Weekend Word Wrap

Welcome to the first in a series of Friday afternoon posts meant to hold you through the weekend. Because the blog is quiet on Saturday and Sunday, I figured parting words on Friday should thus be themed around the subject of "words" to a) make up for the lack of them, and b) give you knowledge to drop at the parties you'll be attending (note: As gratitude, I'm presently accepting invitations to such parties"¦).

Subjects of the "Weekend Word Wrap" will include: word-related trivia, scrabble strategy, idioms, use of the vernacular, acrostic fuel, elocution, etymology, anagram tips, acronym curiosities, pet grammar peeves, cryptic puzzle clues, and insight into how to express yourself in as few words as possible—something I am, so far, not doing very well.

This was a valuable lesson I first learned my freshman year of college. Captain of the Long Winded Club, (taking gold medals in all five of the run-on sentence competitions that year), I'd walk into my friend, Matthew's, dorm room and ask the following question:

"Matthew, would you like to go to the Commons and get some pizza?" "“ A serviceable, functional sentence with 16 syllables, right?

Meanwhile, Matthew's roommate, a taciturn fellow who managed to get all the girls with nothing more than a smile and a nod, succeeded in condensing my 16 syllable sentence into 2:

"Dude, za?"

And like that, I learned the significance of brevity.

So without further ado, allow me to get the ball rolling by introducing a couple new words, courtesy of the good folk over at Word Spy:

ringxiety (ring.ZY.uh.tee) n. 1. The confusion experienced by a group of people when a cell phone rings and no one is sure whose phone it is. 2. Mistaking a faint sound for the ringing of one's cell phone. (Citations)

godcasting pp. Podcasting an audio feed with a religious message. Also: Godcasting.
—godcast n.
—godcaster n. (Citations)

freemium adj. Relating to a business model that offers basic services free, but charges a premium for advanced or special features. (Citations)

Bone Broth 101

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


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