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 >>

watch this
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 >>

watch this
An Actual Blacksmith Explains Why You Should Strike While the Iron Is Hot

You have to strike while the iron is hot. You can’t have too many irons in the fire. It has a nice ring to it. Go at something hammer and tongs. These are all idioms that have origins in blacksmithing, so Scott Wadsworth of Essential Craftsman decided to literally show us what all those idioms look like when performed in real life and explain how they are related to their meaning. Read More >>

language
This Tiny Coin Contains a Microscopic Archive of 1,000 Different Languages

If you want to ensure your files are safe, it’s a good idea to back them up in multiple places. And that’s the basic idea behind the Rosetta Wearable Disc. Printed in microscopic text on one side is an archive of 1,000 different human languages used in 2016. By producing multiple copies, language enthusiasts can ensure that there’s a better chance this archive will survive for centuries. Read More >>

science
How Would We Even Make First Contact with Aliens?

There are aliens out there (and if there aren’t any, it’s just more fun to believe that there are). But if they are out there, how do we find them? Once we find them, how do we contact them? And once we contact them, how do we actually communicate with them? Read More >>

language
Old Norse Sounds Like Elvish

Historical linguist Dr Jackson Crawford teaches Old Norse, and his YouTube videos are fascinating. Read More >>

animals
Grown-Up Dogs Don’t Care About Your Stupid Baby Talk

You know that thing you do where you talk to your dog like it’s a baby? New research shows that puppies respond well to this silly form of speech, but older dogs couldn't give a crap. So, stop doing it when your dog grows up. Read More >>

emoji
Translation Company Wants/Needs to Hire an Emoji Interpreter

Machines aren't good enough yet for London-based translation company Today Translations, which would like to hire an emoji specialist to ensure that its digital communications don't accidentally offend anyone by, say, having the wrong-coloured face turn up in an incorrect social context and triggering World War III. Read More >>

science
This Simulation of a Monkey Speaking Is the Stuff of Nightmares

New research shows that macaques have a vocal tract capable of emitting human-like speech, but they lack the brain circuitry to make words happen. That may be a good thing, because their simulated speech is creepy as hell. Read More >>

artificial intelligence
Will Siri Ever Learn Scottish?

Ask any Scottish person who lives in England, or has been to England, or has ever met an English person, and they’ll tell you about ‘the look’: people smiling at you with a knitted brow, nodding but baffled. It’s the look people get when they have no idea what you’re saying, no matter how often you repeat it. Sometimes they pat you on the arm, conciliatory, in case you’re trying to start a fight. Read More >>