wondrous Words Wednesday

Happy Wednesday — it’s time for some new words! You know how this works – share a few words from your current book that you had to look up, then head over to Bermuda Onion’s Weblog to learn some new ones.

This week, my words are from This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking. It’s a terrific book of short essays about scientific ideas that we should all understand to improve our thinking and understanding of the world around us. It’s also got some tough words!

1. Conspecifics – a member of the same species

“…in which the reproduction of the technique wasn’t passed on to offspring through the genes but transmitted among non-kin conspecifics who picked up the trick of imitation.”

Wow! That’s a very roundabout way of saying they didn’t inherit it from Mom and Dad, but learned it from the neighbors.

2. Eukaryotic – having cells with `good’ or membrane-bound nuclei
3. Prokaryotic – having cells that lack membrane-bound nuclei 

“The complex eukaryotic cells of which we are made are themselves the product of much simpler prokaryotic cells that merged together from the bottom up…”

4. Orthonasal – arising from odor compounds traveling through the “external nares,” or nostrils
5. Retronasal – arising from odor compounds traveling through the “internal nares,” located inside the mouth

“There is good reason to think that we have two senses of smell: (1) an external sense of smell – orthonasal olfaction, produced by inhaling — that enables us to detect such things in the environment as food, predators, and smoke; and an internal sense — retronasal olfaction, produced by exhaling…”

6. Veridical – truthful; coinciding with reality

“First, the notion of applying good (“veridical“) sensory contact with the world becomes a  matter of applying the right expectations to the incoming signal.”

7. Doppio – in espresso, a double shot, extracted using a double filter basket

“If you learn a stranger’s name after drinking a doppio espresso with her at the local java house, it will be easier to remember that name if you meet again at Starbucks.”

There are more, but that’s enough to show you that this is a challenging read! But take my word for it — it’s worth the effort. Check back tomorrow for my review!

  7 comments for “wondrous Words Wednesday

  1. May 9, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Wow, you do have some tricky words this week. That book has already made you smarter!

  2. May 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Interesting words, especially orthonasal and retronasal – I had no idea we get smells through our mouths.

  3. May 9, 2012 at 9:53 am

    The smells through the mouth makes good sense to me because I’ve often thought things taste like they smell and vice versa. Interesting words!

  4. Lisa
    May 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Exactly, Julie! And if people lose their sense of smell, they also lose the ability to taste certain things.

  5. May 9, 2012 at 11:16 am

    These words have made me smarter, never saw them before.

    http://tributebooksmama.blogspot.com/2012/05/wondrous-words-wednesday_09.html

  6. May 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Wow, these are tough words. Thanks for sharing.

  7. May 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I knew about the concept of taste being tied to smell but not the actual words. I don’t have the kind of brain that can absorb and retain these words because I don’t have a need to use them in my daily life. I do admire your brainiac-ness though!

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