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?

Study ‘shed light on‘!
Add the shed light on-Albert Einstein’s Brain Vocablet to a studylist of your own, or get started studying right away with VocabNetwork’s Let There Be Light studylist.

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.

Study ‘predispose‘!
Add the predispose–Gossip Vocablet to a studylist of your own.
Or you can get to studying right away with VN’s Human Psychology studylist.

Vocablet of the Day: Teem

Life on Earth can thrive in the most surprising places, including on glaciers.

Study ‘teem‘ now in VocabNetwork’s Active Life studylist.

These huge ice sheets look barren, but they're overflowing with life.

The smooth, white appearance of glaciers can make them seem completely lifeless, but look closer and you’ll find they become filled to overflowing with life.

Even in the harshest conditions on the planet, you can find places that teem with life.  Glaciers, huge sheets of ice near the north and south poles, have tiny ecosystems made of balls of moss that reveal these frozen landscapes to be teeming with life.

The teem-Glacier Mice Vocablet highlights one of the extreme environments on Earth that still manages to support life.

What other places on Earth look lifeless, but actually teem with microbes or other tiny organisms?

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Vocablet of the Day: Elegant

Apple products are popular for more than just their cutting-edge technology — they’re also simple yet beautiful in design.

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Apple's elegant products encourage collectors to keep buying the newest model.

After Steve Jobs’ death, he was honored for his work with Apple, creating computers and other gadgets that were well-known for their quality of displaying effortless beauty and simplicity.

Jobs knew that making Apple products elegant in design as well as highly functional would draw more people to buy them.  Now, Apple’s elegant iPhones, iPods, and MacBooks are more than just technological devices, they are also aesthetically pleasing accessories.

The elegant-Steve Jobs Vocablet highlights the life work of Jobs, working to create elegant products using state-of-the-art technology unlike anything that anyone has seen before.

Do you use Apple products?  If you do, is their elegant design a reason that you chose them?  (I have an iPhone, and while I love all the stuff it can do, I also like how pretty it is.)

Get started mastering ‘elegant‘!
Add the elegant-Steve Jobs Vocablet to a studylist, or start studying now with VocabNetwork’s Mad Males studylist.

Vocablet of the Day: Rover

Human beings can’t go to Mars just yet, but scientists at NASA did the next best thing — they sent in a robot to look around for us.

Get to studying ‘rover‘ right now in VocabNetwork’s NASA Endeavors studylist.

Mars has a new Earthling inhabitant — a small remote-controlled research vehicle used for collecting samples, aptly named Curiosity.

The rover is the largest one anyone has ever sent to the moon, the size of a small car.  Along with the usual cameras, the rover also has experiments to carry out on the soil to look for traces of life.

The rover-Curiosity Landing Vocablet highlights one of NASA’s most recent achievements, and we can only wait and see what Curiosity discovers.

Did you watch the rover landing on Monday/Sunday (depending on time zone)? What do you think the rover might find on Mars?

Study ‘rover‘!
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Studylist of the Week: Amazing Sky

The sky has been a source of inspiration and wonder for humans for thousands of years.  We’ve always looked up and wondered what else was out there in a universe of seemingly endless possibilities.

The Amazing Sky studylist highlights some of the wonders that the sky can show us.


A look at the sky on a clear night provides a breathtaking view of the visible universe.

Though the stars may look innumerable (too numerous to be counted), what’s amazing is that there are probably even more planets than stars!


The aurora, an amazing light show in the sky seen from the northern or southern poles, is caused by sunlight reflecting off the Earth’s atmosphere.

The phenomenon (situation that is observed to happen) is truly wondrous, and has been called the “Dance of the Spirits.”


Can you imagine a place where lightning brightens the sky almost constantly?  It exists!

The lightning above the Catatumbo happens so often, sailors know it as the “Maracaibo Beacon (light used to warn and guide vessels)“.


A lunar rainbow is a rare occurrence, requiring just the right environmental factors.

When the clouds in the sky are thin enough to just barely veil (hide or partly hide something) the moon’s light, the lunar rainbow can be seen.


Are you studying the Amazing Sky studylist?  Let us know about your progress in the comments!

Studylist of the Week: Robots Take Over the World

Robots may seem like pure science fiction, but the quickly advancing reality of our technological friends might surprise you. The Robots Take Over the World studylist highlights some of the new and amazing ways that robots will affect our lives in the future.


Some humanoid robots can accurately mimic (imitate or copy in action, speech, etc) human activity.

With robots like these, you might have to look twice to be sure the person you’re talking to is really a person!



Babyloid is a robot baby designed to keep older people company and fight depression.

The cuddly robot has red lights in its cheeks to show when it feels contented (satisfied with things as they are).



Could your job be done by a robot?

Robots are now encroaching (trespassing upon the domain or rights of another) on the world of food service, replacing human waiters in some restaurants.



Cochlear implants, prosthetic limbs, pacemakers, glass eyes….

Many people today qualify as cyborgs (humans whose physical abilities are helped by technology devices).  Who knows what will come next?


What do you think of all this robotic technology?  Are scientists entering dangerous territory or will robots only be used for the good of humanity?

Vocablet of the Day: Subvert

If you thought that security couldn’t get any better — or more technologically advanced — than fingerprint identification, you’re in for a surprise.

Start studying ‘subvert‘ right now in VocabNetwork’s Criminal Activity studylist.

Industrious criminals have figured out a gruesome way to undermine special locks that open only with the owner’s fingerprint — by severing the finger and stealing it.

However, new technology prevents would-be thieves from subverting the locks by opening only with the touch of living, not dead, tissue.  With criminals always trying to get one step ahead of the latest technology, I have to wonder how they’ll manage to subvert this!

The subvert-Fingerprints Vocablet highlights the disturbing lengths that some criminals will go to in order to steal, and the technology that works to keep them at bay.

Can you think of a way to subvert this new technology?  Or is this the ultimate in security?

Can’t wait to get subvert in your collection?
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Vocablet of the Day: Caisson

Today’s Vocablet flashcard features an innovative solution to the problem of a sinking city:

If you haven’t been to Venice yet, you might want to make it your next travel destination because it could soon be gone — having sunk into the sea.  The caisson-MOSE Project snippet presents a new idea to stop, or at least slow, this process.  The project uses large watertight chambers for underwater construction to control a series of gates that will stop the flow of tides from flooding the city and shifting its foundations.

How does it work?  CNET has an article describing the process in more depth, including pictures of how the caissons actually move.

Is this “caisson” Vocablet in your collection?
Check it out in VocabNetwork’s Amazing City Structures studylist.

Do you live near any kind of underwater construction (dams, levees, locks)?  Have you visited any?  How do you think a caisson could be useful in constructing those?

Vocablet of the Day: Panacea

Today’s Vocablet flashcard features an unlikely kind of medicine that will delight your sweet tooth:

The panacea-Manuka Honey snippet highlights a type of honey from New Zealand that boasts remarkable — and natural — antibacterial properties.  It can help prevent colds and flu, settle an upset stomach, and when placed as a plaster on an open wound, even fight infection.  No wonder ancient people thought of it as a remedy for all ills and diseases!

How does this happen?  Researchers in Germany recently identified the specific antibacterial agent responsible for the healthful properties of the sticky, sweet stuff.

Is this “panacea” Vocablet in your collection?
See it in VocabNetwork’s Natural Remedies studylist.

Some people think of Prozac as a panacea for all kinds of depression.  Do you know of other things that claim to be an incredible cure-all?