Nouns That Are Always Plural

scientist1There are several nouns in the English language that are always plural. It’s one of those odd quirks that you don’t really realise until it is pointed out to you, at which point it seems exceedingly puzzling. These nouns are pluralia tantum, “plural only”, and used for “a noun which is used only in plural form, or which is used only in plural form in a particular sense or senses.”

Over at Oxford Dictionaries Blog, they have a list of 12 nouns that are always plural, along with explanations to accompany them. These nouns are: trousers, scissors, glasses, clothes, marginalia, folk, shenanigans, loggerheads, cahoots, amends, smithereens, and thanks.

We use scissors (and pliers, and forceps, and tongs, and tweezers…), but we never use a singular scissor. We have the word scissor, used in phrases such as “scissor-kick”, but for the actual cutting object, we use the plural form.

We wear trousers (pants, leggings, jeans, tights, etc…), but never a singular trouser. Clothe is not the singular of the word clothes, but means something else. Glasses, goggles, spectacles, binoculars, all are always plural.

You are exceedingly unlikely to go on a single shenanigan, or encounter a single loggerhead. You can be at loggerheads with some folk over which shenanigans you want to partake in though.

It’s rather fascinating discovering these pluralia tantum. Have a single thank for it. Onwards!

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Frank Turner – The Next Storm

Frank TurnerThe Next Storm.

Another new song by Frank Turner, from his soon-to-be-released next album “Positive Songs For Negative People“. I’m really looking forward to this album, and all the uplifting songs it will have on it. Just like Get Better, this song is amazing!

I want to step out and face the sunshine. Onwards!

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Map Showing Where Today’s Countries Would Be Located on Pangea

PangaeaWhere would today’s countries be located on Pangea? The map shown here (from Open Culture) gives a pretty good guess at it.

It’s amazing to think that approximately 300 million years ago, all the countries and continents that we recognise today were part of one big supercontinent. It’s beautiful to see how South America slots neatly into the west coast of Africa, and how North America wraps around it. Really impresses upon you the passage of time and the power of plate tectonic movements over millions of years.

Who knows what will happen in the next few million years? Onwards!

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Ultra High Definition Video From The International Space Station

The view of life in space is getting a major boost with the introduction of 4K Ultra High-Definition (UHD) video, providing an unprecedented look at what it’s like to live and work aboard the International Space Station. This important new capability will allow researchers to acquire high resolution – high frame rate video to provide new insight into the vast array of experiments taking place every day. It will also bestow the most breathtaking views of planet Earth and space station activities ever acquired for consumption by those still dreaming of making the trip to outer space.” (YouTube)

Beautiful video by NASA, showing life in space in high definition (4K). It’s a wonderful reminder of how stunning Earth is, and how important the International Space Station has become. Onwards!

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Melodysheep – Creativity & Magic: Photoshop Remixed

MelodysheepCreativity & Magic: Photoshop Remixed.

Melodysheep has created another great remix, this time about Photoshop. It’s pretty short, but has a lot of creativity and magic in it.

Real magic! Onwards!

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Robots Falling Down At The DARPA Robotics Challenge

This compilation of robots falling down is far funnier than it should be. I love how they start falling down in almost slow motion, an inevitability of gravity pulling down on them as soon as they go slightly off balance. Makes you realise how difficult the actual process of walking is, and how adept humans are at it, since they learn it from an incredibly young age.

That last though… poor machine! Onwards!

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New Horizons

In three weeks, the robotic New Horizons spacecraft will reach Pluto. As the featured video makes clear, though, humanity has been on an unprecedented epoch of robotic exploration of our Solar System‘s planets for the past half century. The video highlights artistic illustrations of Mariner 2 flying by Venus in 1962, Mariner 4 flying past Mars in 1965, Pioneer 10 flying past Jupiter in 1973, Mariner 10 flying past Mercury in 1974, Pioneer 11 flying past Saturn in 1979, and Voyager 2 flying past Uranus in 1986 and then Neptune in 1989. Next is a hypothetical sequence depicting New Horizons flying past Pluto next month. Assuming things work as planned, dwarf planet Pluto will then become the farthest world yet explored by humans. Of course, these Pluto illustrations are only a guess. How Pluto and its moons will really look may be a mixture of familiar things, such as craters, and unfamiliar things, such as …” (APOD)

Stunning video by the National Space Society. The robotic New Horizons spacecraft will arrive at Pluto (the former 9th planet of our Solar System) in a few weeks, and the world will be watching. It’s all rather exciting. Onwards!

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