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Praxis's ChinesePod

Any sinophiles in the blog? If so, you're going to love these free ChinesePod podcasts put out by a new language teaching company called Praxis. I know what you're thinking, it sounds like one of those made-up evil company names usually reserved for action movies starring Tom Cruise or Matt Damon: "There's a mole working for Praxis and we've got to figure out who, and quick!"

But trust me when I tell you that over 250,000 people around the world are tuning in regularly to get their fill of practical, high frequency Mandarin dialogs. A good chunk of those people are also paying for the premium service, which allows you to Skype chat with teachers.

Pretty cool to think that all you need is a broadband connection to bone up on your Chinese. And Praxis isn't content with just Chinese, they've also got a second service running now called SpanishSense and will soon expand into other languages, as well.

Meanwhile, the only thing I know how to say in Chinese is ni hao. If you know others, feel free to drop some other important phrases in the comments for the sino-curious.

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How to Say Merry Christmas in 26 Different Languages
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“Merry Christmas” is a special greeting in English, since it’s the only occasion we say “merry” instead of “happy.” How do other languages spread yuletide cheer? Ampersand Travel asked people all over the world to send in videos of themselves wishing people a “Merry Christmas” in their own language, and while the audio quality is not first-rate, it’s a fun holiday-themed language lesson.

Feel free to surprise your friends and family this year with your new repertoire of foreign-language greetings.

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How Often Is 'Once in a Blue Moon'? Let Neil deGrasse Tyson Explain
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From “lit” to “I can’t even,” lots of colloquialisms make no sense. But not all confusing phrases stem from Millennial mouths. Take, for example, “once in a blue moon”—an expression you’ve likely heard uttered by teachers, parents, newscasters, and even scientists. This term is often used to describe a rare phenomenon—but why?

Even StarTalk Radio host Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn’t know for sure. “I have no idea why a blue moon is called a blue moon,” he tells Mashable. “There is nothing blue about it at all.”

A blue moon is the second full moon to appear in a single calendar month. Astronomy dictates that two full moons can technically occur in one month, so long as the first moon rises early in the month and the second appears around the 30th or 31st. This type of phenomenon occurs every couple years or so. So taken literally, “Once in a blue moon” must mean "every few years"—even if the term itself is often used to describe something that’s even more rare.

[h/t Mashable]

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