Merriam-Webster adds 850 new words to dictionary, including 'dumpster fire'

Published: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 @ 8:47 AM

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 23: In this handout image provided by Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and mobile website are displayed September 23, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Joanne K. Watson/Merriam-Webster via Getty Images)
Handout/Getty Images
SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 23: In this handout image provided by Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and mobile website are displayed September 23, 2016 in Springfield, Massachusetts. (Photo by Joanne K. Watson/Merriam-Webster via Getty Images)(Handout/Getty Images)

Merriam-Webster announced this week the addition of 850 words to its online dictionary. 

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In a news release about the dictionary update, Merriam-Webster said the new terms come from a "cross-section of our linguistic culture." The new words include "chiweenie," "cryptocurrency," "mansplain" and "dumpster fire."

via GIPHY

Foodies will enjoy the additions of words related to international cuisine, including "harissa," a spicy North African paste and "kabocha," a Japanese winter squash.

In a nod to text messaging and other forms of electronic speech, Merriam-Webster is including word approximations such as "hmm," "ooh" and "welp." 

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World's Ugliest Dog Contest: Zsa Zsa the English bulldog slurps up 2018 title

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 2:26 AM

Zsa Zsa, an English Bulldog, is carried by owner Megan Brainard during the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., Saturday, June 23, 2018. Zsa Zsa won the contest. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Jeff Chiu/AP
Zsa Zsa, an English Bulldog, is carried by owner Megan Brainard during the World's Ugliest Dog Contest at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif., Saturday, June 23, 2018. Zsa Zsa won the contest. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)(Jeff Chiu/AP)

An English bulldog has fetched the crown in the 2018 World's Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California.

>> PHOTOS: Zsa Zsa the English bulldog wins World's Ugliest Dog Contest

According to The Associated Press, Zsa Zsa, a 9-year-old pooch from Anoka, Minnesota, won the pageant Saturday, beating out more than a dozen less-than-pretty pups for the $1,500 grand prize.

>> PHOTOS: 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog contestants

>> 2018 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest: Contestants, how to vote and past winners

According to the event's website, Zsa Zsa "was a puppy mill dog for five years in Missouri, and instead of placing her in a loving home at her end of breeding, she was put in a dog auction." After Underdog Rescue saved the uncomely canine, current owner Megan Brainard found her on Petfinder and adopted her.

VIDEO: World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Winners

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Check out some memorable moments from this year's contest below:

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Private vs. public: 6 ways private and public school differ 

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018 @ 2:30 PM

A Georgia private school of 800 students plants to start drug-testing its oldest students. According to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, Brookstone School in Columbus announced that the drug-testing of students in grades 8-12 will be voluntary next school year, and then mandatory in succeeding years. The school currently has about 370 students in grades 8-12. Brookstone plans to use students' hair samples to conduct the testing. The samples are sent to Psychemedics Corp., where they are examined for 18 types

For parents of preschoolers right on up to those with high schoolers eyeing the all-important college admissions game, the decision to attend private versus public school can be a weighty one.

And you can't even rely on long-held assumptions about the merits of each. A recent Time piece asserted that sending a kid to private school could actually save you $53,000 if you opted for a less expensive neighborhood as a result. Representing the other point of view, the Brookings Institution's non-resident senior fellow Mark Dynarski also concluded that parents will always have to pay double for private schools.

But whether your concerns are financial, disciplinary or even faith-based, it pays to have a firm grasp on the differences between public schools (including charter) and private schools.

Here are six critical distinctions between private and public school:

1. Funding sources

A private school acts autonomously, generating its own funding from such sources as tuition, private grants and endowments. The government funds public schools and all students attend free of cost (except for fees for certain teams and activities). Charter schools are also taxpayer-funded education, free of charge and open to students without regard to family income.

A group of students at the Portfolio School, which emphasizes experiential learning and uses technology to reduce administrative costs, play violins to create music for a film project, in the TriBeCa neighborhood of New York, Nov. 9, 2017. A rash of start-ups say they can offer more 21st-century alternatives to curriculums at established private private schools — and make a profit in the process.(Elizabeth D. Herman/The New York Times)

2. Curriculum

A private school's board has final say-so over the curriculum, while public school curriculum is mandated by the state curriculum. These days 41 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity have adopted the Common Core State Standards InitiativeEach state may choose to change or add to the standards to best meet the needs of their students.

3. Accreditation and compliance

Private accreditation agencies, like the National Association of Independent Schools, provide oversight for private schools while the State Board of Education is responsible for accrediting public schools. In addition, according to ThoughtCo., public schools must comply with a host of federal, state and local laws and regulations including No Child Left Behind, Title I and so forth. Both public and private schools must observe state and local building, fire and safety codes and federal, state and local laws such as annual reports to the IRS and maintenance of state-required attendance.

4. Admission

Admission for public schools is determined by each student's home address and school zoning. This is not the case for private schools, which reserve the right to deny admission based on eligibility criteria as decided by the school. A public school cannot deny admission to any student within the designated geographical area of the school.

BERLIN - SEPTEMBER 18: Second-grade children attend class in the elementary school at the John F. Kennedy Schule dual-language public school on September 18, 2008 in Berlin, Germany. The German government will host a summit on education in Germany scheduled for mid-October in Dresden. Germany has consistantly fallen behind in recent years in comparison to other European countries in the Pisa education surveys, and Education Minister Annette Schavan is pushing for an 8 percent increase in the national educaiton budget for 2009. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)(Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

5. Class size

Class size separates public schools and private schools distinctly. Urban public school classes may average 25-30 students per class or more, while most private schools keep their class sizes closer to an average of 10-15 students.

"It's important to note that some schools will publicize a student to teacher ratio, in addition to, or sometimes in place of, an average classroom size," ThoughtCo. noted. "The student to teacher ratio is not the same as the average classroom size, as the ratio often includes part-time teachers who may serve as tutors or substitutes, and sometimes the ratio even includes non-teaching faculty (administrators, coaches, dorm parents) who are part of students' daily lives outside the classroom."

6. Teacher prep

While public school teachers must always be certified, many private schools don't require teachers to have formal certification. Nevertheless, many are experts in their fields or have master's or even doctoral degrees.

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What is selfitis? 5 things to know about the obsessive selfie disorder 

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 10:12 AM

Do you or someone you know suffer from selfitis? Three selfies per day is considered borderline Individuals who suffer from the condition are typically attention seekers Researchers developed 20 statements to analyze individuals who may suffer from selfitis Proper treatments still need to be developed The condition might actually be deadly

This story has been updated.

The term "selfitis" may have started off as a hoax back in 2014, but now psychologists have warned it's a genuine mental health issue.

»RELATED: How your selfie could affect life insurance

Researchers form the Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and Thiagarajar School of Management in India actually investigated the social media phenomenon, leading them to create a "Selfitis Behavior Scale." Now, individuals who believe they may suffer from the condition can be properly evaluated by psychological professionals.

"A few years ago, stories appeared in the media claiming that the condition of selfitis was to be classed as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association," Dr. Mark Griffiths, Distinguished Professor of Behavioral Addiction in Nottingham Trent University's Psychology Department, told The Telegraph.

"Whilst the story was revealed to be a hoax, it didn't mean that the condition of selfitis didn't exist. We have now appeared to confirm its existence and developed the world's first Selfitis Behavior Scale to assess the condition," he explained.

If you're worried that you or someone you know may suffer from selfitis, or just want to know more about this condition, here are five things you should know:

1. Three selfies per day is considered borderline.

How many selfies do you actually take on a daily basis? 

If you take at least three every day, you have borderline traits of selfitis, according to the newly developed scale. The condition becomes more severe when you actually start posting those selfies online for others to see. 

A chronic case would be someone who takes selfies all the time and posts at least six on social media networks daily.

2. Besides taking a lot of selfies, what does selfitis entail?

Individuals who suffer from the condition are typically – and not surprisingly – attention seekers. They also generally lack self-confidence and aim to improve their social standing by posting images of themselves online.

These factors have, however, led some psychiatrists to question the need for coining a new mental condition to diagnose. 

"There is a tendency to try and label a whole range of complicated and complex human behaviors with a single word," Dr. Mark Salter, a spokesman for The Royal College of Psychiatrists said, according to Business Insider.

"But that is dangerous, because it can give something reality where it really has none."

3. How does the scale work?

The team of researchers developed 20 statements used to analyzed individuals who may suffer from selfitis. Individuals are asked to rate how much they agree with a specific sentiment, allowing psychiatrist to determine how severe the condition might be.

Some example statements are: "When I don't take selfies, I feel detached from my peer group" and "I feel more popular when I post my selfies on social media."

4. Proper treatments still need to be developed.

Dr. Janarthanan Balakrishnan, a researcher from Nottingham Trent's Department of Psychology who was also involved with the study, explained now that a scale has been developed, more research can be done to determine the best treatment.

"Typically, those with the condition suffer from a lack of self-confidence and are seeking to 'fit in' with those around them, and may display symptoms similar to other potentially addictive behaviors," Balakrishnan said.

"Now the existence of the condition appears to have been confirmed, it is hoped that further research will be carried out to understand more about how and why people develop this potentially obsessive behavior, and what can be done to help people who are the most affected."

Of course, one obvious treatment, as The Guardian pointed out, would be to "just put our phones down for a second and experience the real world." The average millennial might respond ‘or not...whatever.’

» RELATED: New app uses selfies to help screen for pancreatic cancer

5. The condition might actually be deadly.

Although a lot of readers may be rolling their eyes at this news, more than 30 people died in 2017 from taking selfies. 

Some would-be selfie takers have been hit by trains. Others have fallen from extreme heights or drowned, trying to get the perfect snap. At least one person was even trampled to death by an elephant. 

None of these individuals were actually diagnosed with the condition before they died. So, it's unclear whether they suffered from "selfitis.” One thing, however, appears certain: excessive selfies can potentially be hazardous to one’s physical and mental health.

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Venomous spiders: How to identify the pests and get them out of your home

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:31 AM

What You Need To Know: Brown Recluse Spiders

Most people aren't too happy when they encounter a spider, and that's especially true if the creepy-crawly you come across happens to be dangerously venomous.

>> Brown recluse spiders: 4 things to know as the dangerous pests become more active

Although it's understandable to be anxious about venomous spiders, it’s important to know the difference between a harmless spider and a dangerous one.

Here are some important tips from experts on dealing with venomous spiders and what to do if you think you’ve been bit.

Identify types of venomous spiders

Even if you think you've been bitten by a spider, most are actually harmless, according to the Mayo Clinic

Only a few types have venom strong enough to harm you and fangs (yikes!) long enough to penetrate your skin.

Venomous spiders found in the Southeast include:

  • Black widow – identified by the pattern of red coloration on the underside of its abdomen.
  • Brown widow – identified by an orange hourglass shape on a brown body
  • Brown recluse – identified by its brown color and dark violin-shaped marking on its head.

(Identifications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UGA Extension)

>> 10 ways to prevent tick bites on people and pets

Wear gloves when you're working outside or in the garage

If you stick your bare hand into some brush, you may be bitten by a brown or black widow. Although they usually try to avoid people, they don't have a choice if you accidentally wrap your hand around one, according to UGA Extension. Be sure to wear long sleeves and gloves when you're cleaning in the garage, clearing brush or pulling a log off a woodpile.

Look out for your clothes and shoes

Black and brown widows can also hide in clothes and shoes that have been left outside, UGA Extension advised. The best solution is to not leave these items outside (or in your garage) if you can possibly avoid it, and, if not, make sure you shake them out and check them carefully before putting them on.

Use insect repellent

The Mayo Clinic recommends using an insect repellent containing DEET on your clothes and shoes.

>> Dangerous plant that causes blindness, 3rd degree burns found in multiple states, officials say

Don't create a habitat your home

Don't store firewood against your house, since it can serve as a haven for spiders which can then find their way inside. The same is true for piles of rocks or lumber near your home.

Clean up spider webs

If you see a spider web inside your home, vacuum it up, put it in a sealed bag and dispose of it outside.

Make it harder for spiders to get inside your home

Make sure you have screens on your windows and doors that fit tightly. Seal any cracks where spiders could work their way into your home.

Recognize the signs of a bite

Many spider bites go unnoticed or cause only an itchy bump. However, if you have any of the following symptoms, you may have been bitten by a venomous spider and should seek medical attention, according to the Mayo Clinic:

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  • Pain – starting around the bite mark and possibly spreading to the abdomen, back or chest
  • Abdominal cramping – can be severe
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Skin that becomes dark blue or purple and develops into a deep open sore
Things You Didn’t Know about Spiders

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