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What’s a Snollygoster? Even lexicographers are wrong sometimes

This is an amusing little story about how politics affects the English language. An obscure word that politicians and pundit like to use to refer to their opponents has faded in and out of use. The “wrong” move was removing the word from the dictionary recently, after which it made a comeback. (I’d still never heard of it.) As the dialectal furor faded, so too did snollygoster—so much so that…

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Small Changes in Teaching: The Last 5 Minutes of Class

I just ordered the book Lang mentions in this article. In my experience — having observed many dozens of college courses over the past two decades — most faculty members eye the final minutes of class as an opportunity to cram in eight more points before students exit, or to say three more things that just occurred to us about the day’s material, or to call out as many reminders as…

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“People are much more frightened than they are bigoted,” making his economic message resonate with “fed up” blue-collar voters, says Trump observer

No actor says “My character does this and says that because he is evil.” How many voters wake up in the morning saying, “I support this candidate because I am evil, stupid, and/or racist”? Nobody votes “against women’s reproductive rights” or “against unborn babies.” Those are labels provided by the opposition, not the identity claimed by the group members. People vote a certain way because they are voting *for* something.…

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Rubric for the Rubric Concerning Students’ Core Educational Competency In Reading Things In Books and Writing About Them.

Sadly, this only barely counts as satire. The Core Educational Competency In Reading Things In Books and Writing About Them requires that students demonstrate “critical thinking” and “critical reading” skills, but please note that this kind of cleverness should only be encouraged with regards to literary books. Aspects of life to which “critical thinking” and “critical reading” skills should not be applied are outlined in attachment 5, addendum 4.8.9.70. —McSweeney’s…

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Simon Newman Resigns as President of Mount St. Mary’s

Simon P. Newman resigned on Monday evening as president of Mount St. Mary’s University, capping a weeks-long furor over a controversial freshman-retention plan that focused national attention on the Roman Catholic college in rural Maryland. Mr. Newman, a former private-equity chief executive, incited a backlash by using a clumsy “drown the bunnies” analogy in reference to at-risk students. His comments, which first emerged in the college’s student newspaper, quickly drew…

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Paper Titles: Inform by Stating your Topic and Position; Grab the Reader’s Interest If You Can

An effective research paper title will identify the limited subject of the essay, and the position the paper takes on the subject. It may also be useful to grab the reader’s interest with a brief quote or detail, but if your goal is to persuade your reader, your title will also need to inform. Your title is your first opportunity to persuade your reader. Don’t waste it. —Paper Titles: Inform by Stating your…

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Your Letters Helped Challenger Shuttle Engineer Shed 30 Years Of Guilt

On Jan. 27, 1986, the former engineer for shuttle contractor Morton Thiokol had joined four colleagues in trying to keep Challenger grounded. They argued for hours that the launch the next morning would be the coldest ever. Freezing temperatures, their data showed, stiffened rubber O-rings that keep burning rocket fuel from leaking out of the joints in the shuttle’s boosters. But NASA officials rejected that data, and Thiokol executives overruled…