Friend I hadn’t seen for about 20 years delivers a vintage nerdy gift.

During the original run of Star Trek: The Next Generation, my college roommate and I invited our friends over to our duplex for Star Trek parties. Our local TV station ran the show at midnight Sunday, which was a terrible time, but we sometimes had 30 people over. Though we kept in touch virtually, I hadn’t seen my roommate for probably 20 years, so it was pleasant surprise to hear…

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Five myths about daylight saving time

No, Daylight Saving Time was not created to help farmers (actually, they hate it) and no, it doesn’t save energy (running the air conditioner longer in the evenings costs more than we save by turning on fewer lights in the morning). And why are we on “Daylight Standard Time” just four months out of the year? Reading about these myths will make you an *informed* sleep-deprived Monday morning grump. Daylight…

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About that Cough, Rough, Pony, Bologna Meme

Do the spellings of cough & rough, pony & bologna bug you, too? English evolves organically, without our permission. Words that look similar but are pronounced differently generally came to the language from different sources and/or at different times, by an organic process that is not controlled by people in smoky board rooms. In our day, private organizations such as dictionary publishers or the Associated Press do regularly make decisions on…

I accidentally started a Wikipedia hoax

Hoaxes roam the Information Superhighway, camouflaged as factoids. Consider this one: “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon.” The “Amelia Bedelia was a maid in Cameroon” factoid had been cited in a lesson plan by a Taiwanese English professor. It was cited in a book about Jews and Jesus. It was cited in innumerable blog posts and book reports, as well as a piece by blogger Hanny Hernandez, who speculated that Amelia…

Jon Bentley | My Life in Art

Wonderfully weird retro pop art. Jon recalls his first encounter with the iconic Peter and Jane books: ‘Like many people of my generation, I learned to read with Peter, Jane, Mummy, Daddy and Pat the dog. As I struggled with the unfamiliar letters, my eyes where invariably drawn to the picture on the opposite page, full of strange details that drew me in and seemed to suggest a richer more…