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Upstairs Basement

Giving your baby an unusual moniker may seem like a great idea at the time. But what if you have second thoughts? One mother of a newborn had such bad namer’s remorse, she poured out her heart to strangers online. Speaking of mothers and...

Espresso

Is there an express in espresso? Nope. Cafe espresso is literally “pressed-out coffee.” So the name espresso has nothing to do with the speed with which espresso is made. The term express, on the other hand, as in express train, derives...

Uncanny Valley

What is it about lifelike robots and the humanoid characters in movies like The Polar Express that feels so disturbing? Robotics scientist Masahiro Mori dubbed this phenomenon the uncanny valley. There are lots of interesting articles explaining...

Tweet Nothings

How much humor and personality can you pack into a 140-character update? A lot, it turns out. Martha and Grant talk about funny Twitter feeds. Also this week, the origins of skosh and “can’t hold a candle,” why dragonflies are...

bubble capital

bubble capital  n.— «Bank PHB was also accused of having resorted to illegalities in the acquisition bid as two-thirds of the 33 per cent it claimed were “rejected” and “warehoused” shares. The rejected shares, also referred to as “bubble...

The Lipstick Express (minicast)

Hockey mom, mavericky, snow machines, and—how could we forget that other memorable phrase from the 2008 presidential campaign?—lipstick on a pig. Some new and not-so-new terms leapt onto the national stage during Gov. Sarah Palin‘s run for the...