Human Environment


The baptismal font is a large basin on a raised pedestal, and has a primary place in the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. The fonts are often quite ornate, made of materials like marble or brass, and are sometimes large enough for full immersion of the baby. During the Second Vatican of the Catholic Church greater attention to the font was encouraged and pumps for water circulation were added to simulate the flow of rivers and streams as visually demonstrative of God's natural bounty.

federal surveyor

A federal surveyor is someone who works for the U.S. Department of the Interior and Geological Survey to survey land and create maps based on their surveys. Federal surveyors are experts in aspects of geology, elevation, drainage, topography, and a variety of distinct terrains. After taking their measurements from above and below ground, they are able to create accurate maps and establish boundaries on federal land. In many cases, federal surveyors work on Native American reservations.


A seat made of leather that is placed on the backs of horses, ponies, camels, and other four-legged creatures ridden by humans. Although it is possible to ride most of the animals mentioned without a saddle, saddles can be more comfortable than riding bareback. In addition, saddles are pieces of technical equipment that enable riders to stick their mounts while under extreme conditions, such as when an animal is galloping over uneven terrain, when roping an escaping varmint, when jumping, or when covering extremely long distances.

There are two kinds of saddles: the English saddle and the Western saddle that has a pommel.


Seismograph is an older term for what today is referred to as a seismometer. Seismometers are instruments used to measure waves and movement within the earth’s surface. These waves can be produced by natural occurrences like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, or by artificial means such as excavation work and the detonation of explosive devices. Seismometers record these waves on a seismogram, with the resulting variegation in the lines produced indicating the relative power, or size, of the earthquake.


A seizure occurs when there is a sudden overabundance or absence of signaling to the brain. The outward signs of seizures are erratic behavior, convulsions, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.


A political position at the state level responsible for investigating violent or strange deaths and homicides. In the U.S., this position can be held by a sheriff, a justice of the peace, or a medical examiner. Medical experience can be useful in this position, but about half of the states in the U.S. do not require that their coroners have medical experience in order to get appointed into the position. If the coroner does not have pathology, toxicology, or medical experience, then physicians perform the autopsies.


A rocket is an aircraft propelled by the release of gases produced via the process of combustion. Rockets take the basic form of a tube with an elongated nose. A propellant, usually in the form of a highly flammable liquid, is contained in a tank in the end of the tube opposite from the nose. When the propellant is ignited, gases are released at high rates of speed and expansion, creating great force, or thrust. Because in nature for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, as the high-pressure and therefore high-powered exhaust explodes from the rear end of the rocket tube, the rocket itself is propelled forward in the opposite direction.

Rockets have a long history in both military and recreational use. Chinese fireworks, for example, are a form of early rocket that date back to 10th century CE. A contemporary form of military rocket is the guided missile.


A winch is a machine used for pulling or hauling objects and can be mounted on the front of vehicles. A winch consists of four major parts: a hook, a long metal cable, the spool, and the crank. Once the hook is attached to the object, the crank is turned and the tension in the cable pulls or hauls the object closer to the winch.


A visual symbol through which a message is communicated. Pictographs were used in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptian and the Chinese as early forms of written communication, and the symbols, which were first painted outside (on rocks or cave walls), were later developed into a system of writing. Utilizing natural pigments, many indigenous cultures around the world have left their marks, symbols, and representational pictures on the faces of boulders, on rocks, and on the walls of caves and early structures, and the painted images functioned both as a means of communication and as artistic expressions. In the Southwestern region of the U.S., there are many sites with ancient pictographs, as the relatively dry weather is especially conducive for the preservation of rock art.

Modern pictographs can be found in street signs and other public announcements that express a particular message using an image instead of written language. One such example is the "no smoking" sign that can be found and easily recognized all over the world.

Petrolab, Inc.

A company that specializes in providing technical support, as well as testing instruments, for the petroleum and chemical industries. Petrolab also offers consultation and support to a variety of other industries, such as plastics, food safety, and pharmaceuticals. According to Hillerman's 1980 novel People of Darkness, the company is based in Farmington, New Mexico, it is in fact located in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and there is no indication that it was ever operating in Farmington, although it probably did provide services to oil drilling sites in New Mexico.


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