Many students prepare for the SAT by drilling themselves on esoteric, arcane and recondite words — like esoteric, arcane and recondite. Linguist Geoff Nunberg doesn't discourage these efforts, but he does have a word of caution: memorizing a definition is hardly the same as learning a new word.
NPR's Scott Simon muses on the inclusion of the former tennis superstar in the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. King is a lesbian who was not always open about her sexuality, but both she and American culture have changed since then.
Linguist Geoff Nunberg says he feels a little defensive about choosing "selfie" — a word that wears its ephemerality on its outstretched sleeve — as the word of 2013. But not only was this a year when we couldn't stop posting photos of ourselves online; we couldn't stop talking about it either.
Former Nightline host and NPR contributor Ted Koppel interviewed Nelson Mandela. Koppel says that Mandela is deservedly seen as a great man, but that one of the keys to his exalted status is that for 27 years he was behind bars, hidden from the kind of scrutiny and decision-making that can turn heroes into mere mortals.
There's no question that people have mixed motives when they send out their cards. No doubt they want to put the best face on their own lives, offering an annual report marked more by pride, perhaps, than honesty. Christmas cards may be self-serving and smug, but they're also well-meant attempts to connect.
By the time he died, Nelson Mandela was considered one of the few giants on the world stage. As NPR's Scott Simon remembers, he was not alone in offering his life for freedom, so the acclaim justly heaped upon Mandela is also a credit to those who worked, served and led with him.
Nelson Mandela is the former president of South Africa and famed leader of the anti-apartheid movement. Blogger and professor Sean Jacobs recommends three books that explore the leader's life and legacy in great detail.
Smartphones and the Internet have made it easier than ever for people to share photos of their friends, family, pets and children. But sharing personal photos raises technological and ethical questions. Fresh Air tech contributor Alexis Madrigal recently became a father and has some tips for navigating the world of online photo sharing.
At least 30 Haitian migrants died this week when a packed sailboat capsized off the coast of the Bahamas. NPR's Scott Simon reminds us how some of the first Americans arrived on the continent, risking their lives to sail across rough seas.
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