Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Science: Mammalian diving reflex

Mammalian diving reflex: "The mammalian diving reflex is a reflex in mammals which optimizes respiration to allow staying underwater for extended periods of time. It is exhibited strongly in aquatic mammals (seals,[1] otters, dolphins, etc.), but exists in weaker versions in other mammals, including humans, including babies up to 12 months old (see Infant swimming)."

Psychology WotD: Anhedonia

Anhedonia: "In psychology and psychiatry, anhedonia (/ˌænhiˈdoʊniə/ an-hee-doh-nee-ə; Greek: ἀν- an-, "without" and ἡδονή hēdonē, "pleasure") is defined as the inability to experience pleasure from activities usually found enjoyable, e.g. exercise, hobbies, music, sexual activities or social interactions."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

History: Sator Square

Sator Square: "The Sator Square (or Rotas Square) is a word square containing a Latin palindrome:

The five words may be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, or right-to-left."

English WotD: halcyon



halcyon (comparative more halcyon, superlative most halcyon)

Pertaining to the halcyon or kingfisher

Calm, undisturbed, peaceful, serene.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Japanese: Miyabi

Miyabi: "Miyabi (雅) is one of the traditional Japanese aesthetic ideals, though not as prevalent as Iki or Wabi-sabi. In modern Japanese, the word is usually translated as "elegance," "refinement," or "courtliness" and sometimes refers to a "heart-breaker"."

Monday, November 17, 2014

Aarne–Thompson classification system

Aarne–Thompson classification system: "The Aarne–Thompson tale type index is a multivolume listing designed to help folklorists identify recurring plot patterns in the narrative structures of traditional folktales, so that folklorists can organize, classify, and analyze the folktales they research."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Japanese WotD: Tokonoma

Tokonoma: "Tokonoma (床の間 toko-no-ma[1]?), also referred to simply as toko,[2][3] is a Japanese term generally referring to a built-in recessed space in a Japanese style reception room, in which items for artistic appreciation are displayed. In English, tokonoma is usually called alcove."

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Wine: Amarone

Amarone: "Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes of the Corvina (45% – 95%, of which up to 50% could be substituted with Corvinone), Rondinella (5% – 30%) and other approved red grape varieties (up to 25%)."

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Anthropodermic bibliopegy

Anthropodermic bibliopegy: "Anthropodermic bibliopegy is the practice of binding books in human skin. Though extremely uncommon in modern times, the technique dates back to at least the 17th century. The practice is inextricably connected with the practice of tanning human skin, often done in certain circumstances after a corpse has been dissected."

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Literature & Philosophy: Debate between bird and fish

Debate between bird and fish: "The Debate between bird and fish is a literature essay of the Sumerian language, on clay tablets from the mid to late 3rd millennium BC."

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Science: Kármán vortex street

Kármán vortex street: "In fluid dynamics, a Kármán vortex street (or a von Kármán vortex sheet) is a repeating pattern of swirling vortices caused by the unsteady separation of flow of a fluid around blunt bodies. It is named after the engineer and fluid dynamicist Theodore von Kármán,[1] and is responsible for such phenomena as the "singing" of suspended telephone or power lines, and the vibration of a car antenna at certain speeds."

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Science: Avoirdupois

Avoirdupois: "The avoirdupois system is a system of weights (more properly, mass) based on a pound of 16 ounces. It is the everyday system of weight used in the United States and is still used to varying degrees in everyday life in the United Kingdom, Canada, and some other former British colonies despite the official adoption of the metric system."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

WotD: Cryptid

Cryptid: "In cryptozoology and sometimes in cryptobotany, a cryptid (from the Greek κρύπτω, krypto, meaning "hide") is a creature or plant whose existence has been suggested but is not discovered or documented by the scientific community."

Friday, March 07, 2014

Science: Jenks natural breaks optimization

Jenks natural breaks optimization: "The Jenks optimization method, also called the Jenks natural breaks classification method, is a data classification method designed to determine the best arrangement of values into different classes. This is done by seeking to minimize each class’s average deviation from the class mean, while maximizing each class’s deviation from the means of the other groups. In other words, the method seeks to reduce the variance within classes and maximize the variance between classes."

PotD: Arete

Arete: "Arete (/ˈærətiː/; ἀρετή, in its basic sense, means "excellence of any kind".[1] The term may also mean "moral virtue".[1] In its earliest appearance in Greek, this notion of excellence was ultimately bound up with the notion of the fulfillment of purpose or function: the act of living up to one's full potential."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

WotD: Semelparity and iteroparity

Semelparity and iteroparity: "Semelparity and iteroparity refer to the reproductive strategy of an organism. A species is considered semelparous if it is characterized by a single reproductive episode before death, and iteroparous if it is characterized by multiple reproductive cycles over the course of its lifetime. Some plant scientists use the parallel terms monocarpy and polycarpy."

Friday, January 31, 2014

Flehmen response

Flehmen response: "The flehmen response (/ˈfleɪmən/; German: [ˈfleːmən]), also called the flehmen position, flehmen reaction, flehming, or flehmening, is a behaviour whereby an animal curls back its upper lips exposing its front teeth, inhales with the nostrils usually closed and then often holds this position for several seconds."

Friday, January 10, 2014

Science: Holocene extinction

Holocene extinction: "The Holocene extinction, sometimes called the Sixth Extinction, is a name proposed to describe the extinction event of species that has occurred during the present Holocene epoch (since around 10,000 BC). The large number of extinctions span numerous families of plants and animals including mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and arthropods. Although 875 extinctions occurring between 1500 and 2009 have been documented by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, the vast majority are undocumented. According to the species-area theory and based on upper-bound estimating, the present rate of extinction may be up to 140,000 species per year."

Science: Fata Morgana (mirage)

Fata Morgana (mirage): "A Fata Morgana is an unusual and complex form of superior mirage that is seen in a narrow band right above the horizon."

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Places: Meteora

Meteora: "The Metéora (Greek: Μετέωρα, pronounced [mɛˈtɛoɾɐ], lit. "middle of the sky", "suspended in the air" or "in the heavens above" — etymologically related to "Meteorite") is one of the largest and most important complexes of Eastern Orthodox monasteries in Greece, second only to Mount Athos."

History: Yoshiko Kawashima

Yoshiko Kawashima: "Yoshiko Kawashima (川島 芳子 Kawashima Yoshiko?, 24 May 1907 – 25 March 1948) was a Manchu princess brought up in Japan, who served as a spy in the service of the Japanese Kwantung Army and Manchukuo during the Second World War."

Philosophy: Enlightened self-interest

Enlightened self-interest: "Enlightened self-interest is a philosophy in ethics which states that persons who act to further the interests of others (or the interests of the group or groups to which they belong), ultimately serve their own self-interest."