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lariat

lariat – (noun) A long noosed rope used to catch animals.
Synonyms: riata, lasso.

Usage: He spent his days chasing after fleeing cattle, roping them with his lariat and bringing them back to the ranch.

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The Daguerreotype

The daguerreotype, an early form of photography, was invented by Louis Daguerre in the early 19th c. He collaborated with J. Nicéphore Niepce, who created the first permanent photograph, but completed the design alone following his partner’s sudden death.

A daguerreotype, produced on a silver-plated copper sheet, produces a mirror image photograph of the exposed scene. Daguerre’s process made portrait photography possible for the first time. How did the French government describe the invention?

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Endocrine System

The pituitary, thyroid, and adrenal glands are all part of the endocrine system, a bodily system that is instrumental in regulating metabolism, tissue function, and growth and development. The endocrine system is an integrated network of small glands located throughout the body that release extracellular signaling molecules known as hormones. Hormones travel in the blood to distant targets, where they cause specific physiological responses. What diseases result from endocrine system problems?

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The Didgeridoo

The didgeridoo, developed by the Australian Aborigines, is perhaps the world’s oldest wind instrument. Though the exact age of the didgeridoo is unknown, studies of rock art in northern Australia suggest that the Aboriginal people have been using it for approximately 1,500 years.

Didgeridoos measure about 4 ft (1.5 m) in length and are made from branches that have been hollowed out by termites. A 2005 study found that practicing the didgeridoo can help reduce what sleep-related conditions?

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Trepanation

The practice of drilling a hole into the skull to expose the dura mater surrounding the brain is an ancient surgical procedure dating back to prehistoric times. It is the oldest surgical procedure for which evidence (in the form of human remains) has been discovered. Modern physicians continue to perform trepanations, though the medical rationale surrounding the surgery has since evolved.

Which artist gained notoriety for performing a self-trepanation and then screening a film of the procedure?

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Seizure Response Dogs

When their epileptic handlers experience seizures, these response dogs come to the rescue by pulling away dangerous objects, attempting to rouse them if they lose consciousness, and even summoning aid by finding another person or activating a medical alert or pre-programmed phone. Because epilepsy is such a wide-ranging condition, each dog is trained for a specific individual’s needs. Studies in which dogs were trained to anticipate their owners’ impending seizures have shown what? …read more

Mountaintop Removal Mining

More than half of the electricity generated in the United States is produced by coal-fired power plants. Generally, only a small percentage of the coal used in those plants comes from the controversial practice of mountaintop removal mining, or MTR, which involves the use of heavy explosives to blast away up to 1,000 vertical feet of a mountain after its surface has been cleared of timber. What 1970s crises first sparked an increase in the demand for coal and triggered the widespread use of MTR? …read more

Dry Quicksand

Considered a mythic substance until recently, dry quicksand is loose sand that behaves like ordinary quicksand but contains no water and operates in a different manner. Though accounts of whole caravans being swallowed up by the substance have been discounted as folklore, researchers have demonstrated that aerating fine sand reduces its bulk density and creates a dry quicksand that could envelop an entire vehicle. How did fear of dry quicksand affect the planning of the Apollo moon missions?

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kuebiko

n. a state of exhaustion inspired by an act of senseless violence, which forces you to revise your image of what can happen in this world—mending the fences of your expectations, weeding out invasive truths, cultivating the perennial good that’s buried under the surface—before propping yourself up in the middle of it like an old scarecrow, who’s bursting at the seams but powerless to do anything but stand there and watch.

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Gerardus Mercator (1512)

Mercator was a Flemish geographer, mathematician, and cartographer who perfected the first map using the Mercator projection, the translation of the spherical earth to a two-dimensional flat plane. In it, parallels and meridians are rendered as straight lines spaced to produce an accurate ratio of latitude to longitude at any point. It permits mariners to steer a course over long distances without continually adjusting compass readings. What map-related term was coined by Mercator?
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inglenook

Definition: (noun) A nook or corner beside an open fireplace.
Synonyms: chimney corner.

Usage: Yet no one had retired, except the children and “old Feyther Taft,” who being too deaf to catch many words, had some time ago gone back to his inglenook.

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the Pine Burr Quilt

In observation of Black History Month, we (STATE SYMBOLS USA) are featuring the Pine Burr Quilt, the official state quilt of Alabama. The Alabama legislature designated the quilt an official symbol in honor of the Black women of the Freedom Quilting Bee. In 1966, Black workers were losing their jobs in retaliation for registering to vote, so the women formed a cooperative to sell their quilts, raising money for the Civil Rights movement and to help support their families. The quilts became famous, were sold all over the country, and have been displayed at the Smithsonian.

Alabama State Quilt | …read more

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