GRE Words, page 12


Swearing can have even more salubrious effects. Researchers at Keele University in Staffordshire, England reported in July 2009 that cursing can reduce physical pain. In their experiment, volunteers held their hands in ice water, first while cursing and then while using less objectionable phrases. Those who cursed were able to keep their hands submerged longer, an effect that was especially strong among volunteers who said they didn’t typically curse.
Does Swearing At Work Get The Job Done? By Sean Stonefield. @
salubrious = Favorable to health.


In 2004, the FCC imposed a record $550,000 fine on CBS for its broadcast of a Super Bowl half-time show (produced by then sister-unit MTV) in which singer Janet Jackson's breast was briefly exposed. It was the largest fine ever for a violation of federal decency laws. Following the incident CBS apologized to its viewers and denied foreknowledge of the event, which was broadcast live on TV. In 2008, a Philadelphia federal court annulled the fine imposed on CBS, labelling it “arbitrary and capricious”.
CBS, 2011-06-30
capricious = characterized by or subject to whim; impulsive and unpredictable.


4. In 1979, Robert Jahn, then dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science at Princeton University, established the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research (PEAR) unit to study putative paranormal phenomena such as psychokinesis. Like Schmidt, Jahn was particularly interested in the possibility that people can predict and/or influence purely random subatomic processes. Given his superb academic and scientific credentials, his claims of success drew particular attention within the scientific community. When his laboratory closed in 2007, Jahn concluded that “over the laboratory’s 28-year history, thousands of such experiments, involving many millions of trials, were performed by several hundred operators. The observed effects were usually quite small, of the order of a few parts in ten thousand on average, but they compounded to highly significant statistical deviations from chance expectations” (PEAR, n.d.).
Back from the Future: Parapsychology and the Bem Affair By James Alcock. @
putative = Generally believed; supposed.


Much has been made of the negative light in which Julian Assange appears in the article. Wired's Kim Zetter published a digest piece, in which the more absurd claims of the piece are given particular attention but little critical treatment. The more colourful parts of the article were, predictably, grist to the celebrity gossip mill.
Bill Keller and Wikileaks @
grist = grain intended to be or that has been ground.


In the 1970s, after a long series of experiments, White performed a transplant of one monkey head onto the body of another monkey, although it lasted just a few days. These operations were continued and perfected to the point where the transplanted head could have survived indefinitely on its new body, though the animals were in fact euthanized. The problem with this operation is that since no one currently knows how to repair nerve damage which would arise when the spinal cord is severed during the head transplant process, the recipient would become paralyzed from the neck down.
Robert J. White 2011-01-27


…[some companies] are teaming up with local partners to build plants in China and circumvent the country's nettlesome trade barriers.


One edict for Star Trek [script]: The crew of the Enterprise always gets along.
Time Mag ≈1990s


A jeremiad is a long literary work, usually in prose, but sometimes in verse, in which the author bitterly laments the state of society and its morals in a serious tone of sustained invective, and always contains a prophecy of society's imminent downfall.
Jeremiad, 2012-12-08
Also of interest: obloquy, philippic.
jeremiad = A tale of sorrow, disappointment, or complaint; a doleful story; a dolorous tirade. Synonyms includes: tirade, diatribes, fulmination, harangue.


Once upon a time, riddles were respectable. Their antiquity and function can be guessed at from the word's origin in Old English raedan, “a story or interpretation”, which is cognate with words meaning “counsel, opinion, conjecture” and is also the origin of our modern word “read”. Such poems (for in its original form the riddle was a verse form) were a regular part of entertainment and instruction, an elevated form of guessing game.
World Wide Words: I SPY GRY! By Michael Quinion. @


Plenty of maladroit decisions were made.
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