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Episode 1570

Cool Beans

If you speak a second or third language, you may remember the first time you dreamed in that new tongue. But does this milestone mean you’re actually fluent? And a couple’s dispute over the word regret: Say you wish you’d been able...

A Brown Bear but Not a Brown Bear

A hilarious news story about a pair of heroic terriers that chase off a bear from a California home leads to an equally hilarious correction about the difference between black bears and brown bears. Big ups to Squirt and Mei Mei! This is part of a...

A Shoo-in

This week it’s butterflies, belly flowers, plot bunnies, foxes, and cuckoos. Also, writing advice from Mark Twain and a wonderful bit of prose from Sara Pennypacker’s book Pax. And are there word origins? Well, does a duck swim? We’ll...

Catch You on the Flip Side

Some countries have strict laws about naming babies. New Zealand authorities, for example, denied a request to name some twins Fish and Chips. • Halley’s Comet seen centuries before English astronomer Edmund Halley ever spotted it...

Stigler’s Law

Stigler’s Law is states that no scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer. Halley’s Comet, Fibonacci numbers, the Pythagorean theorem, and the Bechdel test all bear the names of people who didn’t discover or...

Sarcastic Interrogatives

When you would ask the father of Chris from Reno, Nevada, something to which he thought the answer was obvious, he’d answer with jokey phrases like “Is a pig pork?” or “Is the Pope Catholic?” or “Does a bear poop in the woods?” (but with a different...