Posted: August 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Animals and Nature | Tags: | No Comments »

Rainforest in Monteverde, Costa Rica

Rainforests exist only through an interdependence of multifarious flora and fauna. They cover less than 2% of  Earth, yet they are home to 50% of its plants and animals. A typical four square-mile patch of rainforest contains up to 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds, and 150 species of butterflies. Even so, rainforests are being leveled at the rate of one football field per second, despite providing a livelihood for over 1 billion people.

Multifarious (pronounced “mult-əh-FAIR-ee-əs”)

Having great variety; diverse.


From Latin multi, “many”, plus fariam, “parts”. Fariam is also the root of omnifarious, meaning “all parts”.


sundry, multiform, manifold

Source Rainforest Facts |   Photo by: baxterclaus


Posted: August 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Animals and Nature | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Unusually colorful sea cucumber

Sea cucumbers are deep sea-dwelling animals that owe their shape to endoskeletons below the skin. These endoskeletons have the peculiar property of being liquefacient; when a sea cucumber is in danger, it can essentially liquefy itself and slip through minuscule spaces, then re-harden when safe from harm’s way. Its transmutable nature presents a special challenge in containing it within aquariums that have large pumps or filtration systems.

Liquefacient (pronounced “lik-wih-FAY-shent”)

1. a substance that liquefies or causes liquefaction
2. *becoming or causing to become liquid


From Latin liquere, “be fluid”, plus facere, “to make”.


Wikipedia: Sea Cucumber |   Photo by: laszlo-photo


Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Health and Body | Tags: | 1 Comment »

Rendering of dendrites, branch-like projections of neurons

The nervous system displays varying degrees of arborization throughout the body, and thus produces widely divergent levels of sensitivity. There are so many nerve endings in your thumb and forefinger knuckles that if you consecutively feel two stacks of paper, you can detect a mere 0.006 inch difference in thickness. The nerve endings in the back, however, are so sparsely placed that if two points press on your back within 2.5 inches of each other, they will probably be indistinguishable from a single point.

Arborization (ar-bər-ih-ZAY-shən)

1. *A branching, treelike shape or arrangement, as that of the dendrite of a nerve cell.
2. The formation of a treelike shape or arrangement.


From Latin arboreus, “pertaining to trees”. Arboreus is also the root of arborist, arboretum, and arboreal.


The Sense of Man (pg. 37, 52)   |   Photo by: theilr


Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Society | Tags: | 2 Comments »

Qataris are renowned for their impetuous driving habits. The U.S. State Department brushes aside crime, violence, and political upheaval in its Crime and Safety Report to focus on reckless driving, reading:

“Driving in Qatar is likened to participating in an extreme sport; drivers often maneuver erratically and at high speed, demonstrate little road discipline or courtesy, fail to turn on their headlights during hours of darkness or inclement weather, and do not use seat belts – all resulting in a high vehicular accident rate (in excess of 70,000 annually). In fact, traffic fatalities are Qatar’s leading cause of death”.

Impetuous (pronounced im-PECH-oo-us)

1. *Characterized by sudden and forceful energy or emotion; impulsive and passionate.
2. Having or marked by violent force: impetuous, heaving waves.


From Latin impetus, meaning “attack, assault, onset, impulse”.


rash, vehement, unrestrained


Overseas Security Advisory Council |   Photo by: jonycunha


Posted: August 5th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Society | Tags: | No Comments »

Smoke over Sumatra, Indonesia from forest fires

Indonesia routinely has some of the world’s largest conflagrations. A series of colossal fires in 1997-1998 burned down an estimated 25,000 square miles of forest, releasing up to 2.6 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide. Slash and burn techniques used by farmers make such conflagrations typical; its annual carbon emissions from fires average at least 5 times as much as those from all industrial processes, making the country, next to the United States and China, the third largest greenhouse gas emitter.

Conflagration (pronounced “kon-flə-GRAY-shən”)

A large destructive fire.


From Latin flagrare, meaning “to burn”, plus prefix com, meaning “with, together”. Flagrare is also the base of “flagrant” (meaning “conspicuously bad or offensive”).




Wikipedia, Reuters