Women at a whiskey tasting at the W South Beach Hotel & Residences on May 3, 2012 in Miami Beach, Fla. Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for W South Beach Hotel & Residences hide caption

itoggle caption Aaron Davidson/Getty Images for W South Beach Hotel & Residences

The Salt

Ladies Lead Whiskey Renaissance As Distillers And New Tipplers

Whiskey was long considered a man's drink. But as sales of whiskey soar, it's women who are leading the new boom, thanks to a vanguard of female distillers, blenders and tasters.

Recent research has shown that zebra finches sing differently when drunk, but not whether they know enough of the lyrics to get through "Don't Stop Believin' " or "I Will Survive." Liza Gross/Courtesy Public Library of Science hide caption

itoggle caption Liza Gross/Courtesy Public Library of Science

Animals

Scientists Discover That Drunk Birds Sing Like Drunks

The songs of zebra finches, long used as a model for how humans learn to use speech, get a little sloppy after a few drinks, a new study finds. Future research will look at how it affects learning.

Die-ins, like this one at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on December 6, were conducted across America to protest the non-indictment of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Linguist Ben Zimmer says that while the word "die-in" isn't new, its increased use makes it a strong candidate for the American Dialect Society's 2014 Word of the Year. Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Pop Culture

Die-In, Vortex, Selfie Stick: What's The Word Of 2014?

In January, members of the American Dialect Society will vote on the 2014 Word of the Year. Linguist Ben Zimmer runs through some contenders — including words both old and new.

Great Dismal Swamp, in Virginia and North Carolina, was once thought to be haunted. For generations of escaped slaves, says archaeologist Dan Sayers, the swamp was a haven. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hide caption

itoggle caption U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

History

Fleeing To Great Dismal Swamp, Slaves And Outcasts Found Freedom WVTF

Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, which allowed Southern slaves to escape to the North. But some slaves stayed in the South, hidden in a place where they could resist enslavement.

From member station

WVTF

Military Children from WAMU's Breaking Ground project sheds light on the challenges of being the child of soldiers. Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU hide caption

itoggle caption Kavitha Cardoza/WAMU

NPR Ed

'Military Children': Their Struggles, Sacrifices And Strengths WAMU

Nearly 2 million children have parents currently serving in the military, yet their everyday lives are mostly invisible to the rest of us. Member station WAMU explores the challenges they face.

From member station

WAMU

A T-shirt bearing the image of Russian President Vladimir Putin reads "The most polite man" at a St. Petersburg market in Russia on Wednesday. Putin began the year in dramatic fashion by hosting the Winter Olympics and seizing the Crimea. However, his year ended with Russia's economy in turmoil and forecasts of a recession for 2015. Dmitry Lovetsky/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Dmitry Lovetsky/AP

Parallels - World News

Which World Leaders Had The Best And The Worst Year In 2014?

Vladimir Putin got off to a great start, then it all turned sour. Bashar Assad looks to be better positioned today than back in January. Perhaps the pope had the best year of all.

Over the years librarians have fielded all sorts of questions — like those above, found in a box of questions posed by New York Public Library patrons from the 1940s to the '80s. New York Public Library hide caption

itoggle caption New York Public Library

History

Before The Internet, Librarians Would 'Answer Everything' — And Still Do

The New York Public Library recently came upon a box of questions posed to the library from the 1940s to the '80s — an era when humans consulted other humans for answers to their daily questions.

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