Sunday, February 28, 2010


Bauxite is the most important aluminium ore. It consists largely of the minerals gibbsite Al(OH)3, boehmite γ-AlO(OH), and diaspore α-AlO(OH), together with the iron oxides goethite and hematite, the clay mineral kaolinite and small amounts of anatase TiO2. It was named after the village Les Baux in southern France, where it was first discovered in 1821 by the geologist Pierre Berthier.

Bauxite is strip mined (surface mining) because it is found at the surface, with little or no overburden. Approximately 95% of the world's bauxite production is processed into aluminium. Bauxites are typically classified according to their intended commercial application: metallurgical, abrasive, cement, chemical and refractory.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Montanism was an early Christian movement of the early 2nd century A.D., named after its founder Montanus. It originated at Hierapolis where Papias was bishop and flourished throughout the region of Phrygia, leading to the movement being referred to as Cataphrygian (meaning it was "from Phrygia"). It spread rapidly to other regions in the Roman Empire at a time before Christianity was generally tolerated or legal. Although orthodox Nicene Christianity prevailed against Montanism within a few generations, labeling it a heresy, the sect persisted in some isolated places into the 8th century. Some people have drawn parallels between Montanism and modern Pentecostalism (which some call Neo-Montanism). The most widely known Montanist was undoubtedly Tertullian, who was the foremost Latin church writer before he converted to Montanism.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Apopudobalia (a fictional sport) is the subject of a famous fictitious entry (a mild or humorous hoax in a reference work). Although no such sport actually existed, the German-language Der neue Pauly. Enzyklopaedie der Antike, edited by H. Cancik and H. Schneider, vol. 1 gives a description of it as an ancient Greco-Roman sport that anticipates modern football (soccer). The article goes on to cite suitably sparse documentation for the non-existent sport, and to assert that a Roman form of the game enjoyed a certain popularity amongst the Roman legions, and consequently spread throughout the Empire as far afield as Britain, "where the game enjoyed a revival in the 19th century." (It also notes that the game was frowned upon by some early Christian writers, such as Tertullian.)

The ancient Romans did play a form of football called harpastum.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Deadhead or Dead Head is a name given to fans of the American jam band, the Grateful Dead. In the 1970s, a number of fans began travelling to see the band in as many shows or festival venues as they could. With large numbers of people thus attending strings of shows, a community developed. Deadheads developed their own idiom, slang and touchstones.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Pastoral, as an adjective, refers to the lifestyle of shepherds and pastoralists, moving livestock around larger areas of land according to seasons and availability of water and food. "Pastoral" also describes literature, art and music which depicts the life of shepherds, often in a highly idealised manner. It may also be used as a noun (a pastoral) to describe a single work of pastoral poetry, music or drama. An alternative name for the literary "pastoral" (both as an adjective and a noun) is bucolic, from the Greek βουκóλος, meaning a "cowherd". This reflects the Greek origin of the pastoral tradition.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The expression "exurb" (for "extra-urban") was coined by Auguste Comte Spectorsky in his 1955 book "The Exurbanites" to describe the ring of prosperous communities beyond the suburbs that are commuter towns for an urban area. Most exurbs serve as commuter towns, but most commuter towns are not exurban.

Exurbs are not unique to the United States. They are also found in other land-rich developed countries, notably Canada. Reasons for exurban growth vary. In the 1970s, rampant crime and urban decay in U.S. cities was the primary 'push force', whereas exurban growth has continued in the 2000s even as most U.S. cities experience plummeting crime and urban revitalization. However, house prices have skyrocketed, so middle-class people who want a large yard or farm are pushed beyond suburban counties.

Monday, February 22, 2010


Straphanger is a nickname for a standing subway or bus passenger who grips a hanging strap (nowadays usually an overhead horizontal bar) for support. The name is thought to have originated in the late 1800s when elevated trains had leather straps for the passengers to hold on to.

More generally, it has come to refer to a commuter who uses public transportation.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The polka is a lively Central European dance and also a genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. It originated in the middle of the 19th century in the Czech lands and is still a common genre in Swedish, Lithuanian, Czech, Polish, German, Hungarian, Austrian, Russian, Slovenian and Slovakian folk music. In light classical music, many polkas were composed by both Johann Strauss I and his son Johann Strauss II; a couple of well-known ones were composed by Bedřich Smetana, and Jaromír Vejvoda, the author of "Škoda lásky" ("Roll Out the Barrel").

Saturday, February 20, 2010


calumniate: To make hurtful untrue comments about (someone)

Friday, February 19, 2010


Macadam is a type of road construction pioneered by the Scotsman John Loudon McAdam in around 1820. The method simplified what had been considered state-of-the-art at that point.

He found that soil alone would support the road and traffic upon it, as long as it was covered by a road crust that would protect the soil underneath from water and wear. He used 2-inch broken stones in a layer 6-10 inches deep and depended on the road traffic to pack it into a dense mass, although for quicker compacting, a cast-iron roller could be used.

With the advent of motor vehicles, dust became a serious problem on macadam roads. The vacuum created under fast-moving vehicles sucks dust from the road surface, creating dust clouds and a gradual raveling (pulling apart) of the road material. This problem was later rectified by spraying tar on the surface to create tar-bound macadam, more commonly known as tarmac.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


The term oceanarium is not well defined. It can either mean a marine mammal park such as Marineland of Florida or a large-scale aquarium such as the Lisbon Oceanarium presenting an ocean habitat with marine animals, especially large ocean dwellers (e.g. sharks).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Scutum (pronounced /ˈskjuːtəm/, pl. scuta) is the Latin word for "shield", although it has in modern times come to be specifically associated with the rectangular, semi-cylindrical body shield carried by ancient Roman legionaries. The shield's curved shape covered the wielder's front and sides, affording excellent protection.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


The Venezuelan Troupial or Troupial (Turpial in Spanish), also known as Icterus icterus is the national bird of Venezuela and one of about 25 or so species of "New World Orioles".

Monday, February 15, 2010


A cataphract was a form of heavy cavalry used by nomadic eastern Iranian tribes and dynasties and later Ancient Greeks and Romans. Historically the cataphract was a heavily armed and armoured cavalryman who saw action from the earliest days of Antiquity up through the High Middle Ages.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


spokesdouche: a spokesperson douchebag.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


A mantilla is a lace or silk scarf worn over the head and shoulders, often over a high comb, popular with women in Spain and Latin America.

Friday, February 12, 2010


tiresome: Causing fatigue or boredom; wearisome.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


A gymslip is a sleeveless tunic with a pleated skirt most commonly seen as part of a girl's school uniform. The term gymslip primarily refers to athletic wear; otherwise the term pinafore dress (British English) or jumper dress (American English) is usually preferred.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A snuggie is a brand of sleeved blanket is a body-length blanket with sleeves usually made of synthetic fleece. The product has been marketed as the Slanket, Snuggler, Toasty Wrap, and Snuggie with varying sizes and qualities of materials but similar basic design.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Ferguson: A suicide prevention smock used to forcibly protect incarcerated persons from attempting self-harm.

Monday, February 8, 2010


soupçon: A very small amount; a hint; a trace

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Nordquistian: an often derogatory term meaning "like Grover Nordquist," a right wing American politician quoted as saying "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Saturday, February 6, 2010


A zoonosis (pronounced /ˌzoʊəˈnoʊsɨs/) or zoonose is any infectious disease that is able to be transmitted (in some instances, by a vector) from other animals, both wild and domestic, to humans or from humans to animals (the latter is sometimes called reverse zoonosis). The word is derived from the Greek words zòon (animal) and nosos (ill). Many serious diseases fall under this category.

Friday, February 5, 2010


promulgation: the act of promulgating or announcing something, especially a proclamation announcing a new law.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Gematria or gimatria (Hebrew: גימטריה‎, gēmaṭriyā) is a system of assigning numerical value to an alphabet. The word "gematria" is generally held to derive from Greek geōmetriā, "geometry", which was used a translation of gēmaṭriyā, though some scholars believe it to derive from Greek grammateia, rather; it's possible that both words had an influence on the formation of the Hebrew word. It has been extant in English since the 17th century from translations of works by Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. Although ostensibly derived from Greek, it is largely used in Jewish texts of Tanakh and Talmud, notably in those associated with the Kabbalah.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Twelver or Imami Shī‘ism (Ithnā‘ashariyyah', Arabic: اثنا عشرية‎) is the largest branch of Shī‘ī (Shi'a) Islam. An adherent of Twelver Shī‘ism is most commonly referred to as a Twelver, which is derived from their belief in twelve divinely ordained leaders, known as the Twelve Imāms. Approximately 85% of Shī‘a are Twelvers, representing the largest branch of the Shī‘a, and the term Shi'a Muslim as commonly used in English usually refers to Twelver Shī‘a Muslims only.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


A planform or plan view is a vertical orthographic projection of an object on a horizontal plane, like a map.

In aviation, a planform is the shape and layout of an airplane's wing and fuselage. Of all the myriad planforms used, they can typically be grouped into those used for low-speed flight, found on general aviation aircraft, and those used for high-speed flight, found on many military aircraft and airliners.

Monday, February 1, 2010


Superfluity: The quality or state of being superfluous; in excess or overabundance.