible over there? It’s said that the Bible is this...

An Electrifying Beowulf

Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley is a thrilling rendition of the centuries-old poem. (Bookshop|Amazon) Headley translates the poem using modern vocabulary and even internet slang, with results that are, as one reviewer put it...

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