Friday, July 31, 2015


The term middlebrow describes both a certain type of easily accessible art, often literature, as well as the population that uses art to acquire culture and class that is usually unattainable. First used by the British satire magazine Punch in 1925, middlebrow is derived as the intermediary between highbrow and lowbrow, terms derived from phrenology. Middlebrow has famously gained notoriety from derisive attacks by Dwight Macdonald, Virginia Woolf, and to a certain extent, Russell Lynes. It has been classified as a forced and ineffective attempt at cultural and intellectual achievement, as well as characterizing literature that emphasizes emotional and sentimental connections rather than literary quality and innovation.

The Book-of-the-Month Club and Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club have been widely characterized as middlebrow, marketed to bring classics and 'highbrow' literature to the middle class. Janice Radway in her seminal account of the Book-of-the-Month Club (as it was from its inception in 1926 to the 1980s before it transformed to a purely commercial operation) A Feeling for Books, argues that middlebrow culture is not simply a diluted impersonation of highbrow, but instead distinctly defined itself in defiance of avant-garde high culture. The club provided subscribers with literature selected by expert and ‘generalist’ judges, but held the personal, emotional experience of reading a good book as paramount, while simultaneously maintaining ‘high standards’ for literary quality. In this way, the club was in opposition to the general criticism of middlebrow culture in that it is forced high culture. Instead, Radway demonstrates that the middlebrow culture allows readers to simultaneously access the emotional and intellectual challenges that good reading provides. Radway also identifies the conflicting gender messages sent by the selections. While the club was marketed extensively to the female reader, including its emphasis on the emotional pleasure of books, the focus on intellectual, academic literature of the middlebrow trapped the reader into the constrictive masculine standards of value, classifying ‘great books’ as those that fell in line with male, technical classifications of excellence.

Thursday, July 30, 2015


Exonumia are numismatic items (such as tokens, medals, or scrip) other than coins and paper money. This includes "Good For" tokens, badges, counterstamped coins, elongated coins, encased coins, souvenir medallions, tags, wooden nickels and other similar items. It is related to numismatics (concerned with coins which have been legal tender), and many coin collectors are also exonumists.
Besides the above strict definition, others extend it to include non-coins which may or may not be legal tenders such as cheques, credit cards and similar paper. These can also be considered notaphily or scripophily.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


積ん読 (hiragana つんどく, romaji tsundoku)

  1. (informal) the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piled up together with such other unread books

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


The question mark (?; also known as an interrogation point, interrogation mark, question point, query, or eroteme), is a punctuation mark that replaces the full stop (period) at the end of an interrogative sentence in English and many other languages. The question mark is not used for indirect questions. The question mark character is also often used in place of missing or unknown data. In Unicode, it is encoded at U+003F ? question mark (HTML: ?).

Lynne Truss attributes an early form of the modern question mark in western language to Alcuin of York. Truss describes the punctus interrogativus of the late 8th century as "a lightning flash, striking from right to left". (The punctuation system of Aelius Donatus, current through the Early Middle Ages, used only simple dots at various heights.)

This earliest question mark was a decoration of one of these dots, with the "lightning flash" perhaps meant to denote intonation (or a tilde or titlo, named after the Latin word titulus, as in " ·~ ", like those wavy and more or less slanted marks used in lots of medieval texts for denoting various things such as abbreviations, and that would become later various diacritics or ligatures or modified letters used in the Latin script), and perhaps associated with early musical notation like neumes. Over the next three centuries this pitch-defining element (if it ever existed) seems to have been forgotten, so that the Alcuinesque stroke-over-dot sign (with the stroke sometimes slightly curved) is often seen indifferently at the end of clauses, whether they embody a question or not.

In the early 13th century, when the growth of communities of scholars (universities) in Paris and other major cities led to an expansion and streamlining of the book-production trade, punctuation was rationalised by assigning Alcuin's stroke-over-dot specifically to interrogatives; by this time the stroke was more sharply curved and can easily be recognised as the modern question-mark.

The symbol is also sometimes thought to originate from the Latin quaestiō (that is, qvaestio), meaning "question", which was abbreviated during the Middle Ages to qo. The lowercase q was written above the lowercase o, and this mark was transformed into the modern symbol. However, evidence of the actual use of the Q-over-o notation in medieval manuscripts is lacking; if anything, medieval forms of the upper component seem to be evolving towards the q-shape rather than away from it.

Monday, July 27, 2015



transpontine (not comparable)
  1. Of, pertaining to, or situated on the far side of a bridge
  2. Of, or pertaining to the sensational melodramas presented on the south side of the Thames in the 19th century or earlier.
    Such transpontine spectacles are not usually seen in our local theatre

Sunday, July 26, 2015


In literary criticism, a Bildungsroman (German pronunciation: [ˈbɪldʊŋs.ʁoˌmaːn]; German: "formation novel") or novel of formation, also coming-of-age story is a literary genre that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood (coming of age), and in which character change is thus extremely important.

Saturday, July 25, 2015


Tractable (meaning "easily managed") may refer to:
  1. Capable of being easily led, taught, or managed; docile; manageable; governable
  2. Capable of being shaped; malleable
  3. (obsolete) Capable of being handled or touched; palpable; practicable; feasible; serviceable.
  4. (mathematics) Sufficiently operationalizable or useful to allow a mathematical calculation to proceed toward a solution. Another involves the use of mathematical closed-form expressions
  5. (computer science) Of a decision problem, algorithmically solvable fast enough to be practically relevant, typically in polynomial time.

Friday, July 24, 2015


Shadism is a form of skin tone bias that identifies groups and individuals on the basis of degree of skin pigmentation.

It is an evaluation of people that minutely registers traits such as skin color, hair, and facial features to construct social hierarchies. For example, in the context of social apartheid in Brazil, and elsewhere in Latin America, people with pale skin, tall stature, light eyes, dark and very straight or light and straight or wavy hair, and aquiline noses are considered more beautiful, powerful, influent and good-natured than people of European and Middle Eastern descent with other phenotypes, and those are of greater status than lower and middle-class people of Asian descent in social hierarchy, which also gives preference to multiracials (Pardos, mestizos, etc.) whose features more closely touches the idealized Northern and Western Europeans in comparison to those whose facial features, hair texture and skin color more resemble the Africans, or whose facial features and stature more resemble Amerindians, the latter associated with savagery, uneducation and superstitions.

Shadism is closely related to 'colorism', an associated practice that is the manifestation of an internalized, colonial-induced racial self-hatred.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Navvy is a shorter form of navigator (UK) or navigational engineer (USA) and is particularly applied to describe the manual labourers working on major civil engineering projects. The term was coined in the late 18th century in Britain when numerous canals were being built, which were also sometimes known as "navigations", or "eternal navigations", intended to last forever.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Stratigraphy is a branch of geology which studies rock layers and layering (stratification). It is primarily used in the study of sedimentary and layered volcanic rocks. Stratigraphy includes two related subfields: lithologic stratigraphy or lithostratigraphy, and biologic stratigraphy or biostratigraphy.

File:Quebrada de Cafayate, Salta (Argentina).jpg

Monday, July 20, 2015


Stevedore, dockworker, docker, dock labourer, wharfie and longshoreman can have various waterfront-related meanings concerning loading and unloading ships, according to place and country.

The word stevedore originated in Portugal or Spain, and entered the English language through its use by sailors. It started as a phonetic spelling of estivador (Portuguese) or estibador (Spanish), meaning a man who stuffs, here in the sense of a man who loads ships, which was the original meaning of stevedore; compare Latin stīpāre meaning to stuff, as in to fill with stuffing. In the United Kingdom, men who load and unload ships are usually called dockers, in Australia wharfies, while in the United States and Canada the term longshoreman, derived from man-along-the-shore, is used. Before extensive use of container ships and shore-based handling machinery in the U.S., longshoremen referred exclusively to the dockworkers, while stevedores, in a separate trade union, worked on the ships, operating ship's cranes and moving cargo. In Canada, the term stevedore has also been used, for example, in the name of the Western Stevedoring Company, Ltd., based in Vancouver, B.C. in the 1950s.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


An aglet (or aiglet) is a small plastic or metal sheath typically used on each end of a shoelace, cord, or drawstring. An aglet keeps the fibers of the lace or cord from unraveling; its firmness and narrow profile make it easier to hold and easier to feed through the eyelets, lugs, or other lacing guides.

File:Three Different Aglets.jpg

Saturday, July 18, 2015


A rocket propellant combination used in a rocket engine is called hypergolic when the propellants spontaneously ignite when they come into contact with each other. The two propellant components usually consist of a fuel and an oxidizer. Although hypergolic propellants tend to be difficult to handle because of their extreme toxicity and/or corrosiveness, they can typically be stored as liquids at room temperature and hypergolic engines are easy to ignite reliably and repeatedly.
In contemporary usage, the terms "hypergol" or "hypergolic propellant" usually mean the most common such propellant combination, dinitrogen tetroxide plus hydrazine and/or its relatives monomethyl hydrazine and unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine.

File:MK6 TITAN II.jpg

Friday, July 17, 2015



Kept secret, esp. because it would not be approved of.

secret - furtive - stealthy - clandestine - underhand

Thursday, July 16, 2015


prolepsis (plural prolepses) NOUN

  1. (rhetoric) The assignment of something to a period of time that precedes it.
  2. (logic) The anticipation of an objection to an argument.
  3. (grammar, rhetoric) A construction that consists of placing an element in a syntactic unit before that to which it would logically correspond.
  4. (philosophy, epistemology) A so-called "preconception", i.e. a pre-theoretical notion which can lead to true knowledge of the world.
  5. (botany) Growth in which lateral branches develop from a lateral meristem, after the formation of a bud or following a period of dormancy, when the lateral meristem is split from a terminal meristem.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


The cherimoya, also spelled chirimoya, is the fruit of the species Annona cherimola, which generally is thought to be native to the Andes, although an alternative hypothesis proposes Central America as the origin of cherimoya because many of its wild relatives occur in this area. Today cherimoya is grown throughout South Asia, Central America, South America, Southern California and southern Andalucia [La Axarquia].

File:Cherimoya fruit hg.jpg

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

bras dessus, bras dessous

bras dessus, bras dessous is a French phrase meaning arm in arm.

Monday, July 13, 2015


Dendrochronology (from δένδρον, dendron, "tree limb"; χρόνος, khronos, "time"; and -λογία, -logia) or tree-ring dating is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings, also known as growth rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year. This has three main areas of application: paleoecology, where it is used to determine certain aspects of past ecologies (most prominently climate); archaeology, where it is used to date old buildings, etc.; and radiocarbon dating, where it is used to calibrate radiocarbon ages (see below).
In some areas of the world, it is possible to date wood back a few thousand years, or even many thousands. Currently, the maximum for fully anchored chronologies is a little over 11,000 years from present.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

boiling the ocean

boiling the ocean

To attempt something that is way too ambitious, effectively impossible. An idea too broad in scope to accomplish.

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Empyrean, from the Medieval Latin empyreus, an adaptation of the Ancient Greek ἔμπυρος empyrus "in or on the fire (pyr)", properly Empyrean Heaven, is the place in the highest heaven, which in ancient cosmologies was supposed to be occupied by the element of fire (or aether in Aristotle's natural philosophy).

The Empyrean was thus used as a name for the firmament, and in Christian literature, notably the Divine Comedy, for the dwelling-place of God, the blessed, celestial beings so divine they are made of pure light, and the source of light and creation. The word is used both as a substantive and as an adjective, but empyreal is an alternate adjective form as well. Having the same Greek origin are the scientific words empyreuma and empyreumatic, applied to the characteristic smell of the burning or charring of vegetable or animal matter.

Friday, July 10, 2015


Castanets are a percussion instrument (idiophone), used in Kalo, Moorish, Ottoman, ancient Roman, Italian, Spanish, Sephardic, Swiss, and Portuguese music. The instrument consists of a pair of concave shells joined on one edge by a string. They are held in the hand and used to produce clicks for rhythmic accents or a ripping or rattling sound consisting of a rapid series of clicks. They are traditionally made of hardwood (chestnut; Spanish: castaña), although fibreglass is becoming increasingly popular.

Thursday, July 9, 2015


The term oracy was coined by Andrew Wilkinson, a British researcher and educator, in the 1960s. This word is formed by analogy from literacy and numeracy. The purpose is to draw attention to the neglect of oral skills in education. More traditionally oral skills have been considered a part of rhetoric.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Canadian Aboriginal syllabic writing, or simply syllabics, is a family of abugidas (consonant-based alphabets) used to write a number of Aboriginal Canadian languages of the Algonquian, Inuit, and (formerly) Athabaskan language families. They are valued for their distinctiveness from the Latin script of the dominant colonial languages and for the ease with which literacy can be achieved; indeed, by the late 19th century the Cree had achieved what may have been one of the highest rates of literacy in the world.
File:Winnipeg Forks - Plains Cree Inscription.jpg
Canadian syllabics are currently used to write all of the Cree dialects from Naskapi (spoken in Quebec) to the Rocky Mountains, including Eastern Cree, Woods Cree, Swampy Cree and Plains Cree. They are also used to write Inuktitut in the eastern Canadian Arctic; there they are co-official with the Latin script in the territory of Nunavut. They are used regionally for the other large Canadian Algonquian language, Ojibwe in Western Canada, as well as for Blackfoot, where they are obsolete. Among the Athabaskan languages further to the west, syllabics have been used at one point or another to write Dakelh (Carrier), Chipewyan, Slavey, Tli Cho (Dogrib), Tasttine (Beaver). Syllabics have occasionally been used in the United States by communities that straddle the border, but are principally a Canadian phenomenon.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Jenever (also known as junever, genièvre, genever, jeniever, peket, Jajem (Amsterdam slang) or in the English-speaking world as Holland gin or Dutch gin), is the juniper-flavored and strongly alcoholic traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium, from which gin evolved. Traditional jenever is still very popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. European Union regulations specify that only liquor made in these two countries, two French provinces and two German federal states can use the name jenever.

Monday, July 6, 2015


Frippertronics was a specific tape looping technique used by Robert Fripp. It evolved from a system of tape looping originally developed in the electronic music studios of the early 1960s that was first used by composers Terry Riley and Pauline Oliveros and made popular through its use in ambient music by composer Brian Eno.

Sunday, July 5, 2015


The millets are a group of highly variable small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for both human food and fodder. They do not form a taxonomic group, but rather a functional or agronomic one. Millets are important crops in the semi-arid tropics of Asia and Africa (especially in India, Nigeria, and Niger), with 97% of millet production in developing countries. The crop is favored due to its productivity and short growing season under dry, high temperature conditions.

Saturday, July 4, 2015


Related to or pertaining to dawn.


Friday, July 3, 2015


Piphilology comprises the creation and use of mnemonic techniques to remember a span of digits of the mathematical constant π. The word is a play on the word "pi" itself and of the linguistic field of philology.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Pseudepigrapha are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is represented by a separate author; or a work, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past." The word "pseudepigrapha" (from the Greek: ψευδής, pseude, "false" and ἐπιγραφή, epigraphē, "name" or "inscription" or "ascription"; thus when taken together it means "false superscription or title"; see the related epigraphy) is the plural of "pseudepigraphon" (sometimes Latinized as "pseudepigraphum"); the Anglicized forms "pseudepigraph" and "pseudepigraphs" are also used.

Pseudepigraphy covers the false ascription of names of authors to works, even to authentic works that make no such claim within their text. Thus a widely accepted but an incorrect attribution of authorship may make a completely authentic text pseudepigraphical. Assessing the actual writer of a text locates questions of pseudepigraphical attribution within the discipline of literary criticism.
In Biblical studies, the pseudepigrapha are Jewish religious works written c 200 BC to 200 AD, not all of which are literally pseudepigraphical.

They are distinguished by Protestants from the Deuterocanonical (Catholic and Orthodox) or Apocrypha (Protestant), the books that appear in the Septuagint and Vulgate but not in the Hebrew Bible or in Protestant Bibles. Catholics distinguish only between the deuterocanonical and all the other books, that are called biblical Apocrypha, a name that is also used for the pseudepigrapha in the Catholic usage.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


The cognomen (/kɒɡˈnmɛn/, /ˈkɒɡnəmən/; Latin: [koːŋˈnoːmen]; Latin plural cōgnōmina; con- "together with" and (g)nōmen "name") was the third name of a citizen of ancient Rome, under Roman naming conventions. The cognomen started as a nickname, but lost that purpose when it became hereditary. Hereditary cognomina were used to augment the second name (the family name, or clan name) in order to identify a particular branch within a family or family within a clan. Outside of this particular use of the word, the term has taken on a variety of other meanings in the contemporary era.