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Feb
3rd
Thu
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We are raised, the theory runs, in one of two cultures. In Ask culture, people grow up believing they can ask for anything – a favour, a pay rise– fully realising the answer may be no. In Guess culture, by contrast, you avoid “putting a request into words unless you’re pretty sure the answer will be yes…
Dec
22nd
Wed
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What is the best font for a cover letter?
Dec
7th
Tue
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The final two days at Adelaide, we were assured, was when we would find out what this Australian team was made of. The results are not yet back from the lab, but it seems to be some sort of gooey, soft-centred material that melts rapidly when heat is applied
Nov
8th
Mon
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Of the Boschian hurdy-gurdy, Lamb says: “The design seems to be fundamentally flawed. When you turn the handle, you get a half-hearted buzzing noise, but you can’t get any melodies out of it. It would be difficult to hold because its strings are in the wrong position – and there is even a superfluous string.”
Oct
29th
Fri
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The authoritative Oxford Companion to Food notes that the word “coriander” is said to derive from the Greek word for bedbug, that cilantro aroma “has been compared with the smell of bug-infested bedclothes” and that “Europeans often have difficulty in overcoming their initial aversion to this smell.”
Oct
28th
Thu
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A Queensland man faces criminal charges after allegedly tattooing a 40cm-long penis onto his mate’s back
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"one dark night, usually in September or October, usually after rain and when the moon’s overcast, they get the call. No one knows why. They turn a kind of mottled green-black on top, silver underneath. They head downstream on the flood, and swim 3,000 miles back to the Sargasso Sea. Then they spawn, and die." (Eels being eels, no one has actually seen this last bit happen. It’s scientific conjecture, a theory first elaborated in 1922 by a dedicated Dane, Johannes Schmidt, who devoted 15 years of his life to hunting tiny, almost transparent larvae 7mm long in the mid-Atlantic. And although no one has ever found an adult eel, let alone an egg, in the Sargasso Sea, no one has yet disproved his theory either.)
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America has perhaps hung on to its aitchless herb because it has less class anxiety attached to pronunciations.
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Quite why some words change is unknown. Because, while many are importations from America - schedule turning into skedule is almost certainly a consequence of American films and television - the gradual shift of garage to sound like garridge is less easy to explain.
Oct
27th
Wed
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Can’t you see that Oregon Trail is a microcosm of life? I’m sure you’ve seen my high score on the computer: 8,040 points. Did you know that for years people considered 8,000 points impossible? You don’t get a score like that by playing it safe and taking the banker. You get a score like that by selecting the farmer, purchasing only oxen and ammo, setting a “grueling” pace, and feeding your party “bare-bones” rations.
Oct
25th
Mon
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As for the lions, you can call them any name provided you shout when talking to them and always use the same name. And trained leopards like the one I have for you will wear any clothes you buy for them OK. Please send the money today, Jack
Oct
21st
Thu
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They may find themselves slightly alarmed, therefore, by a sequence of striking graphics in which Johnson demonstrates that the vast majority of major innovations since 1800 have come from outside the free market – from universities and other environments where profit wasn’t the overwhelming motivation.
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Connare later explained why it worked so well: “‘Because it’s sometimes better than Times New Roman, that’s why.”
Oct
18th
Mon
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There is a “subtle art of dealing with a hangover that goes far beyond the traditional British solution of chucking a full English at it”. He bases this improbable claim on PG Wodehouse’s 1949 novel The Mating Season, in which upper-class twit Bertie Wooster identifies six varieties of hangover: the Broken Compass, the Sewing Machine, the Comet, the Atomic, the Cement Mixer and the Gremlin Boogie.
Oct
8th
Fri
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