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Sugar of Lead

Writing in Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood (Bookshop|Amazon) about his youthful fascination with chemistry, Oliver Sacks notes that lead acetate once went by the more appetizing name sugar of lead. This is part of a complete episode.

Skipper for Team Captain

Omar in Wilmington, North Carolina, says that when he was growing up in Pakistan, he and fellow cricket players referred to their team captain as the skipper. The term skipper, or skip, originated in seafaring terminology and now applies to the...

Episode 1528

Gift Horse

The edge of the Grand Canyon. A remote mountaintop. A medieval cathedral. Some places are so mystical you feel like you’re close to another dimension of space and time. There’s a term for such locales: thin places. And: did you ever go...

The True Alchemists

In his collection of essays, A Temple of Texts, writer William Gass observed: “The true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.” This is part of a complete episode.