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Why Old Books Smell Good

Nothing like that old-book smell. And if you open up an old volume and think you detect notes of vanilla, there’s a good reason. That intoxicating scent is the result of lignin, a chemical compound in plants used for making paper. It has a...

Travel Jargon

Post-9/11, we’ve heard a lot of new jargon pertaining to travel and security. An example is vaporwake, that term for the airborne trail we leave of our natural scent, perfumes, and the odor of any drugs or weapons we may be carrying. Another...

Origin of Nosy

Are we a nosy species? A listener married to a woman from Bangladesh explains how a Bengali term that translates as “nose-going” reflects the naturally inquisitive style of Bangladeshi culture. In many languages, the nose figures...

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