Category Archives: Language

Schott’s Vocab: The Pondonome Scores!

Ben Schott’s blog at The New York Times features a vocabulary contest each weekend. This last one: Bluetooth-Ache This weekend, co-vocabularists have generously proposed modern maladies. As ever, it’s the taking part that counts. The following took part especially well: … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Comment, Language | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Faster Than a Tsunami: The Speed of Rumor

I was living in St Petersburg, Florida, when Chernobyl exploded. That afternoon, rainbow arcs appeared around the sun. These parhelions, aka sundogs, are caused by the diffraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. There were frantic calls … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Comment, Disasters, Language, Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Schott’s Vocab Weekend Competition: Misfortune Cookies

This weekend, co-vocabularists are invited to devise fortune cookie wisdom fit for our times – and share cookie quotes they have actually unwrapped. Schott’s Vocab – Schott’s Vocab Blog – NYTimes.com Mine is #54. Go vote for it! Early, but … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Comment, Language | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thin Ice, Hot Water

“It’s a strange world of language in which skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.” –Franklin P. Jones. But it does, Mr. Jones, it does. The water is not only warming, but rising. Through language we impact … Continue reading

Posted in Climate, Earth Science, Language, Oceanography, Science | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Talk Radio: All Froth and No Chocolate

The new payola! The money is not in music, however; it’s in politics. Crooks and Liars pointed to an article in Tablet Magazine on a business known as Premiere on  Call. What do they do? They provide fake radio callers. … Continue reading

Posted in Cultural Comment, Education, Kids, Language, Politics | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

“The World’s Most Beautiful Scrabble Set”

The World’s Most Beautiful Scrabble Set | Co.Design

Posted in Language | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Anti-Placebo

AKA the nocebo effect. Poor expectations of treatment can override all the effect of a potent pain-relieving drug, a brain imaging study at Oxford University has shown. In contrast, positive expectations of treatment doubled the natural physiological or biochemical effect … Continue reading

Posted in Behavioral Science, Language, Science | Tagged | Leave a comment