Something(s) I never knew May 2022

Of course ...
there are a bajillion things I don’t know.
Link → ‘Gibralter’
→ ‘circa’
→ ‘caprice’
→ ‘refugium’
→ ‘relict’
→ ‘Alba’
→ ‘Mineola, Texas’
→ ‘electrolysis’
→ ‘bacteriophage’
→ ‘serve-and-volley’
→ ‘climbing, spelunking, canyoneering’
→ ‘loophole’
→ ‘pilcrow’
→ ‘red dog rush’
→ ‘Y. A. Tittle’
→ ‘medical_terminology’
→ ‘(More) exactly how the Moon affects the tides and why there are two tidal cycles per lunar day’
→ ‘oral exam’
→ ‘hypocoristic / hypocorism’
→ ‘Combined system’
→ ‘enjambment’
→ ‘dubrae’
→ ‘Never dump your aquarium’
→ ‘The Mohole project’
→ ‘pericarp’
→ ‘Eames poster’
→ ‘nosocomial’
→ ‘celerity’
→ ‘The Richness of Time’
→ ‘mendokusai’

A British Overseas Territory; not uninhabited; and certainly not an island.



caprice (n.)

‘originally “a shivering,” a word of uncertain origin. Some guesses … or that the Italian word is connected with capo “head” + riccio “curl, frizzled,” literally “hedgehog” (from Latin ericius). The notion in this case would be of the hair standing on end, hence a person shivering in fear.’


refugium (n.)

In biology, a refugium (plural: refugia) is a location which supports an isolated or relict [see next entry] population of a once more widespread species.


relict (n.)

“a widow,” mid-15c., relicte, etymologically “one who is left, one who remains,” … also as an adjective in Middle English and early modern English, originally “left undisturbed or untouched, allowed to remain” (mid-15c.) but used in various senses.


Alba (n.)

Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. Historically, the term refers to Britain as a whole and is ultimately based on the Indo-European root for “white”.


Mineola, Texas
Mineola is a city in the U.S. state of Texas in Wood County.

The town was incorporated as the railroads arrived in 1873. A railroad official, Ira H. Evans, combined the names of his daughter, Ola, and her friend, Minnie Patten, to create the city name Mineola.,_Texas


The word “lysis” means to separate or break; therefore, electrolysis is more or less “breakdown via electricity”.


Bacteriophages are among the most common and diverse entities in the biosphere. Bacteriophages are ubiquitous viruses, found wherever bacteria exist.

In 1896, Ernest Hanbury Hankin reported that something in the waters of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in India had a marked antibacterial action against cholera and it could pass through a very fine porcelain filter.

Félix d’Hérelle announced on 3 September 1917, that he had discovered “an invisible, antagonistic microbe of the dysentery bacillus”. D’Hérelle called the virus a bacteriophage, a bacteria-eater (from the Greek phagein meaning “to devour”). D’Herelle researched bacteriophages and introduced the concept of phage therapy.


The serve-and-volley style of play has diminished in recent years with advances in racquet and string technologies which allow players to generate a great amount of top spin on groundstrokes and passing shots. The slowing of court surfaces and deflation of balls, promoting longer rallies for the enjoyment of spectators, has also devalued the serve-and-volley style.


climbing/spelunking/canyoneering Terms
  • chimneying: the process of pinching yourself between the two walls. Chimneying is achieved by placing your back against one wall and your feet against the other wall. Your body will be facing sideways or up. Your hands are used for balance and for helping you move.
  • stemming: a technique used to travel up or down a slot canyon. You place your left foot and left hand on one wall of the canyon and your right foot and right hand on the other wall. Your body faces forward.
  • bridging: a technique used to travel up or down a slot canyon. You place your hands on one wall of the canyon and your feet on the other wall. Your stomach points down to the ground.


The first records of loophole come around 1585. It combines loop, meaning “something folded on itself, leaving an opening between parts,” with hole, meaning “an opening.” Originally loophole referred to holes in castles or forts that archers could shoot arrows through.arrowslit: (often also referred to as an arrow loop, loophole or loop hole, and sometimes a balistraria, is a narrow vertical aperture in a fortification through which an archer can launch arrows or a crossbowman can launch bolts.

balistraria: a narrow often cruciform opening in a wall (such as a tower or fortress) for discharging arrows (as from a crossbow)


red dog rush
The blitz began with the “red-dog” rush, likely first done by Red Ettinger, a linebacker for the University of Kansas, sometime between 1948–1950.


Y. A. Tittle
Tittle was born and raised in Marshall, Texas. He aspired to be a quarterback from a young age, spending hours in his backyard throwing a football through a tire swing, emulating his fellow Texan and boyhood idol, Sammy Baugh.
Tittle played high school football at Marshall High School and college football at LSU.


(More) exactly how the Moon affects the tides and why there are two tidal cycles per lunar day
“However, inertia — the tendency of a moving object to keep moving — affects the earth’s oceans too. As the moon circles the earth, the earth moves in a very slight circle too, and this movement is enough to cause a centrifugal force on the oceans.

This inertia, or centrifugal force, causes the oceans to bulge on the opposite side facing the moon. While the moon’s gravitational pull is strong enough to attract oceans into a bulge on the side of the earth facing the moon, it is not strong enough to overcome the inertia on the opposite side of the earth. As a result, the world’s oceans bulge twice once when they are on the side of Earth closest to the moon, and once when they are on the side farthest from the moon, according to the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institution in Wood’s Hole, MA.

Geography complicates the tides, but many places on Earth experience just two high and two low tides every 24 hours and 50 minutes. (The extra 50 minutes is caused by the distance the moon moves each day as it ‘orbits’ Earth).”

And a more general example of a barycenter …


oral exam
After my teeth cleaning treatment, the dental hygienist asked if I had any questions.

I asked “Is plaque mineral or organic ?”

She gave a thorough answer — mentioned that the first layer on the teeth is called biofilm and that this changes to tartar over time.

I was intrigued by the word ‘biofilm’ and I went down the rabbit hole.

Excerpt from wiki

Dental plaque is a biofilm of microorganisms (mostly bacteria, but also fungi) that grows on surfaces within the mouth. It is a sticky colorless deposit at first, but when it forms tartar, it is often brown or pale yellow. It is commonly found between the teeth, on the front of teeth, behind teeth, on chewing surfaces, along the gumline (supragingival), or below the gumline cervical margins (subgingival). Dental plaque is also known as microbial plaque, oral biofilm, dental biofilm, dental plaque biofilm or bacterial plaque biofilm. Bacterial plaque is one of the major causes for dental decay and gum disease.


hypocoristic / hypocorism

It may be a pet name, a “name used to show affection for a person or object. It may be a diminutive form of a person’s name, such as Izzy for Isabel or Bob for Robert, or it may be unrelated.”

“It evolved from the Greek verb hypokorizesthai (“to call by pet names”), which itself comes from korizesthai (“to caress”).”


Combined system

Most of the UK has a combined sewage system, so wastewater from toilets is carried to sewage treatment works through the same pipes as rainwater.

To prevent homes and public spaces being flooded after heavy rains, the system is designed occasionally to overflow and discharge untreated sewage into rivers and the sea.

Sewage in sea: French appeal to EU over UK discharges of waste



Enjambment is a literary device in which a line of poetry carries its idea or thought over to the next line without a grammatical pause.



Dubraes keep laces tight and centered.

Click for the history of the dubrae


Never dump your aquarium

Dumping anything out of an aquarium — fish, animals, and plants — can have devastating consequences for Texas’ natural waterbodies. This is true for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums. Never dump them into a natural body of water or flush them down the toilet.

Click for ‘the next invasive species could come from your aquarium’


The Mohole project never got to second base

After a successful Phase 1 in 1961 off Guadalupe Island in the Pacific Ocean, the Mohole project devolved due to mismanagement, cost overruns, and scientific disagreement and was defunded in 1966. The deepest hole drilled was only to 601 feet (183 m) below the sea floor in 11,700 feet (3,600 m) of water.

The deepest hole ever drilled was the Kola Superdeep Borehole in Russia (near the Artic Ocean and near Finland), a depth of 12,262 meters (7.6 miles *) was reached in 1989.

Mystery Doug Overview

Project Mohole

Kola Superdeep Borehole

Mohorovičić discontinuity

* A large egg has an average diameter of about 43 mm and an average shell thickness of about 0.3 mm; if the egg would be scaled up to the diameter of the Earth, about 7920 miles, then the egg shell would be 55 miles thick. This means the drilling of 7.6 miles would represent only about 14% of the scaled egg shell thickness.



late 17th century: from French péricarpe, from Greek perikarpion ‘pod, shell’, from peri- ‘around’ + karpos ‘fruit’.

Drupe fruit diagram-en


Eames poster of the Men of Modern Mathematics
A history chart of mathematicians from 1000 to 1900

Click to see poster with marvelously zoomable closeups

Eames poster


An infection that is acquired in a hospital or other health care facility
(from Greek nosokomos ‘person who tends the sick’ + -ial)


Swiftness, rapidity of motion

The rattlesnake scored the highest measured acceleration, at 279 meters per second squared. But to their surprise, the nonvenomous rat snake came in a close second at 274 meters per second squared (275 meters per second squared = 28 Gs !).

Snakes probably evolved such quick strikes to compete with the reaction times of prey, Penning adds. Depending on the species and the situation, mammals can react and make an observable motion anywhere between 60 and 395 milliseconds. An average human eye blink, for instance, spans a leisurely 200 milliseconds.


The Richness of Time
Brian Greene, Dean Buonomano, and Lera Boroditsky talk
Premiered Jan 17, 2020

The Richness of Time


  • About a third of the world’s languages do not rely on words for right and left
  • In the Yagua language of Peru, there are five distinct grammatical forms of the past tense
  • “In English,” she says, moving her hand toward the cup, “if I knock this cup off the table, even accidentally, you would likely say, ‘She broke the cup.'” However, in Japanese or Spanish, she explains, intent matters.

Here’s a link to a lighthearted and insightful conversation between Shankar Vedantam and cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky

Lost In Translation: The Power Of Language To Shape How We View The World


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