WORD LISTS

This Week In Culture: Current Events Vocab for October 3–9, 2020

October 7, 2020
Instagram turns ten, a legend crosses over, and Fat Bear Week crowns another winner — these stories and more contributed some choice vocabulary to this week's list of words from the culture, tech, and sports worlds.
affirm
After years of legal battling, Led Zeppelin finally won the lawsuit that had been brought against them for allegedly stealing part of Stairway to Heaven. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case, meaning a lower court's decision that the tune did not infringe the copyright of Taurus, a 1968 song by Spirit, stands as the final ruling.
That ruling affirmed Led Zeppelin’s victory at a trial in 2016 over a challenge led by a trustee representing “Taurus,” a 1968 song by the psychedelic band Spirit.
New York Times (Oct 5, 2020)
exertion
After renewing GLOW for a fourth season, Netflix pulled the plug. Citing the size of the cast and the physical nature of the show — which features a lot of wrestling — the network said that there's no way production can begin any time in the foreseeable future. Production had begun prior to the pandemic, but only one episode was shot. Teenage Bounty Hunters was also cancelled.
Sources cite the large ensemble cast of GLOW and the close contact and physical exertion required of its wrestling scenes as making the show tougher to produce safely during the pandemic.
Hollywood Reporter (Oct 5, 2020)
fluctuate
The Lakers beat the Heat in game 4 of the NBA finals, taking a 3–1 lead in the best of seven series. If they win one of the remaining two games, they will be the champions. While the rest of the Lakers did not play especially well, LeBron James and Anthony Davis shot 50% and played exceptional defense. Fluctuate comes from the Latin fluctus, meaning "wave."
They are so consistently great; their plus-minus fluctuates mostly based on who hits shots while they’re on the floor.
Sports Illustrated (Oct 7, 2020)
immure
This writer finds some similarities between parenting young children during the pandemic and Raised By Wolves, the new HBO show produced by Ridley Scott. The show tells the story of a couple of androids programmed to raise human children on another planet during an ongoing conflict between two groups of colonists. Immure literally means "to wall in" in Latin.
At one point this summer, we watched “Aniara,” a dour but memorable Swedish film wherein a group of Earth colonists on their way to Mars find themselves immured in their cruiser when they go off course.
New Yorker (Oct 5, 2020)
prestigious
Two scientists, one French and one American, shared the Nobel Prize for chemistry. Both are women, making this the fourth time that women have won one of the science prizes. Jennifer A. Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier developed a technique for gene editing, known as CRISPR, that revolutionized the field of genetic engineering.
The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and prize money of 10 million krona ($1.5 million Cdn), courtesy of a bequest left more than a century ago by the prize's creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel.
CBC (Oct 7, 2020)
rigid
The production of Jurassic World: Dominion was stopped after some people on the set tested positive for coronavirus. They all tested negative soon after, but the production halted nonetheless and all the people in question began two weeks of quarantine. The film's release date had just been pushed to June 10 of 2022 by the studio a day before this announcement.
“Even though subsequent tests proved negative this morning, due to our rigid protocols and to ensure that the safety and well-being of our entire cast and crew is paramount at all times, those who initially tested positive are currently self-isolating, as are those who they have come into contact with."
Variety (Oct 7, 2020)
shrewd
Instagram turned ten, and a lot has changed in that decade. While the app is among the most popular on the planet, others are now rival its popularity. To retain its appeal, the company is adding new features to make it more similar to TikTok, SnapChat, and other competitors. Shrews are little rodents similar to moles that are famous for being mean. But shrewd evolved over time to mean clever in a ruthless sort of way.
Ten years ago today, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger released Instagram into the world. Less than a year and a half later, Facebook acquired it, in what is widely regarded as one of the shrewdest acquisitions in the history of the tech industry.
The Verge (Oct 7, 2020)
voluminous
Fat Bear Week concluded in Alaska's Katmai Park, and Bear number 747 was proclaimed the winner based on votes cast by the public. 747 beat out Chunk to win the crown, and while he did not give a press conference after his victory, that may be because he was too busy catching salmon and foraging for berries.
747’s voluminous visage eclipsed 32’s chunky chassis.
Explore.org (Oct 6, 2020)
wry
Eddie Van Halen, founder and guitarist of the rock band Van Halen, died of cancer at 65. Van Halen was one of the biggest bands of the 1980s, and his extraordinary guitar technique — lightning fast and flamboyant, using his right hand to tap the strings and create shrieking harmonics and wails — made him one of the most influential and imitated musicians of all time.
His outpouring of riffs, runs and solos was hyperactive and athletic, joyous and wry, making deeper or darker emotions feel irrelevant.
New York Times (Oct 6, 2020)
Zeitgeist
Spike Lee gave a long interview in which he touched on a number of subjects, particularly the ways in which Black and Brown people kept New York City running during the pandemic. He also spoke about the President, Chadwick Boseman, and his recent films. Zeitgeist literally means "time ghost" in German; it's often used to describe something — often a work of art — that perfectly captures the mood or spirit of a particular time.
New York is the setting of many of Lee’s movies: his 1986 breakout hit (which debuted in Cannes) “She’s Gotta Have It,” 1989’s zeitgeist – defining masterpiece “Do the Right Thing,” 1994’s semi-memoir “Crooklyn” and 2002’s “25th Hour” among them.
Variety (Oct 7, 2020)

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