Arcology

A portmanteau of the words “architecture” and “ecology,” arcology refers to a set of architectural principles concerning the design of enormous habitats meant to accommodate an extremely high human population density. These largely hypothetical “hyperstructures” are designed to contain a variety of residential, commercial, and agricultural facilities intended to minimize individual human environmental impact. What existing structures incorporate principles of arcology in their design? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Carnival (Venice)

The Carnival celebration in Venice, Italy, is more sophisticated than the flashy celebrations that take place in Rio de Janeiro and New Orleans. Costumes for the event are often drawn from the stock characters of Italian popular theater from the 16th through 18th centuries—including traditional costumed characters such as La Bautta (the domino) and Il Dottore (the professor or doctor of law). Italian university students pour into Venice as Ash Wednesday draws near. The rhythm of the celebration quickens, evidenced by a number of spectacular costume balls. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Elephant Intelligence

Elephants are some of the most intelligent mammals on the planet and can therefore be trained to work and perform. However, their complex temperaments make training and handling them a challenge. Extensive studies place elephants in the category of great apes in terms of cognitive abilities for tool use and tool making, and their problem solving ability is considered equal to that of dolphins. Elephants are the only animals in the world known to have a ritual surrounding what event? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Float Festival (Theppotsavam)

The Float Festival is held at the temple city of Madurai in the state of Tamil Nadu, India, to commemorate the birth of Tirumala Nayak, a 17th-century king of Madurai. The center of the festival is the Mariamman Teppakulam pond surrounding a temple on an island. Images of the goddess Meenakshi and her consort are floated on a flower-bedecked raft to the illuminated temple, and a spectacular array of lit floats moves in procession around the pond, accompanied by music and chanted hymns. Thousands of pilgrims from all over India attend this enormously popular festival. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Caspian Sea

The Caspian Sea is actually an inland salt lake located between Europe and Asia. It borders Azerbaijan, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Iran. With an area of 149,200 sq mi (386,400 sq km), it is the largest inland body of water in the world. It receives many rivers but has no outlet and was an important part of the Mongol-Baltic trade route in the premodern era. Today, it is a major source of beluga caviar and petroleum. What other names has the Caspian Sea been called throughout history? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Sea Ice

Sea ice covers several million square miles of Earth’s surface. Because salt is expelled during the freezing process, this ice is fresher than the seawater from which it forms. Most sea ice is pack ice that drifts across the ocean surface, but some, known as fast ice, is attached to coasts, the seafloor, or grounded icebergs. Factors like the age of the sea ice, air temperatures, and solar insolation all affect its freezing and melting. Why does first-year ice melt more easily than older ice? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary