The Evolution of the English Language
Feb18

The Evolution of the English Language

English is truly the international language of the world. It’s rise to prominence is due in no small part due to the British Empire and now to the all pervading American cultural hegemony. But what about the evolution of the language itself ?

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Will the Earth ever stop spinning?
Feb07

Will the Earth ever stop spinning?

So here’s a question you might idly contemplate as you lie back one summers evening gazing into star bright night sky watching as the planets, the moon and the stars idly move on by, “Will the Earth ever stop spinning ?”

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‘Who dunnit’ – Some Literary Sleuthing (Forensic Stylometry)
Feb04

‘Who dunnit’ – Some Literary Sleuthing (Forensic Stylometry)

In 2013 the Sunday Times ‘outed’ J.K. Rowling as the author of the detective novel “The Cuckoo’s Calling”, published under her nom de plume Robert Galbraith. They did this partly using a scientific technique called ‘forensic stylometry’. In this article we look at this ‘literary sleuthing’ method

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Does subliminal advertising work?
Jan28

Does subliminal advertising work?

There is something rather disturbing about the idea that our actions could be influenced by ideas slipped into our unconscious mind. So does subliminal advertising work?

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Les Misérables – The Guernsey Connection
Jan24

Les Misérables – The Guernsey Connection

Les Miserables. based on Victor Hugo’s novel of the same name, is the world’s longest running musical, now in its 28th year. The film adaptation of the stage show has brought this timeless story to a new audience. Although set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Victor Hugo finished writing his epic tale in Guernsey, an island he loved and upon which he has left an indelible mark. Although raised as a Royalist....

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Where did all the water in the world’s oceans originally come from?
Jan10

Where did all the water in the world’s oceans originally come from?

When you look at pictures of our beautiful plant you can’t help but notice the startling blue of the world’s oceans. They occupy two-thirds of the planets surface but how did they get there ?

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It’s New Year’s Eve, time to sing “Auld lang syne” again. But what does it mean ?
Dec31

It’s New Year’s Eve, time to sing “Auld lang syne” again. But what does it mean ?

When New Year’s Eve rolls around every year it’s inevitably time to Sing “Auld lang syne” again. But what does it mean ?

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Nursery Rhymes – Origins & History III
Dec27

Nursery Rhymes – Origins & History III

Behind every nursery rhyme is a history and story that’s every bit intriguing as the rhyme itself : Three Blind Mice; Mary Mary Quite Contrary; Pease-pudding Hot; Little Miss Muffet; Little Jack Horner

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30 Interesting Factoids about Christmas
Dec24

30 Interesting Factoids about Christmas

Norwegian scientists have hypothesized that Rudolph’s red nose is probably the result of a parasitic infection of his respiratory system. The Germans made the first artificial Christmas trees out of dyed goose feathers All the gifts in the Twelve Days of Christmas would equal 364 gifts. The “true love” mentioned in the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” does not refer to a romantic couple, but the Catholic Church’s code for God. The...

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Christmas Crackers – A History of Tom Smith
Dec20

Christmas Crackers – A History of Tom Smith

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without the Cracker. That extra piece of trimming that helps make up the Christmas table with it’s paper hats, silly (sometimes usefull) gifts and jokes and mottos that we all like to groan at. Here we look at how the man behind this tradition, Tom Smith, developed them.

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The Star of Bethlehem – The Evidence
Dec17

The Star of Bethlehem – The Evidence

There are many parts to the nativity story : Shepherds, Angels,Wise men & of course the star. That last part about the Star must be made up surely? … maybe not ! In this article we look at some surprising evidence.

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Good King Wenceslas – The Story behind the Carol
Dec13

Good King Wenceslas – The Story behind the Carol

Good King Wenceslas is more than just a popular, jaunty Christmas Carol, it encompasses a true story of a man who was made a saint by the Catholic Church.

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We speak the language of Caesar everyday … and we don’t even know it – Everyday Latin Phrases
Nov29

We speak the language of Caesar everyday … and we don’t even know it – Everyday Latin Phrases

A motley combination of Anglo-Saxon, Latin, and Germanic dialects, the English language (more or less as we know it) coalesced between the 9th and 13th centuries. However, despite the passage of time, there are many common Latin phrases and abbreviations that have survived and are still in use in everyday language, even after a couple of thousand years.

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You’ve got (Extraordinary) Mail – Posting yourself to Freedom
Nov12

You’ve got (Extraordinary) Mail – Posting yourself to Freedom

We’ve all heard stories of refugees stowing away to get to freedom but here is a truly inspirational story published over 150 years ago in the London Times : A fugitive slave who sent himself to freedom in the post !

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Where Did Some of the World’s Currency Symbols Come From, Like the $ and £ ?
Oct22

Where Did Some of the World’s Currency Symbols Come From, Like the $ and £ ?

The key currency symbols of the World’s biggest currencies are instantly recognizable. In the this article we look at the etymology of some of these symbols.

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