Category Archives: Article of the Day

Kirlian Photography

Kirlian photography is a technique in which a high-voltage current is passed over a subject in contact with photographic film or paper. This produces an image surrounded by a luminous aura, which some claim is a bioenergetic field that can reveal information about a subject’s physical health and emotional state. The technique is named after Russian scientist Semyon Kirlian, who discovered the electric effect on which it is based. What type of subjects will produce images in Kirlian photography? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Nickelodeons

In the early days of motion pictures, screenings were part of vaudeville shows and arcades. However, in 1902, a California shop that showed only moving pictures had great success. Soon, “movie houses” were springing up nationwide. The first movie theater, complete with luxurious accessories and a piano, was built in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1905. A nickel was charged for admission, and the theater was called the nickelodeon. In general, how long were the films screened at nickelodeons? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Avalanches

Avalanches are sudden falls or slides of large masses of material down the side of a mountain and are classified by their content, such as snow, ice, soil, rock, or a mixture of these materials. They can reach speeds of more than 200 mph (320 km/h), pushing destructive air masses, known as avalanche winds, ahead of the falling debris. The actual impact of avalanche material, meanwhile, can also cause major devastation. What can trigger an avalanche, and what measures might help prevent one? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Click Consonants

Clicks are speech sounds used in many African languages, particularly in the Khoisan family of languages. They are produced by raising the back of the tongue to make contact with the palate and simultaneously closing the lips or touching the teeth or alveolar ridge with the tip and sides of the tongue. The only non-African language known to use clicks as regular speech sounds is Damin, spoken by certain Aboriginal Australians. What click sound is used in English to express disapproval or pity? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Loquat

The loquat is a small ornamental evergreen tree that belongs to the rose family and is related to the apple and other temperate-zone fruit trees. It bears yellowish, oval-shaped fruits that grow in clusters and taste similar to mildly tart apples or pears. Probably indigenous to China, it has been grown from antiquity in Japan and northern India and is also cultivated in Indochina, the Mediterranean region, and New World subtropics. What deadly poison is found in the fruit’s seeds? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Qanats

Known by many names throughout the Middle East and North Africa, qanats are water management systems used to provide water to human settlements and for irrigation in hot, arid, and semi-arid climates. Qanats are constructed as a series of well-like vertical shafts that tap into subterranean water and are connected by a gently sloping tunnel. Since the destination is lower than the source, the water drains into it by gravity. How were qanats used in ancient times to store ice in the desert? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Down Feathers

Down feathers are the soft, fine feathers that lie underneath the tougher exterior feathers of some adult birds and help prevent the loss of body heat. Because of its light weight, compressibility, and ability to retain heat, down is considered the best insulation material for outdoor equipment and is used in goods such as jackets, pillows, and sleeping bags. The discovery of feathers encased in ancient amber suggests that what now-extinct creatures may have also sported down-like feathers? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Gentleman

In English law, a gentleman was one who bore a coat of armor, was entitled to bear arms, and ranked above yeomen. However, by the 19th century, the word’s association with social rank had diminished, and rather than signify a distinction of blood, the term came to describe a man who is cultured, courteous, and well-educated. Today, it is often used, alongside “lady,” to emphasize norms expected in polite society. What qualities are associated with the Confucian “gentleman,” the junzi? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Problem of Evil

The “problem of evil” is the philosophical and theological dilemma of how to reconcile the existence of evil with the idea of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient deity. Some philosophers argue that the existence of such a God and of evil are logically incompatible. Others say that true free will cannot exist without the possibility of evil, that suffering is necessary for spiritual growth, or that evil is the consequence of a fallen world. What is the “problem of good”? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Coelacanths

Coelacanths, powerful predators with limb-like fins, appeared about 350 million years ago. Once considered the missing link between fish and tetrapods, they were thought to have become extinct 80 million years ago—until one was caught in 1938 near the southern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. They are deep-sea fish with hollow fin spines and average 5 ft (1.5 m) in length and weigh approximately 100 lb (45 kg). How is the coelacanth’s heart different from those of other vertebrates? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary