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Bike-Shedding and Tohubohu

Hi, all! In this week's archive episode, do you know the term "bike-shedding"? How about "tohubohu"? The former refers to being inappropriately focused on the minutiae of a project instead of the bigger picture (handy...

urine diversion toilet

urine diversion toilet  n.— «There, up a few steps on a tiled platform, sat a toilet unlike any I’d seen. Its pan was divided in two: solid waste went in the back, and the front compartment collected urine. The liquids and solids can...

Nobody Here But Us Chickens

This past weekend on "A Way with Words," we mulled over whether part of the recession-busting bailouts the government is proposing should be targeted at reviving the Federal Writers' Project of the 1930s. Get a taste of that, and...

The Secret Lives of Flowers (minicast)

Martha muses about the secret lives of flowers in this week’s podcast. She’s been pondering the lexical legacy of Carolus Linnaeus, the great Swedish botanist who nearly 300 years ago was criticized for his fascination with what was a...

twenty-minute takeout

twenty-minute takeout  n.— «The “security check” used by the CIA to prepare a detainee for transport on a rendition plane was described to us by one source in the American intelligence community as a “twenty-minute takeout.” His...

prettopop

prettopop  n.— «Swedish trio Kamprads most often sound like LA’s Mellowdrone on their 2006 debut, Thoughts Never Released. Dark and slick drum beats and synths matched with the emo crooning of singer Skanfors even has the band admitting...