Vocablet of the Day: Selfie

It’s Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2013, and if you have a smartphone or a computer with a webcam, it’s probably something you’re familiar with.

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Sometimes you need a picture of yourself — for a social media profile, to document a new hairstyle, or just because you want one — and the easiest way to make that happen is with a photograph that one has taken of oneself, usually with a smartphone or webcam.

Selfies are all the rage these days, with everyone from celebrities to politicians snapping quick pics of themselves and posting them online.  Some say that selfies are further evidence of the increasing narcissism of society brought on by social media websites like Facebook and Instagram, while others argue that people have created self-portraits for centuries, and the selfie is just a new version of that.

Do you take selfies and post them online?  What do you think of the whole selfie phenomenon?

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Vocablet of the Day: Shed Light On

What makes someone intelligent?  The way scientists are trying to find out might surprise you.

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Researchers who want to know more about the nature of genius are looking to make clear or supply additional information on the subject by going to the source — the brain of one of the world’s most brilliant minds.

When Einstein died in 1955, scientists knew his brain was special, so it was dissected and preserved.  Modern-day scientists are using new knowledge and techniques to analyze the brain in their attempts to shed light on the nature of genius.

Do you think that the physical brain has an effect on intelligence?  How else could scientists shed light on this complicated subject?

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Vocablet of the Day: Crook

Are your online accounts as secure as you think they are?  You might be surprised!

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You know you should never tell anyone your passwords, but you should also know which common passwords to avoid, if you want to keep your information safe from dishonest people, such as thieves.

Crooks know that the most common password is 1234, so they’ll try it first when they’re attempting to hack into someone’s account.  That means that even if you kept your password totally secret, you’re still vulnerable to crooks if that password is something easy to guess.

Have you ever had anything stolen from you by a crook?  Have your online accounts ever been hacked?  Tell us about it!

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Vocablet of the Day: Renewable

American football is known for being many things — competitive, brutal, exhilarating… and environmentally friendly?

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More and more organizations are moving toward environmental friendliness, choosing energy sources that are not permanently depleted when used.  The NFL is no exception.

Solar panels capture the sun's energy for us to use -- the ultimate renewable resource.

Harnessing sources of renewable energy, like solar and wind power, is one of the biggest ways to “go green.”  The NFL is trying to do its part for the environment by choosing these energy sources to power major sporting events.

Wind and solar power are only two sources of renewable energy.  Do you know of any others?  What would be an example of non-renewable energy?

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Vocablet of the Day: Mania

Shoe mania!  Nike’s new shoe created a new customer base: ‘Back to the Future’ fans.

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You wouldn’t think that shoes could cause an excess of excitement or enthusiasm, but when the shoes are based on a hugely popular cult classic and made by Nike, that’s exactly what happened.

Sneaker enthusiasts and ‘Back to the Future’ fans were thrilled when Nike released a shoe based on the ones worn by Michael J. Fox’s character.  Nike’s decision to only make 1500 pairs of the shoe fueled the mania, with fans trying desperately to get their hands on a pair.

Would you have been a part of this movie-based shoe mania?  What kind of product release for fans would you be excited about?

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Vocablet of the Day: Contingency

When most people think of emergency plans, they think of floods or blizzards or blackouts.  Some people, however, have plans for more spooky contingencies.

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Some might say that preparing for a future zombie apocalypse is silly, but others might say that it’s smart to think of every possible event or occurrence or result.

Eeeek! Zombies!

Pop culture’s current interest in zombies has some people thinking about what they would do if the dead came back to life.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States are using this interest to promote public preparedness for natural disasters and other, less supernatural, contingencies.

Do you plan for contingencies like hurricanes or earthquakes?  Or do you have a zombie apocalypse plan?

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Vocablet of the Day: Confide in

When you need someone to talk to, you might turn to your best friend.  Who cares if that friend isn’t human?

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Animal friends are always supportive and never judgmental, making them the perfect listeners to tell about a private matter while trusting them not to repeat it to others.

Pet owners know that a loving animal companion can make hard times easier to bear.  As an added benefit, when you confide in a friendly dog, you know your secrets will never be revealed!

It may seem silly to confide in an animal who doesn’t understand your words, but those who work with therapy dogs know that talking through problems is helpful, even if the “person” you’re talking to can’t talk back.  Do you confide in your pets?

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Vocablet of the Day: Got Wind

Ever tried to keep a secret, but somehow it got out?  How did you handle it?

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When looking for a new job, it’s best to be a little secretive about it at your current job.  But what do you do if your boss became aware of your job search?

It’s a tricky situation: you’re looking for work somewhere else and your boss got wind of your activities.  Do you confess or deny it?

If you were planning a surprise for your spouse and he or she got wind of it, how do you handle it?  What other situations would be ruined if someone got wind of what you were doing?

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Vocablet of the Day: Aversion

There are a lot of strange and delicious foods out there, and one food truck is encouraging people to take their appetites to a place they’ve never been.

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Would you eat a bug?  If you’re from a Western culture, you probably have a feeling of intense dislike even thinking about it.

But one food truck is challenging this deep-seated aversion with delicious snacks made out of, yes, bugs.  Maybe this will make people question why they have an aversion to eating bugs when they can be a tasty and healthy food.

Do you think you’d eat a buggy snack?  What other foods do you have an aversion toward?

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Vocablet of the Day: Predispose

Gossip can cause us to make judgments about people we don’t know, even in the most surprising ways.

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When you hear negative things about a person before you meet them, you’ve already been caused to more likely behave in a certain way toward them, but that’s not all.

Bad-mouthing someone behind their back might predispose your listener to think that person is ugly -- inside and out!

Spreading gossip is bad for many reasons, but a new study shows that it can do more harm than you might think.  Not only does gossip predispose us to think badly of someone’s personality before we know them, it can also make us think they are physically less attractive!

Imagine someone told you that your new coworker (who you hadn’t met yet) was mean and selfish.  When you meet him, you might be predisposed to think that he is uglier than you would have thought if you’d been told he was kind and generous.

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