The Most Funded App Campaign in Kickstarter History, Fluent Forever

Based on the bestselling 2014 book by Gabriel Wyner, the forthcoming Fluent Forever app (which has amassed a record-setting $507,495, or more than double its goal, and is still funding) approaches language lessons differently than everyone else. First, it trains users in proper pronunciation. Then it proceeds to teach vocabulary and grammar with pictures and example sentences, rather than with translations. It’s goal really is …

Translating Human Languages into Elephant Gestures

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Thanks to the “Hello in Elephant” website, launched back in August, it’s very easy to translate human words—and emotions—to elephant gestures. A project developed by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and ElephantVoices, the site also contains a service that allows visitors to send these gesture videos to loved ones. It’s altogether remarkable, educational and beautiful. The real goal, however, is to raise awareness of elephant …

Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Food photography, ballroom dancing, the sun's actual size and more in our look at the web

1. The Sun Might Be Bigger Than We Thought Perhaps surprisingly, we don’t know the sun’s size—at least, not as accurately as we know the Earth or the moon. When working with Google Maps (to measure the sun’s shadow) and his own models, Xavier Jubier realized something was off with the measurements, “For me, something was wrong somewhere, but that’s all I could say,” Jubier …

Tracing the Evolution of Language

Michael Gavin, associate professor of human dimensions of natural resources at Colorado State University, and other researchers across six disciplines formed a unit (in 2010) with the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and they’re on a mission to better understand why our species, collectively, speaks over 7,000 distinct languages. They began by reviewing existing studies (language studies around the equator and …

Merriam-Webster Just Added 1000+ Words

Always an entertaining read, Merriam-Webster just announced the words and phrases it’s adding to the dictionary this month. Among them are “throwing shade,” “side eye” and even “ghost”—not the spook, but the act of abruptly cutting off contact with a person. There are also a few less-timely additions, including “first world problem,” “riding shotgun” and “weak sauce.” Whatever your feelings on these latest inclusions, there’s …