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Junk in the Frunk

In an electric car, the trunk is in the front, not the back. Automotive engineers refer to this part of the vehicle as the frunk, a portmanteau of front and trunk. For a while, the Jaguar company, which is based in the UK, instead called it the...

Sure Fire Soul Ensemble

Some of the music you hear on this show is the work of Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, a San Diego-based Afro-funk and soul-jazz band. Their keyboard player is Tim Felten, who, as it happens, is also the editor and engineer for A Way with Words. He selects...

Quizzer Guesser

Quiz Guy John Chaneski wants you to think of two-word phrases in which both words end in the letters ER. For example, engineer Lonnie Johnson invented a popular toy that might be described as “an overachieving water gun.” What is it...

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...

Professional Names Quiz

Quiz Guy John Chaneski invites us to a party where all the adults have professions that match their children’s names. For example, if dad is a barber, or if mom is a recording engineer, what would they name their boys? This is part of a...