science
Toddlers and Chimpanzees Share a Surprising Unspoken Language

Prior to developing the capacity for speech, toddlers communicate their desires, demands, and discontent using a diverse repertoire of physical gestures. As a new study shows, there’s a significant amount of overlap between the gestures employed by human children and those made by other ape species, a finding that’s casting new light on the origin of primate communication. Read More >>

books
After 500 Years, Someone’s Finally Made Progress at Cracking the Voynich Manuscript

Chances are you've heard about the Voynich Manuscript, a book seemingly detailing some of the finer points of botany that nobody can actually read. While some have claimed it's a fake, the book has been around for centuries and has stood up to even the most aggressive code-breaking techniques as people try and decipher its contents. Read More >>

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The Fascinating History of 10 Extra Letters the English Alphabet Used to Have

At 26 letters long, the English alphabet isn’t the most complicated string of symbols and characters to master, even for a five-year-old. But that’s because it has been put on a strict diet over the years that helped it slim down and shed 10 additional letters that were either deemed superfluous, redundant, or just downright confusing. Read More >>

fake news
Collins Dictionary Names ‘Fake News’ as Word of the Year

Criticise Donald Trump? That's obviously fake news. Said something a random commenter didn't like? Also fake news. Given how much use of the term has grown over the past year, it's hardly surprising that Collins Dictionary has declared 'fake news' to be its word of the year. Even though it's actually two words. Read More >>

linguistics
University Researchers Want Us To Use ‘Forgotten’ Words

Presumably fed up with the youth of today using txt spk and nonsense slang, a team of academics at University of York have dug up a list of old words that they hope to see getting used again. Read More >>

language
Researchers Are Sorry They Used ‘Derpy’ in a Research Paper

Much like the universally true advice to “never tweet,” it’s probably a good idea to just avoid internet language and memes when you’re working in a professional capacity. Two well-intentioned researchers learned that the hard way recently when they didn’t do enough research on the term “derpy.” Read More >>

movies
You’ll Only Catch Okja’s Best Joke If You Speak Both English and Korean

Of the many jokes sprinkled throughout director Bong Joon-ho’s newest film, Okja, there’s one in particular that’s designed to capture the spirit of the movie while also flying under the radar for anyone watching it who isn’t fluent in Korean and English. Read More >>

language
These Are the Colours that Words Make When Used as Hex Code

Hexadecimal format allows us to instruct a computer to display a colour using three or six characters. For example, #000 will produce black. But how many words can be created in Hex and what colours do they produce? One intrepid programmer has tackled this problem so that we don’t have to. Read More >>

language
Swearing While Exercising Makes You Stronger

That internal voice you have that swears at everything all the time like your life is a Quentin Tarantino movie but without so much sexy foot action? It's helping. It's helping you to exercise better according to scientists, who found that muttering and continually saying rude words elevates physical performance. Read More >>

language
Icelanders Worry That Voice Commands Will Kill Their Native Language

Iceland has long had a progressive outlook on technology. It’s regularly high on lists of the best countries for data privacy, the Pirate Party has a substantial place in its government, and it was the headquarters of Wikileaks for a long time. But Icelanders are currently concerned that their native language could go the way of the dodo due to the cultural changes that tech is accelerating. Read More >>

language
‘Sonic Screwdriver’ Breaks Time and Space in Order to Be Added to the Oxford English Dictionary

Just ahead of Saturday's series premiere of Doctor Who, the good people at the OED had a little tie-in to announce: “sonic screwdriver,” the Doctor’s multipurpose magic tool, is getting its own entry. Read More >>

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The Real Life Languages Behind Dothraki, Kingon And Na’vi

Erik Singer is a dialect coach, and in this video he takes a look at the real life language inspiration behind the fictional languages of Na'vi, Dothraki, Klingon, Sindarin, Parseltongue, Ewokese, Shyriiwook, Divine Language, Mork Speak, Groot Speak, Malkovich, Furbish and Heptapod. Read More >>

uber
London’s Uber Drivers Will Have to Take an English Exam

Uber has lost a court case in which it wanted to stop its London drivers -- and all private hire drivers working in the city -- from being forced to take English language tests, so now the fleet of semi-casual carsmiths must take some sort of writing test to see if they can perform to the required level of offensive chit-chat. Read More >>

comics
Listen to Stephen Fry and Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons Discuss the Art of Sound on Comic Books

Vworp. Kapow. Biff, bang, pow! The onomatopoeic words we’ve seen splayed out across comic pages over the years are some of the most important parts (and iconic) of the medium. But how do artists and writers actually come up with the words? For legendary Watchmen artist Dave Gibbons, there’s a lot of fun involved. Read More >>

education
5 Cool Skills to Pick Up on a Lunch Break

If you often get the feeling there just aren’t enough hours in the day, then the lunch break your bosses should generously afford you could be one opportunity to make more of your time (and it beats listening to co-workers talking about sports you don’t watch). Give yourself thirty minutes a day five days a week and you could be well on your way to being a polymath by picking up one of these five skills. Read More >>