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The Circus Left. The Clowns Remain.

Following our conversation about the dismissive phrase, Not my circus, not my monkeys, Nelly, who is a professor of French and Russian in Marquette, Michigan, shares a handy Russian saying that translates as “the circus left, the clowns remain...

Aliquot

A chemistry professor in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, says a word that she uses in the lab is also handy in everyday life. To aliquot something means “to divide into equal portions.” In piano construction, aliquot scaling involves adding...

Pronouncing Innovative

A university professor in Baltimore, Maryland, catches himself pronouncing the very same word in different ways depending on the context in which he’s speaking. For him, it occurs with the word innovative, which U.S. and U.K. speakers...

A Shadow Library Found Added to Books

In the 19th century, books were especially popular gifts — cheap enough to be owned by the middle class, but enough of an investment that people kept them for decades, then passed them down to the next generation or donated them to libraries...

Loof Lirpa, the Ledendary Norwegian

Pat from Bishop, California, shares a story about a college history professor who gave a detailed lecture about a heroic Norwegian named Loof Lirpa. Only after taking extensive notes did the students realize that the professor was lecturing on the...

Low-Key Slang

Katie, a biology professor in San Diego, California, reports that her students use low-key in ways she’s not used to hearing, as in I was low-key lost in class today, meaning “I was sort of lost in class today.” Linguists Pamela...

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