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Episode 1509

Ding-Ding Man

In 1803, a shy British pharmacist wrote a pamphlet that made him a reluctant celebrity. The reason? He proposed a revolutionary new system for classifying clouds — with Latin names we still use today, like cumulus, cirrus, and stratus. Also: when...

Episode 1507

Sundog

A clever pun can make the difference between a so-so phrase and a memorable one. The phrase “the last straw” refers to an old fable about too many items in a load, but it takes on a whole new meaning in a public-awareness campaign about...

Episode 1618

Spinning Cookies

A book of photographs and essays by famous writers celebrates libraries — and the librarians who changed their lives. Plus cutting doughnuts, spinning cookies, and pulling brodies: There are lots of ways to talk about spinning a car in circles on...

Bagsy! Bags Not!

An Omaha, Nebraska, listener and wife have picked up the expression Bags not! from the Australian children’s show “Bluey.” The phrase is used to stake a claim by announcing one refuses to doing something undesirable, like change a...

Episode 1596

Excuse the Hogs

When a teenager went a week without talking as part of a school project, he noticed a surprising side effect: Instead of rehearsing a response to what other people were saying to him, he was focused on listening — and feeling smarter as a result...

Episode 1589

Deep-Fried Air

Eels, orts, and Wordle! Sweden awarded its most prestigious literary award to a book about…eels. The Book of Eels reveals the mysterious life cycle of this sea creature and its significance for famous figures from Aristotle to Sigmund Freud. Plus...