WORD LISTS

This Week in Words: Current Events Vocab for August 6–August 12, 2022

August 8, 2022
Stories about sociable dolphins, a mustard shortage, and a swarm of escaped bees all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
ad hoc
As Ukrainian museums struggle to protect precious art and artifacts against the Russian invasion, a specialized committee has formed to help. The ad hoc Center to Rescue Cultural Heritage was started by arts professionals. The impromptu group pads sculptures with bubble wrap, drapes tarps over paintings, and takes action to guard valuable collections from becoming collateral damage. In Latin ad hoc means "to this purpose," from ad-, "to," and hoc, "this."
climate
The Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act on August 7, which focuses primarily on climate action. This historic bill, if it is approved in the House of Representatives, will be the first major climate legislation in the U.S. It aims to lower emissions to 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, forcing a switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy in an effort to protect the planet from the worst effects of long-term warming.
commute
Advocates for a four-day work week have long emphasized its benefits to workers and employers. Now they point to dozens of studies showing that eliminating one commute each week also significantly reduces carbon emissions. Fewer cars traveling to and from jobs that day results in less fossil fuel use. The "going back and forth to work" meaning of commute comes from commutation ticket, a 19th-century name for a monthly or season pass on a train.
condiment
France, which consumes more mustard than any other country in the world, is facing a shortage of its favorite condiment. Not merely something to dollop on a hot dog, French mustard flavors an enormous variety of foods. Most of the seeds used to make it are grown in a region of Canada that's in an ongoing drought due to climate change. A condiment was originally a seasoning or pickling liquid, derived from the Latin condire, "to preserve, pickle, or season."
conservationist
Two centuries after being declared extinct there, Galápagos land iguanas have returned to the Galápagos Islands with the help of conservationists. Environmental experts from the Galápagos Conservancy and National Park Directorate have worked to restore the iguanas since 2019, when they released 3,000 of them. Observers have recently spotted new iguanas, indicating that they are thriving and breeding. Their return signals a healthier, more balanced ecosystem in the region.
cricket
A recent report predicted that cricket was the outdoor sport most likely to be affected by climate change. The sport, played on grass fields by cricketers wearing pads and gloves, is the second most popular (after soccer). It's beloved in England and Australia, as well as South Asia, South Africa, and the West Indies. Players often wear ice packs against their bodies to cool themselves, and games are frequently canceled due to flooding. The French root, criquet, means "goal post."
current
A 14-year-old boy was swimming off the coast of Valencia, Spain this month when a powerful current pulled him out to sea. The boy fought helplessly against the flowing water, unable to swim against it to shore, until a drone lifeguard was maneuvered above him and dropped a life jacket. The floatation device kept the boy's head above the water until a team of human lifeguards was able to rescue him on a jet ski. Current has a Latin root meaning "flow, run, or move quickly."
execute
On August 8, the FBI executed a search warrant at former president Donald Trump's home in Florida. The court-authorized search allowed officers to open Trump's safe and seize papers. It was carried out as part of an investigation into whether the former president violated the Presidential Records Act by removing documents from the White House and bringing them to his residence, rather than sending them to the National Archives. The Latin root of execute means "follow up."
fraud
A man who claimed to be raising money to help a needy acquaintance was found guilty of fraud and sentenced to five years in prison. Mark D’Amico and his girlfriend, Katelyn McClure, started a GoFundMe that raised $400,000 in donations. Instead of aiding a man who was homeless, the money was spent on gambling, vacations, cars, and luxury goods. Fraud's Latin root is fraudem, which means" a cheating, deceit."
hub
In Louisiana, a new project will combat dangerous power outages caused by natural disasters, including the region's frequent hurricanes. So-called "community lighthouses" will act as electricity hubs, centralized places where people can charge their phones and batteries and store medication that must be kept cold. The locations, fitted with solar panels and large battery packs, will be distributed around the state, with 16 hubs in New Orleans.
lightning
A rare lightning strike killed three people in Washington, D.C. last week, injuring a fourth. When a severe thunderstorm began, the four people sheltered under a tree near Lafayette Square. The bolt struck the tree, which conducted electricity into the ground around it where they stood. A retired couple celebrating their anniversary and a 29-year-old man from California died, and a young woman raising money for refugees was seriously injured. The Old English root means "make bright."
moderate
Analysis of seven studies that examined exercise and its effects on glucose showed that just two minutes of walking after eating a meal can moderate blood sugar levels. Each study affirmed that a brief stroll after dinner results in a more gradual drop in blood sugar, particularly when compared to sitting or lying down immediately after eating. Moderating blood sugar is important to people with diabetes, as well as those who hope to avoid developing the disease.
revive
As part of ongoing research into easier transplantation of human organs into patients who need them, scientists have successfully revived cells from the organs of pigs that had died more than an hour earlier. By pumping a solution called OrganEx through their veins, the researchers brought the pigs' hearts, brains, and livers briefly back to life. The Latin source of revive is revivere, "to live again," from roots re-, "again," and vivere, "to live."
sludge
The water in a Northern California river turned to sludge last week, killing thousands of fish. The thick muck resulted from the massive McKinney wildfire, which has burned more than 60,000 acres, followed by torrential rain that sent fire debris into the Klamath River. The muddy, foul-smelling sludge formed from the burned remains of trees, rocks, and dirt.
social
A recent study analyzed interactions between two completely separate social groups of dolphins that were forced together when one pod abruptly migrated 100 miles. Established communities of mammals don't always get along, but these two blended nicely. The study showed that dolphins from different groups formed strong bonds with each other, socializing, playing, and showing evidence of trust. Scientists say it bodes well for dolphins that may be forced to migrate because of climate change.
starch
An international research trial found that people who regularly consumed a kind of starch that's found in slightly green bananas had a greatly reduced rate of cancer. People with a high hereditary risk of various cancers ate the resistant starch, also called "fermentable fiber," daily for two years. At the end of the study, all cancers (except bowel cancer) were reduced by half. The complex carbohydrate is also found in oats, peas, beans, and cooled pasta and rice.
swarm
After the truck in which they were being transported crashed in Utah, 25 million bees swarmed across the highway. Large, cloudlike clumps of the insects flew together over Interstate 80, as police officers and beekeepers warned drivers to roll up their windows. The bees were being moved in wooden boxes to pollinate west coast crops; only about ten percent of the swarm survived. Swarm has a root that means "to buzz or whisper."
truce
Several days of deadly conflict in Gaza were followed on August 7 by a ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Islamic Jihad militant group. The truce, which was mediated by Egypt, allowed humanitarian aid to safely enter Gaza, where at least 44 people had been killed in the previous days. Truce is from the Old English treow, "faith, truth," and a root word meaning "be firm or steadfast." Truce is closely related to true.
volcano
Three tourists were injured while hiking on Iceland's Fagradalsfjall volcano after its most recent eruption. A spokesperson for the country's civil protection agency warned that trekking to see the glowing lava in person is difficult, requires the correct shoes, and takes about five hours. The hike involves walking on fragile layers of lava. One of the hikers had a broken ankle and had to be rescued by helicopter. Volcanos are named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.
voucher
The Department of Transportation will request that U.S. airlines issue vouchers to passengers who are forced to cancel their trips because of Covid-19. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said that an update of refund rules would protect public health. Giving travelers coupons for future flights would make it easier for people who test positive to delay their travel plans. Before a voucher was a kind of receipt, it was a court summons, from a root meaning "to summon."
zoo
The Cincinnati Zoo asked the public to help them name a baby hippo that was born there last week. The new calf is the brother of a five-year-old female hippo named Fiona. By August 11, the wild animal park had narrowed 90,000 suggestions down to two names: Fritz or Ferguson. Zookeepers are keeping the baby and his mother, Bibi, inside for two weeks to bond with each other. Zoo is from London's Zoological Gardens and zoology, with a Greek root meaning "animal."

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