Jump to content

Leaderboard


Popular Content

Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/13/2020 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Fact of the day When cheetahs bark at their mates they ovulate.
  2. 3 points
    Heads up to everyone, During the course of the next week or so, I will be tweaking and testing some things on the server backend - mainly to optimize it for resource usage but also to see if I can't speed it up a little bit more. This activity will be done sporadically, not consecutively, and could possibly result in periods of time where the site slows down or perhaps even goes unavailable briefly from time to time. There will also be a time where I'll carry out the usual slew of regular backend software updates. Date(s): Between July 6th, 2020 and July 16th, 2020 Time(s): Sporadically, for an hour or two at a time. No actual set specific times. For: Backend adjustments/tweaking+testing, software updates and adjustments. Downtime: None expected, but could be brief periods of slowness and/or brief moments of unreachability. Rest assured that, at any point I'm carrying out work on the site, I will be available to fix any errors that occur quickly. Most people probably won't notice much going on at any point - this is just to make everyone aware in case you do. Thanks for your understanding!
  3. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - TOMATOES Did you know... that tomatoes are nutritious and attractive fruits with an interesting history? They were once considered to be poisonous but are now a staple in many meals and dishes. People may not realize how much flavor is missing in today's tomatoes compared to those of the past, however. Our modern breeding techniques have produced a beautiful and firm fruit that travels well and is resistant to many diseases, but its flavor has often been sacrificed. Researchers have discovered thirteen chemicals that contribute to the taste of the most flavorful tomatoes that exist today. They've devised a plan for selectively breeding tomato plants for the genes that code for the chemicals. The goal of these scientists is to return the taste to regular grocery store tomatoes. While we're waiting for the new plants, we can take other steps to improve the chance of finding flavorful fruits. The Nightshade Family Tomatoes have the scientific name Solanum lycopersicum. They belong to the family Solanaceae, or the nightshade family. The origin of the common name of the family is uncertain. Some members of the nightshade family are poisonous, but many are edible. Potatoes (but not sweet potatoes), eggplants or aubergines, chili peppers, bell peppers, and tomatillos are all nightshades. The nightshade family also contains ornamental plants, including petunias and Chinese lanterns. Goji berries (sometimes known as wolfberries) belong to the Solanaceae family as well. The tobacco plant, the deadly nightshade, and the bittersweet nightshade are additional members of the family. The Flowers of a Tomato Plant Tomato Plants Tomatoes are not always red and they are not always round. The flowers of a tomato plant are yellow. The corolla (the collective name for the petals) has five lobes, which are pointed. The flowers are self-pollinating. The fruit is classified as a berry. Inside its outer flesh are spaces known as locular cavities. These cavities contain the seeds, which are enclosed in a gelatinous membrane. A tomato plant has compound leaves that consist of smaller leaflets. The cultivated plant grows as a vine (an indeterminate plant) or a bush (a determinate plant), depending on the variety. Vines can grow very tall and require support from stakes, a cage, or a ladder. They continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season. Bushes are smaller and more compact. They may not need any support. They produce all of their fruit in one short period during the growing season. Wild tomato plants in the genus Solanum exist. They produce smaller fruits than the cultivated varieties. Some of their fruits are edible and others are poisonous. It's very important that a person doesn't eat a fruit from a plant known as a wild tomato without identifying the species and without knowing whether that species is safe to eat. Leaves of a tomato plant. Most modern varieties of tomatoes are hybrids. They were created by a cross between two genetically different plants with the goal of combining great features from each one. Nutritional Highlights Modern varieties of cultivated tomatoes are a healthy food. Most varieties are deep red or orange red in color due to the presence of a pigment called lycopene. This pigment belongs to the carotenoid family of chemicals. Tomatoes also contain an orange pigment known as beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in our body. A few years ago, lycopene was touted as a preventer of prostate cancer, especially when the tomatoes containing the chemical were cooked. Newer research suggests that the effect of lycopene on cancer development may not be as strong as was once thought, though the chemical may have a modest benefit. Lycopene may have other health benefits as well, but more research is needed. Raw tomatoes are a very good source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin K. (The vitamin C level is reduced when foods are cooked.) The fruits are also a good source of potassium. They contain smaller but still useful amounts of other nutrients. The wild version of today's grocery store tomatoes is thought to have originated in Peru. It was cultivated in pre-Columbian Mexico. The cultivated plant was probably taken to Europe by Spanish explorers in the early sixteenth century. It was introduced to eastern North America from Europe in the eighteenth century. Poisonous Fruit In the sixteenth century, a prominent European herbalist claimed that because cultivated tomato plants belonged to the nightshade family—which had a bad reputation at the time—they must be poisonous. This claim wasn't contested for many years. Tomato plants were used for ornamental purposes, but their fruit wasn't eaten. Even after the fruits began to be used as food, the idea that they were potentially dangerous lingered. According to the Smithsonian Magazine, the tomato was once known as a poison apple because some wealthy Europeans who ate the fruit died. We now know that the people were actually being poisoned by their pewter plates. Poorer people were safe because they couldn't afford the plates. Pewter is an alloy that was originally made of tin and lead. (Today the tin is generally alloyed with other metals instead of lead.) In the case of the unfortunate diners, the acidic juice from the tomatoes leached lead from the plates. As a result, people died from lead poisoning. Tomato Hornworm Caterpillars Another interesting event in tomato history happened in the 1830s in New York. Tomatoes in the state were thought to be poisonous due to an infestation of a very large caterpillar known as the tomato hornworm. The insect got its name from its apparent fondness for tomato plants and the blue-black spine or horn at the end of its body. The caterpillar was not only thought to be toxic itself but was also thought to poison tomatoes as it crawled over them. The tomato hornworm is the larval form of the five-spotted hawkmoth, or Manduca quinquemaculata. Its main food is the leaves of tomato and other nightshade plants, but it may sometimes eat the fruits as well. The larva has an impressive appearance. It reaches three to four inches in length and has a robust body. The predominantly green color of the larvae and their habit of attaching to the underside of branches help to camouflage them. Still, it's easy to imagine why people in the 1830s were repulsed and even frightened by an infestation of giant caterpillars crawling over their tomato plants. Later in the century it was realized that the larvae were very annoying—as they are today—but not dangerous. The Indigo Rose tomato was bred by Oregon State University. The Indigo Rose variety of tomato has the darkest fruit of all. The dark purple tomatoes look almost black in the specimens that I've seen. They are rich in pigments called anthocyanins, which have health benefits. According to the botanical garden where I photographed the plant above, the taste of the fruit is reminiscent of plums. Click below if you would like to read more on Tomatoes. Source: Owlcation - Tomatoes: Plant Facts, Interesting History, and Improved Flavor - Linda Crampton
  4. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - POTOMAC RIVER South Branch of the Potomac River Did you know... that the North and South branches of the Potomac River begin in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia respectively, flowing down through the forests that border Maryland and Virginia. Those forests are slowly replaced by agricultural and then urbanized land as the river snakes its way toward Washington, D.C., after which the general landscape of concrete and asphalt is again replaced with rural and forest land. Finally, the river meets the Chesapeake Bay at Point Lookout, Maryland. Point Lookout State Park The Potomac has earned the nickname of “the Nation’s River” because of D.C.’s location on the river, but it holds much more significance than that. It is home to many sites that have played an important role in the nation’s history and has provided—and in many places still provides—an economic engine to the communities that popped up along its shores. Plenty of sites along the Potomac River provide recreation and give a taste of the nation’s history that residents and visitors alike can enjoy. FAIRFAX STONE Fairfax Stone Historic Monument The Potomac River begins as two separate branches, to the north and south, before they flow together near Green Spring, West Virginia, to become the main stem. Those two branches have been the source not only of the river, but of quite a bit of confusion, causing disputes between Virginia and Maryland and eventually leading to the Supreme Court. It all began in the 1600s, when Cecilius Calvert and Thomas Colepeper both received land grants for what would later become the states of Maryland and Virginia. Both used the Potomac River as a boundary, but did so in a way that mea­nt their territories overlapped, leading to disputes between the two areas. Then, in the first half of the 1700s, attempts were made to find the source of the Potomac River. Surveyors determined that the source began with the headwaters from the North Branch and placed a marker there that became known as the Fairfax Stone. That stone was significant because it was used to determine Maryland’s western border. However, the north branch of the Potomac River travels slightly west from the Fairfax Stone before turning back east. Maryland felt that its western border should begin as far west as the river branch extends, adding another to a series of border disputes with Virginia. The arguing continued through the 1800s, until after the Civil War, when the newly-created West Virginia inherited the problem. Eventually, a lawsuit was filed in 1890 that made it all the way to the Supreme Court. The court decided that, even though the Fairfax Stone does not sit at the North Branch’s westernmost point, the marker had been in use long enough that more disruption would be caused by undoing it. C&O CANAL NATIONAL HISTORIC PARK Replica cargo and launch boats leave from Great Falls and Williamsport, Maryland, offering a one-of-a-kind view of the canal. Traveling northeast on the Potomac will take you to Cumberland, Maryland, where you’ll meet the terminus of the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal. The canal’s construction began in 1828 and was meant to connect Washington, D.C., to the headwaters of the Ohio River in Pittsburgh. However, the project was plagued by delays, rough construction and increasing expenses. By the time the canal reached Cumberland 22 years later, those ambitious plans had been abandoned due to time and money. The canal moved cargo—mainly coal—between Cumberland and D.C. from 1850 to 1924. It generally took the 90-foot boats seven days to complete the trip, and they were pulled by mules that walked on a path alongside the canal. After the last boat was pulled through the canal in 1924, it fell into disrepair and disuse. The United States government bought it in 1938 to repair and turn into a recreation area, which was designated a national historic park in 1971. Now, the C&O Canal offers a variety of outdoor recreation opportunities. The towpath that runs the length of the 184.5 mile canal is great for walking, running or biking. The path also offers glimpses of over 1,000 historic structures, and there are plenty of spots to launch a kayak or canoe. Some of those historic structures are the canal’s six restored lockhouses. Those traveling along the towpath, or just looking for an interesting place to stay, can rent one of for an event or to spend the night. These lockhouses let visitors travel back in time, as each has been restored to tell a story about a different period in canal history. Lockhouse 6 - C&O Canal Trust Along with walking or biking, you can experience the C&O Canal by riding on it. Mules still walk the towpath, pulling a replica cargo boat from the 1870s. You’ll get to experience rising eight feet in the lock while also listening to park rangers, dressed in period clothing, describe what life was like for the people who lived and worked on the canal. You can catch a ride on this boat in Great Falls, Maryland, but tickets must be purchased in advance, ranging from $5 to $8. Another way to ride the canal is in a replica canal launch boat from the 1920s. These boats leave form Williamsport, Maryland, and offer a free, hour-long history lesson and spectacular views Launch Boat WOODLAWN AND POPE-LEIGHEY HOUSE The Pope-Leighey house was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to be affordable for a middle-class family. Mount Vernon is George Washington’s famous home along the Potomac River, but did you know that there are two other significant homes, just a few miles away? The first is Woodlawn, a home built on land that originally belonged to Washington, but was a gift to his nephew, Lawrence Lewis, upon his marriage in 1799. The house Lewis ended up living in—which still stands today—was designed by William Thornton, the architect of the U.S. Capitol. The land was eventually sold in 1846 to Quaker timber merchants who were staunch abolitionists and purposely operated the Virginia farm using only free labor. After the Civil War, the house passed hands a few times, and by the 20th century its owners worked to restore it to its former glory. Its last famous resident was Oscar Underwood, a retired senator from Alabama who was a staunch opponent of the Ku Klux Klan. He lived there from 1925 until his death in 1929. The house has been a museum since 1949. Woodlawn Plantation Located on the same property is another house much younger and smaller than its neighbor, but well worth the visit. The Pope-Leighey House was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939 following his “Usonian” style, and was meant to be able to provide middle-class families with affordable housing. In 1965, it was moved to the Woodlawn property in order to move it out of the way of a highway expansion project. Both homes are now owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. MALLOWS BAY-POTOMAC RIVER NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet along the Potomac River, Maryland Mallows Bay Park is home to a number of vessels in varying states of decay that were originally built for use in World War I but rendered useless by the end of the war. About 40 miles south of Washington, D.C., is a fleet of nearly 200 ships—all underwater. They are the “Ghost Ships” of Mallows Bay and make up the largest collection of shipwrecks in the Western Hemisphere. The ships range in age; some date as far back as the Revolutionary and Civil wars, while about 100 were built as part of the U.S. Emergency Fleet as the country entered World War I. Finished too late to be of use in the war effort, they were declared surplus by the federal government. They were bought by a salvage company, stripped of their reusable parts and buried in Mallows Bay. Their outlines can still be seen from above and in many places, parts of the ships appear above the water—unlike most shipwrecks, which are completely submerged. The “Ghost Fleet” has let nature take her course. The rusting and decaying ships have become habitat for fish, vegetation has taken root on the surfaces and birds like osprey and herons have built nests. The area has become great habitat for striped bass, white perch, channel catfish and blue crab, among other underwater species, and Mallows Bay has become very popular for recreational fishing. Accessible only by boat, Mallows Bay offers a unique way to interact with both history and nature. Skeletons Of WWI Ships Resting In The Potomac Mallows Bay offers more than a submerged maritime museum: it contains archaeological artifacts dating back 12,000 years. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the site also became the first National Marine Sanctuary in the Chesapeake Bay region. If you can’t make it out on the water, you can take a virtual tour of Mallows Bay with the Chesapeake Conservancy. CALEDON STATE PARK Caledon State Park is an old-growth forest with some trees that are 200 years old. One of 10 National Natural Landmarks in Virginia, Caledon State Park is known its old-growth forest, including some oak-tulip poplar trees that are 200 years old. This spot, on the southern banks of the Potomac River, is also known as a summer home for bald eagles and has over 120 other bird species. To protect the birds, access to the marshes along the river is limited, but the park offers seasonal tours of the eagle habitat. Along with the wide variety of birds, Caledon State Park also boasts 21 species of mammals, 30 species of reptiles and amphibians and 500 species of plants. You can try to get a glimpse of them all on the park’s 14 different trails. The most popular trail is the two-mile Boyd’s Hole Trail, which will take you right to the Potomac. Keep an eye out along the beach for sharks’ teeth, fossil shells and even crocodile teeth! The park is also known for its events. It has an annual Art and Wine Festival in the fall and special Plein Air painting evenings. Rangers host night hikes, kayak programs, conducted walks, astronomy, storytelling, bonfire programs, birdwatching and crafts as well to get people outside and enjoying all the park has to offer. POINT LOOKOUT STATE PARK After the Civil War began, a hospital and three forts were built at Point Lookout. But, due to sea level rise and erosion, only one—a reconstructed Fort Lincoln—remains. Get one last look at the Potomac River where it meets the Chesapeake Bay at Point Lookout State Park. Located on a narrow peninsula, Point Lookout State Park separates the Potomac River on the west from the Chesapeake Bay on the east. This spot was strategically important to the colonists during the American Revolution and the War of 1812, serving as a lookout point for watchmen to convey news of British movement. For that reason, it was subject to raids by the British. A lighthouse was built in 1830, and during the Civil War, the peninsula served as a prison for Confederate soldiers. Today, the spot is a popular place for swimming, hunting, fishing, boating, hiking and camping. Point Lookout Lighthouse still stands, although it is no longer active, and the park’s visitor center is home to a museum with exhibits about the Civil War prison and the area’s natural and cultural history. Point Lookout Lighthouse Looking for more fun on the Potomac River? Check out www.paddlethepotomac.com for launch information, water trails and trip itineraries. Source: Chesapeake Bay - Potomac River Sites
  5. 2 points
    Square Enix announced an anime adaptation of its The World Ends with You (Subarashiki Kono Sekai) action role-playing game on Friday. More information regarding the anime will be revealed at the Anime Expo Lite event on July 3. Synopsis Neku Sakuraba, a 15 year-old boy with a hobby for music and graffiti, wakes up in what seems to be the Shibuya shopping district of Tokyo, Japan. With no idea why he's there, he opens his hand to realize he is holding a strange black pin. After flipping it with his hand, the thoughts of the people surrounding him began to flow into his head at once. Surprised, Neku discovers he is able to read the minds of others, and assumes it has something to do with the black pin he is holding. A cell phone starts to ring in his pocket, and he can't tell whether it is his or not. A text message appears: "Reach 104. You have 60 minutes. Fail, and face erasure. -The Reapers." After discovering he can't delete the message, a timer of 60 minutes imprints onto his right hand. Neku is in Shibuya to play the "Reapers' Game," which spans a total of 7 days. All Players of the Reapers' Game have a black pin with a skull embedded on it. (Source: Wikipedia) Square Enix published The World Ends with You for Nintendo DS in Japan in July 2007 and in PAL regions in April 2008. The game was released for iOS and Android platforms in August 2012 and June 2014, respectively. An enhanced port based on the mobile version for the Nintendo Switch console titled The World Ends with You: Final Remix was published in October 2018. Shiro Amano drew a two-chapter one-shot manga in Shounen Gangan in 2008.
  6. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - WHATCHAMACALLIT Did you know.... that the Whatchamacallit is a chocolate bar made with peanuts and layered with caramel? It has a strong peanut butter taste to it mixed with a nice combination of chocolate and caramel to back it up. Made by the Hershey company, the Whatchamacallit has maintained a popular following despite not being as well known as the Hershey bar. The Hershey’s company Whatchamacallit was first invented in the year 1978. The Whatchamacallit bar first got its name from a women named Patricia Volk. It seems as if at that time Patricia Volk was in charge of new brands for The Hershey Company. As for the Hershey company, it has a long tradition of providing the world with the best products that they could offer. Over the years the Hershey's company has produced numerous variations of their classic chocolate bar. In 1978 the Whatchamacallit Candy Bar was introduced. The exact inspirations for the name are thought to be an offhand declaration of what the product should be known as, such as "give me that Whatchamacallit." (Not sure if it got its name by Patricia Volf or Sallie Grayson). As the Whatchamacallit bar was first introduced in 1978, the popular belief is that it did reasonably well with customers since they continue to be produced to this day as of 2015. The bar has undergone some changes to the content of the bar over the years, and by the 80s, the Hershey company started to pay less attention to the bar since the commercials that were used to advertised the product started to become either less frequent in TV airing, or disappeared from broadcast altogether. Whatever the case may be, the company continues to produce the whatchamacallit today and will continue to do so for times to come. In its early years, the bar consisted of a milk chocolate exterior, and a peanut crisp on the inside that used peanut butter as the flavoring agent for the bar, with a layer of caramel. Nothing significant has changed as of today that can easily be noticed by the average consumer. But in 2008, Hershey's started making some ingredients changes to their products since traditional manufacturing practices and ingredients were getting expensive. The bar is also no longer considered milk chocolate since many of the changes made to the whatchamacallit bar didn't meet the stipulations that the FDA had created in order to call it milk chocolate since it didn't contain enough cocoa butter. From that point on, the bar was only being marketing as being chocolate candy, instead of milk chocolate. Because of the secrecy that has surrounded the Hershey's company since the beginning, from it's mysterious producing practices the Hershey's process, to the ingredients of the products that they produce today. Figuring out what exactly is inside of these bars isn't an easy task. Raw Cocoa Butter After the ingredients changed, the company started making a similar product. The Thingamajig. It was a limited edition and production stopped in 2012. The differences weren't quickly apparent, on the outside, the bar had it's usual chocolate exterior. on the inside contained something different. Instead of having the peanut crisp that the whatchamacallit did, the thingamajig had a cocoa crisp chunk with peanut butter. The bar started production in 2009 and was only available for a limited time. Apparently there was a reaction with the sales of the bar, these were mostly curiosity sales from people that wondered what the differences between the two bars were. The company decided to reintroduce the bar in 2011. As of 2012, according to the Hershey company, the bar is no longer being produced. The Whatchamacallit is still being produced though can be hard to find at times. This could be seen as a mark of less popularity then say the Hershey Bar. However the Whatchamacallit has withstood the test of time and still seems to be loved by many people. From 1987 to 2008, Whatchamacallit has included peanut-flavored crisp that utilizes peanut butter as the flavoring agent, with a layer of caramel and a layer of chocolate coating. Hershey's Whatchamacallit is found in recipes for various food items, including pies, cookies, cheesecakes, and cupcakes. The advertising for the Whatchamacallit peaked in the 1980s, after this period Hershey Company ran noticeably fewer advertisements for this product. However, despite the lack of attention the company gives it compared to its other products, the Whatchamacallit is still in production as of 2020. In Canada, an identical candy bar is marketed by Hershey's as Special Crisp, but does not have the wide distribution in Canada that the Whatchamacallit has in the United States Source: SnackHistory, Wikipedia - Whatchamacallit
  7. 2 points
    Digimon Story Cyber Sleuth: Complete Edition (PC) - $22.39 Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch Remastered (PC) - $13.79 Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom - The Prince's Edition (PC) - $17.79 Tales of Vesperia: Definitive Edition (PC) - $13.39
  8. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/killing-floor-2/home Killing Floor 2 is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/lifeless-planet-premier-edition/home Lifeless Planet: Premier Edition is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/the-escapists-2/home The Escapists 2 is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/thecycle/home The Cycle Rogue Starter Pack DLC is currently free on Epic Game Store. Scroll down until you find the "Add-ons" section. The base game, The Cycle, is free to play.
  9. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - SQUANTO Did you know... that Squanto was a famous Native American Indian who was a member of the Pawtuxet band of the Wampanoag tribe. He was born in Cape Cod around the year 1580, a time when his tribe was the most influential tribe in an area where the English would first settle. The reason why there is some controversy surrounding Squanto is because although he undoubtedly aided the colonists, he was thought by many to have used his power and position among the Indians to his advantage. Squanto, also known as Tisquantum, was a Native American of the Patuxet tribe who acted as an interpreter and guide to the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth during their first winter in the New World. Pilgrim Settlers at Plymouth Who Was Squanto? Squanto was born circa 1580 near Plymouth, Massachusetts. Little is known about his early life. In 1614, he was kidnapped by English explorer Thomas Hunt, who brought him to Spain where he was sold into slavery. Squanto escaped, eventually returning to North America in 1619. He then returned to the Patuxet region, where he became an interpreter and guide for the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth in the 1620s. He died circa November 1622 in Chatham, Massachusetts. History of Thanksgiving In 1621, Squanto was introduced to the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and subsequently acted as an interpreter between Pilgrim representatives and Wampanoag Chief Massasoit. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims and Wampanoags celebrated the first Thanksgiving after reaping a successful crop. The following year, Squanto deepened the Pilgrims' trust by helping them find a lost boy, and assisted them with planting and fishing. Thanksgiving Squanto's unique knowledge of the English language and English ways gave him power. He sought to increase his status among other native groups by exaggerating his influence with the colonists and even going so far as to tell them that if they didn't do what he wanted, he could have the English release the plague, which he claimed they were holding in storage pits. Early Life and Capture Squanto, also known as Tisquantum, is best remembered for serving as an interpreter and guide for the Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth in the 1620s. Historians know little about Squanto's life. A Patuxet Indian born in present-day Massachusetts, Squanto is believed to have been captured as a young man along the Maine coast in 1605 by Captain George Weymouth, who had been commissioned by Plymouth Company owner Sir Ferdinando Gorges to explore the coast of Maine and Massachusetts, and reportedly captured Squanto, along with four Penobscots, because he thought his financial backers in Britain might want to see some Indians. Weymouth brought Squanto and the other Indians to England, where Squanto lived with Ferdinando Gorges, who taught him English and hired him to be an interpreter and guide. Interpreter and Guide for the Pilgrims Now fluent in English, Squanto returned to his homeland in 1614 with English explorer John Smith, possibly acting as a guide, but was captured again by another British explorer, Thomas Hunt, and sold into slavery in Spain. Squanto escaped, lived with monks for a few years, and eventually returned to North America in 1619, only to find his entire Patuxet tribe dead, from smallpox. He went to live with the nearby Wampanoags. Captain John Smith (1624) Death Embroiled in the politics emerging between the settlers and the local tribes, Squanto died of a fever in Chatham, Massachusetts, circa November 1622, while acting as a guide for Governor William Bradford. Source: Biography - Squanto, Wikipedia - Squanto
  10. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - BIRTHDAYS / HAPPY BIRTHDAY Did you know... that in a world where many things tend to divide, we all are united by birthdays. Anybody who is alive is at most 365 days away from this joyous occasion—unless, of course, you’re born on a leap year day. 1. Origins Historians believe that the first people to celebrate birthdays were the Romans. On the birthdate of family members, friends, or business contacts, the celebrated were regaled with banquets, gifts, and prayers. 2. Children's birthdays Today, birthdays are probably most cherished by children, but in centuries past, birthdays were mostly the domain of adults. It wasn’t until the 19th century that children’s birthdays were first widely celebrated. In fact, children’s birthdays were first formally recognized by the Germans, who coined the term kinderfest, or children’s parties. 3. Milestones In the 20th century, birthdays were recognized as important rituals in the life of a child. Ostensibly, they help kids adapt to biological and social age-related changes that come with growing. 4. Birthday candles and cakes The placement of candles on birthday cakes has various potential origins. Ancient Egyptians used candles during coronations, which were held to raise the status of humans to gods. Later, ancient Greeks placed candles on moon-shaped honey cakes made for the goddess Artemis. The Greeks thought that the smoke from blown-out candles lifted prayers and wishes to the tops of Mount Olympus. Another hypothesis as to the origin of birthday candles is rooted in the German practice of placing a candle in the center of bread or cake baked into the likeness of baby Jesus, which symbolized the light of life. 5. From pagan to pious Early Christians viewed birthday celebrations as pagan in nature. By Medieval times, however, people celebrated the days of saints whom they were named after, a practice that later shifted to celebrating individual birthdates. Celebrations were believed to ward off evil spirits that were attracted to people on their birthdays; friendly visits, good wishes, revelry, and mirth were believed to spook these evil spirits. 6. Chinese birthdays In China, a newborn is considered age 1. Thus, a 1-year-old in the West, as well as most other parts of the world, would be aged 2 years in China. 7. Birthday song Mildred and Patty Hill, who were sisters involved in the progressive education movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, penned the song Good Morning to All in 1893. Although the notes were retained, the lyrics were later changed to Happy Birthday to You. 8. Birthday sentiments Results from a Lithuanian study querying 309 medical students found that respondents felt better and more loved on their birthdays. Per study authors Darja Rojaka and Sigita Lesinskienė, women tended to feel more loved and special on their birthdays than did men. In other results, 90.9% of respondents preferred to celebrate their birthday with friends, 80.6% with significant others, 66.3% with family members, and 12% alone. Additionally, 49.2% preferred that their birthdays be organized by others versus 21.4% preferring to organize birthdays on their own. Lastly, 18.1% of respondents didn’t celebrate their birthdays at all (wa-wa). 9. Boss birthdays In a study published in Economics Letters, senior author Maurice D. Levi, of the University of British Columbia, found that the number of CEOs at S&P 500 companies born in June and July dwarfed the number of CEOs born in other months. Specifically, 6.1% of CEOs were born in June and 5.9% were born in July compared with 12.5% born in March and 10.7% born in April. “Our evidence is consistent with the ‘relative-age effect’ due to school admissions grouping together children with age differences up to one year, with children born in June and July disadvantaged throughout life by being younger than their classmates born in other months,” wrote Levi and colleagues. “Our results suggest that the relative-age effect has a long-lasting influence on career success.” Of note, the relative-age effect refers to how those born earlier during an academic year outperform those born later due to age-related physical, emotional, and cognitive advancement. 10. "Birthday effect" in sports The NCAA notes that a birthday effect is particularly pronounced in certain sports, with the oldest children in each grade or youth-sports grouping more likely to be recognized as more talented than their less physically and psychologically developed peers. These older students are given access to enhanced competition, coaching, and training. This phenomenon is most pronounced in men’s and women’s ice hockey, men’s tennis, baseball, and women’s softball. Cultural Conventions In Canada and the United States, families often mark a girl's 16th birthday with a "sweet sixteen" celebration – often represented in popular culture. In some Hispanic countries, as well as in Portuguese-speaking Brazil, the quinceañera (Spanish) or festa de quinze anos (Portuguese) celebration traditionally marks a girl's 15th birthday. In Nepal and India, on a child's first birthday, their head is shaved while being held by a special fire. Removal of the hair is believed to cleanse the child of any evil in past lives, and symbolizes a renewal of the soul. Hindu male children of some castes, like Brahmins, have the 12th or 13th birthday replaced with a grand "thread ceremony". The child takes a blessed thread and wears it, symbolizing his coming of age. This is called the Upanayana. Thread Ceremony (Upanayana) In the Philippines, a coming-of-age party called a debut is held for girls on their 18th birthday, and for boys on their 21st birthday. In some Asian countries that follow the zodiac calendar, there is a tradition of celebrating the 60th birthday. In Korea, many celebrate a traditional ceremony of Baek-il (Feast for the 100th day) and Doljanchi (child's first birthday). In Japan there is a Coming of Age Day, for all of those who have turned 20 years of age. In British Commonwealth of Nations cards from the Royal Family are sent to those celebrating their 100th and 105th birthday and every year thereafter. In Ghana, on their birthday, children wake up to a special treat called "oto" which is a patty made from mashed sweet potato and eggs fried in palm oil. Later they have a birthday party where they usually eat stew and rice and a dish known as "kelewele", which is fried plantain chunks. Oto, (Ghanaian food) Jewish boys have a bar mitzvah on their 13th birthday. Jewish girls have a bat mitzvah on their 12th birthday, or sometimes on their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism. This marks the transition where they become obligated in commandments of which they were previously exempted and are counted as part of the community. The birthdays of historically significant people, such as national heroes or founders, are often commemorated by an official holiday marking the anniversary of their birth. Catholic saints are remembered by a liturgical feast on the anniversary of their "birth" into heaven a.k.a. their day of death. The ancient Romans marked the anniversary of a temple dedication or other founding event as a dies natalis, a term still sometimes applied to the anniversary of an institution (such as a university). An individual's Beddian birthday, named in tribute to firefighter Bobby Beddia,[6] occurs during the year that their age matches the last two digits of the year they were born. In many cultures and jurisdictions, if a person's real birthday is not known (for example, if they are an orphan), then their birthday may be adopted or assigned to a specific day of the year, such as January 1.The birthday of Jesus is celebrated at Christmas. Racehorses are reckoned to become one year old in the year following their birth on the first of January in the Northern Hemisphere and the first of August in the Southern Hemisphere. Interested in learning funny facts about YOUR BIRTHDAY? Click below Happy Happy Birthday Source: Wikipedia - Birthday, Wikipedia - Happy Birthday to You, Psychology Today - Birthday Facts
  11. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - SLICED BREAD Did you know.... that sliced bread is a loaf of bread that has been sliced with a machine and packaged for convenience? It was first sold in 1928, advertised as "the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped". This led to the popular idiom "greatest thing since sliced bread". (Wikipedia) Bread-slicing Machine The commercial bread-slicing machine was designed and manufactured in 1928 by Otto Frederick Rohwedder (1880-1960). It was used to slice loaves of fresh bakery bread at Korn's Bakery, in Rohwedder's home town of Davenport, Iowa, beginning in late 1928. This is Rohwedder's second automatic bread-slicer, the first having fallen apart after about six months of heavy use at The Frank Bench Bakery, in Chillicothe, Missouri. The public loved the convenience of sliced bread and, by 1929, Rohwedder's Mac-Roh Company was feverishly meeting the demand for bread-slicing machines. By the following year, the Continental Baking Company was selling sliced bread under the Wonder Bread label. Having achieved success, Mr. Rohwedder reflected on his invention in the June 1930 issue of the Atlanta-based bakery trade journal, New South Baker: "I have seen enough bakers benefit in a big way from Sliced Bread to know that the same results can be obtained by any baker anywhere if he goes about the matter correctly. A good loaf, a proper presentation of Sliced Bread to the grocers and a truthful, clean advertising program based upon successful experiences and the baker can build his business far beyond what he could do without Sliced Bread... We are continuing our experimental and developmental work confident in the belief that the real possibilities of Sliced Bread have scarcely been scratched." This 1928 bread-slicing machine was manufactured by the Micro Machine Company, of Bettendorf, Iowa, for the Davenport-based Mac-Roh Sales and Manufacturing Company. It was donated to the Museum by Mr. Rohwedder's daughter, Mrs. Margaret R. Steinhauer, of Albion, Michigan, in 1974. Sliced bread didn’t take long to become a hit around the United States, even as some bakers contended it was just a fad, and by 1930 it could be found in most towns across the country. By that point, the majority of Americans were eating commercially made bread, compared with just decades earlier, when most of the supply still was homemade. The factory-produced loaves were designed to be softer than those prepared at home or at small, local bakeries because the bread-buying public had come to equate “squeezable softness” with freshness, according to “White Bread” by Aaron Bobrow-Strain. The timing therefore was right for an automatic slicing machine because, as Bobrow-Strain says, "these softer, modern loaves had become almost impossible to slice neatly at home.” One of the first major brands to distribute sliced bread was Wonder, starting in 1930. Wonder Bread originally appeared in stores in 1921 in Indianapolis, where it was manufactured by the Taggart Baking Company. An executive there dreamed up the bread’s name after being filled with wonder while watching the International Balloon Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. After the Continental Baking Company bought Taggart in 1925, Wonder was sold nationally; the bread’s popularity soared once it was marketed in sliced form. During World War II, factory-sliced bread, including Wonder, was briefly banned by the U.S. government in an effort to conserve resources, such as the paper used to wrap each loaf to help maintain freshness. In 2012, Wonder Bread disappeared completely from store shelves after its then-owner, Hostess Brands (which also made Twinkies and Ding Dongs, among other famous snacks), declared bankruptcy. Thankfully for fans of the iconic bread, another company stepped in and re-launched the Wonder brand in 2013. Source: Wikipedia, History Stories, National Museum of American History
  12. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - YOGI BEAR Yogi Bear, Cindy Bear and Boo Boo Did you know... that one of the most recognizable and memorable non-human characters to come from the Hanna-Barbera camp, Yogi's weathered pork-pie hat, constant pursuit of daisy-wearing cutie Cindy Bear and pshawing of level-headed sidekick Boo Boo have been cartoon favorite trademarks since his 1958 debut on The Huckleberry Hound Show? While Yogi's mannerisms were inspired by Art Carney's character in The Honeymooners, his name was, quite obviously, borrowed from baseball great Yogi Berra.The first ever episode of The Yogi Bear Show was titled, "Pie Pirates," sponsored by Kellogg's cereals and aired in 1961. After two scene-stealing and endearing years on Saturday morning TV, The Yogi Bear Show ended in 1963. But that wouldn't be the last time we'd see Yogi on the small screen. He'd also go on to star in Yogi's Gang, which featured the bear crusading for the environment and aired from 1973 to 1975, and Yogi's Space Race, which saw the bear and his cohorts in the nether-reaches of the universe from 1978 to 1979. Yogi Bear began appearing in comic books very soon after his first appearance. The most valuable known Yogi collectible is the 1960s vinyl lunchbox featuring Yogi, Ranger Smith, Cindy Bear and others. In mint condition, this item is worth $600. Yogi Bear, American cartoon character, a walking, talking bear in a necktie and porkpie hat who roamed fictional Jellystone National Park. His accoutrements and personality were based on the character of Ed Norton in Jackie Gleason’s television series The Honeymooners, and his byword was “Smarter than the average bear!” William Hanna (left) and Joseph Barbera posing with some of their cartoon characters, including Yogi Bear (centre), 1988. Seemingly, though not officially, named in reference to baseball player Yogi Berra, Yogi Bear spent his days in search of food, which he usually obtained by gleefully snatching picnic baskets from park visitors. His cub sidekick, Boo Boo, typically more cautious and conscience-driven, usually reluctantly went along with Yogi’s capers. The two evaded justice at the hands of the stern Ranger Smith. The character Yogi Bear, voiced by Daws Butler, was created by legendary animation team William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and first appeared as a supporting feature on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958. The character was so popular that in 1961 he received his own show, which was aired until 1988. He starred in a feature film, Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear, in 1964. In later decades, new television series transported him out of Jellystone to locales including the high seas and even outer space. The Yogi Bear shows of the 1960s and ’70s were notable examples of Hanna-Barbera’s much-derided technique of “limited,” or reused, animation, which drastically reduced the number of original drawings required to film an episode. For example, the clean line created by Yogi’s signature shirt collar and tie enabled the studio to animate only his head in conversation scenes, leaving his body static. Nevertheless, the stories and characters won over several generations of viewers and could be viewed on cable television into the 21st century. A feature-film adaptation of the cartoon, starring Dan Aykroyd (as the voice of Yogi) and Justin Timberlake (Boo Boo), was released in 2010. Besides often speaking in rhyme, Yogi Bear had a number of catchphrases, including his pet name for picnic baskets ("pic-a-nic baskets") and his favorite self-promotion ("I'm smarter than the av-er-age bear!"), although he often overestimates his own cleverness. Another characteristic of Yogi was his deep and silly voice. He often greets the ranger with a cordial, "Hello, Mr. Ranger, sir!" and "Hey there, Boo Boo!" as his preferred greeting to his sidekick, Boo Boo. Yogi would also often use puns in his speech and had a habit of pronouncing large words with a long vocal flourish. From the time of the character's debut until 1988, Yogi was voiced by voice actor Daws Butler. Butler died in 1988; his last performance as Yogi was in the television film Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears. After Butler's death, Greg Burson stepped in to perform the role; Butler had taught Burson personally how to voice Yogi as well as his other characters. Worsening alcoholism and a legal incident led to Burson's firing in 2004 and eventually his death in 2008. Jeff Bergman and Billy West also performed the character throughout the 1990s and early 2000s for various Cartoon Network commercials and bumpers. Australian voice actor, animation historian and impressionist Keith Scott provided Yogi's voice in many live shows at the Wonderland Sydney amusement park in Australia, such as Hanna-Barbera Gala Celebrity Night, where Yogi and other Hanna-Barbera characters including Huckleberry Hound, Scooby-Doo, George Jetson, Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble make guest appearances. In the Yogi Bear film, the character is voiced by actor Dan Aykroyd. In the animated stop motion sketch comedy show Robot Chicken created by Seth Green, Dan Milano voiced Yogi Bear. Scott Innes performed the voice of Yogi, along with Boo Boo, in At Picnic, Forest, and Honey Lesson. Source: Scoop - Yogi Bear, Encyclopaedia Britannica - Yogi Bear, Wikipedia - Yogi Bear
  13. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/mortal-shell/beta Mortal Shell Beta demo is free on Epic Game Store. https://store.steampowered.com/app/1273710/King_of_Crabs/ King of Crabs is free to play on Steam. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=goyer.nathan.Heedless Heedless is currently free on Android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ModernProgramming.AntiPong.Android Anti Pong is currently free on Android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.Sizigi.CakeDuel Cake Duel is currently free on Android.
  14. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - PALATINE HILL Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy Did you know... that the Palatine Hill, which is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome, is one of the most ancient parts of the city and has been called "the first nucleus of the Roman Empire?" (Wikipedia) The name “Palatine” is derived from a Latin word “palus” which means marsh or swamp. The Palatine Hill is the place where the rich and famous Romans used to live. It is about 70 meters of height if viewed from Roman Forum from one side and the Circus Maximus from the other side. The Hill is a large open air museum which is most visited by tourists during the day time and it is situated between The Velabrum, the Circus Maximus and the Roman forum. According to the mythology of Romans, the Palatine hill was the location of a cave called “Lupercal“ where Remus and Romulus were brought in by a she-wolf which kept them alive. The legends state that Faustulus, who is a shepherd, found them as infants and his wife brought them up and raised them. So later when Romulus grew older, he decided to build a city on Palatine hill. The hill was also a site to celebrate “Festival of Lupercalia”. Romulus chose this hill as a ideal spot to build a new city. Therefore, it was on this Palatine Hill where the Roman era of empires started. Renus and Romulus All parts of the Palatine are not accessible to tourists, but the spots like Imperial Palaces, the Farnese Gardens and the House of Livia can be visited. The best way to reach Palatine Hill is to catch a metro to The Colosseum. The Roman Palatine Hill, which in existence may disappoint as the ruins are minimized due to age, but the view is fantastic to experience. (Famous Wonders) Hercules and Cacus Monument by Baccio Bandinelli – Hercules and Cacus, Piazza della Signoria, Florence – (WikiCommons) Another myth involving the Palatine Hill is that of Hercules and Cacus. Before the foundation of Rome, Cacus – the fire-breathing giant son of the god of fire – used to live in a cave in the Aventine Hill and feed on human flesh. One day, Hercules passed by the Aventine and, in a minute of distraction, had some animals from his cattle stolen by Cacus. Hercules would have killed the giant at the Palatine with such a hard strike that a cleft was open on the southeast part of the hill, where an ancient staircase was built. Archaeological discoveries and history The Palatine Hill has been inhabited for a really long time. Modern archaeology has found evidences of Bronze Age settlements at the Palatine prior to the foundation of Rome. With all the traces of human settlements, archaeologists have collected enough indications that the city was indeed founded at the Palatine around the 8th and the 9th century BC, as Varro had suggested. Imperial palaces House of Augustus (Domus Augusti), South wall of the Mask Room, 2nd Pompeian style, Palatine Hill, Rome – by Carole Raddato – (WikiCommons) According to Italian historian Titus Livius (64 BC or 59 BC – 12 AD or 17 AD), after the Sabines and Albans moved to the city, the Palatine was mainly inhabited by original Romans. During the Republican Period, the hill was the home of many aristocrats and important figures. The same happened during the Roman Empire, when a number of emperors established their palaces at the Palatine Hill. Historians believe that emperors built their palaces at the hill because living at the place first chosen by Romulus would legitimate and strengthen their power. During your visit, you can see the ruins of the Houses of Augustus and Livia, the first emperor of Rome and his wife; the House of Tiberius, son of Livia and stepson of Augustus, and second emperor of Rome; and the Palace of Domitian, last member of the Flavian Dynasty. Religious Temples Remains of the temple of Apollo on the Palatine Hill in Rome. Photo by ”Antmoose / Anthony M” But the Palatine was not just a residential area. Religious temples were also built there. One of the most important temples ever built at the site was the Magna Mater Cybele. Cybele is an Anatolian mother goddess associate by the Greek to nature, fertility, mountains, towns and city walls. The Romans called her Magna Mater (Great Mother) and built the first Roman temple dedicated to her at the Palatine Hill in 191 BC. The Temple of Magna Mater Cybele was unfortunately destroyed in 394 AD, but the Palatine Hill still holds some of its ruins, as well as the ruins of the Temple of Apollo Palatinus, which was built in 28 BC. Click below to read more on Palatine Hill. Source: Discover Walks - Quick History of The Palatine Hill
  15. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - QUEBEC CITY Did you know... that the history of Quebec City extends back thousands of years, with its first inhabitants being the First Nations peoples of the region? The arrival of French explorers in the 16th century eventually led to the establishment of Quebec City, in present-day Quebec, Canada. (Wikipedia) Quebec, French Québec, city, port, and capital of Quebec province, Canada. One of the oldest cities in Canada—having celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2008—Quebec city has a distinct old-world character and charm. It is the only remaining walled city in North America north of Mexico and was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. Among its other distinguishing characteristics are its narrow cobblestone streets, stone buildings, fortifications, and rich French Canadian culture grounded in the French language. The city’s splendid views of the surrounding landscape and unique character were noted as early as 1842 during a visit by Charles Dickens, who called Quebec the “Gibraltar of North America.” In addition to being a major tourist destination, Quebec is an administrative centre and a port city for transatlantic trade. Its location at the confluence of the St. Lawrence and Saint-Charles rivers, about 150 miles (240 km) northeast of Montreal, provided a number of strategic military advantages: because of the narrowing of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec was the farthest upstream oceangoing vessels could navigate, and the city’s fortifications on a high ridge had a commanding view of the river. Area 175 square miles (454 square km); metro. area, 1,293 square miles (3,349 square km). Pop. (2011) 516,576; metro. area, 767,310; (2016) 531,902; metro. area, 800,296. St-Lawrence River The first European to visit the area was French explorer Jacques Cartier, who was seeking a route to Asia as well as searching for valuable minerals such as gold and diamonds. On his second voyage to North America, he sailed up the St. Lawrence in 1535 and wintered in the Huron Indian village of Stadacona (the site of modern Quebec city). Cartier made a third and final trip to the region in 1541, bringing settlers to establish a French colony at Stadacona, though they abandoned this effort after a couple of years. It was not until furs became an exceptionally valuable commodity by 1600 that the French renewed their interest in maintaining control of New France. In 1608 Samuel de Champlain installed the first permanent base in Canada at Quebec, which grew as a fortified fur-trading post. The St. Lawrence and its tributaries gave the French the best access to the interior of North America and control over the fur trade, an advantage that the British wanted to gain. Quebec, the guardian of New France, was under constant threat. In 1629 it was captured by the British, who held it until 1632, when the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye restored it to France. There were other attempts by the British to capture this stronghold, but all failed until the famous Battle of Quebec on the Plains of Abraham (adjacent to the city) in 1759, in which the French were defeated. Shortly thereafter most of the French-held territory in North America was ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1763. In 1759, during the French and Indian War, British troops landed upstream from Quebec and defeated the French troops on the Plains of Abraham. Warfare in the region did not end with the capture of New France, however. Britain reinforced the military defenses of the city in time to repel an attack during the American Revolution in the second Battle of Quebec in 1775. The breakaway of the United States from British North America had important cultural, economic, and political implications for Quebec. Under the Quebec Act of 1774, French Canadians retained their language, religion, and other cultural institutions, which therefore allowed Quebec city to remain a centre of French culture. With the arrival of displaced Loyalists following American independence, settlement (mostly west of Quebec) increased, and so did trade with Britain, much of it through the port of Quebec, thus elevating the city’s economic status. The increase in an English-speaking population contributed to the British Parliament’s passage of the Constitutional Act (1791), which split the large colony of Quebec into two provinces: Upper Canada (now the province of Ontario) and Lower Canada (now the province of Quebec). Quebec city, formerly the capital of the colony, remained the capital of Lower Canada. It was incorporated in 1832 and was given its actual charter in 1840, the year that Parliament voted to rejoin Upper and Lower Canada as the Province of Canada. In 1864 the city was the site of the conference of British North American colonies convened to plan the confederation of Canada, which was achieved in 1867, following passage of the British North America Act. Contemporary depiction of the unsuccessful British attack on Quebec city in 1690. The economic base of Quebec city was subject to boom-and-bust conditions. After the British takeover of New France, Montreal gained the dominant economic position in the province, whereas Quebec became a port city exposed to economic cycles of resource demand. Population growth in Quebec city also was relatively slow in comparison with that of Montreal. Still, from the late 1700s to the mid-1800s, the British demand for forest products fueled Quebec’s economy, and the city became the main site for British imports and exports as well as the port of entry for many immigrants. The lumbering activity also stimulated a significant local shipbuilding industry. This favourable economic position, however, was eroded by the development of steam- and steel-based technologies for ships and rail lines. Wooden vessels were no longer in demand, and the early rail lines connected Lévis (across the river) to Montreal rather than to Quebec. Moreover, the Erie Canal—which linked southern Ontario and rail lines from Montreal to Portland, Maine—diverted timber and other goods away from the St. Lawrence River and Quebec city. Improvements in navigation along the St. Lawrence between Quebec city and Montreal and the growing dependence on steam vessels further contributed to Quebec city’s being bypassed in favour of Montreal. The withdrawal of the British military in 1871 was yet another economic blow to the capital city. Nevertheless, some labour-intensive manufacturing (notably tanneries, along with clothing and shoe manufacturers) remained active, and, with the development of inexpensive hydroelectric power, a pulp and paper mill located there in the 1920s; by the 1970s a refinery had been added. Irving Oil Refinery The Contemporary City Because Quebec is a capital city, civil servants and administrators make up a large portion of the service sector that dominates employment in the city. Quebec is also a major transatlantic port, handling products (mainly bulk goods) that are conveyed on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which serves the Great Lakes region of North America. The port, rail lines, and freeways also facilitate a manufacturing industry that includes newsprint, beverages and food processing, chemicals, printing, garments, and shipbuilding. The port also supports another major industry—tourism. In 2002 a cruise-ship terminal opened, and Quebec has become an important destination for this industry. Tourism has been a mainstay of the economy for well over 150 years. Quebec city is serviced by the Jean Lesage International Airport, ferry service to Lévis, and a bus system that includes electric Écolobuses. Quebec city, Quebec, Canada, in winter. Click below if you'd like to read more about the History of Quebec City. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica - Quebec, Wikipedia - The History of Quebec City
  16. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - MONSTER TRUCKS Did you know... that a monster truck is a specialized truck with a heavy duty suspension, four-wheel steering, and oversized tires constructed for competition and entertainment uses? (Wikipedia) Monster Truck shows have transformed from the rough and rowdy event into a family-friendly night of entertainment. People from all lifestyles can appreciate the roar of engines and huge tires crashing those pitiful tiny cars. Monster trucking began back in the 1980’s. The first monster truck show was held in 1982 at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan. Bob Chandler was the initial person to create a monster of a truck from a 4-wheel drive Ford F-250. With larger-than life tires and a spruced- up suspension system, the “Bigfoot” truck was put on display where its agility was tested by demolishing two cars in front of 70,000 people. Bigfoot #19 circa 2019 The original goal of monster trucking was to display how the truck could roll over and flatten as many cars as possible at exhibitions and fairs around the country. But as popularity for this type of entertainment rose, the monster trucks began actually racing around a track. In 1987, the United States Hot Rod Association created head-to-head competitions complete with car crushing and racing. Each year, we see monster trucks that are bigger and fiercer than ever. The costs to build and run a monster truck are hefty. Some typical prices include $1,800.00 per tire to anywhere from $2,000.00-$7,000.00 for paint and around $1,500.00 for shocks. Bigfoot It’s not just the appearance of a monster truck that makes them so popular, it’s also their capability on the track. The trucks are capable of speeds up to around 100 mph. These beasts can jump across 110 to 115 feet and 20 to 25 feet in the air. Monster trucks weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 12,000 pounds. (SCS Gearbox) For the past few decades, monster trucks have been entertaining the masses, crushing other vehicles, and taking dirt jumps to the extreme. These gargantuan vehicles have become known for their oversized tires, customized bodies, and freestyle tricks—but monster trucks weren’t always what they are today. So, how did these hulking, destructive trucks come to be? From Bigfoot to Grave Digger: The Evolution of Monster Trucks The original, unrivaled Bigfoot monster truck Heavily modified trucks were a popular trend during the 1970s, and their popularity was only enhanced by the sports of mud bogging and tractor pulling. Several truck owners created lifted trucks to perform at peak level, outfitting the vehicles with tires that topped out at 48 inches. One of the biggest trucks was Bob Chandler’s Bigfoot, which is considered the first-ever monster truck. In 1981, Chandler decided to drive over some cars to test the truck’s capabilities, becoming the first large truck to do so (on record, at least). Chandler’s video tape of the feat eventually got into the hands of an event promoter, who decided that this could be the next big spectacle to entertain audiences. Bigfoot went on to perform at various small shows, eventually debuting at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1982. It is at this event that the truck, outfitted with 66-inch tires, caused the “monster truck” name to be coined. After Bigfoot started the tradition of driving over cars, other “monster trucks” decided to join in on the fun. In the beginning, these trucks mostly just drove slowly over old cars as a sideshow attraction during tractor-pulling events. While these monster truck shows are nothing like the shows we see nowadays, they were nonetheless exciting, bold feats for that time. Over the course of the next few years, technology and driving skills improved, and the craze continued. In the 1980s, the United States Hot Rod Association (USHRA) realized this and began organizing and booking stunt shows across the country. In 1995, it created an official touring show called Monster Jam. Operated by Feld Entertainment, the Monster Jam franchise really took the sport to new heights–creating bigger, better, and more capable truck bodies, motors, and suspensions. Rules were established, along with a variety of safety measures that ensured monster truck drivers would be protected during the more dangerous stunts. The rise of Monster Jam introduced “celebrity” trucks like the famous Grave Digger. Grave Digger These changes allowed the sport to evolve, pulling away from their tractor-pulling origins. Now, monster trucks as we know them entertain the masses at shows around the world–from the USA to Australia. The tours run through winter and spring, culminating in the Monster Jam World Finals every March in Las Vegas. Monster Jam World Finals XVIII 25th Anniversary (Friday Racing) Encore Source: The News Wheel - Monster Trucks
  17. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - DR. SEUSS Did you know... that The Cat in the Hat is a children's book written and illustrated by Theodor Geisel under the pen name Dr. Seuss and first published in 1957? The story centers on a tall anthropomorphic cat who wears a red and white-striped hat and a red bow tie. (Wikipedia) Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who is one of the best-known and most-celebrated children’s authors of all time. During his lifetime and beyond, Dr. Seuss delighted, charmed and thrilled children with his colorful characters such as “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” from “The Cat in the Hat” to “Sam I Am” from “Green Eggs and Ham.” At the time, young readers may not have been aware of it, but they were learning how to read, count and identify colors. They were learning basic problem solving skills, and even the concept of rhyming. Dr. Seuss delighted children and adults alike with his quirky, imaginative plots, lovable characters and enjoyable storylines. Some of his books even addressed conflict on a very basic level, such as in “The Butter Battle Book” and even environmental conservation in “The Lorax.” Geisel Gained National Attention When He Won An Advertising Campaign On March 2, 1904, Theodor Seuss Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended area schools in Springfield before deciding on Dartmouth in 1925. After completing his bachelor’s degree at Dartmouth, he went to Oxford and later the Sorbonne in pursuit of a doctorate in literature. After graduating from Dartmouth College in 1925, he went to Oxford University, intending to earn an advanced degree in literature. While studying at Oxford, he met and fell in love with Helen Palmer. It is rumored that Helen was a classmate of Geisel’s, and she often teased him, complimenting him on a flying cow he was sketching. In 1927, Geisel made Helen his bride, and the two of them returned to the U.S. Geisel spent this time working as a cartoonist, and his drawings appeared in various magazines and newspapers. Eventually, Geisel won a contest for the best advertising campaign for an insecticide, Flit. Geisel came up with “quick, Henry, the Flit!” which caught on quickly. People began to take notice of the creative and quirky Geisel who had a way with words and could come up with amusing sketches to match. Geisel and Helen were on a pleasure cruise in 1936 when Geisel became inspired to write his first children’s book. The ship’s engine had a certain rhythm to it that helped Geisel develop the cadence to his famed “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.” Finding a publisher for his first book was far from easy. Geisel took his manuscript to 30 different publishers, each of whom rejected it. Undeterred, eventually, Geisel made his way to Vanguard Press, who decided to give him a chance. “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” was finally published in 1937. Geisel Began Writing Using His Pen Name, Dr. Seuss Geisel did attempt to write a few books for adults, but they were not well received. Geisel eventually stated that “adults are absolute children, and to hell with them.” Geisel decided to continue writing under his pen name, and focused on exclusively writing children’s books. Geisel respected children, enjoyed spending time with them, and loved writing books that would educate children and help them to understand simple life lessons. Parents also enjoyed reading books written by the great Dr. Seuss; the characters are lively and funny, the rhyme scheme is enjoyable, the drawings are fun, and the endings are always satisfying. Geisel, as Dr. Seuss, made reading before bed an activity that both children and parents looked forward to. Geisel was called into service during World War II, though not in the traditional sense. “During World War II, Geisel joined the Army and was sent to Hollywood where he wrote documentaries for the military. During this time, he also created a cartoon called Gerald McBoing-Boing which won him an Oscar,” explains the NEA. Dr. Seuss Published The Cat in The Hat & The World Fell in Love “In May of 1954, Life published a report on illiteracy among schoolchildren, suggesting that children were having trouble reading because their books were boring. This problem inspired Geisel’s publisher, prompting him to send Geisel a list of 400 words he felt were important for children to learn. The publisher asked Geisel to cut the list to 250 words and use them to write an entertaining children’s book. Nine months later, Geisel, using 225 of the words given to him, published The Cat in the Hat, which brought instant success,” NEA explains. Geisel took a challenging assignment and mastered it, and the outcome was one of the most beloved children’s books of all time. Seussville describes “The Cat in the Hat” as follows: “Join the Cat in the Hat as he makes learning to read a joy! It’s a rainy day and Dick and Sally can’t find anything to do . . . until the Cat in the Hat unexpectedly appears and turns their dreary afternoon into a fun-filled extravaganza! This beloved Beginner Book by Dr. Seuss, which also features timeless Dr. Seuss characters such as Fish and Thing 1 and Thing 2, is fun to read aloud and easy to read alone. Written using 236 different words that any first or second grader can read, it’s a fixture in home and school libraries and a favorite among parents, beginning readers, teachers, and librarians. Originally created by Dr. Seuss, Beginner Books encourage children to read all by themselves, with simple words and illustrations that give clues to their meaning.” Fish: Carlos K. Krinklebine in the TV Special "The Cat in the Hat". In the book he's only called Fish. Thing 1 and Thing 2 Geisel Used “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” to Retell a Classic Tale In 1957, Geisel published one of his most famous books, “How The Grinch Stole Christmas.” Perhaps a take on the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” a miserly grinch threatens to take away Christmas from the good, less fortunate people of the town. “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” while still being a children’s book, addresses issues like poverty, generosity, the haves and have-nots. The villainous grinch is shown to even have a heart, which of course grows in size when the joy of Christmas is shared with him. Through his books, Geisel teaches children much more than just how to read and count to ten. He teaches basic lessons about generosity, empathy and forgiveness, and the importance of being kind to others. He manages to do this while maintaining humor throughout, and always ends on a happy note, delighting young children. Even in “Green Eggs And Ham,” Geisel serves up a lesson or two. Even if he’s simply trying to get picky eaters to give their least favorite foods a chance, he’s sending a positive message and gently pushing children in the right direction. Geisel’s Influence is Still Felt Today in the Literary World & Beyond Geisel passed away in 1991, but the spirit of Dr. Seuss certainly lives on. His many award-winning children’s books continue to be high in circulation, some of them 60 years after they were originally printed. Several of his books have been adapted into films, including the beloved cartoon version of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” the live action version that would come years later, the animated version of “The Lorax” and so forth. Geisel, under his pen name of Dr. Seuss, finally got his rightful place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has influenced Hollywood, yes, but he has also influenced millions of children across the world on a personal level. He taught us to read, to count, to love books, to overcome adversity, to be kind, to be generous and so forth. While Geisel largely wrote for children, he left behind many words of inspiration for adults. One of Geisel’s most celebrated quotes is as follows: “I am weird, you are weird. Everyone in this world is weird. One day two people come together in mutual weirdness and fall in love.” Source: Heavy.Com - Entertainment - Dr. Seuss
  18. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - LOUVRE MUSEUM Did you know.... that The Louvre, or the Louvre Museum, is the world's largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France? A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city's 1st arrondissement. (Wikipedia) Former residence of the kings of France turned two centuries ago into one of the greatest museums in the world, a collection of over 35,000 works spread over a 60,000 m2, displaying masterpieces as the Mona Lisa, La Vénus de Milo, Le Radeau de la Méduse, Liberty guiding the people… The Louvre Museum is an extraordinary place. La Vénus de Milo In 1546 Francis I, who was a great art collector, had this old castle razed and began to build on its site another royal residence, the Louvre, which was added to by almost every subsequent French monarch. Under Francis I, only a small portion of the present Louvre was completed, under the architect Pierre Lescot. This original section is today the southwestern part of the Cour Carrée. In the 17th century, major additions were made to the building complex by Louis XIII and Louis XIV. Cardinal de Richelieu, the chief minister of Louis XIII, acquired great works of art for the king. Louis XIV and his minister, Cardinal Mazarin, acquired outstanding art collections, including that of Charles I of England. A committee consisting of the architects Claude Perrault and Louis Le Vau and the decorator and painter Charles Le Brun planned that part of the Louvre which is known as the Colonnade. The Colonnade, the eastern facade of the Louvre Museum, Paris, 19th-century print. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. (LC-DIG-pga-13069) The Louvre ceased to be a royal residence when Louis XIV moved his court to Versailles in 1682. The idea of using the Louvre as a public museum originated in the 18th century. The comte d’Angiviller helped build and plan the Grande Galerie and continued to acquire major works of art. In 1793 the revolutionary government opened to the public the Musée Central des Arts in the Grande Galerie. Under Napoleon the Cour Carrée and a wing on the north along the rue de Rivoli were begun. In the 19th century two major wings, their galleries and pavilions extending west, were completed, and Napoleon III was responsible for the exhibition that opened them. The completed Louvre was a vast complex of buildings forming two main quadrilaterals and enclosing two large courtyards. By 1874, the Louvre Palace had achieved its present form of an almost rectangular structure with the Sully Wing to the east containing the Cour Carrée (Square Court) and the oldest parts of the Louvre; and two wings which wrap the Cour Napoléon, the Richelieu Wing to the north and the Denon Wing, which borders the Seine to the south. In 1983, French President François Mitterrand proposed, as one of his Grands Projets, the Grand Louvre plan to renovate the building and relocate the Finance Ministry, allowing displays throughout the building. Architect I. M. Pei was awarded the project and proposed a glass pyramid to stand over a new entrance in the main court, the Cour Napoléon. The pyramid and its underground lobby were inaugurated on 15 October 1988 and the Louvre Pyramid was completed in 1989. The second phase of the Grand Louvre plan, the Pyramide Inversée (Inverted Pyramid), was completed in 1993. As of 2002, attendance had doubled since completion. The Louvre Pyramid Click below if you'd like to know more on The Louvre Museum Source: Wikipedia, Encyclopaedia Britannica
  19. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - RUBBER BANDS / ELASTICS Did you know... that the first rubber band was invented by Englishman Stephen Perry in 1845 - they continue to enjoy popular use today. Rubber bands have even been used to break records, with the largest rubber band ball consisting of more than 175,000 bands and weighing a whopping 4,594 pounds. Most rubber bands are manufactured out of natural rubber or, especially at larger sizes, elastomer, and are sold in a variety of sizes. Rubber bands are typically circular bands that stretch and are generally used to hold groups of items as one, or holding items in position. It is said that the biggest consumer of rubber bands on earth is the US Postal Service that use them to sort and group mail, and they are also used in the floral industry and newspaper delivery services, and for holding other items together, like cut asparagus and other food stalks; pens and pencils and decks of cards. ‘Rubber bands’ are also known as ‘elastic bands’, ‘lackey bands’, ‘laggy bands’, ‘binders’, and ‘elastic’. Rubber bands release heat energy when stretched, but absorb heat energy when retracted. Rubber bands are found in many different sizes, shapes, colours and stretchiness, and can be larger than 43 cm (17 inches) or as small as 3 mm (1/8 inch), although they typically range from 3 to 18 centimetres (1.25 to 7 inches) in length. In Britain, the use of rubber bands by the Britain’s Royal Mail postal service has caused significant media attention in the country, due to the large quantity of elastic bands found discarded on the ground everyday, so much so, that at one stage they changed the bands from brown, to red, to make them more visible, and therefore more likely to be picked up by postal workers. Rubber bands are created by heating a mixture of rubber, sulfur and other chemicals into strips, that are then extruded into tubes, cured and cut into bands. Rubber strips, similar to rubber bands, were first historically made by the Maya people, Aztecs and other Mesoamericans thousands of years ago. Red Rubber Bands March 1845, the London industrialist Stephen Perry was granted the patent for the production of elastic bands from vulcanised natural rubber. Since then, he has been considered the inventor of the rubber band, although he benefited from the work done previously by one of his compatriots. The English-speaking world still continues to dominate the headlines where rubber bands are concerned: the biggest manufacturer in the world is based in the USA. And a world record associated with rubber bands was also set in the country where opportunities are said to be unlimited. They are used to keep bank notes, letters and newspapers together, to make bunches of herbs, to braid hair into pigtails or to tie it into ponytails. They stop underwear slipping down, make sure that jars of preserved food are given an air-tight seal and have recently found a new application as the mounting for hard drives in computer housings: rubber bands of varying length and thickness, with the basic shape of an uninterrupted ring, hold everyday things together reliably. Their versatility and ubiquity mean that they are taken for granted almost as much as natural objects that are simply there without anyone having to invent or make them. One of the reasons for this is that rubber bands have been in common use for many generations now and it is already almost 175 years since the patent for producing them was granted. Ponytail The initial patent holder was the London industrialist Stephen Perry, together with the engineer Thomas Barnabas Daft (1816-1878), who also worked in London. The British patent no. 13880 of 17. March 1845 that was granted to the two of them related to improvements to rubber bands for straps, belts and bandages as well as to the production of elastic bands. But how were the “rubber rings” produced that were unknown until then? Very simply: by slicing hollow rubber tubing into narrow strips. In the beginning they were still anything but a mass product and were used almost exclusively to hold loose sheets of paper, newspapers and other paper products together. Elastic Bandages Perry has been forgotten almost completely in the meantime and has been overshadowed by such more well-known contemporaries as Charles Nelson Goodyear (1800-1860) and Thomas Hancock (1786-1865), the discoverers of the vulcanisation of rubber, or Charles Macintosh (1766-1843), the manufacturer of the first impermeable raincoat that was impregnated with rubber. So who was this Stephen Perry, about whom no biography has been written to this day and of whom no photos can be found – even in the World Wide Web? He was, first of all, the son of James Perry, who in 1824 founded a company in Manchester that specialized in the production of steel pens. They had a good reputation throughout Europe, so that “Perry pen” soon became the international synonym for steel pens. When James Perry died in 1843, his son Stephen took over management of the company and expanded the operations to include rubber bands after he received the above-mentioned patent. They were soon to become known as “Perry & Co’s Royal Aromatic Elastic Bands”. From now on, the company was called “Messrs. Perry and Co., Rubber Manufacturers of London” and co-operated first with Charles Macintosh & Co., Manchester, and later with William Warne & Co., Tottenham, where rubber bands were concerned. Perry Pen It was no coincidence that Stephen Perry focused on rubber, because he knew Thomas Hancock, who is now considered to be the “father of the British rubber industry”. Although Perry did not intervene in the latter’s priority dispute about vulcanization with the American Charles Goodyear with his patent (“we make no claim to the preparation of the India rubber”), he benefited from this dispute. Because Hancock invested so much energy and time in the controversy with Goodyear that he failed to secure other rights for himself. In 1820, he had obtained his first rubber patent, which enabled him to incorporate fine rubber threads in textile fabrics and thus to produce the predecessors of our present-day stretch fabrics. A process that, incidentally, goes back to Johann Nepomuk Reithoffer (1781-1872), the master tailor from Moravia. Hancock then established a company in London that he called “James Lyne Hancock Ltd.” after his brother and that acted as the production facility for such products as elastic garters and rubber bands for boots. He bought the raw rubber he needed for this purpose in Brazil: big lumps, in the processing of which considerable amounts were left over that were no longer any use for the production of threads of sufficient length. In order to enable the left-over rubber to be put to a different use, Hancock shredded it in an enclosed, crank-driven, hollow cylinder – and was surprised, when he opened it, to find a single, hot ball of rubber instead of the small strips he had expected. As can be explained from what we know today, the shredding operation had shortened the long molecule chain of the rubber particles – a process that takes place with the generation of a large amount of heat and increases the plastic properties of the rubber, so that it was now much easier to shape and process, as Hancock found out. In 1821, the Briton therefore replaced the hand-operated apparatus with a capacity of barely five kilograms by a larger horse-driven kneading machine that could be heated from the inside and that he called a “masticator” (from the Latin word “masticare”, which means “to chew”). Hancock gradually increased its capacity to 90 kilograms and processed the masticated rubber into a wide variety of different products at his facility. He started to manufacture rubber tubing and piping as early as 1822. It was not long until he had the idea of cutting them into bands and rings. Hancock was, however, unable to think of any practical use for them, particularly in view of the fact that vulcanisation was still unknown and the rubber therefore remained an extremely inconsistent material – in spite of mastication – which became hard and brittle on cold days and became very soft on warm days. So it is no surprise that Hancock did not try to market his rubber bands. What is surprising, however, is that he was not foresighted enough to secure the rights to them for the future, in the same way that he also failed to do so with the masticator – probably for secrecy reasons. In 1845, Stephen Perry closed this gap with his patent application about elastic bands – with the crucial difference that they were in the meantime made from vulcanised rubber. So Perry, who died in 1873, really does deserve the credit for being the inventor of the rubber band, even if he – ironically enough – had obtained the material licence from Hancock. As is generally known now, it is vulcanisation – i.e. heating with sulphur – that makes rubber more elastic and durable; a thermoplastic becomes an elastomer. What is behind this is a chemical crosslinking reaction: the linear polyisoprene chains of the natural rubber are crosslinked with each other by the addition of bridge-building sulphur, encouraged by high temperature and pressure. In order to make them particularly stretchy, most rubber bands are, incidentally, still manufactured from natural rubber, although synthetically produced rubber has been available for a long time now too, synthesised from, for example, butadiene and sodium. Made of Synthetic Rubber It is standard procedure for rubber rings for preserved food jars to be made from vulcanised natural rubber too, so that they have tensile and tear strength properties and remain elastic for many years. The sealing of glass containers containing preserved food was invented by Rudolf Rempel (1859-1893), a chemist from Gelsenkirchen in Germany. His 1892 patent was later passed on to Johann Carl Weck (1841-1914), Rempel’s first major customer, who established the company J. Weck & Co. in Öflingen, Germany, on 1. January 1900. In 1907 the verb “einwecken” was added to the Duden German dictionary as a synonym for “to preserve”. More than 100 million rubber rings for this purpose are now sold in Germany every year. Rubber factories that manufacture them frequently produce rubber rings for bottles too, that are used to seal flip-top closures to the tops of beer and mineral water bottles. This is another example of how the rubber ring has continued to exploit its potential since Perry’s day and has been put to further uses, e.g. to align teeth in orthodontics or to shoot balls of paper around in school. The biggest producer in the world is now Alliance Rubber Company in the USA, which was established in 1923 in Alliance/Ohio by William Spencer (1891-1986) and used the slogan “Holding your world together” to advertise the rubber band. A second plant was added in Hot Springs/Arkansas in 1944. In 1957, Spencer patented a standardised rubber band called the “Open Ring” that he had developed. The company reports that it manufactured rubber bands with a total weight of 6.8 million kilograms in 2017. The figure was considerably higher in 1999 at 11.6 million kilograms. The biggest customer is the United States Postal Service (USPS). The biggest rubber band ball in the world, for which Joel Waul from Lauderhill/Florida was included in the Guinness Book of Records in November 2008, was two metres high, had a circumference of 6.30 metres and weighed as much as 4,100 kilograms. He was 27 years old at the time and called the monster he created “Megaton”; it is supposed to consist of more than 700,000 intertwined rubber bands. Pretty irresponsible from both the environmental and economic points of view: Stephen Perry would certainly be astonished if he knew that we live in an age in which art for art’s sake justifies the senseless waste of a valuable raw material. Source: K-Online - M. Weber
  20. 2 points
    Ok, I don't remember if I've done this one before and I'm not trolling back to check. Fact of the Day - CANADA DAY Did you know... that Canada Day is the national day of Canada? A federal statutory holiday, it celebrates the anniversary of July 1, 1867, the effective date of the Constitution Act, 1867, which united the three separate colonies of the Province of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year in which the Canadian Constitution was patriated by the Canada Act 1982. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world, attended by Canadians living abroad. (Wikipedia) Canada Day is often informally referred to as "Canada's birthday", particularly in the popular press. However, the term "birthday" can be seen as an oversimplification, as Canada Day is the anniversary of only one important national milestone on the way to the country's full independence, namely the joining on July 1, 1867, of the colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a wider British federation of four provinces (the colony of Canada being divided into the provinces of Ontario and Quebec upon Confederation). Canada became a "kingdom in its own right" within the British Empire commonly known as the Dominion of Canada. Although still a British colony, Canada gained an increased level of political control and governance over its own affairs, the British parliament and Cabinet maintaining political control over certain areas, such as foreign affairs, national defence, and constitutional changes. Canada gradually gained increasing independence over the years, notably with the passage of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, until finally becoming completely independent with the passing of the Constitution Act, 1982 which served to fully patriate the Canadian constitution. Under the federal Holidays Act, Canada Day is observed on July 1, unless that date falls on a Sunday, in which case July 2 is the statutory holiday. Celebratory events will generally still take place on July 1, even though it is not the legal holiday. If it falls on a weekend, businesses normally closed that day usually dedicate the following Monday as a day off. Add 3 more years since we are in 2020 now. The name Canada derives from an Iroquoian word for "village," kanata, that French explorers heard used to refer to the area near present-day Quebec City. On June 20, 1868, Governor General the Viscount Monck issued a royal proclamation asking for Canadians to “celebrate the anniversary of the confederation." This holiday was given the statutory value on 1879 and was designated as the Dominion Day. Canada was known as officially as Dominion Day until October 27, 1982. However, many ordinary Canadians have considered it as Canada Day long before the official name change. The move to change the celebrations name to its present name was greatly inspired by the Canada Act. Cross-country television transmission by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation began on Canada Day in 1958 while Color television was first introduced in Canada nine years later on Canada Day in 1967. (FIY: that's the year I was born!) The year 2011 marks the 144th celebration of Canada Day which commemorates the day that Canada became a nation. On July 1st, 1923, the Canadian government enacted the Chinese Immigration Act, stopping all immigration from China. Chinese-Canadians began to refer to July 1 as Humiliation Day and refused to participate in Dominion Day celebrations, until the act was repealed in 1947. Some famous people born on Canada day: Pamela Anderson, Dan Akroyd, Lady Diana the Princess of Wales, Missy Elliott, Jamie Farr (aka Klinger), Rod Gilbert, Debbie Harry, Olivia de Havilland, Estee Lauder, Carl Lewis, Sydney Pollack, Alan Ruck, Liv Tyler. And my sister Sheila was born on July 1st too! Canada Day kicks off, what Canadians call, “those two months before winter starts” There are many ways to celebrate Canada Day. First: What's a patriotic celebration without a parade? There will be parades held in cities, towns, and villages all over Canada. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police have an established group called the RCMP Musical Ride. These 32 officers, who are rotated after three years' service, perform equestrian drills for the public throughout Canada. Other Canada Day traditions that are gaining footholds are picnics, festivals, sporting events, and fireworks. Many Canada Day events are planned all over the country, including Vancouver, Ottawa, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, and Victoria. The lyrics to "O Canada" can be found here. Hear the French version as well. Source: Mental Floss - Canada Day, Wikipedia - Canada Day
  21. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - MEDICINAL PLANTS Did you know... that medicinal plants, also called medicinal herbs, have been discovered and used in traditional medicine practices since prehistoric times? Plants synthesise hundreds of chemical compounds for functions including defence against insects, fungi, diseases, and herbivorous mammals. (Wikipedia) Numerous phytochemicals with potential or established biological activity have been identified. However, since a single plant contains widely diverse phytochemicals, the effects of using a whole plant as medicine are uncertain. Further, the phytochemical content and pharmacological actions, if any, of many plants having medicinal potential remain unassessed by rigorous scientific research to define efficacy and safety. The earliest historical records of herbs are found from the Sumerian civilisation, where hundreds of medicinal plants including opium are listed on clay tablets. The Ebers Papyrus from ancient Egypt, c. 1550 BC, describes over 850 plant medicines. The Greek physician Dioscorides, who worked in the Roman army, documented over 1000 recipes for medicines using over 600 medicinal plants in De materia medica, c. 60 AD; this formed the basis of pharmacopoeias for some 1500 years. Drug research makes use of ethnobotany to search for pharmacologically active substances in nature, and has in this way discovered hundreds of useful compounds. These include the common drugs aspirin, digoxin, quinine, and opium. The compounds found in plants are of many kinds, but most are in four major biochemical classes: alkaloids, glycosides, polyphenols, and terpenes. Dioscorides's 1st century De materia medica, seen here in a c. 1334 copy in Arabic, describes some 1000 drug recipes based on over 600 plants. Medicinal plants are widely used in non-industrialized societies, mainly because they are readily available and cheaper than modern medicines. The annual global export value of the thousands of types of plants with suspected medicinal properties was estimated to be US$2.2 billion in 2012. In 2017, the potential global market for botanical extracts and medicines was estimated at several hundred billion dollars. In many countries, there is little regulation of traditional medicine, but the World Health Organization coordinates a network to encourage safe and rational usage. Medicinal plants face both general threats, such as climate change and habitat destruction, and the specific threat of over-collection to meet market demand. Prehistoric times Plants, including many now used as culinary herbs and spices, have been used as medicines, not necessarily effectively, from prehistoric times. Spices have been used partly to counter food spoilage bacteria, especially in hot climates, and especially in meat dishes which spoil more readily. Angiosperms (flowering plants) were the original source of most plant medicines. Human settlements are often surrounded by weeds used as herbal medicines, such as nettle, dandelion and chickweed. Humans were not alone in using herbs as medicines: some animals such as non-human primates, monarch butterflies and sheep ingest medicinal plants when they are ill. Plant samples from prehistoric burial sites are among the lines of evidence that Paleolithic peoples had knowledge of herbal medicine. For instance, a 60 000-year-old Neanderthal burial site, "Shanidar IV", in northern Iraq has yielded large amounts of pollen from eight plant species, seven of which are used now as herbal remedies. A mushroom was found in the personal effects of Ötzi the Iceman, whose body was frozen in the Ötztal Alps for more than 5,000 years. The mushroom was probably used against whipworm. Ancient times The Ebers Papyrus (c. 1550 BC) from Ancient Egypt describes the use of hundreds of plant medicines. In ancient Sumeria, hundreds of medicinal plants including myrrh and opium are listed on clay tablets. The ancient Egyptian Ebers Papyrus lists over 800 plant medicines such as aloe, cannabis, castor bean, garlic, juniper, and mandrake. From ancient times to the present, Ayurvedic medicine as documented in the Atharva Veda, the Rig Veda and the Sushruta Samhita has used hundreds of pharmacologically active herbs and spices such as turmeric, which contains curcumin. The Chinese pharmacopoeia, the Shennong Ben Cao Jing records plant medicines such as chaulmoogra for leprosy, ephedra, and hemp. This was expanded in the Tang Dynasty Yaoxing Lun. In the fourth century BC, Aristotle's pupil Theophrastus wrote the first systematic botany text, Historia plantarum. In around 60 AD, the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides, working for the Roman army, documented over 1000 recipes for medicines using over 600 medicinal plants in De materia medica. The book remained the authoritative reference on herbalism for over 1500 years, into the seventeenth century. Middle Ages Illustration of a 1632 copy of Avicenna's 1025 The Canon of Medicine, showing a physician talking to a female patient in a garden, while servants prepare medicines. In the Early Middle Ages, Benedictine monasteries preserved medical knowledge in Europe, translating and copying classical texts and maintaining herb gardens. Hildegard of Bingen wrote Causae et Curae ("Causes and Cures") on medicine. In the Islamic Golden Age, scholars translated many classical Greek texts including Dioscorides into Arabic, adding their own commentaries. Herbalism flourished in the Islamic world, particularly in Baghdad and in Al-Andalus. Among many works on medicinal plants, Abulcasis (936–1013) of Cordoba wrote The Book of Simples, and Ibn al-Baitar (1197–1248) recorded hundreds of medicinal herbs such as Aconitum, nux vomica, and tamarind in his Corpus of Simples. Avicenna included many plants in his 1025 The Canon of Medicine. Abu-Rayhan Biruni, Ibn Zuhr, Peter of Spain, and John of St Amand wrote further pharmacopoeias. Early Modern An early illustrated book of medicinal plants, The Grete Herball, 1526 The Early Modern period saw the flourishing of illustrated herbals across Europe, starting with the 1526 Grete Herball. John Gerard wrote his famous The Herball or General History of Plants in 1597, based on Rembert Dodoens, and Nicholas Culpeper published his The English Physician Enlarged. Many new plant medicines arrived in Europe as products of Early Modern exploration and the resulting Columbian Exchange, in which livestock, crops and technologies were transferred between the Old World and the Americas in the 15th and 16th centuries. Medicinal herbs arriving in the Americas included garlic, ginger, and turmeric; coffee, tobacco and coca travelled in the other direction. In Mexico, the sixteenth century Badianus Manuscript described medicinal plants available in Central America. A page of the Libellus illustrating the tlahçolteoçacatl, tlayapaloni, axocotl and chicomacatl plants, used to make a remedy for lęsum & male tractatum corpus, "injured and badly treated body" 19th and 20th centuries Further information: Pharmacognosy The place of plants in medicine was radically altered in the 19th century by the application of chemical analysis. Alkaloids were isolated from a succession of medicinal plants, starting with morphine from the poppy in 1806, and soon followed by ipecacuanha and strychnos in 1817, quinine from the cinchona tree, and then many others. As chemistry progressed, additional classes of pharmacologically active substances were discovered in medicinal plants. Commercial extraction of purified alkaloids including morphine from medicinal plants began at Merck in 1826. Synthesis of a substance first discovered in a medicinal plant began with salicylic acid in 1853. Around the end of the 19th century, the mood of pharmacy turned against medicinal plants, as enzymes often modified the active ingredients when whole plants were dried, and alkaloids and glycosides purified from plant material started to be preferred. Drug discovery from plants continued to be important through the 20th century and into the 21st, with important anti-cancer drugs from yew and Madagascar periwinkle. Madagascar Periwinkle Click below if you are interesting in reading more of Medicinal Plants. Source: Wikipedia - Medicinal Plants
  22. 2 points
    Friday's Fact of the Day - CALLIGRAPHY Did you know... that calligraphy is a visual art related to writing. It is the design and execution of lettering with a broad-tipped instrument, brush, or other writing instrument? A contemporary calligraphic practice can be defined as "the art of giving form to signs in an expressive, harmonious, and skillful manner". (Wikipedia) Calligraphy, the art of beautiful handwriting. The term may derive from the Greek words for “beauty” (kallos) and “to write” (graphein). It implies a sure knowledge of the correct form of letters—i.e., the conventional signs by which language can be communicated—and the skill to make them with such ordering of the various parts and harmony of proportions that the experienced, knowledgeable eye will recognize such composition as a work of art. Calligraphic work, as art, need not be legible in the usual sense of the word. In the Middle East and East Asia, calligraphy by long and exacting tradition is considered a major art, equal to sculpture or painting. In Western culture the plainer Greek- and Latin-derived alphabets and the spread of literacy have tended to make handwriting in principle an art that anyone can practice. Nonetheless, after the introduction of printing in Europe in the mid-15th century, a clear distinction arose between handwriting and more elaborate forms of scripts and lettering. In fact, new words meaning “calligraphy” entered most European languages about the end of the 16th century, and in English the word calligraphy did not appear until 1613. Writing books from the 16th century through the present day have continued to distinguish between ordinary handwriting and the more decorative calligraphy. “Spieghel der Schrijfkonste” (“Mirror of the Art of Writing”) by Jan van de Velde, 1605; in the Columbia University Libraries, New York City. It has often been assumed that the printing process ended the manuscript tradition. This is not quite true: for example, most of the surviving books of hours (lavish private devotional manuscript books) date from the period after the introduction of printing. Furthermore, certain types of publications, such as musical scores, scientific notation, and other specialized or small-audience works, continued to be handwritten well into the 19th century. Thus, although handwritten books could not be reproduced in quantity or with complete uniformity, they did survive the introduction of printing. Printing and handwriting began to influence each other: for example, modern advertising continues to incorporate calligraphy, and many calligraphers have through the years designed typefaces for printing. Two-page spread from Geoffroy Tory's Book of Hours (1531). Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. Early Semitic Writing During the 2nd millennium BCE, various Semitic peoples at the eastern end of the Mediterranean were experimenting with alphabetic writing. Between 1500 and 1000 BCE, alphabetic signs found in scattered sites showed a correspondence of form and provided material for sound translations. Bodies of writing from this period are fragmented: a few signs scratched on sherds or cut in stone. Few of these are celebrated in terms of aesthetic value. First written record of Semitic alphabet, from 15th century BCE, found in Egypt One interesting set of Semitic inscriptions was discovered in 1905 at an ancient mining site on the Sinai Peninsula. A sphinx from that discovery yields the taw, nun, taw, or t, n, t, meaning “gift.” It is evident that the nun, or n, sign is a rendering of a serpent. Most of the early Semitic alphabetic signs were similarly derived from word signs of more ancient vintage. The several Semitic peoples in the Middle East area spoke languages that were closely related, and this enabled them to use the same set of alphabetic signs. After some experimentation the alphabet was reduced to 22 signs for consonants. There were no vowel signs. The tribes of Canaan (Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Aramaeans) were important in the development of alphabetic writing, and all seemed to be employing the alphabet by 1000 BCE. The Phoenicians, living along a 20-mile (30-kilometre) strip on the Mediterranean, made the great sea their second home, giving the alphabet to Greeks in the mutual trading area and leaving inscriptions in many sites. One of the finest Phoenician inscriptions exists on a bronze cup from Cyprus called the Baal of Lebanon (in the Louvre, Paris) dating from about 800 BCE. The so-called Moabite Stone (also in the Louvre), which dates from about 850 BCE, has an inscription that is also a famous example of early Semitic writing. The Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone in its current location: The brown fragments are pieces of the original stele, whereas the smoother black material is Ganneau's reconstruction from the 1870s. Old Hebrew Old Hebrew existed in inscription form in the early centuries of the 1st millennium BCE. The pen-written forms of the Old Hebrew alphabet are best preserved in the 13th-century-CE documents of the Samaritan sects. The exile suffered by the Israelites (586–538 BCE) dealt a heavy blow to the Hebrew language, since, after their return from exile, Aramaic was the dominant language of the area, and Hebrew existed as a second and scholarly language. Aramaic pen-written documents began to appear in the 5th century BCE and were vigorous interpretations of inscription letters. Typically, in the surviving documents, the pen was cut wide at the tip to produce a pronounced thick and thin structure to the line of letters. The writer’s hand was rotated counterclockwise more than 45 degrees relative to vertical, so that vertical strokes were thinner than the horizontal ones. Then, too, there was a tendency to hold these strong horizontals on the top line, with trailing descenders finding a typical length, long or short on the basis of ancient habits. The lamed form, which has the same derivation as the Western L, resembles the latter and can be picked out in early Aramaic pen hands by its characteristic long ascender. The traditional square Hebrew, or merubbaʿ, pen hand was developed in the centuries preceding the Common Era. This early script may be seen in the famed Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947. These scrolls are associated with a group of dissident Jews who founded a religious commune on the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea about 180 BCE. The commune had an extensive library. Pens were the instruments of writing, and, as in earlier Aramaic documents, leather provided the surface. In these documents the lamed form remained visually prominent. Chapter 49 of the Isaiah Scroll from the Dead Sea Scrolls; in the Shrine of the Book, D. Samuel and Jean H. Gottesman Centre for Biblical Manuscripts, the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. There are no Hebrew manuscripts from the first 500 years of the Common Era. Most of the development in the square Hebrew script occurred between 1000 and 1500 CE. The earliest script to emerge from the Dead Sea writing was the Early Sefardic (Spharadic), with examples dating between 600 and 1200 CE. The Classic Sefardic hand appears between 1100 and 1600 CE. The Ashkenazic style of Hebrew writing exhibits French and German Gothic overtones of the so-called black-letter styles (see below Latin-alphabet handwriting: The black-letter, or Gothic, style [9th to 15th century]) developed to write western European languages in the late Middle Ages. German black letter, with its double-stroked heads and feet, was difficult for the scribe. Hebrew scripts from this period exhibit some of the same complicated pen stroking and change of pen slant within individual characters. Some decorative qualities of medieval French writing are seen in this Hebrew script. Hebrew Sefardic script, before 1331; in the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City (7. Vat. Heb. 12. Hagiographa). Click below if you'd like to read more on Calligraphy. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica - Calligraphy
  23. 2 points
    During the Cyberpunk 2077 Night City Wire: Episode 1 livestream on Thursday, an anime series titled Cyberpunk: Edgerunners was announced. The anime will take place in the same universe as the game, featuring an original story. The 10-episode anime series will debut on Netflix in 2022. Cyberpunk: Edgerunners tells a standalone story about a street kid trying to survive in a technology and body modification-obsessed city of the future. Having everything to lose, he chooses to stay alive by becoming an edgerunner—a mercenary outlaw also known as a cyberpunk. Hiroyuki Imaishi, the director behind Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and Kill la Kill, will helm the series at animation studio Trigger, with assistant director Masahiko Otsuka (Promare, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt). Otsuka is also in charge of the screenplay alongside Yoshiki Usa (SSSS.Gridman producer). You Yoshinari (Little Witch Academia) and Yuuto Kaneko (BNA animation director) are designing the characters. Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill video game franchise) is composing the original score. Hiromi Wakabayashi (Uchuu Patrol Luluco) is serving as the creative director. Developed by CD Projekt, Cyberpunk 2077 adapts the 1988 tabletop role-playing game, which is scheduled for release on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 19.
  24. 2 points
    Superman: Man of Tomorrow: Trailer
  25. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/aer-memories-of-old/home AER: Memories of Old is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/stranger-things-3-the-game/home Stranger Things 3: The Game is currently free on Epic Game Store.
  26. 2 points
    There's a new R rated Deathstroke animated movie. Comes out August 18th on BD and I believe the 4th on digital.
  27. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - PLESIOSAURS Did you know.... that the Plesiosauria or plesiosaurs are an order or clade of extinct Mesozoic marine reptiles, belonging to the Sauropterygia? Plesiosaurs first appeared in the latest Triassic Period, possibly in the Rhaetian stage, about 203 million years ago. They became especially common during the Jurassic Period, thriving until their disappearance due to the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event at the end of the Cretaceous Period, about 66 million years ago. They had a worldwide oceanic distribution. (Wikipedia) In 1719, William Stukeley described the first partial skeleton of a plesiosaur. The great-grandfather of Charles Darwin, Robert Darwin of Elston told him about it. Mary Anning was the first to discover a fairly complete plesiosaur. She found it on the 'Jurassic Coast' of Dorset, England in the winter of 1820/21. The fossil was missing its skull, but in 1823 she found another one, this time complete with its skull. The name Plesiosaurus was given to it by the Rev. William Conybeare. First published plesiosaur skeleton, 1719 Mary Anning's Plesiosaur London, England - Atlas Obscura The earliest plesiosaur remains are from the Middle Triassic period, and the group was important through the Jurassic and Cretaceous. They had two large pairs of paddles, short tails, short or long necks, and broad bodies. They died out at the K/T extinction event, 65 million years ago. Plesiosaurs had many bones in their flippers, making them flexible. No modern animal has this four-paddle anatomy: modern turtles use their forelimbs for swimming. They were mainly piscivorous (fish-eaters). Pliosaurs The pliosaurs were a group of mostly large submarine predators with short necks and large heads. Their sizes ranged from two to 15 metres, and they were predators of large fish and other reptiles. Their streamlined body shape suggests they swam and ate under water. Liopleurodon Long-necked plesiosaurs Plesiosaur Fossils: Long-Necked Marine Reptiles There were three families of long-necked plesiosaurs, who evidently had a different life-style from the pliosaurs. It was suggested by D.M.S. Watson that their method was as surface swimmers, mostly eating with their head above water, darting down to snatch smaller fish which were feeding on plankton. It is hard to see the benefit of a long neck under water; aquatic mammals operating under water all have a streamlined torpedo-shape, as did pliosaurs and ichthyosaurs. All the longer-necked familiers were, from the setting of the teeth and jaws, eaters of small fish. However, some at least were bottom-feeders, consuming various prey. Digestion of shellfish was aided by gastroliths. Plesiosaurids: neck not so long as the other two families, and not so flexible: a more general all-round plesiosaur. Head of medium size, neck fairly thick and strong, up to 30 vertebrae. Plesiosaurus Cryptoclidids: longer necks, with more than 30 vertebrae. Cryptoclidus Elasmosaurids: very long necks; some later forms have as many as 76 cervical (neck) vertebrae and quite small skulls.p30 Watson and Alexander's ideas apply especially to this group. Elasmosaurus Thalassomedon Mauisaurus, the longest plesiosaur ever found. Elasmosaurus, Canadian Museum of Nature, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Gastroliths Plesiosaurs have been found with fossils of belemnites (squid-like animals), and ammonites (giant nautilus-like molluscs) associated with their stomachs. But plesiosaurs could not crack shells. Instead, they probably swallowed them whole. In the belly of a plesiosaur were "stomach stones", which are called gastroliths. These stones moved around in the plesiosaur's stomach and cracked or crushed the shells of the animals it ate. One plesiosaur fossil found in South Dakota had 253 gastroliths weighing a total of 29 pounds. Source: Kids Encyclopedia Facts
  28. 2 points
    NIS America will release Falcom-developed action RPG Ys IX: Monstrum Nox for PlayStation 4, Switch, and PC via Steam in North America and Europe in 2021, the publisher announced during the New Game+ Expo live stream. It will support English and Japanese audio options. Pre-orders for a $99.99 limited edition are available now at the NIS America Online Store (PlayStation 4, Switch). It includes the “Pact Edition” of the game, “Monstrum Memoirs” mini art booklet, “Melodies of the Macabre” one-disc original soundtrack sampler, reverse cover sheet, “Chains and Chansons” one-disc official soundtrack, “Nails in the Coffin” hardcover art book, “The Lost Sword” Ys IX prequel short novel, “The Crimson King” chibi figure, “The Monstrums and Balduq” art card collection, “Balduq’s Most Wanted” key chain set, and a “Monstrum” box. Ys IX: Monstrm Nox first launched for PlayStation 4 in September 2019 in Japan. Here is an overview of the game, via NIS America: About Renowned adventurer Adol “the Red” Christin and his companion Dogi arrive at Balduq, a city annexed by the Romun Empire, only for Adol to be detained before setting foot inside. While imprisoned, he meets a mysterious woman named Aprilis who turns him into a Monstrum, a being with supernatural Gifts and the power to exorcise monsters. Now, Adol must ally with his fellow Monstrums to fend off the fearsome threats emerging from a shadowy dimension called the Grimwald Nox, as well as unravel the mysteries of the Monstrum curse, and the truth behind the unrest within Balduq. Key Features Feared Protectors – Play as any of the six notorious Monstrums, each with their own unique Gifts that grant abilities such as scaling sheer walls or detecting hidden objects to protect the city from shadowy creatures. The World Within the Walls – Explore the massive city, accept quests to aid the townsfolk, and enter the Grimwald Nox to vanquish the threats to Balduq. Strength of the Night – Familiar mechanics such as Flash Dodge and Flash Guard allow you to outmaneuver your foes、while new additions such as Gifts and Boost Mode further augment your ability to fight.
  29. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - PRAIRIE DOGS Did you know... that prairie dogs are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America? The five species are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah, and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in North America. They eat grasses, seeds, leaves, flowers, fruit, eggs, and some insects. (Wikipedia) Underground Burrows Prairie dogs tend to be celebrated for their larger ecological virtues. In the grasslands across the central and western United States, their intricate underground colonies—called prairie dog towns—create shelter for jackrabbits, toads, and rattlesnakes. The bare patches of ground created by their grazing and burrowing attract certain insects that feed a variety of birds. The downtown Panhandle Pete's Amarillo, Texas - Premier Prairie Dog Town allows visitors to get underground with plastic protection for an up-close view of the prairie dogs. Their extensive warrens of tunnels and chambers marked by many mounds of packed earth at their surface entrances. Burrows have defined nurseries, sleeping quarters, and even toilets. They also feature listening posts near exits, so animals can safely keep tabs on the movements of predators outside. Prairie dogs spend a lot of time building and rebuilding these dwellings. Other animals benefit from their labors. Burrows may be shared by snakes, burrowing owls, and even rare black-footed ferrets, which hunt prairie dogs in their own dwellings. Family groups (a male, a few females, and their young) inhabit burrows and cooperate to share food, chase off other prairie dogs, and groom one another. These group members even greet one another with a prairie dog kiss or nuzzle. Young pups are very playful and can often been seen romping near their burrows. North Prairies Prairie dogs are found in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In Mexico, they are mostly found in the northern states, which are the southern end of the great plains: northeastern Sonora, north and northeastern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas; in the U.S., they range primarily west of the Mississippi River, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. They will eat all sorts of vegetables and fruits. Biology and behavior Highly social, prairie dogs live in large colonies – collections of prairie dog families that can span hundreds of acres. Families usually are made up of one male and two to four females living in a strict social hierarchy. Prairie dog pups reach sexual maturity at about 3 years of age, and after their third winter the dominant male in a given family will drive them away, forcing them to establish their own families on the edges of the colony. The dominant male will defend the family's borders against rival prairie dogs, and disputes are resolved by fighting. Prairie dogs are also aggressive against predators such as badgers and snakes. Prairie Dog Fight Prairie dogs are social animals, and often make social visits with each other, and greet each other with a sort of kiss. Prairie dogs employ a complex form of communication that involves barks and rhythmic chirps. Prairie dog tunnel systems usually have several rooms. Tunnels can go down as far as 5 metres (16 ft), and can extend laterally as much as 30 metres (98 ft). Prairie dogs line their burrows with grass to insulate them, and the earth excavated from the burrow is piled up in mounds around the burrow's entrance. The prairie dogs use these carefully maintained mounds as observation posts. The prairie dog is well adapted to predators. They can detect predators from a far distance and alert other prairie dogs to the danger with a special, high-pitched call. Prairie dogs use different calls to identify specific predators. Prairie dogs also trim the vegetation around their colonies, perhaps to remove any cover for predators. Their burrows generally contain several routes of escape. Prairie dogs even help aerate and fertilize the soil, allowing a greater diversity of plants to thrive. But the widespread destruction of prairie dog colonies and the arrival of the exotic disease plague in the 1900s reduced prairie dogs by more than 95 percent. Defenders' Impact Poisoning prairie dogs can be bad for the environment with impacts to native grassland birds, it is expensive, and rarely offers a long-term solution to conflicts with livestock operations. Defenders is working with national grasslands on non-lethal alternatives to poisoning. Because prairie dogs hesitate to make homes in or go through tall grass, creating tall-grass buffers between prairie dog colonies and adjacent private properties is one way to keep prairie dogs out of where they are not wanted without resorting to killing them. Growing tall grass is difficult in areas frequented by grazing livestock, so Defenders has purchased and installed several miles of solar-powered portable electric fencing along buffer areas to keep livestock out, allowing the grass to grow tall. Tall grass Defenders also promotes relocation rather than poisoning of prairie dogs from conflict areas to core areas that are fully protected. We have helped move hundreds of prairie dogs out of harm’s way and we hand-dig starter burrows to promote new colonies. Prairie Dog Species Black-tailed prairie dog Black-tailed prairie dogs, the best known of the five prairie dog species, live in larger communities called towns, which may contain many hundreds of animals. Typically they cover less than half a square mile, but some have been enormous. The largest recorded prairie dog town covered some 25,000 square miles. That Texas town was home to perhaps four hundred million prairie dogs. Another prairie dog species, the white-tailed prairie dog, lives in the western mountains. These rodents do not gather in large towns but maintain more scattered burrows. All species hunker down in winter and burn the reserves of fat they have stored during more plentiful seasons. White-tails may hibernate for up to six months on their mountain plains, while their black-tailed cousins sometimes emerge to feed on especially warm days. Threats to Survival Much of the Great Plains has been converted to farming or pastureland, and prairie dogs are not often welcome in such places. Because of their destructive landscaping, they are often killed as pests. During the 20th century, about 98 percent of all prairie dogs were exterminated, and their range subsequently shrunk to perhaps five percent of its historic spread. Source: Kids Encyclopedia Facts, Defenders - Prairie Dog, National Geographic
  30. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - PHOSPHORUS Did you know... that phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol P and atomic number 15. Elemental phosphorus exists in two major forms, white phosphorus and red phosphorus, but because it is highly reactive, phosphorus is never found as a free element on Earth. (Wikipedia) Phosphorus, the 15th element on the periodic table, was first distilled by an alchemist searching for gold — searching, that is, in at least 60 buckets of urine. Hennig Brand, a German, discovered phosphorus quite by accident in 1669 while processing urine in search of a compound that would turn ordinary metals into gold. According to the Jefferson National Linear Accelerator Laboratory, there would have been an easier way: Phosphorus is now mostly isolated from the rock phosphate. Phosphorite or Rock Phosphate There's even a 1795 painting devoted to phosphorus' discovery, titled "The Alchymist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone, Discovers Phosphorus, and prays for the successful Conclusion of his operation, as was the custom of the Ancient Chymical Astrologers." (The Philosopher's Stone is the mythical substance said to turn metals into gold.) The painter, Joseph Wright, left out some of the details, as recorded in the 1796 paper "Phosphorus Elementals" and re-described in the 2006 textbook "Chemistry" by Kenneth Whitten and colleagues. The first step in the process was to steep the urine for two weeks, until it putrefied and bred worms. The Alchemist Discovering Phosphorus Just the facts According to the Jefferson Lab, the properties of phosphorus are: Atomic number (number of protons in the nucleus): 15 Atomic symbol (on the Periodic Table of Elements): P Atomic weight (average mass of the atom): 30.973762 Density: 1.82 grams per cubic centimeter Phase at room temperature: Solid Melting point: 111.57 degrees Fahrenheit (44.15 degrees Celsius) Boiling point: 536.9 F (280.5 C) Number of isotopes (atoms of the same element with a different number of neutrons): 22; 1 stable Most common isotopes: Phosphorus-31 (100 percent natural abundance) Element of light The world phosphorus comes from a Greek word meaning "bearer of light," and this element delivers on that promise. The most common forms are white phosphorus, made up of phosphorus atoms arranged like a tetrahedron (a four-sided pyramid), and red phosphorus, a solid but non-crystalline form of the element. Less common is black phosphorus, which is made of atoms arranged in a ring structure and looks a bit like the graphite at the point of a pencil. White phosphorus is waxy and gives off a slight glow in air, according to the Royal Society of Chemistry. It's also capable of self-igniting in air once the temperature reaches about 86 F (30 C); the only safe storage is under water. As a result, white phosphorus is used in fireworks and weaponry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it smells like matches or garlic. Inhalation or contact with the skin is toxic, causing burns that can quickly turn fatal. Red phosphorus is far more stable at room temperature — in fact, it's found on the side of any box of safety matches. The friction of the match against the red phosphorous transforms a little bit of the red phosphorus into white phosphorus, providing the ignition needed to light the match, according to Michigan State University's Science Theater. Red phosphorus is made by heating white phosphorus under controlled conditions. Black Phosphorus In certain combinations, though, red phosphorus is still very dangerous. When exposed to enough heat (500 F or 260 C), it will ignite. It explodes when combined with other compounds such as chlorine, sodium and ammonium nitrate, according to California's Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which flags red phosphorus as one of the dangerous ingredients used in making methamphetamines. The non-illicit uses of phosphorus include steel-making and the production of flares. The most common use, however, is in fertilizers, according to the RSC. Despite its fiery properties, phosphorus is crucial to life. As phosphate, a charged molecule, it combines with sugar to form the backbone of DNA. It's also part of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, the molecule that stores and releases energy to allow cells to function. The structure of part of a DNA double helix. Who knew? There are about 26.5 ounces (750 grams) of phosphate in the average human body, mostly in the bones, according to the RSC. Earth may be approaching "peak phosphorus," after which the element will be harder and harder to mine. Mineral reserves of phosphorus are estimated to last between a few decades and 300 years at the most. Increasingly rare and expensive phosphorus would throw the global agriculture system into disarray, experts worry. Strike-anywhere matches can ignite on any surface because they contain a small amount of white phosphorus built in to the match head. Meteorites may have brought phosphorus to Earth, according to a 2013 study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. By 3.5 billion years ago, the element was abundant on the planet, the study found. Phosphorus can be used as a warning signal for heart disease. According to a 2009 study in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, higher blood-phosphorus levels indicate higher rates of calcification of the coronary arteries. Current research Human phosphorus use has created problems for wildlife and people, alike. In August 2014, the city of Toledo, Ohio, had to warn citizens against using the city's water due to a toxic algae bloom. Such blooms, which occur in other drinking-water lakes across the country as well, are often caused or exacerbated by phosphorus from fertilizers and livestock waste flowing into waterways. In many streams and lakes, "phosphorus is the nutrient that is the most scarce, and therefore it is often the most important nutrient," said Dan Obenour, a professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering at North Carolina State University. Obenour and his colleagues have studied the algae blooms of Lake Erie, which is where Toledo gets its drinking water. The dominant source of phosphorus running into the lake is from agricultural fertilizers, Obenour told Live Science, though lawn fertilizers, pet waste and even treated wastewater contribute. Other factors, such as water temperature, can influence the timing and size of toxic algae blooms, so Obenour and his colleagues wanted to isolate the effects of fertilizer runoff. They used computer models to relate the amount of phosphorus flowing into Lake Erie to the size of the late-summer algae blooms in the lake. Algae Bloom The results, published in October 2014 in the journal Water Resources Research, showed a link: The more phosphorus early in the year, the larger the algae bloom in late summer. What's more, Obenour said, "the lake is becoming more sensitive to cyanobacteria [algal] blooms." In other words, less phosphorus is necessary to create ever-larger blooms — a fact that could influence regulations on agriculture upstream from the lake. The reason for the increased sensitivity remains somewhat mysterious, but invasive species could be one factor, Obenour said. Invasive zebra and quagga mussels feed on non-toxic algae that compete with the toxin-generating cyanobacteria. Thus, when a rush of phosphorus enters the lake, toxic algae have little competition in gobbling it up. The algae blooms would likely be a quarter or less the size of the peak blooms seen in Lake Erie in 2011 without human influence, Obenour said. Source: Live Science
  31. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - FRUITS BASKET Picture 1: 2001 - Picture 2: 2019 Did you know... that Fruits Basket, sometimes abbreviated Furuba or Fruba, is a Japanese shōjo manga series written and illustrated by Natsuki Takaya? It was serialized in the semi-monthly Japanese magazine Hana to Yume, published by Hakusensha, from 1998 to 2006. The series' title comes from the name of a popular game played in Japanese elementary schools, which is alluded to in the series. Fruits Basket tells the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan girl who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Soma, learns that twelve members of the Soma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and are cursed to turn into their animal forms when they are weak, stressed, or when they are embraced by anyone of the opposite sex that is not possessed by a zodiacal spirit. As the series progresses, Tohru learns of the hardships and pain faced by the afflicted Somas, and through her own generous and loving nature, helps heal their emotional wounds. As she learns more about Yuki, Kyo, and the rest of the mysterious Soma family, Tohru also learns more about herself and how much others care for her. The series was also adapted into a 26-episode anime series in 2001, directed by Akitaro Daichi. A new anime television series adaptation produced by TMS Entertainment and directed by Yoshihide Ibata premiered on April 2019, which will adapt the entire manga. The first season of the 2019 reboot was 25 episodes long. The second season premiered on 6 April 2020. The reboot anime series is a co-production of Funimation, who released the series through Crunchyroll-Funimation partnership. Production The title of the series is taken from a children's game, Fruits Basket (フルーツバスケット, furūtsu basuketto, where the 'tsu' represents the 't' in "fruit", making it plural in an incorrect way), in which the participants sit in a circle, and the leader of the game names each person after a type of fruit; when the name of a child's fruit is called, that child gets up and has to find a new seat. When the protagonist, Tohru Honda, first plays this game in kindergarten, she is assigned "onigiri", by her cruel classmates, but she doesn't mind because she thinks onigiri are delicious. Once the game is finished, and all of the children but Tohru are called, Tohru realizes that onigiri are not a type of fruit at all, and she realizes that she doesn't belong. Tohru comes to associate this game with the Soma family, and that she does not fit in among them any more than an onigiri does in a basket of fruit. In volume 1 of the manga, after Yuki and Kyo bring Tohru home from her grandfather's house, she begins to feel like she belongs with the Soma family. After this, she imagines herself as a child hearing "onigiri" called in the game, symbolizing that she has finally found her place. Natsuki Takaya named most of the twelve Somas cursed by zodiac animals after archaic names of month in the former Japanese lunisolar calendar that corresponds to their zodiac animal. The exceptions are Kureno and Momiji, whose names were swapped by mistake; Kyo, because he's the cat, is not part of the official zodiac. Manga Fruits Basket Volume 2 The 136 chapters of Fruits Basket were originally serialized in Japan by Hakusensha in Hana to Yume from July 1998 to November 2006. These were collected into 23 tankōbon volumes, released from 19 January 1999 to 19 March 2007. On 4 September 2015, the first two volumes of Fruits Basket: Collector's Edition (愛蔵版 フルーツバスケット, Aizōban Furūtsu Basuketto) were released in Japan under the Hana to Yume Comics Special imprint. The 12th and last volume was published on 20 July 2016. The series is licensed in English in North America and the United Kingdom by Tokyopop and in Singapore by Chuang Yi. The Singapore edition is licensed to be imported to Australia and New Zealand by Madman Entertainment. All 23 English-language volumes have been released in North America and Singapore. In addition, Tokyopop released a box set containing the first four volumes in October 2007, and started re-releasing earlier volumes in "Ultimate Editions" combining two sequential volumes in a single larger hardcover volume with new cover art. The first Ultimate Edition release met with mixed reviews, however, because they exactly reproduce the first two volumes without correcting changed page numbers or prior errors. As of June 2008, six Ultimate Editions have been released, covering the first twelve volumes of the series. After Tokyopop ceased publication, the series was re-licensed by Yen Press, with plans to release it as twelve omnibus editions corresponding Hakusensha's collector's editions. Starting in June 2016, Fruits Basket: Collector's Edition was released in English by Yen Press. Chuang Yi also publishes in Singapore a Simplified Chinese edition as well as English. In Europe, Fruits Basket is licensed in French by Delcourt, in Spanish by Norma Editorial, in Italian by Dynit, in Dutch by Glénat, in German and Swedish by Carlsen_Comics, in Finnish by Sangatsu Manga, and in Polish (the Collector's Edition version) by Waneko, and in Danish by Mette Holm [Carlson Manga]. In Latin America, Editorial Vid has released the complete series in Mexico in Spanish, and Editora JBC has released the complete series in Portuguese in Brazil with the first volume released in April 2005. Anime Directed by Akitaro Daichi, the twenty-six episode Fruits Basket anime series was animated by Studio Deen and produced by NAS and TV Tokyo. It premiered on TV Tokyo on 5 July 2001, with the final episode airing on 27 December 2001. Some parts of the plot deviated from the manga and were portrayed differently, such as Momiji and Shigure's mannerisms. Throughout production, Daichi and Takaya ran into disagreements, including the cast, coloring details, and Daichi's storytelling style, leading Takaya to disliking the series. The series was released in Japan in nine individual DVD volumes by King Records, with each volume containing three episodes except for the first volume, which contained two. The first volume was released on 29 September 2001, with subsequent volumes released on a monthly basis until the final volume was released on 22 May 2002. A series box set was released on 25 April 2007, containing all twenty-six episodes, as well a message card from Natsuki Takaya, a 60-page deluxe booklet, and a bonus Fruits Basket CD soundtrack. Funimation aired the series with their English dub on the Funimation Channel as well as on Colours TV and also licensed it for Region 1 DVD release. It released it in the form of four individual volumes containing 6-7 episodes and a complete series box set. On 20 November 2007, Funimation re-released the series as part of their lower priced Viridian line, with the new release containing the complete series in a thin-packed box set, and then in 1 August 2017 on an upscaled Blu-ray in a standard and collector's edition. In the United Kingdom, Funimation originally distributed the series through MVM Entertainment, but then changed distributors in November 2006 to Revelation Films. Revelation re-released the four individual volumes under their label. They also released the series box set on 22 January 2007.[51] MVM re-licensed the series in late 2011. In Region 4, the series was released as a complete series box set by Madman Entertainment on 15 October 2003. Second series (2019) A new anime adaptation was announced in November 2018. Funimation announced that the new adaptation would air in April 2019, and would adapt the entire manga. For the Japanese version, due to Takaya's disagreement and disappointment with the staff and studio over the original anime, the new adaptation features a new cast and staff, with TMS Entertainment handling the production. Yoshihide Ibata is directing the series, with Taku Kishimoto handling series composition and Masaru Shindou handling character designs. In contrast, the English dub features many of the English voice actors that voiced in the first Fruits Basket series. Funimation has licensed the series for streaming and home video distribution. The new adaptation aired from April 6 to 21 September 2019 on TV Tokyo, TV Osaka, and TV Aichi. The new series' first season is listed for 25 episodes. Crunchyroll is streaming the English-subtitled version, while Funimation is streaming the English-dubbed version. Episodes 9 and 10 were temporarily delayed internationally due to the French Open tennis tournament coverage in Japan. The anime is set to air in Australia on ABC ME on 19 June 2020. The second season premiered on 6 April 2020. Click below to read more on Fruits Basket. Source: Wikipedia - Fruits Basket
  32. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - CARE BEARS Did you know... that the Care Bears are a very successful toy franchise from the 1980s. Over forty million of these stuffed teddy bears, made with a variety of colours, were sold from 1983 to 1987. Each Bear had a name, a job, and a symbol tied to it. For example, Funshine Bear helps people wake up, and has a sun on his stomach. The toys began life as characters on cards in 1981; the original artwork was done by Elena Kucharik. Later, other toys called the Care Bear Cousins were introduced. They also gave way to three animated movies for the cinema in the mid-1980s. A related TV series from DIC and, later, Canada's Nelvana Limited came out at almost that same time. Recently, Care Bear toys have been brought back in a new edition for the twenty-first century. As part of this comeback, the Bears have appeared in their first two DVD movies (both computer-animated), as well as a few video games. They Started Out As Characters On Greeting Cards The Care Bears were originally created by artist Elena Kucharik to be used on greeting cards, and it wasn’t until later that they were used for toys and brought to TV. They Each Had Their Own Personality Every Care Bear was a different colour and had a different symbol on their stomachs that represented their specific personality, known as their ‘tummy symbol’. The names of the original 10 Care Bears were Bedtime Bear, Birthday Bear, Cheer Bear, Friend Bear, Funshine Bear, Good Luck Bear, Grumpy Bear, Love-a-lot Bear, Tenderheart Bear, and Wish Bear. They Had Some Cousins As well as the Care Bears themselves, there were also the ‘Care Bear Cousins’, which were other animals such as a Lion, Monkey, Cat, Dog, Pig and Elephant. They Taught People How To Care The Care Bears actually live in a place called the ‘Kingdom of Caring’. Within this kingdom is ‘Care-a-lot’, where the Care Bears themselves lived, and the ‘Forest of Feelings’. The stories they took part in also focused on caring and helping, showing us as young children how to be aware of the feelings of others around us. The Care Bears had a ‘Care Bear Stare’, which was where they would all stand together and project light from each of their individual symbols. This combined ray of joy would bring love and happiness into even the hardest of hearts. Care Bear Stare They Appeared On The Big Screen The Care Bears also appeared in TV Movies called ‘The Care Bears in the Land Without Feelings’ and ‘The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine’. They also came to our cinemas with ‘The Care Bears Movie’ in 1985, ‘Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation’ in 1985, and ‘The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland’ in 1987. The Care Bears Movie Was One Of The First Films To Be Based On Toys… The Care Bears existed as toys before they ever made it to the big screen, and The Care Bears Movie was one of the first times that toys came before a film. Although It Took A Number Of Years To Get Made Despite the toys being popular, The Care Bears Movie took a while to get made, as although it was planned as far back as 1981, its creators were initially unable to find a studio that was willing to finance the film. There Was More Merchandise Than You Probably Remember… Of course one of the main reasons the Care Bears were so popular were the lovely toy bears we could add to the cuddly collection of animals on our bed. But, aside from the cuddly toys, we could also get our hands on, among other things, Care Bears books, sweets, stationery, stickers and clothes. And Some Of The Toys Are Now Worth A lot Of Money For example, a ‘Care Bear Cousins Proud Heart Cat’ 13 inch toy sold for a whopping £255 on eBay in August 2017. They Weren’t Always Child Friendly Shockingly, ‘The Care Bears Movie 2’ has a storyline where a young girl sells her soul to a shape shifting demon named Dark Heart so she can get better at sports. A Number Of Music Albums Were Released In the 1980s a number of Care Bears music albums were released. These included ‘Introducing the Care Bears’, ‘The Care Bears Care For You’, ‘Adventures in Care-a-lot, ‘The Care Bears’ Birthday Party’, ‘The Care Bears’ Christmas’ and ‘Friends Make Everything Better’. The Care Bears Movie Was A Massive Hit… The Care Bears Movie made $23 million in the US alone, although it wasn’t the highest grossing kids film of 1995, losing out to a re-release of 101 Dalmatians. And Had Two Tie-In Books The books ‘Meet The Care Bear Cousins’ and ‘Keep On Caring’ were released to coincide with the film hitting the big screen. Source: 80s Kids - Matt Parker
  33. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - HAIR DRYER OR BLOW DRYER Did you know.... that hair dryers were first invented in 1888 by French hairstylist Alexandre Godefroy, and although his invention produced heat, it did not blow air. Hair dryers are often made with attachments that may spread air, that helps to maintain hair shape; or focus air, which allows quicker drying. (Wikipedia) There was a time when washing your hair was seen as a perfectly acceptable excuse to decline an invitation out. It wasn’t so much the washing that was taking up your time, but the drying. Naturally, the French, with their impeccable sense of style, were the first to come up with a solution. Blow dryers were invented in the late 19th century. The first model was created by Alexander F. “Beau” Godefroy in his salon in France in 1890. His invention was a large, seated version that consisted of a bonnet that attached to the chimney pipe of a gas stove. Godefoy invented it for use in his hair salon in France, and it was not portable or handheld. It could only be used by having the person sit underneath it. Around 1915, hair dryers began to go on the market in handheld form. This was due to innovations by National Stamping and Electricworks under the white cross brand, and later U.S. Racine Universal Motor Company and the Hamilton Beach Co., which allowed the dryer to be small enough to be held by hand. Even in the 1920s, the new dryers were often heavy, weighing in at approximately 2 pounds (0.9 kg), and were difficult to use. They also had many instances of overheating and electrocution. Hair dryers were only capable of using 100 watts, which increased the amount of time needed to dry hair (the average dryer today can use up to 2000 watts of heat). Since the 1920s, development of the hair dryer has mainly focused on improving the wattage and superficial exterior and material changes. In fact, the mechanism of the dryer has not had any significant changes since its inception. One of the more important changes for the hair dryer is to be made of plastic, so that it is more lightweight. This really caught on in the 1960s with the introduction of better electrical motors and the improvement of plastics. Another important change happened in 1954 when GEC changed the design of the dryer to move the motor inside the casing. The bonnet dryer was introduced to consumers in 1951. This type worked by having the dryer, usually in a small portable box, connected to a tube that went into a bonnet with holes in it that could be placed on top of a person’s head. This worked by giving an even amount of heat to the whole head at once. The 1950s also saw the introduction of the rigid-hood hair dryer which is the type most frequently seen in salons. It had a hard-plastic helmet that wraps around the person’s head. This dryer works similarly to the bonnet dryer of the 1950s but at a much higher wattage. In the 1970s, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission set up guidelines that hair dryers had to meet to be considered safe to manufacture. Since 1991 the CPSC has mandated that all dryers must use a ground fault circuit interrupter so that it cannot electrocute a person if it gets wet. By 2000, deaths by blow dryers had dropped to fewer than four people a year, a stark difference to the hundreds of cases of electrocution accidents during the mid-20th century. Faster, more efficient and certainly less lethal, there’s now no excuse to refuse an invitation as you tend to your crowning glory. Source: Veronica's Blog
  34. 2 points
  35. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - THE MUNSTERS Did you know... that The Munsters premiered on September 24, 1964, and was an immediate ratings success? The wacky antics of childlike patriarch Herman and his unusual (but not really scary) family originally ran for two seasons (70 episodes), but has remained on the air in some form ever since in syndication. The family at 1313 Mockingbird Lane is a little... different. Dad Herman looks like Frankenstein's monster; mom Lily and her dad, Grandpa, are vampires; and son Eddie is a werewolf. Poor Marilyn, their niece, is the odd one out -- she's just a normal girl. And the family doesn't like to call attention to her unfortunate looks. The Munsters is an American sitcom depicting the home life of a family of benign monsters starring Fred Gwynne as Frankenstein's monster-type head-of-the-household Herman Munster; Yvonne De Carlo as his vampire wife, Lily Munster; Al Lewis as Grandpa, the over-the-hill vampire who relishes talking about the "good old days"; Beverley Owen (later replaced by Pat Priest) as their teenage niece Marilyn Munster, whose non-monster persona made her the family outcast; and Butch Patrick as their half-vampire, half-werewolf son Eddie Munster. The series was a satire of both traditional monster movies and the wholesome family fare of the era, and was produced by the creators of Leave It to Beaver. It ran concurrently with the similarly macabre themed The Addams Family (which aired on ABC) and achieved higher figures in the Nielsen ratings. (Pat Priest, the daughter of Treasurer of the United States Ivy Baker Priest, was not only blonde (brunette Owen had worn a wig as Marilyn), she was also the same height and had almost the exact same measurements as Owen. Which meant that all of the existing “Marilyn” costumes and accessories fit her perfectly, so there would be no need to spend money on a replacement wardrobe once she was hired.) In 1965, The Munsters was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Television Series, but lost to The Rogues. In the 21st century it received several TV Land Award nominations, including one for Most Uninsurable Driver (Herman Munster). The series originally aired on Thursday at 7:30 pm on CBS from September 24, 1964, to May 12, 1966; 70 episodes were produced. It was cancelled after ratings dropped to a series low, due to the premiere of ABC's Batman, which was in color. Though ratings declined by the end of its initial two-year run, The Munsters found a large audience in syndication. This popularity warranted a spin-off series, as well as several films, including one with a theatrical release. On October 26, 2012, NBC aired a modern reimagining of The Munsters called Mockingbird Lane as a pilot. The series failed to be picked up by NBC due to disagreements on the dark nature and inconsistent tone. Plot The Munsters live at 1313 Mockingbird Lane in the city of Mockingbird Heights, a fictional suburb in California. The running gag of the series is that the family, while decidedly odd, consider themselves fairly typical working-class people of the era. Herman, like many husbands of the 1960s, is the sole wage-earner in the family, though Lily and Grandpa make short-lived attempts to earn money from time to time. While Herman is the head of the household, Lily makes many decisions, too. According to the episode in which Lily and Herman were trying to surprise one another for their anniversary, they were married in 1865. Despite the novel approach of the family being mostly supernatural creatures (except for niece Marilyn, who is "normal"), the show followed the typical family sitcom formula of the era: the well-meaning father, the nurturing mother, the eccentric live-in relative, the naïve teenager, and the precocious child. The costumes and appearances of the family members other than Marilyn were based on the classic monsters of Universal Studios films from the 1930s and 1940s. Universal produced The Munsters as well and was thus able to use these copyrighted designs, including their iconic version of Frankenstein's monster for Herman. Other studios were free to make films with the Frankenstein creature, for example, but could not use the costume and style of make-up originally created by Jack Pierce for the 1931 Universal Studios film Frankenstein. The make-up for the show was created and applied to the actors by Bud Westmore, who pioneered many make-up effects and designs for many of the Universal monster movies. Development The idea of a family of comical monsters was first suggested to Universal Studios by animator Bob Clampett, who developed the idea from 1943 to 1945 as a series of cartoons. The project did not take off until the early 1960s, when a proposal for a similar idea was submitted to Universal Studios by Rocky & Bullwinkle writers Allan Burns and Chris Hayward. The proposal was later handed to writers Norm Liebman and Ed Haas, who wrote a pilot script, Love Thy Monster. For some time, there were executives who believed the series should be made as a cartoon and others who wanted to see it made using live-action. Finally, a presentation was filmed by MCA Television for CBS, using live-action. The show was produced by Joe Connelly and Bob Mosher, who were already known for creating the Leave It to Beaver television series. Prior to that, they wrote over 1,500 episodes of Amos 'n' Andy, a presence on network radio for nearly its entire history. Filming Originally conceived as a color show, The Munsters was ultimately filmed in black-and-white to save money and to resemble the old B&W monster films Universal and other studios used to make. Over the course of season one (completed by Season 1, Episode 7 "Tin Can Man"), makeup for Herman, Lily, and Grandpa was changed. Some of the changes included Lily's hair becoming all black instead of having a gray/white streak on the right side of her head, a change of jewelry to a bat instead of a star, and angled eyebrows. Grandpa was given more exaggerated makeup and heavier eyebrows, and Herman's face was widened to give him a dopier and less human appearance. He also added a stutter to bolster his character whenever he was angry or wanted to make a point, and he frequently left his mouth open, adding to the effect of a more goofy, less frightening, figure. While its humor was usually broad, the series was visually sophisticated. The Munsters' home was a crumbling Second Empire Victorian mansion, riddled with smoke, filthy with dust and cobwebs. A running joke was that when Lily "dusted" the house, her Electrolux emitted clouds of dust, which she applied to surfaces most people would clean. As a running gag, parts of the house would often be damaged (mostly by Herman's tantrums or clumsiness), but the damage would not exist later. Although many episodes featured scenes outside the house, much of the action took place within the walls of the Munsters' home. The Munster family's multi-level Victorian home had the fictional address of 1313 Mockingbird Lane in Mockingbird Heights. (The town's location is not specified in the series, but in later incarnations, it is described as a small town outside Los Angeles. Leo Durocher, who was then coaching with the Los Angeles Dodgers, guest-starred as himself in one episode, further hinting that the show was set in, or near, Los Angeles.) The exterior shots were filmed on the Universal Studios backlot. In the 1950s, it was assembled with other homes on the backlot. Until production of The Munsters in 1964, the house could be seen as a backdrop on many shows, including Leave It to Beaver. It was also the home of the family in Shirley (NBC, 1979–80) and has appeared in other TV shows such as Coach and (after a remodel) Desperate Housewives. The interiors for the Munsters' mansion were filmed entirely on an enclosed sound stage. Props In the fourth episode ("Rock-A-Bye Munster"), Lily buys a hot-rod and a hearse from a used car dealership and has them customized into one car (Munster Koach) for Herman's birthday present. The Munster Koach and DRAG-U-LA were designed by Tom Daniel and built by auto customizer George Barris for the show. The "Munster Koach" was a hot rod built on a lengthened 1926 Ford Model T chassis with a custom hearse body. It was 18 feet long and cost almost $20,000 to build. Barris also built the "DRAG-U-LA," a dragster built from a coffin (according to Barris, a real coffin was, in fact, purchased for the car), which Grandpa used to win back "The Munster Koach" after Herman lost it in a race. Munster Koach Theme song The instrumental theme song, titled "The Munsters' Theme", was composed by composer/arranger Jack Marshall. The theme song's lyrics, which the sitcom's co-producer Bob Mosher wrote, were never aired on CBS. Described by writer Jon Burlingame as a "Bernard-Herrmann-meets-Duane-Eddy sound", the theme was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1965. A sample of the theme was used in the song "Uma Thurman" by Fall Out Boy. Butch Patrick later recorded a song called "Whatever Happened To Eddie?," which is set to The Munsters theme. Source: Wikipedia: The Munsters
  36. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - HASBRO Did you know... that Hasbro, Inc. is an American multinational conglomerate with toy, board game, and media assets? Hasbro owns the trademarks and products of Kenner, Parker Brothers, and Milton Bradley, among others. Among its products are Transformers, G.I. Joe, Power Rangers, Rom, Micronauts, M.A.S.K., Monopoly, Furby, Nerf, Twister, and My Little Pony. The Hasbro brand also spawned TV shows to promote its products, such as Family Game Night on the Discovery Family network, a joint venture with Discovery, Inc.. As of 2019, it is also the parent company of mass media and entertainment company Entertainment One. The corporate headquarters is located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. (Wikipedia) Truly successful toy companies do not just make toys; they manufacture popular culture. Hasbro, Inc., which is the second largest toy maker in the world, behind only Mattel, Inc., certainly fits that description. From America’s Action Hero to a plastic anthropomorphized potato to vehicles that transform into robots to the largest bird in the world, Hasbro toys are instantly recognized by millions of Americans. Hasbro makes G.I. Joe, Mr. Potato Head, and Transformers, and owns licenses for Sesame Street characters. Thanks to numerous acquisitions in the 1980s and 1990s, it also makes Playskool and Romper Room preschool toys, Tonka trucks, Kenner’s Nerf toys, and Cabbage Patch Kids (by way of Coleco). Hasbro has become dominant in the area of board games and puzzles through its ownership of Milton Bradley (maker of Scrabble and Parcheesi) and Parker Brothers (maker of Monopoly). Into the late 1990s and early 21st century, Hasbro has continued to acquire popular brands, adding Pokemon game cards with their procurement of Wizards of the Coast and reacquiring the license to toys developed from Disney Studios movie releases. Original Monopoly Board Game Early History From 1923 To The 1930s Hasbro traces its origin to an enterprise founded in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1923 by Henry, Hilal, and Herman Hassenfeld, brothers who had emigrated to the United States from Poland. The Hassenfeld brothers engaged in the textile remnant business, selling cloth leftovers. By the mid-1920s they were using the remnants to make hat liners and pencil-box covers. After realizing the popularity of the covers, they soon began making the boxes themselves with eight employees—all family members. In 1926 the company incorporated under the name Hassenfeld Brothers Inc. Hilal Hassenfeld became involved in other textile ventures, and Henry took control of the new company. Although a paternalistic employer, Henry Hassenfeld was also a tough and shrewd businessman. During the Great Depression—with 150 employees in 1929 and 200 employees in 1930—Hassenfeld Brothers commanded annual sales of $500,000 from sales of pencil boxes and cloth zipper pouches filled with school supplies. At that point, however, the company’s pencil supplier decided to raise its prices and sell its own boxes at prices lower than Hassenfeld’s. Henry Hassenfeld responded with a vow to enter the pencil business himself, and in 1935 Hassenfeld Brothers began manufacturing pencils. This product line would provide the company with a steady source of revenue for the next 45 years. Vintage Hasbro Pencil Case Transformation To Toy Manufacturing From The 1930s To 1960 During the late 1930s the Hassenfeld Brothers began to manufacture toys, an extension of the company’s line of school supplies. Initial offerings included medical sets for junior nurses and doctors and modeling clay. During World War II Henry’s younger son, Merrill Hassenfeld, acted on a customer’s suggestion to make and market a junior air raid warden kit, which came complete with flashlights and toy gas masks. By 1942, as demand for school supplies tapered off, the company had become primarily a toy company, although it continued its large, profitable pencil business. Hilal Hassenfeld died in 1943, at which point Henry Hassenfeld became CEO and his son Merrill Hassenfeld became president. Also during World War II, the company ventured into plastics, but was forced, due to labor shortages, to reduce employment to 75. After the war Merrill Hassenfeld began marketing a girls makeup kit after seeing his four-year-old daughter play with candy as though it were lipstick and rouge. In 1952, the company introduced its still-classic Mr. Potato Head, the first toy to be advertised on television. In 1954 Hassenfeld became a major licensee for Disney characters. By 1960, revenues hit $12 million, and Hassenfeld Brothers had become one of the largest private toy companies in the nation. Vintage Girls Make-Up Kit Turbulent Times During The 1960s And 1970s Henry Hassenfeld died in 1960. Merrill Hassenfeld then assumed full control of the parent company, while his older brother Harold Hassenfeld, continued to run the pencil making operations. Merrill Hassenfeld’s succession was logical given his interest and expertise in the toy business, but it also marked the beginning of an intramural rivalry between the two sides of the company. Harold Hassenfeld would come to resent the fact that the pencil business received a lower percentage of capital investment even though it was a steadier performer and accounted for a higher percentage of profits than toys. In 1961 Hassenfeld Brothers (Canada) Ltd., now Hasbro Canada Inc., was founded. Hassenfeld Brothers seemed to defy the vagaries of the toy business in the early 1960s when it introduced what would become one of its most famous and successful product lines. According to author Marvin Kaye in A Toy Is Born, the company conceived G.I. Joe in 1963 when a licensing agent suggested a merchandise tie-in with a television program about the U.S. Marine Corps called “The Lieutenant.” The company liked the idea of a military doll, but did not want to pin its fate on a TV show that might prove short-lived; so, it went ahead and created its own concept, and in 1964 Hassenfeld unleashed G.I. Joe, a 12-inch “action figure” with articulated joints. In its first two years, G.I. Joe brought in between $35 and $40 million and accounted for nearly two-thirds of the company’s total sales. G.I Joe Action Figures Click below to read more on the Hasbro Toy Company Source: Encyclopedia: Hasbro inc.
  37. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN Did you know... that Hans Christian Andersen, in Denmark usually called H.C. Andersen, was a Danish author? Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, he is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen's popularity is not limited to children; his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. (Wikipedia) Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark. His father was a shoemaker, and his mother washed clothes for customers. The family was poor. When Andersen was 11, his father died. At 14, Andersen left his mother and his home. He moved to Copenhagen. The king helped Andersen finish his education. Andersen wanted to be an actor or dancer. He did not have the talent for either. He started to write novels, plays, poems, short stories, and travel books. In 1835, he published four fairy tales that were liked by the readers. After this success, he wanted to write more fairy tales. Andersen's stories were popular all over Europe. He was invited into the homes of rich and powerful people. He fell in love with several men and women. He was in love with singer Jenny Lind. He also fell in love with ballet dancer Harald Scharff. Andersen was a sad and lonely man. He travelled all over Europe. He wanted to see the sights. He hoped travelling would make him happier. He always carried a rope with him. He planned to use this rope as a fire escape if needed. In the spring of 1872, Andersen fell off of his bed and did not recover. Soon after that, Andersen showed signs of liver cancer. He died on 4 August 1875 from complications following a fall and from liver cancer. Early life Andersen's childhood home in Odense Hans Christian Andersen was born in Odense, Denmark on 2 April 1805. He was an only child. Andersen's father, also Hans, considered himself related to nobility (his paternal grandmother had told his father that their family had belonged to a higher social class, but investigations have disproved these stories). A persistent speculation suggests that Andersen was an illegitimate son of King Christian VIII, but this notion has been challenged. Andersen's father, who had received an elementary school education, introduced Andersen to literature, reading to him Arabian Nights. Andersen's mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, was an illiterate washerwoman. Following her husband's death in 1816, she remarried in 1818. Andersen was sent to a local school for poor children where he received a basic education and had to support himself, working as an apprentice to a weaver and, later, to a tailor. At fourteen, he moved to Copenhagen to seek employment as an actor. Having an excellent soprano voice, he was accepted into the Royal Danish Theatre, but his voice soon changed. A colleague at the theatre told him that he considered Andersen a poet. Taking the suggestion seriously, Andersen began to focus on writing. Jonas Collin, director of the Royal Danish Theatre, held great affection for Andersen and sent him to a grammar school in Slagelse, persuading King Frederick VI to pay part of the youth's education. Andersen had by then published his first story, "The Ghost at Palnatoke's Grave" (1822). Though not a stellar pupil, he also attended school at Elsinore until 1827. He later said his years in school were the darkest and most bitter of his life. At one school, he lived at his schoolmaster's home, where he was abused, being told that it was "to improve his character". He later said the faculty had discouraged him from writing, driving him into a depression. Early work Paper chimney sweep cut by Andersen A very early fairy tale by Andersen, "The Tallow Candle" (Danish: Tællelyset), was discovered in a Danish archive in October 2012. The story, written in the 1820s, was about a candle that did not feel appreciated. It was written while Andersen was still in school and dedicated to a benefactor in whose family's possession it remained until it turned up among other family papers in a local archive. In 1829, Andersen enjoyed considerable success with the short story "A Journey on Foot from Holmen's Canal to the East Point of Amager". Its protagonist meets characters ranging from Saint Peter to a talking cat. Andersen followed this success with a theatrical piece, Love on St. Nicholas Church Tower, and a short volume of poems. Although he made little progress writing and publishing immediately thereafter, in 1833 he received a small travel grant from the king, thus enabling him to set out on the first of many journeys through Europe. At Jura, near Le Locle, Switzerland, Andersen wrote the story "Agnete and the Merman". He spent an evening in the Italian seaside village of Sestri Levante the same year, inspiring the title of "The Bay of Fables". In October 1834, he arrived in Rome. Andersen's travels in Italy were to be reflected in his first novel, a fictionalized autobiography titled The Improvisatore (Improvisatoren), published in 1835 to instant acclaim. Fairy Tales and Poetry Andersen's initial attempts at writing fairy tales were revisions of stories that he heard as a child. Initially his original fairy tales were not met with recognition, due partly to the difficulty of translating them. In 1835, Andersen published the first two installments of his Fairy Tales (Danish: Eventyr; lit. "fantastic tales"). More stories, completing the first volume, were published in 1837. The collection comprises nine tales, including "The Tinderbox", "The Princess and the Pea", "Thumbelina", "The Little Mermaid" and "The Emperor's New Clothes". The quality of these stories was not immediately recognized, and they sold poorly. At the same time, Andersen enjoyed more success with two novels, O.T. (1836) and Only a Fiddler (1837); the latter work was reviewed by a young Søren Kierkegaard. Much of his work was influenced by the Bible as when he was growing up Christianity was very important in the Danish culture. After a visit to Sweden in 1837, Andersen became inspired by Scandinavism and committed himself to writing a poem that would convey the relatedness of Swedes, Danes and Norwegians. In July 1839, during a visit to the island of Funen, Andersen wrote the text of his poem Jeg er en Skandinav ("I am a Scandinavian") to capture "the beauty of the Nordic spirit, the way the three sister nations have gradually grown together" as part of a Scandinavian national anthem. Composer Otto Lindblad set the poem to music, and the composition was published in January 1840. Its popularity peaked in 1845, after which it was seldom sung. Andersen returned to the fairy tale genre in 1838 with another collection, Fairy Tales Told for Children. New Collection. First Booklet (Eventyr, fortalte for Børn. Ny Samling), which consists of "The Daisy", "The Steadfast Tin Soldier", and "The Wild Swans". He went on to publish "New Fairy Tales (1844). First Volume. First Collection", which contained "The Nightingale" and "The Ugly Duckling". After that came "New Fairy Tales (1845). First Volume. Second Collection" in which was found "The Snow Queen". "The Little Match Girl" appeared in December 1845 in the "Dansk Folkekalender (1846)" and also in "New Fairy Tales (1848). Second Volume. Second Collection". 1845 saw a breakthrough for Andersen with the publication of four translations of his fairy tales. "The Little Mermaid" appeared in the periodical Bentley's Miscellany, followed by a second volume, Wonderful Stories for Children. Two other volumes enthusiastically received were A Danish Story Book and Danish Fairy Tales and Legends. A review that appeared in the London journal The Athenæum (February 1846) said of Wonderful Stories, "This is a book full of life and fancy; a book for grandfathers no less than grandchildren, not a word of which will be skipped by those who have it once in hand." Andersen would continue to write fairy tales and published them in installments until 1872. The Princess and the Pea (1835) The Tinderbox (1835) Thumbelina (1835) The Little Mermaid (1837) The Emperor's New Clothes (1837) The Steadfast Tin Soldier (1838) The Swineherd (1841) The Ugly Duckling (1843) The Little Match Girl (1845) The Snow Queen (1845) The Fir Tree (1845) The Shadow (1847) Source: Wikipedia: Hans Christian Andersen and Kids Encyclopedia
  38. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - MUSICAL THEATRE Did you know... that musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that combines songs, spoken dialogue, acting and dance? The story and emotional content of a musical – humor, pathos, love, anger – are communicated through words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an integrated whole. (Wikipedia) Music has been a part of drama since ancient times, but modern Western musical theatre emerged during the 19th century. Around 1850, the French composer Hervé was experimenting with a form of comic musical theatre that came to be called opérette. The best known composers of operetta were Jacques Offenbach from the 1850s to the 1870s and Johann Strauss II in the 1870s and 1880s. Offenbach's melodies, and his librettists' satire, formed a model for the musical theatre that followed. Adaptations of the French operettas (played in mostly bad, risqué translations), musical burlesques, music hall, pantomime and burletta dominated the London musical stage into the 1870s. "Offenbach is undoubtedly the most significant figure in the history of the 'musical'." Important influences were the works of Gilbert and Sullivan in Britain and those of Harrigan and Hart in America. These were followed by the numerous Edwardian musical comedies and the musical theatre works of American creators like George M. Cohan. 1879 Woodblock-print advertisement for an American production of en:H.M.S. Pinafore, housed at the en:Library of Congress. In America, mid-19th century musical theatre entertainments included crude variety revue, which eventually developed into vaudeville, minstrel shows, which soon crossed the Atlantic to Britain, and Victorian burlesque, first popularized in the US by British troops. A hugely successful musical that premiered in New York in 1866, The Black Crook, was an original musical theatre piece that conformed to many of the modern definitions of a musical, including dance and original music that helped to tell the story. The spectacular production, famous for its skimpy costumes, ran for a record-breaking 474 performances. The same year, The Black Domino/Between You, Me and the Post was the first show to call itself a "musical comedy." Comedians Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart produced and starred in musicals on Broadway between 1878 (The Mulligan Guard Picnic) and 1885. These musical comedies featured characters and situations taken from the everyday life of New York's lower classes and represented a significant step forward towards a more legitimate theatrical form. They starred high quality singers (Lillian Russell, Vivienne Segal and Fay Templeton) instead of the ladies of questionable repute who had starred in earlier musical forms. As transportation improved, poverty in London and New York diminished, and street lighting made for safer travel at night, the number of patrons for the growing number of theatres increased enormously. Plays ran longer, leading to better profits and improved production values, and men began to bring their families to the theatre. The first musical theatre piece to exceed 500 consecutive performances was the French operetta The Chimes of Normandy in 1878. English comic opera adopted many of the successful ideas of European operetta, none more successfully than the series of more than a dozen long-running Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas, including H.M.S. Pinafore (1878) and The Mikado (1885). These were sensations on both sides of the Atlantic and in Australia and helped to raise the standard for what was considered a successful show. These shows were designed for family audiences, a marked contrast from the risqué burlesques, bawdy music hall shows and French operettas that sometimes drew a crowd seeking less wholesome entertainment. Only a few 19th-century musical pieces exceeded the run of The Mikado, such as Dorothy, which opened in 1886 and set a new record with a run of 931 performances. Gilbert and Sullivan's influence on later musical theatre was profound, creating examples of how to "integrate" musicals so that the lyrics and dialogue advanced a coherent story. Their works were admired and copied by early authors and composers of musicals in Britain and America. 1890s to the new century A Trip to Chinatown (1891) was Broadway's long-run champion (until Irene in 1919), running for 657 performances, but New York runs continued to be relatively short, with a few exceptions, compared with London runs, until the 1920s. Gilbert and Sullivan were both pirated and imitated in New York by productions such as Reginald De Koven's Robin Hood (1891) and John Philip Sousa's El Capitan (1896). A Trip to Coontown (1898) was the first musical comedy entirely produced and performed by African Americans on Broadway (largely inspired by the routines of the minstrel shows), followed by ragtime-tinged shows. Hundreds of musical comedies were staged on Broadway in the 1890s and early 20th century, composed of songs written in New York's Tin Pan Alley, including those by George M. Cohan, who worked to create an American style distinct from the Gilbert and Sullivan works. The most successful New York shows were often followed by extensive national tours. Meanwhile, musicals took over the London stage in the Gay Nineties, led by producer George Edwardes, who perceived that audiences wanted a new alternative to the Savoy-style comic operas and their intellectual, political, absurdist satire. He experimented with a modern-dress, family-friendly musical theatre style, with breezy, popular songs, snappy, romantic banter, and stylish spectacle at the Gaiety and his other theatres. These drew on the traditions of comic opera and used elements of burlesque and of the Harrigan and Hart pieces. He replaced the bawdy women of burlesque with his "respectable" corps of Gaiety Girls to complete the musical and visual fun. The success of the first of these, In Town (1892) and A Gaiety Girl (1893) set the style for the next three decades. The plots were generally light, romantic "poor maiden loves aristocrat and wins him against all odds" shows, with music by Ivan Caryll, Sidney Jones and Lionel Monckton. These shows were immediately widely copied in America, and Edwardian musical comedy swept away the earlier musical forms of comic opera and operetta. The Geisha (1896) was one of the most successful in the 1890s, running for more than two years and achieving great international success. Cover of the Vocal Score of Sidney Jones' The Geisha The Belle of New York (1898) became the first American musical to run for over a year in London. The British musical comedy Florodora (1899) was a popular success on both sides of the Atlantic, as was A Chinese Honeymoon (1901), which ran for a record-setting 1,074 performances in London and 376 in New York. After the turn of the 20th century, Seymour Hicks joined forces with Edwardes and American producer Charles Frohman to create another decade of popular shows. Other enduring Edwardian musical comedy hits included The Arcadians (1909) and The Quaker Girl (1910). Want to learn more about Musical Theatre? Click the link below. Source: Wikipedia: Musical Theatre
  39. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - WEST SIDE STORY Did you know... that the story West Side Story is like a modern Romeo and Juliet? This story/musical takes place in upper west side neighborhood in New York City in the 1950's - early 1960's. This story is about the rivalry between the Sharks ( Puerto ricans ) vs. Jets ( Americans ) with there racist feuds. Conceived in 1949, West Side Story has a serious message that pleads for racial tolerance, delivered in unforgettable song and dance. People have been listening to that message, and humming the songs, ever since the show premiered on Broadway in 1957 and debuted on the silver screen in 1961.
 Composer Leonard Bernstein and his co-creators, Jerome Robbins (director, choreographer and original idea-man) Arthur Laurents (who wrote the book) and Stephen Sondheim (lyricist) aimed for lofty ideals in the show’s themes and every detail of its production. But West Side Story, winner of two Tony and 10 Academy Awards, has endured because it's also incredibly entertaining. 
 Here's a closer look at West Side Story and some of the surprising elements that make it one of the most memorable works of musical theater. 
 A dancer came up with the idea. Director Jerome Robbins, who first proposed the idea for West Side Story, was at the same time choreographer of New York City Ballet. As a result, dance tells the story of this musical at the sophisticated level of ballet, not only in obvious dance numbers like "Mambo!" but in narrative scenes of escalating gang tension and warfare. We see it from the opening “Prologue,” when rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, stake out their territory. West Side Story was originally East Side Story. When they first conceived the show in 1949, Robbins, Bernstein and Laurents set their story on the east side of Manhattan, and gave it the working title East Side Story. They planned to stage the conflict between rival Catholic and Jewish groups. However, this concept never gained traction, and the project foundered until 1955, when teenage Latin gang violence in L.A. made the news. Laurents then presented the idea of changing the conflict to involve Puerto-Rican versus white gangs on the then-grungy Upper West Side of Manhattan. All at once, the project took off. In Bernstein’s words: “Suddenly it all springs to life. I can hear the rhythms and pulses, and -- most of all -- I can feel the form.” 
 Shakespeare and Sondheim. Most of us know that the show, with modifications, is a modern take on William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet. But did you know that its tragic plot almost caused West Side Story not to see the light of day? The show's original producer pulled out because she thought the story was too dark and would flop. Producer after producer turned it down. When Hal Prince and his co-producer finally swept in and raised sufficient money for West Side Story's first run, it was the first of Prince's many successful collaborations with Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim, then only 25-years-old, came on board fairly late in the process as lyricist for Bernstein’s melodies. Bernstein wrote about Sondheim: “What a talent! I think he’s ideal for this project, as do we all.” 
 Bernstein’s deeply felt Jewish heritage forms an integral part of the music of West Side Story. A basic shofar call, the Tekiah, provides the musical motif that many of the show’s most important songs are based on. The shofar, a hollow ram’s horn, is one of the world’s most ancient instruments, and is still played today in Jewish religious ceremonies during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The motif is known in musical terms as a “tri-tone” (the interval of the augmented 4th.) In various forms, it can be heard in the opening “Prologue,” in songs like “Something’s Coming,” “Maria,” and “Cool.” Conducting notes. The same day Bernstein saw his first run-through of West Side Story, he signed his contract to become the first American-born music director (and conductor) of the New York Philharmonic. On a somewhat humorous note, the conductor for West Side Story’s opening run, former Philadelphia Orchestra violinist Max Goberman, had it written into his contract that Lenny was not allowed to take over the conducting of the production. 
 America. One of the most infectious songs in the show is based on the rhythms of a Mexican dance called the huapango. It’s just one example of how the United States of America and the show itself is a melting pot of influences: jazz, Latin rhythms, as well as established Broadway style make the tunes infectious, the music memorable. The Philadelphia Connection. The show had a two-week, pre-Broadway run at Philadelphia's Erlanger Theatre
 before it moved on to NYC to open at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1957. Love. In the end, West Side Story is a love story, and the prime example of how Bernstein loved the genre of musical theater, where he had his beginnings as a composer. Did you know that Bernstein first began writing music for theatrical productions when he was a teenage counselor at summer camp? He brought his deep understanding of high art to popular culture, and forever changed the shape of musical theater. Take a look at this behind-the-scenes West Side Story documentary featuring Bernstein in action with opera stars in 1984: Source: The Surprising Backstory to West Side Story
  40. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - FATHER'S DAY Did you know... that Fathers' Day is a day of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society? In Catholic countries of Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 as Saint Joseph's Day since the Middle Ages. (Wikipedia) Though Father’s Day wasn’t made a national holiday until 1972, the efforts of one woman in Washington sparked a movement to celebrate dads long before then. The first known Father’s Day service occurred in Fairmont, West Virginia, on July 5, 1908, thanks to the efforts of Grace Golden Clayton. The service was to honor all fathers, especially those hundreds who were killed during a devastating mine explosion in Monongah (just a few miles from Fairmont) the previous year. However, the observance did not become an annual event, and it was not promoted—very few outside the local area knew about it. Left: Sonora Dodd - Right: William Jackson Smart In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, also was inspired to create a holiday honoring fathers. William Jackson Smart, her father, was a farmer and Civil War veteran that raised Sonora and her five younger brothers by himself after his wife, Ellen, died giving birth to their youngest child in 1898. While attending a Mother’s Day church service in 1909, Sonora, then 27, came up with the idea. Within a few months, Sonora had convinced the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA to set aside a Sunday in June to celebrate fathers. She proposed June 5, her father’s birthday, but the ministers chose the third Sunday in June so that they would have more time after Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May) to prepare their sermons. So it was that on June 19, 1910, Sonora delivered presents to handicapped fathers, boys from the YMCA decorated their lapels with fresh-cut roses (red for living fathers, white for the deceased), and the city’s ministers devoted their homilies to fatherhood. A NATIONAL HOLIDAY The widely publicized events in Spokane struck a chord that reached all the way to Washington, D.C., and Sonora’s celebration started its path to becoming a national holiday. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and his family personally observed the day. Eight years later, President Calvin Coolidge signed a resolution in favor of Father’s Day “to establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.” In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order that the holiday be celebrated on the third Sunday in June. Under President Richard Nixon, in 1972, Congress passed an act officially making Father’s Day a national holiday. (Six years later, Sonora died at age 96.) DIFFERENT DAYS FOR DIFFERENT DADS North America is not the only place where Father’s Day is celebrated. In traditionally Catholic countries such as Spain and Portugal, Father’s Day is observed on March 19, the Feast of St. Joseph. Taiwanese celebrate Father’s Day on August 8, the eighth day of the eighth month, because the Mandarin Chinese word for eight sounds like the word for “Papa.” In Thailand, Father’s Day is celebrated on former King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s birthday, December 5. Source: THE HISTORY OF FATHER'S DAY By Aurelia C. Scott
  41. 1 point
    Previously post count did not increase in the Forum Games board, now it does. So when you make a new post there, the counter under your display picture will increase. Currently says 100 posts. Having higher post count will increase your user title rank (the little pips/stars under your usertitle) and if you're using the default usertitles, it'll change as you rank up. Currently you have 3 pips and the usertitle of Moppet. I plan to implement some more changes to user ranks, which will offer some actual benefits of ranking up at some point.
  42. 1 point
    Looks like it happened March 24th. I never noticed it though. =O Nice to see it's back and in new shape.
  43. 1 point
    What's the Word? - CADRE pronunciation: [KAH-dray] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, mid-19th century meaning: 1. A small group of people specially trained for a particular purpose or profession. 2. A group of activists. Example: "The cadre of heart specialists were on call for the transplant procedure." "The cadre gathered in front of the statehouse to listen to speakers." About Cadre This word, which has come to mean a group of specially trained people, or a group of activists, goes back to the Latin word "quadrus," meaning square. The Latin word was pulled into Italian (quadro) and then to French, before cadre was added to English vocabulary in the 19th century. But you're certainly allowed to have more than four people in your cadre today. Did you know? If you're a member of a cadre, you have a special purpose. This word is used to describe a small group of people who have been trained in a particular profession or skill. Cadre also has a history of being used to describe a group of activists, which makes sense as it's a special skill to have.
  44. 1 point
    What's the Word? - EMERITUS pronunciation: [ə-MER-ə-dəs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid-18th century meaning: 1. (of the former holder of an office, especially a college professor) having retired but allowed to retain their title as an honor. Example: "The banquet was held every year to honor the emeritus professors." "As an emeritus member, she was welcome to sit in on lectures." About Emeritus Academia is a career path unlike any other. Most people earn their degree and move on, but some folks remain on campus their entire lives. From undergraduate to graduate school, then there are positions in teaching and research. Tenure will provide you with job security, but when you’re ready for retirement, you can maintain your privileges with an emeritus role. Did you know? In Latin, the verb “emereri” means “to earn one’s discharge by service.” Emeritus comes from that, meaning you earned your retirement, so you’re still entitled to the honor and title. The female form is “emerita,” but you’re unlikely to see that out-of-date usage anymore.
  45. 1 point
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ark/home Ark: Survival Evolved is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/samurai-shodown-neogeo-collection/home Samurai Shodown Neo Geo Collection is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ark/modkit The Ark Editor for Ark: Survival Evolved is also free. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ark/ragnarok https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ark/the-center https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ark/crystal-isles https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/ark/valguero Ragnarok, The Center, Crystal Isles and Valguero Expansion Maps for Ark: Suvival Evolved are also free. https://freeweekend.ubisoft.com/rainbow6-siege/en-US Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege free weekend on PC, PS4 and Xbox One includes a free outfit for The Division 2. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.lala.game.defense.heroes.premium Heroes Defender Fantasy - Epic Tower Defense Game is currently free on Android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.O8Games.pocketKingdom Pocket Kingdom - Tim Tom's Journey is currently free on Android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.artstorm.sudokuvip Sudoku Deluxe VIP is currently free on Android. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.catlab.cookglobalvip Cooking Quest VIP : Food Wagon Adventure is currently free on Android.
  46. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - FIRST-PERSON NARRATIVE Did you know... that a first-person narrative is a mode of storytelling in which a narrator relays events from their own point of view using the first person i.e. "I" or "we", etc? It may be narrated by a first person protagonist (or other focal character), first person re-teller, first person witness, or first person peripheral (also called a peripheral narrator). A classic example of a first person protagonist narrator is Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre (1847), in which the title character is also the narrator telling her own story, "I could not unlove him now, merely because I found that he had ceased to notice me". (Wikipedia) This device allows the audience to see the narrator's mind's eye view of the fictional universe, but it is limited to the narrator's experiences and awareness of the true state of affairs. In some stories, first-person narrators may relay dialogue with other characters or refer to information they heard from the other characters, in order to try to deliver a larger point of view.[5] Other stories may switch the narrator to different characters to introduce a broader perspective. An unreliable narrator is one that has completely lost credibility due to ignorance, poor insight, personal biases, mistakes, dishonesty, etc., which challenges the reader's initial assumptions. Fictional Universe Point of view device The telling of a story in the grammatical first person, i.e. from the perspective of "I." An example would be Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, which begins with "Call me Ishmael." First-person narration often includes an embedded listener or reader, who serves as the audience for the tale. First-person narrations' may be told by a person directly undergoing the events in the story without being aware of conveying that experience to readers; alternatively, the narrator may be conscious of telling the story to a given audience, perhaps at a given place and time, for a given reason. What Is First Person Point Of View in Writing? In writing, the first person point of view uses the pronouns “I,” “me,” “we,” and “us,” in order to tell a story from the narrator’s perspective. The storyteller in a first-person narrative is either the protagonist relaying their experiences or a peripheral character telling the protagonist’s story. What Are the Types of First Person Point of View in Writing? The role the narrator plays in a story determines the type of first-person point of view. The elements of a story—like genre—can help determine who is best suited to serve as narrator and which first-person voice to use. First-person central. In first-person central, the narrator is also the protagonist at the heart of the plot. Margaret Atwood’s novel Alias Grace employs first-person central point of view. The story is based on a historical event: a double murder that occurred in 1843 in which a manservant was tried and hanged for the murder of his employer. Grace Marks, a maid, was tried and imprisoned as his accessory. The novel is told in through Grace’s point of view as she speaks to the doctor hired to exonerate her. First-person peripheral. In first-person peripheral, the narrator is a witness to the story but she or he is not the main character. In The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald created the character of Nick, a friend of the protagonist, Jay Gatsby. Nick tells the story of Gatsby trying to win the love of Nick’s cousin, Daisy. Telling the story this way keeps the focus on the protagonist but also creates some distance, so the reader is not privy to their thoughts or feelings. This deliberately keeps Gatsby as a mysterious character and enables Nick to tell the story with a slant, drawing on his experience with Gatsby and his opinion of him to color the narration. Margaret Atwood 3 Reasons to Write in First Person Point of View When you’re writing a story, you have several narrative voices to choose from. Giving the protagonist or someone close to them the narrative reins has its advantages. A first-person narrator gives the reader a front row seat to the story. It also: Gives a story credibility. First-person point of view builds a rapport with readers by sharing a personal story directly with them. Bringing the reader in close like this makes a story—and storyteller—credible. From the opening line of Herman Melville’s epic sea tale, Moby Dick, the reader is on a first-name basis with the narrator: “Call me Ishmael.” This familiarity creates a relationship with the narrator, leading the readers to believe that what they are about to hear is a true story. When a writer breaks that narrative trust by leading readers astray—either through a narrator who deliberately lies or a characteristic of the narrator that compromises their credibility—the narrator becomes unreliable. Expresses an opinion. A narrator tells a story through a lens filtered by their opinions. In the first person point of view, the use of the pronoun “I” establishes a sense of familiarity between reader and narrator, allowing the writer to subtly influence the reader by telling a story with a bias. Scout is the six-year-old narrator in To Kill a Mockingbird and the story is told with the innocence and naiveté of a child’s world view. The author, Harper Lee, had several characters to choose from, but telling this story about race in the American South through this young character’s eyes forces the reader to examine and question the inequalities of race in the same way that Scout does. Builds intrigue. First person perspective limits a reader’s access to information. They only know and experience what the narrator does. This is an effective tool for creating suspense and building intrigue in stories, particularly in thrillers or mysteries. For example, John Watson is the narrator In almost all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Keeping Holmes, the protagonist, at arm’s length makes him more interesting, but it also allows the reader to be just as surprised as Watson when Holmes finally cracks a case. Readers tend to identify with characters who are learning like they are. Sherlock Holmes statue in Edinburgh, erected opposite the birthplace of Doyle, which was demolished c. 1970 5 Tips For Writing in First Person Once you’ve decided to write your story in the first person, use these tips to guide your narrative voice. Write an opening like Melville. Let the reader know you’re using a first-person perspective right away as Melville did in the opening line of Moby Dick with “Call me Ishmael.” Introduce the character and narrative voice within the first two paragraphs to create a bond with your readers from the start. Be descriptive. In the first person, avoid phrases that keep the reader in the narrator’s brain—for example, “I thought,” or “I felt.” While one of the advantages of first person is to know what the narrator is thinking, don’t get stuck in their head. We also want to see through their eyes so use visual language to show the reader around their world. Stay in character. When using the pronoun “I,” it’s easy to slip out of your character’s voice and into your own as the author. When you’re writing, stay true to your narrator’s perspective. Mix it up. Starting every line with “I” can become repetitive; vary your sentences by illustrating thoughts or feelings. Instead of writing “I felt tired walking through the deep snow”, try “the mountain was buried in snow, making every step feel like a mile.” Create a strong narrator. Make your first-person narrator an interesting character to make the story really work. Give them a solid backstory that influences their perspective. Learn more about narrative point of view with Margaret Atwood. Source: Masterclass
  47. 1 point
    Would I like it, love it & buy it? HELL YES Am I expecting it? HELL NO
  48. 1 point
    Hitoribocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu. I think Hitori Bocchi's Lifestyle is the English title, but I dunno.
  49. 1 point
    @EmptyBasket pretty much, but not really for that as it was for the fact that the site didn't actually have a "designated copyright agent" to handle DMCA claims. By default that means they go straight to the host company which, along with what you said, means safe harbor protections go right out the window. We knew we were in the right for the most part, but, there wasn't a way to really defend ourselves as we were, not on such short notice anyway. As Koby stated previously, they had already initiated court action against him. Our hand was forced. Here's also why jumping server hosts wouldn't have done any good, aside from being short-notice. Sure, a server can physically exist in a country where DMCA laws are pretty much flat out ignored. But that just protects the *SERVER*. It doesn't protect the person operating it. And copyright enforcement agencies know this well. That's why they will use other means for enforcement. Such as, for example, compelling a host company to give up info on the customer. Or, perhaps, compelling a domain registry for the owner's information, even if protected by privacy controls. Or, attempting to trace back transactions for either the server, domain, or both. Even seizing control of the domain (like in the case of the original Megaupload, for example). There are many, many ways enforcement agencies can accomplish their task. So no, going offshore wouldn't have done any good, and being on such short notice, would not have been worth the cost or effort, not with what we have to pay already to operate the site and forums. We already realized we'd lose some people over our decision, but we make this decision in the best interest of the users of this community. Nothing matters more to us than all of you. Nothing at all. But remember what a forum is intended for - it's meant for discussion. Always has been. Kametsu's origins are rooted in this very notion, in fact. And we have every intention to maintain that aspect. Yes, it sucks Kametsu can't offer downloads...but if all someone was doing was joining for downloads, you have to ask - were they ever going to really participate in the community? Were they ever really going to mingle with other like-minded users, discussing whatever comes to their mind, like a forum was intended to be? Ask yourself this - what is a forum for? If you say "for the discussions and the community", that's awesome and you understand what we're aiming for here. You understand that a forum is intended to be a place for like-minded individuals to gather and hold discussions based on their hobbies and interests, to develop new friendships, and just be social! If you say "for downloads", then you've entirely missed the mark on what forums are intended to be used for. The problem was too obvious really - the existence of downloads severely impacted overall forum participation, and caused other issues as well (like the spam Koby mentioned, which actually itself drove away regularly contributing members). It was only a matter of time before Koby starts to consider whether or not the cost to operate was justified. So if you're truly here to embody what a forum website is all about...then we're glad you're still around and we look forward to many more years to come! If all you cared for was downloads, we only ask that you join us in full-on participation in the community and enjoy the future projects we have to offer you! All in all just bear with us.
  50. 1 point
    Honestly, I don't care about certain section of our community forum got removed due to these recent turn of events. I'm glad to see everyone back here. That's all it matters. I know and understand many of us are disappointed about it (that section of our community forum got removed) but hey! we got each other and so there is room for improvisations and optimism. This year started rough is all I can say. But @IkarosBD and @Koby didn't lose their faith and not to forget the respective mods and staffs for their day and night to keep us updated of every now and then situation. It's a new beginning of the year. Each one of us can bring new ideas and content (not that content for now lol). Just wanna say thank you to every behind the scene people for bringing such content irrespective of ranks. I was never this motivated before but that's just me. Just do what you're good at and we are with you. Peace.
This leaderboard is set to Mexico City/GMT-05:00
  • Newsletter

    Want to keep up to date with all our latest news and information?
    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...