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Why the F Aren’t You Reading This New Blog About Swearing?

If you aren’t reading Strong Language, a new “sweary blog about swearing” from linguists James Harbeck and Stan Carey, you really fucking should. This cheerful temple to the vulgar and profane has only been around for a few weeks,...Show More Summary

English Is the Language of Science

I learned English as a second language. Becoming an Anglophone turned out to be a crucial advantage in a brief scientific career years later. (I once worked as a medicinal chemist.) English is de rigueur for many things, but especially for science. Show More Summary

Nightmare Fuel

In case your nightmares have lacked inspiration lately, here is a photo of me I took, playing with my iPhone’s panorama function. I sat in my office chair, started the shot, and then just stared into the camera as I spun the chair around. The result gave me the creeps. I call it: Panoplait. So there you go. Sweet dreams.


In the spring of 1962, President John F. Kennedy launched a bold effort to provide health care for the aged—later to be known as Medicare. It culminated in a nationally televised presidential address from Madison Square Garden, carried on the three television networks. Show More Summary

Collector Beware: The importance of your Documentation Assuring Title

Don Miller, the Indiana collector, 91, died Sunday, nearly a year after federal agents surrounded his rural Rush County home and began removing thousands of artefacts ("FBI Examines Antiquities at Rural Indiana Home" PACHI, 3 April 2014;' see also "What a Collector Had in His Cellar" PACHI, 7 May 2014). Show More Summary

So, What Was In That Boston Time Capsule? 

The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. Tuesday night, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, conservators opened a box that was buried beneath the cornerstone of the Massachusetts State House in 1795. Show More Summary

What Can Popular Presents Tell Us About Linguistics? A (Metaphorical) Gift Guide.

Mele Kalikimaka may be the Hawaiian way to shine your linguistic star this holiday season, but how can us word nerds and language-curious types share our passion in a more tangible way? Is there anything to spin our dreidels and jingle...Show More Summary

The Truth About “Mysterious” Mass Bird Deaths

More than 1,200 dead seabirds have washed ashore off Washington state and northern California in recent months, the latest large-scale bird deaths to capture headlines. These cases tend to invite speculative (and sometimes conspiratorial) theories, but no matter the cause of death, there’s actually a simple reason behind them. Show More Summary

Crash Course Astronomy Episode 4: Phases of the Moon

Besides the daily motions of the Sun and stars, the most obvious change in the night sky over a week or so is the changing phase of the Moon. Sometimes it’s a thin fingernail Moon, sometimes it’s an arresting silvery disk dominating...Show More Summary

Driving Through the Most Dangerous Plate Boundary in the World: Reconnaissance

We're headed on a blog adventure through the most dangerous kind of plate boundary in the world. To make things clear, the boundary we are exploring is not currently the most dangerous in the world, although it is certainly very hazardous. Show More Summary

Bulgarian Artefact Bust - Shumen

A trafficker's garage 'Archaeology in Bulgaria' has two recent articles about an antiquity bust which saw an 'impressive' haul of artefacts confiscated from treasure hunters and antique traffickers by the police in the northeastern Bulgarian...Show More Summary

How much has the introduction of air conditioning driven interstate mobility?

Paul Krugman has had a few posts on this question, most recently this one, the first one here.  Krugman is right in asserting a major role for air conditioning, but there is a subtle framing point which is sometimes neglected.  The most on-point study is this piece from Jordan Rappaport (pdf): U.S. residents have been […]

A Killer’s Last Steps

A couple months ago I began the tour for my book about President John F. Kennedy’s assassination with a lecture at Southern Methodist University in Dallas—a talk I was told would be attended by four members of the Oswald family. Also at the lecture were three men who knew a lot about Nov. Show More Summary

Russian Claim NASA Agrees to Space Station After ISS; NASA Says They did not

Russians claims NASA agrees to new space station after ISS: Russia’s space agency Roscosmos and its US counterpart NASA have agreed to build a new space station to replace the current ISS when its life cycle expires."We have agreed that...Show More Summary

Resilience: Two Sisters, Mental Illness, A Trust Fun and Quite the Ride

Resilience: Two Sisters and a Story of Mental Illness is a memoir written by Jessie Close with journalist/advocate Pete Earley, plus a few 'chime in' chapters written by Jessie's actress sister, Glenn Close. So let's start with family history. Show More Summary

Are we ready for the next volcanic catastrophe?

Eric Worrall writes: The Guardian has published an unusually interesting article about the danger to our civilisation, of a new Tambora scale volcanic eruption. According to Bill McGuire, professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at UCL; “In April 1815, the biggest known eruption of the historical period blew apart the Tambora volcano, on the…

The Beautiful Geometry of 18th-Century Forts, Built by Britain in the American Colonies

The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. The Twitter feed @bldgblog recently shared some of these images of...Show More Summary

Follow #CNS2015

Whether or not you're in sunny San Francisco for the start of Cognitive Neuroscience Society Meeting today, you can follow Nick Wan's list of conference attendees on Twitter: @nickwan/#CNS2015. There's also the #CNS2015 hashtag, and the official @CogNeuroNews account. Show More Summary

Spring issue of New Books in German

The Spring 2015 issue of New Books in German is now available online, with reviews of new books (and some 'Forgotten Gems' -- some of which are already available in translation) and a variety of other features. The review section introduces...Show More Summary

The Librarian review

The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mikhail Elizarov's The Librarian, winner of the 2008 Russian Booker Prize and just out in English from Pushkin Press.

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