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Beginning Glassblowing Curse

Responding to our conversation about the curses medieval scribes wrote in books to prevent their theft, a professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst emails a modern-day book curse from the instructional manual Beginning Glassblowing by...

Episode 1536

The Black Dog

Books were rare treasures in the Middle Ages, painstakingly copied out by hand. So how to protect them from theft? Scribes sometimes added a curse to the first page of those books that was supposed to keep thieves away — and some were as vicious as...

Medieval Book Thief Curses

To warn away thieves, medieval scribes sometimes added a written curse to the colophon of a precious book. Curses were once considered such powerful deterrents that they were sometimes added to Anglo-Saxon legal documents. This is part of a complete...

bus

bus  n.— «We hear the low growl of a panther—but it’s the hiss of the brakes of a bus as it comes into shot from screen right. Watching this in the right circumstances, you’ll jump out of your skin…as no doubt audiences...

Hargeisa flower

Hargeisa flower  n.— «Somaliland, a breakaway state in northwestern Somalia, outlawed plastic bags as well, although passing the law has not appeared to put much of a dent in the problem there. In local parlance, the plastic bags there are...

African flower

African flower  n.— «Their delicate nature makes reuse impossible and leads to their frequent introduction into nature, where experts say they tend to remain without breaking down for somewhere around 1,000 years. The bags are so pervasive...