Did ancient cave artists share a global language?

The same 32 symbols show up in prehistoric European cave art.

Photo credit: PIERRE ANDRIEU / AFP / Getty Images
  • Many of these symbols are found in caves in Africa, Asia, Australia and America as well.
  • At least 40,000 years old, the set of symbols may have been a universal communications tool.
  • Among these symbols is the iconic hashtag.
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How to use a thesaurus to actually improve your writing

Looking up big, fancy words won't make your writing better. But a thesaurus can help – if you use it like this.

  • Using a thesaurus to find larger or more impressive words is misguided, says Martin Amis. Instead, use a thesaurus to find words with the perfect rhythm for your sentence.
  • For example, the Nabokov novel "Invitation to a Beheading" was originally called – not for very long – "Invitation to an Execution". Nabokov nixed the repetitive suffix.
  • A dictionary is also a writer's best friend; looking up words has a rejuvenating effect on your mind, says Amis. "When you look up a word in the dictionary you own it in a way you didn't before. You know what it comes from and you know its exact meaning."
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Is cursive writing important to child development?

Legislators push to keep cursive in their schools' curricula, but experts seem split as to whether it's necessary.

Tracy Burns checks her third grade student Nikolai Wilkins' cursive writing during class. (Photo: Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)
  • Ohio has joined many other states in reestablishing cursive in their schools' curricula.
  • Research shows the value handwriting has for developing children's fine motor skills and a connection between words and memory.
  • But experts seem split on whether it's a question of print vs. cursive, or cognitive fluency vs. disconnect.
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Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
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Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

The renowned author plans to publish a follow-up to the 1985 bestseller in September 2019.

HULU
  • The sequel will take place 15 years after the end of the first book.
  • The Handmaid's Tale has sold more than 8 million copies in English since it was first published in 1985.
  • Atwood said she was inspired to write a follow-up, in part, by the "world we've been living in."
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