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  1. 2 points
    Twas a few day's before Christmas, with bad weather reports, and the folks of Texas were out wearing shorts. Rushing to the grocery store for milk and potatoes, and maybe some candles in case of tornadoes. While many are dreaming a Christmas of white, I'm wondering if I'll need my A/C tonight. Before you start thinking my cheer sounds too reckless, I'm just saying Merry Christmas from Texas!!
  2. 1 point
    What's the Word: GRAMINIVOROUS pronunciation: [ɡra-mə-NIV-ər-əs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid-18th century Meaning: 1. (Of an animal) feeding on grass. Example: "Most of the farm animals were graminivorous." "Meredith’s research studies the effects of a graminivorous diet." About Graminivorous This word comes from the Latin “gramini-,” the combining form of “gramen,” meaning "grass, fodder." It is combined with “-vorous,” a Latin suffix that means “eating or devouring.” Did You Know? There are many animals that have graminivorous habits, even if they don’t exclusively eat grass. For instance, cats and dogs are known to eat grass occasionally. Typically, dogs consume grass when they have upset stomachs. This is a way to rid their intestinal tracts of parasites that can threaten their health.
  3. 1 point
    What's the Word: DILUVIAL pronunciation: [də-LOO-vee-əl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. Relating to a flood or floods, especially the biblical flood. Example: "The diluvial rain transformed the barren field into a temporary lake." "City planners needed to ensure nothing was built on the diluvial plains." About Diluvial "Diluvial” has its roots in the Latin verb “diluere,” which means “to wash away.” Did You Know? From the mid 17th century, geologists and archeologists used the adjective “diluvial” to refer to a distinct geological turning point associated with the Noah's biblical flood. It only acquired its modern meaning in the 1800s; an early example of modern usage is found in Caroline M. Kirkland’s essay “Forest Life,” from 1850.
  4. 1 point
    What's the Word: COMPÈRE pronunciation: [KAHM-per] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, early 20th century Meaning: 1. A person who introduces the performers or contestants in a variety show; host. Example: "Sam’s bubbly personality made him a great compère." "The compère introduced all of the contestants with a nickname." About Compère This comes from the French word for “godfather,” originally from the medieval Latin “compater.” “Com-” means “together with,” and the Latin “pater” means “father.” Did You Know? Loyset Compère was a Franco-Flemish composer during the Renaissance. He likely had nothing to do with the etymology of “compère,” but it’s a happy coincidence that he contributed to musical performance. He was one of the most significant composers of the lyric-driven musical compositions popular during that time, as well as one of the first musicians to bring the Italianate Renaissance style to France.
  5. 1 point
    What's the Word: APODICTIC pronunciation: [ap-ə-DIK-tik] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. Clearly established or beyond dispute. Example: "The surgeon had an apodictic knowledge of the human body." "I can claim apodictic abilities once I receive my certification in electrical engineering." About Apodictic This word comes from the Latin “apodicticus,” originally from the Greek “apodeiktikos” and “apodeiktos.” It stems from the verbal adjective of “apodeiknynai,” meaning "to show off, demonstrate, show by argument, point out, prove." Did You Know? Theologians discuss two kinds of law: apodictic and casuistic. Apodictic law is comprised of absolute commands often rendered from a higher power, like the Ten Commandments. Casuistic law (also known as case law) is based on precedents and moral principles are applied to determine right and wrong in specific situations.
  6. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - CUTTHROAT ISLAND (movie) Did you know.... that Cutthroat Island is a 1995 adventure swashbuckler film directed by Renny Harlin and written by Robert King and Marc Norman from a story by Michael Frost Beckner, James Gorman, Bruce A. Evans, and Raynold Gideon. It stars Geena Davis, Matthew Modine, and Frank Langella. The film is an international co-production among companies in the United States, France, Germany, and Italy. (Wikipedia) Cutthroat Island: 10 Behind The Scenes Facts Cutthroat Island was one of the cinemas' biggest bombs, and its downfall makes for one of the greatest cautionary tales in Hollywood history. BY JUSTIN VAN VOORHIS | DECEMBER 06, 2020 From Battlefield Earth to The Bonfire of The Vanities, Hollywood has suffered some horrendous flops, however, 1995's Cutthroat Island bombed so bad that this swashbuckling pirate movie sank an entire movie studio, Carolco Pictures, and ruined the reputations and careers for many involved. The cause of Cutthroat Island's failure is rooted in excess, ego, and hope for success in a genre from a bygone era. The production has become a Hollywood legend, featuring stories of recasting, over-spending, and a disastrous shoot on the water. The production company, Carolco Pictures, needed desperately for the movie to be a hit and they put all they had into it. Ultimately, Cutthroat Island flopped, and what was a dying studio's last hope became the nail in its coffin. Excessive Studio Spending In the late 80s and early 90s, Carolco Pictures was making hit after hit with movies like Terminator 2, Basic Instinct, and Total Recall. Funded by money gained from successful movies like the Rambo sequels, Carolco offered stars more money in order to compete with other major studios. Thus, Carolco became known for excessive spending on private jets, parties, and limos. When Arnold Schwarzenegger signed on to Terminator 2, not only was he paid $14 million, but he was given a $17 million private jet. Essentially, the studio was spending more than they were taking in. The Last Hope With excessive spending and costs rising, Carolco needed a sure-fire hit to bail them out of potential bankruptcy and they felt their best chance was a pirate movie called Cutthroat Island. So, they canceled a Paul Verhoeven-directed movie called Crusade starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, after Verhoeven couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't go over budget. By not doing Crusade, Carolco shifted money to Cutthroat Island, increasing the budget from $60 million to $100 million. Also, overseas distributors paid Carolco a lot of money in distribution rights having been promised that the movie was going to be a huge hit. With overseas money invested, there was no turning back now. Husband And Wife Team Renny Harlin directed Cutthroat Island and it starred his then-wife Geena Davis. Renny Harlin had garnered acclaim from directing action movies like Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger, and was given free rein on the movie. Geena Davis had won an Oscar and recently starred in hits like A League of Their Own and Thelma & Louise, but was not known for action. However, Harlin convinced the head of Carolco to cast Davis in an attempt to help her branch out into action movies. Michael Douglas Michael Douglas was originally cast as co-lead William Shaw opposite Davis' Morgan Adams, however, despite always wanting to do a movie like Cutthroat Island, he departed due to two reasons. Michael Douglas didn't have adequate time to prepare for Cutthroat Island after finishing his previous movie. He would've had to take fencing lessons and prep for a shoot that required him to be in almost every scene. He also claimed that producers were expanding Geena Davis' role at his expense and Matthew Modine, who was not known for action either but was an experienced fencer, was cast instead. Harlin Begged To Be Fired Renny Harlin claimed to have seen the film being a disaster coming. He knew that Carolco was on the verge of bankruptcy and their distributor, MGM, was in the process of being sold which meant that the Christmas-scheduled movie probably wouldn't get the proper marketing push. Now that Michael Douglas was gone, Harlin and Davis asked to be let go but Carolco denied their requests due to contractual obligations. They both felt having a female as the lead of a pirate movie might not go over well, so they were both scared. Harlin even paid another writer a million dollars of his own money to rewrite the script, which had been originally centered around Michael Douglas' character. Disastrous Shoot While occupied with desperately finding a new male lead, Harlin couldn't give input on the sets, thus requiring them to be rebuilt at great cost. Some of the production's other issues were an injured cinematographer who was then replaced, over two dozen crew members quitting after Harlin fired the chief camera operator, the cast and crew falling ill, and million-dollar wooden pirate-ship sets catching fire. Also, pipes broke allowing raw sewage to flow into water tanks the actors were using to film some sequences. Harlin also requested the actors to do their own stunts which resulted in his own wife coming away with bruises and injuries. Want to know more about Behind the Scenes of Cutthroat Island, then click here. Source: Wikipedia - Cutthroat Island | Facts About Behind the Scenes of Cutthroat Island
  7. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - LOGOS Did you know... that a logo is a graphic mark, emblem, or symbol used to aid and promote public identification and recognition. It may be of an abstract or figurative design or include the text of the name it represents as in a wordmark. In the days of hot metal typesetting, a logotype was one word cast as a single piece of type (e.g. "The" in ATF Garamond), as opposed to a ligature, which is two or more letters joined, but not forming a word. By extension, the term was also used for a uniquely set and arranged typeface or colophon. At the level of mass communication and in common usage, a company's logo is today often synonymous with its trademark or brand. (Wikipedia) FASCINATING FACTS BEHIND WORLD-FAMOUS LOGOS by UNBELIEVABLE FACTS | Year 2018 A logo is something that defines a brand. It defines what a company stands for and how consumers can associate themselves with the brand. Companies spend millions of dollars in the design of their logos so that they can have unique logos to stand out from their competitors. We see hundreds of logos every day, but there are a few that just stick in our minds. Maybe it’s the colors of the logo or a hidden element that adds to the aesthetics. We bring to you ten such fascinating facts behind world-famous logos. 1. The FedEx logo has an intentionally hidden white arrow between the letters “E” and “x” that was created by blending two different fonts together. It has won over 40 design awards and is renowned for the best use of negative space. The FedEx logo is one of the most recognized logos in the world. But the bold lettering and bright colors of the logo are not what makes the logo great. It’s the hidden arrow between the letters “E” and “x” that adds a certain charisma to the logo and is the perfect use of negative space. The design is both simple and clear. Lindon Leader designed the FedEx logo in 1994. This logo is a legend when it comes to designers. It has won around 40 design awards and had been termed as one of the best logos, out of the top eight, to be designed in the past 35 years. When Lindon started working on the logo for FedEx, the CEO Fred Smith said two things, “You can make them pink and green for all I care; just give me a good reason why. My trucks are moving billboards. I better be able to see a FedEx truck loud and clear from five blocks away.” Lindon started working keeping these two things in mind. While he was tweaking with the letters, he saw a small arrow appear between the letter E and x. He had to mix the best qualities of two different fonts, Univers and Futura Bold, to make the arrow look natural and unforced. When few final designs were showcased to FedEx, the CEO was the first to notice the hidden arrow in Lindon’s design and everyone loved it! 2. VLC Media Player uses a traffic cone as its logo because the students who wrote the code for the VideoLAN project had a traffic cone collection. We have all wondered at some point in our lives what the traffic cone in VLC Media Player stands for. Well, today you can put all your speculations to rest! The creator of VLC Media Player is the ViaRézo Association of the École Centrale’s Networking Students’ Association. Once, some students from the association came back drunk with a traffic cone. They then started a cone collection. When the VideoLAN project began to develop the VLC Media Player, they decided to use the cone as their logo. 3. The logo for Domino’s Pizza has three dots because there were only three original Domino’s stores in 1965. They planned to add a new dot for every new store, but the idea was dropped due to the fast growth of the franchise. Domino’s was originally DomiNick’s, a small pizza store that was purchased by Tom Monaghan and his brother James. The brothers decided to split their time to run the business. But James was not willing to let go of his full-time job as a postman to run the pizza business. He quit and sold his half of the business to Tom. By 1965, Tom purchased two additional pizza stores and expanded his business. He wanted all the three stores to share the same brand name. When the original owner of DomiNick’s forbade him from using that original name, Tom renamed the stores Domino’s after a suggestion from one of his employees. Since the business was comprised of only three stores at that time, Tom decided to add three dots to the logo. He also planned to include one dot for every new store that he added to the brand. But the business expanded so fast that Tom had to drop the idea. If they had continued the idea, the logo would have had more than 13,000 dots by now! 4. The Walt Disney logo is not based on Walt’s own signature. It is, in fact, based on an employee’s version of it who used to sign fan mail on Walt’s behalf. The stylized version got so famous that Walt Disney had problem signing his own autographs! The Walt Disney logo is recognized by people all across the world and across all age groups. The original logo had just the words “Walt Disney Presents.” The image of the castle was added much later. But that is not the intriguing part. Most of us believe that it’s Walt Disney’s signature that appears on the logo. But that is not the case. It is, in fact, a stylized version of Walt’s actual signature created by a group of artists. When the company started to grow, Walt didn’t have much time to sign every piece of fan mail that he received. His secretary and some other employees were the ones who would take care of fan mails and sign them on Walt’s behalf. This led to a situation in the 1940s where there existed more fake versions of Walt’s signature than actual and original ones. The stylized version became so popular that it gave Walt Disney a hard time while signing autographs. Over the years, Walt tried to change his signature to match the stylized version, but you can still see the difference. 5. The logo for Bluetooth, which was named after the Danish King Harald Bluetooth, is derived from the Danish letters that represent the king’s initials – H (ᚼ) and B (ᛒ). Ericsson named their revolutionary technology “Bluetooth” after Harald Bluetooth who ruled Denmark as their king between 958 and 986 CE. During his rule, he introduced Christianity to Denmark and Norway and contributed to the unification of various Danish tribes under one kingdom. This analogy was used while naming the wireless technology Bluetooth because, just like the king united people, the technology enabled the unification of various devices and made communication between them easier. The logo is designed by using a bind rune. A bind rune is basically a combination of runes or letters that were used to write Germanic languages before Latin letters were adopted. In the logo, the two Younger Futhark runes, or more commonly called Scandinavian runes, that represent the king’s initials are merged – ᚼ (Hagall) and ᛒ (Bjarkan). Read about the next 5 logos here. Source: Wikipedia - Logo | Facts About Behind World Famous Logos
  8. 1 point
    What's the Word: REIFY pronunciation: [REE-ə-fi] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. Make (something abstract) more concrete or real. Example: "The still-life assignment was to reify the sketch as a complete oil painting" "The ad agency was asked to reify the marketing pitch ahead of their next meeting with the clients." About Reify "Reify" is a construction of the Latin “res,” meaning “thing,” and an evolution of the Latin verb “facere,” meaning “do, or make.” Did You Know? "Reify'' is an obscure verb that attempts to use language to bridge the gap between things that don’t exist yet, and what they will become. There aren’t many synonyms, but some that are slightly more common in usage are: “conceptualize,” “concretize,” “objectify,” and “picture.”
  9. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - GARGOYLES Did you know.... that in architecture, and specifically in Gothic architecture, a gargoyle is a carved or formed grotesque with a spout designed to convey water from a roof and away from the side of a building, thereby preventing rainwater from running down masonry walls and eroding the mortar between. Architects often used multiple gargoyles on a building to divide the flow of rainwater off the roof to minimize the potential damage from a rainstorm. A trough is cut in the back of the gargoyle and rainwater typically exits through the open mouth. Gargoyles are usually an elongated fantastical animal because the length of the gargoyle determines how far water is directed from the wall. When Gothic flying buttresses were used, aqueducts were sometimes cut into the buttress to divert water over the aisle walls. (Wikipedia) Fearsome Facts about Gargoyles BY JEFF WELLS | OCTOBER 31, 2016 They conjure images of hideous, brooding creatures perched high above the cities and villages of the world. The most terrifying ones look as though they might break from their stone moorings and take flight. But gargoyles, it turns out, are full of surprises. Read on to learn the origin of their name, their very functional purpose, and what makes a gargoyle different from a grotesque. 1. THEY SERVE A PRACTICAL PURPOSE. When gargoyles began appearing on churches throughout Europe in the 13th century, they served as decorative water spouts, engineered to preserve stone walls by diverting the flow of rainwater outward from rooftops. This function, technically speaking, distinguishes gargoyles from other stone beasts like grotesques and bosses, although these days the term encompasses all sorts of decorative creature carvings. 2. THE NAME COMES FROM A DRAGON-SLAYING LEGEND. The word gargoyle derives from the French gargouille, meaning "throat." This would appear to take its inspiration from the statues' water-siphoning gullets, but in fact the name comes from the French legend of "La Gargouille," a fearsome dragon that terrorized the inhabitants of the town of Rouen. For centuries, according to the story, the dragon swallowed up ships and flooded the town, until around 600 BCE, when a priest named Romanus came along and agreed to vanquish the beast in exchange for the townspeople's conversion to Christianity. Romanus tamed the dragon by making the sign of the cross, then led it into town where it was burned at the stake. The creature’s head, however, wouldn’t burn, so the townspeople cut it off and affixed it to their church. The gargouille’s head became a ward against evil and a warning to other dragons. 3. THEY WERE MEANT TO INSPIRE FEAR IN PARISHIONERS. Because most Medieval Europeans were illiterate, the clergy needed visual representations of the horrors of hell to drive people to the sanctuary of the church. Placing gargoyles on the building’s exterior reinforced the idea that evil dwelt outside the church, while salvation dwelt within. "How better to enforce church attendance and docility than by providing a daily reminder of the horrors to come," wrote Gary Varner in his book, Gargoyles, Grotesques and Green Men: Ancient Symbolism in European and American Architecture. 4. THEY ALSO BROUGHT PAGANS TO CHURCH. Churches would also model gargoyles after the creatures worshipped by pagan tribes, thinking this would make their houses of worship appear more welcoming to them. It was a bit of clever marketing that worked, according to scholar Darlene Trew Crist. "Churches grew in number and influence as the pagan belief system and many of its images were absorbed into Christianity," she wrote in American Gargoyles: Spirits in Stone. 5. THEY DATE BACK TO ANCIENT EGYPT. Although the name gargoyle dates back just a few centuries, the practice of crafting decorative, animal-themed drain spouts reaches back several millennia. The ancient Egyptians had a thing for lions, as did the Romans and the Greeks. The oldest gargoyle-like creation is a 13,000-year-old stone crocodile discovered in Turkey. 6. NOTRE DAME'S GARGOYLES ARE FAIRLY RECENT CREATIONS. The world’s most famous gargoyles, and the ones that most influenced the popular wings-and-horns image of the creatures, are found on Paris’s Notre Dame Cathedral. Although the cathedral was constructed in the 13th century, the gargoyles were part of an extensive restoration project in the mid 1800s. Conceived by architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc and sculptor Victor Pyanet, the gargoyles have little in common with Medieval gargoyles, scholars contend, and were intended to represent the time period rather than recreate it. 7. PITTSBURGH IS A HOTBED FOR GARGOYLES. In the 19th century, the Steel City embraced the Gothic architecture revival that swept across America. Many of its Gothic churches, government buildings, and other edifices remain, along with their iconic gargoyles. All told, Pittsburgh features more than 20 authentic gargoyles, and hundreds of grotesques. Many of them are featured in the city's "Downtown Dragons" tour run by the History and Landmarks Foundation. 8. SOME WERE FASHIONED AFTER BUILDERS AND CHURCH ELDERS. Cologne Cathedral in Germany features a gargoyle fashioned after the church’s longest-serving council member, while at the Cathedral Saint Jean in Lyon, France you can see a gargoyle modeled after the building’s renovation construction manager, Ahmed Benzizine. Because nothing says "thank you" like a hideous stone creature carved in your likeness. 9. A FRENCH CATHEDRAL SWAPPED ITS GARGOYLES FOR "GREMLINS." During the restoration of Chapel of Bethlehem back in the early '90s, sculptor Jean-Louis Boistel decided to replace the building’s crumbling gargoyles with a few pop-culture icons. This included Gizmo and a gremlin from the movie Gremlins, an Alien xenomorph, and a robot from the popular anime UFO Robot Grendizer. Many locals were put off by Boistel’s creations, which are technically grotesques, but enough young movie fans got behind the "geek chapel" idea to get it approved. 10. THERE'S A DARTH VADER GARGOYLE IN WASHINGTON D.C. Back in the '80s, the Washington National Cathedral held a contest for kids to design its newest gargoyle. Coming on the heels of the Star Wars trilogy, of course someone proposed a Darth Vader gargoyle. The cathedral, which had already installed some off-the-wall gargoyles and grotesques during its extensive restoration work, named 13-year-old Christopher Rader's design as one of its winners, and in 1986 put Lord Vader high up on the cathedral’s "dark side" north wall. It can be difficult to spot, but the cathedral offers this handy guide. Source: Wikipedia - Gargoyle | Fearsome Facts About Gargoyles
  10. 1 point
    What's the Word: ALLIACEOUS pronunciation: [ah-lee-EY-shəs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 18th century Meaning: 1. (Botany) relating to or denoting plants of a group that comprises the onions and other alliums. Example: "The sauteed green onions and shallots gave off an alliaceous aroma." "Julia adds alliaceous vegetables to everything she cooks." About Alliaceous This word stems from the Latin “allium,” meaning “garlic,” plus the adjective-forming suffix “aceous,” meaning “of the nature of.” Did You Know? Alliaceous and cruciferous vegetables are important sources of sulphur. While you may be familiar with the unpleasant, eggy smell associated with sulphur, it’s an important component in an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from damage. Some people try to increase their sulphur intake with supplements, but it has been found that the sulphur from alliaceous and cruciferous foods is better synthesized in the body.
  11. 1 point
    What's the Word: BRUMOUS pronunciation: [BRUH-məs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: French, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. Foggy and wintry. Example: "Cameron tightly pulled her coat around her as she walked home on the brumous January evening." "As the plane approached Prague the conditions became more brumous." About Brumous "Brumous" comes from the French adjective “brumeux,” meaning foggy. That, in turn, comes from the Latin word “bruma,” which means “winter.” Did You Know? Brumous is a literary adjective that was popular in the mid 19th century. It is closely connected to the noun “brume” meaning “mist or fog.” The first recorded use of the noun “brume” is from the late 17th century, which is about 120 years before the first recorded use of the adjective “brumous.”
  12. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - MAN-MADE DISASTERS Electronic waste in Guiyu, China Did you know.... that human-instigated disasters are the consequence of technological or human hazards. Examples include war, social unrest, stampedes, fires, transport accidents, industrial accidents, conflicts, oil spills, terrorist attacks, nuclear explosions/nuclear radiation. Other types of induced disasters include the more cosmic scenarios of catastrophic climate change, nuclear war, and bioterrorism. (Wikipedia) Deadliest Manmade Disasters in the Past 50 Years by Talia Lakritz | May 31, 2019, 7:02 PM Chemical explosions, oil spills, and devastating wildfires have caused enormous damage to the environment. The United Nations' World Environment Day on June 5 hopes to raise awareness and spur action to protect the environment and prevent disaster from striking. Unfortunately, accidents happen. Oil spills, poisonous-gas leaks, and out-of-control wildfires have caused devastating damage to the environment and those who live in it. Here are nine environmental disasters from the past 50 years that wreaked havoc on humans, animals, and the environment. Seveso disaster — 1976 Technicians check the pollution degree inside "Zone A," the most polluted area fenced off to outsiders, two years after a dioxin poison cloud spread from a chemical plant in Meda, Italy. A cloud containing a kilogram of TCDD, a carcinogenic byproduct of the trichlorophenol used to produce hand soaps, leaked from a chemical plant in Meda, Italy, in 1976, settling over the towns of Meda and Seveso. Over 700 people were evacuated and 77,000 animals were killed as a precaution to prevent chemicals from poisoning the food chain. Many children in the area developed chloracne, a skin condition caused by overexposure to halogenated aromatic compounds often reported by military veterans. Love Canal — 1978 A fence around the contaminated Love Canal dump site in Niagara Falls, New York. From 1942 to 1953, the Hooker Chemical Co. used a canal in Love Canal, New York, to dispose of 21,000 tons of toxic chemical waste. In 1978, The New York Times reported that chemicals from the canal had leaked into people's homes, yards, and school playgrounds after years of heavy rainy seasons created toxic puddles. President Jimmy Carter declared a state of emergency that same year, relocated 239 families, and declared a second state of emergency in 1981 to evacuate the rest of Love Canal's residents, who had been experiencing high rates of miscarriage, birth defects, and diseases such as epilepsy, asthma, migraines, and nephrosis. Bhopal gas leak — 1984 A gas tank in Bhopal, India, after the deadly gas leak. The Bhopal disaster has been called the worst industrial accident in history. In 1984, 45 tons of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas leaked from an insecticide plant in Bhopal, India. Thousands of people died immediately. A total of between 15,000 and 20,000 people died, and a half million people survived with respiratory and eye problems. Chernobyl disaster — 1986 This April 1986 photo shows the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the site of the world's worst nuclear accident, two to three days after the explosion in Ukraine. On April 26, 1986, a nuclear reactor in the town of Chernobyl, Ukraine, blew up, leaving nuclear remnants that affected people in a 200-mile radius for decades to come, Business Insider previously reported. The Chernobyl nuclear disaster forced 350,000 people to be evacuated over fears of radiation poisoning. It's still considered one of the worst nuclear-reactor disaster in history. Exxon Valdez oil spill — 1989 Cleaning up the Exxon Valdez oil spill. When the Exxon Valdez oil tanker hit the coast of Prince William Sound, Alaska, 11 million gallons of oil spilled across 1,300 miles and devastated wildlife populations in the area. According to the National Park Service, 250,000 seabirds, 2,800 sea otters, 300 harbor seals, 250 bald eagles, 22 killer whales, and billions of salmon died because of pollution from the spill. Congress passed the Oil Pollution Act in 1990 outlining procedures for responding to similar disasters. Asbestos in Libby, Montana — 1990 A home undergoing abatement for removal of asbestos in Libby, Montana. Since 1919, 400 people have died and almost 3,000 have become sick because of toxic asbestos dust from vermiculite mining in Libby, Montana. The mining company W.R. Grace and Co. had also distributed vermiculite, often used as insulation for the construction of buildings, around playgrounds and backyards in Libby. The mine was shut down in 1990, and the EPA declared a public health emergency in 2008. Cleaning up the tainted vermiculite required deconstructing homes, businesses, and other buildings. Gulf War oil spill — 1991 Burgan oil fields burning in 1991. The Gulf War oil spill was the largest oil spill. Between 5 and 10 million barrels of oil spilled into the Persian Gulf, killing 30,000 birds and reducing the breeding success of some species by half, according to CNN. Jilin chemical plant explosions — 2005 Chemical explosions, oil spills, and devastating wildfires have caused enormous damage to the environment. Six people died, 70 were injured, and tens of thousands had to be evacuated when explosions at a petrochemical plant rocked through Jilin, China. Chemicals seeped into China's Songhua River, then into the Amur River at the China-Russia border, where benzene levels were measured at 108 times as high as standard safety levels, and eventually into the Pacific Ocean. A blockage in one of the plant's nitration towers caused the explosions, according to World Atlas. The Camp Fire — 2018 A structure engulfed in flames during the Camp Fire in Paradise, California. The Camp Fire of 2018 was California's deadliest wildfire. Eighty-five people died and 19,000 buildings were destroyed, according to The New York Times. The town of Paradise was incinerated. The cause of the fire was found to be power lines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric. Source: Wikipedia - Artificial Disasters and Hazards | Facts About Man-Made Disasters
  13. 1 point
    What's the Word: SANGFROID pronunciation: [sahng-FRWA] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, mid 18th century Meaning: 1. Composure or coolness, sometimes excessive, as shown in danger or under trying circumstances. Example: "Brad displayed remarkable sangfroid as he sized up the tough decisions ahead." "Sarah’s mother kept sangfroid as she dealt with the fender-bender accident." About Sangfroid "Sangfroid” comes from the French “sang-froid,” meaning cold blood.” Did You Know? Sangfroid” is an example of a loanword taken directly from French. Its literal translation is “cold blood” but in English, it’s used as a figurative expression of composure or cool headedness in the face of difficulty.
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    Fact of the Day - FOOD Did you know.... that food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for an organism. Food is usually of plant, animal or fungal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. (Wikipedia) Food Facts That Will Blow Your Mind by Neharika Sharma | September 12, 2020 Food is one of the most diverse ecosystems. It covers an enormous range of fruits, vegetables, herbs, seeds, dishes etc. While some of these items are too basic and are a part of our regular meals, others have some mind-blowing qualities. That’s the beauty of food! From nourishment to medicinal necessities, it covers all. No matter how well-versed you are with the understanding of food items, some things continue to surprise you. Here are 10 amusing facts about food that will blow up your mind! KETCHUP 1. During 1800s, it was believed that ketchup has medicinal qualities. It could cure ailments like diarrhea. CHICKEN 2. Chicken contains 266 percent more fat than it did 50 years ago. A study has claimed that chicken, now, has more fat than proteins. CHEESE 3. The most stolen food in the world is ‘cheese’. As per reports, 4 percent of the total cheese produced globally is stolen. PEANUTS 4. Peanuts can be used to make dynamite. The oil derived from peanuts can be processed to produce glycerol. This, in turn, can be used to make nitroglycerin, one of the constituents of dynamite. CHOCOLATE 5. Chocolate was once used as currency. The Maya civilization used it as money. APPLES 6. You’ll be amazed to know that apples and roses are connected. They belong to the same family. Same applies to cherries, pears, and apricots. They belong to rose family called Rosaceae. HONEY 7. Pure honey has a very long shelf life. It won’t spoil and can last up to 3000 years. BRAZIL WAX 8. The wax used to coat candies and cars is the same. Carnauba, also called Brazil wax and palm wax, is not only used to cover the little gummy candies, but also your cars to make them look shiny. CRANBERRIES 9. Ripe cranberries can bounce like rubber balls and thus, they’re also referred to as bounce berries. The bounce signifies the berry is still nice and firm. POTATOES 10. Potatoes can absorb and reflect radio wave signals. In 2012, when Boeing wanted to test out its wireless signal on new plane, they ended up placing huge piles of potatoes on the seats. Source: Wikipedia - Food | Facts You Might not Know About Food
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    What's the Word: VOLPLANE pronunciation: [VAHL-playn] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, early 20th century Meaning: 1. A controlled dive or downward flight at a steep angle, especially by an airplane with the engine shut off. Example: "The pilots successfully attempted a daring volplane at the airshow." "To reduce altitude quickly, the plane tilted into a volplane." About Volplane The noun “volplane” comes directly from the French “vol plané,” literally meaning “glided flight.” It was a phrase originally used to describe the downward flight of birds. Did You Know? Volplane” can be a noun or a verb. As a verb it refers specifically to an airplane — “to make a controlled dive or downward flight, especially with the engine shut off.” For example, “we watched the jumbo jets volplane in.” As a noun, it is the action that occurs.
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    What's the Word: PHOSPHENE pronunciation: [FAHS-feen] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, late 19th century Meaning: 1. A ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light. Example: "Holly rubbed her eyes, causing phosphenes to form." "The doctor assured her that phosphenes were perfectly normal to see when her eyes were closed." About Phosphene The noun is an irregular formation of the Greek noun “phōs,” meaning light, and the Greek verb “phainein,” meaning “to show.” Did You Know? Phosphenes are the shapes and spots of light seen when the eyes are closed. These lights occur because the cells of the retina are stimulated: this can be by rubbing your eyes, a forceful sneeze, or a strong cough.
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    Fact of the Day - BOBCATS Did you know... that the bobcat, also known as the red lynx, is a medium-sized cat native to North America. It ranges from southern Canada through most of the contiguous United States to Oaxaca in Mexico. It is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List since 2002, due to its wide distribution and large population. Although it has been hunted extensively both for sport and fur, populations have proven stable, though declining in some areas. (Wikipedia) Fascinating Facts About Bobcats By Melissa Breyer | Updated May 24, 2021 The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is the most common wildcat in North America. The IUCN estimates the bobcat population to be between 2.3 million and 3.5 million. They are found in Mexico, five Canadian provinces, and every contiguous U.S. state other than Delaware. However, bobcats are elusive and are rarely seen across their range. This is due to their preference for finding cover wherever they live, whether that's scrubland, forests, swamps, or even residential areas. Bobcats are most easily identified by the tail that gives them their name. It has a cut or "bobbed" look and only measures 4.3 to 7.5 inches long. 1. They Are The Smallest Lynx These medium-sized cats are similar to their cousin, the lynx, but are a bit smaller. Ranging anywhere from 8 to 33 pounds, these cats are about the size of a cocker spaniel. The bobcat is 25 to 42 inches long, not including the tail, and males are larger than females. Bobcats in more northern climates tend to grow larger than ones in the south. 2. They Are Frequently Misidentified Bobcats are often erroneously identified as other animals. Sometimes they are mistaken for domestic cats or stray kittens. In other cases, people believe they see a Florida panther, Canada lynx, or mountain lion. Even biologists sometimes have difficulty telling the Canada lynx and bobcat apart if they can't see a paw print. The Canada lynx has massive, very hairy feet that act as snowshoes. 3. They Mainly Eat Small Prey While bobcats can tackle large prey such as deer, they subsist mostly on rodents and rabbits. Despite their reputation for eating household pets, they rarely choose them as prey. That said, they do occasionally take advantage of unsecured chickens or domestic pets. Bobcats will even eat sharks or fish. Bobcats are crepuscular hunters, preferring to hunt at dusk and dawn. Depending on prey availability, they sometimes keep a more nocturnal hunting schedule. They are stealthy hunters and can pounce 10 feet in one leap. 4. They Are Territorial Bobcats primarily live a solitary life. Their range size varies widely depending on the availability of suitable prey. Females typically have territories of around 6 square miles, while males' territories span about 25 square miles and may overlap with one or more female bobcats' home ranges. Bobcats don't usually share territories with another cat of the same sex. They keep other bobcats out of their territory through scent marking with urine, feces, and anal gland secretions. 5. They Don't Stick to a Single Den Bobcat at her red rock den Bobcats have various dens in their territory. The main one, called a natal den, is usually a cave or rock shelter. They sometimes choose hollowed-out trees, fallen trees, or take over abandoned beaver lodges and earthen burrows. Bobcats keep auxiliary dens scattered across their territory, using them for cover or to keep kittens close by while hunting. These dens may consist of rock ledges, brush piles, and even stumps. Bobcats spray urine at the entrances of shelters to ward off intruders. 6. Bobcat Mothers Teach Their Young to Hunt Mother and Young Bobcat Female bobcats deliver litters of one to six kittens, with younger bobcats producing fewer kittens. After birth, the young stay in the den for the first two months. The mother starts bringing prey to the kittens at the end of the first month. Once kittens emerge from the den, she shows them how to hunt while still providing them with food. By 11 months of age, the kittens are kicked out of mom's territory. 7. Some Bobcats Are in Trouble Bobcat populations plummeted during the early 20th century because of the popularity of their fur. Since then, successful conservation measures led to the IUCN listing them as a species of least concern. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service classifies the Mexican bobcat as endangered, but it is not currently on the IUCN register. Bobcats remain on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) index and, as such, are under trade restrictions. However, 38 states, seven Canadian provinces, and Mexico allow for some types of bobcat hunts. Thousands of bobcats are harvested for the fur industry each year, invasive pythons in Florida are decreasing their numbers in the Sunshine State, and rodenticides kill bobcats as they consume targeted species. 8. They Can Run Very Fast Bobcat (Lynx rufus), adult animal with 2 young subadults in the snow. Bobcats run at speeds of up to 30 mph. They are more sprinters than distance runners, as they only run for short distances when attempting to capture prey. Their hunting running gait is another way that a bobcat lives up to its name: they sometimes run like a rabbit, placing their hind feet in the same place as their front feet. This style of running creates a bobbing appearance when they run. Source: Wikipedia - Bobcat | Facts About Bobcats
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    What's the Word: SKIRR pronunciation: [skər] Part of speech: verb Origin: Late Middle English, mid 16th century Meaning: 1. Move rapidly, especially with a whirring sound. Example: "Courtney watched the birds skirr into the sky as they were startled by the bark of her dog." "The camera drone skirred as it lifted into the air to take a photo of the newlyweds." About SKIRR “Skirr” comes from the now-obsolete use of the verb “scour” to mean “moving hastily.” Did You Know? Skirr can be used as both a verb and a noun. As a verb it means “to move rapidly,” but as a noun it specifically refers to the “whirring or grating sound of the wings of birds in flight.” For example, “the crows’ skirr alarmed the amateur ornithologists.”
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    What's the Word: BETOKEN pronunciation: [bə-TOK-ən] Part of speech: verb Origin: Old English, 15th century Meaning: 1. Be a sign of; indicate. 2. Be a warning or indication of (a future event). Example: "A smile that reaches the eyes can betoken genuine happiness." "The silence of the orchestra pit betokened the imminent start of the performance." About Betoken "Betoken” comes from the Old English verb “betācnian,” meaning “to signify.” Did You Know? Betoken is just one of numerous verbs that mean “to be a sign of.” Other verbs include “denote,” “foreshadow,” “forebode,” “foreshow,” “indicate,” and “signify.” There are also some nouns that mean the same thing, such as “portent” and “omen.” For example, “the dove was a good omen for the journey still to come.”
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    Fact of the Day - STARS A star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud Did you know.... that a star is an astronomical object consisting of a luminous spheroid of plasma held together by its own gravity. The nearest star to Earth is the Sun. Many other stars are visible to the naked eye at night, but due to their immense distance from Earth they appear as fixed points of light in the sky. The most prominent stars are grouped into constellations and asterisms, and many of the brightest stars have proper names. Astronomers have assembled star catalogues that identify the known stars and provide standardized stellar designations. The observable universe contains an estimated 1022 to 1024 stars, but most are invisible to the naked eye from Earth, including all individual stars outside our galaxy, the Milky Way. (Wikipedia) Amazing Facts About Stars BY HOW IT WORKS TEAM | April 2021 Human beings have been making up stories and theories to explain the stars since prehistoric times, and the study of the stars has played a crucial role in the development of science and technology throughout history, inspiring everything from calculus to clockwork. But the idea that the stars might be ‘suns’ in their own right, unimaginably distant from Earth, is a surprisingly recent one, and it’s only in the past century or so that astronomers have really got to grips with the true variety of stars. Along the way, they’ve discovered that the Sun is really nothing special – a distinctly ‘average Joe’ compared to some of the extremes found elsewhere in our galaxy and the wider cosmos. And the journey of discovery is still ongoing. While we now have convincing theories to explain the birth and death of stars, their internal power sources and their varied properties, new telescopes and satellites are continually revealing surprising new bodies that challenge our thinking and continue to inspire us with awe and wonder 'Are we stardust?' 1. Are we stardust? Absolutely – if it weren’t for generations of stars, the universe would contain nothing more than the light elements that formed in the Big Bang. Everything else, from the calcium in our bones to the carbon in our DNA, ultimately comes from stars. Deep in their cores, nuclear fusion forces the nuclei of lightweight atoms together to form heavier ones, and the heavier the star, the further this process goes. Stars like the Sun create elements such as carbon, nitrogen and oxygen through their lives, and then scatter them across space when they die. Heavier stars release iron, gold and uranium when they go supernova. 2. What colour can stars be? The colour of any star is a mix of different wavelengths of light, ranging from high-energy, short-wavelength blue and violet light emitted by the hottest materials, to lower-energy, longer- wavelength red and orange emitted by cooler gases. White stars represent an even balance between the two. 4. Why do stars twinkle? They don’t. Their light gets distorted by churning gases in Earth’s atmosphere – hence why telescopes are built on mountains, above the bulk of the air. We only notice the twinkling as stars are tiny points of light; planets don’t twinkle as they’re close enough to appear as tiny discs. Click here to read more. 5. Which is the farthest star that we can see? Ignoring occasional flare-ups such as supernovas, the farthest star we can reliably see with the naked eye is the obscure V762 Cassiopeiae, which is just visible under dark skies and is around 16,300 light years away. The most distant well-known star, meanwhile, is Deneb, the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus, the Swan. It lies a still impressive 2,600 light years away and is the 19th brightest star in the sky, suggesting it is around 200,000 times more luminous than the Sun. 6. What is neutron star? Neutron stars are extreme stellar remnants formed after a giant star goes supernova. When the star runs out of fuel, it collapses under its own weight, creating a huge shockwave that compresses the core from the size of our Sun to roughly the size of London. Atomic nuclei in the core are torn into their subatomic components and protons are transmuted into yet more neutrons that can reach crazy densities: a pinhead of neutron star material can weigh as much as a fully laden supertanker! 7. How are stars named? The brightest stars have proper names that often originated with Ancient Greek or Arabic astronomers – for instance, Sirius, the brightest star in the night sky, has a name derived from the Greek for ‘scorcher’. The bright stars in each constellation are also named with Greek letters in alphabetical order – so Sirius is also Alpha Canis Majoris. 8. Can we tell if the stars we see have died? Stars take millions or billions of years to move through their life cycles, but the light from stars in our galaxy usually spends a few thousand years at most travelling to Earth. On the law of averages, then, it’s pretty unlikely that a star will have died in the intervening time, but there are some exceptions, eg Eta Carinae might have already exploded. 9. How can a star burn with no oxygen in space? Blame astronomers for the misleading word ‘burn’ – stars aren’t going through the same kind of combustion we see on Earth. Instead, stars feed off their hydrogen fuel by forcing individual nuclei together until they transmute into helium and eventually other elements in a process known as nuclear fusion. 10. What exactly is a white dwarf? White dwarfs are the superhot, burnt-out cores of stars like the Sun, exposed when a dying red giant star sheds its outer layers. With no nuclear fusion left to support it, the core collapses under its own weight until it is about the size of Earth, but typically still contains roughly half a Sun’s mass of material. 11. What’s the difference between a nova, supernova and hypernova? Novas are relatively small explosions in double star systems. They come about when a white dwarf’s intense gravity tugs material away from a companion star. Gas piles up around the white dwarf and eventually becomes dense enough to ignite in a burst of nuclear fusion. Most supernovas, meanwhile, mark the deaths of massive stars and the formation of neutron stars. They are triggered when a shockwave tears through the outer layers of a dying star, igniting a firestorm of nuclear fusion. Finally, hypernovas are ultra-energetic supernovas marking the birth of black holes and associated with the release of intense gamma-ray bursts. 12. Where is Betelgeuse? With a diameter large enough to swallow up Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun, Betelgeuse is the closest supergiant star to Earth 640 light years away in the Orion constellation. Nearing the end of its life, it has developed a series of internal shells creating energy from the fusion of various elements, increasing its energy output to the equivalent of 120,000 Suns. The pressure of radiation pouring out from the star’s interior has caused its outer layers to balloon to a vast size and cool to a deep red. 13. How many stars are there in the universe? Brace yourself for some big numbers. Astronomers believe there are probably somewhere between 10 sextillion (21 zeros) and 1 septillion (24 zeros) stars in total. That’s based on recent discoveries that there are a lot more tiny, faint stars lurking in large galaxies than previously thought, and some educated guesswork on the total number of galaxies themselves. 14. If we poured a giant bucket of water on a star, could we extinguish it? Funnily enough, it would probably have the opposite effect. The ferocity of nuclear fusion in a star depends on the temperature and pressure in its core, so if we added a huge amount of extra mass to the star in the form of all that hydrogen and oxygen, we’d increase the star’s mass and central pressure, in turn making it shine brighter. 15. How is the distance to a star calculated? The only way to measure a star’s distance directly uses parallax – measuring the tiny difference in a star’s apparent position in the sky when we look at it from different points of view (on opposite sides of Earth’s orbit around the Sun). This only works for nearby stars, but, using parallax, astronomers can discover patterns in stellar behaviour from which they can work out the brightness of stars independently. They can then use this to extrapolate the distance of more remote stars. Source: Wikipedia - Star | Facts About Stars
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    What's the Word: AURICULAR pronunciation: [aw-RIK-yə-lər] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid -16th century Meaning: 1. Relating to the ear or hearing. 2. Relating to or shaped like an auricle. Example: "The seashell had a recognizable, auricular shape." "The plastic surgeon specialized in auricular surgery." About Auricular This word originates from the Medieval Latin “auricularis,” from Latin “auricula,” meaning "ear." It is a diminutive of “auris,” The definition of "pertaining to the ear" is from the 1640s. Did You Know? Auricles refer to our ears; specifically in humans, the projecting outer portion of the ear, or the pinna. However, the human heart has an ear-shaped appendage projecting from each atrium called auricular appendages, or auricles. They have thin walls and act as receiving rooms for the blood while the ventricles below act as pumps, moving the blood away from the heart.
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    What's the Word: WELKIN pronunciation: [WEL-kən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Germanic, 12th century Meaning: 1. (Literary) the sky or heaven. Example: "The choir sang so proudly, the sounds lifted to the welkin." "Adrienne liked looking at the night welkin and stars." About Welkin This word comes from Old English “wolcen,” meaning “cloud, sky,” but is of West Germanic origin. It is related to the Dutch “wolk” and German “Wolke.” Did You Know? In contemporary use, “welkin” is often incorporated into phrases like “make the welkin ring,” which means to make loud, reverberating noise. This usage harkens back to the original wording of the carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” which used to read “Hark, how all the welkin ring.”
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    Fact of the Day - LONDON UNDERGROUND Did you know.... that the London Underground is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire in the United Kingdom. The Underground has its origins in the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground passenger railway. (Wikipedia) Fun Facts You Didn't Know About London Underground's Past – and Its Future by Charlotte Luxford | March 2018 London Transport Museum has launched two new exhibitions, Digging Deeper and The Secret Life of a Megaproject, which delve into the fascinating history of London’s incredible Underground network and offers a peek behind-the-scenes at the latest Crossrail project due to be completed by the end of 2018. Here’s what we learned from the shows… 1. Marc Isambard Brunel created the first-ever underwater tunnel Ever gone on the Tube and wondered how the Underground tunnels were actually built without collapsing? Well it was the genius idea of Anglo-French engineer Marc Isambard Brunel to create a tunnelling shield (a circular temporary support structure), which was used to build the Thames Tunnel in 1843 – the first tunnel in the world to be constructed underneath a river. Once completed, the tunnel was dubbed the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ and a million Victorians flocked to see it. It was Brunel’s shield concept that paved the way quite literally for the Tube network in the future. Now, his famous Thames Tunnel has been unblocked after being abandoned for around 150 years and has been transformed into part of The Brunel Museum. A lithograph of the Thames Tunnel (Another fun fact: Brunel didn’t always pull off his projects – he ended up in a debtors prison in Southwark for 88 days. It was only once he’d been communicating with Alexander I about coming to work for the Tsar instead that the British government intervened, not wanting to lose one of the country’s greatest engineers to the Russians.) 2. The world’s first-ever tube tunnel was built in 1870 It was called the Tower Subway, which was built with the aid of a machine designed by James Henry Greathead. Just like the Thames Tunnel, the Tower Subway was a commercial failure, but lead to the Greathead Shield, which dug the first electric railway in 1890. Subsequently, similar machines were used for the entire central London tube network over the preceding 50 years. The giant audio-visual tunnel projection in the Digging Deeper exhibition in London Transport Museum 3. Eight giant tunnel boring machines burrowed beneath London to create 42km of tunnels for the new Crossrail The tunnelling machines have got a bit more high-tech since Brunel’s day – the latest tunnel boring machines weigh 1,000 tonnes and 20-person ‘tunnel gangs’ have been working together around the clock to average around 100 metres of tunnelling a week. More than 200,000 tunnel segments were used to line to the 42km of tunnels for the new Elizabeth Line. The tunnel boring machines used for the Crossrail project that have evolved since Brunel’s first shield concept 4. All sorts of artefacts were unearthed during the Crossrail excavation From the jawbone of a medieval mouse to the left leg of a Roman horse, there were plenty of human and animal bones turned up during Crossrail’s excavation, including plague victims discovered under a road near Charterhouse Square in Farringdon dating back to the 14th century. Mass burial uncovered at the Crossrail Liverpool Street site 5. More than 3 million tonnes of excavated material is being used for a nature reserve A new 1,500-acre RSPB nature reserve called the Wallasea Island Wild Coast Project is being created in Essex out of the 3 million tonnes of excavated earth from the tunnels. The new saltmarsh, lagoons and mudflats, known as Jubilee Marsh, has been made by raising the land above sea level in order to create a wildlife-rich environment for birds. It’s the perfect place to brush up on your bird-watching skills – look out for marsh harriers and short-eared owls. Wallsea Island Nature Reserve in Essex 6. There are 10 new Elizabeth Line stations being built as part of the Crossrail project The brand-new stations include central locations Bond Street, Tottenham Court Road, Paddington and Farringdon, as well as Liverpool Street, Whitechapel, Canary Wharf, Custom House, Woolwich and Abbey Wood. Of all the stations, Farringdon will become Britain’s busiest, with 140 trains per hour passing through the station – a sevenfold increase in commuters. The entire line will stretch more than 60 miles from the east, including Shenfield and Abbey Wood, all the way to Reading and Heathrow in the west. Paddington Station’s proposed ticket hall 7. A unique piece of artwork has been commissioned for each of the new Elizabeth Line stations The Secret Life of a Megaproject reveals some of the new artworks that have been created specifically for Crossrail, including one of the largest artworks ever to be produced in London. A Cloud Index by acclaimed artist Spencer Finch consists of 60 hand-drawn panels to create a collage of clouds, installed into the roof of Paddington station. In addition, it’s just been announced that Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama will be designing her first permanent UK installation for Liverpool Street’s Elizabeth line station at Broadgate, while a bronze sculpture by British artist Conrad Shawcross will be erected outside of Moorgate station. In fact, all of the artists’ works can be seen in a new exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery called Art Capital: Art for the Elizabeth line, which runs until May 6 2018. Digital rendering of Infinite Accumulation by Yayoi Kusama 8. The 500 Elizabeth Line roundels are made by craftsmen on the Isle of Wight Working in collaboration with Exeter’s Wood & Wood, which has created signs for the likes of John Lewis and the BBC, a relatively small company in the Isle of Wight called A. J. Wells & Sons Ltd has been working on creating the 500 new Elizabeth Line roundels that will sit alongside the iconic red and blue Edward Johnston design. The very first roundel was designed as far back as 110 years ago, but it wasn’t until 1972 that it became the officially recognised symbol of the London Underground. The new Elizabeth Line roundel on display in The Secret Life of a Megaproject exhibition 9. Faster services mean 1.5 million more people will live within a 45-minute commute of the city The new line will increase central London’s rail capacity by an impressive 10%, with many commuters being able to get to work much quicker. The journey time from Heathrow airport to Liverpool Street will fall from just under an hour to 34 minutes, while a trip from Paddington to Liverpool Street will take just 10 minutes, as opposed to the 23 minutes it takes at the moment. Display of the Crossrail route from Secret Life of a Megaproject 10. More than 90,000 new homes will be created by 2021 off the back of the Crossrail project Those already living in London around the 41 stations along the Elizabeth Line are also reaping the benefits – the ‘Crossrail Bump’ means house prices have gone up dramatically, with prices around stations such as West Ealing and Forest Gate increasing by as much as 40% since work began on the line in 2009. In 2012, a study commissioned by Crossrail stated that house prices around new stations were predicted to rise 25% more than the average price rise in central London by 2021. Architect’s impression image of Woolwich’s Crossrail station with adjoining new homes Find out more about London Transport Museum’s new permanent exhibition, Digging Deeper, here, and its temporary exhibition, The Secret Life of a Megaproject, here. Both exhibitions open on March 23 2018 at London Transport Museum, 39 Wellington Street, London WC2E 7BB. The nearest tube station is Covent Garden. Source: Wikipedia - London Underground | Facts About the London Underground
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    Fact of the Day - OLYMPIC ART COMPETITIONS Did you know.... that art competitions formed part of the modern Olympic Games during its early years, from 1912 to 1948. The competitions were part of the original intention of the Olympic Movement's founder, Pierre de Frédy, Baron de Coubertin. Medals were awarded for works of art inspired by sport, divided into five categories: architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. The juried art competitions were abandoned in 1954 because artists were considered to be professionals, while Olympic athletes were required to be amateurs. Since 1956, the Olympic cultural programme has taken their place. (Wikipedia) Notable Medalists in the Olympic Art Competitions BY SCOTT ALLEN | FEBRUARY 6, 2014 | (UPDATED: JULY 27, 2021) Jack Butler Yeats once won an Olympic medal for his art. Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting and sculpture. Here are some notable medalists in those categories. 1. BARON PIERRE DE COUBERTIN The founder of the International Olympic Committee and the man responsible for reviving the Olympic art competitions won a gold medal in literature at the 1912 Games for his “Ode to Sport,” which was submitted under a pseudonym. Were the judges tipped off? We may never know. 2. MAHONRI YOUNG Born 20 days before the death of his grandfather, Mormon leader Brigham Young, Mahonri Young won gold in the sculpture competition at the 1932 Los Angeles Games for his sculpture, titled The Knockdown. 3. JACK BUTLER YEATS The younger brother of Irish poet W.B. Yeats won the silver medal in painting at the 1924 Paris Games for his piece The Liffey Swim. It was the newly formed Irish Free State's first Olympic medal. 4. WALTER WINANS Walter Winans was one of two people who won an Olympic medal in the arts and one in athletics, and the only person to do it in the same year. Winans, a United States citizen who lived in England, won the silver medal in the team running deer shooting competition and gold in sculpture for his bronze An American Trotter in 1912. Winans suffered a heart attack and died while driving a horse in a trotting race eight years later. An American Trotter (Walter Winans) 5. JOHN RUSSELL POPE The architect of the Jefferson Memorial, the National Archives, and the National Gallery of Art won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in architecture for his design of Yale’s Payne Whitney Gymnasium. Pope submitted an entry for the 1936 Games, but did not receive a medal or an honorable mention. 6. ALFRED HAJOS The Hungarian won a pair of gold medals in freestyle swimming at the 1896 Athens Games. Nearly 30 years later, Alfred Hajos won silver in the architecture competition at the 1924 Paris Games for his design of the Budapest Swimming Center. 7. PERCY CROSBY Percy Crosby created the comic strip “Skippy,” which debuted in 1925, ran through 1945, and was published in 28 countries. During the height of his popularity, Crosby won a silver medal at the 1932 Los Angeles Games in the watercolors and drawings competition for his Jackknife. 8. JEAN JACOBY Jean Jacoby, from Luxembourg, is the only artist to receive two gold medals in the Olympic art competitions. He won the gold for his painting Études de Sport at the 1924 Games and another gold four years later in Amsterdam for his drawing of rugby players [PDF]. Jacoby earned honorable mentions in 1932 and 1936. Etudes de Sport (Jean Jacoby) 9. AALE TYNNI The Finnish poet was the only woman to win a gold medal in the Olympic art competitions. Aale Tynni won the gold in 1948 for her poem “Hellaan Laakeri.” 10. JOHN COPLEY The 73-year-old British graphic artist was awarded the silver medal in the engravings and etchings competition at the 1948 Games for his Polo Player. When counting medals from the art competitions, John Copley was the oldest medalist in Olympic history. Polo Players (John Copley) 11. A.W. DIGGELMANN The Swiss graphic artist only submitted works in two Olympics, but he’s the only artist to win gold, silver, and bronze medals, as well as an honorable mention. Source: Wikipedia - Art Competitions at the Summer Olympics | Medalists in the Olympic Art Competitions
  25. 1 point
    What's the Word: HOWBEIT pronunciation: [hou-BEE-it] Part of speech: adverb Origin: Location unknown, 15th century Meaning: 1. Nevertheless; however. Example: "I’ve never been to Spain before, howbeit, I know a lot about the culture." "Jerrod wasn’t interested in the squabble, howbeit, he was pulled into the argument." About Howbeit This word stems from the contraction of “hough be hit” or “how be it,” meaning “"be it as it may, notwithstanding, nevertheless, yet; notwithstanding that." Did You Know? “Howbeit” sounds like another word used more commonly in the 21st century: “albeit.” Both can be used as conjunctions and are, in fact, synonyms. Because “albeit” is a contraction of “all be it” and “although it be” from the late 14th century, it’s very possible that “howbeit” comes from the same Middle English origins.
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    Fact of the Day - SIDNEY POITIER (February 20, 1927 – January 6, 2022) 2013 Did you know... that Sidney L. Poitier KBE was a Bahamian-American actor, film director, activist, and ambassador. In 1964, he was the first black person and first Bahamian to win the Academy Award for Best Actor. He received two Academy Award nominations, ten Golden Globes nominations, two Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, six BAFTA nominations, eight Laurel nominations, and one Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) nomination. From 1997 to 2007, he was the Bahamian Ambassador to Japan. (Wikipedia) Sidney Poitier: 6 Fascinating Things To Know About The Oscar Winning Actor By Jason Wiese | July 03, 2020 "Lilies in the Field" Many prefer to ignore one of Hollywood’s darker legacies, in which actors of color were constantly subjected to poor stereotypes and simply egregious misrepresentations of race. Fortunately, times have changed for the better and the work of Sidney Poitier is a key ingredient to that progress. After becoming the first black man to receive an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1964, Sidney Poitier continued to make history in films that challenged racial tensions of the era. Most notably, he played a defiant Philadelphia detective investigating a Mississippi murder in Best Picture Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night and a doctor seeking the approval of his fiancée's white parents in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, both of which were released in 1967. The Bahamian-raised performer also endured a career in producing and directing amidst continuing to star in projects of a great variety until his retirement in the early 2000s. You may know his name and his work, but what more do you know about Sidney Poitier? Perhaps these six intriguing, lesser-known facts will shed light on the inspirational man behind his aspirational career. Sidney Poitier Had No Precedent Of Discrimination Before Coming To America Although born in Miami, Florida, on February 20, 1927, Sidney Poitier was raised in the Bahamas and it was not until he returned to his birthplace as a teenager when he discovered the limitations forced upon people of color in the United States. In a conversation with Oprah Winfrey, the icon credited his overcoming of "racial dogma" to his lack of awareness of, nor even belief in, those limitations, as his parents had raised him to understand his own human rights and to be "someone." Poitier would be able to channel his strong sense of identity outside of race into many of his most memorable performances, such as his Oscar-nominated role in 1958's The Defiant Ones, in which he and Tony Curtis play escaped prisoners chained to each other, forced to set aside their differences to survive. The Defiant Ones Sidney Poitier Attempted To Leave The Army By Faking Mental Illness, But Then Confessed In All the Young Men, another film commenting on racial tension from 1960, Sidney Poitier plays a military sergeant put in charge of a squad of racist, white soldiers, but in reality, according to the book Heroes with Humble Beginnings by F.M. Kail, he did enlist in the Army in 1943 seeking a "change of scenery." Dissatisfied by his stationing at a veterans hospital, Poitier began feign "anti-social tendencies" in hopes of an early discharge, only to confess the act after he was prescribed shock treatment. His psychiatrist decided to let him go anyway, allowing him to pursue acting, during which he would continue to face even more challenges. All the Young Men Sidney Poitier Studied Radio Announcers To Shed His Bahamian Accent When Sidney Poitier first auditioned to be in a production for the American Negro Theater in the mid-1940s, his thick accent cost him the role and he was told by founder Frederick O'Neal he would be better off as a dishwasher, which, coincidentally, was his occupation at the time. As he recalled on The Dick Cavett Show, determined to evolve from his Bahamian dialect and prove his worth as an actor, Poitier bought a radio and observed the speech pattern of one of his favorite announcers to develop a new accent. However, when he first went back for another audition months later, out of stage fright, he accidentally "slipped back into" his natural speech, but would eventually achieve his goal and became friends with O'Neal, happy to learn he was proven wrong. Lilies in the Field Sidney Poitier Took A Major Pay Cut To Star In Lilies Of The Field By the early 1960s, Sidney Poitier had become a respected Hollywood star able to pursue projects that exceeded racial stereotypes, such as a role he was particularly enthusiastic about as Homer Smith, a handyman enlisted to build a desert chapel for a group of desperate nuns, in Lilies of the Field. According to Colleen McDannell's book Catholics in the Movies, Poitier agreed to star in the movie for $50,000 and 10% of the box office returns, which was significantly less than his usual salary. However, in 1964, the film would earn him an honor that no amount of money could equal to and his second Academy Award-nomination became his first Oscar-win, which was also the first Best Actor Academy award given to a black man. Six Degrees of Separation A Man Conned His Way Into Peoples’ Homes By Posing As Sidney Poitier’s Son By the 1980s, Sidney Poitier's prestige and influence to break racial barriers was so widespread that David Hampton, a con artist in his late teens, decided to convince white, upper class New York families to let him into their penthouses by pretending to be the actor's son. The scam worked until his 1983 arrest after a host found him in the room they provided with a male street hustler, kicked him out, and reported him when he called from a payphone to apologize. The incident would inspire John Guare's stage play Six Degrees of Separation, which was later adapted a 1993 film starring Will Smith as Hampton. Sidney Poitier Is An Honorary Knight Among his many titles (actor, director, author, trailblazer, to name a few), one of the lesser known titles that Sidney Poitier can claim is "knight." Indeed, he was knighted in 1974, but unlike most of those who acknowledge their knighthood with the common prefix "Sir" (i.e., Sir Anthony Hopkins), instead, the actor often uses the abbreviated suffix K.B.E., as in "Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire." Years later, Poitier was rewarded for his artistic efforts in America with "the nation's highest civilian honor," Medal of Freedom, given to him by former president Barack Obama in 2009. Be sure to check back for additional information and updates on Sidney Poitier and other inspirational voices, as well as more inside looks into the lives of your favorite celebrities, here on CinemaBlend. Source: Wikipedia - Sidney Poitier | Imposing Facts About Sidney Poitier
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    What's the Word: BOSKY pronunciation: [BAHS-kee] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Middle English, late 16th century Meaning: 1. (Literary) wooded; covered by trees or bushes. Example: "Amy and Seth wanted to go on a hike on a bosky trail. " "Many fairy tales take place in bosky locales." About Bosky This word is rooted in the Middle English variants “bosk,” “busk,” and “bush,” all meaning “shrub.” The sense of “uncultivated country” is probably directly from the Dutch “bos.” Did You Know? “Bosk,” a Middle English variant meaning “shrub,” disappeared until it popped up again in the early 17th century when it was used as the root for “bosky.” “Bosk” reappeared as a noun in the 19th century with the expanded definition of “a small wooded area.” The words are most often used in a literary sense, and not in everyday speech.
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    Fact of the Day - HISTORY Did you know.... that history is the study and the documentation of the past. Events before the invention of writing systems are considered prehistory. "History" is an umbrella term comprising past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of these events. (Wikipedia) Historical Facts That Will Warp Your Sense of Time BY: Madison Troyer | March 27, 2019 In most schools, history is generally taught by geographical region or theme. For example, an ancient history class is usually broken down into the histories of different areas (Greece, Rome, Egypt, Eastern Asia, etc.), and art history is taught totally separate from political history. While this sort of system may make it easier for students to retain information, it also results in most people having a pretty warped sense of history. The last guillotine and 'Star Wars' The last execution by guillotine in France happened after the premiere of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.” Adopted by Louis XIV as a humane method of execution, the guillotine remained in use for nearly two centuries, dropping for the last time on Sept. 10, 1977, nearly four months after the first "Star Wars" film hit theaters. Oxford University and the Aztec Empire One of the most renowned universities in the world, England's Oxford University has existed (in some form) since 1096. In 1231, the masters were officially recognized as a “universitas.” The Aztec Empire, which is commonly thought of as the oldest empire in the world, wasn't established until 1430—nearly 200 years after Oxford officially became a university. Fascist Spain and Microsoft From October 1936 up until Francisco Franco's death in November 1975, Spain was ruled by a fascist dictator (other notable fascist dictators include Mussolini and Hitler). On the other side of the pond, in May 1975, Microsoft was founded by Americans Bill Gates and Paul Allen. The contrast between the development of these two countries at this point in time is stark to say the least. The fax machine and the Oregon Trail The first major wagon train of nearly 1,000 pioneers left Elm Grove, Mo., and set out to follow the Oregon Trail in search of a new future on May 22, 1843. Five days later, on May 27, 1843, Alexander Bain filed his patent for the fax machine. It's crazy to think that newly arrived pioneers could have sent a fax to their east coast family to let them know they'd arrived safely. 'Starry Night' and Nintendo One probably wouldn't associate video games and 19th-century oil painting with the same moment in history, but they'd be wrong. Vincent van Gogh painted his masterpiece “The Starry Night” in 1889 while staying at a mental asylum, the same year that Nintendo formed as a corporation (although, Nintendo's first product was actually playing cards, not PlayStations). Kublai Khan and New Zealand New Zealand was one of the last places on earth to be settled. Thanks to radiocarbon dating, archeologists have been able to determine that Polynesian explorers first arrived around 1250 A.D. At the same time, Kublai Khan, one of history's greatest conquerors and the ruler of the Mongol Empire, assumed leadership of his homeland. The abolition of slavery and the iPod In 2001, Steve Jobs changed the world when he launched the first version of the iPod. With room to hold 1,000–2,000 songs and a battery life of 10 hours, the first-generation iPod now sits in history museums. Five years later, when the sixth-generation iPod was launched, slavery was abolished in Mauritania, the last country on earth where it was still legal. And while technically the practice is criminalized here, Mauritania is still widely regarded as the slavery's last stronghold. Former slaves and World War II World War II officially began in 1938, although America staved off any involvement until 1941. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation and slavery officially became illegal with the passing of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. It stands to reason, then, there would have been many former slaves alive at the time of WWII—those who had been slaves as children would have been in their late 70s or early 80s by the time America became involved in the war. Disneyworld and Sylvester Magee On October 1, 1971, Walt Disney World opened in Orlando, Fla. to massive fanfare. Fifteen days later, Sylvester Magee, widely acknowledged as the last living former slave in America, died in Columbia, Miss. Woolly mammoths and the Egyptian pyramids The pyramids of Giza remain one of the world's biggest mysteries—how, exactly, were they constructed without modern machinery? Built between 2550 and 2490 B.C., the pyramids were completed during a massive flurry of construction. They were also built when pre-historic woolly mammoths were still walking the earth. The last Ice Age creature died in 1650 B.C., 900 years after the pyramids were complete. Source: Wikipedia - History | Brief Historical Facts That You've Not Heard Of
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    Fact of the Day - STORKS Did you know.... that storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. They belong to the family called Ciconiidae, and make up the order Ciconiiformes. Ciconiiformes previously included a number of other families, such as herons and ibises, but those families have been moved to other orders. (Wikipedia) Interesting Facts About Storks by Admin | November 2016 Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long, stout bills. They live on all continents except Antarctica and are most common in tropical regions. Many species prefer to be in or near wetlands, though some occur in drier areas. There are 19 species of stork. The lifespan is about 30 years and sometimes up to 40 years. The largest species of stork is the marabou stork, with a height of 152 centimeters (60 inches) and a weight of 9 kilograms (20 pounds). A wingspan of 3.7 meters (12 feet) was accepted by Fisher and Peterson, who ranked the species as having the largest wing-spread of any living bird. Marabou Stork The smallest stork is the hamerkop at 56 centimeters (22 inches) in length with a weight of 470 grams (17 ounces). Hamerkop Some species are slate gray, while others sport white, red, and black. Strikingly colored bills in various combinations of red, black, and yellow often complement these plumages. Storks have a dignified appearance, standing graceful and tall or marching deliberately on slender legs. The legs vary in shades of black, gray, or orange. Storks are very beautiful in flight. They fly mostly by soaring on warm air currents, with long, broad wings that only flap occasionally. They stretch their neck out and dangle their legs behind them as they fly, making them recognizable even from far away. Stork Flying Most storks eat frogs, fish, shellfish, insects, earthworms, small birds and small mammals. Some storks are scavengers. The stork is almost voiceless and largely silent, although it does communicate with brief hissing noises and, most importantly, bill-clattering. Many stork species are migratory. Migration of Storks Various terms are used to refer to groups of storks, two frequently used ones being a muster of storks and a phalanx of storks. Storks were once thought to be monogamous, but this is only true to a limited extent. They may change mates after migrations, and migrate without them. When it comes to nesting, storks may be either colony nesters or solitary nesters. Colony nesters gather in large groups, from a few pairs to several thousand birds. Depending on the species, nests can be found in trees, on buildings, among rocks, or on the ground. Stork Nest Their nests are often very large and may be used for many years. Some nests have been known to grow to over two meters (six feet) in diameter and about three meters (ten feet) in depth. Female lays between 2 and 5 eggs. Incubation period lasts 25 to 35 days. When stork chicks hatch, they are almost naked, but they quickly develop a covering of fluffy down feathers. They are altricial and need their parents to care for them, so both parents are kept busy flying back and forth to bring them food. Chicks can eat up to 60% of their own body weight per day. Stork Chicks After about 3 or 4 weeks, the chicks start to stand up in the nest and flap their stubby wings. After a few months, their flight feathers start to grow in, and they learn to fly. Even then, they are still dependent on their parents for food for several weeks before they start fending for themselves. Like most families of aquatic birds, storks seem to have arisen in the Paleogene, maybe 40–50 million years ago. Birdlife International lists three species as Endangered (Oriental white stork, Storm’s stork, and Greater adjutant) and two as Vulnerable (Lesser adjutant and Milky stork). The Painted stork and the Black-necked stork are listed as Near Threatened. Many other species are suffering regional declines in the face of ever-increasing pressure for land for agriculture and building development. Storks’ size, serial monogamy, and faithfulness to an established nesting site contribute to their prominence in mythology and culture. Stork Baby The legend about storks bringing babies got started in Victorian times. When a child asked, “Where did I come from?”, the parents simply said “The stork brought you.” This tied in nicely with the fact that European white storks often nests on the roof and chimney of houses in the spring, a time when many babies are born. The bird became a symbol of fertility and is considered good luck. In Ancient Egypt, it was associated with, and was the hieroglyph for, the Ba, or “soul“. The Hebrew word for the white stork is chasidah (חסידה), meaning “merciful” or “kind“. Greek and Roman mythology portray storks as models of parental devotion, and it was believed that they did not die of old age, but flew to islands and took the appearance of humans. Ottomar Anschütz’s famous 1884 album of photographs of storks inspired the design of Otto Lilienthal’s experimental gliders of the late nineteenth century. Storks are closely related to herons, spoonbills and ibises. Source: Wikipedia - Stork | Fascinating Facts About Storks
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    What's the Word: SPATULATE pronunciation: [spaCH-ə-lət] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Modern Latin, mid -18th century Meaning: 1. Having a broad, rounded end. Example: "Baseball bats are spatulate objects." "The probe to explore the bottom of the pond was long and spatulate." About Spatulate This word stems from the Modern Latin “spatulatus,” which came from the Latin “spatula” and the Greek “spathe,” meaning "broad flat blade (used by weavers)." Did You Know? In botany and zoology, “spatulate” means broad at the apex and tapered to the base. For instance, water oak leaves are spatulate, with slender bases and very broad tips. Some animals, like porpoises, also have spatulate teeth to help them grasp food. But porpoises don’t use their teeth to eat; they swallow their prey whole.
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    Fact of the Day - DEER Did you know... that deer or true deer are hoofed ruminant mammals forming the family Cervidae. The two main groups of deer are the Cervinae, including the muntjac, the elk, the red deer, and the fallow deer; and the Capreolinae, including the reindeer, white-tailed deer, the roe deer, and the moose. (Wikipedia) Interesting Facts About Deer by Admin | May 2016 Deer (plural and singular) are the members of the Cervidae family of the order Artiodactyla, or even-toed hoofed mammals, with two large and two small hooves on each foot. There are about 50 species of deer including elk, moose, caribou or reindeer, muntjac, red deer, and white-tailed deer, among others. Deer are native to Europe, Asia, North America, South America and northern Africa. Humans introduced deer to Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. A characteristic of deer is that almost all species have antlers, a biological structure that is unique to deer. Other ruminants have horns. Antlers consist of bony outgrowths from the head with no covering of keratin as is found in true horns. Deer generally have lithe, compact bodies and long, powerful legs suited for rugged woodland terrain. Most species of deer live in forested or partly wooded areas, although some live in grasslands, marshlands, and tundra. Deer range from very large to very small. The moose or elk is the largest species in the deer family. It can grow up to 2 meters (6.5 feet) from hoof to shoulder and weigh around 820 kilograms (1,800 pounds). The Southern pudu is smallest species in the deer family. It weighs only around 9 kilograms (20 pounds) and gets to be only around 36 centimeters (14 inches) tall when fully grown. The lifespan of deer is from 10 to 25 years depending on the species; though many die long before then due to predators or environmental dangers such as collisions with cars. Deer are herbivores which means they eat grass, leaves, plants, fruits, acorns, and nuts when they are available. Biologically speaking, deer are crepuscular; feeding mainly from before dawn until several hours after, and again from late afternoon until dusk. Deer have their eyes on the sides of their head, giving them a 310 degree view. This wide view does make it hard for deer to focus on a single point. Deer have a good night vision, which is useful in the early morning and near dusk. Deer have a great sense of hearing. They have a lot of muscles attached to their ears which allow them to turn their ears in any direction, without moving their heads. They can hear higher frequencies of sound than humans. Also they have an excellent sense of smell, which allows them to detect predators from a long distance away. Deer lick their nose to keep it moist, which helps odor particles stick to it, improving their sense of smell. Deer are social animals and travel in groups called herds. The herd is often led by a dominant male, though with some species the herds are segregated by sex. Sometimes the females will have their own herd and the males will have a separate herd. In other cases, a female herd is watched over by a herd of males. Some reindeer (also known as the caribou) herds can have as many as 100,000 members. Although most deer live in herds, some species, such as South American marsh deer, are solitary. Deer use three main types of communication: vocal, chemical, and visual. Deer produce scents with glands located on their head, legs and hooves. These scents provide information to other deer about their gender, social status, physical condition and whether an area is safe. In temperate-zone deer, antlers begin growing in the spring as skin-covered projections from the pedicels. The dermal covering, or “velvet,” is rich in blood vessels and nerves. When antlers reach full size, the velvet dies and is rubbed off as the animal thrashes its antlers against vegetation. Antlers are used during male-male competition for mates during breeding season, and are shed soon afterwards. Although most deer are polygynous, some species are monogamous (e.g., European Roe deer). The breeding season of most deer is short. In some species, males establish territories, which encompass those of one or more females. In some deer, females may form small groups known as harems, which are guarded and maintained by males, and in other species males simply travel between herds looking for females. Deer carry their young for a gestation period of 180 to 240 days. Deer usually only have one or two young at a time (triplets, while not unknown, are uncommon) and these young are called fawns. Some of the large deer babies are also called calves. The fawn is able to stand in 10 minutes and can walk in 7 hours! Deer range in color from dark to very light brown; however, young are commonly born with spots, that helps camouflage them from potential predators. Fawns are protected by a lack of scent. Enemies cannot smell them. The mother keeps them hidden in bushes and checks up on them about 6 times a day to feed them. Young deer stay with their mothers for 1-2 years. Deer are prey to many wild animals around the world including wolves, coyotes, lynx, pumas, jaguars, tigers, bears and occasionally foxes. They are also hunted by humans. The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species includes the Calamian deer, Bawean deer, hog deer, Persian Fallow deer and the Chinanteco deer. The Père David’s deer is extinct in the wild and now can only be found in captive populations. Only one species, the reindeer has been domesticated. The only female deer with antlers are reindeer. Chinese water deer are the only deer species not to have antlers. Instead, it has very long canine teeth that it uses to attract mates. Moose have the largest antlers. Deer antlers are the fastest growing tissue on Earth! The Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus or Megaceros) is a huge extinct deer and the largest known species of deer to have ever lived. It died out about 11,000 years ago. It is famous for its formidable size (about 2.1 meters (7 feet) at the shoulders), and in particular for having the largest antlers of any known deer (a maximum of 3.65 meters (12 feet) from tip to tip) Deer appear in art from Palaeolithic cave paintings onwards, and they have played a role in mythology, religion, and literature throughout history, as well as in heraldry. Source: Wikipedia - Deer | Facts About Deer
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    What's the Word: TELOS pronunciation: [TEL-ahs] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 300 BCE Meaning: 1. An ultimate object or aim. Example: "Helen’s telos was to earn her Ph.D. in chemistry." "At this early stage, the nonprofit doesn’t seem to have a telos." About Telos This word comes from the Greek “telos,” meaning "the end, limit, goal, fulfillment, completion.” It is possibly akin to Greek “tellein,” meaning to accomplish. Did You Know? Aristotle is often linked with the term “telos.” This philosopher linked ethics and politics with the idea of telos; according to him, everything has a purpose or final end. So if we want to understand what something is, it must be understood in terms of the telos, which humans can uncover through diligent study.
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    What's the Word: RIME pronunciation: [riym] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old English, 12th century Meaning: 1. Frost formed on cold objects by the rapid freezing of water vapor in cloud or fog. 2. (Literary) hoarfrost. Example: "The sunlight bounced off the rime on the grass." "The rime-covered trees looked majestic and otherworldly." About Rime This word comes from the Old English “hrīm,” of Germanic origin and is related to the Dutch “rijm.” The word became rare in Middle English but was revived in literary use at the end of the 18th century. Did You Know? Rime is also the name of an adventure puzzle video game. Released in 2017, the game follows a boy arriving at and searching a mysterious island with a fox-like spirit as a guide. The player guides this boy in solving environmental puzzles across five levels.
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    What's the Word: ECHT pronunciation: [ekt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: German, early 20th century Meaning: 1. Authentic and typical. Example: "Joe was an echt New Yorker, complete with the distinctive accent." "Sara made a slew of echt dishes for Yom Kippur." About Echt This word stems from the German “echte” and the Yiddish “ekht.” Did You Know? Echte is the name of a village in northern Germany, located about 150 miles west of Berlin. In the Middle Ages, it served as a trade node. Skilled craftsmen were a prominent part of the village's population as early as the 17th century. There were many linen weavers, cobblers and carpenters in Echte. The word “echt” comes from both German and Yiddish, meaning something authentic.
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    Fact of the Day - STONE AGE Did you know... that the Stone Age was a broad prehistoric period during which stone was widely used to make tools with an edge, a point, or a percussion surface. The period lasted for roughly 3.4 million years, and ended between 4,000 BCE and 2,000 BCE, with the advent of metalworking. (Wikipedia) Interesting Facts About The Stone Age by James Dilley | Sep 30, 2020 | Updated: Dec 28, 2020 1. The Stone Age is the longest time period in the human timeline... You could take all the following time periods (to the modern day) together, multiply them several times, and the Stone Age would still be longer. However the Stone Age starts and ends in different places at different times. The first period in the Stone Age: The Palaeolithic, is longer than the following time periods put together too! In Britain, the Palaeolithic lasts at least 900,000 years, while the following time periods to the modern day are only around 12,000 years combined! 2. The oldest stone tools date to around 3.3 million years ago. The simple tools were found at Lake Turkana, Kenya from 2012 - 2014 by archaeologists from a number of institutions. It is thought the tools were made by Australopithecus afarensis or Kenyanthropus platyops, based on the age of the tools which was established by relative dating of the soil layers. Previously it was thought only species of the genus Homo produced flaked stone tools, however this discovery demonstrates some of our earliest ancestors had the ability to manipulate natural resources around them. 3. Stone Age people did not always live in caves... As caves do not exist everywhere, people had to make use of other shelters (or not inhabit the area at all). Caves are excellent locations for preserving archaeology as they provide shelter even when the human inhabitants are long gone. Animals living in caves can dig burrows, and later humans can dig out deposits left by previous humans (damaging or destroying what was left). If there were no caves in an area that were accessible, humans built shelters of a variety of designs. These shelters almost certainly had wooden frames which were covered with hides, bark or tatching, though little is left besides post holes after thousands of years. Where caves existed however, they were generally used if they were there (and accessible). 4. The oldest musical instrument found is around 35,000 - 40,000 old... Found at Hohle Fels in southern Germany in 2008, the five-holed flute from the radius bone of a griffon vulture (found with ivory fragments of other flutes) is the oldest clear instrument. Dating from the Aurignacian techno-complex, this type of artefact demonstrates the broadening of raw materials consistently used by humans (Neanderthals appear to have only used bone occasionally) and exploration of art and expression through different sounds or music. Both Hohle Fels, and the nearby site of Geissenklösterle have yielded huge amounts of archaeology from the time when the first anatomically modern humans were moving westwards from the Balkans. 5. The dog was domesticated during the Stone Age around 20,000-40,000 years ago... Though the oldest dog bones date to 14,000 years ago, researchers found that they could trace back even earlier evidence of the divergence of the grey wolf and dogs through DNA. By looking at dog bones dating to between, researchers were able to determine the rate of change in DNA to the oldest specimen. This allowed them to work out roughly how long ago this change began. By 7000 years ago, the dogs that roamed would not be considered pets by modern standards, but would have almost certainly been effective tools for hunting and security. 6. Neanderthals died out around 40,000 - 30,000 years ago, but coexisted with modern humans for several thousand years... The exact reasons behind the disappearance of Neanderthals remains debatable. It could be pressure from incoming modern humans, it could be disease, climate change or a combination of issues. What we do know is that as the Neanderthal species began to decline, modern humans (H. sapiens) were present in the same regions and coexisted for several thousand years. Based on changes in Neanderthal technological behaviour, it is possible modern humans had some influence on the way Neanderthals made tools. We also do not know if modern humans and Neanderthals fought, ignored each other or were friendly to each other, the evidence in the archaeology is missing. 7. The oldest known art dates to 73,000 years ago... A flake of silcrete (a mineral made of cemented sand and fine gravel) was drawn on around 73,000 years ago using a piece of red ochre. The drawing is simple: a series of lines, some of which intersect one another. This is the earliest evidence of modern humans creating lines or using a colouring agent on an object or wall, but its meaning remains unclear. Could it be an attempt to teach an inexperienced tool maker how to strike off flakes? Or could it just be simple doodling? The find comes from Blombos Cave in South Africa, around 185 miles of Cape Town. 8. The oldest ceramic object from the Stone Age is approximately 30,000 years old... It is a figurine of a female form, and like others of a similar style it has been labelled as a “venus figure”. The figure comes from the Upper Palaeolithic site of Dolní Věstonice in the Czech Republic where it was discovered in 1925 (broken in two pieces) next to a hearth (fire place). The site has provided a wealth of archaeological material from the hunters who lived there and built shelters from mammoth bones. The 11cm tall figurine was made from one piece of wet clay (instead of several being sculpted together) which had small fragments of burned bone mixed in. What these venus figures represent is difficult to answer, they may have been fertility symbols, good luck charms, toys or a 3D image of a loved one. 9. Holes were cut or scraped into the skulls of other living people! The act of Trepanning is to bore a hole into a skull to relieve pressure. The earliest evidence of this practice on humans dates to around 7000-8000 from near Kiev (Ukraine). The patient was a male who showed complete healing after the practice and lived on into his 50s. A later Neolithic cemetery in France provided evidence that 40 out of 120 human skulls discovered showed evidence of the practice, many with evidence of healing and bone regrowth. Trepanning is still used today in extreme cases of bleeding on the brain, though it is covered with a patch or plate. It was only in remote parts of the world where the practice continued to follow its prehistoric roots (without modern surgical methods or patching) up until the early 1900s. 10. The oldest wheel so far found dates to the very end of the Stone Age... Dating to 5150 years ago during the transition between the Stone and Bronze Ages (the Chalcolithic), a pile-dwelling settlement of houses on stilts in Slovenia yielded what was first thought to be an unremarkable wood plank in 2002. On further excavation, the plank turned out to be an ash wood wheel measuring 70cm wide and 5cm thick. A further surprise was the presence of the intact axle for the wheel, made of oak and measuring 120cm. The site is located about 20km southeast from the capital: Ljubljana, in an area known as the “Ljubljana Marshes”. The wheel and axle are believed to have come from a single-axle push cart on which the wheel and axle rotated together (as the wheel has a square socketed). Source: Wikipedia - Stone Age | Facts About the Stone Age
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    What's the Word: DELIQUESCENT pronunciation: [del-ə-KWES-ənt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 18th century Meaning: 1. Becoming liquid, or having a tendency to become liquid. 2. (Chemistry) (of a solid) tending to absorb moisture from the air and dissolve in it. Example: "Ice removed from the freezer quickly becomes deliquescent." "Today’s chemistry lesson was about potential uses of deliquescent substances." About Deliquescent This word comes from the Latin “deliquescentem,” present participle of “deliquescere,” meaning "to melt away." Did You Know? The majority of deliquescent substances (those that absorb water from the air) are salts, such as calcium chloride, and sodium nitrate. Table salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride, can be deliquescent, but only if the particles are small enough and the humidity level is extremely high. In extremely humid climates you might see rice in salt shakers, attempting to prevent deliquescence.
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    What's the Word: SIMULACRUM pronunciation: [sim-yə-LAK-rəm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, late 16th century Meaning: 1. An image or representation of someone or something. 2. An unsatisfactory imitation or substitute. Example: "The birthday cake was a small simulacrum of the Magic Kingdom castle at Disney World." "The gallery owner was disappointed with the simulacrum of Monet’s Water Lilies." About Simulacrum Simulacrum comes from the Latin verb “simulare,” meaning “to pretend.” Did You Know? Modern usage of “simulacrum” refers to an image or representation of something, but historically it meant a representation of figures, especially gods. For example the “Mona Lisa” would be a simulacrum because it’s a painting of a person who no longer exists.
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    What's the Word: SOIGNÉ pronunciation: [swan-YAY] Part of speech: adjective Origin: French, 19th century Meaning: 1. Dressed very elegantly; well groomed. Example: "Matthew was tall, handsome, and soigné when he met Lucy for their date." "Looking at the photographs of his grandparents, Joe was surprised at how soigné they were." About Soigné “Soigné” is the past participle of the French verb “soigner,” meaning “to take care of.” In turn, “soigner” comes from the French word “soin,” meaning “care.” Did You Know? French words have masculine and feminine forms. To use “soigné” to describe a woman, the feminine adjective would be pronounced the same, but it has an additional “e” on the end: “soignée.” For example, “Sarah was tall, fair, and soignée.” In English, it’s not necessary to differentiate between the masculine and feminine forms.
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    Fact of the Day - TEMPLES LDS temple in Salt Lake City, Utah Did you know..... that a temple is a building reserved for spiritual rituals and activities such as prayer and sacrifice. Religions which erect temples include Christianity (whose temples are typically called churches), Hinduism (whose temples are known as Mandir), Buddhism (often monasteries), Sikhism (whose temples are called Gurdwara), Jainism (whose temples are sometimes called Derasar), Islam (whose temples are called mosques), Judaism (whose temples are called synagogues), Zoroastrianism (whose temple are sometimes called Agiary), the Baha'i Faith (which are often simply referred to as Baha'i House of Worship), Taoism (which are sometimes called Daoguan), Shintoism (which are sometimes called Jinja), Confucianism (which are sometimes called the Temple of Confucius), and ancient religions such as the Ancient Egyptian religion and the Ancient Greek religion. (Wikipedia) The Most Ancient Temples in the World By Stephanie Strasnick | February 19, 2018 Of the buildings that still remain today from the early years of civilization, many of the most spectacular are the ancient temples. Given the importance of religion in ancient civilizations, it's not surprising that these spiritual sites were built using the latest architectural innovations and are imposing in scale. Many of these sites are still shrouded in mystery about their past uses and creators, while others are well documented and have been studied for more than a century. Luckily for architecture and history buffs, some of the oldest temples around the globe can actually be toured by visitors today. Get your Indiana Jones hat and field boots ready—we’ve rounded up 10 awe-inspiring temples you’ll want to explore right now. Temple of Hatshepsut Location: Egypt. Built: Around 1,470 B.C. Also known as Djeser-Djeseru, this ancient funerary shrine in Egypt was designed by pharaoh Hatshepsut’s royal architect, Senenmut, and can be recognized by its lengthy colonnade and many terraces. Although many of the site’s original statues and ornaments have been stolen or destroyed over the years, its relief depicting the divine birth of a female pharaoh is still intact. A monastery was built on top of the temple in the seventh century A.D. The site's first large-scale excavation took place in the 1890s and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Egyptologist Herbert E. Winlock led an excavation and restoration of the site from 1923 to 1931. Temple of Amada Location: Nubia. Built: 18th and 19th Dynasties (Between 1,550 and 1,189 B.C.) Originally constructed on the east bank of the Nile, this temple, which is the oldest temple in Nubia, was moved in the 1960s and '70s to a new, higher site on Lake Nasser to protect it from flooding. The effort was led by French Egyptologist Christiane Desroches Noblecourt and included a number of Nubian temples and historic sites. The temple’s most notable features include a well-preserved relief and two significant inscriptions describing the military accomplishments of the pharaohs who built the temple, Tuthmosis III and his son Amenhotep II. Göbekli Tepe Location: Turkey. Built: 10,000 B.C. It is believed that 6,000 years before Stonehenge was built, a remarkable stone temple was erected on a hilltop in southeastern Turkey by prehistoric people. Known as Göbekli Tepe, the site was previously dismissed by anthropologists, who believed it to be a medieval grave. In 2008, however, the German archaeologist Klaus Schmidt determined that Göbekli Tepe is, in fact, the oldest known temple in the world. The site was purposefully buried around 8,000 B.C. for unknown reasons, although this allowed the structures to be preserved for future discovery and study. Luxor Temple Location: Egypt. Built: Between 1,100 and 1,600 B.C. This Ancient Egyptian temple on the east bank of the Nile has served as a place of worship for nearly 3,500 years. The site is known for its avenue of sphinxes and the towering Pylon of Ramses II. The structure was constructed during the reigns of several pharaohs, including Amenhotep III, Ramses II, and Tutankhamen, who is credited with much of the temple's decoration. The Luxor Temple is considered the largest and most important site in ancient Egypt and was dedicated to Amun, the king of the gods, as well as the mother goddess Mut, and Khonsu, god of the moon and time. Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni Location: Malta. Built: Around 2,500 B.C. Unlike the other temples on our list, the Hypogeum in Malta was constructed underground. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this enormous, subterranean labyrinth has false windows, trilithon doorways, decorative red ocher paintings, and carved-stone ceiling accents that mimic corbeled masonry. The Hypogeum was discovered in 1902 during construction and was first excavated beginning in 1903. The site was closed between 1990 and 2000 for conservation, and while it has reopened to the public, only 80 visitors are permitted per day. Stonehenge Location: England. Built: Beginning in 3,000 B.C. One of the world’s most famous—and mysterious—monuments, Stonehenge dates back approximately 5,000 years, when an early monument, consisting of a circular ditch with inner and outer banks, was installed. The stone structure we know today was constructed around 2,500 B.C. Though its original function remains unknown, it’s possible that Stonehenge was built as a temple for the worship of ancient earth deities. Comprising a symmetrical arrangement of bluestones (some weighing up to four tons), the structure is regarded as a major feat of engineering. The monument was privately owned until 1918, when it was given to the country. Stonehenge and its surroundings were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1986. Ġgantija Temples Location: Malta. Built: Between 3,600 and 3,200 B.C. Inhabitants of the island of Gozo once believed these two temples were built by a race of giants, hence their name, which is derived from the Maltese word for giant. The temples are constructed of coralline limestone, and some of the stones weigh over 50 tons. Inside, softer globigerina limestone was used for decorative elements. The temples, as well as five other temples in Malta, were named UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1980. Temple of Apollo (Delphi) Location: Delphi, Greece. Built: 330 B.C. The Temple of Apollo is located at Delphi, the center of the Ancient Greek world, and was built on the site of two earlier temples. The architects, Spintharus, Xenodoros, and Agathon, built the peripteral Doric temple following a similar plan as the previous temple, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 373 B.C. Athenian sculptors Androthenes and Praxias created work that decorated the pediment. The village of Kastri was built over the site in the seventh century A.D. and was later removed in 1891 for long-term excavations. Delphi was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987. Tchogha Zanbil Location: Iran. Built: 1,250 B.C. Tchogha Zanbil was founded by Elamite ruler Untash-Gal as the religious center of ancient Elam, a site which is now part of the Khuzestan Province. The holy city contains a ziggurat (a rectangular stepped tower), temples, and three palaces. The ziggurat at Tchogha Zanbil is the largest outside of Mesopotamia and the best-preserved structure of its kind. The city was never completed and was attacked and damaged by Assyrian king Ashurbanipal around 640 B.C. It was discovered in 1935 by prospectors for an oil company and was excavated between 1946 to 1962 by archaeologist Roman Ghirshman. Ziggurat of Ur Location: Iraq. Built: 21st century B.C. The Ziggurat of Ur was built by King Ur-Nammu and dedicated to the god Nanna. Today only the foundations remain, and part of the structure, including the staircase and lower façade, was rebuilt by Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. It has been closed to the public since 2003, although U.S. military personnel have been able to access the site thanks to its proximity to the Tallil Air Base. Source: Wikipedia - Temple | Facts About Some of the Oldest Temples
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    What's the Word: QUONDAM pronunciation: [KWAN-dəm] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 16th century Meaning: 1. That once was; former. Example: "During the last year retro roller skates regained their quondam popularity." "Quondam senators were quick to share their support for the new bill." About Quondam Quondam is a formal adjective that comes from the Latin for “formerly.” Did You Know? There are lots of ways to say “former,” including “past,” “late,” “previous,” “preceding,” and “earlier,” but “quondam” is one of the more unusual synonyms. If you want to be even more unconventional, “umquhile” is a word that originates from Scottish English dialect, meaning “former” or “deceased.”
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    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/p/salt-and-sanctuary Salt and Sanctuary is currently free on Epic Games Store.
  42. 1 point
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/p/moving-out Moving Out is currently free on Epic Games Store.
  43. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - HISTORIC MYSTERIES The 2,000-Year-Old Body That Still Has Hair, Eyelashes, And Blood In Her Veins Did you know.... that history is full of unexplained mysteries, and for some reason, we as humans tend to concentrate on the mysterious things more than the undeniable facts. So if you love historical mysteries, you are in for a treat since this list compiled by Bored Panda looks at some unexplained events that scientists have failed to explain. From a 2,000-year-old body that still had hair and eyelashes on it, to a text that nobody in the world can understand, this list shows you the weird history side. Feel free to share your theories in the comments! (BoredPanda) Biggest Historical Mysteries That Will Probably Never Be Solved By Owen Jarus | December 2021 Will we ever find Cleopatra's tomb or the Ark of the Covenant? Some mysteries may never be resolved. There are some historical mysteries that may never be solved, from the date that Jesus was born to the identity of Jack the Ripper to the location of Cleopatra's tomb. Sometimes, that's because the relevant excavated material has been lost or an archaeological site has been destroyed. Other times, it's because new evidence is unlikely to come forward or the surviving evidence is too vague to lead scholars to a consensus. The lack of answers only makes these enigmas more intriguing. Here, Live Science takes a look at 14 of these historical questions that may never have definitive explanations. WAS THERE A REAL KING ARTHUR? The King Arthur statue Gallos by Rubin Eynon stands on a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of Cornwall. The story of King Arthur has been told and retold numerous times over more than 1,000 years. Camelot, the Knights of the Round Table, the wizard Merlin and the sword Excalibur are all famous parts of the Arthurian tales. However, if King Arthur did really exist, the reality was likely less magical. The earliest surviving accounts date to the ninth century and tell of a leader (perhaps not even a king) who fought several battles against the Saxons; even the accuracy of these accounts is debatable. There are a number of sites in Britain that legends link to King Arthur, such as Tintagel, a coastal site that was supposedly King Arthur’s home; but excavations have not confirmed whether Arthur ever lived there or even existed. Ultimately, it seems unlikely that scholars will ever know for sure whether there was a real King Arthur or whether the man was purely fictional. WHO WAS JACK THE RIPPER? In 1888, Jack the Ripper killed at least five women in London, mutilating their bodies. A number of letters, supposedly from the Ripper, were sent to police taunting officers' efforts to find the Ripper. (Whether any of them were actually written by the Ripper is a matter of debate among scholars.) The name "Jack the Ripper" comes from these letters. Needless to say, the Ripper was never found, and over the years, dozens of people have been brought up as possible candidates. In his 2012 book ""Jack The Ripper: The Hand Of A Woman,"" John Morris suggests that a woman named Lizzie Williams was the Ripper, although other Ripper experts cast doubt on it. It appears unlikely that the true identity of the Ripper will ever be known for sure. WHERE IS JIMMY HOFFA? The teamster union leader known for his involvement in organized crime disappeared in Oakland County, Michigan, on July 30, 1975, and is presumed to be dead. The identity of his killer(s) and the location of his body are ongoing mysteries. Police and forensic anthropologists have searched a number of sites in Detroit and Oakland County to no avail. One popular theory was that Hoffa's body was buried beneath Giants Stadium in New Jersey. However, this theory has been debunked. On Oct. 25 and 26, 2021, FBI agents visited a former landfill in New Jersey to conduct a "site survey," according to The New York Times. The survey is a follow-up to a a deathbed confession by a landfill worker claiming that people had charged he and his father with burying Hoffa's body in a steel barrel under the dump in 1975. The agents apparently didn't find the steel barrel, Live Science reported. The identity of his killer is also unclear. Before his death in 2006, Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, a hit man, claimed to have killed Hoffa and dumped his body in a scrap yard, The Guardian reported. An author named Philip Carlo visited Kuklinski in prison before he died and wrote a book on Kuklinski's confessions. After the book came out, a number of police officers cast doubt on the confession in media interviews. As the years go by, it appears increasingly unlikely that Hoffa's remains will ever be found. WHERE IS CLEOPATRA'S TOMB? Ancient writers claim that Cleopatra VII and her lover, Mark Antony, were buried together in a tomb after their deaths in 30 B.C. The writer Plutarch (A.D. 45-120) wrote that the tomb was located near a temple of Isis, an Egyptian goddess, and was a "lofty and beautiful" monument containing treasures made of gold, silver, emeralds, pearls, ebony and ivory. The location of the tomb remains a mystery. In 2010, Zahi Hawass, Egypt's former antiquities minister, conducted excavations at a site near Alexandria now called Taposiris Magna, which contains a number of tombs dating to the era when Cleopatra VII ruled Egypt. While many interesting archaeological discoveries were made, Cleopatra VII's tomb was not among them Hawass reported in a series of news releases. Archaeologists have noted that even if Cleopatra's tomb does survive to this day, it may be heavily plundered and unidentifiable. WHO KILLED JFK? President John F. Kennedy in the presidential limousine before his assassination with his wife Jacqueline next to him. This is probably the biggest mystery in American history that will never be resolved to everyone's satisfaction. On Nov. 22, 1963, President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas by Lee Harvey Oswald (although some speculate that he wasn't the only one shooting). On Nov. 24, 1963, before Oswald could stand trial, Oswald was fatally shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby. Ruby died of lung cancer on Jan. 3, 1967. The most widely accepted explanation is that Oswald killed JFK on his own and Ruby killed Oswald, on his own volition. Ruby's stated motivation was to spare Jacqueline Kennedy "the discomfiture of [Oswald] coming back to trial." However there are still a significant number of professional historians, along with many amateurs, who do not agree with this explanation and since JFK's death, numerous alternative explanations have been brought forward by historians and amateurs. Given that significant new evidence is unlikely to appear, a firm consensus will probably never be reached. WAS CAESARION TRULY CAESAR'S SON? This relief sculpture shows Cleopatra VII and her son Caesarion at the Temple of Hathor. In 47 B.C., Cleopatra VII gave birth to a son named Caesarion whom she claimed was the son of Julius Caesar. Cleopatra named Caesarion as co-ruler of Egypt in 44 B.C., and surviving art depicts mother and son as co-rulers. However, whether the child was truly Caesar’s son is uncertain. Caesar never acknowledged the child as his own. One of Caesar’s friends, Gaius Oppius, even wrote a pamphlet denying that Caesarion was Caesar’s son. Cleopatra VII died by suicide after she and Mark Antony were defeated by Octavian in 30 B.C. and Caesarion was killed not long after that. With no remains of Julius Caesar or Caesarion surviving, it is unlikely that scholars will ever be able to determine, with certainty, whether Caesar was truly Caesarion’s father. IS THERE A MONEY PIT ON OAK ISLAND? For more than two centuries, stories have circulated that Oak Island, located off Nova Scotia, Canada, held a money pit of buried treasure — supposedly left by the pirate Capt. William Kidd (1645-1701). Over that time, numerous expeditions costing millions of dollars have traveled to the island searching for the lost treasure, to no avail. Despite centuries of searching no treasure has been found on Oak Island. Nevertheless that doesn't stop people from trying to find it. A History Channel show called "The Curse of Oak Island" follows a modern-day expedition; the show was just renewed for a fourth season in 2016. IS THE COPPER SCROLL TREASURE REAL? Here, strip 11 of the Copper Scroll. Another treasure tale that will probably never be resolved is more ancient. In 1952 a copper scroll was found by archaeologists in a cave, along with other Dead Sea Scrolls, at the site of Qumran. As its name suggests, the writing was engraved onto a copper scroll. The scroll records a vast amount of hidden gold and silver treasure — so much, in fact, that some scholars believe that it is impossible for it to exist. The scroll dates back more than 1,900 years to a time when the Roman Empire controlled the Qumran area. There were a number of revolts against Roman rule at the time the scroll was written, and scientists have hypothesized that the treasure was hidden to prevent its capture by Roman forces. Whether the treasure is real, where exactly it was hidden, whether it was ever found and whether it could still exist today are all mysteries that will likely never be solved. FATE OF THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. In 587 B.C., a Babylonian army, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, conquered Jerusalem, sacking the city and destroying the First Temple, a building used by the Jewish people to worship god. The First Temple contained the Ark of the Covenant, which carried tablets recording the 10 Commandments. The fate of the Ark is unclear. Ancient sources indicate that the ark was either carried back to Babylon or hidden before the city was captured. It's also possible that the ark was destroyed during the city's sacking. In any event, the ark's location is unknown. Since the disappearance, a number of stories and legends about the ark's fate have been told. One story suggests the ark eventually made its way to Ethiopia, where it is kept today. Another story says the ark was divinely hidden and will not appear until a messiah arrives. WHEN WAS JESUS BORN? While many Christians today celebrate Dec. 25 as the birth of Jesus, he likely was not born on this day. The date Dec. 25 may have been chosen because it’s close in time to Saturnalia, a Roman festival that celebrated the god Saturn. The earliest records of Dec. 25 being the birthday of Jesus date to the fourth century – more than 300 years after his birth. Ancient records suggest that early Christians were never able to agree on a date when Jesus was born and even today many Orthodox Christians celebrate Jesus’ birthday as being on Jan. 6 or 7. In the end, it is unlikely that the date of Jesus’ birth will ever be known — in fact, even the precise year is not certain, although scholars generally agree that it was sometime around 4 B.C. WERE THE HANGING GARDENS OF BABYLON REAL? Ancient writers describe a fantastic series of gardens constructed at the ancient city of Babylon in modern-day Iraq. It's not clear when these gardens were built, but some ancient writers were so impressed by the gardens that they called them a "wonder of the world." Around 250 B.C., Philo of Byzantium wrote that the Hanging Gardens had "plants cultivated at a height above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth." So far, archaeologists who have excavated Babylon have been unable to find the remains of a garden that meets this description. This has left archaeologists with a question: Did the hanging gardens really exist? In ­2013, Stephanie Dalley, a researcher at the University of Oxford, proposed in a book that the gardens were actually located at the Assyrian city of Nineveh. Over the past two decades, both Babylon and Nineveh have suffered damage from wars and looting, and it seems unlikely that this mystery will ever be fully solved. IS THERE A CITY OF ATLANTIS? Writing in the fourth century B.C., the Greek philosopher Plato told a story of a land named Atlantis that existed in the Atlantic Ocean and supposedly conquered much of Europe and Africa in prehistoric times. In the story, the prehistoric Athenians strike back against Atlantis in a conflict that ends with Atlantis vanishing beneath the waves. While no serious scholar believes that this story is literally true, some have speculated that the legend could have been inspired, in part, by real events that happened in Greek history. One possibility is that the Minoan civilization (as it's now called), which flourished on the island of Crete until about 1400 B.C., could have inspired the story of Atlantis. Although Crete is in the Mediterranean, and not the Atlantic, Minoan settlements suffered considerable damage during the eruption of Thera, a volcano in Greece. Additionally, archaeologists found that the Minoans were eventually overcome (or forced to join with) a group of people called the Mycenaeans, who were based on mainland Greece. It's unlikely that this debate will ever be fully settled. WHAT WAS JESUS LIKE? The earliest surviving gospels date to the second century, almost 100 years after the life of Jesus (although recently, it was announced that a possible first-century fragment had been found). The lack of surviving first-century texts about Jesus leave biblical scholars with a number of questions. When were the gospels written? How many of the stories actually took place? What was Jesus like in real life? Archaeological investigations of Nazareth, Jesus' hometown, reveal more about the environment where he grew up. More recently, scientists discovered a first-century house that, centuries after Jesus' time, was venerated as being the house that Jesus grew up in, but whether it was actually Jesus' house is unknown. Although new research will provide more insight, scholars think it's unlikely they will ever fully know what Jesus was really like. WHERE IS THE HOLY GRAIL? The Holy Grail, the cup that Jesus drank from at his last supper with his disciples before his crucifixion, has never been found and almost certainly never will be. In fact, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that there was much interest in it, after those writing some of the King Arthur stories described the search for the Holy Grail as a quest that King Arthur and his knights took on. There are no serious scholarly attempts to find the Holy Grail, although it continues to be popular in fiction, being used as a plot device in films like “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” where it was used to heal Indiana Jones after he was shot by the Nazis. Source: Mysterious Unexplained Stories in History | Facts About Historical Mysteries
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    What's the Word: CORYBANTIC pronunciation: [kor-ə-BAN-tik] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Wild; frenzied. Example: "The audience at the rally became louder and corybantic." "The guitar solo became more complicated and corybantic." About Corybantic Cybele, a goddess of nature from Greco-Roman mythology, had priests and attendants called “Corybants.” The term comes from the Greek “Korubantes.” Did You Know? A London-based band named Corybantic released their self-titled debut in 2016. The EP album’s three songs are completely instrumental and meander in tone and style. The group has been described online as “a sordid hybrid of influences…who enjoy funk, math rock and gypsy jazz.”
  45. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - HAGIA SOPHIA Did you know.... that Hagia Sophia, officially known as the Holy Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque, and formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia and formerly museum is a Late Antique place of worship in Istanbul, designed by the Greek geometers Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles. (Wikipedia) Facts About Hagia Sophia by Christine M | May 11, 2020 Hagia Sophia is one of the world’s greatest monuments and was also once one of the largest Cathedrals in the world. It is more than 1500 years old, yet it was built within a short period of six years. This has rather popularized its architects. Interestingly, Hagia Sophia was a church then mosque turned museum. How is that for diversity. The top 10 facts about Hagia Sophia draw a vivid picture of the great piece of architecture and history of this Istanbul beauty. 1. The first great Byzantine ruler ordered Hagia Sophia’s reconstruction Emperor Justinian and members of his court Hagia Sophia is undoubtedly the most important Byzantine (Istanbul) empire buildings, and also one of the world’s greatest monuments. Emperor Justinian ruled for 38 years, during which a revolt took place, and the church building was destroyed. The emperor however ordered and oversaw Hagia Sophia’s construction and inaugurated it in 537 CE. He was very proud of this work. 2. One of Hagia Sophia’s features is a great dome Hagia Sophia great dome and other smaller domes Hagia Sophia’s walls once had to be reconstructed to support a huge dome that sits atop it, as its weight caused the walls to lean outward. Its sheer size which is 31.7 meters in diameter and 55.6 meters high from floor level is breathtaking. The pendentives that sit between the arches that support the dome were also a unique feature used in construction then. Getting a circular dome to stay on top of a square building by itself is impressive, hence the fascination with the Hagia Sophia. It is said that the huge dome is a symbol of the realm of heaven and its glory. This dome is worth the mention as it is the most striking element of Hagia Sophia, and the second biggest in the world- pantheon in Rome boasts a slightly bigger dome 3. Hagia Sophia’s design has been used as an architectural yardstick Hagia Sophia outline The Basilica style and the huge 32-meter dome of the Hagia Sophia structure make it outstanding. Its structure is almost square with three aisles separated by columns with galleries above it. Marble piers support a heavy dome that sits on its top. Hagia Sophia has windows that obscure the supports when the sun shines making the canopy appear to be floating. These and many other architectural marvels have made Hagia Sophia more than ordinary-its design inspired that of other mosques like the Blue Mosque of Istanbul and the Sultan Ahmed Mosque. 4. Hagia Sophia boasts Islamic and Christian influences Islamic writings at the Hagia Sophia Central nave Hagia Sophia was built as a Cathedral and its name means holy wisdom. It was built under an officially Christian state at a time when citizens were dissatisfied with their government and were rioting. Justinian, the ruler then, managed to quell the riots and had the Hagia Sophia built with simple decorations that were mostly images of the cross, and later ornate mosaics. With the end of Justinian’s rule by way of defeat by Mehmed II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Hagia Sophia was converted into a mosque and changes in decorations were made. Christian decorations were covered up rather than destroyed. These were later unearthed, hence present-day Hagia Sophia museum presents both Muslim and Christian influences. 5. Hagia Sophia lost a lot of art to iconoclasm Hagia Sophia’s mosaics lost in iconoclasm The Hagia Sophia museum is rich in artworks of both Muslim and Christian varieties. One can only imagine how much more of Christian artwork there would have been if iconoclasm had not taken place- this is the belief in the importance of the destruction of images and monuments for fear of these becoming the center of reverence rather than God. During the iconoclasm period, many artworks or images were plastered over, destroyed, or altogether removed. People would actually come to pray and make wishes in front of Hagia Sophia’s icons with the belief that they would come true. 6. Hagia Sophia’s ‘ Weeping Column’ is said to have healing powers Hagia Sophia has a column known as the wishing column, perspiring column, or sweating column that is damp to the touch. It is located on the northwest portion of the church, and on it there is a hole in which people jam their fingers to receive healing from their ailments! It is believed that it has the blessing of St. Gregory who appeared near it, thus provides healing. A finger that emerges wet from the hole is believed to be an indication of the fulfillment of one’s wishes and the provision of healing. Protective bronze plates put over the hole was no determent to pilgrims who still found a way to access the hole. 7. Modernization of Hagia Sophia caused its conversion into a museum Interior of Hagia Sophia The first President of Turkey Mustafa Kemal Atatürk came into power in 1923. He banned numerous Islamic customs and westernized Turkey. This was precedence for the secularization of the Hagia Sophia, later converted to a museum. Before its conversion, Hagia Sophia was Istanbul’s main mosque. Its conversion was seen as beneficial to the Eastern countries and the world as it would provide new knowledge. Turkey’s Kariye mosque turned museum was contested in court. The ruling made was in its favor, as the conversion was declared unlawful. This may have set precedence for other museums that were once mosques such as Hagia Sophia to revert to being mosques. 8. Hagia Sophia sits on the site of two other churches Hagia Sophia is the third construction at the spot on which it sits. The other two constructions were churches as well. The first one, Μεγάλη Ἐκκλησία, Megálē Ekklēsíā, meaning “Great Church” was burned in 404. Theodosius II ordered the erection of a new church which was built but was also razed to the ground during a revolt against Emperor Justinian I. This emperor commissioned architects Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles to build the Hagia Sophia in the wake of the revolt. The two men were Mathematician- Physicist, and Mathematician- Geometrician respectively. 9. Hagia Sophia windows are famous Hagia Sophia windows’ panoramic view Apart from the Hagia Sophia itself, and its dome, one other outstanding feature of Hagia Sophia is its forty windows beneath the large dome all around the building. When the sun shines, it casts a light into the cathedral that creates a mystical aura reflecting into the nave. The famous windows, while letting light into the building also would show structural problems or wear and tear, while easing the pressure of the dome on the pendentives. 10. Hagia Sophia was built from significant material Column of green marble at Hagia Sophia Hagia Sophia’s columns were from the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Large stones were acquired from Egypt while black stone was acquired from the Bosphorus. Additionally, green marble and yellow stone were acquired from Thessaly and Syria respectively. All these materials from around the Byzantine Empire and beyond made Hagia Sophia as magnificent as it is. The features of the Hagia Sophia as described are splendid, and a visit there would help appreciate their individuality as well as their coming together to form the whole. Conversion of the church to mosque, then museum ensures that everything is available for viewing. It is feared that an earthquake might bring Hagia Sophia down as it was constructed over a fault line. The Museum could also do with some refurbishment as it has been said that Hagia Sophia is in such a state of disrepair it desperately needs work. Source: Wikipedia - Hagia Sophia | Facts About Hagia Sophia
  46. 1 point
    What's the Word: VEXILLOLOGY pronunciation: [vek-sə-LAH-lə-jee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 1950s Meaning: 1. The study of flags. Example: "Vexillology has a long, storied tradition in powerful families." "David had a strong interest in design, particularly vexillology." About Vexillology This word comes from the Latin “vexillum,” meaning "flag, military ensign, banner." It originally comes from “velum,” meaning "a sail, curtain, veil.” Did You Know? The North American Vexillological Association touts itself online as “the world’s largest organization of flag enthusiasts and scholars.” The group published “Good Flag, Bad Flag,” a booklet that lays out five basic principles for good flag design and shows examples of flags that follow these principles as well as flags that disregard them.
  47. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - WEEPING WILLOW TREES Did you know... that willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus Salix, are around 400 species of deciduous trees and shrubs, found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Willows all have abundant watery bark sap, which is heavily charged with salicylic acid, soft, usually pliant, tough wood, slender branches, and large, fibrous, often stoloniferous roots. The roots are remarkable for their toughness, size, and tenacity to live, and roots readily sprout from aerial parts of the plant. (Wikipedia) Facts About Willows' by Admin | March 2017 Willows are deciduous trees and shrubs which belongs to the family Salicaceae. There are around 400 species of willows worldwide. They are found primarily on moist soils in cold and temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Some willows (particularly arctic and alpine species) are low-growing or creeping shrubs; for example, the dwarf willow (Salix herbacea) rarely exceeds 6 centimeters (2.4 inches) in height, though it spreads widely across the ground. It is one of the smallest woody plants in the world. The white willow is the largest species of willow trees and grows to 30 meters (100 feet) tall. Most willows are very short-lived. A 70 year old willow is a very old tree. Few live to be more than 100 years old. The bark is generally grey, brown or dark and very scaly. Willow leaves are generally 5 to 15 centimeters (2 to 6 inches) long, deciduous, alternate, and commonly elongated and serrated or smooth. Willows are dioecious, with male and female flowers appearing as catkins on separate plants; the catkins are produced early in the spring, often before the leaves. The male and female flowers are quite different from one another in appearance and, side by side, it would be easy to assume that a male and a female willow tree were two different species. Male willow flowers – the bright yellow pollen is on the end of the stamens and this brushes onto the pollinators when the come to drink from the nectar. Female willow flowers – these are much less showy and do not have the yellow pollen of the male flowers. They also provide nectar to attract pollinators with the hope that the previous flower visited will be a male willow of the same species and thus the pollen will be transferred and the female flower fertilized. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous tiny (0.1 mm) seeds embedded in white down, which assists wind dispersal of the seeds. The seeds must land in a moist location and germinate quickly or they dry out and soon die. Willow trees are able to reproduce without any type of fertilization taking place. They are able to create genetic copies of the parent plant when fallen branches take root near water sources. Willow trees are notably adept at vegetative reproduction with the ability to sprout from branches, even upside-down. Willows are very cross-fertile and numerous hybrids are known, both naturally occurring and in cultivation. The weeping willow (Salix babylonica) tree is the most commonly known willow tree. Willows produce a modest amount of nectar from which bees can make honey, and are especially valued as a source of early pollen for bees. Some of humans’ earliest manufactured items may have been made from willow. A fishing net made from willow dates back to 8300 BC. Basic crafts, such as baskets, fish traps, wattle fences and wattle and daub house walls, were often woven from osiers or withies (rod-like willow shoots, often grown in coppices). Willow wood is used in the manufacture of of boxes, brooms, cricket bats, cradle boards, chairs and other furniture, dolls, flutes, poles, sweat lodges, toys, turnery, tool handles, veneer, wands and whistles. Willow is used to make charcoal (for drawing). Willow is used to make living sculptures. Living sculptures are created from live willow rods planted in the ground and woven into shapes such as domes and tunnels. Willow stems are used to weave three-dimensional sculptures, such as animals and figures. In Assyria, Sumer and Egypt these trees were attributed with healing due to the salicylic acid found within the bark, a raw form of today’s aspirin. In Ancient Greece the physician Hippocrates wrote about its medicinal properties in the fifth century BC. Native Americans across the Americas relied on it as a staple of their medical treatments. In 1763, its medicinal properties were observed by the Reverend Edward Stone in England. He notified the Royal Society, which published his findings. The active extract of the bark, called salicin, was isolated to its crystalline form in 1828 by Henri Leroux, a French pharmacist, and Raffaele Piria, an Italian chemist, who then succeeded in separating out the compound in its pure state. In 1897, Felix Hoffmann created a synthetically altered version of salicin (in his case derived from the Spiraea plant), which caused less digestive upset than pure salicylic acid. The new drug, formally acetylsalicylic acid, was named Aspirin by Hoffmann’s employer Bayer AG. Willow is one of the “Four Species” used ritually during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. In Buddhism, a willow branch is one of the chief attributes of Kwan Yin, the bodhisattva of compassion. Christian churches in northwestern Europe and Ukraine often used willow branches in place of palms in the ceremonies on Palm Sunday. In Japanese tradition, the willow is associated with ghosts. It is popularly supposed that a ghost will appear where a willow grows. In English folklore, a willow tree is believed to be quite sinister, capable of uprooting itself and stalking travelers. Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called “Under the Willow Tree” (1853) in which children ask questions of a tree they call “willow-father”, paired with another entity called “elder-mother” Old Man Willow in J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendarium, appearing in The Lord of the Rings. “Green Willow” is a Japanese ghost story in which a young samurai falls in love with a woman called Green Willow who has a close spiritual connection with a willow tree. The “Whomping Willow” is a feature of the grounds of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter stories. Source: Wikipedia - Willow | Facts About Weeping Willows
  48. 1 point
    What's the Word: JOCOSE pronunciation: [jə-KOS] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 17th century Meaning: 1. Playful or humorous. Example: "The playdate was filled with jocose laughter." "Jeannette was looking for a jocose writer to work on her sitcom." About Jocose This word stems from the Latin “iocosus,” meaning "full of jesting, fond of jokes, funny." It originates from “iocus,” meaning "pastime, sport; a jest, joke." Did You Know? A “jocose lie” is when someone tells an untrue story that is really meant to amuse the storyteller’s audience more than to mislead. In the storytelling tradition, they are intended to be understood as humorous. Irony, teasing, and tall tales are all examples.
  49. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - WASHINGTON'S CROSSING Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851 Did you know..... that George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River, which occurred on the night of December 25–26, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War, was the first move in a surprise attack organized by George Washington against Hessian forces (German auxiliaries in the service of the British) in Trenton, New Jersey, on the morning of December 26. Planned in partial secrecy, Washington led a column of Continental Army troops across the icy Delaware River in a logistically challenging and dangerous operation. Other planned crossings in support of the operation were either called off or ineffective, but this did not prevent Washington from surprising and defeating the troops of Johann Rall quartered in Trenton. Following the battle in Trenton, the army crossed the river again back to Pennsylvania, this time laden with prisoners and military stores taken as a result of the battle. Washington's army then crossed the river a third time at the end of the year, under conditions made more difficult by the uncertain thickness of the ice on the river. They defeated British reinforcements under Lord Cornwallis at Trenton on January 2, 1777, and defeated his rear guard at Princeton on January 3, before retreating to winter quarters in Morristown, New Jersey. The unincorporated communities of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania, and Washington Crossing, New Jersey, are named in honor of this event. (Wikipedia) Facts about Washington's Crossing of the Delaware River by Richard Gunderman | December 2019 For most people today, Christmas is a time of food, family and festivities, when attention turns from work and woes to fellowship and celebration. Yet it has not always been so. In fact, Christmas of 1776 marked one of the most harrowing days in American history – when the fate of the fledgling republic itself hung in the balance. Often remembered as Washington’s crossing of the Delaware, it pitted the ragtag Continental Army against perhaps the most feared fighting force on Earth, the German Hessians, whose services had been paid for by Britain. Yet the outcome would ultimately hinge as much on cold, ice and disease as on fighting prowess. America’s waning prospects Washington’s forces needed some good news. After they ran the British out of Boston in March of 1776, things began going from bad to worse. The British chased Washington out of New York, then across New Jersey. By year’s end, Washington’s army was shrinking, and morale was low. The British troops were ensconced in New York, well-fed and warm. They left German troops in charge of Trenton, New Jersey. Washington was expecting the forces of Generals Horatio Gates and Charles Lee to join him, but they were delayed by winter weather and lack of confidence. A statue of Thomas Paine in Thetford, Norfolk, United Kingdom, the town in which he was born. The tide begins to turn The first hint of reprieve arrived in the form of Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis,” published on Dec. 19, with its famous lines, “These are the times that try men’s souls… . Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered… but the harder the conflict, the great the triumph.” Washington ordered it read to the men. Finally, the troops of Gates and Lee arrived, followed by militiamen from Philadelphia, providing Washington with a total force of about 6,000, many whose enlistments would expire at year’s end. On Christmas Eve, provisions arrived, further enhancing morale. Crossing the Delaware Washington’s plan was to make multiple crossings of the Delaware River in boats. On Christmas morning, he ordered the troops three days’ food and fresh arms. The crossing would begin as soon as darkness fell. However, the weather deteriorated over the course of the evening, as drizzle changed into freezing rain and snow. Henry Knox, Washington’s chief of artillery, had organized the crossing, which would be imperiled by floating ice. Men who got wet faced grave risks of frostbite and freezing to death. Because of the ice and bad weather, the crossing, which was to be complete at midnight, was not finished until early the next morning. The Battle of Trenton The commander of the German troops in Trenton had received warning that an attack was coming, but he dismissed it, in part because lone farmers had been harrying the Germans for days, alternately drawing them out with gunshot and then retreating. Against all odds, the Dec. 26 surprise attack succeeded, throwing the Germans into confusion. When they tried to organize a counterattack, the Americans fired on them with muskets, killing their commander and sowing further discord. As a result of the battle, the Americans captured about 900 Germans and a large cache of supplies. Against orders, many American troops began enjoying captured rum, with the result that some fell into the water as they returned across the river. Further crossings While the attack and another foray a few days later did little to imperil the British forces in New York, they did restore the morale of the American troops. Many whose terms of service were ending elected, thanks in part to a congressional bounty, to remain. After a third successful crossing, Washington and his men made their way to Princeton, where another successful attack forced the enemy back to New Brunswick. Thereafter the Continental Army established its winter encampment in Morristown in early January. The real killers Yet the seasonal cessation of hostilities did not bring an end to suffering and death. Throughout the Revolutionary War, far more troops died of disease than in battle. Common scourges included smallpox, typhus, dysentery and malaria. Of course, enemy troops were subject to the same diseases. Factors such as poor sanitation and crowded living conditions created a favorable environment for the transmission of infectious disease, while poor hygiene and malnutrition lowered host resistance to infection. In this respect, the war reprised a perennial theme of history – disease took more lives than combat. In his seminal book, “Plagues and Peoples,” historian William McNeill demonstrates the decisive historical role of diseases such as smallpox in Mexico, bubonic plague in China and typhoid fever in Europe. Disease also deviled the American troops the following winter at Valley Forge, again multiplied by poor living conditions. The winters of 1779 and 1780 in Morristown were still worse, due to supply shortages and yet harsher weather. Several regiments even mutinied – a fate Washington had previously managed to avoid. A reenactment of Washington crossing the Delaware, albeit under sunnier conditions. The surprise attack was such an important event in the war that it is often reenacted. George Sheldon/Shutterstock.com Victory in perseverance Against great odds, Washington managed to keep the army together, and eventually the Americans triumphed, as much through dodging decisive defeats and refusing to surrender as through any military prowess. As such chapters in the War of Independence illustrate, America has known many bleak Christmases, and when it comes to negotiating difficult times, the stubborn spirit of its people has often proved its redemption. Source: Wikipedia - George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River | Facts About Washington's Crossing
  50. 1 point
    What's the Word: INGLENOOK pronunciation: [ING-ɡəl-nook] Part of speech: noun Origin: Scottish, late 18th century Meaning: 1. A space on either side of a large fireplace. Example: "The central feature of the living room was the inglenook." "Some historical homes have inglenook fireplaces tucked under a grand staircase." About Inglenook This word originates from “ingle,” perhaps from the Scottish Gaelic “aingeal” meaning “light, fire,” Irish aingeal “live ember.” “Nook” is from Middle English and refers to a “corner or fragment.” Did You Know? Inglenooks originated as a partially enclosed hearth area that was part of a larger room. The hearth was used to cook food, and the alcove became a natural gathering place to seek warmth. American architects like Henry Hobson Richardson and Frank Lloyd Wright often incorporated inglenooks into their designs.
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