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  1. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - GOATS Did you know.... Goats have rectangular pupils. The animal kingdom is full of incredible variety, thanks to evolution, but one thing most animals have in common is that they use a set of eyes to navigate the world around them. But even the pupil of the eyeball, the biological aperture responsible for how much light enters the eyes, is nearly as diverse as the types of birds that soar the skies or fish that swim the seas. For mammals, one big factor determining the shape of a pupil is whether the creature is predator or prey. For example, a goat is a grazing prey animal that would be a pretty easy target for coyotes, bears, and other predators with sharp teeth. Yet evolution gave the goat a few tools to defend itself. The horns certainly help, but the biggest advantage is a goat’s horizontal rectangular pupils. These long, horizontal pupils create a panoramic view that lets the animal see more of the landscape, which makes it harder to sneak up on them. The pupils also enhance the image quality of objects (read: threats) all around the goats, and they cut down on glare from the sky by capturing less light from above and more from below. Cats and snakes, on the other hand, are ambush predators, whose vertical pupils help them hunt in the night and judge the distance between themselves and their next meal. But according to scientists, vertical pupils are reserved only for animals whose eyes are close to the ground. That’s why other cats that are higher up, like lions and tigers, have round pupils rather than vertical ones. Goats have accents. A 2012 study from Queen Mary University of London revealed that kids (the goat kind, not the human kind) altered their bleating when socializing with other goats. The ability to change one’s voice in response to a social environment is known as “vocal plasticity,” and humans display an extreme form of this concept — it’s how we can develop accents. Goats develop similarly distinct accents based on their social group, admittedly with a more limited vocabulary. In the study, scientists analyzed one-week-old goats compared to five-week-old goats; the latter is about the time goats form social groups known as “crèches.” They found that young goats raised in the same crèches developed similar bleats, altering their noises to fit in their social group as they aged. It’s also possible these accents help goats identify members of their group, an idea familiar to anybody who’s traveled outside their home country — or even their hometown. (Interesting Facts) Things You Didn't Know About Goats Baby goats are as cute as puppies. You just want to pick them up and cuddle them. Some research finds they even have canine-like personalities. Goats of all ages have expressive faces, even with their odd eyes and interesting facial hair. Domesticated about 10,000 years ago, there are more than 200 domestic goat breeds found all over the world today. They come in all sorts of colors and sizes and can be found eating grass or tree trunks. What else do we know about these doe-eyed creatures? Here are lots of interesting goat facts. 1. They're More Like Dogs That We Thought In research published in Biology Letters, scientists found that goats will look people in the eye when they're frustrated with a task and could use a little help. For the study, a team trained goats to remove a lid from a box in order to receive a reward. As the final task, they made it so the lid couldn't be removed from the box. They recorded the goats' reactions when they gazed toward the experimenters who were in the room, as if asking for a little help. They looked longer if the person was facing the goat than if the person was facing away. 2. They Have Beards and Wattles Both male and female goats can have tufts of hair under their chin called beards. Both can also have wattles — hair-covered appendages of flesh, usually around the throat area, but sometimes found on the face or hanging form the ears. Wattles serve no purpose and aren't harmful to the goat. Wattles sometimes can become caught on fences or in feeders or may be chewed on by other goats. To avoid those kinds of injuries, sometimes owners will have them removed. 3. They Love a Smile Goats prefer happy faces. In a simple experiment published in the Royal Society Open Science, researchers put photos on the wall at a goat sanctuary of the same face: one happy and one angry. Goats tended to avoid the angry faces, while they approached the happy ones and explored them with their snouts. Researchers already knew that goats were very aware of human body language, but this takes things a step farther. Said lead author Christian Nawroth: "Here, we show for the first time that goats do not only distinguish between these expressions, but they also prefer to interact with happy ones." 4. Goats Are Great at Diets You might have seen a goat in a cartoon on comic, gnawing on a tin can and heard that goats will eat pretty much anything. That's not true. They're actually very picky eaters but very resourceful and are able to find the most nutritious offerings wherever they are. That can include tree bark, which is rich in tannins. Goats can survive on the thinnest patches of grass, so the only place goats can't live are tundras, deserts and aquatic habitats. There are even some feral groups of goats on Hawaii and other islands. 5. Goats Were Domesticated Early Goats were among the first livestock species to be domesticated, about 10,000 years ago. Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in western Asia dating back about 9,000 years, according to the National Zoo. In a 2000 study published in the journal Science, researchers found archaeological evidence that goats (Capra hircus) were first domesticated about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. Some researchers believe that goats were domesticated from bezoars (C. aegagrus), a mountain ibex found in West Asia. 6. They Don't Love Rain Goats are generally pretty hardy animals, but the one thing they don't seem to like is rain. According to the USDA National Agricultural Library, "Goats will run to the nearest available shelter on the approach of a storm, often arriving before the first drops of rain have fallen. They also have an intense dislike for water puddles and mud. Probably through evolution they have been more free of parasites if they have avoided wet spots." Some people will offer goats a covered shelter with an elevated, slatted floor so they can stay dry from their head to their hooves. 7. There are Different Types of Goats There are three types of goats: domestic goats (Capra hircus), which are the kind you find on a farm, and mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), which typically live in steep, rocky areas in the northwestern United States, and wild goats (Capra genus), which include ibex, markhors and turs. There are more than 200 recognized domestic breeds of goats. They are raised all over the world for dairy, meat, and their fiber. 8. Their Odd Eyes Have a Purpose Some people are creeped out by the odd horizontal, rectangular pupils in a goat's eyes. In a 2015 study published in Science Advances, researchers looked at the eyes of 214 land animals and found a "striking correlation" between the shape of their pupils and their ecological niche, which they defined as foraging mode and time of day they are active. Side-slanted eyes typically belong to grazing prey. It gives them a wider field of vision, but they don't absorb as much light from above. This stops the sun from blinding their view and lets them keep an eye out for predators. 9. They Are Emotional Goats also have richer emotional lives than many people realize. Not only are they surprisingly intelligent in general and can learn a task within about 12 attempts, but they can also identify their friends by sound alone and even distinguish other goats' emotions by listening to their calls. In a study published in Frontiers in Zoology, researchers found that goats have different physiological reactions based on the emotions they hear from other goats, a sign of a social phenomenon known as emotional contagion. The goats' heart-rate variability — the time between heartbeats — was greater when positive calls were played compared to when negative calls were played. 10. They Come in All Kinds of Colors Goat coats come in a rainbow of colors and even a few patterns. They can be white, black, brown, gold, and red with many variations of those colors. For example, a "brown" goat can be anywhere from light fawn to dark chocolate. Their coat patterns can be solid, striped, spotted, a blend of shades and they can have stripes on their faces. Some are belted, with a white band across their middles. They can be roan — where their body is sprinkled with white hairs — or pinto, where they have patches of white or black or another dark color. 11. They Have Interesting Names A female goat is a doe or nanny. A male goat is a buck or billy, or a wether if he's castrated. A young male goat that isn't yet sexually mature is a buckling and a young female goat that isn't sexually mature is a doeling. A yearling is a goat that is between 1 and 2 years old. A baby goat that is less than a year old is a kid, and giving birth is called kidding. A group of goats is called a tribe or a trip. 12. They Are Born With Teeth Goats are often born with teeth. Those are deciduous incisor teeth, also called baby teeth or milk teeth. Later pairs of baby teeth grow in from the center of the jaw moving out. A baby goat usually gets one pair of teeth per week, so a kid usually has a full set of eight incisors by the time it is only a month old. These baby teeth stick around until a goat is about a year old. Once these teeth fall out, adult goats end up with 32 teeth: 24 molars and 8 lower incisors. Goats don't have teeth in their upper front jaw. Instead, a hard dental pad acts like teeth. 13. They Come in All Shapes and Sizes Goat size varies greatly, depending on the breed. Domesticated goats range from mini, dwarf, and pygmy to full size. On the tiny end, Nigerian dwarf goats weigh only about 20 pounds (91.1 kilograms) and are 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) tall. On the larger size, Anglo-Nubian goats can weigh as much as 250 pounds (113.5 kilograms) and are 42 inches (106.7 centimeters) tall, reports the National Zoo. 14. Goats Have Unique Digestion Like cows, sheep, and deer, goats are what's known as ruminants. meaning they have a complex system of stomachs for digestion. They have four compartments in their stomachs: reticulum, rumen, omasum, and abomasum (also called the true stomach). When simple-stomach animals like humans, dogs, and cats, eat, food is broken down in the stomach with acid and then undergoes enzymatic digestion in the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. In ruminants like goats, microbial digestion occurs in the first two compartments, followed by acidic digestion in the second two. Then nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. Goats graze using their lips, teeth and tongue. It then takes 11 to 15 hours for food to pass through the animal's four stomachs. 15. They Play a Part in Mythology When you think about creatures that played a role in mythological history, you might think centaurs or sirens, banshees or dragons. But goats also spring up in a surprising place. Thor, the god of thunder, typically walked or used his mythical hammer to fly. But according to Norse mythology, during a thunderstorm Thor rode in a chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir (Norse for "teeth-barer") and Tanngnjóstr ("teeth grinder"). When he was hungry, Thor ate his goats, only to resurrect them with his hammer. Source: Facts About Goats | What You Didn't Know About Goats
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    Fact of the Day - GOLD Did you know.... There are many interesting facts about the element gold, which is listed on the periodic table as Au. This is the only truly yellow metal on Earth, but there's a lot more to learn about gold. (Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. | Updated on January 29, 2020) Precious Facts About Gold by Interesting Facts When Earth was about 200 million years old, it passed through a field of rocks suspended in space. The rocks smashed into our planet and embedded millions of tons of new elements in Earth’s crust — including gold. Over time, the particles coalesced into veins, forming the bulk of the gold later mined for use in jewelry, currency, artworks, electronics, and more. Here are seven facts about this marvelous metal. 1. Gold Has Unique Chemical Properties Pure gold is sun-yellow, shiny, and soft, and has about the same hardness as a penny. It’s the most malleable metal: One gram of gold, equivalent in size to a grain of rice, can be hammered into a sheet of gold leaf measuring one square meter. Gold doesn’t rust or break down from friction or high temperatures. It conducts heat well and can be melted or reshaped infinitely without losing its elemental qualities. Gold can also be alloyed with other metals to increase hardness or create different colors. White gold, for example, is a mix of gold, nickel, copper, and zinc, while rose gold comprises gold, silver, and copper. 2. People Fashioned Gold Into Jewelry as Far Back as 4000 BCE Cultures in the Middle East and the Mediterranean began using gold in decorative objects and personal ornaments thousands of years ago. The Sumer civilization of southern Iraq made sophisticated gold jewelry around 3000 BCE, and Egyptian dynasties valued gold for funerary art and royal regalia. By the time of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, gold was the standard for international commerce, and even played a role in mythology and literature. The story of Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece may have emerged from an old method of filtering gold particles from streams with sheepskins. 3. Governments Have Used Gold as Currency for Millennia Traders in the Mediterranean region used gold rings, bars, or ingots as currency for centuries, and Chinese merchants bought and sold goods with gold tokens as far back as 1091 BCE. In the sixth century BCE, the civilization of Lydia (in present-day Turkey) minted the first gold coins. Cities across the Greek world followed suit, establishing gold coins as the standard currency for trade with Persia, India, and farther afield. 4. The Search for Gold Fueled the European Invasion of the Americas European nations’ lust for gold prompted numerous expeditions of discovery to the Americas, beginning in 1492 with Columbus’ voyage to Hispaniola. Spanish conquistadors found the Aztec and Inca cultures awash in gold, which the Native peoples viewed as sacred. The Indigenous leaders gave the conquistadors gifts of gold earrings, necklaces, armbands, figurines, ornaments, and other objects. Seeing the potential riches for the taking, the Spanish government quickly authorized the conquest of the Indigenous cities and requisition of their gold, spelling disaster for the Aztec and Inca peoples. 5. America’s First Gold Rush Took Place in 1803 Gold is spread across Earth’s crust in varying concentrations. Over the past two centuries, the discoveries of particularly large deposits have often sparked gold rushes. In 1799, 12-year-old Conrad Reed found a 17-pound nugget in a stream on his grandfather’s North Carolina farm, the first time gold was found in the United States. Four years later, the Reed Gold Mine opened and attracted other prospectors hoping to strike it rich. Gold rushes also occurred in California in 1848, Nevada in the 1860s, and the Klondike region in the 1890s. Major gold rushes took place in Australia in the 1840s and 1850s and in South Africa in the 1880s as well. 6. Today, Gold Is Everywhere From Your Smartphone to the ISS Thanks to gold’s physical properties, it can be used for a huge range of applications in addition to currency, jewelry, and decorative objects. Dentists repair teeth with gold crowns and bridges, and some cancer therapies use gold nanoparticles to kill malignant cells. Gold also protects sensitive circuitry and parts from corrosion in consumer electronics, communication satellites, and jet engines. And gold sheets reflect solar radiation from spacecraft and astronauts’ helmets. 7. The U.S. Still Maintains a Stockpile of Gold During the Great Depression, when the U.S. monetary system was based on the Gold Standard — in which the value of all paper and coin currency was convertible to actual gold — the federal government established the Fort Knox Bullion Depository in Kentucky to store the gold needed to back the currency. The U.S. eliminated the Gold Standard in 1971, but still maintains a gold stockpile at Fort Knox. Today, it holds about 147 million ounces of gold in bars roughly the size of a standard brick. That’s about half of all of the gold owned by the United States. Source: Interesting Facts About Gold | Gold Facts
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    What's the Word: AMBISINISTER pronunciation: [am-bih-SIN-is-tər] Part of speech: adjecive Origin: Latin and Middle English Meaning: 1. (Rare) Awkward or clumsy with both hands. Example: "Jesse couldn’t play basketball because he was ambisinister." "Arthritis made Phyllis feel ambisinister after years of working with her hands." About Ambisinister This word translates literally into “both sides left-handed.” “Ambi-” is a prefix originating from the Latin “ambo-,” meaning “both.” “Sinister” stems from the Middle English “sinistre,” meaning “unlucky.” It comes from the Old French “sinistra,” meaning “left,” from the Latin “sinestra,” which is “left hand.” Did You Know? “Ambisinister” goes hand in hand, so to speak, with “ambidextrous,” which means having strong and equal abilities in both hands. While ambisinister translates into “both sides left-handed,” the latter literally means “both sides right-handed,” — the dominant hand for most people.
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    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/geneforge-1-mutagen Geneforge 1: Mutagen is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/hood-outlaws-and-legends Hood: Outlaws & Legends is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/iratus-d0e5ba Hood: Outlaws & Legends is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/interstellaria Intersterllaria is currently free on IndieGala.
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    Fact of the Day - NATIONAL PARLS Did you know.... At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the third largest country in the world. With all that room to roam, it's no surprise that America has some absolutely beautiful national parks. But how much do you know about them, really? We bet you had no idea that there are sand dunes that actually sing in Colorado. Or that every summer a firefly light show twinkles in the woodlands of South Carolina. So, if you're interested in hearing more about the stunning landscapes in your own backyard, don't miss these jaw-dropping facts about each of the 62 national parks in the U.S. (KRYSTIN ARNESON | MARCH 18, 2020) Amazing Facts About 12 of the Most Stunning U.S. National Parks by Interesting Facts On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone National Park the country's first national park. In the 150 years following, 62 more national parks have joined the fold, in addition to the hundreds of other sites under the purview of the U.S. National Park Service today, including national historic sites, battlefields, lakeshores, monuments, preserves, and trails. Once called “America’s Best Idea,” national parks have preserved wide swaths of the country's most magnificent scenery and geological history for millions to enjoy every year — from open prairie to mountain ranges, unique rock formations, deserted island beaches, and Arctic forests. But as popular as these parks are, many visitors are unaware of the surprising features they contain within their borders. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the first national park, read on to discover 12 fascinating facts about 12 famous U.S. national parks. 1. Great Smoky Mountains Is the Most Visited National Park in the U.S. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracted 14.1 million visitors in 2021. For comparison, that is nearly three times the number of people who visited the second-most popular park, Utah's Zion National Park, which drew a still-respectable 5 million visitors. Park officials estimate that since Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1934, more than 560 million people have enjoyed all that it has to offer. Part of the reason may be that there is no entry fee to the park, and it never closes (although some roads may be closed during severe weather). In addition to countless opportunities for hiking and nature viewing, the park now allows fishing in all of its approximately 2,900 miles of waterways. 2. Death Valley National Park Is the Hottest Place on Earth It might not come as much of a surprise given its name, but Death Valley gets hot — extremely hot. The national park is the home to the hottest ever recorded temperature on Earth, a 134.1-degree-Fahrenheit reading taken in Furnace Creek Ranch, California. But it doesn't always get that hot. The average temperature during summer is a still-sweltering 115 degrees, but temperatures regularly exceed 120 degrees. According to the National Park Service, the hot weather can be attributed to the valley's low depths, high walls, and lack of shade cover. Since there is little plant life to absorb the heat, the sun rays radiate throughout the valley floor and are absorbed by rocks. When night falls, the warm air rises but is trapped by the high mountain walls. If you want to visit Death Valley in the cooler months, December and January are a safe bet, with daily averages maxing out in the mid-60s. 3. Yellowstone National Park Is Home to a Supervolcano Crowds flock to Yellowstone National Park (located mostly in Wyoming, but with parts in Idaho and Montana) to see the famous eruptions of Old Faithful. However, the park is home to a whopping 10,000-plus hydrothermal features, including 500 geysers — which scientists estimate is about half of the world's geysers. But perhaps the park's most impressive geological feature is a supervolcano, a type of volcano that’s thousands of times more powerful than a regular volcano. Approximately 2 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption triggered a push of magma to Earth’s surface through a thin spot in the crust at the present-day location of Yellowstone. Much of the continent was left covered in ash. Hot lava still ripples below the ground throughout the park today, its heat causing the constant bubbling of springs and mud. But worry not: The last time the supervolcano erupted was 664,000 years ago, and some scientists think it may never happen again. 4. The World’s Longest Known Cave System Is in Mammoth Cave National Park The world’s longest cave system winds its way beneath much of western Kentucky, and, fortunately, a portion of it is open to visitors. To date, more than 412 miles of Mammoth Cave have been mapped, but experts say it may well extend more than 1,000 miles in total. Several new miles of the cave system are discovered each year. The cave structure is particularly stable thanks to a layer of sandstone that caps the limestone beneath. There are numerous impressive cave structures on display, including stalactites, stalagmites, and a type of gypsum formation called "gypsum flowers." The dry, cool environment of Mammoth Cave also makes it an ideal habitat for several endangered forms of bat and cave shrimp. 5. Denali National Park Contains the Highest Elevation Point in North America Previously known as Mount McKinley, the namesake of Alaska’s Denali National Park soars 20,320 feet above sea level, making it the highest point in North America. Upwards of 600,000 people visit Denali annually to see the majestic mountain views. In fact, the three highest points in U.S. national parks are all located in Alaska: In addition to Denali, Mount Saint Elias reaches 18,008 feet, and Mount Fairweather stands at 15,325 feet. Outside of Alaska, the highest point in a national park is California’s Mount Whitney, which towers 14,498 feet above sea level in Sequoia National Park. 6. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Is Home to the World's Most Active Volcano The Hawaiian archipelago, made up of 137 islands, is a hotbed of volcanic activity. The islands formed as the result of eruptions due to the constant motion of the Pacific plate beneath the ocean. Located on the Big Island in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Mount Kilauea is the world's most active volcano mass — it has been erupting continuously since 1983. Molten lava from the eruption pours down the sides, eventually cooling to add to the landmass of the island. But some lava streams flow directly into the sea, creating impressive vapor clouds when the two meet. Kilauea is also known as the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. 7. Arches National Park Has More Natural Arches Than Any Other Place on Earth Vibrant red-tinged rocks frame a brilliant blue sky in many an Instagram photo taken by visitors to Utah’s Arches National Park, home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches — more than in any other spot on Earth. Arches, bridges, and windows dot the desert, providing geologists with a fascinating view of millennia gone by. Over a period of about 65 million years, the area’s geologic plates shifted, and wind and rain also played a hand in shaping the rock into nature’s own sculpture garden. Arches grow and widen until they eventually collapse, leaving columns in their stead. As with many of these park features, in another million years, the landscape may be completely different than what we see today. 8. Gateway Arch National Park Is the Country's Smallest National Park Named after a human-made arch rather than a natural one, Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis is the smallest of the country's 63 national parks, covering just over 90 acres. It’s also one of the country’s few urban national parks and includes green forestland, riverfront access, and five miles of recreational trails that are home to diverse native plant species. Of course, the centerpiece of the park is the 630-foot-high (and 630-foot-wide) Gateway Arch — the tallest human-made monument in the U.S. — which stands against the St. Louis skyline. 9. Theodore Roosevelt National Park Is the Only National Park Named After a Person The 26th President’s namesake park is located in the North Dakota badlands, and got its name because Roosevelt had a residence there. When Roosevelt served as President from 1901 to 1909, he established more than 200 national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, and monuments across 230 million acres of public land, earning him the nickname the “conservationist President.” Visited by 600,000 people each year, Theodore Roosevelt National Park covers more than 70,000 acres with the Little Missouri River flowing through it. It is filled with wildlife and scenic vistas, including the famous Painted Canyon, where the former President’s cabin is located. 10. North Cascades National Park Has More Glaciers Than Anywhere in the Continental U.S. Located about 100 miles north of Seattle, Washington’s North Cascades National Park is home to a mountain range that’s often referred to as “the American Alps” for its rugged, glacier-capped peaks. In fact, the area is home to more than 300 glaciers — more than any other U.S. national park outside of Alaska. It’s one of the snowiest places on the planet, and all that snow accumulates and compacts into glacial ice. Overall, however, the U.S. national park that has the most glaciers is Alaska’s Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Covering 13.2 million acres, it’s also the largest national park in the country and home to some of the biggest glaciers in the world. 11. Mesa Verde National Park Was One of the World's First UNESCO Sites With 5,000 known archaeological sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings made of sandstone and mud mortar, Mesa Verde National Park offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people, who lived in the southwestern Colorado area from around 550 to 1300. Among the most impressive structures are the Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House, plus various relics like farming terraces, field houses, shrines, and rock art. The area was designated a national park in 1906, and in 1978, it earned a spot among an elite group of only 12 places around the world named the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mesa Verde was one of two sites in the U.S. — the other was another national park, Yellowstone. 12. There's Only One U.S. National Park in the Southern Hemisphere Spanning rainforests, volcanoes, beaches, and coral reefs on three islands in the South Pacific, the National Park of American Samoa is the southernmost park of any U.S. territory — and the only national park south of the equator. The park was established in 1988 after environmentalists proposed a bill to preserve the hundreds of plant species in the rainforest and to save the habitat of the endangered Flying fox (a fruit bat). Covering 13,500 acres on the islands of Ofu, Tutuila, and Ta’ū, the park is a spectacular preserve for hikers and snorkelers. And its very existence is a reflection of Polynesia’s oldest culture and its deep-rooted respect for the island environment — the name Samoa translates to “sacred earth.” Source: Fascinating Fact About America's National Parks | Facts About US National Parks
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    What's the Word: NUTRIMENT pronunciation: [NOO-trə-mənt] Part of speech: noun Origin: Late middle English, 15th century Meaning: 1. Nourishment; sustenance. Example: "My mother’s meals were simple but full of nutriment." "Siobhan wanted wholesome nutriment after a weekend of eating junk food." About Nutriment “Nutriment” is taken from the Latin “nūtrīmentum,” meaning “nourishment.” Did You Know? The word “nourishment” is more common than “nutriment,” but “nutriment” often means the same thing. “Nutriment” describes both food (as a plural noun) and the nourishment that food contains in the form of vitamins, minerals, and energy. A person may eat nutriments, but they may also eat a food for its nutriment.
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    Fact of the Day - FAIRYTALE CREATORS Did you know.... Most of us know a few fairy and folk tales, and have grown up seeing multiple renditions and retellings of these stories. But less of us are familiar with the collections that popularised them, or the writers that penned the versions we know today. So I thought I’d have a look at 6 fairy tale collectors and writers that have given us some of our most beloved fairy tales. (NICOLA | OCTOBER 10, 2016) From Mother Goose to Brothers Grimm: 8 of History’s Most Important Fairy-Tale Creators by Interesting Facts Everybody knows the stories of Cinderella, Aladdin, and Sleeping Beauty. These centuries-old fairy tales have been immortalized in every art form imaginable, from books and ballets to musicals and movies. What’s often forgotten, however, is where these stories came from — and who was responsible for writing them down. Here’s a look at eight of history’s most important fairy-tale tellers. 1. Aesop: A (Literal) Legend If you’ve ever taken “the lion’s share” or claimed that “necessity is the mother of invention,” then thank Aesop. The Greek fabulist — purportedly born around 620 BC — is responsible for some of our most famous phrases and fables, including The Hare and the Tortoise. Greek authors like Herodotus and Plutarch claim that Aesop was a slave who became an adviser to Croesus, the King of Lydia. The accuracy of their accounts, however, is disputed, and it’s possible that Aesop was never a real person. 2. Marie-Catherine le Jumel de Barneville: Pioneer of the Fairy Tale Countess d’Aulnoy’s life is like a folktale — difficult to parse fact from fiction. A French author who lived during the 17th century, de Barneville may have been a spy who accused her husband of high treason. True or not, she established a literary salon later in life and published at least two collections of tall tales. Her works, like “The White Cat,” were famously conversational in style and were lauded for being popular with adults and children alike. In fact, she even coined the term “fairy tale.” 3. Hanna Diyab: The Man who Conjured Aladdin The brain behind Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Diyab was a Syrian storyteller who lived during the early 18th century. When Diyab was young, he bumped into a French collector of antiquities who hired him to become his traveling assistant. Diyab visited Paris and met the folklorist Antoine Galland, who he entertained with folktales from home. Years later, Galland published some of Diyab’s tales in his famous translation of The Thousand and One Nights. Diyab wouldn’t receive credit until centuries later. 4. Jean de la Fontaine: The Editor Who Turned Fairy Tales into an Art Form In 1668, Frenchman Fontaine released the first volume of Fables, a literary landmark that would lay out a formula for centuries of European folk and fairy tales. Born to a well-to-do family, de la Fontaine became interested in writing upon being inspired by the work of the French poet Malherbe. Between 1668 to 1694, he released six volumes of fables — a total of 239 stories — that drew from diverse sources, from the Roman fabulist Phaedrus to the Panchatantra, an Indian book of fables. De la Fontaine’s fresh and artful retellings of stories such as “The Grasshopper and the Ant” and “The Raven and the Fox” turned Fables into an instant classic. 5. Charles Perrault: The Original Mother Goose A major influence on the Brothers Grimm, Perrault — hailing from France as well — helped transform tales like “Puss in Boots,” “Cinderella,” “Blue Beard,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Little Red Riding-Hood” into cultural touchstones. His 1697 book Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passe — better known as The Tales of Mother Goose — was an unexpected departure from his life’s work. Perrault had spent decades working as a government official, but when political bickering forced him to change careers, he turned to writing literary fairy tales for aristocratic literary salons. The career change at age 67 is what made him famous. 6. The Brothers Grimm: Disney before Disney Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm didn’t write “Rapunzel” or “Snow White,” but they did popularize the tales among the masses. The German-born brothers attended college with the intention of becoming civil servants, but a pair of influential teachers changed their minds — and inspired a love of folk poetry (or naturpoesie) and the arts. The duo gave up any hopes of a law career and began collecting literature that, they believed, emphasized the character of German culture and people. The brothers didn’t view themselves as writers, but as preservationists and historians who were saving common tales from extinction. Published in 1812, their first edition contained 156 fairy tales, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and “The Fisherman and His Wife.”. 7. Hans Christian Andersen: The Original Ugly Duckling The Danish writer of over 150 fairy tales — including “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “Thumbelina” — Andersen, born in 1805, came from humble beginnings. His mother was illiterate and his father only had an elementary school education. And when his dad died, Andersen started working at a factory at the age of 11. But he always had an artistic side, and he tried to express his struggles through his work. As a teenager, for example, Andersen was routinely harassed by other boys because he had a high voice, and that abuse inspired him to write “The Ugly Duckling.” “The story is, of course, a reflection of my own life,” he once wrote. 8. Alexander Afanasyev: From Bureaucrat to Bard Russia’s answer to the Brothers Grimm, Afanasyev was a 19th century Slavic folklorist who published nearly 600 folk and fairy tales. (His works include “The Firebird,” which was famously transformed into a ballet by composer Igor Stravinsky in 1910, and “Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga.”) Much like Charles Perrault, Afanasyev spent decades clocking in at a normal day-job for the government. But while working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire, he developed an obsession with collecting and preserving local fairy tales. Unlike many of the other folklorists on this list, Afanasyev regularly cited his sources and often tried to pinpoint where the tale originated. Source: Famous Fairy Tale Writers and Collectors | Facts About Fairy-Tale Creators
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    What's the Word: CHAUTAUQUA pronunciation: [shə-TOK-wə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Iroquoian, late 19th century Meaning: 1. (North American) An institution that provided popular adult education courses and entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Example: "Elena wanted to visit a chautauqua community during her vacation." "Leilani was instrumental in establishing her community’s first chautauqua." About Chautauqua This word stems from the New York town of the same name, where an annual Methodist summer colony featured lectures. The name originates from “ja'dahgweh,” a Seneca (Iroquoian) name, possibly meaning "one has taken out fish there." An alternative suggested meaning is "raised body." Did You Know? The Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly was organized at a campsite on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake in 1874. It started as an experiment to provide education in a nontraditional format. For instance, The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle was structured as a four-year correspondence course that provided the essential knowledge and skills of a college education to those who couldn’t afford the standard college experience. Today, the Chautauqua Institution offers a variety of lecture series, artistic resident programs, and more during the summer.
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    Fact of the Day - THE ARCTIC CIRCLE Did you know... that there’s a lot more to the northernmost part of our globe than just frigid landscapes. Read on for some fascinating facts about the Arctic region, and the people and wildlife who call it home. (Alvin Ward | Nov 29, 2016) Things You Didn’t Know About the Arctic Circle by Interesting Facts The Arctic Circle is an imaginary line of latitude that circles the northernmost pole. This parallel separates the Northern Temperate Zone from the Arctic zone above it — the latter of which is an extreme geographic region that covers approximately 5.5 million square miles and has a landscape of glaciers, icebergs, sea ice, and permafrost. Interested in finding out more about the northernmost of the world’s five major lines of latitude? Here are eight fascinating facts that you might not know about the Arctic Circle. 1. The Position of the Arctic Circle Changes Every Year The Arctic Circle is located at approximately 66.3 degrees north of the equator; however, its actual location changes slightly every year. This is due to the fluctuation of Earth’s axial tilt, which is influenced by the orbit of the moon and the consequent tidal changes. The same axial tilt causes the different seasons that we experience on Earth. Currently, the circle is moving north at a rate of around 49 feet per year. In 2017, an art exhibit called Orbis et Globus was inaugurated on Iceland’s Grimsey Island to monitor the circle’s movements. 2. Earth’s Largest Land Predators Are Unique to the Region Polar bears are the largest land carnivores in the world, and they are only found in the Arctic region. They reside around ice-covered waters and are dependent on sea ice for food, to rest, and to breed. Fully grown male polar bears measure around eight to nine feet from nose to foot, while females measure approximately six to seven feet. Despite their enormous size, polar bears are only about the size of a guinea pig when born. These cuddly-looking bears feed mainly on seals, are talented swimmers, and possess a coat of white fur (although it’s actually transparent) to camouflage themselves in their snowy habitats. 3. The Arctic Name Is a Reference to the Greek Word for Bear Appropriately, the word “arctic” itself is derived from the Greek word arktos, which means “bear.” However, the bear in reference isn’t the polar variety, but instead the celestial kind, specifically the Ursa Major (Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear) constellations. Both of the constellations are visible from the Northern Hemisphere, and the latter contains the North Star. At the opposite end of the world, Antarctica gets its name because those constellations aren’t visible from that region. Interestingly enough, there are also no animal bears in Antarctica. 4. Over 4 Million People Live Within the Arctic Circle The Arctic Circle incorporates portions of eight countries: Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Russia, Sweden, and the United States. And despite a harsh climate and often inhospitable living conditions (for most), an estimated 4 million people live and work there year-round. Murmansk, in northwestern Russia, is the largest and one of the oldest settlements in the Arctic Circle. This city on the Barents Sea is home to around 300,000 residents and is known for its seaports and naval bases. In fact, eight of the 10 largest Arctic settlements are located in Russia. 5. Dozens of Indigenous Groups Thrive in the Region Residing among the large population of the Arctic Circle are over 40 different ethnic groups, such as the Inuit, Saami, and Yupik peoples. They account for 10% of the regional population. While they vary greatly in culture, language, and history, these Indigenous groups have a strong connection to the arctic lands they’ve inhabited for thousands of years. Many maintain traditional fishing, reindeer herding, and hunting activities, but their livelihoods and productivity are under threat from dramatic weather changes and disappearing sea ice. 6. It’s Home to the Largest Seed Storage Facility in the World Set amid the frigid waters between Greenland and Norway is the Norwegian island of Svalbard. Here, the Norwegian government opened the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which is the world’s largest secure seed storage, in 2008. This 10,764-square-foot vault is buried almost entirely into the island’s permafrost — only the concrete entrance is visible to the outside world, and only scientists and staff are allowed inside. The structure has the capacity to store 4.5 million different seed types and maintains them at constant temperatures of 37.4 to 39.2 degrees Fahrenheit. The collection is stashed here for safekeeping in case of crop failures or natural disasters — because of its naturally stable Arctic climate, and also since it’s one of the least likely places on Earth to experience either a flood or a heat wave, both of which could damage the seeds. 7. Four U.S. National Park Sites Lie Within the Arctic Circle Alaska is home to 54 million acres of land protected under the U.S. National Park Service, representing about two thirds of the land in the entire system. Four of the state’s national park units are situated inside the Arctic Circle: Cape Krusentern National Monument, Gates of the Arctic National Park and Reserve, Kobuk Valley National Park, and Noatak National Preserve. Visitors to these parks and reserves have the chance to discover untamed wildernesses made up of glaciated valleys, rivers, and lagoons framed by soaring mountain ranges. There are also opportunities to spot caribou and grizzly bears and to experience days of extreme daylight and darkness. 8. There Are Actually Four North Poles Located in the Arctic Circle For many, the North Pole is often associated with Santa Claus, flying reindeer, and toy-making elves. What most don’t know is that there are actually four recognized North Poles. The Geographical North Pole (aka True North) is the northernmost point on the planet and where all of Earth’s lines of longitude meet. The Magnetic North Pole is the spot at which the planet’s lines of magnetic force all point vertically downward (and the point that attracts the needle of a compass). The Geomagnetic North Pole is the northern end of where the axis of the magnetosphere — the magnetic field that surrounds the Earth and extends into space — intersects the planet. Finally, the North Pole of Inaccessibility is the point in the Arctic Ocean that’s furthest from any coastline. 9. A Cartoonist Invented Santa’s North Pole Home In the mid-1800s, German-born American artist Thomas Nast made a name for himself for his caricatures and political cartoons. He’s also credited with creating the popular image of Santa Claus (or Father Christmas). In 1863, Harper’s Weekly magazine published two of his illustrations that depicted Santa as a larger-than-life character with a long beard and stocking cap. One of the images was inscribed with the words “Santa Clausville, N.P.” The N.P. was an abbreviation of North Pole, and so began the myth of Santa residing in a far-off and remote northern land. Source: Fascinating Facts About the Arctic Circle | What You Might Not Know About the Arctic Circle
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    What's the Word: DARG pronunciation: [darg] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, early 15th century Meaning: 1. A day's work 2. A defined quantity or amount of work, or of the product of work, done in a certain time or at a certain rate of payment; a task. Example: "Seamus knew he had a darg of work to finish by 5 p.m." "The teacher finished writing the darg of lesson plans by noon." About Darg This word comes from the Middle English “dawerk” or “daywork,” stemming from the Old English “dægweorc,” from “dæg,” meaning “day,” and “weorc” meaning “work.” Did You Know? Darg is also the name of a village in the Sughd Region of northern Tajikistan. It is part of the Shamtuch municipality in the Ayni district. Tajikistan is a Central Asian country surrounded by China, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan. Much of the country is mountainous, making it a popular locale for hiking and climbing.
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    Fact of the Day - STRANGE COMPETITIONS Great Knaresborough Bed Race Did you know... that humans’ primal desire to compete can be traced to basic principles of evolution: To survive, all organisms on the planet must constantly outdo each other for resources. But where fellow terrestrials use play to simulate competitive skills like hunting or fighting, human beings have taken their zest for competition many steps further. The world is riddled with odd competitions, from the Air Guitar World Championships held in Finland since 1996 and cow pie bingo to any number of eating competitions, polar dips, and, of course, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, held each year at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. Events like lumberjack or woodsmen competitions have been mainstays in American culture, while other events come briefly into the public eye only to fade quickly (and, sometimes, thankfully) back into obscurity. Decades ago, women were subjected to figure contests (in which contestants wore papier-mache masks to hide their faces), “perfect back” contests, cleaning championships, and other archaic competitions that trudged forward through humans’ primordial soup into splendid, utter irrelevancy. Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest (he came in 20th place), and we’ve since seen the same from Adele. Then there are the now-defunct Summer Redneck Games, women’s armpit hair competition, and even the Extreme Ironing World Championships (which is just what it sounds like). Still (surprisingly) in operation, however, are contests for lawnmower racing, baby crying, rock-paper-scissors, black pudding throwing, Punkin Chunkin, tree climbing, shovel racing, and even the Cold Water Swimming Olympics. Mining various news reports, organization and town websites, and championships data yielded 25 of the most unusual competitions from around the world. It seems there’s a contest for every imaginable skill, from belly-flopping to swimming in grits. (Nicole Caldwell | September 27, 2019) Strange Competitions Around the World by Interesting Facts A very special sort of sports fan prides themselves on seeking out strange competitions — they’re thrilled by the odd spectacle, enchanted by the offbeat victor. Lucky for them, many cities around the world have taken advantage of some aspect of their geography, history, local cuisine or culture to start an oddball festival. For instance, in Whitehorse, Yukon, where daytime high temperatures in January typically top out at 8 degrees Fahrenheit, an annual winter-long contest is held at the local hot springs for the best and most outlandish frozen hairdos. Just as you’d never find frozen hair competitions in Florida, that state’s alligator wrestling competitions would never happen in the frozen Yukon. The U.K., perhaps, wins the prize among all other nations for embracing odd sports like bog snorkeling, shin-kicking and chasing a wheel of cheese down a steep and lumpy hill. If you find you’re a fan of the weird and wonderful, the world is full of destinations where you can witness some pretty outlandish sports. Choose your favorite from these four fascinating festivals and competitions to add to your travel bucket list. 1. Frozen Dead Guy Days (Nederland, Colorado) About 17 miles west and 2,900 feet above Boulder, Colorado, you’ll come across a plastic utility shed with the body of a Norwegian man kept packed in dry ice. It turns out the deceased and his offspring were big believers in cryonics, wherein dead bodies are kept in a deep freeze, awaiting future medical advances that could allow them to be brought back to life. There was a problem for this particular dead body, though: The daughter and grandson who had been caretakers for the frozen man since 1993 came upon hard times and both returned to Norway. The town of Nederland, seeing an opportunity for offbeat fame, took up the cause of keeping the late Mr. Morstoel from thawing. In 2003, they began to celebrate their local stiff with Frozen Dead Guy Days, an annual March event. Locals have devised numerous thematic competitions during the festival that share a macabre humor. These include hearse races, coffin races (six “pallbearers” carry a coffin with a live person in it, racing other groups through an obstacle course), a polar plunge, a game of rigid-human foosball played on a snowy field, a brain freeze contest (contestants race to finish frozen drinks), frozen fish toss, and frozen turkey bowling. The funereal fun is kept alive all weekend through Day of the Dead costumes, a live musical, and a Blue Ball dance. 2. World’s Ugliest Dog Contest (Petaluma, California) What began in the mid-1970s as a minor sideshow-esque contest at the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair in Northern California has become an annual tour de force, drawing more spectators than any other element of the fair. The often lopsided, fuzzy, popeyed winners of the World’s Ugliest Dog title often receive front-page coverage in the national press. Despite the contest’s name, the mood of the annual June competition is more celebratory and loving than you may expect. Most of the dogs entered in the contest were adopted by their proud owners from animal shelters or rescue groups, and the lucky pooches are often greeted with noisy and indulgent “oohs” and “ahhs.” Wiry head tufts, lolling tongues, hairless tails, cloudy eyes — should you have the luck to attend one of the late June contests (and lovefests), be forewarned: You may come down with an unavoidable need to adopt a funny-looking pet. 3. World’s Beard and Mustache Championships (Various Locations) Perhaps you didn’t know that there’s a sport that calls itself “bearding,” or that websites and grooming companies exist that cater to “beard-os” or “beardaholics.” Some people obviously take great pride in growing, teasing, and training their facial hair. Or maybe you did know all these things and have been following the growth in popularity for the hirsute, with professional baseball players, purveyors of craft cocktails, country music stars, and hipsters everywhere contributing to the trend. Either way, where there’s pride and attention paid, it follows that a competition can’t be far behind. In fact, there are loads of beard and mustache contests — ones held in local bars or ones sponsored by beard oil makers — but the fathership of the facial hair competitions is the World’s Beard and Mustache Championships. The WBMC pops up every two years in a different location around Europe, the U.S., or Australia. This officially sanctioned event offers titles in 16 different categories for configurations that include mustaches, partial beards, and full beards. In all divisions, there’s a natural competition for those who eschew hot combs, styling wax, and curling irons. But if you prefer a little creative use of product and equipment with your facial hair, you’re in luck. Men sporting quirky Dali mustaches are judged separately from those who wear magnificent Hungarian mustaches. Wearers of musketeers and Fu Manchus and Kaiser beards compete amongst themselves. And for those whose growth defies labels, freestyle competitions bring out the weirdest and most original stylings. The next competition has been pushed back to April 2023 — thus, if you’re so inclined, there’s plenty of time to stop shaving and be hairy enough to join the competition in Auckland. 4. Bog Snorkeling (Wales) Imagine the sight of the starting blocks at an Olympic swimming competition: the athletes in their streamlined suits, the pool shimmering and clear, everyone quiet and focused, awaiting the blare of the starting buzzer. Now set that image aside. This, instead, is bog-snorkeling, an absurd contest invented in 1986 in Wales (though now practiced by silly people throughout the world). Instead of pristine starting blocks, there’s a wooden walkway that crosses a 197-foot-long trench dug in a peat bog in Wales. Participants, wearing ungainly flippers and snorkels, lower themselves from that walkway into cold and muddy water and then, one at a time, make their way down the length of the waterway and back, without using any recognizable swimming strokes. Their supporters and competitors string out along the trench, wearing galoshes against the mud and often carrying umbrellas against the Welsh summer weather — cheering, heckling the splashy progress, and drinking local ale. In addition to a contest for speed, some compete for best costume or bog accessory, while others make matters more difficult by adding triathlon components to the bog swim. Besides being a giddy celebration of summer, the bog snorkeling serves as a charity fundraiser, so the contestants can feel better when they are still finding traces of mud in their ears a week later. Source: Weird Competitions From Around the World | Facts About Strange Competitions
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    What's the Word: SMORGASBORD pronunciation: [SMOR-ɡəs-bord] Part of speech: noun Origin: Swedish, 19th century Meaning: 1. A buffet offering a variety of hot and cold meats, salads, hors d'oeuvres, etc. 2. A wide range of something; a variety. Example: "The hungry travelers were delighted to discover their hosts had prepared a smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, breads, and spreads." "Tanni’s vinyl collection was a smorgasbord of musical styles that reflected her varied tastes and moods." About Smorgasbord The term is taken directly from the Swedish “smörgåsbord,” formed by combining “smörgås” (“bread and butter”) and “bord,” meaning “table.” Did You Know? English speakers rarely use “smorgasbord” to describe a table stocked with different foods. Instead, this term is mostly figurative, to describe a variety of things in one place. While a Swedish restaurant might offer a literal smorgasbord of pickled herring, ham, meatballs, and mashed potatoes, a health spa might equally be said to offer a smorgasbord of steam rooms and dry saunas, whirlpools, ice baths, and massage rooms.
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    Fact of the Day - THE GOLDEN GIRLS Did you know... that though The Golden Girls made its debut on September 14, 1985—exactly 32 years ago today—the series still remains fresh for generations of new viewers thanks to great writing and syndicated reruns. Here are 20 things you might not have known about Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia. (Kara Kovalchik | September 14, 2017) Facts You Might Not Know About “The Golden Girls” by Interesting Facts At a time when youth seemed to carry the banner for pop culture, a show about seniors couldn’t have gone more against the trends. But with its witty characters living their best lives despite hitting retirement age, the NBC sitcom The Golden Girls was an instant hit, becoming the No. 1 show in the Nielsen ratings in its first week in September 1985. Called a “geriatric comedy” by the Associated Press, the secret formula was in the relatability of the storylines and the sharply written script about the friendships between four women living together in Miami Beach. The all-star cast was made of faces already familiar on the small screen, including Maude costars Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan as tough-as-nails Dorothy Zbornak and flirty Southern belle Blanche Devereaux, respectively, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s Betty White as innocent, ditzy Midwesterner Rose Nylund. Stage star Estelle Getty rounded out the group as Dorothy’s mother, the ever-blunt Sophia Petrillo. The seven-season show has continued to transcend the generations, particularly finding a fan base among the LBGT community. Here, we travel down the road and back again to unveil 10 facts about the groundbreaking television show. 1. The Show Was Given a 13-Episode Order Before There Was a Script During NBC’s promotional program for the 1984 season, Night Court’s Selma Diamond was introducing Miami Vice in a comedy sketch and joked, “‘Miami Nice?” It must be about a bunch of old people sitting around playing pinochle.” The idea stuck with NBC president Brandon Tartikoff, and when producers Paul Witt and Tony Thomas came into his office to pitch a new show a few weeks later, he passed on their idea but instead gave them an assignment: “Take some women around 60. Society has written them off, has said they're over the hill. We want them to be feisty as hell and having a great time.” Witt responded that NBC would never put it on the air. Fully confident the show would be a success, it was given a 13-episode commitment before there was even a script. 2. White Was Supposed to Play Blanche and McClanahan Was Originally Rose Best known at the time as the “neighborhood nymphomaniac” Sue Ann Nevins from the classic 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, White was “thrilled at [the idea of playing] Blanche,” who was reminiscent of her previous character. Meanwhile, McClanahan was sent the script under the assumption she would audition for Rose. While she loved the script, McClanahan told her agent, “I can’t play Rose, I’ve got to play Blanche.” However, she was told Blanche was going to White, so she should focus on Rose. During the casting process, director Jay Sandrich decided to switch things up and had the women read the opposite roles. “She did a beautiful, funny job,” McClanahan said of White’s on-the-spot role reversal. And White says of McClanahan being the perfect fit for Blanche: “[She took it] out into orbit where I never would have had the guts to go.” 3. A Gay Cook Named Coco Was Part of the Ensemble The essence of The Golden Girls’ premise is female empowerment. Yet there was still a bit of hesitation over a cast of just women. So in the pilot episode, there was another character: a gay housekeeper named Coco, played by Charles Levin. He was a “friend-slash-manservant,” as The Atlantic put it. In the premiere, Coco offers them tea, makes enchiladas rancheros, and at one point, Sophia sums him up as “the fancy man in the kitchen.” Nevertheless, it was quickly decided that his presence wasn’t needed, and Coco vanished by the second episode. 4. Blanche Had 165 Relationships The women were never shy to share tales of their sexual endeavors. Refinery 29 completed a study of all seven seasons and tallied up their escapades. Blanche — to no one’s surprise — topped the list, having been with 165 men. She declared in season six that she has been in 143 relationships, and the website factored in her late husband plus 22 other unspecified men. In a distant second was Dorothy — whose on- and off-again relationship with Stan drove much of the storyline — with a count of 43. Rose came in third with 30 men, even though she was the first to be seen in bed with a man on the show. Sophia’s total count is 25, including her supposed secret first husband, Julio Iglesias. 5. None of the Women Were Like Their Characters While the line between their characters and their real-personalities was blurred to the public, McClanahan says none of them were anything like their characters. “Betty, probably least of all … Betty has nothing but brains,” she said. McClanahan believed Getty was perhaps closest to Sicily-born Brooklynite Sophia, “although she was not at all pushy and vitriolic — Estelle was just funny. She was ‘Jewish New York’ funny.” As for Arthur, McClanahan said Dorothy’s failures in life were the polar opposite of Arthur’s successes, saying she has a “very funny take on people and quick-witted.” For her part, the Oklahoma native is quick to point out her character is from Atlanta and she’s not, implying they have nothing in common. 6. The Cast Once Performed for the Queen Mother Queen Elizabeth II’s mom, the Queen Mother, was such a fan of the show that she had the four leads perform at the London Palladium in 1988 during the Royal Variety Performance. The cast performed two of their kitchen table scenes and made sure to censor a few things to not offend the royals in attendance. That said, the Queen Mum did have a sense of humor. One joke that was left intact was Dorothy asking Blanche how long she waited to have sex after her husband died, with Sophia wittingly interjecting, “Until the paramedics came.” The response made the often-reserved royal laugh out loud. 7. More Than 100 Cheesecakes Were Eaten During the Show On the show, there were very few problems that a slice of cheesecake couldn’t solve, from small scuffles to big life crises. Throughout seven seasons, more than 100 cheesecakes were eaten during the ladies’ late-night kitchen table commiserations. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice that Dorothy rarely takes a bite. In real life, Arthur reportedly hated cheesecake. 8. There’s Another Theme Song Verse About Aging As one of the most recognizable — and beloved — theme songs in television history, “Thank You For Being a Friend,” performed by Cynthia Fee, captures the enduring value of friendship through its lyrics, especially with its memorable lines like, “If you threw a party, invited everyone you knew / You would see the biggest gift would be from me / And the card attached would say, ‘Thank you for being a friend.’” But the songwriter who also originally performed the song, Andrew Gold, thought the 1978 song was a “little throwaway thing” he wrote in about an hour. Years before the show came along, he also had another verse in there that oddly hit the show right on the nose. “And when we both get older, with walking canes and hair of gray / Have no fear, even though it’s hard to hear. I will stand real close and say, ‘Thank you for being a friend.’” As appropriate as it was for the premise, that verse never made it onto the show. 9. White Was the Oldest of the Ensemble — And Lived the Longest Despite Getty’s character being the oldest of the bunch, White was actually the eldest of the four actresses. She was 63 when The Golden Girls began, about four months older than Arthur. Getty’s character would have been 79 when the show started, but she was actually 62 at the time of the first show. McClanahan was the youngest of the bunch. In 2008, Getty was the first Golden Girl to pass. She was followed by Arthur in 2009, McClanahan in 2010, and White in 2021, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday. 10. Each of the Four Stars Won an Emmy Award The show was an Emmys darling from the start, eventually accumulating 68 nominations and 11 awards, with each of the four leads taking home a trophy at one point. Arthur, McClanahan, and White all received Best Actress nods in 1986, with White winning the honors. The following year, it was McClanahan who clinched the title, and then in 1988, it was Arthur’s turn — as well as Getty’s, who earned the Supporting Actress honor. During her speech, Arthur noted that her thank-yous were from “the four of us” since “we’ve all won.” Source: Fun Facts About The Golden Girls | Facts About The Golden Girls
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    What's the Word: HIRRIENT pronunciation: [HEER-ee-ənt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, date unknown Meaning: 1. (Phonology) Having a strongly trilled sound, like that of a cat purring. Example: "Sondra used hirrient exercises in her speech therapy." "All of Tim’s pets make distinct, hirrient sounds." About Hirrient This word comes directly from the Latin “hirrient,” which comes from the verb “hirriō,” meaning “ to snarl. Did You Know? While “hirrient” often describes animal purring sounds, it can also describe certain words or sounds that humans make. Those sounds are more commonly described as “trilled.” For instance, the rapid vibration of the tongue or uvula that produces the rolling “r” in some languages is called an alveolar trill.
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    Fact of the Day - CROWS Did you know... that Crows often get a bad rap. In many Western cultures, they've historically been associated with death, disease, and bad omens; reviled as crop-stealers by farmers, and condemned as nuisances by city dwellers. But the birds are fascinating creatures, adaptable and brainy to an extent that's almost scary. Here are a few facts about these crafty corvids that might surprise you. (Mark Mancini | Oct 2, 2017 | Updated: Sep 30, 2020 Captivating Facts About Crows by Interesting Facts Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that you see a crow nearly every day. Fortunately, they’re one of the most fascinating birds on the planet. Corvids, the bird family that includes ravens, crows, and magpies, are incredibly intelligent — and it seems like every time we learn something new about them, it raises even more interesting questions. Do crows really recognize human friends? Why do thousands of birds swarm certain neighborhoods? And what’s up with crow funerals? Read on for the answers to these and other questions about one of the most intriguing birds around. 1. Crows Recognize Faces — and Keep Both Friendships and Generations-Long Grudges Have crows ever acted weird around you? It’s possible they remember your face, and that could be a good thing — or a very bad thing. In 2008, a University of Washington research team led by John M. Marzluff published a study on crow behavior, risking their very eyeballs to do so. Wearing what they called “dangerous” masks (made of rubber and meant to resemble cavemen), the researchers captured and banded a group of crows — something the birds didn’t like too much. While the crows acted normally to maskless or differently-masked researchers, the crows would scold (with loud, harsh calls) anyone wearing the dangerous mask, even when it was worn upside-down. As time went on and word spread among the flock, more and more crows would join in with the behavior. Over the course of several years, researchers walked around the UW campus wearing the bad mask, and, to this day, still get scolded and dive-bombed by birds more than a decade later, even though the crows from the study have likely died. Research has shown that the crows reacted to these threats and stored them in their memories in bird versions of the amygdala, a process much like that of humans. This research confirmed what crow pros had always suspected: That crows don’t just recognize humans, but have deeply held opinions about individual people. Kevin McGowan, a researcher at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, says that crows he has captured and banded are often still mad at him, while birds that have gotten many snacks from him follow him around. Plenty of non-scientists have shared the stories of their own corvid friendships, too, both in modern times and throughout history. 2. Crows Have Excellent Collaborative Communication Skills As evidenced by the growing number of vengeful birds in the mask experiment, crows have excellent communication skills — and can go into far greater detail than just “this is bad.” In the 1980s, researcher Lawrence Kilham studied a group of crows living on a ranch in Florida. (The technical term for a group of crows is a “murder,” by the way.) In one of his observations, five crows were helping a mother crow build a nest by bringing her sticks. After an excessive, messy pile of sticks accumulated, the mama crow was able to communicate that the deliveries were no longer helpful. She spent the next two weeks finishing up the nest with materials from the pile. After decades of crow study, Cornell’s Kevin McGowan has even learned to understand some of what they’re saying through the timing, spacing, timbre, and energy of their calls — at least, some of the simpler stuff, such as “a hawk is approaching,” “the hawk is getting closer,” or “help me harass this owl.” He says that music is a better comparison than spoken word. In addition to caws, crows have noises such as rattling, clicks, and bell-like sounds in their vocabulary, plus non-vocal communication. Sometimes they even imitate other birds. 3. Crows Have Funerals (Kind Of) There are many ways you can make enemies with a crow, but one of the quickest is to be seen with a dead one. When faced with a dead member of their own species, many wild animals will avoid the area. Crows, on the other hand, will mob the body in large, loud gatherings — then silently depart. While crows do have tight social bonds, the funerals may be more about information-sharing. What happened here? How can we avoid danger? Who are we ganging up on over this? In 2015, University of Washington researchers found that when crows see a human in the proximity of a dead crow just once, they can continue associating that person with the death for up to six weeks. Humans, however, are not public enemy number No. 1. When researchers presented a hawk near a taxidermied crow, the mobbing intensified. They also found that, while threat assessment is a key part of these gatherings, crows don’t do the same thing for just any species of dead bird — this ritual is reserved for their own. 4. Crows Might Be as Smart as Great Apes Clearly, crows are very intelligent, but just how smart are they? In addition to their dynamite communication, threat assessment, and memory skills, crows demonstrate self-awareness, capacity for learning, and problem-solving abilities that may approach those of great apes. New Caledonian crows — who live on the islands of New Caledonia in the South Pacific — are especially well-known for being adept with tools. In one experiment, a crow figured out how to use water displacement to get access to food. In another, the same species of crow fashioned a hook out of a piece of wire to dig out a treat — and in yet another, they used a small stick to push a long stick into the right position for reaching food. In 2018, University of Auckland researchers decided to see if crows could remember templates and replicate them. First, the researchers fashioned a small, snack-dispensing mock vending machine that accepted a specific size of paper. The crows, presented with pre-cut paper, would learn which one operated the machine. Later, presented with one larger sheet of cardstock, the crows would tear the paper to roughly the same size from scratch. Caledonian or not, crows have a sophisticated understanding of cause and effect. BBC Earth observed one crow in Japan who learned to open nuts by dropping them into traffic. When he discovered it was difficult to retrieve them, he started dropping them at pedestrian crossings so he could harvest the insides without getting run over. 5. Crows Have Close-Knit Family Relationships American and Northwestern crows are known for close family bonds. Pairs of birds mate for life, and older crow offspring will pitch in raising the younger ones. During the egg incubation period, the mama crow has food delivered a few times an hour by her mate and other family helpers. Cornell researcher Kevin McGowan has witnessed crow families of up to 15 birds at one time. It gets sweeter: At hatching time, other crows start visiting just out of curiosity about the new baby. Researcher Lawrence Kilham observed mother crows greeting these visitors by moving slightly to the side to give them a peek. In crow families, adults can stick around their parents’ territory for a while, sometimes for several years. Even once they do move out, they may come back every so often, sometimes to help with nest-building. While mating and hatching season are both big deals in crow family life, learning-to-fly season is up there, too. Many young birds of other species don’t see their parents again after getting pushed out of the nest for the first time, but crows keep a close eye on their juveniles while they’re running around on the ground — and occasionally, an unsuspecting human will get a little too close and get dive-bombed. 6. Tens of Thousands of Crows Roost Together Crows have large families, but, in the fall and winter, they have even bigger roosting communities. This is why on chilly afternoons, you may see thousands of crows swarming around one place. Smaller groups of crows come to these giant roosts from miles around. Roosts even host international guests; some crows from Canadian forests will winter in Seattle for the warmer city environment. More than 15,000 crows sometimes roost in downtown Portland alone, and 16,000 crows roost on the University of Washington, Bothell, campus near Seattle. In the Fort Cobb area of Oklahoma, the roost population exceeded 2 million in 1970. 7. Crows Love to Play Crows and other corvids are incredibly playful. They’ve been caught on camera sledding down snowy roofs using plastic lids and playing fetch with dogs. Sometimes they provoke a fight between two cats, becoming enthusiastic spectators when the violence starts. A crow once locked a science writer in a cage. A pair of magpies, also in the crow family, repeatedly pranked a zookeeper’s flock of chickens. Corvids also hide objects that are unrelated to food. Researchers have documented several kinds of play, or activity without a clear goal, in crows, from doing cool flight tricks to spending extra time in the water. Researchers are still exploring why — some of it could be for learning or just good old-fashioned stress relief. 8. Crows Might Live for Up to 60 Years A crow named Tata was allegedly 59 years old when he died at his home in Bearsville, New York, in 2006. While his age is nearly impossible to verify, ornithologists haven’t exactly cast doubt on it; the Cornell Ornithology Lab cites him as the longest-lived crow. Tata’s longevity comes from being a pet, since crows in captivity aren’t exposed to the same dangers as a crow in the wild would.Edgar, a crow in captivity at the Saginaw Children's Zoo in Saginaw, Michigan, died in 2020 at about age 26. The oldest observed crow in the wild was 17 years and 5 months old. Source: Fascinating Facts About Crows | The Facts About Crows
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    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/a-game-of-thrones-5858a3 A Game Of Thrones: The Board Game Digital Edition is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/car-mechanic-simulator-2018 Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://www.fanatical.com/en/game/reventure Reventure is currently free on Fanatical via newsletter.
  17. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - BEES Did you know... that bees are arguably the most important living creature for our environment. They are also the most studied, only second to humans. During the long history that humans have shared with bees over thousands of years, it’s’ no wonder we have learnt so much from them and depend on bees for life to exist as we know it. (Emmanuel | Last Updated: July 2019) Fascinating Facts About Bees by Lucas Reilly | Nov 18, 2013 | Updated: May 20, 2021 Sure, you know that bees pollinate our crops and give us honey. But there's so much more to these buzzing insects than that. 1. Bee stings have some health benefits. A toxin in bee venom called melittin may prevent HIV. Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus's protective envelope. (Meanwhile, when melittin hitches a ride on certain nanoparticles, it will just bounce off normal cells and leave them unharmed.) Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis hope the toxin can be used in preventative gels. Bee stings may also ease pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found that molecules in bee venom increase your body's level of glucocorticoid, an anti-inflammatory hormone. 2. Bees work harder than you do. During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death. 3. When bees change jobs, they change their brain chemistry. Bees are hardwired to do certain jobs. Scout bees, which search for new sources of food, are wired for adventure. Soldier bees, discovered in 2012, work as security guards their whole life. One percent of all middle-aged bees become undertakers—a genetic brain pattern compels them to remove dead bees from the hive. But most amazingly, regular honeybees—which perform multiple jobs in their lifetime—will change their brain chemistry before taking up a new gig. 4. Bee brains defy time. When aging bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops aging. In fact, their brain ages in reverse. (Imagine if riding a tricycle didn't just make you feel young—it actually made your brain tick like a younger person's.) Scientists at Arizona State University believe the discovery can help us slow the onset of dementia. 5. Bees are changing medicine. To reinforce their hives, bees use a resin from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. It's basically beehive glue. Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, herpes, a sore throat, cavities, and even eczema. 6. Bees can recognize human faces. Honeybees make out faces the same way we do. They take parts—like eyebrows, lips, and ears—and cobble them together to make out the whole face. It’s known as configural processing, and it might help computer scientists improve face recognition technology, The New York Times reports. 7. Bees have personalities Even in beehives, there are workers and shirkers. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that not all bees are interchangeable drones. Some bees are thrill-seekers, while others are a bit more timid. A 2011 study even found that agitated honeybees can be pessimistic, showing that, to some extent, bees might have feelings. Bees: They're just like us! 8. Bees get buzzed from caffeine and cocaine. Nature didn't intend for caffeine to be relegated to your morning pot of coffee. It's actually a plant defense chemical that shoos harmful insects away and lures pollinators in. Scientists at Newcastle University found that nectar laced with caffeine helps bees remember where the flower is, increasing the chances of a return visit. While caffeine makes bees work better, cocaine turns them into big fat liars. Bees "dance" to communicate—a way of giving fellow bees directions to good food. But high honeybees exaggerate their moves and overemphasize the food's quality. They even exhibit withdrawal symptoms, helping scientists understand the nuances of addiction. 9. Bees have Viking-like navigation techniques. Bees use the Sun as a compass. But when it's cloudy, there's a backup—they navigate by polarized light, using special photoreceptors to find the Sun's place in the sky. The Vikings may have used a similar system: On sunny days, they navigated with sundials, but on cloudy days, sunstones—chunks of calcite that act like a Polaroid filter—helped them stay on course. 10. Bees can solve hairy mathematical problems. Pretend it's the weekend, and it's time to do errands. You have to visit six stores and they're all at six separate locations. What's the shortest distance you can travel while visiting all six? Mathematicians call this the "traveling salesman problem," and it can even stump some computers. But for bumblebees, it's a snap. Researchers at Royal Holloway University in London found that bumblebees fly the shortest route possible between flowers. So far, they're the only animals known to solve the problem. 11. Bees are nature's most economical builders. In 36 BCE, Marcus Terentius Varro argued that honeycombs were the most practical structures around. Centuries later, Greek mathematician Pappus solidified the "honeycomb conjecture" by making the same claim. Almost 2000 years later, American mathematician Thomas Hales wrote a mathematical proof showing that, of all the possible structures, honeycombs use the least amount of wax. And not only are honeycombs the most efficient structures in nature—the walls meet at a precise 120-degree angle, a perfect hexagon. 12. Bees can help us catch serial killers. Serial killers behave like bees. They commit their crimes close to home, but far enough away that the neighbors don't get suspicious. Similarly, bees collect pollen near their hive, but far enough that predators can't find the hive. To understand how this "buffer zone" works, scientists studied bee behavior and wrote up a few algorithms. Their findings improved computer models police use to find felons. 13. Bees are job creators. The average American consumes roughly 1.51 pounds of honey each year. On top of that, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate up to 80 percent of the country's insect crops—meaning bees pollinate over $15 billion worth of crops each year. Bonus Facts: Bees can recognize human faces. by Interesting Facts Humans have known about bees for a long time: 8,000-year-old cave paintings in Bicorp, Spain, show early humans scaling trees to collect honey. But modern scientists wanted to know if bees recognize us, which is why researchers have put the insects’ microscopic brains to the test. In a 2005 study, honey bees were trained to memorize pictures of human faces by scientists who rewarded them for correct matches with droplets of sugar water. While a bee’s-eye view isn’t as clear as our own gaze, the buzzing insects were able to correctly differentiate between faces up to 90% of the time — even two days after first seeing them, and when the sweet incentives were removed. The emerging research into bee brains shows that not all living creatures need the complex brain systems humans have in order to recognize and recall environmental differences, but some researchers say that’s not entirely shocking. The Apis mellifera (aka the European honey bee) can visit up to 5,000 flowers in one day, distinguishing between buds that give off beaucoup nectar and those that don’t. So, it makes sense that bees have some form of working memory. And unlocking how bee brains work has practical applications for both us and them: Tech developers may be able to fine-tune artificial intelligence systems (in part by understanding how such tiny brains work so efficiently), and entomologists can better focus on supporting these crucial insects — which are responsible for an estimated 80% of food crop pollination. Arctic bees hibernate for nine months. Most researchers agree that bees are weather-sensitive; species living in four-season environments generally appear with warming spring temperatures and disappear into their hives to wait out winter. But that doesn’t mean all bees are delicate — some pollinator species are able to withstand the colder temps of the Arctic Circle. In the short summers between rugged winters, arctic bumblebees do the heavy lifting of pollinating wildflowers and berries that other animals rely on. Bombus polaris have adapted to the unforgiving climates of northern Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, and elsewhere with thicker fur and the ability to shiver their muscles to raise internal temperatures, but they also have shorter life spans than bees in warmer regions. Queen arctic bumblebees emerge from a nine-month solitary hibernation in May with one task in mind: quickly laying eggs to jump-start a colony that will only live a few months, save for one new queen — who will replace her in August to start the process all over again. Source: Unbelievable Facts about Bees | Fascinating Facts About Bees | Bee Facts
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    What's the Word: FIRSTLING pronunciation: [FURS-tling] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old English, date unknown Meaning: 1. (Archaic; usually firstlings) The first agricultural produce or animal offspring of a season. Example: "The sheep’s firstling was adorable. " "Eggplant was the firstling of the spring season." About Firstling This word stems from the Old English “fyrest,” originally from Proto-Germanic “furistaz,” meaning “foremost.” The Old English “-ling” comes from the Proto-Germanic “-lingaz,” meaning “small, immature, miniature” or “follower.” Did You Know? “Firstling” isn’t a commonly used word now, but it pops up in classic texts. There are several spots in the Bible’s Old Testament that mention firstlings, often referring to various animals’ offspring. And in the fourth act of “Macbeth,” the titular character says in an aside, “From this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand,” meaning his first thoughts will translate into his first, immediate actions.
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    Fact of the Day - CHILD PRODIGIES Did you know... that at the age most of us were playing with food and discovering our toes, child prodigies around the globe are learning complex languages and studying fields we've never heard of. Many of these children went on to do great things. Others were crippled by emotional instability. Some have great potential and are just getting started. (Vivian Giang | Jun 15, 2011) Child Prodigies Who Changed the World by Interesting Facts We’ve all seen our share of talented children — the ambidextrous baseball pitchers, the ones who knock out “Für Elise” on the piano with surprising ease, or impress with a recitation of obscure facts from their favorite subjects. Chances are, we’re witnessing something promising but hardly unusual; adept kids emerge in every generation. However, once in a blue moon, a youngster unleashes such a mind-blowing show of talent that global recognition becomes a distinct possibility. Here are eight such prodigies who quickly dispensed with the training wheels before zooming to the top of their respective fields. 1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Intrigued by the harpsichord at age 3, Austrian Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart accelerated through lessons and delivered his first musical composition in 1761 at age 5. That was enough for his father, who sent young Mozart and his older sister — also a gifted musician — on a tour of European cities over the next decade. Mozart thrived despite the grueling traveling conditions, dashing off his first symphony at age eight and his first operas not long after. At age 14, he transcribed Gregorio Allegri's “Miserere” from memory after hearing it performed at the Sistine Chapel, and returned a few weeks later to make only minor corrections to his notes. Mozart, of course, went on to become one of the greatest composers of the classical period, and the early realization of his abilities allowed him the time to create more than 600 works despite an early death at age 35. 2. Shirley Temple Few child stars in history have as much notoriety as Shirley Temple. When she was 4 years old, Temple was already lighting up the screen in a series of film shorts called Baby Burlesks (1932). By age seven, she had already appeared in more than 10 feature films and earned a special juvenile Academy Award, and that was before she became Hollywood's No. 1 box office draw for four years running. Temple eventually aged out of her bread-and-butter roles as America's dimple-cheeked sweetheart, and her film career was over by the time she legally became an adult. Fortunately, she avoided the tragedies that plagued many of the child stars who followed in her footsteps by launching a successful second act as a prominent diplomat. Temple, who eventually went by her married name, Shirley Temple Black, was a delegate to the U.N. General Assembly from 1969 to 1970, served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, was the chief of protocol for President Gerald Ford, and served as ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992, among other diplomatic roles. 3. Bobby Fisher Born in Chicago, Illinois in 1943, Bobby Fisher began playing chess at age 6 after his big sister purchased a $1 set. His talent had blossomed by age 13 when Fisher defeated former U.S. champion Donald Byrne in the "game of the century." He went on to become the youngest national champion at age 14, the game's youngest grandmaster at age 15, and the first American to claim the world championship. Unfortunately after these early successes, an increasingly erratic Fisher became better known for his bigoted rants and troubles with the law, though his place in history is secure thanks to the early show of brilliance that popularized the insular game of kings. 4. Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz There weren't many pathways to success for girls born to unwed parents in 17th-century Mexico, but Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz managed to transcend her origins with a dazzling mind and a deft pen. Largely self-taught, she wrote her first dramatic poem at age eight, studied the Greek classics, and was instructing children in Latin by age 13. A few years later, she joined the court of the Viceroy Marquis de Mancera, where she famously wowed a panel of professors with her expertise in numerous subjects. Sor Juana then entered a convent, where she enjoyed the freedom to pen numerous plays, poems, and carols, as well as the proto-feminist manifesto Respuesta a sor Filotea de la Cruz. A clash with authority figures forced her to abandon her creative pursuits shortly before her death in 1695, but she endures as one of the most important literary figures of the New Spanish Baroque. 5. John Stuart Mill English philosopher John Stuart Mill's legacy as one of the great writers and thinkers of the 19th century was forged by a childhood devoted to academia. Undertaking a rigorous curriculum, Mill was studying ancient Greek by age three, wrote a history of ancient Rome by age six, and mastered Latin by age 8. The training left him positioned to aid his philosopher father's intellectual pursuits, but it also produced an inner turmoil that manifested in a nervous breakdown and a period of depression in his early 20s. It wasn't until he started reading poetry that Mill began understanding the feelings that had been repressed since childhood, paving the way for his groundbreaking works on utilitarianism, intellectual freedom, capitalism, and gender equality. 6. Jascha Heifetz In 1903, at just 2 years old, Jascha Heifetz began learning the violin and rapidly developed fluency with the instrument that would carry him from his native Russia to all corners of the world. He made his formal public debut at age age, performed before a reported 8,000 people at age 10, and played with the Berlin Philharmonic as an 11-year-old. A seasoned pro by his teenage years, Heifetz made his long-awaited Carnegie Hall debut at 16 and launched a prolific recording career shortly afterward. Heifetz was also a gifted pianist, and he enjoyed success as a Tin Pan Alley composer under the pseudonym of Jim Hoyl, though he remained most beloved for the violin wizardry that was apparent from the very beginning. 7. John von Neumann While not nearly as well-remembered as fellow European emigree and scholar Albert Einstein, John von Neumann was also a certifiable genius who made an enormous imprint on the world around him. Born in 1903 in Budapest, Hungry, his turbo-charged intellect was apparent by the early stages of grade school. Von Neumann could converse in ancient Greek and multiply two eight-digit numbers in his head by age 6 and within two years he was already learning calculus. His dad tried to dissuade his son from a career in mathematics over fears that it was an unsustainable career, but von Neumann not only proved he could make a comfortable living in the field, he also showed his training could be applied to the development of game theory, personal computers, weather forecasting, and other real-world applications. 8. Willie Mosconi Billiards legend Willie Mosconi got his start playing the game in his father's Philadelphia pool hall, even as his father tried to steer him toward a stage career. After the boy kept sneaking in to practice with a potato and broom handle, a resigned papa figured he could make the most of his son's determination. In 1919, at age 6, Mosconi more than held his own in a match against world champion Ralph Greenleaf, and at age 11, he became the juvenile champ. From there, there was no slowing the man The New York Times called the Babe Ruth of his sport, who once sunk a record 526 shots in a row and won the world billiards title 13 times over 15 years. Source: The Smartest Children In History | Facts About Child Prodigies
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    What's the Word: LORICATE pronunciation: [LOR-ih-keit] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, early 19h century Meaning: 1. (Of an animal) having a protective covering of plates or scales; having a lorica (breastplate). Example: "Is a turtle a loricate animal?" "The porcupine is a great example of a loricate creature." About Loricate This word comes from the Latin “loricatus,” from “lorica,” which is a breastplate. It stems from “lorum,” meaning “strap.” Did You Know? In addition to being an adjective, “loricate” can also be a transitive verb or a noun. In its verb form, it means “to enclose in or cover with a protecting substance.” When “loricate” is used as a noun, it means “any animal covered in bony scales,” such as a crocodile.
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    What's the Word: SCISSION pronunciation: [SIH-zhən] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, 14th century Meaning: 1. (Technical) The action or state of cutting or being cut; a division or split between people or parties. 2. (Biochemistry) Breakage of a chemical bond, especially one in a long chain molecule so that two smaller chains result. Example: "There was a scission between the two versions of events." "The geneticist wanted to create a scission in the DNA sequence." About Scission This word comes from Middle English by way of Old French. It stems from the late Latin “scissio(n-),” from “scindere,” meaning “cut, cleave.” Did You Know? It’s natural to assume that “scission” and “scissors” have the same root. They’re both related to cutting, but they have different etymological paths. “Scissors” comes from the Latin verb “caedere,” meaning “to cut.” The Middle English term for “scissors” was “sisoures” or “cisours,” which stems from the French “cisoires.” A printing mistake in the 1700s resulted in the cutting tool’s current form, and “scissors” was assumed to derive from “scindere,” like the word “scission.”
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    Fact of the Day - TOURIST ATTRACTIONS Lost City of Petra, Jordan Did you know... that travelers are always looking for inspiration to guide their adventures. Coming up with a list of places to visit can be challenging when you're staring at a globe. What are the top tourist attractions in the world? The most iconic sites that all travelers have on their bucket-list of things to see around the globe? Some destinations just stand out above the rest. Many are the type of places where you can take a photo, and it requires no explanation to identify the location: the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum. But some places are less well known to new travelers or those who have not yet ventured out to the more exotic destinations. These can often be the most rewarding to visit. For many of these attractions, it's what they symbolize and the destinations they represent that make them so significant. In other cases, it is the site itself that makes it worth visiting the country. Some of these are the more popular UNESCO World Heritage sites. ( Lana Law | Updated Feb 15, 2022) Fascinating Facts About Some of the World's Most-Visited Tourist Sites by Interesting Facts Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania Think you know all there is to know about the world's most-visited sites? One lesson that savvy travelers learn is that even the most well-known landmarks — the ones that clutter our Instagram feeds and continue to attract millions of tourists each year — can still surprise you. If you're curious about what purpose Times Square originally served, what other famous landmark Gustave Eiffel helped design, or what color the pyramids of Giza once were, read on to discover 15 things you never knew about 15 of the top tourist attractions on the planet. 1. New York City's Times Square Wasn't Always Called That For the most-visited tourist site in the U.S., New York City's Times Square had humble beginnings. Once an area surrounded by countryside and used for farming by American Revolution-era statesman John Morin Scott, the area now known as Times Square fell into the hands of real estate mogul John Jacob Astor in the 1800s. By the second half of the 19th century, it had become the center of the city’s horse carriage manufacturing industry and home to William H. Vanderbilt’s American Horse Exchange. City authorities named it Long Acre Square, a reference to London’s historic carriage and coach-making district. This name remained until 1904, when The New York Times moved its headquarters to a lavish new skyscraper called One Times Square. Just eight years later, the newspaper relocated again to a nearby building, but the name Times Square stuck. 2. Las Vegas Is the Brightest City on Earth About 80% of the world’s population lives in a place lit up by artificial light at night. And according to NASA, nowhere do those lights shine brighter than in Las Vegas. A city that loves its neon signs and bright marquees, Las Vegas offers an around-the-clock dose of sensory overload — even New York City, “the city that never sleeps,” and Paris, “the city of lights” can’t match the over-the-top light show of Las Vegas when viewed from outer space. And in a city with so much artificial light, one manages to stand out: the Sky Beam atop the Luxor Hotel pyramid. It's powered by 39 ultra-bright xenon lamps (each 7,000 watts) and curved mirrors that collect their light and focus them into the world’s strongest beam of light. Not only can it be seen from space, but the Sky Beam provides enough illumination to read a book from 10 miles out in space. 3. The Great Wall of China Isn't a Continuous Structure Built from the third century BCE to the 17th century CE in order to keep out northern invaders, the Great Wall of China is considered the world's longest wall, extending a total 13,170 miles. Although our mental image of the Great Wall is probably one of a continuous structure winding its way across China, the reality is different. The Great Wall is actually composed of various stretches of wall and watchtowers — often with gaps between. There are even areas where the wall is non-existent. The original builders also made use of natural barriers to keep invaders out. As much as a quarter of the wall's length relied on features like rivers and mountainous ridges to keep the marauding hordes back. Today, much of the wall is in ruins, but sections that date from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) can still be seen. 4. The Great Barrier Reef Is So Large You Can See It From Space Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on the planet, covering an area of approximately 135,000 square miles. It’s not just the immense scale of the reef that makes it visible to astronauts in space, though. The contrast between the dark blue of the deeper parts of the ocean and the light turquoise of the lagoons on the other side of the reef makes it relatively straightforward to identify with the naked eye. But the pictures taken from space are valued for more than their aesthetic appeal. The MERIS sensor used on the Envisat satellite mission was a useful tool in mapping the extent of coral bleaching, the term for when stressed coral has rid itself of algae. 5. Gustave Eiffel Helped Designed the Statue of Liberty Even prior to the building of his namesake tower in Paris, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was already one of France's leading structural engineers in the 19th century. Thus, he was a natural choice for New York Harbor's Statue of Liberty, especially after the statue's original designer died unexpectedly. Thanks to Eiffel, the statue's interior boasts a more contemporary design. Eiffel came up with the idea of a central spine in the statue, which functions as a connector for the various asymmetrical metal girders that give the statue its shape. This innovative technique not only provides the framework for the statue but also creates a kind of suspension system that allows the monument to withstand winds and other harsh weather conditions. 6. We Know of the "Lost" City of Petra, Jordan, Thanks to a Swiss Explorer Once a thriving cultural and economic hub, Petra (believed to have been established around 312 BCE) was later abandoned and left to ruin. For centuries, all except the local Bedouin people forgot Petra — its tombs and temples carved directly into the sandstone cliffs were abandoned and buildings fell into ruin, hidden by the surrounding canyons. But in 1812, a Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt set off on an expedition in search of the source of the River Niger. On his way to Cairo, he heard rumors from locals of secret ruins of a grand city in the desert, so he hired guides and disguised himself as an Arab to gain access to what was considered a sacred place, forbidden to Westerners. They brought him to Petra. However, wary of pushing his luck too far, he didn’t stop to excavate. Five years later, Burckhardt died of dysentery in the Egyptian capital, but his “discovery” paved the way for future exploration of the site. 7. The Grand Canyon Isn't the Deepest Canyon in the U.S. Given its name, it’s a common misconception that the Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States. The Grand Canyon is very deep — 4,000 feet deep, in fact, with the deepest point reaching 6,000 feet. This gives it an average depth of about a mile. But Hells Canyon, running along the border of Oregon and Idaho, exceeds the depth of the Grand Canyon by plunging nearly 8,000 feet in some places. While not the country's deepest canyon, the Arizona landmark has other impressive stats: It extends for 277 miles and measures 18 miles wide. Totaling 1,904 square miles, this canyon is roughly the size of Rhode Island. And the national park there is visited by around 6 million people each year. 8. Machu Picchu's Buildings Were Designed to Be Earthquake-Proof The Inca people certainly knew how to build to accommodate their environment. That’s evident not only in Machu Picchu’s epic surroundings, but also in the foundation of the Lost City itself. Peru is located in a seismic zone, and the Incas were familiar with potential earthquakes. To protect against them, they made the buildings of the citadel seismic-resistant by using precisely fit stones held together by gravity alone. Nothing so thin as a credit card could be inserted in the cracks, allowing the mortar-free stones to “dance” during an earthquake, only to resettle back into place once it ends. Additionally, the Incas cornered structures with L-shaped blocks, built terrace buttresses into steep mountain slopes, rounded the corners in some buildings, and tilted the trapezoidal doors and windows inward. All of these small but ingenious details ensured that their structures were earthquake-ready. 9. The Golden Gate Bridge's Color Was Supposed to Be Temporary San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge features a distinctive reddish-orange paint color — but it came about by accident. Architect Irving Morrow noticed that some of the steel that arrived for construction of the bridge was coated in a dark red primer, which inspired him to write a 29-page report in 1935 advocating for a similar color to be used in the bridge’s final design. Although most bridges at the time were painted gray, silver, or black, he suggested using paint in a shade like orange vermillion or burnt sienna, as these luminous tones would emphasize the grand scale of the bridge and provide a contrast to the grey and blue color of the water beneath. Not everyone agreed, but in the end, Morrow won over his critics. The bridge was painted a shade unimaginatively called “International Orange,” and it’s been the same ever since. 10. The Taj Mahal's Four Minarets Look Perpendicular — But They're Not In the 1600s, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built India's Taj Mahal to honor the memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Four 130-foot-tall minarets surround the Taj Mahal’s central tomb, where Shah Jahan and his wife are both buried, and showcase the emperor’s passion for symmetrical design. At first glance, they seem to stand perfectly perpendicular to the ground; however, on closer inspection you’ll notice they are tilted slightly outwards. This wasn’t a design fault, but rather a way to protect the tomb in the event of a natural disaster — should the minarets fall, then the material would land away from the building. The four towers were built to be used by a muezzin, the person who calls daily prayers, and each features two balconies and an elevated dome-shaped pavilion, called a chhatri. 11. There's a Secret Suite Inside Disney World's Cinderella Castle Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, holds a few secrets. For starters, the bricks used to build the tops of the tall towers are smaller than the bricks used for the lower part of the structure — an engineering trick used by the designers in many buildings here to make them appear even taller than they truly are. Perhaps even more surprising, there’s a hidden suite inside this castle that was originally designed to be an office for Walt Disney himself, but he died before the castle was completed. Cinderella’s castle isn’t the only one hiding a surprise: Sleeping Beauty’s resting place (at Disneyland in California) boasts an actual working drawbridge. Reportedly, it has been used just twice, once for the opening ceremony in 1955 and again in the 1980s when Fantasyland opened. 12. Some of the Stones at Stonehenge Came From Nearly 200 Miles Away Located in Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge — roughly 5,000 years old — is one of the world’s most enigmatic monuments. It consists of roughly 100 bluestones and sarsens positioned upright and arranged in a circle. While the larger sarsens (a type of sandstone boulder) were hewn from the Marlborough Downs, which is relatively close to the site, the smaller bluestones have been traced to the Preseli Hills in southwest Wales, over 180 miles away. It’s hard to believe that its Neolithic builders — who lacked sophisticated tools or engineering — floated and dragged many of these giant lumps of rock over such a great distance, which only adds to the mystery of the original purpose of the stone circle. 13. Beijing's Forbidden City Is the World's Largest Imperial Palace Occupying some 7.7 million square feet, the Forbidden City is the largest imperial palace on the planet. The most-visited UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world, it features 980 individual buildings, which are home to almost 9,000 rooms. There are two distinct areas: The Inner Court served as the emperor’s residence, while the Outer Court was for ceremonial events. A 32-feet-high defensive wall protects the entire complex, around which is a 171-foot-wide moat. What's inside is even more impressive: The palace is home to a reputed 1.9 million artifacts — everything from calligraphy, ceramics, and paintings to gold and silverware, literary works, and religious icons. 14. The Great Pyramid of Giza Was Once Fully Covered in White Limestone The only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the Egyptian Pyramid of Giza was constructed around 2550 BCE. At 454 feet tall, it was the world’s tallest building at the time — a title it held until the 14th century. In contrast to the weathered sand-colored blocks you see today, the pyramids were once completely covered in polished limestone. This higher-quality stone was quarried at a place called Tura, which was about nine miles south of Giza. Its smooth, white surface would have gleamed in the sunshine, creating a dazzling effect. Today, most of the casing is gone except for a cap on the peak of the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren), which has dulled over time. 15. Cambodia's Angkor Wat Temple Is the World's Largest Religious Structure Sprawling across more than 400 acres in northern Cambodia, the Angkor Wat temple complex is the world’s largest religious structure. Erected by the Khmer Empire in the 12th century, this awe-inspiring monument began as a Hindu temple and was later converted into a Buddhist place of worship. The temple design is an architectural portrayal of Mount Meru, which is the center of the Hindu universe. The five towers represent the five peaks of the mountain, and the surrounding moat and defensive wall symbolize the oceans and mountain ranges. How colossal is Angkor Wat? It's so large that many of its features are visible from space — just like the Sky Beam in Las Vegas and the Great Barrier Reef. Source: Tourist Attractions in the World | Facts About Tourist Sites
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    Fact of the Day - MANDELA EFFECT Did you know... What in the world is the Mandela Effect? In a nutshell, it’s having memories that don’t match with current reality and history. Fiona Broome, one of the people who coined the term, launched a website in 2009 to document the phenomenon, explains that the Mandela Effect “is what happens when someone has a clear memory of something that never happened in this reality.” But why is it called the Mandela Effect? (Kelly Bryant) Mind-Bending Examples of the Mandela Effect by Interesting Facts Nostalgia is a powerful feeling. Reminiscing about the past can be a bonding experience, whether it’s sharing memories of eating Jiffy peanut butter as a kid or hearing Darth Vader say, “Luke, I am your father,” for the first time. But sometimes reality isn’t quite how we remember it. Jiffy peanut butter never actually existed, for one, and Darth Vader never said those exact words. These are both examples of what has come to be known as the Mandela Effect, in which collective groups share a highly specific — yet completely false — memory. This phenomenon can pop up in the most unexpected of places, so prepare your brain for the unbelievable examples that lie ahead. 1. Nelson Mandela Did Not Die in the 1980s The term “Mandela Effect” was coined in 2009 by paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, who recounted her vivid memories of the coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death in the 1980s. From news clips to an emotional speech from Mandela’s widow, Broome was convinced that she accurately remembered the tragedy of Mandela dying in prison. In reality, Mandela was released from prison in 1990, went on to become South Africa’s first Black president, and died in 2013. Despite being completely off the mark, Broome wasn’t alone in her conviction. On her website, she went on to share the stories of over 500 other people who mysteriously and inexplicably held this same belief. 2. Jif vs. Jiffy Peanut Butter As confirmed by a representative from the J.M. Smucker Company, Jiffy brand peanut butter has never existed. That doesn’t stop people from claiming that they loved eating Jiffy as a kid. These peanut butter aficionados are likely confusing this fictitious brand with the similarly-sounding Jif or Skippy. And it’s not just peanut butter — the Mandela Effect is widely prevalent among the foods we know (or think we know) and love. “Fruit Loops” are actually named “Froot Loops,” there’s no hyphen in KitKat, and it’s “Cup Noodles,” not “Cup O’ Noodles.” 3. Berenstain Bears or Berenstein Bears? One visit to the Berenstain Bears’ official website and you can see that it’s clearly spelled “Berenstain.” The beloved children’s books about a family of bears were named after authors Stan and Jan Berenstain, who — like their creations — had an “a” in their last name. Yet many people who’ve read the books continue to insist (erroneously) that the name was once somehow spelled differently. In their possible defense, some early merchandise mistakenly featured both spellings, which may have led to some of the confusion. On top of that, audio tapes pronounced the name as “-steen,” which could have had a lasting influence on our collective psyche. Despite these arguments, the title is and always has been written as “The Berenstain Bears.” 4. Darth Vader Never Said “Luke, I Am Your Father” “Luke, I am your father” may be one of the most misquoted movie phrases of all time. Every Star Wars fan can remember the pivotal scene from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, in which Darth Vader reveals that he’s Luke Skywalker’s, well, father. But the phrasing most people know is incorrect — watch it back and you’ll find that Vader actually says, “No, I am your father.” This is just one of many examples of the Mandela Effect in film. The queen in Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White never says, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall,” referring to it instead as “Magic mirror.” And at no point in Silence of the Lambs does Hannibal Lecter ever say, “Hello, Clarice.” However, after years of fans misquoting the movie, the line “Hello, Clarice” was finally written into the film’s 2001 sequel. 5. The Monopoly Man Never Wore a Monocle The Monopoly Man is known for his top hat, mustache, and monocle, right? Well, that popular image is at least partly wrong. While the top hat and mustache have been part of Rich Uncle Pennybags’ appearance since he was first introduced in 1936, he’s never worn a monocle. Some psychologists believe that our collective subconscious could have been influenced by the advertising mascot Mr. Peanut (the mascot for Planters Peanuts), who’s just as well known and wears both a top hat and monocle. Gene Brewer, an associate professor in cognitive psychology at Arizona State University, explains that our brains can combine subjects with similar traits — “In studies, when you show participants word pairs and ask them to remember ‘blackmail’ and ‘jailbird,’ half of them will later say they remember learning the word ‘blackbird.’” 6. Fruit of the Loom’s “Vanishing” Cornucopia Take a look at the tag on a piece of Fruit of the Loom apparel. Now take a look again, just to be sure. Even though every fiber of your being may have thought otherwise, there’s no cornucopia to be found in the logo. As far back as 1893, when the logo was introduced — long before anyone on the internet claimed differently — it’s just been a simple combination of an apple and different varieties of grapes, with leaves on the side. It’s not clear why so many people remember a cornucopia being present. 7. It’s Just “Smokey Bear” For over 75 years, the U.S. Forest Service has featured an ursine mascot warning about forest fires. After all this time, you’d think we’d know his name. Commonly and mistakenly referred to as “Smokey the Bear,” this long-tenured advertising icon is actually just Smokey Bear. Some attribute this mistake to a 1952 song about Smokey, in which songwriters Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins added a “the” to his name in order to retain the song’s rhythm. While some may continue to argue over Smokey’s name, there’s much less ambiguity when it comes to who can prevent forest fires. That’s just “you.” Source: Mandela Effect Examples That are Seriously Mind-Bending | Facts About the Mandela Effect
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    What's the Word: LUNATE pronunciation: [LOO-nayt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 18th century Meaning: 1. Crescent-shaped. Example: "The child drew the moon as yellow and lunate." "The lunate shape of the boomerang makes it sail right back to the thrower." About Lunate This word comes from the Latin “lunatus,” meaning "half-moon shaped," stemming from “luna,” meaning "moon." Did You Know? While the adjective “lunate” means “crescent-shaped,” it can also be used as a noun with two definitions. The first is a crescent-shaped prehistoric stone implement. The second is a human bone — a crescent-shaped carpal bone found in the center of the wrist.
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    https://www.gog.com/en/game/beautiful_desolation Beautiful Desolation is currently free on GOG. https://www.gog.com/en/game/daggerfall_unity_gog_cut Daggerfall Unity: GOG Cut is free on GOG.
  26. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - AMUSEMENT PARKS Did you know... that the best theme parks create a sense of magic. You feel transported to another world, with crazy rides and costumed characters (and no lack of overpriced snacks). But since so many work so hard to create thrilling fantasy escapes, it can be easy to forget that there are real facts behind the make believe—astonishing histories, jaw-dropping stats, totally odd quirks. All in all, it's yet another a reminder that life—real life—is the greatest magic. (ALEX DANIEL | JANUARY 10, 2019) Amazing Facts About Amusement Parks by Interesting Facts Pleasure gardens walked so Six Flags could run. While many people visit amusement parks for a fun break from everyday life, things get much more interesting behind the scenes. What role did public transportation play in your favorite parks? What’s the fastest coaster? Which famous family attraction had a disastrous opening day? From the humble beginnings of carousels to record-breaking roller coasters, there’s a lot to learn about amusement parks. 1. The Oldest Amusement Park Dates Back to the 16th Century Amusement parks as we know them today are a fairly modern concept, but they started evolving from traveling fairs and pleasure gardens in Europe centuries ago. The Danish park Dyrehavsbakken, more commonly known as Bakken, opened to the public in 1583 as a pleasure garden known for its natural spring waters. Not long after, vendors started setting up booths for selling their wares and providing entertainment alike. Over the years, the park transitioned from a pleasure garden to a fair to an amusement park, and is now considered the world’s oldest amusement park. You won’t find much, if any, 1500s nostalgia there today, but Bakken has maintained one tradition over at least 200 years: Pjerrot the white-faced clown, a character who visits the park every day. Its oldest ride is a wooden roller coaster from 1932. Bakken also avoids many modern amusement park archetypes: The vendors are small, independent businesses, and the aesthetic is more simple than flashy. 2. American Amusement Parks Started as Trolley Marketing The electric trolley industry was booming in the 1890s, and while they became popular among commuters, evening and weekend traffic was pretty low. Electric companies often charged trolley operators a flat rate regardless of how much power they actually used, so trolley companies started trying to drum up business during the slow times. Enter the trolley park, a fun and relaxing destination at the end of the tracks. Attractions at these parks included dance halls, coin-operated machines, boat rides, and live entertainment. Because electric trolleys were much more pleasant to ride than their coal or steam predecessors, it was easy to pitch the ride as a tourist attraction in and of itself. The trolley park concept spread quickly across the country, and attractions started to resemble what you’d find in a modern amusement park. A 1902 issue of Cosmopolitan, then a family magazine, describes an early river-floating ride called an “aquarama,” a roller coaster called “Railway to the Moon,” and “the latest in the up-and-down railroad… the ‘loop the loop,’ as it is properly termed.” Lake Compounce in central Connecticut, the longest-operating amusement park in the United States, was founded in 1846, far before the trolleys came in — but it can still be counted as a trolley park. The park started with people flocking to the site to see scientific experiments. It operated as a “picnic park” that held frequent public barbecues until 1895, when Bristol and Plainville Tramway Company began service and the park got its own permanent structure, with a restaurant and ballroom. 3. The Fastest Roller Coaster Goes Almost 150 Miles an Hour The highest-speed coaster in the world is, fittingly, at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Called Formula Rossa, the ride reaches its top speed of 240 kilometers per hour (about 149 mph) in less than five seconds. The ride is so fast, passengers need to wear goggles to protect their eyes from any impacts with flying insects or sand. Ferrari’s other theme park, Ferrari Land in Tarragona, Spain, has the fastest coaster in Europe, at a comparably measly 112 miles per hour. Because no record can exist without somebody trying to break it, Formula Rossa may be dethroned soon by Falcon’s Flight at Six Flags Qiddiya in Saudi Arabia, scheduled to open in 2023. Park owners promise a top speed of at least 155 miles per hour. 4. Disneyland’s Opening Day Was a Disaster Today, Disneyland is one of the most well-known and most-visited theme parks in the world, welcoming 18.7 million visitors in 2019 alone. But its opening day on July 17, 1955, went so badly that some staff members called it “Black Sunday.” Many rides hadn’t opened yet, including the entirety of Tomorrowland, and crews had to build attractions at such a breakneck pace that they weren’t able to weed around the canal boat ride, instead placing signs pretending they were exotic plant species. But that was the least of the trouble. In the day’s 100-degree weather, the asphalt was so hot that high heels became stuck in it, and the availability of drinking fountains was severely impacted by a plumbers’ strike. This was before widespread use of car air conditioning, and families stuck in the seven miles of heavy traffic leading into the park had to endure extreme heat. When they finally got in, not only did they have insufficient access to water, but the restaurants and refreshment stands eventually ran out of food — due in part to the more than 10,000 people who had entered the park via a tall ladder instead of the front gate. Things continued to go badly for the next few weeks. Children managed to wreck 30 out of 36 cars in an attraction meant to teach them the rules of the road. Stagecoaches in Frontierland got the axe after they kept tipping over, both through faulty design and skittish, unpredictable ponies. Walt Disney’s dream of live circuses was dashed by a loose herd of llamas, and it just got worse from there. Regardless, people kept coming, and it only took seven weeks to amass 1 million visitors. 5. Epcot’s Original Concept Was a Whole City Epcot Center, a theme park within Walt Disney World, opened in 1982 with exhibits exploring human life and world culture in the past, present, and future. But Walt Disney’s original vision was significantly more ambitious: He imagined it as an entire city. Initially imagined by Disney as the “heart of everything” in the Disney World project, EPCOT, then an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was an urban planning experiment in a completely closed-in, climate-controlled environment led by Disney and other major corporations. In addition to building a whole planned community, including a radial transportation grid, from scratch, the Community of Tomorrow was meant to be a sandbox for new innovation and technology. Residents would either work in the city center or travel by people mover and monorail to a similarly experimental industrial park between it and the Disney World theme park. For better or for worse, Disney never realized this ambitious vision, since he died the same year (1966) that he presented his plan to the public. Disney did, however, keep the name, so the next time you’re visiting that giant golf ball, you can imagine what might have been. 6. A German Amusement Park Was Built in an Unfinished Nuclear Power Plan The SNR-300 nuclear reactor was ready to go in 1985, but with mounting public and political pressure against it, especially after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the project never moved forward. The plant was officially abandoned, and in 1991 a Dutch investor scooped up the property for 2.5 million euros, left the cooling tower and reactor building in place, and turned it into a hotel and theme park that opened in 1996. Wunderland Kalkar now has more than 40 attractions, a few specifically planned around the cooling tower. Climbing walls, plus a mountain mural, line the exterior. The base of the interior of the cooling tower is called “Echoland,” and, for the more adventurous, the “Vertical Swing” spins you all the way up to the top. 7. Carousels Started Out as a War Gam The carousel, now the most quaint of carnival rides, started its life in 12th-century Arabia and Turkey as a serious game called Little War, in which horsemen tossed perfumed clay balls at one another; whoever failed to catch the ball would have to live with the strong perfume smell until their next bath. Italian and Spanish crusaders brought the game to Europe, but once it got to France, things got really extravagant. Carosella meant “Little War” in Italian, and once the French got a hold of it, they named it carrousel. At first, French nobility played war games on their own horses, including the scented-ball game and a ring-lancing game, with both them and their horses dressed to the nines. Then they created mechanical models in the 17th century, with wooden horses attached to spokes extending from a central post, to practice the games. These models evolved into elaborately designed luxury diversions for the wealthy, typically powered by a horse, mule, or overworked human. These merry-go-rounds, a term first coined in 1729 by a British poet, spread throughout Europe. When the steam engine came along around 1870, it allowed for more elaborate carousel decorations and made them easier to manufacture — and before long they were the carnival staples they are today. Source: Amazing Facts About Theme Parks | Amusement Park Facts
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    What's the Word: DACTYLONOMY pronunciation: [dak-til-AHN-ə-mi] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, 18th century Meaning: 1. The practice of counting on one’s fingers, or otherwise representing numbers with one’s fingers. Example: "Instead of pulling out the calculator on my phone, I stick to dactylonomy." "I preferred dactylonomy to memorizing math equations well into middle school." About Dactylonomy The term combines the Greek prefix “δάκτυλος” (or “dactylo,” meaning “finger”) with the suffix “-onomy,” meaning “a system of knowledge.” The suffix “-onomy” is also drawn from the Greek suffix “νόμος” (or “nómos,” meaning “law”). Did You Know? Dactylonomy is far more complicated than counting to ten on one’s fingers (or twenty with the toes). In fact, various systems of dactylonomy have appeared around the world dating back at least as far as first-century Persia. These versions offered the ability to count into the hundreds, thousands, and even greater numbers using the fingers and parts of the hand. It’s commonly believed that the decimal system was popularized because of the universal experience of counting to 10 on one’s fingers.
  28. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - MAGICIANS Shin Lim Did you know... that the art of magic has long dazzled fans. At first thought to be actual paranormal powers, in recent decades magic has been revealed as mere deception, yet we still love the performances and clever ways with with magicians fool us. But with hundreds of mystifying performers alive today, how are we to christen the ten best currently living sorcerers, yet alone of those of all time? I've researched and reviewed many entertainers and hope to present some of the top artists in all magic fields (illusions, sleight of hand, escape, and so on). Thus, factoring in skills, legacy, and perhaps a pinch of personal bias, here are the top ten magicians of all time! (JEREMY GILL | JUL 28, 2020) the Most Influential Magicians Who Ever Lived by Interesting Facts Harry Houdini and David Blaine may be household names, but their success has been built on the shoulders of magicians who haven’t received much recognition. The “celebrity magician,” after all, is a recent phenomenon: For centuries, illusionists and escape artists were impugned as low-lifes (at best) and criminals (at worst). But none of that would stop these magic-makers, who helped pave the way for our modern superstars. From mythical sorcerers to skeptical writers, here are some of the most influential magicians in history. 1. Djedi: History’s Most Captivating Decapitator An Egyptian magician who purportedly lived 4,700 years ago, Djedi may have been history’s first illusionist. According to the Westcar Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian text, Djedi could magically remove — and reattach! — the heads of living animals: Geese, waterfowl, and even bulls. (Centuries later, David Blaine would re-enact the stunt with a chicken.) Historians, however, caution that the magician’s greatest trick was fooling us to believe he existed: Dejdi might be a work of fiction. 2. Belshazzar’s Incompetent Magicians: The Reason There’s Writing on the Wall The Bible contains dozens of references to sorcerers, necromancers, and conjurers. In the First Book of Samuel, the Witch of Endor summons the spirit of a prophet. In the apocrypha, Simon Magus is able to levitate and even fly. But one of the most famous references to magicians appears in the tale of King Belshazzar’s Feast. As the story goes, the King was enjoying an opulent meal when a hand mystically appeared and began to write a cryptic message on a nearby wall, spelling out his doom. A panicked Belshazzar asked his magicians to interpret the message — but the magicians failed, and Belshazzar soon died. The scene is now immortalized in the idiom: “To see the writing on the wall.” 3. Luca Pacioli: The Accountant Who Could Breathe Fire An Italian mathematician and friar who lived in the 15th century, Luca Pacioli is widely considered the “Father of Accounting.” But his skills expanded beyond bookkeeping: He’s also one of the earliest writers on the art of magic. His unpublished 1508 book De Viribus Quantitatis discusses an array of magic tricks: how to make an “egg walk over a table,” how to make a “cooked chicken jump on the table,” and how to “make a snow torch that burns.” He’s also the first to discuss various card tricks, coin tricks, and fire-eating techniques. 4. Ching Ling Foo: America’s First Chinese Superstar The first Chinese performer to hit it big in the U.S., Ching Ling Foo’s performances in 1899 routinely packed the house and made him a superstar. An expert in traditional Chinese illusions, Foo could throw a shawl into the air and — as it settled to the ground — conjure large objects out of thin air. Unfortunately, Foo would be the victim of a racist scam. An American magician named William Robinson stole Foo’s act, dressed in yellowface, called himself “Chung Ling Soo,” and billed himself as Foo’s competitor: “The Original Chinese Conjurer.” The two magicians would feud for the rest of their lives. 5. Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin: The Clockmaker With Magic Hands A French clockmaker, Robert-Houdin developed fine-motor skills fixing cogs and gears in his family’s shop — and then began using them to learn sleight-of-hand tricks. He used this know-how to build androids and other mechanical wonders, which helped him build audiences in the mid-19th century. It wasn’t long before Robert-Houdin was performing conjuring acts for mass audiences. Today, Robert-Houdin is widely recognized as the father of modern magic, having transformed it from a low-class artform to something the theater-going wealthy could enjoy. He’d also inspire a young Ehrich Weiss, a Hungarian-American escapologist who you might know by a different name: Harry Houdini. 6. Alexander and Adelaide Herrmann: Magicians with a Funny Bone Few people have shaped our definition of a magician more than Alexander Herrmann. Called “Herrmann the Great,” the Victorian-era Frenchman was one of the first people to pull a live rabbit out of a hat. But Hermman’s most important contribution to modern magic was his performing style: He was one of the first magicians to make a comedy routine central to his performance. His wife, Adelaide, was no slouch, either. Called the “Queen of Magic,” she’s believed to be the first woman to ever perform the dreaded “bullet catch trick,” and she continued to tour internationally for another 25 years after Alexander’s death. 7. Jasper Maskelyne: The Illusionist Who Deceived the Nazis Every magician, at their core, is a master of deception. But when Jasper Maskelyne moved his act from the stage to the theater of war, his deception skills were used to save lives. During World War II, Maskelyne joined the British military and used his knowledge as an illusionist to trick the Nazis. His team took camouflage to a new level, creating deceptive decoys to trick enemy fighter pilots: fake harbors filled with phony boats and dazzling light-displays that, from above, looked like cities. The illusions reportedly caused the enemy to waste tons of ammunition. Source: Famous Magicians Throughout History | Facts About Influential Magicians
  29. 1 point
    What's the Word: PALEOGRAPHY pronunciation: [pey-lee-AH-graf-ee] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, 18th century Meaning: 1. The study of ancient writing systems and the deciphering and dating of historical manuscripts. Example: "The professor taught paleography, with an expertise in Egyptian hieroglyphics." "The archivist took a course in paleography so she could do more work with ancient manuscripts." About Paleography “Paleography” was formed in English as a combination of two Latin terms: “paleo-,” meaning “ancient,” and “-graphy,” which relates both to writing, and to descriptive sciences like “geography” and “photography.” Did You Know? Paleography isn’t actually about understanding ancient writing and is not a study of the contents of such writing. Rather, paleography is limited to studying the structures of ancient writing systems and styles, and sometimes involves dating ancient writings.
  30. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/supraland Supraland is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://s-xavier-uy.itch.io/reincarnated-as-a-noble Reincarnated as a Noble is currently free on Itch.io.
  31. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - ODD FOOD NAMES Did you know... that there are a lot of weird foods out there — foods we’d never, ever eat even if we were offered money to chow down on them. What the French think of as a delectable treat — hello, snails in a sizzling garlic sauce (aka escargot) — may very well be another culture’s nightmare. But what happens when a potentially-delicious food is given an awful name? From blood pudding to spotted dick, there’s a chance the names themselves would keep even the most adventurous foodies at bay. For one, most of us aren’t keen on eating blood, while anything “spotted” seems downright dangerous. You know, in the medical sense. Spam? Bangers and mash? We’ll pass. I mean, what is going on here? Why not just use words like “sausage” or “mystery meat”? Well, because it just wouldn’t be as fun — that’s why. So, let’s take a look at some of the weirdest food names out there — some of which are accompanied by even weirder ingredients. (LISA MARIE BASILE | August 12, 2019) The History of Oddly Named Foods by Interesting Facts Ladyfingers Whether you’re venturing out to a new restaurant or sharing a home-cooked meal with friends, chances are most of the foods you encounter are pretty self-explanatory. Mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, or chocolate cake — even without much of a description, it’s usually easy to discern what will be gracing your plate. But even some of the culinary delights that have become standard American fare carry unusual monikers that may have you wondering about their mysterious origins. Let the backstory on these seven oddly named foods give your brain a mental palate refresher. 1. Hot Dogs Despite originating in Germany, hot dogs are an essential American food — an estimated 7 billion hot dogs are served up each summer in the U.S. alone. And with that many sausages on the grill, the name for a food that doesn’t involve any actual dogs has become completely mainstream. But where did it come from? Some food historians believe that early songs and jokes gave the wieners their name, suggesting that sausage meat came from dogs. But a more likely story is that German butchers named early American frankfurters “dachshund sausages” after the long and skinny dogs they resembled, which was eventually shortened to “hot dogs.” 2. Sweetbreads Beware the common confusion about sweetbreads: They’re neither sugary nor baked. That’s because sweetbreads aren’t at all a pastry, but instead a type of offal (organ meats). These small cutlets are actually the thymus and pancreas glands from calves or lambs. While sweetbreads may seem off-putting to some diners, they’re known by many chefs to be exceptionally tender with a mild flavor — which could explain their misleading name. The first recorded mention of the British dish dates to the 1500s, a time when “bread” (also written “brede”) was the word for roasted or grilled meats. In conjunction with being more delicate and flavorful than tougher cuts, the name “sweetbread” likely took hold. 3. Head Cheese There’s no dairy involved in making head cheese. In fact, the dish more closely resembles a meatloaf than a slice or wedge of spreadable cheese. That’s because head cheese is actually an aspic — a savory gelatin packed with scraps of meat and molded into a sliceable block. As for the name, head cheese gets its label in part from the remnants of meat collected from butchered hog heads. And while not a cheese, it’s likely the dish is named such because early recipes called for pressing the boiled meats together in a cheese mold. Head cheese is popular throughout the world, especially in Europe, where it's known by less-confusing names. In the U.K. butchers call the dish “brawn,” and meat-eaters in Germany refer to it as “souse.” 4. Pumpernickel Bread Most bread names are self-explanatory: cinnamon-raisin, sandwich wheat, potato bread. So what exactly is a “pumpernickel”? Originating in Germany, this dark and hefty bread combines rye flour, molasses, and sourdough starter for a dough that bakes at low heat for a whole day. Many American pumpernickel bakers speed up the process by using yeast and wheat flour, which makes for a lighter loaf that reduces (or altogether removes) pumpernickel’s namesake side effect: flatulence. German bakers of old acknowledged the bread’s gas-inducing ability with an unsavory nickname: pumpern meaning “to break wind,” and nickel for “goblin or devil.” Put together, the translation reads as “devil’s fart” — a reference to how difficult pumpernickel could be on the digestive tract. 5. Jerusalem Artichokes If there’s any vegetable that suffers from bad branding, it may just be the Jerusalem artichoke — a bumpy root crop that’s not actually an artichoke and doesn’t have any link to Israel. Unlike their real counterparts, Jerusalem artichokes are actually the edible tuber roots of a sunflower species, similar in appearance to ginger root (real artichokes produce purple, thistle-like flowers that turn into above-ground edible bulbs). Jerusalem artichokes were first called “sunroots” by Indigenous Americans, who shared the tubers with French explorers in the early 1600s. Upon arriving back in France, the vegetables were called topinambours. Italian cooks renamed them girasole, aka “sunflower,” in reference to their above-ground buds. As sunroots spread throughout Europe, the girasole morphed into “Jerusalem” thanks to mispronunciation, with the addition of “artichoke” in reference to the vegetable’s flavor. 6. Dutch Baby Pancakes Few foods are universal, but pancakes may be the exception. While they may be made with culture or region-specific ingredients, nearly every country has some variation of the pancake. Queue the Dutch baby, a baked treat with a name that misidentifies both its origin and size. Also known as a German pancake or pfannkuchen, Dutch babies are a blend of popovers and crepes baked in a large skillet or cast-iron pan, topped with fruit, syrup, or powdered sugar. So how did these dinner-plate-sized pancakes get their most popular moniker? Culinary legend attributes the misnomer to the daughter of a Seattle restaurant owner, who mistakenly subbed “Dutch” for “Deutsch” (meaning German). The eatery downsized its versions into miniature servings and deemed the pancakes “Dutch babies.” 7. Grasshopper Pie Insects are protein-packed main courses in many countries, but the idea of chomping down on bugs isn’t appealing to all stomachs. Luckily, this bug-branded dessert is entirely free of its namesake insect. Grasshopper pie features a cookie crust and fluffy filling made from whipped cream, mint and chocolate liqueurs, and green food coloring. Fittingly, grasshopper pie often makes its appearance at springtime celebrations just as the leaping bugs are emerging from their winter slumber, but that’s not where the name comes from. While hitting peak popularity during the 1950s and ‘60s, grasshopper pie is actually a dessert version of the grasshopper cocktail, which first debuted some four decades prior. Philibert Guichet, a New Orleans restaurateur, invented the drink as part of a cocktail competition in 1919, naming his creation for its bright green hue. Source: The Weirdest Food Names Out There | Facts About Oddly Named Foods
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    What's the Word: APRICATE pronunciation: [AP-rə-keit] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. To bask in the sun, or to expose to the sun Example: "I planned my vacation so that I could apricate on the beach all day." "My neighbor finds it relaxing to apricate on his porch roof." About Apricate “Apricate” is drawn directly from the Latin “aprīcāt” meaning “to bask in the sun.” Did You Know? Cats like to apricate more than nearly any other animal, and with good reason: modern cats’ ancestors lived in the desert and were exposed to ample sun. Another reason cats are happy to apricate in all seasons is that basking in the sun makes it easier for them to sleep. Cats’ body temperatures fluctuate when they’re asleep, but lying in the sun helps keep their temperatures stable.
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    Fact of the day - BUMBLEBEE BAT Did you know.... that Kitti's hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, is a near-threatened species of bat and the only extant member of the family Craseonycteridae. It occurs in western Thailand and southeast Myanmar, where it occupies limestone caves along rivers. Kitti's hog-nosed bat is the smallest species of bat and arguably the world's smallest mammal. It has a reddish-brown or grey coat, with a distinctive pig-like snout. Colonies range greatly in size, with an average of 100 individuals per cave. The bat feeds during short activity periods in the evening and dawn, foraging around nearby forest areas for insects. Females give birth annually to a single offspring. Although the bat's status in Myanmar is not well known, the Thai population is restricted to a single province and may be at risk of extinction. Its potential threats are primarily anthropogenic, and include habitat degradation and the disturbance of roosting sites (Wikipedia) Bumblebee Bat Facts by Sunny | Modified: 08 Jun 2022 Crowned as the smallest mammal in the world by size, a bumblebee bat can actually rest comfortably on your finger. Apart from its resemblance to the bumblebees in size, these little bats are less scary than you’d expect. Learn more about them in these bumblebee bat facts and you might just like them a little more. 1. The bumblebee bat is also known as Kitti’s hog-nosed bat. Definitely an adorable name for the world’s smallest mammal. The binomial name of the bumblebee bat is Craseonycteris thonglongyai. This species is named after its discoverer, Kitti Thonglongya, a Thai zoologist, who founded them in 1973. It was his colleague, John E. Hill who named the species in his honor after Kitti Thonglongya passed away from a heart attack. 2. The lifespan of bumblebee bats is 5 to 10 years. Researchers do not have their exact lifespan. However, based on studies of other similar bat species, the average lifespan is estimated to be between 5 and 10 years. 3. Bumblebee bats live in limestone caves near rivers. These bats live near the tops of the caves for warmth. Bumblebee bats are mostly found in limestone caves in western Thailand. More specifically, they are under legal protection in Sai Yok National Park. They are also found in the southeastern part of Myanmar, near the shared borders with Thailand. 4. Bumblebee bats have a short activity period. Every day, they only leave their caves for 30 minutes in the evening, and 20 minutes at dawn for foraging. They normally fly along the top of bamboo trees and they catch their prey in flight. They do not fly more than 1 kilometer away from their caves. 5. Their main sources of food are insects and spiders. As bumblebee bats are insectivores, they can contribute towards pest control. However, the impact is not substantial due to their small population size. 6. Human activities are endangering the habitats of the bumblebee bats. Ever since the discovery of bumblebee bats, tourists have been flocking to these sites just to have a look at these bats. Furthermore, locals even captured them for sale as souvenirs. Other human activities include limestone extractions and deforestations. These result in loss of natural habitat and a decrease in prey hunting activities for the bumblebee bats. 7. There are mixed reactions towards the monks meditating at these caves. Many are against the monks meditating at these caves as the smoke given off can potentially harm the bats. However, the good news is, monks in Myanmar have become the cave protectors instead. They occupy the entrances, in turn preventing hunters and drug addicts from entering the caves and destroying the natural habitats. 8. A conservation program was launched to protect the bumblebee bats. In 2007, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) launched the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) project. Bumblebee bats were one of the first 10 focal species to be protected under this project. Currently, the bumblebee bat falls under the Vulnerable category, with an EDGE score of 4.73. 9. The latest wild sighting of the bumblebee bats was at Krabi, Thailand. About twenty bumblebee bats were found clinging against the 10-meter high ceiling in Phra Phutthabat Cave in Krabi. These bats have the same reddish-brown color with black wings. However, they are not confirmed to be bumblebee bats yet. Experts are still verifying the identity of these bats, and if they turn out to be bumblebee bats, this would be the second place in Thailand the bats can call home. Source: Wikipedia - Kitti's hog-nosed bat | Brief Facts About Bumblebee Bats
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    What's the Word: OXFORDIAN pronunciation: [ox-FOR-dee-ən] Part of speech: adjective Origin: From proper name, 17th century Meaning: 1. Relating to or denoting the theory that Edward de Vere (1550–1604), Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. Example: "The Oxfordian lecturer proposed that everything we thought about Shakespeare was false." "Jane hasn’t yet seen evidence that would turn her from a Shakespeare fan into an Oxfordian." About Oxfordian Named for Edward de Vere’s rank as Earl of Oxford, “Oxfordian” combines the proper name of “Oxford” with the suffix “-ian,” indicating “belonging to.” Did You Know? Not everyone believes William Shakespeare wrote all – or any – of the famous plays attributed to him. Some believe instead that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was the true author. Though nearly all his works have been lost to time, de Vere was considered by many to be one of the best poets of the Court of Elizabeth I. This reputation helped cement the theory that he wrote the work attributed to Shakespeare. However, a majority of Shakespearean scholars have rejected any “alternative authorship” theories.
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    Fact of the Day - HOUSEPLANTS YOU CAN'T KILL Did you know... that if you’re a beginner gardener, have a brown thumb, or seem to always forget to water your plants, you should consider one of these hard to kill houseplants. These plants are not only beautiful and interesting, but are easy to care for, hardy, and will tolerant a bit of neglect. (ANDREW COURTNEY) Drought-Tolerant Houseplants You Can't Kill by Andrea Beck | Updated May 31, 2022 Skip the guilt of forgetting to water by growing these drought-resistant indoor plants. All of these easy-care species tolerate a little neglect (and many of them even prefer to be kept on the dry side), so you can enjoy their green good looks without the stress of keeping them watered all the time. 1. Snake Plant The sword-like, dark green leaves of snake plants (Sansevieria trifasciata) give them a bold look, often enhanced by silver, cream, white, or yellow variegation. Even better, these low-water houseplants can go for weeks without so much as a drizzle of moisture, making them perfect for forgetful gardeners. Snake plants tolerate low to bright light and can grow up to four feet tall. 2. Ponytail Palm Thanks to its thick, trunk-like stem, ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata) can store moisture long-term, so it can easily survive a missed watering or two. It gets its name from the long, narrow leaves that grow from the end of its single stem, making it look like a peppy, cascading ponytail. This drought-tolerant indoor plant may need a drink every couple of weeks during the warmer months, but during the winter, you can stretch it to only watering every three or four weeks. Ponytail palms tolerate low to bright light, and can eventually reach 10 feet tall (but you can limit their growth by keeping them in a smaller pot). 3. Aloe A spiky succulent with toothed leaves, gray-green aloe (Aloe vera) is famous for its ability to help burns heal. It's also an easy-care indoor plant that doesn't need much water so you can let the soil dry out between watering'. Aloe grows slowly, like most succulents, but with patience, it can reach three feet tall and wide. Keep it in bright light, but don't place it in direct sunlight, or this soothing plant could end up with its own sunburn. 4. Burro's tail With one look at burro's tail (Sedum morganianum), you can easily see how this gray-green succulent got its name. A member of the sedum genus, burro's tail has lush, almost jelly bean-shape leaves that overlap on trailing stems. The tiny leaves easily drop off, and if you want, you can pot them to start new plants. Water this houseplant like you would any other succulent (let the soil dry before giving it more water), and keep it in bright light. With the right care, burro's tail can eventually reach a couple of feet long. 5. Sago Palm Slow-growing sago palm (Cycas revoluta) is a popular, durable houseplant that's easy to care for and adds a touch of the tropics to any room. On a mature plant, the leathery, dark green fronds can stretch up to three feet long. Sago palms like well-drained soil, so while forgetting to water this plant won't kill it, overwatering will. Give your palm a drink when it's just on the verge of drying out, and keep it in medium to bright light—eventually, it can grow up to five feet tall. 6. Pothos A popular choice for households and offices, pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a tough, drought-resistant houseplant with attractive, glossy foliage. Its vines can spread up to eight feet or more, and you can find varieties with variegated (look for 'Marble Queen') and bright green leaves (like 'Neon'). Pothos earned its popularity by being practically indestructible—it tolerates low to bright light and drying out between waterings. It's also super easy to start new plants from cuttings. 7. Haworthia Commonly known as zebra plant because of its white-striped foliage, Haworthia fasciata is great for dressing up a windowsill. An indoor plant that thrives with minimal care, it tends to stay less than a foot tall and wide, and it's usually even more compact than that. Like most succulents, zebra plant does best in bright light and it prefers when the soil in its pot dries out a bit between waterings. Because of its unique spikes and striped coloring, it's a favorite for modern décor. Source: Hard To Kill Houseplants That Will Thrive In Your Home | Houseplants For the Forgetful Gardener
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    What's the Word: GRANDISONANT pronunciation: [gran-DIH-sə-nənt] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Grand-sounding, giving the impression of grandeur; rhetorical; bombastic. Example: "The mayor gave a grandisonant speech about the contributions of the city’s founders." "The hotel manager offered a grandisonant description of the room service options." About Grandisonant “Grandisonant” is derived from the classical Latin “grandisonus,” meaning “pompous” or “loud sounding.” Both the English word and its Latin source are formed by mixing the Latin roots “grandis” (meaning “large”) and “sonus” meaning “sound”). Did You Know? “Grandisonant” can be both a compliment and an insult, depending on how it is applied. If the speaker on a very serious occasion gives a grandisonant speech, it may well bring a feeling of solemnity to the day. Yet a person speaking in a grandisonant tone about trivial things risks sounding pompous or bombastic.
  37. 1 point
    This week, Anti rambles about Platinum End
  38. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - GREAT BARRIER REEF Did you know... that the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, separated from the coast by a channel 100 miles wide in places and over 200 feet deep.[6] The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labelled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world in 1997. Australian World Heritage places included it in its list in 2007. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland in 2006. (Wikipedia) Fascinating Facts About the Great Barrier Reef by Interesting Facts Australia’s Great Barrier Reef more than lives up to its name: It’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest coral reef ecosystem on the planet, covering an area of approximately 135,000 square miles. That equates to nearly the entire size of Germany, or the land area of the states of Washington and North Dakota combined. But although most of us have heard of it, how much do you really know about this remarkable place? Here are seven things you might not know about the Great Barrier Reef. 1. The Great Barrier Reef Isn’t a Single Reef The Great Barrier Reef extends for 1,429 miles along the coast of Queensland, Australia, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it's the largest living structure on Earth. But that figure disguises the fact that the Great Barrier Reef comprises about 2,500 to 3,000 separate but interconnected smaller reefs, as well as over 900 coral or sand islands known as cays. There are also different types of reef. The term “barrier reef” refers to a type of reef that forms on the outer edges of the continental shelf, separated from land by a deep lagoon. Fringing reefs are closer to the shoreline and tend to form near islands. Platform and patch reefs are small and isolated, while ribbon reefs are long and narrow and lack a lagoon. 2. It’s Home to 600 Species of Coral The Great Barrier Reef isn’t just home to coral — it’s made of it. Approximately three-quarters of the world’s coral species can be found here. There are two main types, hard coral and soft coral. It is the hard or stony corals (scleractinians) that are responsible for creating the reef itself. Made up of tiny polyps, each stony coral measures around one-tenth of an inch, but they band together to form colonies that consist of millions of individual polyps. The coral secretes calcium carbonate, which grows over the limestone remains of previous colonies. This slow and steady growth — less than two inches per year if conditions are ideal — eventually formed the structure of the Great Barrier Reef. The coral is precious, which is why visitors should never be tempted to break off a piece as a souvenir, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem. 3. The Reef Is the Most Biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage Site on Earth Aside from the coral itself, the Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,500 species of fish. Perhaps the most curious is a scorpion fish called the Rhinopias agriloba. Occasionally found in the northern part of the reef, it appears to walk along the seafloor balancing on its fins. Approximately 4,000 species of mollusks and about 240 species of birds also live in the reef’s ecosystem. On top of this extraordinary roll call, you’ll find migrating whales, dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, crustaceans, sponges, anemones, and other marine life, making the reef the most biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. Humans, too, are intrinsically linked to the reef: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have forged a strong connection with the reef during their 60,000-year history, as evidenced by shell deposits, fish traps, and marine totems. 4. Some Reef Dwellers Should Be Feared More Than Others Snorkelers and divers at the Great Barrier Reef should familiarize themselves with some of its more dangerous inhabitants. The reef is home to 14 species of sea snakes, and some are more poisonous than any found on land. The venomous blue-ringed octopus should also be avoided. The octopus tucks itself into shells and won’t attack unless provoked, but a bite is usually fatal. Some types of jellyfish are another potential hazard. Species like the Carukia barnesi are known to cause Irukandji syndrome, which can result in severe lower back pain and muscle cramps. Meanwhile, the crown-of-thorns starfish can devastate the coral itself. It feeds on the coral, stripping a thin layer of tissue off its skeleton and irreparably damaging the fragile polyps. 5. Coral Spawning Season Is a Spectacle Like No Other One of the most breathtaking sights visitors can witness along the Great Barrier Reef is mass coral spawning. This annual event takes place once a year after a full moon and when the water reaches a particular temperature. Corals are hermaphrodites, meaning they’re neither male nor female, but both. Spawning occurs as they release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time, increasing the chance of fertilization. For up to a weeklong period, the water takes on the appearance of a subterranean blizzard each night, though the “snow” is red, orange, and yellow in addition to white. The fertilized eggs rise to the surface and float around for a while before sinking to the ocean floor. There, they start to bud and the coral begins to develop. 6. The Reef Is So Large, You Can See It From Space It’s not just the immense scale of the reef that makes the Great Barrier Reef visible to astronauts in space. The contrast between the dark blue of the deeper parts of the ocean and the light turquoise of the lagoons on the other side of the reef makes it relatively straightforward to identify with the naked eye. But the pictures taken from space are valued for more than their aesthetic appeal. The MERIS sensor used on the Envisat satellite mission was a useful tool in mapping the extent of coral bleaching, the term given to stressed coral which has rid itself of algae. 7. In 2020, Scientists Discovered a Reef Taller Than the Empire State Building Scientists are continually studying the Great Barrier Reef, but the discovery of a 1,640-foot-tall reef off the North Queensland coast was an exceptional find, the largest discovery in more than a century. By comparison, the Empire State Building measures 1,454 feet from sidewalk to tip. Researchers from the Schmidt Ocean Institute in California were using an underwater robot to create a 3D map of the seafloor when they made the discovery. The submarine landform, which is about a mile wide, is right off the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Source: Wikipedia - Great Barrier Reef | Great Barrier Reef Facts
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    What's the Word: MONONYM pronunciation: [MAH-nə-nim] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 19th century Meaning: 1. A person's name consisting of one word, typically a first name without a surname. Example: "The world of music is full of talented artists with mononyms, from Madonna and Sting to Rihanna, Adele, and Drake." "John wanted to use his first name as a mononym, but he worried it wasn’t exciting enough." About Mononym “Mononym” combines the prefix “mono,” from the ancient Greek “μονο” meaning “single,” with the suffix “-onym,” from the ancient Greek “ὄνυμα,” meaning “name.” Did You Know? A mononym (one-word name) is often a first name, but celebrities are always stretching the limits. First-name-only celebs include Madonna (Louise Ciccone), Beyoncé (Giselle Knowles), and Prince (Rogers Nelson). Some — including magician (Raymond Joseph) Teller and musician (Stephen) Morrissey — use their last names. Other mononymous stars, like Sting, Bono, Pink, Lorde, and Eminem, use nicknames or names they’ve chosen for themselves.
  40. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - ANCIENT PYRAMIDS Did you know... that the site of the most well-known Egyptian pyramids, known as the Giza Pyramid Complex, has been the subject of continuous investigation for more than a century. The area is home to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Over time, and through archeological research, the pyramids have divulged secrets once only known to their architects. And these are just a handful of the pyramids in Egypt. From hidden shafts to sapphire-toothed saws, these are the most fascinating facts about these engineering marvels. ( Christopher McFadden | Apr 22, 2021) Interesting Facts About Ancient Pyramids by Interesting Facts Few monuments capture the public imagination quite like pyramids. These feats of engineering teach us about cultures that lived long before us — not just their art and innovations, but their everyday lives. Just how old is the earliest pyramid? How did Egyptians start building their iconic smooth-sided pyramids? What are we still discovering within them? From the towering Great Pyramids of Giza to the complex stepped pyramids of Mesoamerica, these seven facts reveal just how mind-blowing pyramids really are. 1. Egyptian Pyramids Were Rarely Just Pyramids In Egypt, these triumphs of architecture — reserved for royal tombs — were the main buildings of larger complexes. Typically, the complex also included an attached mortuary temple with shrines, an open courtyard, and chapels, staffed in perpetuity, with an offering table. Ancient Egyptians also buried pits full of boats around these monuments to help ensure smooth sailing into the afterlife. One of the more impressive boats was uncovered in 1954 next to the Great Pyramid of Khufu — sometimes referred to as just the Great Pyramid. The 144-foot-long, 4,600-year-old ship was buried in more than 1,200 pieces stashed underneath stone blocks. 2. The Great Pyramids of Giza Created Whole Cities Around Them Building pyramids as large as the Great Pyramids of Giza was a major undertaking, and required a lot of labor — especially the Great Pyramid of Khufu which, at 481 feet high, was the tallest building in the world for thousands of years. (The date of its construction is debated, but may have begun around 2550 BCE.) Archaeologists have uncovered two "towns" around the Great Pyramids that not only housed pyramid-builders, but bakers, carpenters, weavers, stoneworkers, and others that supported day-to-day life. Some lived in family dwellings with their own courtyards and kitchens, while others, likely itinerant workers, slept in something more like a barracks. There is so much we don’t know about these areas, but one thing’s for sure: Based on animal bones and pottery found around the site, everyone there was very well-fed… and had plenty of beer to drink. 3. The First Known Pyramid Is 4,700 Years Old Djoser’s Step Pyramid, built sometime between 2667 and 2648 BCE, is considered the oldest pyramid, although it doesn’t have the smooth sides we associate with Egyptian pyramids today. Previously, pharaohs had been buried underneath mastabas — structures that look like single plateaus. The Step Pyramid stacked multiple mastabas on top of one another, creating the tapered effect. It’s located Saqqara, a necropolis about 15 miles south of Cairo. 4. Pyramids in Egypt Used to be Bright and Shiny We picture pyramids now as immense buildings of sandy-colored stone, but when they were originally constructed, they were adorned in polished limestone. These casing stones needed to be individually cut to a specific angle and sanded until they shone. Many of these outer layers were knocked loose by an earthquake or dismantled for building other things. 5. Sudan Has More Than 200 Pyramids Egypt has around 140 pyramids that we know about, but to the south, present-day Sudan has more than 200 of them. Until the mid-20th century, many archaeologists viewed these sites as extensions of Egypt, rather than part of a unique cultural heritage. But Sudan’s pyramids, most of them located in Meroe, are much smaller and steeper, surrounded by their own collections of chapels and monuments, and are unique to Nubian culture. For what it’s worth, Egyptian-style pyramids are all over the place, including Italy and Greece. Pyramids more broadly, however, take many different forms. 6. The Americas Contain More Pyramids Than the Rest of the World Combined — Including the Biggest One of All In ancient Mesoamerica, a region spanning from much of modern-day Mexico through most of Central America, peoples such as the Inca, Aztec, Maya, and Olmec had their own style of pyramid dating back to about 1000 BCE — and they built a lot of them. Unlike Egypt, they weren’t used exclusively for tombs. The most well-known Mesoamerican pyramids are the ones in Teotihuacan, an Aztec city near present-day Mexico City. The Pyramid of the Sun, the largest of the structures, and nearby Pyramid of the Moon were both constructed by putting rubble inside a set of retaining walls, building adobe brick around it, then casing in limestone. The Pyramid of the Sun hides an extra secret: another pyramid, accessible through a cave underneath. These pyramids were built between 1 and 200 CE, although the pyramid inside the cave is even older. The Great Pyramid in La Venta, an ancient Olmec civilization by present-day Tabasco, Mexico, is much different: It’s essentially a mountain made of clay. Later Olmec pyramids were also earth mounds, only faced with stone in a stepped structure. The largest pyramid on the planet by volume, not height, is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, or Tlachihualtepetl, in Mexico. It dates back to around 200 BCE, and is essentially six pyramids on top of one another. Later civilizations expanded on previous construction, taking care to preserve the original work. It’s made of adobe bricks and, whether accidentally or through a deliberate effort from the locals, eventually became covered in foliage and was later abandoned. When Spanish invaders, led by Hernán Cortés, came through, murdered 3,000 people, and destroyed more visible structures, they thought Tlachihualtepetl was part of the natural topography and let it be. 7. We’re Still Finding New Stuff Inside Pyramids The Great Pyramid of Khufu, the tallest of the Great Pyramids, has been the topic of rigorous study for more than a thousand years — but we’re still finding out what’s inside, including whole new chambers. The Scan Pyramids project, a collaboration between Egyptian, French, and Japanese research institutions that started in 2015, uses updated cosmic ray technology for a noninvasive peek inside. So far, they’ve found two previously unidentified areas: a corridor on the north face of the pyramid and a “big void” above the Grand Gallery. The void is at least 100 feet long and has a similar cross-section as the Grand Gallery, which connects various areas of the pyramid, including the burial chamber. A team of American researchers hopes to use even more advanced technology to try to get a full three-dimensional image of the big void. Whether it’s a structural element or a whole new chamber, it could provide a wealth of information on how the pyramids were built. Source: Explore Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids | Ancient Pyramids, the Facts
  41. 1 point
    What's the Word: WHEEPLE pronunciation: [WEE-pəl] Part of speech: verb Origin: Scottish dialect, 10th century. Meaning: 1. To emit a shrill cry or whistle, sometimes feebly. Example: "The chicks in the nest outside my window wheepled as they waited for their mother to bring them worms." "JD wheepled up to Veronica’s window, hoping not to wake her parents." About Wheeple “Wheeple” is a Scottish dialect term adopted into English in the early 19th century. Did You Know? The term “wheeple” in Scottish also appeared as “whipple,” “wheeble,” “wheeffle,” and “feeple,” and originally referred particularly to the high-pitched cries of birds such as the plover and curlew. After the mid-19th century, “wheeple” also described people whistling, especially tunelessly.
  42. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - AIRCRAFT CABINS Did you know... that airplanes have changed a lot since the time Wright brothers invented it. Those bulky wood and cloth aircrafts have transformed into sleek Boeing Dreamliners, thanks to modern technology. Airplanes today are designed in a very unique way and everything you see inside has a specific purpose. To help you understand the inner workings of air travel, click the link below for a few interesting facts about airplanes that you must know. (AIRWHIZZ | AVIATION INSIDER | JUL 16, 2018) Things You Might Not Know About Airplane Cabins by Interesting Facts Most features in an airplane cabin are designed for a very specific purpose. However, due to the cabin’s complex design, the flight attendants don’t usually take the time to explain every detail to their passengers. (They're more concerned with making sure everyone is safe and comfortable.) However, if you're a curious person who likes to know how things work, we've got you covered. Here are six things you never knew about airplane cabins. 1. Cabin Lighting Has a Purpose Have you noticed that the cabin lights dim during takeoff and landing? It turns out that there are two very good reasons for this. According to Reader's Digest, the first reason is safety. If the lights stayed on and were to suddenly switch from bright to dark in an emergency, it would take precious seconds for passengers' eyes to adjust. With dim lighting during takeoff and landing, our eyes are already adjusted — making it easier to find an exit. The second reason is the mood. Dim lights are more relaxing than bright lights and might calm a passenger who struggles with flight anxiety. Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic take this a step further by adding colored lights. Virgin Atlantic uses different shades of their brand color for various situations, like a rosy pink color for boarding and a hot magenta color for drinks. 2. The Temperature Is Cold for a Reason Passengers often complain about the cold temperature in airplane cabins. Flight staff will provide passengers with a blanket, but they don't ever increase the heat. That's because the temperature on an aircraft has been set in a very intentional way — and it's for your safety. A study by ATSM International found that people were more likely to faint on an aircraft than on the ground due to a condition called hypoxia. The pressurized environment of an airplane cabin can prevent our body from getting enough oxygen, which causes fainting. The warmer the temperature onboard the aircraft, the more likely this is to happen. To prevent passengers from passing out, airlines intentionally lower the cabin temperature. While this might be slightly uncomfortable, it's much safer for your body. 3. The Air Is Cleaner Than You Think A common myth about air travel is that you're sharing air — along with germs and food particles — with all the other passengers on board. Gross, right? In reality, airlines do a great job of maintaining clean air quality onboard the aircraft. They actually use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter system. According to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), this is the same type of filter used to clean the air in hospital operating rooms. The next time you fly, don’t worry: Cabin air is cleaner than you think. 4. Bathrooms Can Be Unlocked From the Outside While there is a lock inside cabin bathrooms for passengers to use, flight attendants also have the ability to quickly unlock the door from the outside as well. According to Aerotime Hub, this is for passenger safety. In the event of an emergency, flight attendants need to be able to access the bathroom without picking the lock or taking the door off its hinges. This is necessary if a passenger has a health scare or needs assistance while in the bathroom. It can also be used for children who are unable to unlock the door themselves. Don't worry, though: A flight attendant would never just open the door for no reason. They respect passenger privacy and would only use the unlock option in an emergency. 5. Window Blinds Must Remain Open During takeoff and landing, most flight attendants will ask that passengers lift their window blinds. Like so many other things on an airplane, there's a real reason for this. Open blinds allow the flight staff to see any issues on the ground or on the airplane itself. Passengers might also report unusual circumstances they observe from their windows. Lifting the blinds also allows our eyes to adjust to the conditions outside quickly in case of an emergency. Cabin windows also sometimes have triangle stickers on them to mark certain seats. According to Captain Joe, these stickers indicate which windows provide the best view of the wings. Flight attendants can easily look for the triangle when they need to see the wings for safety reasons. According to Captain Joe, these aisles are also great for passengers prone to motion sickness due to the extra stability provided by the wings. 6. There's a Secret Handrail Walking down the aisle of a moving airplane can be a wobbly experience — especially when there's turbulence. Most passengers end up grabbing the seats as they walk, which can disturb the people in those seats, but there's actually a better way. If you watch the flight attendants, you'll notice that they repeatedly reach up to the ceiling when they walk down the aisle. That's because there's a built-in handle rail along the bottom edge of the storage compartment, which can be used to steady yourself. Next time, copy the flight attendants, avoid aggravating fellow passengers, and use this secret rail instead! Source: Interesting Facts About Airplanes That You Probably Didn’t Know | Facts About Airplane Cabins
  43. 1 point
    What's the Word: EUDAEMONISM pronunciation: [yoo-DEE-mə-niz-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, early 19th century Meaning: 1. A system of ethics that bases moral value on the likelihood of actions producing happiness. Example: "Janick practiced eudaemonism by planning a pleasant and educational event for each weekend." "The teacher encouraged students to explore eudaemonism by doing at least three pleasurable things every day." About Eudaemonism “Eudaemonism” entered English in the 19th century from the Greek “εὐδαιμονία,” meaning happiness, with the suffix “-ism” to indicate a system of belief or practice. Did You Know? “Eudaemonism” is based on the Greek term “eudaemonia,” introduced by Aristotle. Aristotle’s “eudaemonia” described the positive condition of doing and living well. It was not, in fact, a synonym for happiness, but rather it described a greater state of positive existence, which combined wisdom, contemplation, virtue, and other beneficial attributes for personal success.
  44. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/maneater Maneater is currently free on Epic Games Store.
  45. 1 point
    What's the Word: DEASIL pronunciation: [DEH-səl] Part of speech: adverb Origin: Scottish Gaelic, late 18th century Meaning: 1. (dated, mainly Scottish) In the direction of the sun's apparent course, considered as lucky; clockwise. Example: "Following the sun, the druids circled Stonehenge deasil." "I circled the lot deasil while seeking a parking spot." About Deasil “Deasil” entered English in the 18th century from the Scots Gaelic “deiseil,” meaning “toward the right.” Did You Know? To move in a deasil direction means to move clockwise, which Celts believed followed the course of the sun in a lucky manner. For this reason, many Scottish and Celtic religious processions and other ceremonial occasions included participants walking deasil around a church or site of worship.
  46. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - LANDMARK NICKNAMES China Central Television (CCTV) Headquarters, Beijing Nickname: Big Pants Building Did you know.... that each of these extraordinary architectural landmarks has been bestowed at some point in its history — either before, during or after its design and construction — with a colorful nickname. Clues to most of the nicknames lie in the resemblance of the building to a common household object — but not in every case (Glossophilia | April 4, 2013) Nicknames for Famous Landmarks You May Not Know by Interesting Facts The Millennium Bridge (London) Nickname: The Wobbly Bridge It’s only natural that the world's most memorable landmarks should inspire some affectionate nicknames. Some of these monikers can teach us about the history, politics, and culture of the region the landmarks are found in, while other names are inspired purely by wild imaginations or public reaction to a bold new piece of architecture. Here are seven nicknames of famous landmarks you may not have heard before. 1. The Iron Lady: The Eiffel Tower (Paris, France) Originally known as “The 300-Meter Iron Tower,” Paris’ (and possibly the world’s) best-known landmark was the masterpiece of civil engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the wrought iron tower for the 1889 World’s Fair. Although the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, its characterization as a woman came in the century to follow. By the 1930s, the media had begun coining nicknames for the Eiffel Tower, including the “Tall Lady,” the “Tall Beautiful Lady,” the “Tall Iron Lady,” and even the “Old Iron Lady.” Today, Parisiennes affectionately know the tower as La Dame de Fer, which translates to “The Iron Lady.” It’s not hard to imagine that the tower’s base, where the four pillars begin, is covered with an intricate mesh skirt, and it certainly helps that tour, meaning “tower,” is a feminine word in the French language. 2. The Mother Road: Route 66, Illinois to California When it opened in 1926, U.S. Route 66 stretched from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, passing through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri (and a tiny corner of Kansas) along the way. This made it an ideal travel route for those escaping the Dust Bowl in the 1930s and migrating west in search of agricultural work in the fields of California. It makes sense, then, that, in his 1939 book The Grapes of Wrath, American author John Steinbeck called Route 66 the “Mother Road,” describing it as the main path the migrants followed out of the Midwest. The name stuck, and it’s the highway’s most prevailing nickname today. But there have been other attempts at nicknaming this historic highway. Soon after Route 66 was commissioned, it was christened the “Great Diagonal Way” thanks to the northeast-to-southwest stretch between Illinois and Oklahoma. In 1952, U.S. Route 66 was unofficially named the “Will Rogers Highway" by the U.S. Highway 66 Association, perhaps because of the route’s significant stretch through the actor’s home state of Oklahoma. Some also know it as the “Main Street of America.” 3. The Niagara of the West: Shoshone Falls (Idaho) Before it was the backdrop for Evel Knievel’s 1974 stunt to cross the Snake River by rocket-powered Skycycle, southern Idaho’s Shoshone Falls already had its own claim to fame. At a height of 212 feet, it’s 45 feet taller than the show-stealing Niagara Falls. (However, it’s only about 1,000 feet wide and can’t hold a candle to Niagara’s 3,950-foot span.) As such, folks started calling Shoshone Falls the “Niagara of the West” in the mid-19th century, when travelers along the Oregon Trail often stopped to see it, and the nickname stuck. In an 1866 article for a Salt Lake City newspaper, the author described Shoshone Falls as being in league with Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe and Staubbach Falls in the Swiss Alps — truly deserving of its nickname. 4. Nuns in a Scrum: Sydney Opera House (Sydney, Australia) Another of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, the Sydney Opera House is considered a masterwork of modern architecture. Designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon and opened in 1973 to great fanfare, the project took 15 years to complete, thanks to many delays relating to cost, significant changes from Utzon’s original design, and Utzon’s eventual withdrawal as chief architect. Today, it’s a symbol of Sydney and, as such, has received an affectionate nickname from the rugby-loving Sydneysiders. Although the architect’s design was meant to evoke the sails of a boat, the Sydney Opera House is often called “Nuns in a Scrum” by locals. This nickname refers to the huddle that rugby players assume, also called a scrummage — and the white coiffes (or perhaps cornettes) that Catholic nuns wear, which some see in the building’s distinctive “sails.” 5. The Quarry: Casa Milà (Barcelona, Spain) Today, it’s revered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but when architect Antoni Gaudí finished building Casa Milà, it was ridiculed. Gaudi already had a reputation around Barcelona for his unusual building designs, most notably his grand basilica, La Sagrada Familia, which was controversial from day one for its eye-catching architectural style and criticized by clerics and civic leaders alike. Casa Milà, an apartment building commissioned by Roser Segimón and her husband Pere Milà, flaunted Gaudí’s same earthy, unconventional flair. When the building was completed in 1906, adversaries called it La Pedrera (“The Quarry”), a name that initially was meant to describe the building’s alleged ugliness. It is now used lovingly to describe what’s regarded as a Gaudí masterpiece. 6. The Chaps: Delicate Arch (Utah) You may not know the official name of this natural sandstone formation in Utah’s Arches National Park, but you’ve probably seen it before. Named by Frank Beckwith, the leader of the Arches National Monument Scientific Expedition, which explored the area in the winter of 1933 to 1934, Delicate Arch is considered the de facto symbol of the park and possibly the whole state. It’s even featured on Utah’s license plates. But before 1934, when Beckwith deemed it "the most delicately chiseled arch in the entire area," some Utahns had a rougher name for it. Due to its shape, the arch was known as the “Chaps,” as some thought it looked like the leather coverings that cowboys wear over their pants to protect their legs. Another similar but less-popular nickname that the locals used prior to Beckwith’s expedition was the “Schoolmarm’s Bloomers.” 7. The Cheesegrater: Leadenhall Building (London, England) Opened in July 2014, the 50-story skyscraper at 122 Leadenhall Street in London’s financial district was built to replace the old P&O (Peninsular & Oriental) Steam Navigation building from 1969, which had been extensively damaged from an IRA bomb in the ‘90s and had fallen into disrepair. The demolition of the old building took over two years to complete. Construction started in 2007 on the new building, designed by famed architect Richard Rogers, whose other work includes the Lloyd’s of London building just across the street, as well as the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It didn’t take long after its unveiling for the Leadenhall Building to pick up a quirky nickname. Londoners started calling it the “Cheesegrater,” thanks to the wedge shape of the building when viewed along Fleet Street. Angled at 10 degrees on one side, the building appears to lean away from the dome of St. Paul’s Cathedral from this viewpoint, allowing the old church more room to breathe in the busy London skyline. Happily, the building staff has embraced the nickname name in its official Instagram username. Source: Landmark Nicknames | Facts About Landmark Nicknames
  47. 1 point
    What's the Word: ZAFTIG pronunciation: [ZAHF-tig] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Yiddish, 1930s Meaning: 1. Having a full, rounded figure; plump (typically used of a woman) Example: "The zaftig model twirled in her floral-print dress before the camera." "Many cultures have traditionally seen a zaftig figure as the apex of beauty." About Zaftig “Zaftig” is derived from the Yiddish “zaftik,” meaning “juicy.” It is related to the German “saftig,” also meaning “juicy,” which is related to the German “saft,” meaning “juice.” Did You Know? The original Yiddish term “zaftig” described juicy and delectable food — but also things that could be compared to food, such as a juicy piece of gossip. As members of the European Jewish diaspora adapted Yiddish to their new lives in the United States, the term became applicable to desirable women at a time when plumpness was a signifier of good health and a comfortable income. Accordingly, “zaftig” has often been used to describe round, curvaceous figures.
  48. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - WEDDING TRADITIONS Did you know.... that you have likely attended a wedding or two and have seen all of the traditions, but have you ever wondered where they came from? Why is the bride requiring something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue? Why does the groom toss the garter into a crowd of men, and why is a wedding cake so important? Nearly every aspect of a wedding has some sort of significance behind it, and we have been busy finding the origins behind some of the most popular wedding traditions to help give you a little perspective. (Roberts Centre | 2017) The Origins of Wedding Traditions by Interesting Facts Whether you’re planning a wedding now or have many years of marriage under your belt, some things about weddings don’t seem to change — someone wears white, the couple spends the night before apart, and there’s almost always cake. But how did that come to be? Here’s the backstory on a few of these surprisingly ancient (and some fairly modern) wedding traditions. 1. Keeping the Couple Apart Until the Ceremony While not seeing your spouse-to-be until the ceremony starts is now a romanticized tradition, it once was considered a way to ensure marrying off a daughter happened as planned. Marrying for love is a relatively new concept; prior to the 18th century, marriage was primarily a means to improve a family’s social standing. Brides and grooms were often paired off without giving much of their own input, thanks to their families’ arrangements. Consequently, arranged marriages had a high risk for cold feet — which is why keeping the intendeds apart until they said their vows reduced the chances of one party backing out before they made it to the altar. 2. “Something Old, Something New” Most modern brides who follow the “something old” tradition will borrow a family member’s wedding dress or jewelry, but brides of past centuries had no problem wearing someone else’s underwear for good luck. The English rhyme, which reads “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe,” originated around the mid-19th century and first appeared in print in 1871. These objects were thought to bring a bride luck for not only her wedding day, but also her chances of becoming pregnant. While “something old” could be almost anything, “something borrowed” was often a pair of bloomers on loan from a woman who had already become a mother. 3. Wearing a White Wedding Dress Walk through any bridal shop and it’s obvious that white wedding dresses are the norm, but it wasn’t always so. Historically, brides often repurposed their best dress as their wedding gown, and most were not white — because white was exceptionally difficult to keep clean prior to the advent of modern washing machines and stain removers. Queen Victoria, who wore a lacy white gown at her 1840 wedding in place of the then-popular red, is often credited for popularizing bridal white (though Mary, Queen of Scots wore white during her 1558 Notre Dame wedding, and many lesser-known royals did before Victoria’s reign, too). Within a decade of Victoria’s wedding, dressmakers and etiquette books had run with the idea that white was virginal and pure, with the popular Godey’s Lady’s Book writing that a white dress was “an emblem of the innocence and purity of girlhood, and the unsullied heart which she now yields to the keeping of the chosen one.” 4. Exchanging Wedding Bands The act of both parties exchanging a wedding ring is fairly modern; historically, men didn’t wear wedding rings. While women have worn engagement and wedding rings for centuries, they were often gifted as a gesture of betrothal (or in the Romans’ case, as a sign that a woman had entered into a marriage contract). During the 1920s, jewelers made an attempt to popularize the men’s engagement ring, which would be picked out and gifted by women, but the cultural norms about masculinity and marriage led to the ad campaign’s demise. It wasn’t until the 1940s that men’s wedding rings became socially acceptable — rings became seen as a romantic link between married couples who were separated during World War II, and post-Depression, couples could more often afford the cost of two rings. 5. The Art of Bridal Mehandi Many Indian, Asian, and African brides spend the days before their weddings having bridal mehandi applied — swirling, floral designs made with henna that cover the hands and feet. While it’s unclear exactly when mehandi first started as a pre-wedding tradition, historians know that henna has been used to create temporary body tattoos for at least 5,000 years, and they believe that early mehandi was likely less ornate than it is today. Because intricate mehandi designs can take hours to complete, the practice is traditionally done the night before the wedding in an effort to signify that a bride was kept safely at home with family members. 6. The Purpose of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Asking your nearest and dearest to be in your bridal party is one way of honoring friends and family members, though the task once came with a lot more work than just throwing a couple of showers and a bachelor/bachelorette party. For Ancient Romans, having a bridal party was a legal means to an end — Roman law required 10 male witnesses to vouch for the couple, while a bride’s female companions would prepare and escort her to the ceremony. In many cultures, bridesmaids acted as incognito bodyguards for a bride; dressing similarly prevented kidnappers and thieves from making off with a bride’s dowry or the bride herself. As for groomsmen? Beyond helping the groom get ready, some of their historical roles included safeguarding the bride, preventing others from intervening in the wedding, or, in the darkest scenarios, kidnapping an unwilling or unwitting woman and forcibly bringing her to the groom. 7. Objections to a Marriage While many couples now skip the infamous “speak now or forever hold your peace” line, it was once a standard question to prevent bigamy. During the Middle Ages, Christian churches required upcoming weddings to be announced three Sundays in a row, allowing time for the news to spread. If the bride or groom were already married to someone else, word could get back to the priest — who would ask one last time during the ceremony — to determine if the marriage could proceed. 8. Crushing Glass Jewish weddings often end with the cheer of “Mazel tov!” after a couple steps on and crushes a well-wrapped piece of glass. The practice is first described in the Talmud, a religious text that contains extensive commentary on Jewish law, folklore, and more, and dates back to at least the 4th century. The breaking of glass is used to signify the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem, and the story is used as a reminder of sacrifice and loss, even during happy times. The ceremonial glass crushing also refers to a covenant; in Judaism, these religious agreements only become official with breaking something. Grooms traditionally were responsible for the glass stomping, but many modern couples now opt to both smash glasses in an act of marital equality. 9. Jumping the Broom Jumping the broom is now a happier wedding ceremony element, but the tradition in Black communities has a somber history. During American slavery, Black enslaved people were sometimes permitted to exchange vows and wed in small ceremonies, but their marriages were not legally recognized because the law considered the bride and groom to be property, not people. Jumping the broom — literally jumping over a simple broom that was sometimes placed along the threshold of a couple's cabin — was an act that enslaved people sometimes performed to signify their union, especially in cases where a slaveowner did not recognize or approve of the marriage. However, historical accounts suggest that not all couples were eager to be wed that way for fear their marriages would be perceived as less meaningful than couples who had formal ceremonies. Now, many Black couples pay homage to their ancestors by choosing to jump the broom into a new life together. 10. Tossing Celebratory Rice Showering newlywed couples with grains has its roots in many cultures, with the kinds used differing by region. Ancient Romans thought wheat was the best signifier of fertility, with rice taking up its role throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Lentils, oats, peas, and other grains are also popular alternatives throughout the world. As for the theory that wedding rice is dangerous because it can explode a bird’s stomach at altitude? That’s an urban legend that became popular in the mid-1980s. Even if birds do consume a hefty amount of dried rice, the grains are broken up in their gizzards, making it impossible for their stomachs to expand unnaturally. Source: Where Did That Come From? | Facts About Wedding Tradition History
  49. 1 point
    What's the Word: NYCTALOPIA pronunciation: [nik-tə-LOH-pee-ə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 17th century, Meaning: 1. The inability to see in dim light or at night. Also called night blindness Example: "I wanted to arrive home before dusk since my nyctalopia makes it difficult to drive at night." "Shari turned the living room lights on in the afternoon in anticipation of her nyctalopia." About Nyctalopia The Latin term “nyctalopia” (for “night blindness”) is based on the 6th century Byzantine Greek term “νυκταλωπία,” meaning “night blindness.” It was first adopted in French in 1666 as “nyctalopie,” from which it was adopted in English in the late 17th century. Did You Know? Nyctalopia describes difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, meaning nyctalopia subjects find it hard to navigate outdoors at night or indoors with low lighting. However, many also find it challenging to negotiate shifts between light and dark, such as leaving a well-lit house and adjusting to the darkness of night. While people with healthy eyes can adjust to such shifts quickly, those with nyctalopia take much longer to adapt to darkness.
  50. 1 point
    What's the Word: SPOOR pronunciation: [SPOOR] Part of speech: noun Origin: Dutch, 19th century Meaning: 1. The track or scent of an animal. Example: "We caught the spoor of the moose and followed it into the deep woods." "The only spoor the hunters found was a patch of faint tracks on the hard ground." About Spoor “Spoor” entered English as a loan-word from the Dutch. In particular, “spoor” was used in Afrikaans (South African Dutch), but variations on the word exist in other European languages such as Old Norse (“spor”), Flemish (“speur”), and Swedish (“spar”). Did You Know? While “spoor” is mostly used as a noun for animal tracks or scent, the term can sometimes be used as a verb meaning “to track” or “to hunt.” For example, “John heard the call of the ducks landing at the end of the lake, and set off in his boat to spoor them.”
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