Burning Man is a counterculture festival held in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, conceived by Larry Harvey in 1986 to honor the Summer Solstice. It has since become a populist phenomenon, where participants set up a temporary “city,” creating their own community. People are expected to interact with one another, produce and display artwork, play music, do sponteneous performances—as long as they actively participate. The 50-foot-high Man towers over Black Rock City until the climax of the festival on Saturday night, when the figure is ignited and the Man becomes a fiery blaze. Discuss …read more
A combination of the words “costume” and “play,” cosplay refers to a Japanese subculture in which participants dress as characters from anime, manga, video games, and other forms of entertainment.
Often seen at conventions or parties at nightclubs or amusement parks, cosplay is also publicly practiced in places like Tokyo’s Akihabara district, where costumed servers wait on patrons at many of the area’s cafés. How does cosplay in the US and UK differ from that in Japan?
The saron is a musical instrument that features prominently in Indonesian musical ensembles. It typically consists of seven bronze bars placed on top of a resonating frame, called a rancak. Sarons typically come in a number of sizes, and each size is pitched differently. A seated performer strikes the instrument with a tabuh, or mallet, to produce a musical note and uses his free hand to then grasp the ringing key and dampen the sound.
Definition: (noun) A small, flat, pigmented spot on the skin.
Usage: The dermatologist advised the patient to keep an eye on the large lentigo near her lip and to alert him if there was a change in its size or shape. Discuss …read more
Both DNA and plastic, two seemingly unrelated materials, are classified as polymers, compounds of usually high molecular weight consisting of a number of structural units linked together by covalent bonds. A diverse assortment of natural and synthetic materials comprises the class of polymers, including hair, polyester, and shellac. Polymers are even used in the production of microprocessor parts. What is the process that produces polymers called? Discuss …read more
Definition: (noun) A bright spot sometimes appearing on either side of the sun, often on a luminous ring or halo.
Synonyms: sundog, mock sun.
Usage: At first, Sue thought the bright spot in the sky beside the sun was a comet, but she soon realized that the phenomenon was actually a parhelion. …read more
In English language punctuation, a serial comma or series comma (also called Oxford comma and Harvard comma) is a comma placed immediately before the coordinating conjunction (usually and or or) in a series of three or more terms.
A diaporama is a photographic slideshow, sometimes with accompanying audio, ranging from using only one or two slide projectors to a multi-image slideshow using a wide screen and several slide projectors connected to a central controlling device changing the slides, turning lamps on and off etc.
These late-January festivities mark a highlight in the ceremonial year at San Ildefonso Pueblo near Santa Fe, New Mexico. January 23 is the pueblo’s feast day, celebrated with a special church service and dances, such as the Buffalo, Comanche, and Deer dances. The dances are a way of paying respect and giving thanks for the animals on which people depend for food and other materials. On the evening before, there are bonfires and a firelight procession.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a museum dedicated to archiving the history of rock music. It was created in 1983 but did not have a home until 1995, when it opened its Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, after civic leaders pledged $65 million in public money to fund its construction. The first group of inductees included Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, Ray Charles, and James Brown, to name a few.
Smokejumpers are firefighters who parachute into remote areas to combat forest fires. While smokejumpers save many lives, the inherent risks associated with parachuting into a fire lead many to question the value of the profession. Proponents argue that parachute deployment helps firefighters reach remote areas quickly and with more equipment than other means allow, thus enabling them to begin containing fires at their early stages. Which country employs the largest number of smokejumpers?
Definition: (noun) A cheap, noisy bar or dance hall.
Usage: The missionaries went to the honky-tonk on a Saturday night hoping to save souls, but they were not very successful. Discuss …read more
Definition: (verb) To be deliberately ambiguous or unclear in order to mislead or withhold information.
Synonyms: prevaricate, beat around the bush, palter, tergiversate.
Usage: She was known for her tendency to equivocate, and many of her friends gave up on trying to discern her true opinions. …read more
In the first days of the French Revolution, the deputies of the Third Estate were locked out of their usual meeting hall at Versailles. Believing that their newly formed National Assembly was to be disbanded, they met at a nearby tennis court and took an oath to not separate until a constitution was established for France. The oath was an assertion that power came from the people not the monarch, and their solidarity forced King Louis XVI to concede. Who was the only deputy not to sign the oath? Discuss …read more
According to Zoroastrian tradition, a dead body is unclean and must be disposed of in a safe manner. To prevent the pollution of earth or fire, dead bodies are placed atop a tower, where they are exposed to the sun and birds of prey. The towers are circular raised structures with nearly flat roofs that are divided into three concentric rings; one ring is designated for the bodies of men, one for women, and one for children. Who coined the term “tower of silence”? Discuss …read more
Definition: (noun) A plug of keratin and sebum within a hair follicle that is blackened at the surface.
Usage: On the morning of the school dance, she was dismayed to discover a large comedo on her chin. Discuss …read more