English’s Beautiful Specificity

I love that English has a specific word just for someone wearing glasses, bespectacled.  Saves us several words on a regular basis.  Someone else just suggested to me another one, “defenestrate”,  a word for throwing things out of windows.  That’s right, throwing things out of windows gets its own word in English. What other highly [Read More...]

English As A Foreign Language

They say this song composed of gibberish words was written as a demonstration of what English sounds like to those who do not understand it. I’ve tried to get a sense for what English sounds like by listening to my TV from the other side of my apartment where I couldn’t quite make out the [Read More...]

Untangling The Language Of Racists Who Deny They’re Racists

Sendai Anonymous pointed me to a really interesting sociological study by Eduardo Bonilla-Silva which attempts to shed light on the various contortions that “color blind” racists go through in an incoherent attempt to evade their racism while expressing their views.   First, I document how whites avoid direct racial language while expressing their racial views. [Read More...]

The Evolutionary Advantages And Present Disadvantages Of Our Conformist Minds

John Wilkins has a good post on the value of our minds’ readinesses to defer to authorities from an evolutionary standpoint: The evolutionary justification for this is, of course the following: if evolution were a designer, trying to ensure that thinking beings learned and knew what they had to to survive, a cheaper rule than [Read More...]

Cursing Is Therapeutic

Scientific permission to do what comes naturally: we swear not merely as a reaction to pain, but because it can actually reduce our sense of pain.The new finding comes from research that tested the hypothesis with a bunch (67) of college students and some ice cold water. Students were given a choice when they plunged [Read More...]


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