Monthly Archives: September 2011

Linguistics 101—Speaking in ‘Schwa’

What is the most commonly used vowel sound in the English language? You might quibble over ‘a’, ‘e’, or ‘i’, but to find the answer you have to look beyond the five commonly accepted vowels (or six if you include ‘y’) to a little-known vocal utterance called schwa. Continue reading

Archived under Culture

City Names of Tongue-twisting Proportions

Buenos Aires is a city with an evocative name: ‘Fair Winds’ in Spanish. But how about Ciudad de la Santísima Trinidad y Puerto de Santa María del Buen Aire? Continue reading

Archived under Geography

The Myth about Camel Humps

Camels get a bad rap, ridiculed as horses designed by a committee, and with a reputation for a terrible temper. They’re almost never acknowledged as hardy survivors in some of the toughest terrain on the planet. And there’s much more to their desert survival than those ungainly humps on their backs. Continue reading

Archived under Science & Nature

Space Food: Not Without My Kimchi

If you think airline food is bad, spare a thought for astronauts on space missions and how they eat and drink in close to zero gravity conditions. One of the trickiest foods prepared for space travel so far has been the spicy Korean dish, kimchi. Continue reading

Archived under Man-Made