Introducing: cursewords, a crossword puzzle solving interface for the terminal

I’m releasing new software today for solving crossword puzzles in the terminal. cursewords is a small Python program to open, navigate, and solve puzzles stored as .puz files. If you’re a Mac or Linux user, you can install it today by running pip3 install –user cursewords in your terminal, and then use the cursewords command […]

Rhyming “who phrases” from New York Times obituary headlines

Many obituary headlines follow a standard formula: “Firstname Lastname, Who You Know From That One Thing, Dies at Age.” It’s a tendency I’ve counted on before when extracting names from obituaries for FOIA The Dead, but tonight it also got me thinking about the “who phrase”: the relative clause that condenses a lifetime of context […]

How many US people are named Isis?

The New York Times has reported that, despite the long-standing traditional meaning of the name, people named Isis have faced issues ranging from inconveniences to major discrimination in the past several years on the basis of their name. This problem disproportionately affects women, and it’s not just a few cases. What is the scale of […]

How the New York Times keeps tragedies ad-free

I was looking at the HTML source of a recent New York Times story about a tragic plane accident—150 people feared dead—and noticed this meta tag in its head: <meta property=”ad_sensitivity” content=”noads” /> There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented, but it seems like a pretty […]