Human Environment


A type of cloth that is made of compressed wool fibers that are treated with heat, water, and chemicals to form a thick, relatively stiff material normally used to make warm outer clothes, shoes, hats, and the outer coating of tennis balls. Felt is known for its texture, which is soft and fuzzy, its warmth, and its durability.


An organization or business that is owned by the people who operate it, with responsibilities and revenues shared among the workers.

social worker

A professional with an advanced degree in social work who is assigned, usually by a government or medical agency, to help people and families who struggle with challenging social or environmental problems. Such problems can include poverty, unemployment, illness, disability, substance abuse, or domestic violence. The social worker's job is to help people access and make the most of resources, services, and programs that might be available to them in order to improve their living conditions and promote the welfare of her or his clients as well as society at large.


A measurement equal in distance to approximately 3 feet or one meter.


A light-weight casual jacket, usually made of synthetic fabric, designed as an outer layer to protect the wearer from wind and light rain. Windbreakers are not substantial enough to provide warmth or to repel water in severe weather conditions.


The metal door that opens downwards found at the back of trucks and other vehicles. Tailgates facilitate the loading and unloading of vehicles, but also provide an impromptu bench or work space when the situation calls, for example during tailgate parties or when working out in the field.


The dissection of a corpse (dead human body) in order to determine the cause of death. Also known as a postmortem examination or necropsy. This method is used by a medical examiner or coroner when the cause of death is unknown or when death seems to have occurred under suspicious circumstances.

telescopic sight

A telescope is a magnification tool used to visually enlarge objects. "Telescopic" refers to the ability of a device to visually enlarge objects. A telescopic sight, for example is a small telescope mounted on a firearm in order to increase accuracy of aim, often referred to simply as a “scope.”

Telescopic also refers to the mechanical ability of a device to extend or contract in length. Some ladders are telescopic, for example, and can be raised or lowered in height as necessary.

Kermac Nuclear Fuels

Spelled "Kerrmac" in Hillerman's 1980 novel THE PEOPLE OF DARKNESS, the Kermac Nuclear Fuels Corporation, was one of several national mining companies that invested in uranium extraction and processing in New Mexico between the 1950s and the 1990s. A partner company of Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, Inc., Anderson Development Corp., and Pacific Uranium Mines Co., Kermac was a major employer in the Grants mineral belt in west-central New Mexico. Its large mill at Ambrosia Lake started operating in 1958. In 1983 uranium mining stopped, but uranium was still produced from water in underground existing mines. The mill closed down in 2002.


An adjective used to describe behavior that is not considered proper, polite, tactful, or good taste. Similar to rudeness, to be impertinent is often a sign of disrespect, but whereas rudeness is often inexcusable, impertinence retains a youthful tang of a precocity that might one day be tempered with experience and maturity.


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