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Episode 1566

No Cap, No Lie

We take our voices for granted, but it’s truly miraculous that we communicate complex thoughts simply by moving our mouths while exhaling. A fascinating new book reveals the science, history, and linguistics involved in human speech. And...

Cutting Cots

Following up on our earlier conversation about the correct pronunciation of apricot, a listener who grew up among the apricot orchards of California’s Santa Clara Valley says the locals there pronounce it simply cot, and would speak of getting...

Episode 1558

Your Two Cents

Astronauts returning from space say they experience what’s called the overview effect, a new understanding of the fragility of our planet and our need to reflect on what humans all share as a species. A book about the end of the universe...

Scorns, Fried Biscuit Dough

Kimberly in Harrisonburg, Virginia, has a family tradition of enjoying fried biscuit dough with butter for breakfast. They refer to these fried, doughy treats as scorns, but they’ve never heard anyone else use this term. Have you? Or might...

Episode 1555

Mystery Drawer

Amid court-ordered busing in the 1970s, a middle-school teacher tried to distract her nervous students on the first day of class with this strange assignment: find a monarch caterpillar. The result? A memorable lesson in the miracle of metamorphosis...