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Episode 1588

East Overshoe

Some people work hard to lose their accent in order to fit in. Others may be homesick for the voices they grew up with and try to reclaim them. How can you regain your old accent? Also, a compelling book about scientific taxonomy shows how humans...

Naming Nature

For a fantastic read about the history of taxonomy and the ways we use language to try to divide up and impose order on the world, check out Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science (Bookshop|Amazon) by science writer Carol Kaesuk Yoon...

Origin of Kick the Bucket

The idiom “kick the bucket,” meaning to die, does not originate from the concept of kicking a bucket out from under one’s feet. It has to do with an older meaning of bucket that refers to the wooden beam often found in a barn roof...

Curse of Knowledge

It’s all about terms of endearment: If your loved one is far away for a long time, you’re probably tired of just saying “I miss you” over and over. For variety’s sake, there are some creative alternatives to that phrase...

That Song in Your Head

If someone clapped out the rhythm of a song you knew, would you recognize it? It’s pretty unlikely, given what’s called the curse of knowledge. To the person with the song in their head, it’s obvious, but you can’t expect...

2013 Words of the Year

This list serves as a shorthand of our preoccupations for the year 2013. It’s a cross-section of words across all public arenas, flavored with the zeitgeist, powered by emotions and spread through innate usefulness. Pop culture, science...