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Episode 1590

Primary Colors

Centuries ago, monks who took a vow of silence developed their own hand signs, with hundreds of gestures, that are still in use today. Plus, how do speakers of different languages distinguish similar shades and tints of colors such as red, yellow...

Bromides

You know those dull sports clichés like “We came to play” and “He left it all on the field”? They’re called bromides. The hosts explain the connection between the tired platitude and the sedative called potassium...

bomb pulse

bomb pulse  n.— «Because of atmospheric testing of nuclear bombs between 1945 and 1960, the atmosphere received a sharp spike of carbon-14, commonly called the “bomb pulse,” that has been declining to normal levels as excess...

vegangelical

vegangelical  n.— «OTOH, it’s not, AFAIK, possible to OD on iron from purely food sources unless you’ve got an iron- metabolism disorder like hemochromatosis; some vegangelical propaganda deliberately tries to obscure this point...

miner’s moss

miner’s moss  n.— «Metal grids and perforations weed out the rocks and large chunks of dirt, while black plastic ridges capture many of the heavy gold flakes. The runoff flows onto a jumble of what looks like plastic vermicelli. The so...