A City In New Zealand Has Its Own Wizard (Cool Weird Awesome 355)

There is at least one person in the world who's paid to be a wizard. The city of Christchurch, New Zealand, contracts with him to "provide acts of wizardry and other wizard-like-services as part of promotional work for the city of Christchurch." Plus: there's a museum exhibit in Switzerland featuring works of art that showcase imaginary or invented languages.

By |2020-08-11T07:54:09-04:00August 10th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

Kids In Nicaragua Created Their Own Sign Language (Cool Weird Awesome 335)

In the 1980s Deaf children in Nicaragua were sent to a new school that was supposed to help them learn finger spelling. Instead, they built up their own language, now known as Nicaraguan Sign Language. Plus: divers in Mexico find a cave that looked like it hadn't been visited before, only to find a link to civilization thousands of years ago.

By |2020-07-06T08:30:13-04:00July 6th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

What Do You Call People In Each State? (Cool Weird Awesome 334)

Vivid Maps released a map of the U.S. by demonym, which is the term for a word that describes people from a certain place. Some are straightforward, but there are also plenty of surprises. Plus: you've heard of Four Corners, but did you know there's also a Tri-State Marker where you could stand in the states of Idaho, Wyoming and Utah all at once?

By |2020-07-03T08:29:51-04:00July 3rd, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

The Smart Glove That Can Translate Sign Language Into Speech (Cool Weird Awesome 331)

A team at UCLA has built technology into a glove that can recognize the hand movements from American Sign Language and translate those movements into spoken English in real time through a smartphone app. Plus: scientists in Australia say they can modify cotton to make its own color, without not-so-eco-friendly chemical dyes.

By |2020-06-30T08:22:33-04:00June 30th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

The Letters of the English Alphabet Weren’t Added in Alphabetical Order (Cool Weird Awesome 306)

Amazingly, the English alphabet added its last letter in 1524, and no, that letter wasn't Z. We'll explain how an Italian grammarian convinced the world to add one more letter to the list. Plus: Andoni Bastarrika is a Basque artist who works with sand, but we’re not talking about basic beach sand castles here.

By |2020-05-26T07:53:42-04:00May 26th, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

How French Soup-Makers Helped Give Us Restaurants (Cool Weird Awesome 303)

It's National Waitstaff Day, and whether or not you're back to dining out, it's a good time to figure out a little of where restaurants come from. (It's complicated.) Plus: the website ThisWordDoesNotExist creates words that sound real but aren't.

By |2020-05-21T08:41:43-04:00May 21st, 2020|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

Predictive Text Is Changing, Not Just Predicting, What We Write (Cool Weird Awesome 298)

A new Harvard study finds those systems that suggest words to us when we type on our smartphones are actually shaping the way we write sentences and messages. The new app Drive + Listen can take you on the most realistic virtual road trip of our time.

Stella The Dog Uses A Soundboard (Cool Weird Awesome 170)

Stella the dog lives with a speech-language pathologist and has been using a soundboard to "say" several dozen words, raising hopes that someday the show "Dog With A Blog" may come to life. Plus: Quilty the cat likes to spend his nights freeing the other cats at the animal shelter.

By |2019-11-13T06:15:26-05:00November 13th, 2019|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |