The Corpus of American Historical English
is a searchable index of word usage in American printed material from 1810 to 2009. Powerful complex searches allow you to trace the appearance and evolution of words and phrases and even specific grammatical constructions, see trends in frequency, and plenty more. Start with the 5-Minute Tour
posted by Miko
on Jan 7, 2012 -
Are birds’ tweets grammatical? [Scientific American]
But are the rules of grammar unique to human language? Perhaps not, according to a recent study, which showed that songbirds may also communicate using a sophisticated grammar—a feature absent in even our closest relatives, the nonhuman primates. Kentaro Abe and Dai Watanabe of Kyoto University performed a series of experiments
to determine whether Bengalese finches expect the notes of their tunes to follow a certain order.
posted by Fizz
on Nov 3, 2011 -
'Few Americans today can name more than one or two current boxers
, but boxing once stood at the center of American life. It has become a ghost sport, long discredited but still hovering in the nation’s consciousness, refusing to go away and be silent entirely. But there was a time when things were very different. Boxing's history winds a thread through the broader history of the nation.
posted by zarq
on Sep 14, 2011 -
A Tragedy of Errors.
On Feb. 21, 2010, a convoy of vehicles carrying civilians headed down a mountain in central Afghanistan and American eyes in the sky were watching. "The Americans were using some of the most sophisticated tools
in the history of war, technological marvels of surveillance and intelligence gathering that allowed them to see into once-inaccessible corners of the battlefield. But the high-tech wizardry would fail
in its most elemental purpose: to tell the difference between friend and foe." FOIA
of US cockpit and radio conversations and an interactive feature
provide a more in-depth understanding of what happened.
posted by zarq
on Apr 10, 2011 -
Of Another Fashion
: An alternative archive of the not-quite-hidden but too often ignored fashion histories of U.S. women of color.
posted by lalex
on Mar 4, 2011 -
The American Festivals Project
takes you along on two guys' National Geographic-funded
2008 tour of the "small, hidden, and bizarre" festivals
celebrated all over the United States. Through photos, video
, and a blog
, discover Rattlesnake Roundup
, Okie noodling
, an American Fasnacht
, the Idiotarod
, and plenty more
. [more inside]
posted by Miko
on Feb 17, 2011 -
In the 1960's, 70's and 80's, urban decay and high crime rates caused retail chain supermarkets to flee New York City
. (google books link)
Korean immigrants filled the gap with corner grocery stores. For nearly two decades they were ubiquitous -- symbols of the group's ongoing quest to achieve the American Dream. But 30 years later, Where Did The Korean Greengrocers Go? [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Jan 18, 2011 -
There are several conventional explanations for why so much corporate money has flooded into Washington over the last three or four decades. Large corporations have much more market power, which translates into more political power. Politicians have become more corrupt or rapacious. The Republican Party has been ever more effective at raising money. The increasing size and scope of the federal government have required that corporations spend more in order to protect themselves. Corporations have greater need to confront the countervailing power of unions.
All of these explanations are wrong.
by Robert Reich
posted by wittgenstein
on Jun 22, 2010 -
released data this month on the results of the Cash for Clunkers stimulus. Freakonomics
blog commented. Now the Detroit News has offered a state-by-state analysis of how funds were used. Which state was most likely to trade an American car for another American car? You guessed it...
posted by jefficator
on Nov 18, 2009 -
: “I wanted to call my father and tell him that a white man thought my brain was beautiful”.
Sherman Alexie doing his thing in The New Yorker, excerpted from his upcoming book (early review
; interview 1
posted by Non Prosequitur
on Oct 5, 2009 -
Mark C. Taylor
, the chairman of the religion department at Columbia, offers a radical proposal in The New York Times
for the restructuring of the American university system. Two key components of the proposal entail ending tenure and shuttering academic departments—replacing disciplines with problems, and then tackling them with a cooperative and multidisciplinary approach, e.g. The Department of the Future of Water made up of geologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and ethicists. Should we End the University as We Know It
posted by Toekneesan
on Apr 27, 2009 -
Shockingly, a novel about a Nazi officer who abets murder squads, transports Jews to Auschwitz, has sex with his twin sister, possibly kills his parents and then dies rich, old and reflective has caused a trans-Atlantic controversy among literary critics. Published in the original French three years ago, the English translation of Jonathan Littell's The Kindly Ones
hit American bookstores this week. [more inside]
posted by zoomorphic
on Mar 11, 2009 -