"Gherkin" — I like saying it. It's vaguely Indian sounding. "Kerfuffle." That's just fun, with so many F's packed into three syllables. "Diphthong" is sly because it's hiding a silent H, the H right after the P; it's there, but you wouldn't know it. And "hornswoggle?" Just hearing it, I'm on the deck of a frigate, there are seagulls soaring above, and someone is playing a jig.
One of these four words, the "Final Four" in Ted McCagg's "Best Word Ever" contest, became a champion this week.
President Obama named a new national monument on Friday: Chimney Rock in southwestern Colorado. With two sandstone spires soaring from a mesa, not only is Chimney Rock a spectacular place; it also provides a fascinating glimpse into the ancient people who lived in that region more than 1,000 years ago.
The Space Shuttle Endeavour landed in the Mojave Desert today. In truth, tomorrow will be the spectacular day, when it flies across the California coast, and across the landmarks of San Francisco and Los Angeles, where it will find its new, permanent home at the California Science Center.
Still, the retired shuttle had a poignant day today, taking off from Houston, flying low through Austin and making a special flyover in Tucson, Arizona in honor of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whose husband Mark Kelly was in command during its last mission in May 2011.
When we think about morality, many of us think about religion or what our parents taught us when we were young. Those influences are powerful, but many scientists now think of the brain as a more basic source for our moral instincts.