Josh Westbury

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Talking Heads

A five-year-old recently asked me, "Who invented words?" It is sobering how impotent we linguists are in the face of that question. Because language …

Canadian Politics
Language

Humans and Neanderthals had sex. But was it for love? - Vox

An investigation.<p>In 1911, Marcellin Boule, a French paleontologist, published the first scientific description of the Neanderthal species. And let’s just say it didn’t have a lot of sex appeal.<p>The skeleton in Boule’s volume, dubbed the "Old Man of La Chapelle," was a wretched creature: a …

University of Washington

The bonfire of Noam Chomsky: journalist Tom Wolfe targets the acclaimed linguist

Does he get the linguistics right? That’s the question many may expect a linguist to answer about Tom Wolfe’s <i>The Kingdom of Speech</i>, a chronicle in high Wolfean about — to put it narrowly <i>—</i> a debate between linguists about sentence structure.<p>Sound dull? On one level, it’s an intermural academic …

Language in the Mind

Emojis enable us to better express tone of voice and body language. In our brave new digital world, we’re all, or nearly all, speaking Emoji now.<p>The …

Language

Evidence Rebuts Chomsky's Theory of Language Learning

The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute …

Linguistics

Diachronic and functional explanations of typological universals @ SLE2016

The last two days I attended the workshop "Diachronic and functional explanations of typological universals" at the 49th Annual Meeting of the …

What the Bleep Does the Bible Say About Profanity?

Professional Writing and the Rise of the Amateur

Last night, I had the pleasure of giving a guest lecture at Trinity University in San Antonio. While I speak at various screenwriter-oriented …

Why Do We Judge Parents For Putting Kids At Perceived — But Unreal — Risk?

Many parents who grew up playing outdoors with friends, walking alone to the park or to school, and enjoying other moments of independent play are now raising children in a world with very different norms.<p>In the United States today, leaving children unsupervised is grounds for moral outrage and can …

Psychology

In Religious Communities

This page has links to materials that may be useful for people who want to discuss moral psychology with their congregation or religious community.<p><b>I)</b> …

This Weird Galaxy Is 99.99 Percent Dark Matter

Astronomers have discovered a galaxy as big as the Milky Way that consists almost entirely of dark matter, a mysterious and invisible substance that …

Dark Matter
Linguistics

How to Choose Sleeping Bags for Backpacking

This article helps you choose the best sleeping bag for backpacking, so you stay warm and comfortable despite the chill (or perhaps bitter cold) of a …

How to Deal With Blisters on the Trail

Consider your average ripe peach. Press your thumb against the juicy fruit and gently move it back and forth. What happens? The skin moves under your …

Prof. Hike: Leave Blisters in the Dust

Blisters are the most common on-trail injury, but blisters are also easy to prevent.<p>19<p>SHARES<p>If <i>Backpacker</i> asked its readers to list the top problems …

Eliot Weinberger · They could have picked...

The primary voters could have picked Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, once the third-ranking Republican in the Senate, and, with …

Ben Carson

Stranger Things, Netflix’s scary new drama, is only made stronger by its many flaws

There’s plenty to complain about, but who cares when a show is this entertaining and watchable?<p>What I’m about to say is going to sound like a bad review of Netflix’s new horror drama <i>Stranger Things</i>, whose eight-episode first season follows the adventures of kids in and around a small town where …

The History of Modern Linguistics

The modern field of linguistics dates from the beginning of the 19th century. While ancient India and Greece had a remarkable grammatical tradition, …

Homeless in Seattle: The roots of a crisis

July 26, 2016<p><i>This is the first in a three-part series about the region’s homelessness crisis. Read part two here.</i><p>In the middle of the night on March …

A Family-Friendly Policy That’s Friendliest to Male Professors

The underrepresentation of women among the senior ranks of scholars has led dozens of universities to adopt family-friendly employment policies. But a recent study of economists in the United States finds that some of these gender-neutral policies have had an unintended consequence: They have …

Gender-Neutral

Advice for authoring a PhD or academic book – Medium

What the Heck is JavaScript? | Highbrow

Besides being awesome, JavaScript is a programming language! What does that mean? It means you can tell the computer what to do, especially when …

Ethical Meat vs. Meat Hype: A Look at "All Natural", "Grass-Fed" and Other Half-Truths

<b>Total post read time: 6 minutes.</b><p>I have become fascinated by meat in the last several months, after both experimenting with vegetarianism and tracking …

Fried eggs, with a genius little upgrade.

<i>This post originally appeared on</i> <b>Food52</b><i>.</i><p>You've probably heard by now about the joys of frying your eggs in a sloshy pan of a little too much olive …

Eggs