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Anomaly Hunting and the Umbrella Man

This is not a new story, but it is worth repeating. At the moment that bullets were being fired into JFK’s motorcade, a man can be seen standing on the side of the road near the car holding an open black umbrella. It was a sunny day (although it had rained the night before) and [...]

The D.C. Manual of Style and Usage.

As a copyeditor by profession, I love style manuals, especially when they’re not too hidebound and show their own sense of style. Submitted for your consideration, the D.C. Manual of Style and Usage of Washington City Paper; some of my favorite entries: D.C. Respect the periods! However, many organizations and campaigns don’t use the periods. […]

Public Art, Grand Forks, and Joel Jonientz

We had a beautiful day yesterday celebrating the state of North Dakota’s 125thaversary and the art (and life) of Joel Jonientz. We hung his mural on a bizarre storage unit at the intersection of Walnut St. and S. 5th Avenue in Grand Forks. It looks great there. It got a nice story in the Grand […]

The Damaging Depiction of UK Metal Detectorists on BBC4

"would have more pride buying their own cabbages rather than hiding them under lorries to retrieve later" muckyluck » Fri Oct 10, 2014 11:28 pm "Could be brass, no need to report it" (Lance) Last week the character Lance in the true-to-life comedy series "detectorists" was depicted as stealing from his employer. Show More Summary

Farewell to Troubadour.

Seven years ago I sang the praises of Troubadour Books in North Hatfield (across the river from here); in 2010 I added an update saying that the store was moving to Hadley, where it would share a building with Grey Matter Books. (You can see the new bookstore in a 2011 video here: “Two Guys […]

Comedy club average is over

 One Barcelona comedy club is experimenting with using facial recognition technology to charge patrons by the laugh. The comedy club, Teatreneu, partnered with the advertising firm The Cyranos McCann to implement the new technology after the government hiked taxes on theater tickets, according to a BBC report. In 2012, the Spanish government raised taxes on […]

John Oliver on Civil Asset Forfeiture

Tim Lynch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Civil Forfeiture (HBO) For related Cato scholarship, go here.

Overtone singing

Anna-Maria Hefele: The fundamental frequency is about 273 Hz (which is a bit flatter than C#4), and as the spectrogram below shows, the "scale" that she sings picks out the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th harmonics (confusingly, these are the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th overtones, since the fundamental frequency […]

Identifying Race in Fuzhou, China

Flashback Friday. Laura A. sent in a video in which African American men ask people in Fuzhou, China, what race they believe people in some photos are: It’s a good example of the social construction of race. Notice how several people in the photos who would be considered Black in the U.S. don’t seem Black […]

How do you get spoken practice in a less common language, when you can’t find native speakers?

On Monday (13th October 2014), I hop on a flight to Thailand – after which I’ll be hanging out in Asia for several months. Those of you subscribed to the email list will find out precisely where we go next, and what we’re doing, before anyone else But as you know, I’ve been very busy […]

Rational != Self-interested

I’ve said it before (along with Aaron Edlin and Noah Kaplan) and I’ll say it again. Rationality and self-interest are two dimensions of behavior. An action can be: 1. Rational and self-interested 2. Irrational and self-interested 3. Rational and altruistic 4. Show More Summary

Forget “learning a language.” Focus on forming the habit.

Meet Maneesh Sethi. Maneesh is a friend, an inventor, and a fellow language learner (he has been a DJ in Berlin, and spoken on stage in Italian, among other things) with a very particular passion… For years, he has been obsessed with solving the problem of maintaining motivation that we all face in trying to […]

The Narrative: The Origins of Political Correctness

William Voegli claims that the phrase 'political correctness' first entered the American vocabulary in 1991. I don't know about that, but I do know that the concept is much older: PC derives from the CP, as I explain in Dorothy...

500-mile neutrino experiment up and running

Construction is complete for NOvA, the longest-distance neutrino experiment in the world. It’s the most powerful accelerator-based neutrino experiment ever built in the United States, and the longest-distance one in the world. It’s called...Show More Summary

G-spots : Saint-Girons

Roy Lisker (remember him from the Mormoiron post?) has written up his Grothendieck-quest(s), available for just 23$, and with this strange blurb-text: “The author organized a committee to search for him that led to his discovery, in good health and busily at work, in September, 1996. This committee has since become the Grothendieck Biography Project. […]

Why does toothpaste make orange juice taste awful? (video)

WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2014 — It's happened to many of us: Half asleep in the morning, you finish brushing your teeth and reach for your daily glass of orange juice. After taking a big swig, you spit it back out, making a face like you've just chewed on a lemon. Show More Summary

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