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Episode 1601

Funny Papers

There are word nerds, and then there’s the woman who set up a folding chair on sidewalks throughout the country, cheerfully dispensing tips about grammar. She recounts her adventures in a new book. And the story of the brilliant pioneer of...

Where Does the Word “Boolean” Come From?

An industrial-design student in Savannah, Georgia, uses Boolean software for making 3-D renderings. Why Boolean ? The term honors the brilliant autodidact George Boole, who helped pioneer the use of binary computing language and Boolean logic. This...

Episode 1580

Beefed It

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by explaining the history of words and phrases. And: have you ever been in a situation where a group makes...

Bad Upgrades

Hate it when a software upgrade is worse than the previous version? We call that a flupgrade, or a new-coke. As in, “Skype really new-coked it with version 5.3.0.” Come on, Skype! This is part of a complete episode.

‘Puter Principle

What do you call an upgrade gone wrong? Perhaps the ‘Puter Principle could be the software equivalent of the Peter Principle, which in business means that every employee in a hierarchy tends to rise to his or her level of incompetence. This is...