This Week in Words: Current Events Vocabulary for January 7–January 13, 2023

January 9, 2023
Stories about cheerful lumberjacks, intelligent dinosaurs, and star-shaped pasta all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
An Arkansas man was arrested on charges including theft and criminal mischief after he allegedly broke into a church, damaged the altar, and stole ancient relics that had been stored inside. The altar used for worship at Subiaco Abbey, which is a Roman Catholic monastery, was made of Italian marble. The man is accused of smashing a hole in the raised table and stealing 1,500-year-old church artifacts it contained.
A new study suggests that Tyrannosaurus rex was much more intelligent than previously thought. A neuroscientist compared fossilized T. Rex skulls to bird skeletons and estimated that the dinosaur's cerebrum was large enough to contain approximately the same number of brain cells as a baboon. Scientists say the idea that the giant creatures may have been as smart as primates is chilling. In Latin, cerebrum means "the brain" and "the understanding."
The U.K.'s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs announced on January 8 that England will ban disposable plastic cutlery and plates. The move is part of a worldwide effort to reduce plastic pollution in oceans and landfills. Under the new law, single-use forks, spoons, and knives (as well as trays, plates, cups, and bowls) will be prohibited in cafés and restaurants. Cutlery originally applied only to knives, from the Latin root culter, "knife."
Pasta brand Ronzoni will discontinue one of its most popular products, pastina. The tiny star-shaped pasta is a particular favorite with children, and many people reacted strongly to the news that it will no longer be made. Starting this month, the company will cease production of pastina, which is the smallest variety Ronzoni makes. Luckily for star pasta lovers, Barilla will continue to sell its own pastina for the foreseeable future.
Noma, a restaurant that food lovers widely consider to be among the best in the world, will close permanently at the end of 2024. Its chef and creator, René Redzepi, said the business is "unsustainable" and will transition to selling food online. Culinary writers have described Noma as redefining gastronomy with its labor-intensive, innovative Nordic cuisine. The French gastronomie, coined in 1814 from words meaning "rule of the stomach," is the source of gastronomy.
After she was found guilty of participating in a GoFundMe hoax that raised $400,000 from donors who thought the money was going to aid a homeless man, Katelyn McClure was sentenced to three years in prison. The scam involved a fake fundraising campaign to help a veteran buy a car and rent an apartment. McClure and her boyfriend actually used donations to gamble, purchase a BMW, and take a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon. Hoax derives from hocus-pocus.
Recent analysis of workplace happiness revealed that lumberjacks and farmers are the happiest and least stressed-out workers in the U.S. In fact, people who work in agricultural and forestry industries generally self-report job satisfaction at the highest levels, with loggers describing the very happiest work conditions and lowest levels of stress. A jack was once a "common fellow," and lumberjack means "fellow who works with lumber."
A memorial wall built to honor Americans who died in the Korean War misspelled hundreds of names and omitted many others. The wall, completed last summer in Washington, D.C., includes spelling mistakes in dozens of the deceased service members' names, misspelling Frederick Bald Eagle Bear as Eagle B F Bald, for example. Relatives also say at least 500 names are missing. The names were provided by the Defense Department, and they weren't checked for spelling errors.
At least 18 people died during an onslaught of storms that have been battering California for the past week. The torrential rain was particularly devastating in southern parts of the state, causing floods and mudslides. An atmospheric river began moving north this week, bringing more rain to already-saturated areas. Etymologists suspect that onslaught is rooted in a Dutch word, aanslag, or "attack," and influenced by the spelling of slaughter.
There's good news about the protective layer of gas that shields the earth from the sun's ultraviolet radiation. The ozone layer, weakened from decades of chemical emissions, is on a realistic path to being fully restored, according to scientists. A 1989 environmental agreement to phase out these emissions is working to repair the atmospheric barrier. Ozone was coined in 1840 by a German chemist, from the Greek ozein, "to smell," referring to the gas's strong odor.
Supporters of former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro took part in violent anti-democracy riots on January 8. Thousands of protestors stormed the capital, demanding the results of last year's democratic election, won by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, be overturned. More than 1,000 rioters were arrested after they vandalized artworks in the presidential office, broke the windows of federal buildings, set fires, and attacked journalists. The Latin root of riot means "to roar."
In response to a growing mental health crisis among kids, Seattle's public schools have filed a suit against TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Snapchat. The legal complaint alleges that social media deliberately targets children despite evidence that the platforms contribute to anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other issues among kids and adolescents. The lawsuit holds the companies directly accountable for promoting harmful content, and it asks that damages be paid.

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