This Week in Words: Current Events Vocab for June 4–June 10, 2022

June 6, 2022
Stories about driverless taxi cabs, dancing baseball players, and a plant that clones itself all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
A newly minted quarter honors the Cherokee activist and tribe leader Wilma Mankiller. The coin is part of a program by the United States Mint that recognizes a diverse variety of women who have made history. Mankiller was the first woman to act as principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, a position she held for a decade. Her advocacy resulted in higher rates of employment and tribe enrollment, and she also championed children's programs, housing, and health services for Native Americans.
On June 7, FDA advisors announced their support for a new Covid-19 vaccine made by the drug company Novavax. Once it's officially approved, it will be a safe option for people with allergies to the existing coronavirus vaccines. Many people whose immune systems overreact to ingredients in the mRNA vaccines that are currently available have been eager for an alternative. The Greek roots of allergy mean "strange or different" and "work."
A collegiate summer baseball league in Georgia has transformed the experience of watching a game, with a first base coach whose job includes choreographing dance moves for the entire team. The Savannah Bananas' choreography has caught the attention of local fans and TikTok alike, helping them sell out their home games and gain millions of social media followers. Pirouettes behind first base, at-bat dance challenges, and even dancing umpires all help liven up the game.
Researchers studying a species of Australian sea grass have found that many samples of it are the same original plant, which has cloned itself for more than 4,000 years. Poseidon’s ribbon weed is the largest-known plant on the planet, covering about 77 square miles of ocean floor. During a genetic survey of the sea grass, scientists discovered identical DNA in many of the samples they pulled from Shark Bay. Clone derives from the Greek klōn, "twig."
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a vote of no confidence on June 6. Conservative lawmakers voted 211 to 148 in favor of Johnson, signaling a deeply divided Tory party. The 41 percent who conveyed a lack of trust in their party leader expressed disappointment in his leadership and handling of the pandemic. The Latin root of confidence is confidere, "to have full trust."
Five countries with majority Muslim populations have lodged official protests against India after Hindu nationalist party officials made derogatory statements about Islam. The offensive remarks, interpreted as insulting the Prophet Muhammad and his wife Aisha, were made by two prominent spokespeople for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The demeaning comments follow an uptick in anti-Muslim violence in majority Hindu India. Derogatory has a Latin root meaning "diminish."
Existing scientific theories say that giraffes developed their long necks as a way to reach food at the tops of trees. A new study suggests that they also evolved that way in order to be more successful fighters. When giraffes battle, they slam their heads into each other; the longer the neck, the more of an advantage they have. Paleontologists studied a giraffe ancestor and found evidence that the gradually lengthening neck may have been as much about fighting as reaching tender leaves.
The Biden administration announced this week that it will temporarily exempt solar power companies from paying tariffs as part of an effort to bolster the industry. The Commerce Department is currently investigating whether solar companies avoided paying tariffs in the first place. The probe has stalled many projects, and the White House hopes the two-year pause on paying the taxes will spur the adoption of solar power. The Latin root of exempt means "make an exception of."
At a Platinum Jubilee tea party on June 4, Queen Elizabeth II hosted the British children's literary character Paddington Bear at Buckingham Palace. This meeting between the monarch and the animated bear occurred in a short video that was screened for a Jubilee audience outside the royal residence. Paddington and the Queen ate marmalade sandwiches together. The word palace comes from Mons Palatinus, the hill upon which ancient Rome's Augustus Caesar lived.
The cryptocurrency start-up OpenSea is struggling to manage growing rates of theft and plagiarism on its site. Over the past few months, the company has paid $6 million to investors in NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, and fielded an angry backlash by artists who say OpenSea is full of art that's been copied and stolen from them. The problems come at a time when sales of NFTs, once a popular investment, have abruptly dropped 90 percent. The root of plagiarism means "to kidnap."
A small cancer drug trial resulted in remission for every patient, according to a June 5 paper in the New England Journal of Medicine. There were only 18 participants and no control group. The patients in the study had previously been diagnosed with rectal cancer, and the experimental drug they took eliminated any evidence of cancerous cells in all 18. It's the first cancer drug trial to end in overall remission. The root of remission means "a letting go."
Starbucks workers in Ithaca, New York say their store was closed by the company in retaliation for unionizing efforts there. Employees learned on June 3 that the store would close on June 10, two months after they voted to join Starbucks Workers United. The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that Starbucks shuttered the location to punish the workers for their union vote. Retaliation comes from a Latin word meaning "pay back in kind."
On June 6, five members of the extremist group the Proud Boys were indicted on charges of sedition. It was the second indictment against the men for their role in the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. A seditious conspiracy conviction will require proof that they planned to use force to "overthrow government authority," incite violence, and stop certification of the 2020 presidential election results. Sedition is from a root meaning "a going apart."
A New York state law allows police to take away guns belonging to people who are in crisis. The so-called "red flag law" was used in Suffolk County on Long Island last year to seize more than 150 weapons. The seizures occur after a judge determines that their owners pose a danger to themselves or others. As the U.S. debates gun control after several recent deadly mass shootings, lawmakers have their eyes on New York and other states with similar laws.
A resort in Vietnam has debuted a new attraction for travelers: a tourist submarine with an entirely transparent hull. The underwater vessel, made by a Florida company, is constructed with acrylic panels that allow passengers a clear view of marine creatures, coral reefs, and the remains of underwater shipwrecks. It can travel to depths of 328 feet. Submarine is from Latin roots sub, "under," and mare, "the sea."
Virgin Atlantic announced an updated policy in which employees of the British airline will be allowed to have visible tattoos. The previous rules stated that inked skin designs had to be covered. A spokesperson said the company recognizes the importance of "self-expression," adding "now employees can show off their ink to the world, while still representing Virgin Atlantic in their uniform.” Tattoo is derived from a Polynesian word that means "mark on skin."
A driverless taxi service has been approved by California regulators, and its robotic cars will soon be cruising around the streets of San Francisco. The fleet of vehicles will pick up and drop off passengers without the aid of human drivers. Initially, just 30 autonomous taxis will be available in the least congested areas of the city during daylight hours. Taxi is short for taximeter, "meter to record distance and fare," from a root meaning "charge."
A landscape architect based in Virginia has earned the nickname " Toxic Avenger" for her career-long focus on reimagining contaminated urban sites. Julie Bargmann has transformed abandoned coal mines, shipyards, and quarries into community spaces including parks, woodlands, and gardens. Bargmann's work emphasizes environmental and social justice, with extra attention paid to cleaning and restoring heavily polluted landscapes. The Greek root of toxic means "poison."
Despite Russia's threats of retaliation, the U.K. has joined the U.S. in pledging to supply weapons to Ukraine. The British military announced that it will send long-range rocket launchers to the Ukrainian army. The artillery, which can hit targets 50 miles away, will be used to defend the eastern part of the country. The U.S. has said it will provide multiple-launch rockets. Both countries stipulated that the weapons can't be used to directly attack Russia within its own borders.

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