hot button

One of the biggest hot button issues of all time has to be eugenics. In a nutshell, eugenics is the idea that humans should practice selective reproduction in an effort to “improve” the species.

Tara Rodden Robinson, Genetics for Dummies, Wiley, 2005.

hot button noun [C] US SLANG
a subject that is important to people and which they feel strongly about:
Gender issues have become something of a hot button.
Abortion has become a hot button issue. [CALD]

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in a nutshell

Sam nodded. “In a nutshell, yes.”

She watched Jones. “And who will protect the pillars the next time the komatsus invade?”

Jaye Patrick, Huntress, 2007.

nutshell noun
the hard shell around a nut
in a nutshell SPOKEN
used for saying that you are going to express something in a simple direct way:
To put it in a nutshell, we lost the case. [MEDA]

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jus ad bellum & jus in bello

The implications of the distinction are that jus in bello has to be completely distinguished from jus ad bellum, and must be respected independently of any argument concerning the latter. This is so because ‘the two sorts of judgement are logically independent. It is perfectly possible for a just war to be fought unjustly and for an unjust war to be fought in strict accordance with the rules’. In other words, ‘the limitation on jus ad bellum has no influence on jus in bello’. This is so even though the two bodies of law operate simultaneously in many situations. For, although the mainstream view is that the two bodies of law apply at different stages of a conflict (jus ad bellum affects the legality of the initial recourse to force, whereas jus in bello logically applies after hostilities have begun), it is questionable that this sequential distinction is still relevant. Recent developments have entailed that the two bodies of law no longer operate at different stages; once hostilities begin it is necessary to consider and apply both. jus ad bellum thus applies ‘not only to the act of commencing hostilities’ but also to each subsequent act involving the use of force, which has to be justified by reference to the principles of necessity and proportionality. Simultaneous application of jus ad bellum and jus in bello should not imply that the two concepts are linked or interdependent. Acts that are in complete conformity with jus in bello may nonetheless be prohibited under jus ad bellum. Similarly, an attack that is inconsistent with jus in bello does not necessarily affect the legality of the use of force.

Jasmine Moussa, “Can jus ad bellum override jus in bello? Reaffirming the separation of the two bodies of law,” International review of the Red Cross, vol. 90, Issue 872, 2008, pp. 967-978.


stoneman noun
1: a compositor who imposes set type on a stone and locks it up in a chase
2 a: a man working in stone
b: one who drives stoneheads
3: stonemason [MWUD]

For we constantly deal with practical problems, with moulders, contractors, derricks, stonemen, trucks, rubbish, plasterers, and what-not-else, all the while trying to soar into the blue.

— Augustus Saint-Gaudens

David McCullough, The greater journey : Americans in Paris, Simon & Schuster, 2011


n 1) any reptile of the order Chelonia, including the tortoises and turtles, in which most of the body is enclosed in a protective bony capsule
adj 2) of, relating to, belonging to, or characteristic of the Chelonia
Etymology: C19 from New Latin Chelōnia, from Greek khelōnē tortoise [CED]

The order of the testudines differentiated itself from the rest of the reptile world during the Triassic Period. Today it comprises marine turtles and terrestrial turtles. The species of this order are unique. They are covered with shells that consist of a dorsal carapace and a ventral plastron. These shells are so much a part of these animals that their thoracic vertebrae and ribs are included in them. Since these rigid shells do not allow turtles to expand their chests to breathe, these animals use their abdominal and pectoral muscles like diaphragms.

Reptiles and Dinosaurs, Britannica Illustrated Science Library, 2008.

carapace & plastron

carapace (カメなどの)背甲

plastron (カメなどの)腹甲

Turtles, like frogs, cannot be mistaken for any other animal (Fig. 1.3). The body is encased within upper and lower bony shells (carapace and plastron, respectively). In some species, the upper and lower shells fit tightly together, completely protecting the limbs and head. Although turtles are only moderately speciose, they are ecologically diverse, with some fully aquatic (except for egg deposition) and others fully terrestrial. Some are tiny in size whereas others are gigantic, and some are herbivores and others are carnivores.

Laurie J. Vitt and Janalee P. Caldwell, Herpetology : An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, 3rd ed., Academic Press, 2009, p.4.

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  1. A prodigious debt of gratitude goes to [[proper names]. Thanks also to the following friends, family, and colleagues who suggested words for inclusion in this book: [proper names].

    Robert W. Bly, Words You Should Know to Sound Smart : 1200 essential words every sophisticated person should be able to use, Adams Media, 2009.

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herpetology n.
a branch of zoology dealing with reptiles and amphibians
Etymology : Greek herpeton quadruped, reptile, from neuter of herpetos crawling, from herpein
Date : 1824 [MWCD]

Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and gymnophiona) and reptiles (including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians, and the tuataras). Batrachology is a further subdiscipline of herpetology concerned with the study of amphibians alone. […] The word “herpetology” is from Greek: ἑρπετόν, herpeton, “creeping animal” and -λογία, -logia. People with an avid interest in herpetology and who keep different reptiles or amphibians often refer to themselves as “herpers”. [Wikipedia: Herpetology]

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  1. It is an admirable feature of herpetologists that they are able to cross the boundaries between different aspects of their subject, which remains, perhaps more than other branches of zoology, a single coherent discipline.

    A. d’A. Bellairs and C. B. Cox, 1976.

    Laurie J. Vitt and Janalee P. Caldwell, Herpetology : An Introductory Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles, 3rd ed., Academic Press, 2009.

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Alice-in-Wonderland adj
fantastic; irrational
Etymology: C20 alluding to the absurdities of Wonderland in Lewis Carroll’s book [CED]

Alice-in-Wonderland adj.
Illusory; unreal: “One wonders if historians… are caught up in an Alice-in-Wonderland world of their own making” (Zara Steiner). [AHD4]

‘But of course,’ she said, ‘it’s very unexpected for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, but the gospel is simply a catalogue of unexpected things. It’s not to be expected that an ox and an ass should worship at the crib. Animals are always doing the oddest things in the lives of the saints. It’s all part of the poetry, the Alice-in-Wonderland side, of religion.’

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited, 1945

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