The Daily Need
What I learned at work: During an interview about green design for our Climate Desk podcast, Dwell magazine editor Aaron Britt dropped a word on me I hadn’t heard before: Retronym. It means, “a word or phrase for something that now has to be specified because it is no longer identifiable in its original state.” For example, the retronym “acoustic guitar” exists only because there are now electric guitars. Other retronyms include digital clock, sit-down restaurant, black-and-white photo. You get the idea. Britt believes green design is a retronym because once upon a time homes were built with the environment in mind as opposed to how they are built now. The invention of the word has been attributed to former NPR president and Robert Kennedy press aid, Frank Mankiewicz, circa 1980. Thinking of retronyms is a good time killer and I believe a great Scrabble word if you get lucky.
Our friends at Wide Angle have partnered with ProPublica to investigate the secrecy surrounding U.S. federal drug cases against Colombian paramilitary leaders. They’ve found that more than a dozen of the country’s most notorious paramilitary leaders have been extradited to the U.S. to face drug trafficking charges — and access to the cases has been blocked, so there’s no way for the victims (or anyone) to know that justice is being served. Prosecutors say the cases were probably sealed to protect the safety of the paramilitaries, who are cooperating with U.S. drug enforcement authorities. But the secrecy means that the truth about two decades worth of brutality might not ever be exposed.
Read the full article by Wide Angle’s Oriana Zill and Jennifer Janisch and ProPublica’s Chisun Lee in the Washington Post.