This Week in Words: Current Events Vocabulary for May 13–May 19, 2023

May 15, 2023
Stories about a seltzer museum, a baguette competition, and a very sad goat all contributed words to this list of vocabulary from the week's news.
The European Union approved Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard after the video game company agreed to several concessions. As its new owner, Microsoft will make games including World of Warcraft available for free to cloud streaming providers. Regulatory groups in the U.S. and the U.K. oppose the deal and say they'll work to block it. The Latin root of acquisition is acquirere, "accumulate."
An unusually early heat wave hit the Pacific Northwest on May 13, spurring a heat advisory for 12 million people. Temperatures around Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington were in the nineties over the weekend, about 20 degrees higher than normal. The National Weather Service warned residents of the risk of heat stroke and advised using air conditioning, staying indoors, and drinking water.
A bread competition in Paris gave its highest honor to Au Levain des Pyrénées boulangerie and its head baker Tharshan Selvarajah. The revered 30-year-old contest, Grand Prix de la Baguette de Tradition Française de la Ville de Paris, awards a cash prize and a year-long contract to provide the French president with the long, crisp-crusted bread. It compares traditionally-baked baguettes using a blind taste test and a panel of hungry judges.
Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Myanmar on May 14, bringing intense, rotating winds that destroyed homes and shelters, many in camps where the persecuted Rohingya minority live. Hundreds of people are feared dead after the storm, reportedly one of the strongest cyclones in the last century. Cyclone is derived from the Greek kyklon, "whirling around in a circle," and its root, kyklos, "circle."
Enid, Oklahoma police officers responding to what they thought were human screams instead found a disgruntled goat. The officers said the apparent cries of distress, which sounded like a woman calling for help and could be heard a quarter mile away, came from a barn. They rushed toward the anguished sounds, expecting to find an injured person, but discovered an overwrought goat that had been separated from his "best friend," another goat.
New research shows that hammerhead sharks do the fish equivalent of holding their breath in the deepest, most frigid waters, by closing their gill slits. Because sharks are cold-blooded, with internal temperatures that match the water around them, they have to conserve energy during dives into the icy-cold deep ocean. Sealing up their gills keeps the chilly water from causing their body temperature to plummet. Unsurprisingly, frigid is derived from a root meaning "cold."
A week after the expiration of Title 42, a Trump administration policy that allowed U.S. officials to quickly send migrants back to Mexico, the number of illegal border crossings has fallen sharply. Many had predicted that illegal immigration would increase once the policy ended. The White House said its requirement that asylum seekers follow the legal process or face a penalty denying them entry for five years may be keeping the number of illegal immigrants down.
A small, jagged rock that smashed through the roof of a house in Hopewell Township, New Jersey last week was determined to be a meteorite by scientists. The residents observed that the avocado-sized stone felt warm to the touch and had a charred black crust, with a greenish interior. Researchers at the College of New Jersey confirmed the rock was a piece of space debris left over from an asteroid or comet. Meteorite is from the Greek ta meteōra, "celestial phenomena."
Scientists found that a rare genetic mutation protected a man from getting Alzheimer’s disease, and what they learned may lead to future treatment for the neurological condition. The man had one altered gene that guaranteed he would eventually get Alzheimer's, and another that essentially guarded a vital area of his brain from the disease. Future drugs may mimic that protective gene to delay the onset of Alzheimer's for decades. The Latin root of mutation means "to change."
A bill before the Florida legislature proposes using radioactive material to pave roads. Its sponsors say the state should study the use of phosphogypsum, a fertilizer industry waste product. Conservation groups oppose the idea, arguing that the material contains uranium and emits radiation in the form of radon, a gas that's been proven to cause cancer. Radioactive was coined to describe an atomic nucleus, from the Latin radius, "ray," and actif, "active."
Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will face the country's first-ever runoff election later this month after he failed to gain the majority of votes during the first round on May 14. A Turkish presidential election has never before ended without a clear winner; Erdogan garnered 49.5 percent of the vote, and his main challenger, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, got 44.9 percent. The voting meaning of runoff was coined in early-20th-century United States politics.
The last old-school seltzer shop in New York, a city that was once home to dozens, has just modernized its facility and opened a museum showcasing the history of fizzy water. The Brooklyn Seltzer Boys factory has a 100-year-old carbonator that the current owner's great-grandfather also used to produce the bubbly drink. Seltzer is from the German Selterser Wasser, "Selters water," a naturally carbonated mineral water from the town of Selter.

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