CLOSE

Contest: What's the good word?

Stephen Colbert continues his reign as King of Geeks this week; yesterday he took the title for coining the top television buzzwords of the year: "truthiness" and "wikiality." We agree with Gawker about the general lame-itude of the proceedings ("Katie?" "Katrina?" last we checked, these were first names, not important-sounding technical words used to impress laymen), but we do like funny words, and we do like contests. So in that spirit, and also in David's spirit, this week for our contest we're asking you to coin a new word. The rules:

Use it in a sentence. A real one, too, not "Mynewword is the-meaning-of-mynewword."

Be relevant. Entries that relate to someone/something in the news will fare best.

Be funny. And if we have to explain this one, you'll probably have to work a little harder than most.

You know the drill: Leave your answer in the comments or email us at tips-at-mentalfloss.com. The winner gets our brand-new Pluto-themed t-shirt. Also, we (and by "we" I mean "I") will encourage the winning word's entry into the general lexicon by using it once a day, all next week, right here on this blog.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
arrow
video
Bone Broth 101
5669938080001

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

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
science
Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
iStock
iStock

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).

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios