one of over a thousand known extragalactic objects, starlike in appearance and having spectra with characteristically large redshifts, that are thought to be the most distant and most luminous objects in the universe.
Quasar “a starlike extragalactic object” is a contraction of quasi-stellar, as in quasi-stellar radio source, a term that developed because of quasars’ resemblance to stars. Quasars are not galaxies but are rather galactic nuclei that draw their energy from supermassive black holes. The later term pulsar, contracted from pulsating star, was based on quasar. The element quasi- “resembling” derives from Latin quasi “as if, as though,” from quam “as” and sī “if.” For more about the stellar element, navigate to the recent Word of the Day circumstellar; it comes from Latin stella “star.” Quasar was coined by astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu in 1964.
Supermassive black holes …. likely are the driving force behind quasars, which are among the brightest objects in the universe. Astronomers can detect quasars from the farthest corners of the cosmos, making quasars among the most distant objects known. The farthest quasars are also the earliest known quasars—the more distant one is, the more time its light took to reach Earth.
If this were a Sherlock Holmes story, its title would surely be “The Case of the Disappearing Quasar.” In this case, however, the mystery wasn’t solved by an aging Victorian-era detective, but by a young American astronomer at Penn State University named Jessie Runnoe and her colleagues …. [W]hat Runnoe and her colleagues think happened is the quasar just ran out of gas. Literally. All the nearby gas fell into the black hole, and there wasn’t enough left to produce the brilliance quasars are known for.
prepared with mixed vegetables, as with water chestnuts, mushrooms, and bean sprouts.
Subgum “prepared with mixed vegetables,” despite its appearance, is not based on Latin sub “under” and English gum. Rather, subgum is adapted from Cantonese sahp-gám “assorted,” cognate with Mandarin shíjǐn. The literal definition of sahp-gám is “ten brocades,” from sahp (Mandarin shí) “ten” and gám (Mandarin jǐn) “brocade.” One of the many differences between how Cantonese and Mandarin are romanized in English is how tones are indicated. While Mandarin is romanized in the pinyin system using diacritics such as macrons (ā) and acute marks (á), tones in Cantonese are often indicated in English through the use of superscript numbers. Subgum was first recorded in English in the late 1930s.
Numerous one-pint boxes of Chinese takeout stood on the kitchen table. Foo yung loong har, which was lobster omelet with chopped onion. Subgum chow goong yue chu—fried scallops with mixed vegetables …. There were noodles and rice. Jane ate a little of the latter, none of the former, but indulged in every variety of protein.
“Hey, waiter!” called out the man in booth four. “We ordered subgum chow mein.” He lifted the lid off. “This is shrimp chow mein.” He replaced the metal lid quickly and looked up at Ben Loy, who meekly took the dish away.
a covered portico, as a promenade.
Xyst “a covered portico” derives via Latin xystus “garden terrace, shaded walk” from Ancient Greek xystós, which as a noun means “a covered colonnade” and as an adjective means “scraped, polished, smoothed.” Xystós comes from the verb xýein “to scrape, polish,” which is of uncertain origin but may be related to Latin novācula and Sanskrit kṣurá, both “razor” (compare Spanish navaja and Hindi churā). Note that, despite the spelling similarity, xyst is not related to xýlon “wood,” which is the source of terms such as xylophone. Xyst was first recorded in English circa 1660.
A few years ago I visited the wonderful city of Bologna, and was struck there particularly by the astonishing 3,796-metre-long portico of San Luca that links the city to the top of the Colle della Guardia high above it, and its magnificent basilica. Even a short stretch of this architectural gem is sufficient to give an impression of what a xyst … would have looked like, for the term denotes a long portico, especially one used in ancient Greece for athletics.
Veering ever onward, I try to shut my ears to the tumult et cetera. Will you glide a little way with me, ransack the dips for freshwater? If these jaunts were through xysts lined with trees—something fragrant like linden, like fireflower—perhaps yaw velocity might compute differently. Perhaps the wandering body that’s forgotten what zero motion might sight at last a distant ring of islands, a cliff of chalky white in the final mile.
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