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Presidents Use Bully Pulpit To Shape American Language In 'Words'

In Words From the White House, linguist Paul Dickson looks at the ways presidents have used the office to create and shape American language. Presidents, Dickson says, must be eloquent and spontaneous, but they also need to communicate in a way that gives listeners something to latch onto.
NPR

What's In A Name?

You will be given the first names of two famous people, past or present. The first person's last name, when you drop the initial letter, becomes the second person's last name. For example, given "Harold" and "Kingsley," the answer would be "Harold Ramis" and "Kingsley Amis."
NPR

'All We Know': Three Remarkable But Forgotten Lives

Just nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Lisa Cohen's biography All We Know: Three Lives follows the stories of three women of the early 20th century. "I wanted to write a book that wasn't just about one great person," Cohen says, "but about a kind of collectivity."
NPR

U.K. Asks Students To Learn Poetry 'By Heart,' Not By Rote

Poetry By Heart is a new program in which students memorize two of 130 poems and recite them in a contest. Poet Jean Sprackland, who helped compile the list, says memorizing a poem makes it "something that lives with you forever."
NPR

Inaugural Balls Where Food Isn't An Afterthought

Gearing up for inaugural weekend balls often means getting ready to stand in lots of lines for some not-so-awesome food. But if you want to say goodbye to the rubber chicken brigade, these foodcentric inaugural balls might be a better bet.
NPR

Melinda Gates Plays Not My Job

The co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation plays a game called "But I meant well, your Majesty." Three questions about gifts given to Queen Elizabeth II.
NPR

Edward Tufte Wants You to See Better

Data scientist Edward Tufte (dubbed the "Galileo of graphics" by BusinessWeek) pioneered the field of data visualization. Tufte discusses what he calls "forever knowledge," and his latest projects: sculpting Richard Feynman's diagrams, and helping people "see without words."
NPR

Rawn James: The Integration of the U.S. Military

In his new book, The Double V, the author argues that to understand race in America one must understand the history of African-Americans in the military. While the turning point came between WWI and WWII, the struggle began with the American Revolution.
NPR

Inauguration Mashup: The Speech In 11 Easy Steps

Talk about new stuff, and gripe just a little: A handy video guide gives indispensable advice to inaugural speakers.
NPR

'Mama': A Good Old-Fashioned Horror Movie

In an age of werewolves, hormonal vampires and endless sequels, horror movies have lost some edge. But Mama, starring Jessica Chastain, is an entertaining step in the right — which is to say backward — direction.

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