Monthly Archives: April 2017

Asteroseismology

Asteroseismology is the study of oscillations in stars. Because a star’s different oscillation modes are sensitive to different parts of the star, they inform astronomers about the internal structure of the star, which is otherwise not directly possible from overall properties like brightness and surface temperature.

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Champawat Tiger

The Champawat Tiger was a female Bengal tiger responsible for an estimated 436 deaths in Nepal and the Kumaon area of India.

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Antikythera Mechanism

The Antikythera mechanism is an ancient analogue computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes, as well as the cycles of the ancient Olympic Games.

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Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer

Potentially Dangerous Taxpayer (PDT) is a government designation assigned by the Internal Revenue Service to taxpayers of the United States of America whom IRS officials claim have demonstrated a capacity for violence.

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Schmidt Sting Pain Index

The Schmidt sting pain index is a pain scale rating the relative pain caused by different hymenopteran stings.

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Propinquity

The propinquity effect is the tendency for people to form friendships or romantic relationships with those whom they encounter often, forming a bond between subject and friend.

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Ganesha

He is popularly worshipped as a remover of obstacles, though traditionally he also places obstacles in the path of those who need to be checked.

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Kiss Up, Kick Down

 

Kiss up, kick down is a neologism used to describe the situation where middle level employees in an organization are polite and flattering to superiors but abusive to subordinates.

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Infinite Monkey Theorem

In 2003, lecturers and students from the University of Plymouth MediaLab Arts course used a £2,000 grant from the Arts Council to study the literary output of real monkeys.  Not only did the monkeys produce nothing but five total pages largely consisting of the letter S, the lead male began by bashing the keyboard with a stone, and the monkeys continued by urinating and defecating on it.

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The Sleeping Girl of Turville

In 1871, aged eleven, she purportedly fell asleep and did not wake for nine years.

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Halo Effect

If the observer likes one aspect of something, they will have a positive predisposition toward everything about it. If the observer dislikes one aspect of something, they will have a negative predisposition toward everything about it.

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Big Nose George

George Parrott, also known as Big Nose George, Big beak Parrott, George Manuse and George Warden, was a cattle rustler and highwayman in the American Wild West in the late 19th century. His skin was made into a pair of shoes after his lynching and part of his skull was used as an ashtray.

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Guard Llama

A guard llama is a llama, guanaco, alpaca or hybrid that is used in farming to protect livestock from predators.

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Méduse

On the raft, the situation deteriorated rapidly. Among the provisions were casks of wine instead of water. Fights broke out. On the first night adrift, 20 men were killed or committed suicide. Stormy weather threatened, and only the centre of the raft was secure. Dozens died either in fighting to get to the centre, or because they were washed overboard by the waves.

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Battle of Herat

The plan, organized by General Franks and General Safavi, was for Iranian Special Forces to discreetly enter the city and form an insurrection against the Taliban.  Meanwhile, a team of U.S. Special Forces and CIA agents would oversee the operation in Tehran alongside Iranian military intelligence.

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Kali River Goonch Attacks

The Kali River goonch attacks were a series of fatal attacks on humans believed to be perpetrated by man-eating goonch catfish in three villages on the banks of the Kali River in India and Nepal, between 1998 and 2007.

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Colossi of Memnon

In 27 BCE, a large earthquake reportedly shattered the northern colossus.  Following its rupture, the remaining lower half of this statue was then reputed to “sing” on various occasions.  The description varied; Strabo said it sounded “like a blow”, Pausanias compared it to “the string of a lyre” breaking, but it also was described as the striking of brass or whistling.

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Semantic Satiation

Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.

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