Re: Best Reply All Episodes

reply all
Conor: Will, how have we been writing this blog for a month and a half without doing a Reply All article? Will: That’s a great question. A group of geeks who find nerdy things to talk about and share them with an internet-savvy audience? We should have murals of PJ and Alex in our bedrooms. […]Read This

Early Tracks [2]: The Hidden Track

The crisp cold of a St. Louis winter. The thin feeling of my khaki pants against the car seat. The white of half a foot of snow. And a short harmony breathed over the last folksy strums of an acoustic guitar. Whether or not I experienced any of these things at the same time, I […]Read This

Breaking the game is fun

I cannot say I am remotely scared by anything that happens in this game now. But the pressure to be perfect…                                                                                                                         —Markiplier Between the ages of four and six, there’s a shift in the way most children play games, psychologist Alison Gopnik argues in Radiolab’s “Games” episode. Four-year-olds tend to prefer open-ended, creative games (e.g. […]Read This

On Our Turntable: “Francis Forever,” Mitski

Ever since I heard Marceline cover this song in Adventure Time‘s most recent episode, “The Music Hole,” I’ve been obsessed. The melody is simple—hypnotically so—as are the lyrics. Yet it’s never boring. I still feel deflated every time “Where you don’t see me” comes around, and I still get a rush of energy every time […]Read This

Early Tracks [1]: Beginning in Earnest

“Well, what do you think?” my dad asked when it was over, looking straight at me, his glee seeping into the question and causing his final syllables to shoot up in pitch. I was in seventh grade, it was my dad’s birthday, and my mom had advised me to get him Jackson Browne’s new live […]Read This

Inglish Speling Iz Todale Weerd

On the necessity of a spelling system that isn’t just a 1:1 transcription of speech sounds:

“For the sake of argument, we can try to imagine what a purely phonetic writing system would look like—one that Voltaire might have considered ideal. When we speak, we alter the pronunciation of words as a function of the sounds that surround them. It would be disastrous if spelling were to reflect the obtuse linguistic phenomena of so-called coarticulation, assimilation, and resyllabification, of which most speakers are usually unaware. A matter of context would end up having the same word spelled differently. Should we, for instance, use distinct marks for the various pronunciations of plurals? Should we spell “cap driver” under the pretext that the sound b, when followed by a d, tends to be pronounced like a p? At one extreme, should we factor in the speaker’s accent? (“Do you take me vor a shicken?”). This would be apsurd (yes, we do pronounce this word with a p sound). The prime goal of writing is to transmit meaning as efficiently as possible. Any servile transcription of sounds would detract from this aim.”

~Stanislas Dehaene, Reading in the Brain: The Science and Evolution of a Human Invention, emphasis added

To see you’re really only very small

This is Sam Herring—he’s got Marlon Brando’s face, a Tasmanian Devil’s roar, a stagehand’s attire, and Joseph Gordon Levitt’s eyebrows: But those dance moves are all his own. This performance was somewhat of a viral sensation for Future Islands two years ago when they made their TV debut on Letterman. Later that year, Pitchfork named […]Read This