When Martin Luther (1483-1546), a German monk and religious reformer, nailed his 95 “theses” (or propositions) to the church door in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, so many people agreed with his ideas that they spread throughout western Europe and touched off a religious revolt known as the Reformation. As a result, many Christians broke their centuries-old connection with the Roman Catholic Church and established independent churches of their own, prime among them being the Lutheran Church. October 31 is observed by most Protestant denominations as Reformation Day.
flashover – n. – the moment a conversation becomes real and alive, which occurs when a spark of trust shorts out the delicate circuits you keep insulated under layers of irony, momentarily grounding the static emotional charge you’ve built up through decades of friction with the world.
wytai – noun – a feature of modern society that suddenly strikes you as absurd and grotesque—from zoos and milk-drinking to organ transplants, life insurance, and fiction—part of the faint background noise of absurdity that reverberates from the moment our ancestors first crawled out of the slime but could not for the life of them remember what they got up to do.
High-speed photography allows fast moving phenomena to be recorded with precision and clarity. While in 1948 high-speed photography was defined as a set of at least 3 photographs taken by a camera capable of recording a minimum of 128 frames per second, today’s equipment can shoot as many as 1 million frames per second.
High-speed photography was first put to practical use in 1878 to investigate whether or not a trotting horse ever has all 4 feet off the ground at once. What did the images show?
The Capgras Delusion is a rare disorder in which a person holds the delusional belief that an acquaintance—usually a spouse or other close family member—has been replaced by an identical impostor. Found in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia, dementia, or those suffering from a brain injury, the disorder is named after Joseph Capgras, the French psychiatrist who first described it in 1923.
Steganography is the practice of hiding secret messages in seemingly innocuous documents such as pictures, articles, or shopping lists. The practice dates to the 5th c BCE, when early practitioners concealed information under the wax of wooden writing tablets or on the tattooed scalps of slaves. As technology evolved, so did steganography; and today, information is often hidden in computer files.
Reverse engineering is the process of discovering the technological principles of a device through analysis of its structure, function, and operation. It often involves taking apart an electronic component, software program, or other device in order to redesign the system for better maintainability or produce a copy of a system without access to the original design. Militaries often use reverse engineering to copy other nations’ technology.
The Feraliminal Lycanthropizer is a fictional machine invented by American writer David Woodard, whose 1990 pamphlet of the same title speculates on its history and purpose.
The brief, anonymously published work describes a vibration referred to as thanato-auric waves, which the machine electrically generates by combining three infrasonic sine waves (3 Hz, 9 Hz and 0.56 Hz) with concomitant tape loops of unspecified spoken text (two beyond the threshold of decipherability, and two beneath the threshold).
Christkindlesmarkt is the biggest and best known of the Christmas markets of Germany. The market in Nuremberg, Bavaria, Germany, has been held since 1697 in the city’s Hauptmarkt (“main market”). More than 100 booths are set up to offer only goods directly related to Christmas, and food booths sell Nuremberg’s specialties—Lebkuchen, or gingerbread, and Zwetschgenmannlein, which are little people-shaped confections. The three-week festival is inaugurated with choral singing, the pealing of church bells, and illumination of a creche.
On Aug. 7, 1955, Boeing’s chief of flight testing, the legendary Alvin “Tex” Johnston, pulled an impressive stunt in the prototype of the Boeing 707.
Johnston didn’t just do a flyover. No. At a speed of 490 miles an hour, Johnston executed a barrel roll.
The stunt, called a Barrel Roll, was performed in front of a crowd of 250,000 spectators attending the Gold Cup hydro races which included many airline executives from around the world (who were in Seattle for an annual meeting) in attendance.
When asked what he thought he thought he was doing Johnston answered, “Selling Airplanes”.
exulansis – noun – the tendency to give up trying to talk about an experience because people are unable to relate to it—whether through envy or pity or simple foreignness—which allows it to drift away from the rest of your life story, until the memory itself feels out of place, almost mythical, wandering restlessly in the fog, no longer even looking for a place to land.
The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.
Lizards, frogs, lampreys, and some fish species possess a unique organ known as a third, or parietal, eye. Though referred to as an “eye,” this photoreceptive organ does not “see” in the same way that a standard eye does. Instead, it uses a different biochemical method of detecting light than normal eyes and helps regulate circadian rhythms and hormone production for thermoregulation. The parietal eye is associated with what gland that humans, too, possess? Discuss
Onomatopoeia noun is a word which itself sounds like what the word means: Bang, crackle, zip, ha-ha, etc.
Here is a HUGE list of ONOMATOPOEIC words used in complete sentences. You’ll love these original onomatopoeia examples.
Disabuse verb Sounds like it has something to with stopping abuse, but really means to persuade someone to a view contrary to their own.
Disabuse means to free someone of a belief that is not true. Many teachers of health find that when they teach, they spend as much energy disabusing kids of false beliefs as they do giving them the facts.