“The air was clear. Our prose was not.”

NPR’s Protojournalist conducts an experiment with Hemingway, an app designed to help make your prose as bold and clear as Papa’s: how does it react when you feed it a few lines of The Sun Also Rises?  You might be surprised.

Do not tell Papa. He might take it hard. To say his prose can be improved by machinery may not be good, but it is gutsy. And that is good.

Will all of this lead to finer work by young writers in Paris and elsewhere? Maybe they will keyboard long and well and the result will be BitTorrents of Spring or The Old Man and the C Drive.

Isn’t it pretty to think so?

Read the entire writeup here.


Just about every single day of her life, Amelia Rose Earhart has had to answer this question: “Are you a pilot?” 

For a long time, the answer was no.

Now, though, she’s planning to embark this month on a flight around the world, a trip that closely replicates the 1937 journey of the original – and more famous — Amelia Earhart.

“Amelia Earhart Has A Flight Plan” via Lauren Katz 

Left image: Don Hales Photography/Courtesy of Amelia Rose Earhart Right image: Evening Standard/Gerry Images

A new study reports that plants enhance the workplace. They cheer people up and they seem to improve air quality and concentration. According to one researcher, adding plants to a workspace served to increase workers’ productivity by 15 percent.

Growing Business — Show Us Your Desk Plant

So, what’s the most productive thing to do while scrolling through Tumblr at work today? Sharing a picture of your desk plant in our comments section, of course.


What were courtship rituals like in early 20th century America? According to a “Boston Daily Globe,” feature on Oct. 11, 1914, parlor games were all the rage.

For example: The Walnut Game. "Split some English walnuts in half and put a small candle in each little “bowl.” Have each guest choose one as “theirs.” Set the halves adrift in a tub of water. If two half-nut cases float side by side, their owners will also do the same in real life.“

Read more here: The Strange Dating Games Of 1914

Photo credit: Library of Congress


Long before there were online dating sites, such as eHarmony, Match or OKCupid, there was a curious offline custom in America known as New Year’s Calling.

In the 19th century, young single women in New York City; Washington, D.C., and other cities and towns across the country would hold open houses on Jan. 1 and invite eligible bachelors — friends and strangers — to stop by for a brief visit and some light refreshments.

Often the women posted ads — which included their names, addresses and visiting hours — in the local newspaper. This was communitywide speed dating.

Speed Dating In The 19th Century

Photo credits: (top) Library of Congress, (bottom) Courtesy of McLean County Museum of History