Podcasting Call

Let me tell you about a few good podcasts. Then, if you're so inclined, suggest one of your favorites in the comments section below.

This Week in The Economist. Go back and listen to last week's episode, if only to hear a distinguished British gentleman discussing Anna Nicole's "celebrated, American breasts, engineered by silicon to be as broad and bountiful as the prairie."

Grammar Girl. Because we as a society don't talk enough about punctuation. A recent episode was all about semicolons; I'm almost afraid to use one here.

60-Second Science. Scientific American serves bite-sized helpings of science and technology news. I now know that you can tell a good surgeon by his Madden '07 prowess. Also, napping at work may not be good for your career, but it's great for your health.
tpodcasts.gifOnly in New York. Sam Roberts, metro reporter for The New York Times, tells stories you've probably never heard about the city. I recommend several NYT podcasts "“ Front Page, Most Emailed, Book Review, The Ethicist, and all the op-ed columns (those are subscription only). I almost cut The Times out of this list after they failed to deliver my Saturday paper for the fourth time in seven weeks. But Sam Roberts is not to blame.

Fire off your suggestions.

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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