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Simon Winchester

6 articles
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My First Mistake

Adventures as a mortuary assistant.

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Open Waters

Encounters with the sea.

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In the Eye of the Whirlpool

Searching for a mysterious whirpool on an obscure map.

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Native Tongues

The making of the “five-thousand-page, five-volume book, known formally as the Dictionary of American Regional English and colloquially just as DARE”:

What joking names do you have for an alarm clock? For a toothpick? For a container for kitchen scraps? Or an indoor toilet? Or women’s underwear? When a woman divides her hair into three strands and twists them together, you say she is_____her hair? What words do you have to describe people’s legs if they’re noticeably bent, or uneven, or not right? What do you call the mark on the skin where somebody has sucked it hard and brought blood to the surface?

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How Fast Can China Go?

On the railways of China and a trip aboard its latest spectacle, a $32 billion line carrying passengers between Shanghai and Beijing at 170 MPH.

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We’re Lucky We Weren’t Wiped Out

The volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajokull has caused travel chaos and misery. But we were lucky. An eruption in the future could wipe out the human race.