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What I Learned From Self-Publishing My Book

In 2006, I came up with (what I felt was) a brilliant idea for a novel. After letting the idea swim in my head for a few years, I finally got the chutzpah to write (and finish) it. After countless read-throughs and edits, I declared my book done and facetiously exclaimed: "Time to get money!"<p>Well, …

5 Common Mental Errors That Sway You From Making Good Decisions

I like to think of myself as a rational person, but I’m not one. The good news is it’s not just me — or you. We are all irrational.For a long time, …

Critical Thinking

Word up: The secret story of Scrabble

Obama and the British Royal Family play it, and its fans are some of the world’s most devoted. So why did the word game almost fail to take off? Hephzibah Anderson has the answer.<p>Fancy a game of Lexiko? Or how about Alph? Appropriately enough for a word game, it was only when Scrabble acquired the …

Board Games

How can I stop someone snoring?

Snoring can ruin both your relationship and your health. But little is known about how to stop it. Does one team of scientists finally have an effective cure?<p>I’ve been told I snore. Apparently it’s a quiet, nasal, snuffly sound, although I’m in denial, because I’ve never heard it. But those …

Learn these “non-words” to communicate everywhere in the world

There are some words that are, well, <i>not words</i>. Linguists have a lot of names for them, none especially clear-cut: interjections, exclamations, non-lexical conversational sounds. (For native speakers of American English, think “hmm,” “uh-huh,” et al.)<p>Interjection is the favored umbrella term. In …

Language

The mind-bending effects of foreign accent syndrome

A little-known condition causes people to adopt a new accent – and lose a part of their identity in the process, finds David Robson.<p>Julie Matthias’s family have a game they sometimes like to play after she comes home, disappointed, from another doctor’s appointment. During dinner, they pick a …

Language

A history of the world in funny puns

Artists

7 Science-Backed Methods To Get You Out Of Your Head

People get stuck in their heads all the time – some of us more than others. Although it’s lovely to ponder life and inquisite about yourself, the problem is that the majority of our thoughts are not so upbeat. When we’re in mind-wandering mode (a.k.a., “in your head”), thoughts usually turn to what …

Science can do it, but is it right for a 65-year-old mum of 13 to have quads?

What if it becomes possible to carry a baby to term at 70, 75 or 80? Already some argue carrying many babies to term poses dangers for both mother and foetuses<p>Annegret Raunigk, a German woman, is at the age of 65 to give birth to quadruplets this summer. The news has elicited oratorios of comment: …

Why sex isn't key to a happy marriage

As Sir Michael Holroyd - husband of novelist Dame Margaret Drabble - admits to having 'romantic relationship without sex' with a theatre critic, Rowan Pelling says there is something beautiful about a marriage that moves beyond jealousy<p>A year or so ago, <b>I was wandering round the V&A</b> when I found a …

Literature