Welcome to Word Buzz Wednesday, your go-to place for the most interesting words of the week. The latest: a port in a storm, a sorority pyramid scheme, Smaug snot.
“Boaters have been trying to seek refuge at this marina because it is what’s called a hurricane hole.”
Kailey Tracy, “Local boaters dock in preparation for possible impact of Hurricane Irma,” WECT, September 4, 2017
A hurricane hole is “a port of refuge from powerful Atlantic storms; a safe haven; a secure anchorage, marina, or harbour, that has a reputation for offering protection from wind and waves.” The Wilmington Marine Center is considered a hurricane hole because it’s “almost entirely enclosed inland so that there’s no sea running,” says WCET, and “tends to break the wind a little bit.”
“This is called a ‘door stack,’ and if you haven’t seen one in real life, you very well may have in one viral sorority recruitment video or another.”
Stephanie Talmadge, “The Sisterhood of the Exact Same Pants,” Racked, August 30, 2017
According to Atlas Obscura, door stacking is a sorority tradition in which new pledges form a pyramid in the doorway of the house, “singing welcoming songs to visitors and senior sisters,” and sometimes clapping and engaging in “jazzy choreography.” The practice has been banned by some colleges due to minor injuries that can occur when jostling for position or swinging heads around.
“Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, one of India’s so-called ‘godmen’, has as many as 60 million online devotees, and last weekend’s protest was not the first to turn violent in his defence.”
Ibbo Mandaza, George Nyrota, and Wendy Willems, India: Godmen, Con Men and the Media, Al Jazeera, September 2, 2017
Godman is used in India to refer to a “charismatic guru” or leader of a religious sect. They sometimes claim to have supernatural powers, such as healing abilities, clairvoyance, and telepathy. Recently, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, a so-called godman with “as many as 60 million online devotees” was convicted of “raping two of his female followers.”
“This encourages what’s known as ‘mind wandering’, scientifically known to make creative insights more likely.”
Michael Bloomfield, “Forget about work and keep a dream diary: how to think creatively,” The Guardian, September 5, 2017
When your mind wanders, you stop paying attention to what you’re doing. This can be harmful. You don’t want to zone out when you’re operating dangerous equipment, performing surgery, or in the middle of a conversation. But purposeful mind wandering has been scientifically shown to help with creative insights, says The Guardian. A good way to do so, they suggest, is during “undemanding physical tasks” such as walking, cycling, or knitting (or showering).
“‘Dragon boogers’ go by many names. ‘Moss animals,’ for one, and ‘bryozoans,’ for another. They’re also known as ‘ectoprocta,’ meaning ‘anus outside.’”
Sara Chodosh, “Look at the mysterious ‘dragon booger’ found in Vancouver’s Lost Lagoon,” Popular Science, September 1, 2017
While it might resemble something Drogon sneezed out, a dragon booger, says Popular Science, is actually a colonial animal, or “many individual organisms that live together.” They can “wiggle around using tiny tentacle-y arms called cilia, which they also use to help usher food bits into their mouths.”