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Petered Out

Does the expression petered out have to do with the Apostle Peter denying he knew Jesus? No, “petered out” may derive from the French peter, meaning to “pass gas.” Another theory is that the expression originated in mining...

Word Up!

What would you serve a plumber who comes over for dinner? How about … leeks? The hosts play a word game called “What Would You Serve?” Also, can you correct someone’s grammar without ruining a new relationship? And is there...

vacuum energy

vacuum energy  n.— «What quantum theory says is that, powered by nothing whatsoever, the universe will still vibrate with what is sometimes called “vacuum energy” or “zero-point energy.”» —“The dark matter is the anti-matter source of...

sticky-wage theory

sticky-wage theory  n.— «The reason is something called the sticky-wage theory. Economists have long been puzzled by the fact that most businesses simply will not cut their workers’ pay, even in a downturn. Businesses routinely lay...

adiabaticity

adiabaticity  n.— «U.S. and French scientists say they’ve developed a new understanding of a process called adiabaticity that’s used to control atoms in magnetic resonance. Adiabatic processes are what physicists and engineers use to...