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Frak is a Shibboleth!

127 years ago today the Oxford English Dictionary published its first volume (A to ANT), so I thought I’d pay tribute with the story of how I recently learned the word “shibboleth.”
While rubbing elbows with fancy people at the recent OED re-launch party, I had the chance to meet contributors Matt Kohl and Katherine Connor Martin. Naturally the topic of conversation came to words, and I brought up one I had been using a lot lately: frak (the fictional version of “fuck” on Battlestar Galactica). I explained that I just started watching the show (better late than never, no?) and had been testing “frak” out in conversation to pick up other fans. Matt said, oh that’s a “shibboleth.”

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Because We all Share the Sledding Instinct

After a nice little afternoon in Central Park yesterday, I consulted the AIA Guide to New York City to read up on the history of the 840 acre playground (which, I learned, is larger than Monaco). I share with you now my gleanings on how the park came to be the funky hybrid of leisure and active sport it is today, as well as my own thoughts on why parks prove we all really aren’t that different.

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Why the Trenta?

So, why did we launch the Trenta? We listened to you,” says Starbucks. Really?
Looking for more answers, I asked my friend Greg Dietrich for his thoughts on the matter. Greg works at Paragon Coffee Trading, which means he imports coffee and collaborates with members of the New York commodities coffee trade. Oh and he gets to roast beans and cup all day (see picture below on right). Below is a conversation (via Gmail’s instant messaging service) we had about the Bucks’ latest creation.

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Ep. 2 – GEEKS

In the second episode of The Oxford Comment, Lauren and Michelle celebrate geekdom. They interview a Jeopardy champion, talk sex & attraction with a cockatoo, discover what makes an underdog a hero, and “geek out” with some locals.

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Put THIS in your iPod. (Or Zune…whatever.)

Hey everyone! We’re excited to announce that it has finally launched – we now have a podcast! It’s called The Oxford Comment (get it?) and each episode we’ll talk to people smarter than us in hopes that it rubs off. Our loyal subscribers got a sneak peek a few days ago, but now The Oxford Comment is available to all. (Although, if you’re not using our RSS feeds…what’s wrong with you?) There are several ways to get this podcast…

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Missing sleep can make you fat, sad, and stupid

A new school year is about to start, and we all know how sleep-deprived students can be. Parents and teachers may sound like broken records, but Dr. Rosalind Cartwright can tell you that good sleeping habits are nothing to roll your eyes at.

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Urban Renewal from NYC to Amsterdam: A Podcast

The forces of real estate development and rebranding campaigns are transforming urban landscapes around the world─and Sharon Zukin has seen much of it first hand. In the following podcast she explains what happens to the people when a city gains financial capital or decides to change its image. Zukin teaches sociology at Brooklyn College and the City University Graduate Center, and is author of this year’s Naked City: The Death and Life of Authentic Urban Places.

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Here’s Looking at You, New York

This month Oxford celebrated the publication of the newest edition of the landmark AIA Guide to New York City with a launch party in the largest architectural exhibit in the world─The Panorama of the City of New York at the Queens Museum of Art. Where can you find an apartment for $50 in New York City? The ego of Robert Moses? All is revealed in our Panorama Podcast featuring QMA Executive Director Tom Finkelpearl and some CUNY students who were enjoying the view at the party.

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Summer Read Throwback: Two Classics for Your List

Don’t know what to read this summer? Swore off ye olde canon after high school? Associate Editor Andrew Herrmann insists that literary classics are a necessary foundation for any pop cultural enthusiast,and he has just the two for us: a bawdy ancient novel and a sweeping swashbuckling adventure. (Don’t worry, no plot spoilers here!)

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Cleopatra Podcast Series: Day 3

Cleopatra’s sexual liaisons have made her famous for being the femme fatale of classical antiquity and a heroine in the greatest love affair of all time. In Cleopatra: A Biography historian, archaeologist, and classical scholar Duane Roller aims to clear up the infamous queen’s identity—from the propaganda in the Roman Republic all the way to her representations in film today. And what, according to Roller, do the cold hard facts reveal? A pragmatic leader trying to save her kingdom as the reality of a full blown empire loomed ahead.

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