November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving (and other assorted holidays) are just around the corner, so we thought it would be a great time to revisit a few traditions.

First, at the forefront of everyone's mind this time of year: food.

Ruth Reichl has been a powerful force in food journalism for years — and manages to keep her Twitter followers drooling with her 140-character poetic descriptions. But while she might be looking into the future when it comes to food writing — she believes we should look to the past to appreciate what we're putting in our bodies.

"What happens at the table is more important than what's on the table," Reichl notes. "It's the one time of day that we slow down, pay attention to each other, talk, and relax. That's the power of food."

As dreams of that iPhone 6 begin to dance in your head – ever wonder how much the language we all use is really changing because of technology?

Not as much as we think, argues linguist and author David Crystal. “People notice the novelties, the sudden inventiveness that people do when they get this new technology and they think ‘oh dear, oh dear the entire language is changing.’ But in actual fact, only small bits of the language are changing."

(Wonder what he'd think of "vape" following in the footsteps of "selfie" as Oxford's word of the year for 2014.)

We look deeper at two institutions suffused with tradition: media and education. Clay Shirky is a theorist and professor who recently moved to Shanghai to work on NYU's campus there. But even as a member of that big institution, he sees trouble ahead: "NYU will suffer mightily in any world in which the classroom experience is kind of taken for granted as the only alternative, because it’s stopping being the only alternative.”

Plus, the unlikely backstory of a brightly-colored treat.

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