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  1. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/the-talos-principle/home The Talos Principle is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  2. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/shadow-tactics/home Shadow Tactics: Blades of the Shogun is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  3. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/hyper-light-drifter/home Hyper Light Drifter is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  4. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/faster-than-light/home FTL - Faster Than Light: Advanced Edition is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  5. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/totally-accurate-battle-simulator/home Totally Accurate Battle Simulator is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  6. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/celeste/home Celeste is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/theatre-of-war-2-africa-1943/ Theatre of War 2: Africa 1943 is currently free on IndieGala.
  7. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - FIREWORKS Did you know.... that fireworks are a class of low explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes? The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display, a display of the effects produced by firework devices. The earliest documentation of fireworks dates back to 7th century China. They were invented more than 2000 years ago in China. China is the largest manufacturer and exporter of fireworks in the world. 90% of all fireworks originate from here. In 1240 the Arabs acquired knowledge of gunpowder. A Syrian named Hasan al-Rammah wrote of fireworks using terms that suggested he derived his knowledge from Chinese sources. The first recorded fireworks in England were at the wedding of King Henry VII in 1486. Dreaming about fireworks means that you like to be the centre of attention and are showing off to others. It also symbolizes enthusiasm and exhilaration. The fireworks were used to accompany many festivities, scare off evil spirits and promote prosperity. The largest chocolate firework was measuring 3m high and 1.5m in diameter and containing 60kg of Swiss Cailler chocolates. The firework was released in Zurich on New Year's Eve 2002. Fireworks are not fun for animals. Always keep dogs and cats inside the house when fireworks are being let off. Stay calm and make sure they have somewhere to hide. The biggest occasion for fireworks in the UK is Guy Fawkes Night (5th November). It is a celebration of the failing of the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605, an attempt to kill King James I at the Houses of Parliament. The largest firework rocket is 13kg and was produced and launched in Portugal in 2010. Queen Elizabeth was so fascinated with fireworks that she created an honorary title, "Fire Master of England" for the individual who created the best fireworks. The word for firework in Japanese, 'hanabi', which actually means "fire-flower". Amédée-François Frézier published a "Treatise on Fireworks" in 1706, covering the recreational and ceremonial uses of fireworks. The book became a standard text for fireworks makers. A rocket can reach speeds of 150mph, however the shell can reach as high as 200 metres. A sparkler burns at a temperature over 15 times the boiling point of water. Three sparklers burning together generate the same heat as a blowtorch. When your sparkler goes out, put it in a bucket of water. France uses fireworks to celebrate Bastille Day and celebrate storming the prison of Bastille. The record for the largest firework display consisted of 66,326 fireworks and was achieved in Portugal in 2006. Static electricity in synthetic clothing can set off firecrackers. People making firecrackers wear only cotton clothing while making firecrackers. Italy was the first country to truly master and experiment with fireworks in Europe. They were the first to use shells for firecrackers to be loaded into canons and shot into the air. Half of all firework injuries are to children under the age of 16. The biggest annual fireworks display event in Europe is the International Festival concert held in Edinburgh, Scotland, in which a million fireworks are set off in less than an hour. At first fireworks were only orange and white. In the Middle Ages new colours were achieved by adding different salts. The hardest colour to create is blue. Sparklers can be used to make funny pictures. All you need is a totally dark setting, a sparkler to draw with and a camera recording a long exposure. A record breaking 56,000 firework rockets were launched simultaneously in a spectacular opening to the Plymouth, UK Fireworks Championships by Scientist Roy Lowry. A string of firecrackers that went on and on lasting 22 hours marked the New Years day celebrations in Hong Kong in 1996.
  8. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - ICE SCULPTURE Did you know... that ice sculpture is a form of sculpture that uses ice as the raw material? Sculptures from ice can be abstract or realistic and can be functional or purely decorative. Ice sculptures are generally associated with special or extravagant events because of their limited lifetime. It's the art of carving shapes out of ice. It ranges in size from small table decorations to entire towns of ice seen in winter festivals all over the world. The beginnings of ice sculpture are credited to both China and Russia, and go back centuries. There are two ways to make ice sculpture: You can carve into a block of ice or make a mold. Blocks of ice are obtained from frozen rivers and lakes. Typically water that freezes slowly makes clear ice and is preferred by artists to make ice sculptures. In some places, artificial blocks of ice are made for this purpose. Sculpting ice presents a number of difficulties due to the variability and volatility of the material. Ice may be sculpted in a wide range of temperatures and the characteristics of the ice will change according to its temperature as well as the surrounding temperatures. Sculptures are generally carved from blocks of ice and these blocks must be carefully selected to be suitable for the sculptor's purposes and should be free of undesired impurities. Typically, ideal carving ice is made from pure, clean water. However, clear, transparent ice is a result of the freezing process and not necessarily related to the purity of the water. Clouded ice is often the result of finely trapped air molecules that tend to bind to the impurities while naturally freezing. Mechanically clear ice is usually made as the result of controlling the freezing process by the circulation of the water in the freezing chamber. This process hopes to eliminate any trapped air from binding to the impurities in the freezing process. Certain machines and processes allow for slow freezing and the removal of impurities and therefore are able to produce the clear blocks of ice that are favored by ice carvers. However, not all blocks that are carved are clear ice. White ice blocks look like snow and are sometimes carved. Colored ice blocks are produced by adding dyes to the ice and can be carved as well. In some instances, clear ice and colored ice are combined to create a desired effect. There are various sizes of ice blocks that are produced artificially. Naturally made blocks can be cut to almost any size from frozen rivers or from "ice quarries," which are essentially lakes or ponds that have frozen over. Large ice blocks must be moved by heavy machinery and are used for large ice sculpting events or as part of an ice hotel. The temperature of the environment affects how quickly the piece must be completed to avoid the effects of melting; if the sculpting does not take place in a cold environment, then the sculptor must work quickly to finish the piece. Some sculptures can be completed in as little as ten minutes if the carver is using power tools such as chainsaws and specialty bits fitted to a die grinder. Ice sculptors also use razor-sharp chisels and hand saws that are specifically designed for cutting ice. As various technologies are adapted for use with ice carving, many sculptures are now created largely by machine. CNC machines and molding systems are now commonly used to create ice sculptures and complicated logos from ice. Color effects are also possible by a number of techniques, including the addition of colored gels or sand to the ice. This art form is traditionally taught in culinary schools using text books such as Ice Sculpting the Modern Way, Joseph Amendola's Ice Carving Made Easy and Mac Winker's Ice Sculpture: The Art of Ice Carving in 12 Systematic Steps. There are also small schools that teach ice carving. The ice may be turned clear after carving by applying heat from a Propane or Mapp Gas cylinder. This alters the opaque effect that is obtained when carving. The ice turns clear after the outside is melted. Caution is to be used as the ice melts very quickly and could soften edges and contours. Sometimes distilled water is used for enhanced clarity. Ice sculptures feature decoratively in some cuisines and may be used to enhance the presentation of foods, especially cold foods such as seafood or sorbets. The story of the creation of the dish Peach Melba recounts that Chef Auguste Escoffier used an ice swan to present the dish.[2] At holiday buffets and Sunday brunches some large restaurants and hotels will use ice sculptures to decorate the buffet tables. Cruise ship buffets are also famous for their use of ice sculptures. Ice sculptures are often used at wedding receptions, usually as some form of decoration. Popular subjects for ice sculptures at weddings are hearts, doves, and swans. Swans have a reputation for monogamy, partly accounting for their popularity. They may be used at a bar, in the form of an ice luge, or even the entire bar may be made of ice. Ice sculptures with high surface area like in a radiator can be use to cool air to blow on people during heat wave events when air conditioning is not available. Ice sculptures, ice walls for fire fighting, property protection and cooling stations may be cast by a process in which ice water (one part), crushed ice or ice cubes (three parts) and tiny, floating, dry ice pellets (one part) are placed in a cement mixer. The tiny dry ice pellets super cool the ice water so that the ice water acts like glue to cement or freeze the crushed ice or ice cubes together within several seconds once the mixture stops moving within the mold. The ice water component of the mixture will expand 9% on freezing, so rubber, foam or foam lined casting materials work best to combat the water to ice expansion problem not encountered with wax, cement, casting plaster or metal casting materials. Ice sculpture or ice walls may be stopped from melting by placing and keeping vertical voids in the ice sculpture or ice wall filled with the same type of tiny dry ice pellets used to make ice walls by the Icecrete process previously called Cryocrete in a 2014 U.S. provisional patent. You can order custom or pre-designed ice sculptures to serve as centerpieces for celebrations such as weddings, birthdays and bar mitzvahs. Depending on the weather and the structure of the sculpture, ice art can melt in just a few hours or months. The Harbin International Ice festival, for example, runs for two months. Artists enter elaborate ice sculptures at competitions and festivals held annually all over the world. Ice festivals are typically seen in places that get very cold. Festivals in Sapporo, Japan, for instance, feature sculpture on an architectural scale such as ice castles and pagodas. The winter carnival in Alaska has participants from over 100 teams annually, including teams from countries such as China and the United States. In Sweden an ice hotel complete with bedrooms and a bar is built every year. In China In the 1600s, native hunters and fishermen of the Chinese province of Heilongjiang, on the border of Russia, designed ice lanterns for dark winter nights. They filled buckets with water to make ice, then slid it out, dug a hole in it and put a candle in the hole to make a lantern. The trend spread, and people started hanging decorated lanterns from homes and parading them in carnivals. In 1897, the Trans Siberian Railway was extended through the small Chinese fishing town of Harbin in Heilongjiang, once occupied by Russia. As a result of the traffic, Harbin grew into a cosmopolitan city. With below freezing winds from Siberia, and ice from the frozen Songhua river, Harbin became the home of the annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. Currently, this festival features the work of thousands of artists from all over the world. In Russia In 1740, the first monumental scale ice palace was commissioned by the Empress Anna in Russia. Designed by Piotr Eropkin, this palace featured, among other things, ice cannons that fired ice cannon balls, and an ice elephant linked to a canal through pipes that sprayed water out of its trunk. Since then, complete ice towns have been built in the northern cities of Russia. In 2000, a replica of Anna's ice palace was built in the first International Sand and Ice festival at St. Petersburg. Nine hundred and eighty square feet and 21 feet tall, the palace was built by fusing together blocks of ice from the Neva river. Russians claim that St. Petersburg was where ice sculpture began. In Canada In Canada, Quebec City, Quebec holds an ice sculpture festival each year during the Quebec City Winter Carnival. The sculpture festival lasts about three weeks. For the sheer variety of ice sculptures and the number of visitors, the Quebec festival is regarded by some as the best in the world. Each year, about twenty teams are chosen to participate in the competition. Half of these teams come from Canada and the others come from other countries. Ice sculpting started to become important in Quebec in the 1880s, as traditional sculptors, like Louis Jobin, turned their skills on this less permanent medium. Each year Lake Louise, located in Banff National Park, holds a three-day event called Ice Magic in the 3rd weekend of January. Sanctioned by the National Ice Carving Association, Professional carvers are invited to compete in this event staged in the shadow of the glacier-clad Mt. Victoria. Twelve teams of three carvers are given 15 blocks of ice, weighing 300 lb each, which they must transform into ice sculptures in three days. Weather permitting; the sculptures will remain on display through March. The annual Deep Freeze Festival in Edmonton, Alberta hosts a chisel-and-chainsaw ice carving competition the second weekend of January.[4] Sculptures are created by professionals and amateurs using three blocks of ice. Every year a theme is chosen, in 2013 the theme was "The Wild West". In the National Capital Region of Canada the Crystal Garden international invitational ice-carving competition starts every February, as part of the Winterlude winter festival of Ottawa. The competition site has been located in Confederation Park in Ottawa and also on the shores of Leamy lake in Gatineau, across the Ottawa River. There is a solo category, a pairs category and a one-bloc challenge. In addition to the sculptures done in the competition many ice sculptures are made to decorate the many Winterlude sites. In Kingston, Ontario, the annual FebFest snow sculpture competition in Confederation Park in features snow forts by Royal Military College of Canada and Queen's University. The snow fort must not only be pleasing to look at but also safe for children to play on. In 2008, Royal Military College of Canada's snow fort was modelled after the MacKenzie Building in the Second Empire style with a Mansard roof and a central tower incorporating a working clock, flanked by projecting end towers and a slide. Both teams worked through the night, filling rectangular recycling bins with snow. In addition, ice sculptures of hockey players were made in memory of the first hockey game between Royal Military College of Canada and Queen's University. About 10 km East of Quebec city, near Montmorency Falls and within the grounds of the Duchesnay winter resort the first Ice hotel in North America is erected each January. Small and medium-sized ice sculptures are used to decorate the interiors.
  9. 1 point
    Just found this community, looking forward to visiting while I watch Steins;Gate for the first time!
  10. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - STARFISH Did you know... that starfish or sea stars are star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea? Common usage frequently finds these names being also applied to ophiuroids, which are correctly referred to as brittle stars or basket stars. Starfish (or sea stars) are beautiful marine animals found in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes. All starfish resemble stars, and though the most common have only five arms, some of these animals can grow up to 40 arms. The amazing sea creatures—part of a group of animals known as echinoderms—travel using their tube feet. They can regenerate lost limbs, and they can swallow large prey using their unusual stomachs. Although sea stars live underwater and are commonly called "starfish," they are not true fish. They do not have gills, scales, or fins like fish do. Sea stars also move quite differently from fish. While fish propel themselves with their tails, sea stars have tiny tube feet to help them move along. Because they are not classified as fish, scientists prefer to call starfish "sea stars." Sea stars belong to the phylum Echinodermata. That means they are related to sand dollars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and sea lilies. Overall, this phylum contains over 6,000 species. Many echinoderms exhibit radial symmetry, meaning their body parts are arranged around a central axis. Many sea stars have five-point radial symmetry because their body has five sections. This means that they do not have an obvious left and right half, only a top side and a bottom side. Echinoderms also usually have spines, which are less pronounced in sea stars than they are in other organisms such as sea urchins. There are about 2,000 species of sea stars. Some live in the intertidal zone, while others live in the deep water of the ocean. While many species live in tropical areas, sea stars can also be found in cold areas—even the polar regions. While many people are most familiar with the five-armed species of sea stars, not all sea stars have just five arms. Some species have many more, such as the sun star, which can have up to 40 arms. Amazingly, sea stars can regenerate lost arms, which is useful if the sea star is injured by a predator. It can lose an arm, escape, and grow a new arm later. Sea stars house most of their vital organs in their arms. This means that some species can even regenerate an entirely new sea star from just one arm and a portion of the star's central disc. It won't happen too quickly, though. It takes about a year for an arm to grow back. Depending on the species, a sea star's skin may feel leathery or slightly prickly. Sea stars have a tough covering on their upper side, which is made up of plates of calcium carbonate with tiny spines on their surface. A sea star's spines are used for protection from predators, which include birds, fish, and sea otters. One very spiny sea star is the aptly named crown-of-thorns starfish. Instead of blood, sea stars have a circulatory system made up primarily of sea water. Seawater is pumped into the animal's water vascular system through its sieve plate. This is a sort of trap door called a madreporite, which is often visible as a light-colored spot on the top of the starfish. From the madreporite, the sea water moves into the sea star's tube feet, causing the arm to extend. Muscles within the tube feet are used to retract the limb. Sea stars move using hundreds of tube feet, which are located on their underside. The tube feet are filled with sea water, which the sea star brings in through the madreporite on its top side. Sea stars can move quicker than you might expect. If you get a chance, visit a tide pool or aquarium and take a moment to watch a sea star moving around. It is one of the most amazing sights in the ocean. Tube feet also help the sea star hold its prey, including clams and mussels. Sea stars prey on bivalves like mussels and clams, as well as small fish, snails, and barnacles. If you've ever tried to pry the shell of a clam or mussel open, you know how difficult it is. However, sea stars have a unique way of eating these creatures. A sea star's mouth is on its underside. When it catches its food, the sea star will wrap its arms around the animal's shell and pull it open just slightly. Then it does something amazing. The sea star pushes its stomach through its mouth and into the bivalve's shell. It then digests the animal and slides its stomach back into its own body. This unique feeding mechanism allows the sea star to eat larger prey than it would otherwise be able to fit into its tiny mouth. Many people are surprised to learn that starfish have eyes. It's true. The eyes are there—just not in the place you would expect. Sea stars have an eye spot at the end of each arm. This means that a five-armed sea star has five eyes, while the 40-armed sun star has 40 eyes. Each sea star eye is very simple and looks like a red spot. It doesn't see much detail but it can sense light and dark, which is just enough for the environments the animals live in. Starfish belong to the animal class Asteroidea. These echinoderms all have several arms arranged around a central disk. Asteroidea is the classification for "true stars." These animals are in a separate class from brittle stars and basket stars, which have a more defined separation between their arms and their central disk. Male and female sea stars are hard to tell apart because they look identical. While many animal species reproduce using only one method, sea stars are a little different. Sea stars can reproduce sexually. They do this by releasing sperm and eggs (called gametes) into the water. The sperm fertilizes the gametes and produces swimming larvae, which eventually settle on the ocean floor, growing into adult sea stars. Sea stars can also reproduce asexually through regeneration, which is what happens when the animals lose an arm.
  11. 1 point
    https://freebies.indiegala.com/dino-dinis-kick-off-revival/ Dino Dini's Kick Off Revival is currently free on IndieGala.
  12. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - YULE LOG Did you know... that the tradition of yule logs has its roots in pagan rituals? In fact, the word "yule" is old English for a festival known to take place in December and January. Northern Europeans, like Vikings, celebrated the Festival of Yule to honor the winter solstice by journeying into the woods in search of a hearty oak tree. The event was a family affair, with family members venturing out in search of a choice cut of wood. They would return with the most robust log they could find and burn it in deference to various gods as well as in celebration of life and prosperity. Ultimately, the yule log was thought to determine a person's good or bad luck, and there are many variations on this superstition. One European belief held that the log had to catch fire on the first attempt to light it, lest all the inhabitants of the home where it burned suffer bad luck. Another stated that the remains of a log must be kept for the following year's ceremony for good luck, which would extend across successive generations. The ashes were sometimes stored under a bed in order to make a home immune to evil spirits and lightning strikes. English Christmas traditions called for the yule log to burn as a sign of goodwill through all 12 days of Christmas, during which time family members would refrain from labor to celebrate the season. While a proper yule log isn't a common sight in 21st-century fireplaces, it can be found in holiday kitchens -- in the form of a dessert. Bûche de Nöel is of French origin and is a sponge cake replica of a yule log. It comes in flavors like chocolate and gingerbread and is frosted in a wood-grain pattern. It's believed that the dessert was created in response to French families who didn't have a fireplace for a real yule log in their homes but wanted to share in the holiday tradition [source: Jaworski]. Yule log cakes are readily available in French bakeries, but many residents in the United States must make their own version of the delicacy from scratch. But France isn't the only place that has adapted the concept of the yule log. Urban areas like New York City have high-density populations, and, as a result, space is at a minimum. Therefore, fireplaces are a rare commodity in apartments and condominiums. In 1966, New York City television programming director Fred Thrower had an idea for log-deprived New Yorkers. Thrower had his local station, WPIX-TV, broadcast a looping video of a blazing fireplace -- with Christmas music playing in the background -- beginning on Christmas Eve. The broadcast, designed to provide city-dwellers with holiday ambience they might otherwise lack, was an instant success and became a Christmas morning mainstay on the New York station. It began airing on national cable networks, and in high-definition, in 2004.
  13. 1 point
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ape-out/home Ape Out is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  14. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - CANDLES Did you know... that tallow (a byproduct of beef fat) was popular in Europe in the Middle Ages to make candles? Candles have also been made out of wax made out of insects and seeds. It was even made of spermaceti from sperm whales and various plants. Candles are now mostly made from paraffin, beeswax, soy and many types of waxes. Candles have been around since the days of the ancient Egyptians and still remain a household item. From a revolutionary and very vital light source, to a decorative way of spreading fragrance and dim light around our homes for a change of atmosphere. A chandlery was originally the office in a medieval household responsible for wax and candles, as well as the room in which the candles were kept. It could be headed by a chandler. Whether a separate office or not, the function was naturally an important one, in a time before electric light, and when production of candles was often done privately. Today, a chandlery can refer to a candle business; as such, a "chandler" is a person who sells candles. In 1709, the chandlers (candle maker) guild persuaded the parliament to ban candle making in the home, therefore monopolizing the candle industry. The ancient Greeks would bring cakes covered with candles, representing the glowing moon, to the temple of Artemis, the Goddess of the hunt and the moon. This tradition is still seen today anytime someone sticks a candle on top of a birthday cake. Over the last thousand+ years, candles have been made from a wide range of mediums. From animal fat, to oils from plants and insects, and everywhere in between. When there were no clocks, candle clocks were used that burned a set amount of hours. If you wanted an alarm, you pushed a nail at the desired time length in the candle and when it melted to that point, the nail would fall and clank on the metal holder, alerting you. 1. The Candle industry is growing; more so because of our society’s stressful lives and everyone’s quest for relief. 2. Candles are used in 7 out of 10 U.S. households. The majority of consumers also burn candles between 1-3 times per week, with half of these consumers burning 1-2 candles at a time. 3. Candle industry research findings indicate that the most important factor affecting candle sales is Fragrance, with Color and Shape taking a distant second, in the consumer selection of a candle for the home. 4. Overall candle sales are growing faster than the United States economy as a whole. The past few years have seen remarkable growth and strength in the candle industry as a whole. 5. The U.S. market is typically separated into seasonal business at roughly 35%, and Non-seasonal 65% of the annual market. 6. Consumers say they typically burn candles for just under 3 hours. 9 out of 10 candle users say they use candles to make a room feel comfortable and cozy. 7. Candle users say they most frequently burn candles in the living room (42%), by the kitchen (18%), and the bedroom (13%). 8. Candle purchasers view candles as an appropriate gift for the holidays (76%), house-warming gifts (74%), a hostess/dinner party gift (66%) a thank you gift (61%), adult birthday gift (58%). 9. US retail sales of candles are estimated at approximately $2 billion annually, excluding the sales of candle accessories. 10. There are more than 350 commercial, religious and institutional manufacturers of candles in the United States, as well as scores of small craft producers for local, non-commercial use. 11. Candles are sold principally in three types of retail outlets: department stores, specialty shops, and mass merchants, including drug store chains, supermarkets, and discount stores. 12. Candle manufacturers’ surveys show that 96% of all candles purchased are bought by women. Two thirds of candle purchasers say they use candles once a week or more often. Women are more frequent users than men, and younger people tend to use candles more often than older adults.
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    Fact of the Day - ORNAMENTS Did you know... that the traditional spherical ornaments you see on a multitude of Christmas trees are called baubles? They were created in Lauscha, Germany by a man named Hans Greiner (1550-1609), who made them from glass. Baubles were based on the original decoration material for Christmas trees- fruits and nuts. In the eleventh century, religious plays called "mystery plays" became popular throughout Europe. One of the most prevalent plays was the annual Christmas "Paradise Play" This play told of the Biblical account of Adam and Eve and the partaking of the forbidden fruit. The only prop on the stage was the "Paradise tree", a fir tree adorned with apples, which represented their sin. Later, wafers were added to the tree which stood for Christ's atoning sacrifice. Red and White flowers later adorned many of these trees. Red symbolized knowledge, and the White flowers represented innocence. Many credit the common Christmas ornament colors of Red, Green and White to the Paradise Tree. The first account we have of a tree decorated with Christmas ornaments in a home dates from 1605 in Strasbourg, Germany. The use of Christmas ornaments spread in Germany with cookies, bread, nuts and the like serving as decorations. So many sweets decorated the German Christmas tree it was nicknamed the "sugar tree." Small gifts also made their way to the branches of the Christmas tree. German immigrants brought their Christmas tree decorating habits to America, where the tradition spread. The Christmas ornaments that caught the public's eye were the glass-blown ornaments hand-crafted in Lauscha, Germany. Besides their visual appeal, their lightweight design may have been equally appealing. With all the Christmas candles and the food, wood and metal ornaments, Christmas trees became rather heavy. The light glass-blown ornaments may have been a welcome replacement for some of the heavier ornaments. There are several legends behind using tinsel to decorate the Christmas tree. The primary one tells of a woman whose husband had died. She needed to bring up a large family of children herself. She worked hard and was determined to make a happy time for them at Christmas. She prepared a Christmas tree to surprise them on Christmas Day. Unfortunately spiders visited the tree, and crawled from branch to branch, making webs all over it. The Christ Child saw the tree and knew she would be devastated to find this on Christmas morning. He changed the spiders' webs to shining silver. In the 1860s and 70s, the first commercial Christmas tree ornaments began to emerge. Some of these commercial Christmas ornaments were crafted out of embossed and painted cardboard. These were Dresden ornaments, named for the German city where they were produced. In Germany in the 1600's, Christmas Trees were decorated with colored paper, small toys, food, and sometimes candles. Later, tinsel, silver wire ornaments, candles and small beads became common. The custom was to have several small trees on tables, one for each family member, with their gifts stacked on the table under the tree. Electric Christmas tree lights were first used just 3 years after Thomas Edison had his first public demonstration of electric lights in 1879. The early Christmas tree lights were handmade and rather expensive. In the 1900's, popular decorations included strings of popcorn, homemade cards, pictures, cotton to look like snow, candy, and eventually glass balls and figurines. Some people used candles, but they often caused devastating fires. In the 1930's, common Christmas tree decorations included bells, balls, and tinsel, and with a beautiful golden haired angel at the top. Commercial Christmas ornaments took off in America when F.W. Woolworth, of five-and-dime store fame reluctantly began selling German glass ornaments and they sold out in two days. That convinced him and he began his buying trips to Germany. Translucent plastic shapes, honeycomb paper angels, and glow-in-the-dark icicles became popular items. Not until WWII did an American company succeed in manufacturing Christmas ornaments. Using a machine designed to make lightbulbs, the Corning Glass company was able to produce more than 2,000 Christmas ornaments a minute. The mid-1960's saw another major change. The world was changing and modernist ideas were everywhere. Silver aluminum artificial trees were so popular that they were imported from America throughout the world. Colored lights placed below the tree made decorations unnecessary. In the 1970's, America made a return to Victorian nostalgia and the trees had a refreshing new look. Some American companies specialized in making antique replicas, but others found the original makers in Europe to recreate wonderful glass ornaments and real silver tinsels. Real Christmas trees were popular. However, several manufacturers starting creating artificial trees that looked real. Many homemakers preferred the convenience of a real looking artificial Christmas tree. If your room was big enough, you could have a 14-foot artificial spruce right in your living room-with no dropped needles! The new pine scented sprays claimed to give your artificial Christmas tree that "real tree smell"! In the 1990's, "theme trees" gain in popularity. For example, popular Christmas ornaments helped complete the decorations for the "Starry Night tree", the "Twilight tree", and even pop culture trees. In the 2000's, personalized ornaments lead in popularity. Today, you can find Christmas ornaments in nearly every size, color, and shape imaginable. From handmade ornaments to limited edition and collector's edition Christmas ornaments, thousands of styles exist to decorate your Christmas tree.
  16. 1 point
    After a fight between the Whitebeard Pirates and Roger's crew, they then do a gift exchange & other such pleasantries. Then Oden travels with Roger and finds out the latter has 1 year left to live. Among the stops they went to Skypiea & leave a message on the Poneglyph there.
  17. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - TINSEL Did you know... that Tinsel is a type of decorative material that mimics the effect of ice, consisting of thin strips of sparkling material attached to a thread? When in long narrow strips not attached to thread, it is called "lametta", and emulates icicles. It was originally a metallic garland for Christmas decoration. Christmas in the 1950s and 1960s was much shinier. Aluminum Christmas trees — illuminated blue, green and red by a rotating color wheel — sparkled in American living rooms. The trendy fake trees were a Midwestern creation, first manufactured in Chicago in 1955. They were all the rage for a decade, as the natural evergreen in 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas is credited with killing off the trend. The decoration of choice for these twinkling Tannenbaums, of course, was tinsel. Perhaps no holiday decoration better captures a retro Christmas than tinsel. Many of us share memories of draping strands of the thin, reflective strips with the family. Then again, some of us had to pick the strands off one by one to save for the next year. The Cunningham's Christmas tree on Happy Days was covered in the silvery tinsel. Perhaps you nostalgists out there still use the stuff. However, it is not the same material of our youth. In fact, it has changed often over the centuries. Yes, it's that old. Tinsel is mainly used to decorate Christmas trees, although its also used for ceilings, walls or anything festive. Tinsel is usually flexible which makes it easy to wrap around anything such as posts, picture frames or ornaments. We decorate our house and trees with tinsel every Christmas, but why? And where did tinsel originate from? It should come as no surprise that Germany, Nuremberg specifically, the country that created the Christmas tree, also dreamt up tinsel as an adornment. What might surprise you is just how long ago it was. Tinsel dates back to the Renaissance, the word itself coming from the French estincelle ("spark"). The Oxford English Dictionary dates the usage of "tinsel" as "very thin strips of shiny metal" back to the 1590s. It's unknown which genius thought to drape some on a fir tree. Some other historical accounts only trace Xmas tinsel back to the 1840s. Those 17th-century Germans certainly did not skimp when it came to tinsel. While using real silver to make tinsel sounds fancy, anyone with silverware will tell you there is a downside, especially when you put the stuff near candle flame — it tarnishes, turns black. As rubbing strands of tinsel with Tarn-X is time consuming, if not impossible, eventually the material was switched to aluminum. Those purists out there can still buy vintage silver tinsel from its homeland on Etsy. As you can see in a newspaper article from November 1972, the FDA deemed tinsel an "unnecessary risk to children with symptoms of lead poisoning" in August 1971. Manufacturers had switched to lead foil in the 20th century for tarnish-proof sparkle and weight. However, it was off the shelves by Christmas 1972. Today, the stuff is made from far lighter plastic or mylar, if you're wondering why it hardly hangs like it used to. Oddly, the nickname "Tinseltown" only dates back four decades, not to the silver age of Hollywood. Some etymology sites trace the moniker back to 1972, while others claim 1975. For what it's worth, we were able to find a usage of the term in a 1972 issue of The Chicago Tribune, in an article about The Who's rock opera Tommy. Is it only coincidence this coincides with lead tinsel being deemed a health hazard? In modern usage, we tend to forget that "Tinseltown" was meant to be derogatory. Now that we have warm and fuzzy nostalgia feelings for tinsel, the term does not seem so cruel. Philadelphia-based Brite Star is responsible for about 80% of the tinsel on the market in U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal, and started making the strands in the mid-1950s. The Brite Star tinsel is 1/16th of an inch wide and 18 inches long. The Kinderman family, which owns the company, claims to have churned out enough tinsel to reach the moon and back, which is about 1.6 billion strands by the math.
  18. 1 point
    EA Origin Access - One Month Free Basic Trial Key Giveaway https://games.steelseries.com/ucf/show/14032/boards/promotions/Giveaway/ea-origin-access-one-month-free-basic-trial-key-giveaway
  19. 1 point
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/towerfall-ascension/home TowerFall Ascension is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://store.steampowered.com/app/232770/POSTAL/ Postal is currently free on Steam. https://store.steampowered.com/app/1063450/EVE_Online_Starter_Pack/ EVE Online: Starter Pack is currently free on Steam.
  20. 1 point
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/into-the-breach/home Into the Breach is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/ubersoldier-ii/ Ubersoldier II is currently free on IndieGala.
  21. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - THE SKELETAL SYSTEM Did you know... that The axial skeleton part of the human skeleton has 80 bones? It includes the vertebral column, the rib cage and the skull and helps us maintain our upright posture, by spreading the weight in the head, and upper areas down to the lower areas near the hips. At birth the human skeleton is made up of around 300 bones. By adulthood, some bones have fused together to end up with 206 bones. Human bones grow continually from birth till our mid 20's. Our skeleton's bone mass is at its maximum density around the age of 30. If broken our bones will re-grow and repair themselves. Often doctors will place a cast on splint to make sure these bones repair straight and true. The appendicular skeletal section of our skeleton has 126 bones. It includes the pectoral (shoulder) girdles, the pelvic girdle and the bones of the lower and upper limbs. Its function is for movement of the body and to protect some organs. The human skeletal system has six major functions including the production of blood cells, for support, for movement, for protection, for storage of ions and endocrine regulation. The longest bone in the human body is the thigh bone called the femur. The smallest bone found in the human body is located in the middle ear. The staples (or stirrup) bone is only 2.8 millimetres (0.11 inches) long. Like our skin, the human body's bones are also constantly worn down and re-made, to the point where every 7 years we essentially have a new bone. The area of our body with the most bones is the hand, fingers and wrist where there are 54 bones. Our teeth form part of the skeletal system, but are not counted as bones. There a just a few differences between human male and female skeletons. The female skeleton is generally slightly smaller and the pelvis bones differ in shape, size and angle in order to assist with childbirth. The majority of human bones have a dense, strong outer layer, followed by a spongy part full of air for lightness, while the middle contains a soft, flexible, tissue substance called bone marrow. Bone marrow makes up 4% of a human body mass. It produces red blood cells which carry oxygen all over the body. Marrow is also produces lymphocytes, key components of the lymphatic system, which support the body's immune system. Calcium is very important for our bones and helps keep them strong and healthy. The areas where our bones meet are called joints. The joints in our cranium have no movement while our hip joints allow for a wide range of movement. Bones are held in place at joints by muscles and also tissues called ligaments. Another type of tissue called cartilage covers each bone joint surface area to prevent the bones rubbing. The medical branch of learning about the human skeletal system is called Orthopedics. There are a number of skeletal disorders, osteoporosis is a bone disease that increases the chance of fractures, scoliosis is a curvature of the spine, while arthritis is an inflammatory disease that damages joints. The human skeleton is an interesting and complex structure. It's more than just a scaffolding for our body or a structure that enables us to move. The bones that make up the skeleton are made of living tissue that has vital functions. In addition to supporting the body and allowing it to move, the skeleton protects organs, makes blood cells, and stores fat and minerals. Bones release minerals into the bloodstream and absorb them from the blood as needed. In addition, researchers are discovering that the skeleton makes chemicals that trigger effects not only in the bones but also in other parts of the body. There are two divisions of the skeleton—the axial skeleton and the appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton is located in the midline of the body and is composed of the skull, the vertebral column or backbone, the sternum or breast bone, and the ribs. It also includes smaller bones which aren't connected to the rest of the axial skeleton. These are the hyoid bone in the neck and the ossicles in the middle ears. The appendicular skeleton is made of the limbs and their associated bones. It includes the bones of the hands, arms, feet, and legs as well as the pelvic bones, the scapula or shoulder blade, and the clavicle or collar bone. Want to learn more about this topic? Click here.
  22. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - TEMPLE OF SATURN Did you know... that The 4th century CE Temple of Saturn is situated in the north west corner of the Roman Forum of Rome and has eight majestic columns still standing? Built in honour of Saturn it was the focal point of this ancient cult and stood on the site of the original temple dedicated in c. 497 BCE, which itself had replaced the god's first shrine, the Ara Saturni. In addition, during the Republic the temple also housed the public treasury (aerarium), a function it kept, albeit in a more limited function, in the Imperial period. Saturn is something of a mysterious figure in Roman religion. Depictions of the god in surviving art have him wearing a veil and brandishing either a sickle or a pruning knife. Perhaps a version of the Greek god Kronos, he was especially worshipped in the Saturnalia festival held every 17th of December (from at least the 5th century BCE) and which lasted several days. This was a festive occasion when people gave gifts to one another, slaves had the freedoms enjoyed by ordinary citizens, more informal clothes were worn instead of the usual toga, and there was a general round of partying and merrymaking which made it the jolliest Roman festival in the calendar; a fact which led Catullus to describe it as 'the best of times'. In later centuries the festival would metamorphose into the Brumalia festival and the similarity of its features and timing - pushed later into December in subsequent centuries - suggest an influence on the Christmas celebration. The surviving ruins of the temple stand on a pediment of travertine blocks and are themselves composed of pieces recycled from earlier temples. The columns are of the Ionic order and eight still remain on the northern facade. The shafts of the columns are made from Egyptian granite, the two on the side from pink Aswan and the six facade ones from grey Mons Claudianus. Indicative of their differing history, three are monoliths and the others are composed of two pieces fitted together. The Ionic capitals are, in fact, the only parts made specifically for the temple and are from Thasian marble and carved in typical Late Antique style. The architrave carries an Ionic frieze of acanthus leaves and palmettes and came from the previous temple on the site, commissioned by one of Julius Caesar's generals, Lucius Munatius Plancus, in 43 BCE using spoils from the campaigns in Syria. Within the temple once stood a cult statue of Saturn which became the centre of attention during the Saturnalia when his feet were symbolically freed from the woollen bonds that tied him up for the rest of the year. This act has led to Saturn being associated with liberation, certainly a feature of the Saturnalia festival. The inscription on the exterior of the architrave relates to the reconstruction carried out in the 360s and 370s CE and reads as follows: SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS INCENDIO CONSVMPTVM RESTITVIT (The Senate and People of Rome, restored following destruction by fire).
  23. 1 point
    Believe me, I would do that, if they were not insanely overpriced, especially shows from Disney and Nickelodeon. $20–30 every 10 episodes? No thanks, I'd rather support the creators in other ways. Strange, I've never had issues like that. Issues like that should be reported in their forum or directly to support. But was it confirmed that the corruption was caused by Real-Debrid and not any of the multiple other possible reasons? You can also change two-factor authentication to require TOTP (Google Authenticator) instead of email under "My Account".
  24. 1 point
    Rory Mercury... YOU've got TASTE! \O
  25. 1 point
    Aww, man, finally someone who speaks up! Searching... overrated! Thanks @Koby for lookng into this. It has been popping up for me as well. @Moodkiller You... lucky VIP doesn't even know he is a VIP. Thanks for the workaround.
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