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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
Scientific papers can be wild. When they refer to “unplanned rapid disassembly," that’s an academic way of saying “accidentally exploded.”
When I finally sit down and write my screenplay ("Pyromaniac Hobos in Boxcar Heat") I'll make sure these quotes are in there, and that the subtitles use more standard language. It'll be my own little literacy program!