Boing Boing 

WWII slang from the front

As seen in War Slang: American Fighting Words & Phrases Since the Civil War: "Royal Order of Whale Bangers. An 'exclusive' club open only to airmen who have mistakenly dropped depth charges on whales, supposing them to be enemy submarines."

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The strange stories behind country-code top-level domains


James Bridle writes, "A couple of months ago I released a browser extension - Citizen Ex - which tracks your browsing (entirely privately) in order to show you your "Algorithmic Citizenship" - where your browsing actually goes, and what this means for your rights."

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A fucking interesting history of swearing on television!

I distinctly remember my glee as an 8-year-old watching Hawkeye say "Son of a bitch" on M*A*S*H in 1979, the first time that phrase was used on US television.

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Naomi Wolf wants young women to stop speaking with "vocal fry"

vocal-fry

"Vocal fry" is term used to describe the creaky sound some people make at the end of an utterance (especially by people from Southern California, and extra-especially by young women from Southern California).

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Man wins French Scrabble championship but doesn't speak French

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Nigel Richards of Christchurch, New Zealand won the French-language Scrabble world championship yet he doesn't actually speak the language. Richards, a former US and World Scrabble Champ simply studied the dictionary for a couple months.

"He doesn't speak French at all, he just learnt the words. He won't know what they mean, wouldn't be able to carry out a conversation in French I wouldn't think," said Richards' friend Liz Fagerlund, former president of the New Zealand Scrabble Association. "He does have a reputation for being the best Scrabble player ever and they know about him already, but they probably didn't necessarily expect him to go in for the first time and beat them at their own game."

(NZ Herald)

The “There Their and They're” Song, by Jonathan Mann

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Two years ago today, Jonathan “Song A Day” Mann published this song. It's as timely as ever.

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Does this McDonald's Minions toy say "What the fuck?"

Some parents are complaining that a Minions talking toy available at McDonald's sounds like it says "What the fuck!" Gotta love audio pareidolia.

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Calvin and Markov: text-chaining new, weird computer humor


Josh Millard's Calvin and Markov uses a small perl script to mine transcripts of Calvin and Hobbes strips using Markov chains to make new, weird, computer humor.

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Scalia insult-generator


Justice Antonin Scalia's intemperate dissenting opinion in the Supreme Court's landmark marriage equality case included some epic old dude grumpery, including the phrases "pure applesauce" and "jiggery-pokery."

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The evolution of the word 'dude'

"Dude" was the "hipster" of the 1880s.

Why people don't like the word "moist"

When I was younger, I had a friend who frequently expressed her hatred for the word "moist." It wasn't until the Internet that I understood this to be a commonly-despised word.

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Heavy Metal band-name generator


The internet’s official heavy metal band name generator: pretty good names, with a brilliant presentation. What webfonts are for! (Thanks, Eirik!)

Randall "XKCD" Munroe's next book: THING EXPLAINER


Coming this November (pre-order here), Thing Explainer expands the premise of Up Goer Five, Munroe's blueprint of the Saturn Five rocket that restricted its vocabulary to the thousand most common English words.

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Leetspeak, circa 1901


The telegraph operators of the early 20th century had a rich vocabulary of wrist-saving abbreviations they used among themselves: "Is tt exa tr et?" ("Is that extra there yet?")

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English is weird


Put the word "only" between any two words of this sentence: "She told him that she loved him."

Clean Reader is a free speech issue


My latest Guardian column, Allow Clean Reader to swap 'bad' words in books – it's a matter of free speech expands on last week's editorial about the controversial ebook reader, which lets readers mangle the books they read by programatically swapping swear-words for milder alternatives.

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