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Big Picture Science (Series)

Produced by Big Picture Science

Most recent piece in this series:

Rip Van Winkle Worm

From Big Picture Science | Part of the Big Picture Science series | 54:00

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Your shower pipes are alive. So are your sinks, books, and floorboards. New studies of our homes are revealing just what species live there – in the thousands, from bacteria to flies to millipedes. Meanwhile, life keeps surprising us by popping up in other unexpected places: the deep biosphere houses the majority of the world’s bacteria and the Arctic tundra has kept worms frozen, but alive, for 40,000 years.

We embrace the multitude of life living on us, in us, and – as it turns out – in every possible ecological niche. Most of it is harmless, some is beneficial, and it’s all testament to the amazing diversity and adaptability of life. In addition, the hardiest organisms suggest where we might find life beyond Earth.

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Originally aired January 21, 2019

 

A Way with Words (Series)

Produced by A Way with Words

Most recent piece in this series:

Forty-Eleven Zillion (#1579)

From A Way with Words | Part of the A Way with Words series | 54:00

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What do you call it when you have no particular evening meal planned and everyone in the family just cobbles together their own dinner? Our listeners have been mulling this question and have lots of names for it: YOYO (as in "You're on your own"), getcheroni, make-your-oni, supper jump-up (as in "If you want something to eat, jump up and get it"), fend for yourself, get it yourself, and CORN (as in "Clean out your refrigerator night"). 
Haddie from Houston, Texas, is curious about the phrase as long as Pat stayed in the Army, which applies to something short-lived. The phrase appears in Kentucky newspapers as early as 1898. No one's sure who Pat was, although perhaps it's the name of someone who went off to fight in the Spanish American War, but quickly returned.
What do you call the cardboard sleeve that goes over a paper cup to keep your hand from getting too hot? A San Antonio, Texas, listener knows that the technical term for this sleeve is zarf, a word that comes from Arabic, originally denoting an ornamental holder for a ceramic coffee or tea cup. But what do you say when you know the technical term for something but you suspect that your listener does not? 
Roz Chast, a cartoonist for The New Yorker magazine, asked her followers on Instagram for their terms for informal fridge-foraging, and says she received more than 1700 responses, including California plate, spa plate, having weirds, eek, mustard with crackers, getcheroni, goblin meal, gishing, phumphering, peewadiddly, picky-poke, screamers, trash panda, rags and bottles, blackout bingo, miff muffer moof, anarchy kitchen, going feral, going Darwin, goo gots, oogle moogle, dirt night, ifits, and mousy-mousy. 
Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a prepositional puzzle in which each answer has a noun on either end of the words on the. For example, if you want to get the average person's views, you might seek out a male adult standing in the road. In that case, whose opinion would you get?
Peter from Easton, Pennsylvania, suspects that he coined the word rapscallion meaning "rascal." Actually, it's been around since at least the 17th century. It derives ultimately from rascal, which was later modified to rascallion and eventually rapscallion.
John, a Navy veteran in San Diego, California, shares some pranks played on new recruits. One 
involves sending a newbie to the boatswain's locker for ten yards of gig line. In military jargon, a gig line is the imaginary line from the middle of one's shirt that goes through the belt buckle and down along the flap of the trouser fly, which should all be lined up with precision. The other is to send someone to the boiler room to ask for a BT punch, which, the hapless errand runner soon discovers, is a solid punch on the arm from the boiler technician.
Why do news releases from agencies such as the FBI, the CIA, the EPA, and the IRS drop the initial the before these initialisms? 
One way to describe someone with a sour countenance: She looked like she was eating vinegar off a fork.
Margaret from Dallas, Texas, wonders about a word that both her grandfather and mother use: cornswoggled. It means "confused." Cornswoggled is a variation of hornswoggled or hornswaggled, which originally meant "to be cheated" or "be deceived." Slang words like these arose in the United States during a period in the 19th century when there was a fad for inventing fanciful words that sounded Latinate, such as confusticate meaning "confuse" or "confound," goshbustified meaning "mightily pleased," and absquatulate, meaning "to take one's leave."
Here's a confusing little ditty that actually makes sense while pointing out some of the oddities of English syntax: How come you are so early of late? You used to be behind before, but now you’re first at last.
Following up on our conversation about words like elderly and senior citizen, a listener in Albuquerque, New Mexico, suggests the term seasoned citizen. A store in San Diego, California, offers customers over 60 a wisdom discount. The transit system in Portland, Oregon, applies the term Honored Citizen to riders over 65 years of age, as well as Medicare beneficiaries, low-income people, or those have a mental or physical disability.
Paul in Arlington, Texas, wonders about his grandmother's response when he used to tell her he needed something. She'd say It needs be the devil meet. It's likely a version of the older phrase He must needs go that the devil drives. In this case, the word needs functions as an adverb meaning “necessarily,” or “unavoidably,” which intensifies the word must. 
Carl in Vancouver, British Columbia, wonders if it's incorrect to use the word meat to denote the edible part of an egg. Meat can indeed be used to denote the edible part of a nut, a fruit, or an egg. In Middle English, the word meat referred to any edible food, and over time, its meaning narrowed. In the 15th century, the term green-mete could be used to mean "vegetables," and white meat sometimes meant "dairy products."
Robin in Yuma, Arizona, asks about the origin of the expression fifty-eleven, which she grew up using to suggest "a large, indeterminate number." The older and more common version is forty-eleven. Such words as fifty-eleven, forty-eleven, umpteen, and zillion are called indefinite hyperbolic numerals. Linguistic anthropologist Stephen Chrisomalis of Wayne State University has researched these terms extensively. In the journal American Speech, he writes that the word zillion first flourished among African-Americans in the 1920s. In French, the actual number trente-six, or "36," can be used in a similar way to denote a large, undetermined amount.
This episode is hosted by Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette.

WNYC's Fishko Files (Series)

Produced by WNYC

Most recent piece in this series:

WNYC's Fishko Files: Sviatoslav Richter

From WNYC | Part of the WNYC's Fishko Files series | 07:12

Saraflat_medium_small Sviatoslav Richter, born March 20 1915, was a pianistic phenomenon, whose broad musical range was backed up by dazzling technique. On the 100th anniversary of his birth, WNYC's Sara Fishko considers his musical gifts as well as his unconventional life.  With guests Michael Kimmelman (NY Times critic, pianist and sometime music writer), pianist Vladimir Viardo, and the late pianist and music critic Harris Goldsmith.

*The excerpts from Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition"  are from Richter's live recording made in Sofia, Bulgaria, on February 25, 1958 

Latin Perspective - Latin Jazz Hour (weekly) (Series)

Produced by Tony Vasquez

Most recent piece in this series:

Latin Jazz Perspective (J-6)

From Tony Vasquez | Part of the Latin Perspective - Latin Jazz Hour (weekly) series | 59:01

10408791_948591901823533_3291516235368767195_n_small A weekly radio show featuring the best in classic and contemporary Latin Jazz Music hosted by 17 - year veteran Tony Vasquez