From DoubleX, Christine Kenneally, author of The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, talks to Katherine Russell Rich, author of Dreaming in Hindi: Coming Awake in Another Language (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4). Can computers decipher a 5,000-year-old language? Helping to uncover the secrets of the inscribed symbols of the Indus. Notions of grammatical correctness change; if they did not, the outraged e-mails would say: "Thou art wrong". Webster’s Third is the most controversial dictionary in the English language. A review of The Routledge Dictionary of Modern American Slang and Unconventional English. The Dictionary of American Regional English tracks the funny things we say. Two new editions of standard dictionaries try to help in the endless process of keeping German and Germans up to date. A look at the continuing appeal of Esperanto, designed to foster harmony and coexistence even in a troubled part of the world. An interview with Arika Okrent, author of In the Land of Invented Languages: Esperanto Rock Stars, Klingon Poets, Loglan Lovers, and the Mad Dreamers Who Tried to Build A Perfect Language. For every invented language you might have heard of, there are hundreds of others that have never been spoken by anyone — and never will.

From Open Source, Ronald Prinn is talking about what was arguably the biggest little news story on earth so far this year. Sometimes, something kills nearly all life on the entire planet — but is there a regular cycle to this creation and destruction of Earth’s biodiversity? Speechless: An article on Dilbert creator Scott Adams' struggle to regain his voice. The Ultimate Obama Insider: Valerie Jarrett is one of the president’s most influential advisers — so what does she do, exactly? From TNR, the third Obama: What does Valerie Jarrett do? Michelle Cottle investigates; do progressives have any power over the Obama administration? Ed Kilgore wants to know; and make them pay: If we want to reform health care, we shouldn't be afraid to tax the rich. Fiscally conservative Democrats, not Republicans, are Obama's real obstacle on the road to healthcare reform. Are professional lobbyists loyal partisans? Gregory Koger and Jennifer Nicoll Victor find out. Stephen Walt on the Ten Commandments for ambitious policy wonks and on what Americans can learn from the British Empire. From The Faster Times, “Joe” the “Plumber” Has “Written” a “Book”. Who knew that the public library was such a hot topic? Joggers owe it all to one man who died a quarter of a century ago, Jim Fixx.

From Slate, Tim Egan, Michael Kinsley, Michael Newman, Emily Yoffe and others on a news junkie smackdown. An interview with Slate's Jacob Weisberg on the changing media landscape. Lost in cyberspace: The peculiar challenges of archiving newspapers in the Information Age. Journalism on sale: As workers in an ailing industry look for new ways to peddle their skills, piecework paid for directly by the public becomes an option. All the news that's free to print: Is charity the newspaper industry's last, best hope? The rebirth of news: The internet is killing newspapers and giving birth to a new sort of news business. Death of the Newspaperman: Don’t blame the Internet, the industry’s decline is self-inflicted. From Miller-McCune, here's a primer on media in the 21st century (and part 2). How much of a political crusader was Walter Cronkite? Todd Gitlin investigates (and more and more and more). A J-Schooler makes a name for himself: C.W. Anderson dedicated his recently-completed journalism dissertation to covering, well, journalism. How the "celebrity-journalist" myth ruined reporting: Too many people thought they might be Woodward & Bernstein; too few recognized how unglamorous the industry really is. Eric Alterman on conflicts of interest by the wealthy and for the wealthy.

From TED, Nina Jablonski breaks the illusion of skin color. From Minding the Campus, John McWhorter on what Black Studies can do. A review of The Browning of America and the Evasion of Social Justice by Ronald Sundstrom. Brian Gilmore reviews How Race Survived U.S. History: From Settlement and Slavery to the Obama Phenomenon by David Roediger and What Blood Won’t Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America by Ariela Gross. Does the stress of living in a white-dominated society make African Americans get sick and die younger than their white counterparts? Research suggests brains respond less strongly to the pain of strangers whose ethnicity is different. What’s wrong with ethnic profiling? From The Root, Editor-in-Chief Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks about his arrest and the outrage of racial profiling in America (and more); and what do you call a black man with a PhD? James Hannaham on the good news about the Henry Louis Gates fiasco. Richard Thompson Ford on why the arrest is about neither racial profiling nor playing the race card (and more). Why Gates is right — and we're not post-racial until he's wrong — but Gates forgot what black parents have always told their children (and more). Stanley Crouch on an outrageous case that shows that the old-boys network is color-blind.