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Short Takes

Michael Shermer says science is a verb; Language Log disagrees: “this is not just sick but dead on arrival.” Verbing weirds langage, as Conversational Reading notes (referencing a little comic strip by that Kenyon alumnus, Bill Watterson).

Sale dates are more like guidelines, anyway (via fade theory).

Challenged books at an all-time low; J.D. Salinger still corrupting the youth.

Michel Gondry discusses love, sex, and his latest film.

I had never heard of Phyllis Wheatley before now (if you hadn’t, either, one of her poems is here) but I don’t feel too badly about it, what with my generation being illiterate and all.

Today’s how-to guide: The definitive edition of how to pronounce weird author names. How to handle suspected plagiarism of your work (via Booksquare). How to write a novel in 100 days or less (just in time for you to memorize before NaNoWriMo)–and here, some notes on that first novel. Oh, and those Left Behind books? Anti-novels (via AL Daily).

Universities, Frank Kermode says, “are being driven by madmen”. And education in general “is being run by lunatics.”

Noam Chomsky at The Independent. Shockingly few questions are aimed at his field of expertise–linguistics, folks. Yes, that’s right, Chomsky is a linguist.

Naguib Mahfouz, who became the first Arab writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novels depicting Egyptian life in his beloved corner of ancient Cairo, died Wednesday, his doctor said. He was 94.