Jonathan Dent offers a fascinating look at one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s most challenging assignments for the Oxford English Dictionary. Apparently as a young philologist, Tolkien was tasked with tracing the etymology of “walrus” – a tricky word “of disputed origin that had all but entirely replaced the earlier English name morse since its first appearance in English in the late 1600s.”
Cat’s Cradle‘s Felix Hoenikker would be so proud: Stanford scientists have found a way to make a dense, extraterrestrial ice called Ice VII (via The Rumpus). See also: “2 B R 0 2 B”, a “lost” Vonnegut story that first appeared in the sci-fi journal Worlds of If in January 1962.
For every reader who grew up enamored with LeVar Burton‘s now-cancelled PBS show, Reading Rainbow, there’s fresh hope. A Kickstarter campaign to create a spin-off, web-based version of Reading Rainbow that aims to spread literacy to children in under-served schools was launched yesterday and has already received a significant portion of its funding goal. While there are some concerns about the project, the nostalgia factor is incredibly strong, and who doesn’t want to spread the love of reading to children?