What's the Difference Between the Beach and the Shore?

You could say one is specific to New Jersey—and colloquially, that would be correct. But technically, people in New Jersey can go to the beach, and there are shores even outside the Garden State.

"Shore" is a generic term for the place where land meets water. Any land that directly borders a big wet area is a shore—be it sandy, rocky or cliff-like. The "beach," meanwhile, refers to the area at or along the shore that is characterized by sand or small pebbles conducive to lounging and castle-building. When it comes to summer vacations along the Atlantic or Pacific, these are often interchangable, but that's not always the case: Large rivers have shores and sandbars are beaches.

So when New Jerseyans head "down the shore," that is true, but they're probably more interested in the beach.

Oh, and a coast is a type of shore that borders only oceans—not other bodies of water.

A Very Brief History of Chamber Pots

Some of the oldest chamber pots found by archeologists have been discovered in ancient Greece, but portable toilets have come a long way since then. Whether referred to as "the Jordan" (possibly a reference to the river), "Oliver's Skull" (maybe a nod to Oliver Cromwell's perambulating cranium), or "the Looking Glass" (because doctors would examine urine for diagnosis), they were an essential fact of life in houses and on the road for centuries. In this video from the Wellcome Collection, Visitor Experience Assistant Rob Bidder discusses two 19th century chamber pots in the museum while offering a brief survey of the use of chamber pots in Britain (including why they were particularly useful in wartime).

A Tour of the New York Academy of Medicine's Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room at the New York Academy of Medicine documents the evolution of our medical knowledge. Its books and artifacts are as bizarre as they are fascinating. Read more here.


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