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English Is the Language of Science. That Isn’t Always a Good Thing

English speakers tend to assume that all the important research is published in English. More than half of the non-English papers observed in this study had no English title, abstract or keywords, making them all but invisible to most scientists doing database searches in English. […] This problem is a two-way street Not only does the larger scientific community miss out on research published in non-English languages. But the dominance of…

Two classic novels returning to Accomack schools following vote

Accomack County Public Schools announced Tuesday that “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” will immediately returned to school library shelves. The books were temporarily suspended on November 29, after a complaint was filed….The Accomack County School Board voted on Tuesday to permanently reinstate the two novels. “These novels are treasures of American literature and inspirational, timeless stories of conscience and bravery,” said Dr. Ronnie E. Holden, Chairman…

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‘Arrival’ Is Smart, Stylish Sci-Fi About Language, Not Laser Beams

The premise sounds quite interesting. Realistically I doubt I’ll have the chance to see a movie until Christmas, but this is something to look forward to. So it’s time to move onto written language, and the most thrilling elements of the film are the geekiest ones: when Louise gets to explain what she’s trying to teach the aliens and why. To broach the essential topic (“What is your purpose on…

Scientists Trace Society’s Myths to Primordial Origins

Ancient cultures from Africa to Asia to the Mediterranean share core myths such as the animal pursued by a hunter who is transformed into a constellation, or a sculptor falling in love with a statute that comes to life, or a clever hunter outwitting a monster who keeps animals in a cave. This Scientific American article describes a method to trace the origin of stories through waves of human migration…

Dear readers: Please stop calling us ‘the media.’ There is no such thing.

When my students refer in passing to “the media,” I know what they mean, but I ask them to be more specific, noting that handwritten notes, carvings on stone tablets, and papier mâché are all examples of “media.” So I agree with this WashPo observation that the term is so general it is meaningless. Not too long ago “the press” was a perfectly well-understood nickname for print journalists. When working…