technical

spod – A studious person who is quite socially inept or dull or a person who pursues an unfashionable, technical, or esoteric interest with obsessive dedication. More…

masterpiece – Originally, it was used in a technical or academic sense to apply to a work that was presented to a medieval guild for qualification as a “master.” More…

technical, technic – Technical is based on technic, an adjective meaning “pertaining to art,” from Greek tekhne, “art.” More…

technicize – To make technical. More…

Pope Benedict XV Canonizes Joan of Arc (1920)

Joan of Arc was a French military leader. As a girl, she began hearing voices—those of saints, she believed—exhorting her to aid the dauphin, who was being kept from the throne by the English in the Hundred Years War. Joan organized the French resistance that defeated the English siege of Orléans and had the dauphin crowned Charles VII. Captured and sold to the English by the Burgundians thereafter, she was tried for heresy and witchcraft. How old was she when she was burned at the stake? Discuss

Pope Innocent XI (1611)

In 1676, Benedetto Odescalchi was elected pope despite the strong opposition of Louis XIV of France, with whom he had a long, bitter quarrel over Gallicanism—a French Roman Catholic tradition of resistance to papal authority. He took the name Innocent XI. As Pope, Innocent lived very parsimoniously and sought to curb nepotism among the cardinals. He closed all of the theaters in Rome—deemed centers of vice and immorality—and brought a temporary halt to the flourishing tradition of what? Discuss

Silent Film

Before the technology that incorporates sound into film was developed, films had no synchronized sound for dialogue. Instead, graphic titles were used to clarify the on-screen situation to the audience, and live music was often featured. This music, frequently improvised by a piano player, was viewed as an essential part of the moviegoing experience, as it provided the audience with vital emotional cues for the action taking place on screen. What famous animated film is considered a silent film? Discuss

healing

balsam – First referred to an aromatic resinous substance with healing or soothing properties. More…

healing, curing – Healing is a process in which an organism’s health is restored; curing is a method that promotes healing. More…

psychiatry – From Greek psykhe, “mind,” and iatreia, “healing.” More…

salve – The main semantic element is “healing,” but the etymological meaning is “oily substance.” More…

Van Gogh's Portrait of Doctor Gachet Sold for $82.5 Million (1990)

In June 1890, shortly before his death, Vincent Van Gogh created two versions of a painting depicting his doctor, Paul Gachet. The paintings, called Portrait of Dr. Gachet, portray the doctor seated beside a foxglove plant, an extract of which is used to treat heart conditions. In 1990, 100 years after it was first painted, Japanese businessman Ryoei Saito purchased one version of the work for the record sum of $82.5 million. Why did he later say he would have the painting burned? Discuss

Aoi Matsuri

One of the three major festivals of Kyoto, Japan, the Aoi Matsuri, or Hollyhock Festival, is believed to date from the sixth century. The festival’s name derives from the hollyhock leaves adorning the headdresses of the participants; legend says hollyhocks help prevent storms and earthquakes. Today, the festival, which was revived in 1884, consists of a re-creation of the original imperial procession. Some 500 people in ancient costume parade with horses and large lacquered oxcarts carrying the “imperial messengers” from the Kyoto Imperial Palace to the shrines. Discuss

Pierre Curie (1859)

Pierre Curie was a chemist who studied crystallography, magnetism, piezoelectricity, and the emerging field of radioactivity, first observed by A. H. Becquerel in 1896. Pierre and his wife Marie worked to isolate polonium and radium. Working with a student, Pierre also discovered nuclear energy by identifying the continuous emission of heat from radium particles. In 1903, the Curies shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Becquerel. Three years later, Pierre died in what type of accident? Discuss