In times of panic, suffixes of doom run riot-and help us cope.

Hyperbole has never gone out of style, but the tools of the exaggerator change with fashion. Judging by the popularity of words like Barack-alypse, blog-pocalypse, Conficker-geddon, smarm-a-geddon, and snow-mageddon, the winds of language change have blown squarely in the direction of apocalypse and Armageddon. Bloggers, journalists, tweeters, and other writers are constantly stitching parts of these words onto whatever is causing end-of-the-world stress at the moment.This gloomy trend gained steam last winter, as snowstorms raged across the United States, and with them words like snowgeddon and snowpocalypse. Then the economic pickle produced bankageddon and a-stock-alypse. Recently, the swine flu brought this trend to new heights; I think oinkmageddon is my favorite, though a-pig-calypse isn't bad-non-coincidentally, both were used by Stephen Colbert. Other hammy neologisms include a-pork-a-lypse, pigflu-pocalypse, ham-a-geddon, and hamthrax, a yummy play on anthrax. Even Ragnorak-a less well-known term from Norse mythology, which refers to the final battle between the gods, monsters, and everyone else-gets in on the act with pignarok. Where there's bad news, bad suffixes come out to play.But these words can appear in less catastrophic contexts. Some are coined for humorous purposes only, such as ap-sock-alypse and bra-mageddon, two clothing-related crises that probably do not herald the end of days. As a former summer camp counselor, I was particularly pleased to find the word tire-swing-pocalypse. And as a lifelong fan of zombies, robots, and dinosaurs, I have to admit a zombie-robot-trex-alypse sounds so awesome that it might be worth the destruction of everything I hold dear, with the exception of the four-week-old malti-poo puppy I recently met, who helped me understand the word cuteageddon for the first time.Usually, Armageddon is captured by -geddon, -ageddon, or -mageddon, while apocalypse can be carved up into -lypse, -alypse, -calypse, or -pocalypse. Less often, apoco- is used to make words like apoco-babe and apoco-beach, and it's common for apocalypse to be altered by a mid-word substitution, as in a-cop-alypse, a-crap-alypse, and a-GOP-alypse. Armageddon is less resistant to becoming that kind of sandwich word, but I did find an example of ar-meh-geddon, which nicely combines slang terms for catastrophically awful and historically lame. Visual Thesaurus grand poohbah Ben Zimmer says, "For blends of this type to be successful, it helps if they have a distinctive multisyllabic structure. Then a stressed syllable can be swapped out with a monosyllabic word (snow, pork) and still retain enough material for people to recognize the original form (X-mageddon, a-X-alypse). And of course, making a metaphorical link to the end of the world only heightens the drama!"Though apocalypse and Armageddon are used interchangeably in this trend, they used to have distinct meanings. The Oxford English Dictionary gives the original sense of apocalypse as "The ‘revelation' of the future granted to St. John in the isle of Patmos," which sounds like a good isle to avoid. Not until the late 19th century did the term start to mean "a disaster resulting in drastic, irreversible damage to human society or the environment, esp. on a global scale; a cataclysm. Also in weakened use." I feel safe in saying a-taco-lypse and French-fry-pocalypse fit under the rubric of weakened use.Armageddon was originally a place. The real meaning was "The place of the last decisive battle at the Day of Judgment; hence used allusively for any ‘final' conflict on a great scale." So Armageddon kind of works like heaven, hell, Hollywood, Compton, New Jersey, and Gary, Indiana-the name of the place comes to stand for the stuff that goes down there, in this case, the Biblically ordained catastrofrak at the end of the world. (By the way, catastro- is catching on too, but that's a story for another column).I'm a little behind in my prophecy reading, so I can't say if any of this was foretold, but I'm damn sure the popularity of these words is no accident. Because of the never-ending news cycle, and the scare-mongering it engenders, every fresh crisis feels like the end of the world, whether it's a blizzard, a recession, a computer virus, or whatever. These handy word parts allow us to express that we-are-doomed feeling while making fun of it at the same time. By using -geddon or -pocalypse, we can say "Oh God, we're toast!" and "Oh God, we're being ridiculous!" at the same time. That is an attractive combination.As long as we live in a "scare first, inform later" world, there will always be a something-geddon and an oh-god-what-is-it-now-alypse around the corner. So when the world is ending-or you just wish people would stop saying it is-don't forget the suffixes of doom when you're stocking up on duct tape and canned goods.
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.


Four black women, Engineers Christine Darden and Mary Jackson, mathematician Katherine Johnson, and computer programmer Dorothy Vaughan, worked as "human computers" at NASA during the Space Race, making space travel possible through their complex calculations. Jackson, Johnson, and Vaughn all played a vital role in helping John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth.

They worked behind the scenes, but now they're getting the credit they deserve as their accomplishments are brought to the forefront. Their amazing stories were detailed in the book "Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race" by Margot Lee Shetterly, which was later turned into a movie. (Darden was not featured in the movie, but was in the book). Johnson has a building at NASA named after her, and a street in front of NASA's Washington D.C. headquarters was renamed "Hidden Figures Way."

Keep Reading Show less

Between Alexa, Siri, and Google, artificial intelligence is quickly changing us and the way we live. We no longer have to get up to turn on the lights or set the thermostat, we can find the fastest route to work with a click, and, most importantly, tag our friends in pictures. But interacting with the world isn't the only thing AI is making easier – now we can use it save the world, too.

Keep Reading Show less
Good News
Courtesy of John S. Hutton, MD

A report from Common Sense Media found the average child between the ages of 0 and 8 has 2 hours and 19 minutes of screen time a day, and 35% of their screen time is on a mobile device. A new study conducted by the Cincinnati Children's Hospital published in the journal, JAMA Pediatrics, found exactly what all that screen time is doing to your kid, or more specifically, your kid's developing brain. It turns out, more screen time contributes to slower brain development.

First, researchers gave the kids a test to determine how much and what kind of screen time they were getting. Were they watching fighting or educational content? Were they using it alone or with parents? Then, researchers examined the brains of children aged 3 to 5 year olds by using MRI scans. Forty seven brain-healthy children who hadn't started kindergarten yet were used for the study.

They found that kids who had more than one hour of screen time a day without parental supervision had lower levels of development in their brain's white matter, which is important when it comes to developing cognitive skills, language, and literacy.

Keep Reading Show less