Since education, as it has repetitively been defined, is a life-long process of adjustment of an individual to his physical and social environment, we might as well unswervingly exert unbounded effort to accumulate all sort of facts and informative ideas that could indubitably enrich our knowledge and better understanding of the world around us.
Aside from the acquisition of personal development, improving our skills and proficiency in any given situation, learning what’s beyond the four corners of the classroom greatly benefits those who dig deeper far beneath and soar far beyond what was within reach.
Cultivating one’s brainpower does not require any formal education. It’s just a matter of participating in mentally engaging activities and stimulating one’s mind to gather new ideas. Retention enables one to amass a good fortune of vocabulary and awareness.
Let’s go over innumerable facts that we might have studied before but been disposed to oblivion for lack of constant usage… and an exhaustive review or reevaluation is best to refresh the memory of these historical facts, commonly misused terms, and other vital information.
Let’s start with a bit of informative knowledge and seldom-used vocabulary:
1. Benjamin Franklin – briefly served as the first Post Master General of the US Postal Service after the London-oriented imperial postal service was overthrown in July 26, 1775.
2. Sally Ride – The first American woman to fly in space on June 18, 1983 aboard Space Shuttle Challenger’s STS-7 mission.
3. Edward Jenner – developed the first vaccine (the small pox vaccine) in 1796 after he noticed a milkmaid who survived cowpox seemed immune from small pox.
4. Rosaline – Shakespeare’s Romeo’s first love before Juliet in Romeo & Juliet… was merely mentioned in passing to establish her vague character.
5. George Eliot – A brilliant 19th century novelist who’s real birthname was Mary Ann Evans. The penname or nom de plume or pseudonym “George Eliot” was used to conceal herself from reviewers who prejudiced women in the field. Even Amantine-Lucile Aurore Dupin used “George Sand” Charlotte used “Currer” and Emily Bronte used “Ellis Bell”, Louise May Alcott used “A. M. Barnard,” Violet Paget used “Vernon Lee,” and Karen Blixen used “Isak Dinesen.”
6. Luddites – means “People who opposed new technology.” The original luddites were British workers who destroyed new machineries brought to their factories believing that the new technology were threats to their jobs.
7. A cow has 4 stomachs: the first two, the rumen and the reticulum, are like storage stomachs and after chewing stored cud it is sent to the second set of stomachs, the omasum and the abomasum, for full digestion.
8. Antebellum Era – In American history it was the period before the Civil War… from the words “ante” meaning before…and “bellum” meaning war.
9. Palindrome – a word that reads the same backwards as it does forward. Example: racecar, noon, madam, refer, civic, radar, level, etc.
10. First ever human invention – Early writers said it was fire but for the majority it was cattle breeding. Humans first domesticated cattle over 10,000 years ago.
11. The Weimar Republic – was Germany’s first democratic government set-up after the first World War ended. It presided over economic disaster, partly because of the millions of dollars Germany had to pay out for losing the war, and this fueled the rise of Hitler who took over in 1933.
12. Philosophy – funny that the word “philosophy’ was actually coined from two words: “philo” meaning “love” and “Sophia” meaning “wisdom,” hence, “Love of Wisdom.”
13. Pangaea – the name “Pangaea” comes from the ancient Greek words meaning “whole” and “earth.” It was the supercontinent thought to have existed around 250 million years ago which subsequently broke apart into the present-day continents of North and South America, Africa, and Australia.
14. Gregor Mendel –An Austrian monk who pioneered Genetic Science in 1866 and studied Genetic Inheritance by observing how pea plants passed on some traits but not others.
15. Caligula – A Roman Emperor who became famous after his death for allegedly making his horse a Roman consul. Notorious for his insanity and depravity, Caligula appointed one of his favorite horses, Incitatus, as one of the highest public offices in the Roman government.
16. Earth’s age -Scientists were able to estimate the earth’s age as 4.5 billion years old based on radiometric age dating of meteorite materials and terrestrial and lunar rock samples.
17. Thermodynamics – The branch of physics or physical science that deals with the relations between heat and other forms of energy such as mechanical, electrical, or chemical energy.
18. Hegemony – means political or military dominance.
19. WWII greatest number of military deaths – The Soviet Union lost an incredible number of fighting men during the Second World War with an estimate of 8.8 million to 10.7 million. In contrast, France and Great Britain each lost less than a million while Germany lost about 5 million.
20. Gynecomastia – enlargement of breast tissues in men
21. Aerobic and anaerobic – “Aerobic’ means “with oxygen” and “anaerobic” means without. Anaerobic exercise is the type where one gets out of breath in just a few moments like when one lifts weights, when one sprints, or when one climbs a long flight of stairs. Aerobic exercise, sometimes known as “cardio’ … the exercise that requires pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles like swimming, running, dancing, skiing, and kickboxing
22. Zeitgeist – (noun) the intellectual group of an era
23. Skulduggery – (Scottish) An underhanded or scrupulous, trickery; deceitful behavior
24. Gellasenheit – An Amish term which means “To keep the earth as God created it.”
25. Schadenfreude (noun) – pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune.
26. Sildenafil Citrate – An Erectile Dysfunction treatment which can also treat high blood pressure in the lungs (pulmonary arterial hypertension). Popular brands are Viagra and Revatio.
27. Kippah or yarmulke (noun) – a small brimless hat or covering men worn by Jews to fulfill the customary requirement held by Orthodox halachic authorities in studying, praying, or visiting sacred places.
28. Tzitzit or Tzitzis (noun) – A string hanging on the side of a man to remind them of their religious obligations and exodus from Egypt.
29. Bibliokleft – one who steals books
30. Acnestis – the part of the back between the shoulder blades and the loins which is hard to reach to scratch.
31. Meldrop – a drop of mucus at the nose whether produced by colds or otherwise.
32. Octothorpe – the symbol “number” (#) in a typewriter commonly used now as a trending “hashtag” symbol in social media.
33. Augend & addend – the first and the second quantity in adding two things. Example: 3 + 6 … “3” is the augend and “6” is the addend.
34. Grommet – an eyelet of firm material (usually metal) used to strengthen or protect an opening for something (like string or nail) passed through it.
35. Misanthrope – someone who dislikes people in general
36. Aspergillum – an implement used for sprinkling holy water in religious ceremonies
37. Bibliopole – a person who buys and sells books especially rare ones.
38. Blatherskite – a person who talks at great length without making much sense.
39. Borborygmus – a rumbling or gurgling noise in the intestines.
40. Bruxism – involuntary and habitual grinding of the teeth
Exciting, isn’t it? Well, more worth-knowing words next issue. To be continued.