Apolitical Archives - SaintPetersBlog

Rio2016, Election2016, PokemonGo top global Twitter trends

The Rio Olympics, the American presidential election and Pokemon Go were the top global trends on Twitter in 2016.

The social media site says Rio2016 was the most tweeted-about topic around the world, followed by Election2016 and PokemonGo. Euro2016, Oscars, Brexit, Trump and BlackLivesMatter also made the top 10.

A Spanish gamer known as elrubius originated the year’s most popular tweet: It reads “Limonada” (lemonade) and was retweeted more than 1.3 million times. One Direction’s Harry Styles had the second most-repeated post — quoting a Taylor Swift song — with more than 700,000 retweets. A postelection tweet from Hillary Clinton encouraging little girls to recognize their power and seize opportunities was the third most popular of the year with 634,560 retweets.

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Joe Henderson: Not just papers; it’s #LoveMyWebsite day, too

On Sunday afternoon, a man carrying an AR-15 assault rifle walked into a popular pizza place in northwest Washington D.C. and began shooting.

No one was hurt, thank goodness and the gunman was arrested.

What he said after being taken away, though, should be a warning to us all. He said he came to “self-investigate” whether Hillary Clinton was using the restaurant as a front for a child sex trafficking ring. Just before the election last month, that story had made the rounds among crazy people who frequent conspiracy-theory websites and believe what they read.

Normally, such a thing would be limited to charter members of the Tinfoil Hat Society. But after the ironically named “fake news” became real news for its impact on the recent elections, I guess we can’t afford to assume people can tell the difference – although I do think a few well-publicized libel judgments against sites that deliberately lie on the scale we just saw might give these miscreants a moment of pause.

I mention this because the hashtag #LoveMyNewspaper was trending Monday on Twitter. That gives me a warm feeling. I worked for about 45 years in the newspaper industry, including nearly the last 42 at the Tampa Tribune before it was bought and closed in May by the Tampa Bay Times.

This is not to lament that day because my attitude is to look forward, not backward. Besides, we know the business side of the newspaper industry overall sucks. The website newspaperdeathwatch.com lists 15 large papers that have closed since 2007 and details cutbacks and layoffs at many others, including the venerable New York Times.

Let’s all just take a deep breath, though. The need for detailed and accurate information doesn’t go away – maybe now more than ever, as the story in Washington shows. That’s where legitimate media comes in.

No matter your political persuasion, you can’t disagree that America is entering uncharted waters. Reporters have always been basically under siege from readers and politicians who don’t like their work, but as the recent national election proves they are more necessary than their enemies would like to admit.

So, I would add to the love for newspapers with another hashtag: #LoveMyWebsite – at least the ones like this one where readers go looking for real information and find it.

Reporters for SaintPetersBlog, FloridaPolitics.com and the Times perform their craft with distinction. They find out things people need to know and they understand the difference between fact and fantasy. That’s what we’re all after.

The Times revolutionized the game eight years ago when it launched PolitiFact, but probably never guessed the Pulitzer Prize-winning site would have to be used, as it was Nov. 4, to debunk the sex-trafficking story with a “Pants on Fire” rating.

And if you a frequent visitor to this site, you understand what a valuable tool it is to help stay abreast of the goings-on in Tallahassee, Tampa Bay and around the state.

When someone is willing to play that kind of mind game to dupe the nation that we see on the splinter sites, you need to ask what else they are willing to do.

The only way to combat that is with inconvenient truths known as facts. That is where reporters come in. That’s where newspapers with resources and willingness to shine a light in dark places are most needed. That’s where websites willing to cover local races with the same vigor as a governor’s race are most needed.

So yes, love your newspaper.

And love your website.

We’re all in this together.

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One reason for women to #LoveMyStudentNewspaper

It’s #LoveMyNewspaper Day, and The Independent Florida Alligator has certainly earned a hug from feminists, and from men who like their wives, daughters, mothers and sisters.

Molly Vossler, who covers the Nothing Ever Changes Around Here beat for The Alligator, has updated the depressing and open secret that “Men dominate UF’s list of highest-paid faculty.”

Many Gator freshmen weren’t even born in 1998 when highly credentialed anthropology professor Maxine Margolis sued the university for salary discrimination following years of failed friendly persuasion. UF’s lawyers defended the indefensible for three years before writing Margolis a check on condition that she not reveal the amount.

That’s always a clue that “leadership” has very little intention of fixing the problem, so Vossler’s findings should surprise no one. Fifteen years down the road from Margolis’ lawsuit, The Alligator’s analysis shows that of UF’s 100 highest-paid salaried faculty members who work at least three-fourths of the year on the academic side of the house, only eight are women.

“It seems to me that very little has changed at the university,” Margolis told The Alligator, in a sample of the dry, Algonquin Round Table wit that is lost on people who think the humanities are a waste of time.

Vossler reports that university officials are “aware” of the disparity, and “working to address it” by which they mean they will stick it in an envelope addressed to the year 2031.

Vossler’s story takes us down Memory Lane to 1971, when then-UF President Steve O’Connell appointed the UF Status of Women Committee. Such Kabuki Commissions were popular in the 70s, and were better at producing reports than results.

Newspapers are only as good as their sources, and sources don’t come any better than Dr. Shahla Masood, a professor in the UF College of Medicine and its fourth-highest-paid female faculty member. Dr. Masood would be welcomed and well-paid at the best teaching hospitals in the world, and she is not afraid to say for publication what all university women know.

“Inequality in the workplace has become the norm,” she told The Alligator, and “some female faculty members feel afraid to speak up in fear of being ignored, criticized or, in extreme cases, fired.”

“It’s about identifying the necessity of speaking up, because we have to rupture the silence,” she continued. “I want to rupture that silence, and I’ve been thinking about that for a long time.”

Every campus has at least one woman with the resume and the guts to speak up. Let’s hope that every campus has a newspaper like The Alligator to give them the chance to rupture the silence.

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Orlando-based attractions in Tennessee recover after devastating wildfire

Two Orlando-based attractions are dealing with the aftermath Thursday of a wildfire that spread through Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Employees from Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa were forced to evacuate Monday night when high winds sent the fire through the resort area.

Both attractions have headquarters in Orlando.

Ripley employees were forced to leave behind more than 10,000 animals, when the fire crept just 50 yards from the attraction Monday night.

Ryan DeSear, Ripley’s regional manager, said 14 of his employees are homeless after the fire and the company has placed them in hotels and prepared a relief plan.

“There was a wall of flames but it stopped at our concrete parking deck, which served as a big firebreak for us,” said DeSear, who was the last to leave the aquarium at 7:45 p.m. Monday. “That ugly deck saved the aquarium and all our animals.”

He said he had to force many of the workers out of the building because they didn’t want to leave the animals alone. A team of Ripley biologists is working in the aquarium around the clock to support the animals while the attraction is closed. DeSear added that they were lucky because the building never lost power.

DeSear choked up when asked about his employees. He said not all of Ripley’s 400 employees have reported in but most are safe in their homes.

“I’ve got my wife and son and my dogs,” DeSear said. “I have no power, no gas but I have a home by God. The company has given us carte blanche and told us we can buy anything we need to help our employees.”

DeSear credits firefighters and first responders for saving the city. He said they worked night and day fighting the fire through high winds and tough conditions.

“Gatlinburg and the aquarium will be open and we will be bigger and better than ever within a week,” he said.

Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa was not as lucky.

More than 800 units were destroyed and 69 of the resort’s 90 buildings were lost to the blaze, which originated in the Great Smoky Mountains. The resort was at 70 percent occupancy with about 1,200 registered guests when the first building caught fire. All were evacuated and there were no injuries.

Mark Waltrip, chief operating officer of Westgate Resorts, traveled from Orlando to Gatlinburg to assess the damage. The resort employs about 1,100 people.

The fire did not touch another 323 units in 17 cabin buildings and a lodge. The resort’s water park, grocery store, check-in building and a restaurant were also undamaged.

Westgate Resort officials told the Orlando Sentinel they plan to reopen the resort in the next two weeks.

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A rose for family of U.S. plantation owner executed by Fidel Castro

One of Miami’s oldest cemeteries is so close to the Fidel Castro death celebrations at Café Versailles in Little Havana that its marble angels echo with conga-line cheers from Calle Ocho.

Most of the people interred at Caballero Woodlawn Cemetery-North on Southwest Eighth Street — the many Cubans buried there, for sure — hoped to live long enough to hear the celebrations.

There’s Jorge Mas Canosa, a Bay of Pigs veteran and founder of the Cuban American National Foundation, resting in his tomb under Cuban and American flags. A few rows over is Carlos Prio Socarras, Cuba’s president from 1948 until 1952 and an outspoken Castro critic. His grave is adorned with a Cuban flag mosaic.

And then there’s the grave of the family of Robert Fuller, a burnished bronze marker set in the lush grass. It’s not as flashy as the others, and Fuller’s body isn’t even there. But he’s important to students of Cuban history as one of a small group of Cuban-Americans who tried to overthrow Castro six months before the Bay of Pigs invasion.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 photo, Frances R. Fuller points to a photo in Life Magazine, dated Oct. 31, 1960, with the photo, of her brother Robert Fuller, center, flanked by parents William Fuller, left, Jennie Fuller, right, at her home in Miami. In 1960, Robert Fuller joined an ill-fated mission to lead a boatload of poorly trained Cubans from Miami in hopes of mustering up a counter-revolution on the island. Instead, the men were quickly captured, and Fuller confessed under torture to counterrevolutionary activities. Fuller was sentenced to death by firing squad. The family asked to bring his body back with them to America. Castro’s people said no. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

“Grandma, I wish you were here to see this,” Robert Fuller’s niece, Katherine, said Tuesday, bending with a delicate pink rose in her hand over the grave of Jennie Fuller — Robert’s mother — and other relatives.

After Castro’s forces seized power in Havana in 1959, the new regime “repeatedly harassed and threatened” members of the Fuller family and sought to seize the 10,000-acre agricultural business they had operated since 1903, according to the family’s lawsuit against Cuba.

Robert Fuller, who had dual Cuban and U.S. citizenship, was born on the Holguin plantation in 1934 and felt Cuban, Katherine said, even after serving as a U.S. marine in Korea. In 1960, at 25, he joined an ill-fated mission to lead a boatload of poorly trained Cubans from Miami in hopes of mustering up a counter-revolution on the island.

Instead, the men were quickly captured, and Fuller confessed under torture to counterrevolutionary activities. According to an Associated Press dispatch from Havana on his trial, he told the court that he joined the invaders because the Castro government had taken over his father’s ranch, “earned by the sweat of his brow and very honorably.”

His mother, Jennie sobbed in the courtroom where, in front of jeering crowds, Fuller was sentenced to death by firing squad. The family asked to bring his body back with them to America. Castro’s people said no. Jennie Fuller left Cuba, never to return, and her son remains buried somewhere on the island in an unmarked mass grave, court records say.

In 2006, a Miami-Dade judge awarded the family $400 million in damages after Cuba ignored their lawsuit. A decade later, they haven’t seen a dime.

Katherine Fuller was born in Miami two years after her uncle was executed, and raised in both the Cuban and American traditions of her family. Now 55, she still lives in the city where her uncle is remembered as a hero. There’s even a street in Little Havana named after him.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016 photo, Frances R. Fuller, left, and her niece Kathrine Fuller, right, sister and niece respectively, of Robert Fuller, show photos of Fuller at their home in Miami. In 1960, Robert Fuller joined an ill-fated mission to lead a boatload of poorly trained Cubans from Miami in hopes of mustering up a counter-revolution on the island. Instead, the men were quickly captured, and Fuller confessed under torture to counterrevolutionary activities. Fuller was sentenced to death by firing squad. The family asked to bring his body back with them to America. Castro’s people said no. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

Castro’s death was a joyful moment, she said, but also bittersweet. None of the exiled members of the family has ever returned to Cuba. Katherine always was too afraid when Castro was alive, given her surname’s notoriety on the island. More than anything, Fuller wonders why Castro ruined “such a rich treasure of an island.”

But she also knows that her own history and family’s legacy are intertwined with Castro’s. Her grandmother and other relatives have carried the pain of Robert Fuller’s execution all their lives.

Jennie Fuller grew her hair long and it flowed to her waist in a thick braid.

“We’d say to her, ‘Grandma, when are you going to cut your hair?’ ” Katherine Fuller recalled. “And she’d always say, ‘I’ll cut my hair when Castro falls.’ “

Jennie Fuller died in 2001, her long hair intact.

But the rose bushes she planted at the family’s Miami property in 1959 lived on.

On Tuesday, Fuller slipped the little pink rose from those bushes alongside a bouquet of lilies on the family’s Thanksgiving table, and expressed cautious optimism about Cuba’s future. She’s in favor of lifting the U.S. embargo on Cuba if the Cuban government is willing to give people on the island more freedom, something President Barack Obama called for. She thinks it’s possible with Castro’s passing.

“I think what Obama has done is the first step,” she said, referring to the president’s relaxing of travel regulations.

Katherine is even considering a trip to the island now that Castro’s gone. Somehow it seems safer. She’d like to meet her other relatives, and see the plantation her grandparents once owned.

But first, there’s some living to do in Miami.

“We’re going to go to Versailles now,” she said softly. “We’ll have a coffee, and a pastry.”

Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

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Blake Dowling: Apps for everything

dowling-11-30I think I have downloaded more apps in the past five years than anyone in the southern United States. When the kids were younger, new game? Done. Five a day, we would play incessantly, then delete.

The gaming app 100 Balls took over two weeks of our life; Stack took a few weeks. Jet Pack Joy Ride might have robbed our family of actual months. Anyway, as the kids got older, it’s more about functionality these days.

Although Zombie Highway still pulls me back in sometimes, I try to get out, and they pull me back in (as the saying goes).

As far as must-have solid apps, here is my go-to list: WatchESPN, Xfinity (I can change the channel while on the road, the kids wonder why they are suddenly watching Air Wolf … Ha Ha!), dowling-11-30_2AMX, The Bible app is great, Delta, The Score, Twitter, and Insta.

For political junkies out there, make sure to check FloridaPolitics.com first for your news (duh).

After that, check out Politomix, which streamlines all political news worldwide 24/7, or Pocket Justice, which details over 600 constitutional law cases (they should have called this “party time,” because it sounds like the fun doesn’t stop).

iCitizen is another cool app for all things politics.

I have football season tickets with some fraternity brothers from back in the old days. The old days are defined as a time before smartphones, email, and social media – BT (Before Tech) for short.

It was a glorious time to be digitally anonymous. Those days are over now, and – for better or worse – tech is here to stay.

dowling-11-30_3In regards to my season ticket holding group we use an app called SplitCost, which comes in handy 4 dividing up expenses: New generator costs A, dinner out was B, 4 cases of gin costs C.

You create a group name in SplitCost and enter each members name and costs accordingly. It defines who owes in red and who is owed in green. This app can be used for anything requiring a shared bill. Check that one out, for sure.

As for professional messaging apps, Slack seems to be the up-and-comer with the most noise around it, with users who really like it.

Slack is a solid replacement for internal organizational email; it is also searchable, so you don’t lose any functionality. Slack is also free, making it certainly worth a look.

In the kitchen, you should check out BigOven. It is like most recipe apps but takes it to the next level.

Select a recipe and, like magic, the app sends you a grocery list – taking some of the chore out of cooking up something new.

Sometimes, exercise can get tedious – straight up boring – so download Zombies, Run!, which turns your daily workout into an all-out run-for-your-life-type experience.

OK, we have covered apps for politics, entertainment, messaging, gaming, cooking, exercise, travel, religion and finance. That’s all she wrote, man.

Hopefully, you find a use of one or two of these.

___

dowling-11-30_4Blake Dowling is CEO at Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns appear in publications for several organizations. Contact him at dowlingb@aegisbiztech.com or www.aegisbiztech.com.

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Yes, Virginia, there will be a cigar porch at the Governors Club

Fret not, cigar loving members of the Governors Club: The ‘front porch’ is still in the works.

Despite years of delays, an outdoor deck in front of the private club at Adams Street and College Avenue “is still a go,” said general manager Barry Shields.

The deck, which will hold 10 to 12 outdoor tables under the existing magnolia tree, had been hung up in permitting with the city of Tallahassee.

“At this point, I’m still hoping that we’ll have it ready to go by the first day of session,” Shields said. The 2017 Legislative Session begins March 7.

It’s been two years since a smoke-free happy hour was instituted in the club’s first-floor lounge, which had been beset with clouds of offending stogie smoke that sent some patrons fleeing. Smoking is prohibited in the club, except on the second-floor balcony, which hosts occasional cigar dinners, and in the lounge after 7 p.m.

The 34-year-old Governors Club has long been a refuge for lawyers, lobbyists and lawmakers, especially during committee weeks and legislative sessions. The house rules generally forbid members of the press from entering and its membership list is a secret, though the club recently disclosed it has 1,050 members.

The building, at 202-1/2 S. Adams St., was built in 1926 to be a Masonic Lodge, according to its website. After a time it became an Odd Fellows hall, and Governors Club later took possession of the building. It opened in 1982, where it has been continuously operating since.

In the club’s December newsletter, Shields noted the club was “successful in extending our lease with the Odd Fellows for an additional 20 years, through 2051. It’s good to know that our building is secure for the next 35 years.”

At the same time, he said in an interview he “never dreamt a deck would take two and a half years to build.”

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For firefighters, emotional stress often the deadliest enemy

Battalion Chief David Dangerfield‘s nickname was “Super Dave,” a moniker the veteran firefighter had earned over the years for his cheerful, get-things-done personality. The leader of a fire department dive team in a quiet Florida beach community of 15,000 volunteered for charities helping kids and families and was the 2013 Treasure Coast Emergency Service Provider of the Year.

But one Saturday night last month, Dangerfield posted a Facebook message that revealed a world of pain behind the brave facade.

“PTSD for Firefighters is real. If your love (sic) one is experiencing signs get them help quickly. 27 years of deaths and babies dying in your hands is a memory that you will never get rid off (sic). … My love to my crews. Be safe, take care. I love you all.”

He then drove to some woods, called 911 and told the dispatcher where his body could be found. He hung up and fatally shot himself. He was 48.

Dangerfield’s death shined a light on firefighters who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder, a problem most often associated with soldiers returning from war. Firefighters are finding that their long tradition of silent stoicism, and the belief that talking about one’s demons is a sign of weakness that could isolate them from colleagues, has left many of them psychologically and emotionally damaged.

The Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance estimates about 30 percent of the nation’s 1.3 million career and volunteer firefighters suffer from PTSD, with 132 suicides by active and former U.S. firefighters and paramedics reported last year. Officials believe those numbers are low because of misclassifications. Studies show firefighters are three to four times more likely to kill themselves than die in on-duty accidents.

There have been recent national efforts to train firefighters to recognize PTSD and to remove the stigma of seeking help.

But even knowledge can’t save everyone.

___

David Dangerfield became a firefighter in the 1980s, advancing through the ranks to a top position in the Indian River Fire Rescue Division in Vero Beach, a town of 15,000 known for its quiet beaches, retirees and as the Dodgers’ former spring training grounds. Dangerfield founded and ran the firefighters chili cook-off for charity.

His team’s work sometimes made the local news. He and a colleague found the severed body of a 9-year-old boy who had been attacked by a shark. He and his partners pulled mangled bodies from a small plane crash in a remote swamp and then sat with the corpses for hours before they could be removed. In 2014, Dangerfield recovered the body of a 16-year-old bicyclist who had been knocked off a bridge and into a lagoon by a car.

He told the Vero News that firefighters feel the families’ pain.

“It’s difficult for us, too,” he said. “It sticks with you.”

Retired firefighter Blades Robinson, a dive team buddy, said Dangerfield had some difficulties over the past couple of years, including a divorce, but had been undergoing PTSD counseling. He had been promoted last year, bought a new house and truck. He seemed like his normal self.

“We were all blindsided by his death,” Robinson said.

___

Scott Geiselhart, a firefighter in Frazee, Minnesota, fought the same demons Dangerfield did — and would have died the same way but for some incredible luck.

Geiselhart was viewed as a pillar of his community in Frazee, a town of 1,300 people tucked among the area’s abundant lakes and home to “Big Tom,” the world’s largest turkey statue. He owned the local auto repair shop and was an assistant chief with the volunteer fire department, leading the crew that removes people when they are trapped, particularly after car accidents.

Geiselhart often found himself rescuing friends and neighbors. One night he chatted up a bartender about a necklace she was wearing. The next morning he pulled her body from her car’s wreckage and found the necklace in the debris.

In 2010, Geiselhart and his team rescued a teenager who had driven into an icy swamp. He appeared to be recovering in the hospital.

“Everything went perfect: It was an awesome, awesome rescue. It was just wow,” said Geiselhart, 47. “I was celebrating, saying, ‘We finally saved one.'” A month later, the teen died from a lung infection caused by inhaling water. Geiselhart blamed himself.

It wasn’t long before the nightmares began, mostly about his two sons.

“They would be burning to death or falling out of the sky and landing in the water and turning to me for help and I was paralyzed. I couldn’t help them. Or they would be in a car accident and the jaws of life wouldn’t work or my arms wouldn’t work,” he said. “So I just decided I was never going to sleep again.” He started taking meth to stay awake. It made his PTSD worse.

Everywhere he looked in town, something reminded him of someone he had seen dead or dying. He began yelling at his girlfriend and kids. He spent 23 hours a day at his repair shop, but spent much of his time staring at his surveillance monitor.

Finally, in 2014, he took his Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum, loaded it with six bullets, put it to his head and pulled the trigger. Click. The gun didn’t fire.

“I think it was God using my favorite gun to get my attention,” he said. Geiselhart got help. He underwent psychotherapy, eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, sometimes used to treat soldiers suffering from PTSD. It worked. He stopped using meth. He stopped being angry, even though he lost his auto shop. He’s still a volunteer firefighter.

“What’s weird is that I’m in the worst financial shape of my life but I am the happiest I have ever been because I got my life back and I know there is a future,” he said. “Something inside me is at peace.” He now speaks to firefighters groups, urging them to seek help before it’s too late.

“I know how much strength it takes,” he said. “It is far from a weakness.”

Republished with permission of the Associated Press.

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Disney gives employees a peek at New Water Show

Walt Disney World’s employees, their friends and family were given a preview Sunday of their newest water light show.

“Rivers of Light” was originally scheduled to open in April but was delayed because of technical problems. The 18-minute show did require a reboot when two floats stopped during the show but the technology worked for the high-shooting water projections at Animal Kingdom, according to Disney blogger John Frost.

Audience members were not allowed to photograph or video the water pageant. But watching a media preview online, it resembles EPCOT’s “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth,” minus the fireworks.

Rivers of Light is a first for Animal Kingdom, which has expanded its hours to match evening entertainment at other Disney parks. Disney characters or storylines are not part of the show.

No opening date has been announced. The cast preview provides an opportunity for Disney’s operations team to work through any kinks before the attraction is offered to the public.

 

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Dictionary.com’s word of the year is ‘xenophobia’

You might have thought about it, heard it. A lot. You might have even felt it: Dictionary.com’s word of the year is “xenophobia.”

While it’s difficult to get at exactly why people look words up in dictionaries, online or on paper, it’s clear that in contentious 2016, fear of “otherness” bruised the collective consciousness around the globe.

The Brexit vote, police violence against people of color, Syria’s refugee crisis, transsexual rights and the U.S. presidential race were among prominent developments that drove debate — and spikes in lookups of the word, said Jane Solomon, one of the dictionary site’s lexicographers.

The 21-year-old site defines xenophobia as “fear or hatred of foreigners, people from different cultures, or strangers.” And it plans to expand its entry to include fear or dislike of “customs, dress and cultures of people with backgrounds different from our own,” Solomon said in a recent interview.

The word didn’t enter the English language until the late 1800s, she said. Its roots are in two Greek words — “xenos,” meaning “stranger or guest,” and “phobos,” meaning “fear or panic,” Solomon added.

The interest was clear June 24, within a period that represents the largest spike in lookups of xenophobia so far this year. That was the day of Brexit, when the UK voted to leave the European Union.

Searches for xenophobia on the site increased by 938 percent from June 22 to June 24, Solomon said. Lookups spiked again that month after President Obama’s June 29 speech in which he insisted that Donald Trump‘s campaign rhetoric was not a measure of “populism,” but rather “nativism, or xenophobia, or worse.”

Solomon added that chatter about xenophobia goes well beyond the spikes.

“It has been significant throughout the year,” she said. “But after the EU referendum, hundreds and hundreds of users were looking up the term every hour.”

Robert Reich, who served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter and was President Clinton’s labor secretary, felt so strongly about xenophobia’s prominence today that he appears in a video for Dictionary.com discussing its ramifications.

“I don’t think most people even know what xenophobia is,” Reich, who teaches public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, said in an interview. “It’s a word not to be celebrated but to be deeply concerned about.”

Solomon’s site, based in Oakland, California, started choosing a word of the year in 2010, based on search data and agreement of in-house experts that include a broad swath of the company, from lexicographers to the marketing and product teams to the CEO, Liz McMillan.

The word and the sentiment reflect a broader mournful tone to 2016, with Oxford dictionary editors choosing “post-truth” as their word of the year, often described in terms of politics as belonging to a time in which truth has become irrelevant.

“I wish,” Solomon said, “we could have chosen a word like unicorns.”

Reprinted with permission of the Associated Press.

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