The DNA of detection

An informative tribute, from the BBC. It’s remarkable how many of the genre’s classic elements can be traced back to the feverishly fertile imagination of one man, Edgar Allan Poe. Once you start looking, the clues are everywhere. Edgar Allan Poe is best known for his gloomy gothic tales Born 200 years ago, on 19 January 1809, Poe was a prolific writer of poetry, fiction and essays. But his influential…

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Presidential inaugurals: the form and the content

Educated Americans have a tendency to think that (i) intelligence can be directly assessed through the surrogate of compliance with the rules of Standard English grammar, and that (ii) compliance with the rules of Standard English grammar can be checked quickly and easily by glancing in Strunk and White’s brainless little pamphlet of 19th-century grammar nonsense. Both propositions are wrong and dangerous, yet tacit acceptance of them is widespread. I…