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Newsletter: Charismatic megafauna and other delights

Howdy! Ever hear questions that are really veiled criticism, or apologies that are actually excuses? That, and more, in our latest episode: language for resolving personal conflict, in like Flynn, gradoo, Irish pennants, champing, and a silly rule...

Knuckle Down

A wingnut is a handy, stabilizing piece of hardware. So why is it a pejorative term for those of a certain political persuasion? Also, is there something wrong with the phrase committed suicide? Some say that the word commit is a painful reminder...

–Ness Word Game

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a quiz inspired by March Madness, taking us through the year with the name of a month followed by an adjective with the suffix -ness attached to form an alliterative noun phrase. For example, what do you call a festival in...

Dust Bunnies

Is it cheating to say you’ve read a book if you only listened to it on tape? Over the centuries, the way we think about reading has changed a lot. There was a time, for example, when reading silently was considered strange. Plus, what do you...

Eat the Grindstone

The books we love as children may influence our careers more than we realize. As a child, Martha was fascinated with stories of cracking codes, and Grant loved books with glossaries–not that far from the kind of work they do today. A caller...

Pickle Seeder

Would you rather live in a world with no adjectives … or no verbs — and why? Also, who in the world is that director Alan Smithee [SMITH-ee] who made decades’ of crummy films? Turns out that if a movie director has his work wrested away...

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