Monthly Archives: January 2019

The Australian Open

The Australian Open is the year’s first event in the Grand Slam of tennis. It is played on synthetic hard courts in Melbourne, Australia, and known officially as the Australian Championships. The championship for men began in 1905, and the women’s championship in 1922. The matches became an “open” (to both amateurs and professionals) in 1969. Margaret Smith Court, an Australian known for her powerful serve and volley, is the all-time champion in the women’s division of the open; she won the title 11 times between 1960 and 1973. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Swing Kids

The Swing Kids were a group of jazz and swing music enthusiasts in Germany in the 1930s. Composed mainly of high school students, the group sought a British and American way of life in opposition to the Nazi ideology that was emerging in their country. Defining themselves by their taste in swing music—which was considered a “degenerate” Western import by the Nazis—the Swing Kids stood in contrast to the youth groups allied with the Nazi movement, including what notorious organizations? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Wabi-Sabi

Wabi-sabi is a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic focused on the acceptance of transience. The aesthetic is described as one of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, concepts derived from Buddhist beliefs about the nature of existence. Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity, simplicity, modesty, and intimacy—all of which are aspects perceived in nature. What type of art forms are derived from the wabi-sabi aesthetic? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Babin Den

In Bulgaria, the old women who helped deliver babies—much like the modern midwife—were called baba, or grandmother. It was widely believed that the baby received some of the baba’s wisdom, and it was customary for the baby’s parents to bring the baba flowers on a particular day each year, called Grandmother’s Day or Day of the Midwives. Eventually the children grew up, but they would continue to visit their baba each year. Most babies in Bulgaria today are born in hospitals, so the children bring flowers to the doctors and nurses who assisted at their birth. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

El Pochó Dance-Drama

St. Sebastian’s Day is celebrated throughout Latin America, but the dance-drama El Pochó, which takes place in Tenosique in Tabasco State, Mexico, on this day, is unique. On the morning of January 20, everyone gathers at the prearranged location, a house or a plaza. The pochoveras enter in their long skirts and embroidered blouses and perform the initial dance. Then the cojóes enter, wearing masks with exaggerated features. Soon the tigres (jaguars) invade the dance space, and the cojóes and tigres play at hunting each other until, finally, they join forces to chase the audience. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Alternative Biochemistry

Theories about extraterrestrial life forms whose biochemistries differ radically from those on Earth have given rise to alternative biochemistry, a speculative science that often appears in works of science fiction. Common examples proposed by scientists in this field include life forms that use elements other than carbon to construct primary cellular structures or those that use solvents other than water. Why is the silicon atom considered a possible basis for an alternative biochemical system? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Rock of Gibraltar

Home to the British colony of Gibraltar, the Rock of Gibraltar is a limestone promontory at the tip of Spain that guards the northeastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. It contains many caves and defense works and is home to a colony of macaques—the only wild primates in Europe. Known also by its Latin name, Calpe, the Rock of Gibraltar is considered one of the Pillars of Hercules described in ancient mythology. What is the other “pillar”? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary