We all lead busy lives—so are speed reading courses a good idea? Plus, if you hear someone speaking with a British accent, do you tend to assume they’re somehow more intelligent? And some common English surnames tell us stories about life in the Middle Ages. Plus, a 29-letter word for the fear of the number 666, games and riddles, military brats, knocked for a loop, the first dirty word, and book recommendations for math lovers.
This episode first aired December 21, 2013.
What do you call it when you’re out in public with friends but they’re all staring at their own cell phones? A listener from Santa Monica, California, suggests that the word techgether.
Speed Reading Classes
Are speed reading classes a waste of time? Not if you want to skim instead of read.
The Frequency Illusion
After you notice a certain word for the first time, chances are you’ll start seeing it all over the place. That’s known as the frequency illusion, coined by linguist Arnold Zwicky, and it happens because of confirmation bias.
Two Hookers and Two Lookers Riddle
What has two hookers, two lookers, four stiff-standers, four diddledanders, and a wig wag?
Animal Kingdom Counterparts Quiz
Quiz Guy John Chaneski have a game matching people with their animal kingdom counterparts.
Is the term military brat a pejorative?
Books on Onomastics
Many common English surnames–such as Taylor, Miller, Shoemaker, Smith, and many others–tell a story about life in the Middle Ages. Two good books on the study of names, also known as onomastics, are The Surname Detective and a Dictionary of English Surnames, both by Colin D. Rogers.
Jack Handy Quote
“The face of a child can say it all. Especially the mouth part of the face.” That deep thought is brought to you by Jack Handy.
Etymology of Moose
The plural of moose is moose. The word’s roots are in the name of the animal in the Algonquian language Abenaki.
Accent Implying Intelligence
Why do so many Americans think British accents automatically connote intelligence?
Southern Sentence about a Dilemma
In parts of the South, it’s not uncommon to end a sentence about a dilemma with the word one, short for one or the other, as in “I’m going to quit my job or get fired, one.”
Books for Math Lovers
For the math lovers out there: Listeners on our Facebook page recommend Fermat’s Enigma by Simon Singh, and In Pursuit of The Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed The World by Ian Stewart.
Waiting for a Bone Riddle
A riddle: What runs over fields and woods all day, under the bed at night sits not alone with its tongue out, waiting for a bone?
Photo by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters . Used under a Creative Commons license.
Books Mentioned in the Broadcast
|The Surname Detective by Colin D. Rogers|
|Dictionary of English Surnames by Colin D. Rogers|
|Encyclopedia of Swearing by Geoffrey Hughes|
|Fermat’s Enigma by Simon Singh|
|In Pursuit of The Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed The World by Ian Stewart|
Music Used in the Broadcast
|Caretera Panamericana||Piero Umiliani||To-Day’s Sound||Liuto Records|
|Truck Driver||Piero Umiliani||To-Day’s Sound||Liuto Records|
|Green Valley||Piero Umiliani||To-Day’s Sound||Liuto Records|
|Mellow (Version)||Karl Hector and The Malcouns||Sahara Swing||Stones Throw|
|Tidal Stream||Piero Umiliani||Il Corpo Soundtrack||Sound Work Shop|
|Princess||Piero Umiliani||Il Corpo Soundtrack||Sound Work Shop|
|Softly Sonora||The Cabildos||Crossfire||Vroommm|
|Mystical Brotherhood||Karl Hector and The Malcouns||Sahara Swing||Stones Throw|
|Habana Keynote||The Cabildos||Crossfire||Vroommm|
|Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off||Ella Fitzgerald||Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book||Verve|