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Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

Episode 1590

Primary Colors

Centuries ago, monks who took a vow of silence developed their own hand signs, with hundreds of gestures, that are still in use today. Plus, how do speakers of different languages distinguish similar shades and tints of colors such as red, yellow...

Naming Shades and Tints of Colors

How do we agree on how to name shades and tints of colors? A famous study in the 1960s, Basic Color Terms: Their Universality and Evolution (Bookshop|Amazon by Brent Berlin and Paul Kay found that if a language had only two color terms, they were...

Episode 1563

Ring-Tailed Tooter

National Book Award winner Barry Lopez had wise advice for young writers. First, read widely and follow your curiosity. Second, travel or learn a foreign language. And third, find out what you truly believe, because if you’re not writing from...

Worst Line in the West

The winner of the Western category of the 2021 Bulwer-Lytton Contest, which rewards cleverly awful first lines of fiction, explains what happens when Tumbleweed Mulligan and Johnny “Trigger” McAllister take over the Black Dog Saloon for...