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    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/geneforge-1-mutagen Geneforge 1: Mutagen is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/hood-outlaws-and-legends Hood: Outlaws & Legends is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/iratus-d0e5ba Hood: Outlaws & Legends is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/interstellaria Intersterllaria is currently free on IndieGala.
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    Fact of the Day - NATIONAL PARLS Did you know.... At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the third largest country in the world. With all that room to roam, it's no surprise that America has some absolutely beautiful national parks. But how much do you know about them, really? We bet you had no idea that there are sand dunes that actually sing in Colorado. Or that every summer a firefly light show twinkles in the woodlands of South Carolina. So, if you're interested in hearing more about the stunning landscapes in your own backyard, don't miss these jaw-dropping facts about each of the 62 national parks in the U.S. (KRYSTIN ARNESON | MARCH 18, 2020) Amazing Facts About 12 of the Most Stunning U.S. National Parks by Interesting Facts On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone National Park the country's first national park. In the 150 years following, 62 more national parks have joined the fold, in addition to the hundreds of other sites under the purview of the U.S. National Park Service today, including national historic sites, battlefields, lakeshores, monuments, preserves, and trails. Once called “America’s Best Idea,” national parks have preserved wide swaths of the country's most magnificent scenery and geological history for millions to enjoy every year — from open prairie to mountain ranges, unique rock formations, deserted island beaches, and Arctic forests. But as popular as these parks are, many visitors are unaware of the surprising features they contain within their borders. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the first national park, read on to discover 12 fascinating facts about 12 famous U.S. national parks. 1. Great Smoky Mountains Is the Most Visited National Park in the U.S. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracted 14.1 million visitors in 2021. For comparison, that is nearly three times the number of people who visited the second-most popular park, Utah's Zion National Park, which drew a still-respectable 5 million visitors. Park officials estimate that since Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1934, more than 560 million people have enjoyed all that it has to offer. Part of the reason may be that there is no entry fee to the park, and it never closes (although some roads may be closed during severe weather). In addition to countless opportunities for hiking and nature viewing, the park now allows fishing in all of its approximately 2,900 miles of waterways. 2. Death Valley National Park Is the Hottest Place on Earth It might not come as much of a surprise given its name, but Death Valley gets hot — extremely hot. The national park is the home to the hottest ever recorded temperature on Earth, a 134.1-degree-Fahrenheit reading taken in Furnace Creek Ranch, California. But it doesn't always get that hot. The average temperature during summer is a still-sweltering 115 degrees, but temperatures regularly exceed 120 degrees. According to the National Park Service, the hot weather can be attributed to the valley's low depths, high walls, and lack of shade cover. Since there is little plant life to absorb the heat, the sun rays radiate throughout the valley floor and are absorbed by rocks. When night falls, the warm air rises but is trapped by the high mountain walls. If you want to visit Death Valley in the cooler months, December and January are a safe bet, with daily averages maxing out in the mid-60s. 3. Yellowstone National Park Is Home to a Supervolcano Crowds flock to Yellowstone National Park (located mostly in Wyoming, but with parts in Idaho and Montana) to see the famous eruptions of Old Faithful. However, the park is home to a whopping 10,000-plus hydrothermal features, including 500 geysers — which scientists estimate is about half of the world's geysers. But perhaps the park's most impressive geological feature is a supervolcano, a type of volcano that’s thousands of times more powerful than a regular volcano. Approximately 2 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption triggered a push of magma to Earth’s surface through a thin spot in the crust at the present-day location of Yellowstone. Much of the continent was left covered in ash. Hot lava still ripples below the ground throughout the park today, its heat causing the constant bubbling of springs and mud. But worry not: The last time the supervolcano erupted was 664,000 years ago, and some scientists think it may never happen again. 4. The World’s Longest Known Cave System Is in Mammoth Cave National Park The world’s longest cave system winds its way beneath much of western Kentucky, and, fortunately, a portion of it is open to visitors. To date, more than 412 miles of Mammoth Cave have been mapped, but experts say it may well extend more than 1,000 miles in total. Several new miles of the cave system are discovered each year. The cave structure is particularly stable thanks to a layer of sandstone that caps the limestone beneath. There are numerous impressive cave structures on display, including stalactites, stalagmites, and a type of gypsum formation called "gypsum flowers." The dry, cool environment of Mammoth Cave also makes it an ideal habitat for several endangered forms of bat and cave shrimp. 5. Denali National Park Contains the Highest Elevation Point in North America Previously known as Mount McKinley, the namesake of Alaska’s Denali National Park soars 20,320 feet above sea level, making it the highest point in North America. Upwards of 600,000 people visit Denali annually to see the majestic mountain views. In fact, the three highest points in U.S. national parks are all located in Alaska: In addition to Denali, Mount Saint Elias reaches 18,008 feet, and Mount Fairweather stands at 15,325 feet. Outside of Alaska, the highest point in a national park is California’s Mount Whitney, which towers 14,498 feet above sea level in Sequoia National Park. 6. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Is Home to the World's Most Active Volcano The Hawaiian archipelago, made up of 137 islands, is a hotbed of volcanic activity. The islands formed as the result of eruptions due to the constant motion of the Pacific plate beneath the ocean. Located on the Big Island in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Mount Kilauea is the world's most active volcano mass — it has been erupting continuously since 1983. Molten lava from the eruption pours down the sides, eventually cooling to add to the landmass of the island. But some lava streams flow directly into the sea, creating impressive vapor clouds when the two meet. Kilauea is also known as the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. 7. Arches National Park Has More Natural Arches Than Any Other Place on Earth Vibrant red-tinged rocks frame a brilliant blue sky in many an Instagram photo taken by visitors to Utah’s Arches National Park, home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches — more than in any other spot on Earth. Arches, bridges, and windows dot the desert, providing geologists with a fascinating view of millennia gone by. Over a period of about 65 million years, the area’s geologic plates shifted, and wind and rain also played a hand in shaping the rock into nature’s own sculpture garden. Arches grow and widen until they eventually collapse, leaving columns in their stead. As with many of these park features, in another million years, the landscape may be completely different than what we see today. 8. Gateway Arch National Park Is the Country's Smallest National Park Named after a human-made arch rather than a natural one, Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis is the smallest of the country's 63 national parks, covering just over 90 acres. It’s also one of the country’s few urban national parks and includes green forestland, riverfront access, and five miles of recreational trails that are home to diverse native plant species. Of course, the centerpiece of the park is the 630-foot-high (and 630-foot-wide) Gateway Arch — the tallest human-made monument in the U.S. — which stands against the St. Louis skyline. 9. Theodore Roosevelt National Park Is the Only National Park Named After a Person The 26th President’s namesake park is located in the North Dakota badlands, and got its name because Roosevelt had a residence there. When Roosevelt served as President from 1901 to 1909, he established more than 200 national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, and monuments across 230 million acres of public land, earning him the nickname the “conservationist President.” Visited by 600,000 people each year, Theodore Roosevelt National Park covers more than 70,000 acres with the Little Missouri River flowing through it. It is filled with wildlife and scenic vistas, including the famous Painted Canyon, where the former President’s cabin is located. 10. North Cascades National Park Has More Glaciers Than Anywhere in the Continental U.S. Located about 100 miles north of Seattle, Washington’s North Cascades National Park is home to a mountain range that’s often referred to as “the American Alps” for its rugged, glacier-capped peaks. In fact, the area is home to more than 300 glaciers — more than any other U.S. national park outside of Alaska. It’s one of the snowiest places on the planet, and all that snow accumulates and compacts into glacial ice. Overall, however, the U.S. national park that has the most glaciers is Alaska’s Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Covering 13.2 million acres, it’s also the largest national park in the country and home to some of the biggest glaciers in the world. 11. Mesa Verde National Park Was One of the World's First UNESCO Sites With 5,000 known archaeological sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings made of sandstone and mud mortar, Mesa Verde National Park offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people, who lived in the southwestern Colorado area from around 550 to 1300. Among the most impressive structures are the Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House, plus various relics like farming terraces, field houses, shrines, and rock art. The area was designated a national park in 1906, and in 1978, it earned a spot among an elite group of only 12 places around the world named the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mesa Verde was one of two sites in the U.S. — the other was another national park, Yellowstone. 12. There's Only One U.S. National Park in the Southern Hemisphere Spanning rainforests, volcanoes, beaches, and coral reefs on three islands in the South Pacific, the National Park of American Samoa is the southernmost park of any U.S. territory — and the only national park south of the equator. The park was established in 1988 after environmentalists proposed a bill to preserve the hundreds of plant species in the rainforest and to save the habitat of the endangered Flying fox (a fruit bat). Covering 13,500 acres on the islands of Ofu, Tutuila, and Ta’ū, the park is a spectacular preserve for hikers and snorkelers. And its very existence is a reflection of Polynesia’s oldest culture and its deep-rooted respect for the island environment — the name Samoa translates to “sacred earth.” Source: Fascinating Fact About America's National Parks | Facts About US National Parks
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    Fact of the Day - FAIRYTALE CREATORS Did you know.... Most of us know a few fairy and folk tales, and have grown up seeing multiple renditions and retellings of these stories. But less of us are familiar with the collections that popularised them, or the writers that penned the versions we know today. So I thought I’d have a look at 6 fairy tale collectors and writers that have given us some of our most beloved fairy tales. (NICOLA | OCTOBER 10, 2016) From Mother Goose to Brothers Grimm: 8 of History’s Most Important Fairy-Tale Creators by Interesting Facts Everybody knows the stories of Cinderella, Aladdin, and Sleeping Beauty. These centuries-old fairy tales have been immortalized in every art form imaginable, from books and ballets to musicals and movies. What’s often forgotten, however, is where these stories came from — and who was responsible for writing them down. Here’s a look at eight of history’s most important fairy-tale tellers. 1. Aesop: A (Literal) Legend If you’ve ever taken “the lion’s share” or claimed that “necessity is the mother of invention,” then thank Aesop. The Greek fabulist — purportedly born around 620 BC — is responsible for some of our most famous phrases and fables, including The Hare and the Tortoise. Greek authors like Herodotus and Plutarch claim that Aesop was a slave who became an adviser to Croesus, the King of Lydia. The accuracy of their accounts, however, is disputed, and it’s possible that Aesop was never a real person. 2. Marie-Catherine le Jumel de Barneville: Pioneer of the Fairy Tale Countess d’Aulnoy’s life is like a folktale — difficult to parse fact from fiction. A French author who lived during the 17th century, de Barneville may have been a spy who accused her husband of high treason. True or not, she established a literary salon later in life and published at least two collections of tall tales. Her works, like “The White Cat,” were famously conversational in style and were lauded for being popular with adults and children alike. In fact, she even coined the term “fairy tale.” 3. Hanna Diyab: The Man who Conjured Aladdin The brain behind Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Diyab was a Syrian storyteller who lived during the early 18th century. When Diyab was young, he bumped into a French collector of antiquities who hired him to become his traveling assistant. Diyab visited Paris and met the folklorist Antoine Galland, who he entertained with folktales from home. Years later, Galland published some of Diyab’s tales in his famous translation of The Thousand and One Nights. Diyab wouldn’t receive credit until centuries later. 4. Jean de la Fontaine: The Editor Who Turned Fairy Tales into an Art Form In 1668, Frenchman Fontaine released the first volume of Fables, a literary landmark that would lay out a formula for centuries of European folk and fairy tales. Born to a well-to-do family, de la Fontaine became interested in writing upon being inspired by the work of the French poet Malherbe. Between 1668 to 1694, he released six volumes of fables — a total of 239 stories — that drew from diverse sources, from the Roman fabulist Phaedrus to the Panchatantra, an Indian book of fables. De la Fontaine’s fresh and artful retellings of stories such as “The Grasshopper and the Ant” and “The Raven and the Fox” turned Fables into an instant classic. 5. Charles Perrault: The Original Mother Goose A major influence on the Brothers Grimm, Perrault — hailing from France as well — helped transform tales like “Puss in Boots,” “Cinderella,” “Blue Beard,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Little Red Riding-Hood” into cultural touchstones. His 1697 book Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passe — better known as The Tales of Mother Goose — was an unexpected departure from his life’s work. Perrault had spent decades working as a government official, but when political bickering forced him to change careers, he turned to writing literary fairy tales for aristocratic literary salons. The career change at age 67 is what made him famous. 6. The Brothers Grimm: Disney before Disney Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm didn’t write “Rapunzel” or “Snow White,” but they did popularize the tales among the masses. The German-born brothers attended college with the intention of becoming civil servants, but a pair of influential teachers changed their minds — and inspired a love of folk poetry (or naturpoesie) and the arts. The duo gave up any hopes of a law career and began collecting literature that, they believed, emphasized the character of German culture and people. The brothers didn’t view themselves as writers, but as preservationists and historians who were saving common tales from extinction. Published in 1812, their first edition contained 156 fairy tales, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and “The Fisherman and His Wife.”. 7. Hans Christian Andersen: The Original Ugly Duckling The Danish writer of over 150 fairy tales — including “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “Thumbelina” — Andersen, born in 1805, came from humble beginnings. His mother was illiterate and his father only had an elementary school education. And when his dad died, Andersen started working at a factory at the age of 11. But he always had an artistic side, and he tried to express his struggles through his work. As a teenager, for example, Andersen was routinely harassed by other boys because he had a high voice, and that abuse inspired him to write “The Ugly Duckling.” “The story is, of course, a reflection of my own life,” he once wrote. 8. Alexander Afanasyev: From Bureaucrat to Bard Russia’s answer to the Brothers Grimm, Afanasyev was a 19th century Slavic folklorist who published nearly 600 folk and fairy tales. (His works include “The Firebird,” which was famously transformed into a ballet by composer Igor Stravinsky in 1910, and “Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga.”) Much like Charles Perrault, Afanasyev spent decades clocking in at a normal day-job for the government. But while working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire, he developed an obsession with collecting and preserving local fairy tales. Unlike many of the other folklorists on this list, Afanasyev regularly cited his sources and often tried to pinpoint where the tale originated. Source: Famous Fairy Tale Writers and Collectors | Facts About Fairy-Tale Creators
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    What's the Word: CHAUTAUQUA pronunciation: [shə-TOK-wə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Iroquoian, late 19th century Meaning: 1. (North American) An institution that provided popular adult education courses and entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Example: "Elena wanted to visit a chautauqua community during her vacation." "Leilani was instrumental in establishing her community’s first chautauqua." About Chautauqua This word stems from the New York town of the same name, where an annual Methodist summer colony featured lectures. The name originates from “ja'dahgweh,” a Seneca (Iroquoian) name, possibly meaning "one has taken out fish there." An alternative suggested meaning is "raised body." Did You Know? The Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly was organized at a campsite on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake in 1874. It started as an experiment to provide education in a nontraditional format. For instance, The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle was structured as a four-year correspondence course that provided the essential knowledge and skills of a college education to those who couldn’t afford the standard college experience. Today, the Chautauqua Institution offers a variety of lecture series, artistic resident programs, and more during the summer.
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    Fact of the Day - STRANGE COMPETITIONS Great Knaresborough Bed Race Did you know... that humans’ primal desire to compete can be traced to basic principles of evolution: To survive, all organisms on the planet must constantly outdo each other for resources. But where fellow terrestrials use play to simulate competitive skills like hunting or fighting, human beings have taken their zest for competition many steps further. The world is riddled with odd competitions, from the Air Guitar World Championships held in Finland since 1996 and cow pie bingo to any number of eating competitions, polar dips, and, of course, the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest, held each year at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, Calif. Events like lumberjack or woodsmen competitions have been mainstays in American culture, while other events come briefly into the public eye only to fade quickly (and, sometimes, thankfully) back into obscurity. Decades ago, women were subjected to figure contests (in which contestants wore papier-mache masks to hide their faces), “perfect back” contests, cleaning championships, and other archaic competitions that trudged forward through humans’ primordial soup into splendid, utter irrelevancy. Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest (he came in 20th place), and we’ve since seen the same from Adele. Then there are the now-defunct Summer Redneck Games, women’s armpit hair competition, and even the Extreme Ironing World Championships (which is just what it sounds like). Still (surprisingly) in operation, however, are contests for lawnmower racing, baby crying, rock-paper-scissors, black pudding throwing, Punkin Chunkin, tree climbing, shovel racing, and even the Cold Water Swimming Olympics. Mining various news reports, organization and town websites, and championships data yielded 25 of the most unusual competitions from around the world. It seems there’s a contest for every imaginable skill, from belly-flopping to swimming in grits. (Nicole Caldwell | September 27, 2019) Strange Competitions Around the World by Interesting Facts A very special sort of sports fan prides themselves on seeking out strange competitions — they’re thrilled by the odd spectacle, enchanted by the offbeat victor. Lucky for them, many cities around the world have taken advantage of some aspect of their geography, history, local cuisine or culture to start an oddball festival. For instance, in Whitehorse, Yukon, where daytime high temperatures in January typically top out at 8 degrees Fahrenheit, an annual winter-long contest is held at the local hot springs for the best and most outlandish frozen hairdos. Just as you’d never find frozen hair competitions in Florida, that state’s alligator wrestling competitions would never happen in the frozen Yukon. The U.K., perhaps, wins the prize among all other nations for embracing odd sports like bog snorkeling, shin-kicking and chasing a wheel of cheese down a steep and lumpy hill. If you find you’re a fan of the weird and wonderful, the world is full of destinations where you can witness some pretty outlandish sports. Choose your favorite from these four fascinating festivals and competitions to add to your travel bucket list. 1. Frozen Dead Guy Days (Nederland, Colorado) About 17 miles west and 2,900 feet above Boulder, Colorado, you’ll come across a plastic utility shed with the body of a Norwegian man kept packed in dry ice. It turns out the deceased and his offspring were big believers in cryonics, wherein dead bodies are kept in a deep freeze, awaiting future medical advances that could allow them to be brought back to life. There was a problem for this particular dead body, though: The daughter and grandson who had been caretakers for the frozen man since 1993 came upon hard times and both returned to Norway. The town of Nederland, seeing an opportunity for offbeat fame, took up the cause of keeping the late Mr. Morstoel from thawing. In 2003, they began to celebrate their local stiff with Frozen Dead Guy Days, an annual March event. Locals have devised numerous thematic competitions during the festival that share a macabre humor. These include hearse races, coffin races (six “pallbearers” carry a coffin with a live person in it, racing other groups through an obstacle course), a polar plunge, a game of rigid-human foosball played on a snowy field, a brain freeze contest (contestants race to finish frozen drinks), frozen fish toss, and frozen turkey bowling. The funereal fun is kept alive all weekend through Day of the Dead costumes, a live musical, and a Blue Ball dance. 2. World’s Ugliest Dog Contest (Petaluma, California) What began in the mid-1970s as a minor sideshow-esque contest at the annual Sonoma-Marin Fair in Northern California has become an annual tour de force, drawing more spectators than any other element of the fair. The often lopsided, fuzzy, popeyed winners of the World’s Ugliest Dog title often receive front-page coverage in the national press. Despite the contest’s name, the mood of the annual June competition is more celebratory and loving than you may expect. Most of the dogs entered in the contest were adopted by their proud owners from animal shelters or rescue groups, and the lucky pooches are often greeted with noisy and indulgent “oohs” and “ahhs.” Wiry head tufts, lolling tongues, hairless tails, cloudy eyes — should you have the luck to attend one of the late June contests (and lovefests), be forewarned: You may come down with an unavoidable need to adopt a funny-looking pet. 3. World’s Beard and Mustache Championships (Various Locations) Perhaps you didn’t know that there’s a sport that calls itself “bearding,” or that websites and grooming companies exist that cater to “beard-os” or “beardaholics.” Some people obviously take great pride in growing, teasing, and training their facial hair. Or maybe you did know all these things and have been following the growth in popularity for the hirsute, with professional baseball players, purveyors of craft cocktails, country music stars, and hipsters everywhere contributing to the trend. Either way, where there’s pride and attention paid, it follows that a competition can’t be far behind. In fact, there are loads of beard and mustache contests — ones held in local bars or ones sponsored by beard oil makers — but the fathership of the facial hair competitions is the World’s Beard and Mustache Championships. The WBMC pops up every two years in a different location around Europe, the U.S., or Australia. This officially sanctioned event offers titles in 16 different categories for configurations that include mustaches, partial beards, and full beards. In all divisions, there’s a natural competition for those who eschew hot combs, styling wax, and curling irons. But if you prefer a little creative use of product and equipment with your facial hair, you’re in luck. Men sporting quirky Dali mustaches are judged separately from those who wear magnificent Hungarian mustaches. Wearers of musketeers and Fu Manchus and Kaiser beards compete amongst themselves. And for those whose growth defies labels, freestyle competitions bring out the weirdest and most original stylings. The next competition has been pushed back to April 2023 — thus, if you’re so inclined, there’s plenty of time to stop shaving and be hairy enough to join the competition in Auckland. 4. Bog Snorkeling (Wales) Imagine the sight of the starting blocks at an Olympic swimming competition: the athletes in their streamlined suits, the pool shimmering and clear, everyone quiet and focused, awaiting the blare of the starting buzzer. Now set that image aside. This, instead, is bog-snorkeling, an absurd contest invented in 1986 in Wales (though now practiced by silly people throughout the world). Instead of pristine starting blocks, there’s a wooden walkway that crosses a 197-foot-long trench dug in a peat bog in Wales. Participants, wearing ungainly flippers and snorkels, lower themselves from that walkway into cold and muddy water and then, one at a time, make their way down the length of the waterway and back, without using any recognizable swimming strokes. Their supporters and competitors string out along the trench, wearing galoshes against the mud and often carrying umbrellas against the Welsh summer weather — cheering, heckling the splashy progress, and drinking local ale. In addition to a contest for speed, some compete for best costume or bog accessory, while others make matters more difficult by adding triathlon components to the bog swim. Besides being a giddy celebration of summer, the bog snorkeling serves as a charity fundraiser, so the contestants can feel better when they are still finding traces of mud in their ears a week later. Source: Weird Competitions From Around the World | Facts About Strange Competitions
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    What's the Word: SMORGASBORD pronunciation: [SMOR-ɡəs-bord] Part of speech: noun Origin: Swedish, 19th century Meaning: 1. A buffet offering a variety of hot and cold meats, salads, hors d'oeuvres, etc. 2. A wide range of something; a variety. Example: "The hungry travelers were delighted to discover their hosts had prepared a smorgasbord of meats, cheeses, breads, and spreads." "Tanni’s vinyl collection was a smorgasbord of musical styles that reflected her varied tastes and moods." About Smorgasbord The term is taken directly from the Swedish “smörgåsbord,” formed by combining “smörgås” (“bread and butter”) and “bord,” meaning “table.” Did You Know? English speakers rarely use “smorgasbord” to describe a table stocked with different foods. Instead, this term is mostly figurative, to describe a variety of things in one place. While a Swedish restaurant might offer a literal smorgasbord of pickled herring, ham, meatballs, and mashed potatoes, a health spa might equally be said to offer a smorgasbord of steam rooms and dry saunas, whirlpools, ice baths, and massage rooms.
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    Fact of the Day - Hedy Lamarr Did you know..... that Hedy Lamarr was often called “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Really, she was so much more than just a pretty face. There was her illustrious Hollywood career and her second act as the mastermind behind the groundbreaking technology that led to the invention of Wi-Fi. With all that, you’d hardly think that she would have the time for such a scandalous personal life—but this brilliant bombshell had a dark side, too. (Penelope Singh | October 2021) Fascinating Facts About Actress and Inventor Hedy Lamarr by Interesting Facts During Hollywood's Golden Age in the 1930s and '40s, MGM star Hedy Lamarr was considered one of the world's most beautiful women. Her appearance was reportedly the model behind Walt Disney's Snow White, as well as Batman's nemesis, Catwoman. Yet there's much more to Lamarr's life than her beauty. She was also an inventor, who had an idea amid World War II that would have later implications for both the U.S. military and technology such as GPS and Bluetooth. Learn more about Lamar with these eight fascinating facts. 1. Lamarr Was Often Associated With a Racy Early Film Born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in Vienna, Austria, Lamarr starred in the Czech movie Ecstasy (1933) when she was a teenager. The silent film featured Lamarr swimming in the nude, as well as simulating what's thought to be cinema's first female orgasm. Given its content, Ecstasy was criticized by Pope Pius XI and Adolf Hitler banned the movie due to Lamarr's Jewish background. Even after Lamarr became a star in Hollywood, people often called her "Ecstasy Girl." The title for her problematic autobiography, Ecstasy and Me: My Life as a Woman, was also inspired by this risqué film. 2. Lamarr Was Married Six Times Lamarr never had much success in marriage, with six failed unions under her belt. Lamarr was not yet 20 when she wed her first husband, Friedrich Mandl, in 1933. Mandl was a munitions dealer who worked with Nazis, dined with people like Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, and was also extremely controlling of Lamarr. In fact, Mandl tried (unsuccessfully) to purchase all copies of Lamarr's film Ecstasy. It took multiple escape attempts before Lamarr was able to get out of the marriage in 1937. In one telling, she says she had to drug her maid and disguise herself in the servant's uniform to flee. 3. Lamarr Negotiated Her Own Hollywood Contract After the end of her first marriage, Lamarr wanted to go to Hollywood. While in London, she met Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM Studios. Mayer, aware of the controversy surrounding Ecstasy, offered Lamarr a contract with a salary of only $125 per week, which she turned down. Still determined to go to Hollywood, Lamarr managed to board the ship Mayer was taking back to the United States. During the voyage, Lamarr charmed her fellow passengers, demonstrating the pull she could exert on audiences. By the time the ship had arrived stateside, Lamarr had a contract with MGM for $500 a week. 4. Lamarr’s Stage Name Was Inspired By a Dead Movie Star Signing with MGM required Lamarr to change her last name from Keisler, since German names were not in vogue by the late 1930s. Mayer was inspired by deceased silent film star Barbara La Marr when creating the actress’ new last name. Although it was fake, Lamarr became attached to her new name. When the Mel Brooks comedy Blazing Saddles (1974) had a character named “Hedley Lamarr,” Lamarr sued for the unauthorized use of her name and received a small settlement. 5. Lamarr’s Inventor Side Was Encouraged by Howard Hughes When Lamarr was 5, she'd taken apart and then rebuilt a music box to discover how it worked. Her interest in understanding how things functioned, along with a desire to create her own inventions, continued even as she began to make her name in Hollywood. In this, Lamarr was supported by movie mogul and aerospace innovator Howard Hughes. Lamarr aided Hughes in return; by studying the anatomy of fish and birds, she came up with an idea for an airplane wing that he embraced as "genius." 6. Lamarr’s World War II Invention Was Initially Dismissed During World War II, Lamar and modernist composer George Antheil came up with a "secret communication system" that used "frequency hopping" between radio signals to direct torpedoes without enemy interference. She and Antheil received a patent in August 1942 and offered their invention to the U.S. military. But the government wasn't interested in the invention or Lamarr's intelligence. Instead, the actress was informed that her beauty was the best way to help the war effort. Instead of rejecting this sexist suggestion, Lamarr went on to sell millions in war bonds. She also took shifts at the Hollywood Canteen, where soldiers could relax and spend time with movie stars. 7. Lamarr Invented Many Everyday Items In addition to the frequency-hopping system, Lamarr had a slew of other inventions, including a light-up dog collar, improvements for a traffic signal, tablets to transform water into soft drinks, and a new Kleenex box. 8. Lamarr's Frequency-Hopping System Was Used Globally, But She Didn’t Receive Credit The frequency-hopping system that Lamarr and Antheil invented during World War II was adapted by the U.S. Navy and used during 1962's Cuban Missile Crisis. Later it contributed to technological innovations such as Bluetooth and GPS. Yet Lamarr's contribution was ignored. She expressed her feelings about this in a 1990 interview: "I can't understand why there's no acknowledgment when it's used all over the world." Lamarr was slightly mollified when she was recognized by the Electronic Frontier Foundation with a Pioneer Award in 1997. Source: Wild Facts About Hedy Lamarr, Hollywood’s Brilliant Bombshell | Hedy Lamarr Facts
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    What's the Word: EXONUMIA pronunciation: [eks-ə-NOO-mee-ə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, first known use in 1962 Meaning: 1. Coinlike objects. 2. Study and/or collection of coinlike objects. Example: "Tobias had a collection of exonumia he amassed over a decade." "The arcade tokens were ever-present exonumia in her pocket." About Exonumia This word is comprised of “exo-” a prefix meaning “out of”, and the Latin “nummus,” meaning “coin.” Did You Know? Exonumia is the study or collecting of coinlike objects, but NOT coins themselves. For example, someone interested in exonumia might collect fair tokens or religious medallions. A penny that has been pressed and elongated into a souvenir in a vending machine would qualify for exonumia, but the funds used to pay for it would not.
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    Fact of the Day - THE GOLDEN GIRLS Did you know... that though The Golden Girls made its debut on September 14, 1985—exactly 32 years ago today—the series still remains fresh for generations of new viewers thanks to great writing and syndicated reruns. Here are 20 things you might not have known about Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia. (Kara Kovalchik | September 14, 2017) Facts You Might Not Know About “The Golden Girls” by Interesting Facts At a time when youth seemed to carry the banner for pop culture, a show about seniors couldn’t have gone more against the trends. But with its witty characters living their best lives despite hitting retirement age, the NBC sitcom The Golden Girls was an instant hit, becoming the No. 1 show in the Nielsen ratings in its first week in September 1985. Called a “geriatric comedy” by the Associated Press, the secret formula was in the relatability of the storylines and the sharply written script about the friendships between four women living together in Miami Beach. The all-star cast was made of faces already familiar on the small screen, including Maude costars Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan as tough-as-nails Dorothy Zbornak and flirty Southern belle Blanche Devereaux, respectively, and The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s Betty White as innocent, ditzy Midwesterner Rose Nylund. Stage star Estelle Getty rounded out the group as Dorothy’s mother, the ever-blunt Sophia Petrillo. The seven-season show has continued to transcend the generations, particularly finding a fan base among the LBGT community. Here, we travel down the road and back again to unveil 10 facts about the groundbreaking television show. 1. The Show Was Given a 13-Episode Order Before There Was a Script During NBC’s promotional program for the 1984 season, Night Court’s Selma Diamond was introducing Miami Vice in a comedy sketch and joked, “‘Miami Nice?” It must be about a bunch of old people sitting around playing pinochle.” The idea stuck with NBC president Brandon Tartikoff, and when producers Paul Witt and Tony Thomas came into his office to pitch a new show a few weeks later, he passed on their idea but instead gave them an assignment: “Take some women around 60. Society has written them off, has said they're over the hill. We want them to be feisty as hell and having a great time.” Witt responded that NBC would never put it on the air. Fully confident the show would be a success, it was given a 13-episode commitment before there was even a script. 2. White Was Supposed to Play Blanche and McClanahan Was Originally Rose Best known at the time as the “neighborhood nymphomaniac” Sue Ann Nevins from the classic 1970s sitcom The Mary Tyler Moore Show, White was “thrilled at [the idea of playing] Blanche,” who was reminiscent of her previous character. Meanwhile, McClanahan was sent the script under the assumption she would audition for Rose. While she loved the script, McClanahan told her agent, “I can’t play Rose, I’ve got to play Blanche.” However, she was told Blanche was going to White, so she should focus on Rose. During the casting process, director Jay Sandrich decided to switch things up and had the women read the opposite roles. “She did a beautiful, funny job,” McClanahan said of White’s on-the-spot role reversal. And White says of McClanahan being the perfect fit for Blanche: “[She took it] out into orbit where I never would have had the guts to go.” 3. A Gay Cook Named Coco Was Part of the Ensemble The essence of The Golden Girls’ premise is female empowerment. Yet there was still a bit of hesitation over a cast of just women. So in the pilot episode, there was another character: a gay housekeeper named Coco, played by Charles Levin. He was a “friend-slash-manservant,” as The Atlantic put it. In the premiere, Coco offers them tea, makes enchiladas rancheros, and at one point, Sophia sums him up as “the fancy man in the kitchen.” Nevertheless, it was quickly decided that his presence wasn’t needed, and Coco vanished by the second episode. 4. Blanche Had 165 Relationships The women were never shy to share tales of their sexual endeavors. Refinery 29 completed a study of all seven seasons and tallied up their escapades. Blanche — to no one’s surprise — topped the list, having been with 165 men. She declared in season six that she has been in 143 relationships, and the website factored in her late husband plus 22 other unspecified men. In a distant second was Dorothy — whose on- and off-again relationship with Stan drove much of the storyline — with a count of 43. Rose came in third with 30 men, even though she was the first to be seen in bed with a man on the show. Sophia’s total count is 25, including her supposed secret first husband, Julio Iglesias. 5. None of the Women Were Like Their Characters While the line between their characters and their real-personalities was blurred to the public, McClanahan says none of them were anything like their characters. “Betty, probably least of all … Betty has nothing but brains,” she said. McClanahan believed Getty was perhaps closest to Sicily-born Brooklynite Sophia, “although she was not at all pushy and vitriolic — Estelle was just funny. She was ‘Jewish New York’ funny.” As for Arthur, McClanahan said Dorothy’s failures in life were the polar opposite of Arthur’s successes, saying she has a “very funny take on people and quick-witted.” For her part, the Oklahoma native is quick to point out her character is from Atlanta and she’s not, implying they have nothing in common. 6. The Cast Once Performed for the Queen Mother Queen Elizabeth II’s mom, the Queen Mother, was such a fan of the show that she had the four leads perform at the London Palladium in 1988 during the Royal Variety Performance. The cast performed two of their kitchen table scenes and made sure to censor a few things to not offend the royals in attendance. That said, the Queen Mum did have a sense of humor. One joke that was left intact was Dorothy asking Blanche how long she waited to have sex after her husband died, with Sophia wittingly interjecting, “Until the paramedics came.” The response made the often-reserved royal laugh out loud. 7. More Than 100 Cheesecakes Were Eaten During the Show On the show, there were very few problems that a slice of cheesecake couldn’t solve, from small scuffles to big life crises. Throughout seven seasons, more than 100 cheesecakes were eaten during the ladies’ late-night kitchen table commiserations. However, if you look closely, you’ll notice that Dorothy rarely takes a bite. In real life, Arthur reportedly hated cheesecake. 8. There’s Another Theme Song Verse About Aging As one of the most recognizable — and beloved — theme songs in television history, “Thank You For Being a Friend,” performed by Cynthia Fee, captures the enduring value of friendship through its lyrics, especially with its memorable lines like, “If you threw a party, invited everyone you knew / You would see the biggest gift would be from me / And the card attached would say, ‘Thank you for being a friend.’” But the songwriter who also originally performed the song, Andrew Gold, thought the 1978 song was a “little throwaway thing” he wrote in about an hour. Years before the show came along, he also had another verse in there that oddly hit the show right on the nose. “And when we both get older, with walking canes and hair of gray / Have no fear, even though it’s hard to hear. I will stand real close and say, ‘Thank you for being a friend.’” As appropriate as it was for the premise, that verse never made it onto the show. 9. White Was the Oldest of the Ensemble — And Lived the Longest Despite Getty’s character being the oldest of the bunch, White was actually the eldest of the four actresses. She was 63 when The Golden Girls began, about four months older than Arthur. Getty’s character would have been 79 when the show started, but she was actually 62 at the time of the first show. McClanahan was the youngest of the bunch. In 2008, Getty was the first Golden Girl to pass. She was followed by Arthur in 2009, McClanahan in 2010, and White in 2021, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday. 10. Each of the Four Stars Won an Emmy Award The show was an Emmys darling from the start, eventually accumulating 68 nominations and 11 awards, with each of the four leads taking home a trophy at one point. Arthur, McClanahan, and White all received Best Actress nods in 1986, with White winning the honors. The following year, it was McClanahan who clinched the title, and then in 1988, it was Arthur’s turn — as well as Getty’s, who earned the Supporting Actress honor. During her speech, Arthur noted that her thank-yous were from “the four of us” since “we’ve all won.” Source: Fun Facts About The Golden Girls | Facts About The Golden Girls
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    What's the Word: HIRRIENT pronunciation: [HEER-ee-ənt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, date unknown Meaning: 1. (Phonology) Having a strongly trilled sound, like that of a cat purring. Example: "Sondra used hirrient exercises in her speech therapy." "All of Tim’s pets make distinct, hirrient sounds." About Hirrient This word comes directly from the Latin “hirrient,” which comes from the verb “hirriō,” meaning “ to snarl. Did You Know? While “hirrient” often describes animal purring sounds, it can also describe certain words or sounds that humans make. Those sounds are more commonly described as “trilled.” For instance, the rapid vibration of the tongue or uvula that produces the rolling “r” in some languages is called an alveolar trill.
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    Fact of the Day - CROWS Did you know... that Crows often get a bad rap. In many Western cultures, they've historically been associated with death, disease, and bad omens; reviled as crop-stealers by farmers, and condemned as nuisances by city dwellers. But the birds are fascinating creatures, adaptable and brainy to an extent that's almost scary. Here are a few facts about these crafty corvids that might surprise you. (Mark Mancini | Oct 2, 2017 | Updated: Sep 30, 2020 Captivating Facts About Crows by Interesting Facts Depending on where you live, there’s a good chance that you see a crow nearly every day. Fortunately, they’re one of the most fascinating birds on the planet. Corvids, the bird family that includes ravens, crows, and magpies, are incredibly intelligent — and it seems like every time we learn something new about them, it raises even more interesting questions. Do crows really recognize human friends? Why do thousands of birds swarm certain neighborhoods? And what’s up with crow funerals? Read on for the answers to these and other questions about one of the most intriguing birds around. 1. Crows Recognize Faces — and Keep Both Friendships and Generations-Long Grudges Have crows ever acted weird around you? It’s possible they remember your face, and that could be a good thing — or a very bad thing. In 2008, a University of Washington research team led by John M. Marzluff published a study on crow behavior, risking their very eyeballs to do so. Wearing what they called “dangerous” masks (made of rubber and meant to resemble cavemen), the researchers captured and banded a group of crows — something the birds didn’t like too much. While the crows acted normally to maskless or differently-masked researchers, the crows would scold (with loud, harsh calls) anyone wearing the dangerous mask, even when it was worn upside-down. As time went on and word spread among the flock, more and more crows would join in with the behavior. Over the course of several years, researchers walked around the UW campus wearing the bad mask, and, to this day, still get scolded and dive-bombed by birds more than a decade later, even though the crows from the study have likely died. Research has shown that the crows reacted to these threats and stored them in their memories in bird versions of the amygdala, a process much like that of humans. This research confirmed what crow pros had always suspected: That crows don’t just recognize humans, but have deeply held opinions about individual people. Kevin McGowan, a researcher at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, says that crows he has captured and banded are often still mad at him, while birds that have gotten many snacks from him follow him around. Plenty of non-scientists have shared the stories of their own corvid friendships, too, both in modern times and throughout history. 2. Crows Have Excellent Collaborative Communication Skills As evidenced by the growing number of vengeful birds in the mask experiment, crows have excellent communication skills — and can go into far greater detail than just “this is bad.” In the 1980s, researcher Lawrence Kilham studied a group of crows living on a ranch in Florida. (The technical term for a group of crows is a “murder,” by the way.) In one of his observations, five crows were helping a mother crow build a nest by bringing her sticks. After an excessive, messy pile of sticks accumulated, the mama crow was able to communicate that the deliveries were no longer helpful. She spent the next two weeks finishing up the nest with materials from the pile. After decades of crow study, Cornell’s Kevin McGowan has even learned to understand some of what they’re saying through the timing, spacing, timbre, and energy of their calls — at least, some of the simpler stuff, such as “a hawk is approaching,” “the hawk is getting closer,” or “help me harass this owl.” He says that music is a better comparison than spoken word. In addition to caws, crows have noises such as rattling, clicks, and bell-like sounds in their vocabulary, plus non-vocal communication. Sometimes they even imitate other birds. 3. Crows Have Funerals (Kind Of) There are many ways you can make enemies with a crow, but one of the quickest is to be seen with a dead one. When faced with a dead member of their own species, many wild animals will avoid the area. Crows, on the other hand, will mob the body in large, loud gatherings — then silently depart. While crows do have tight social bonds, the funerals may be more about information-sharing. What happened here? How can we avoid danger? Who are we ganging up on over this? In 2015, University of Washington researchers found that when crows see a human in the proximity of a dead crow just once, they can continue associating that person with the death for up to six weeks. Humans, however, are not public enemy number No. 1. When researchers presented a hawk near a taxidermied crow, the mobbing intensified. They also found that, while threat assessment is a key part of these gatherings, crows don’t do the same thing for just any species of dead bird — this ritual is reserved for their own. 4. Crows Might Be as Smart as Great Apes Clearly, crows are very intelligent, but just how smart are they? In addition to their dynamite communication, threat assessment, and memory skills, crows demonstrate self-awareness, capacity for learning, and problem-solving abilities that may approach those of great apes. New Caledonian crows — who live on the islands of New Caledonia in the South Pacific — are especially well-known for being adept with tools. In one experiment, a crow figured out how to use water displacement to get access to food. In another, the same species of crow fashioned a hook out of a piece of wire to dig out a treat — and in yet another, they used a small stick to push a long stick into the right position for reaching food. In 2018, University of Auckland researchers decided to see if crows could remember templates and replicate them. First, the researchers fashioned a small, snack-dispensing mock vending machine that accepted a specific size of paper. The crows, presented with pre-cut paper, would learn which one operated the machine. Later, presented with one larger sheet of cardstock, the crows would tear the paper to roughly the same size from scratch. Caledonian or not, crows have a sophisticated understanding of cause and effect. BBC Earth observed one crow in Japan who learned to open nuts by dropping them into traffic. When he discovered it was difficult to retrieve them, he started dropping them at pedestrian crossings so he could harvest the insides without getting run over. 5. Crows Have Close-Knit Family Relationships American and Northwestern crows are known for close family bonds. Pairs of birds mate for life, and older crow offspring will pitch in raising the younger ones. During the egg incubation period, the mama crow has food delivered a few times an hour by her mate and other family helpers. Cornell researcher Kevin McGowan has witnessed crow families of up to 15 birds at one time. It gets sweeter: At hatching time, other crows start visiting just out of curiosity about the new baby. Researcher Lawrence Kilham observed mother crows greeting these visitors by moving slightly to the side to give them a peek. In crow families, adults can stick around their parents’ territory for a while, sometimes for several years. Even once they do move out, they may come back every so often, sometimes to help with nest-building. While mating and hatching season are both big deals in crow family life, learning-to-fly season is up there, too. Many young birds of other species don’t see their parents again after getting pushed out of the nest for the first time, but crows keep a close eye on their juveniles while they’re running around on the ground — and occasionally, an unsuspecting human will get a little too close and get dive-bombed. 6. Tens of Thousands of Crows Roost Together Crows have large families, but, in the fall and winter, they have even bigger roosting communities. This is why on chilly afternoons, you may see thousands of crows swarming around one place. Smaller groups of crows come to these giant roosts from miles around. Roosts even host international guests; some crows from Canadian forests will winter in Seattle for the warmer city environment. More than 15,000 crows sometimes roost in downtown Portland alone, and 16,000 crows roost on the University of Washington, Bothell, campus near Seattle. In the Fort Cobb area of Oklahoma, the roost population exceeded 2 million in 1970. 7. Crows Love to Play Crows and other corvids are incredibly playful. They’ve been caught on camera sledding down snowy roofs using plastic lids and playing fetch with dogs. Sometimes they provoke a fight between two cats, becoming enthusiastic spectators when the violence starts. A crow once locked a science writer in a cage. A pair of magpies, also in the crow family, repeatedly pranked a zookeeper’s flock of chickens. Corvids also hide objects that are unrelated to food. Researchers have documented several kinds of play, or activity without a clear goal, in crows, from doing cool flight tricks to spending extra time in the water. Researchers are still exploring why — some of it could be for learning or just good old-fashioned stress relief. 8. Crows Might Live for Up to 60 Years A crow named Tata was allegedly 59 years old when he died at his home in Bearsville, New York, in 2006. While his age is nearly impossible to verify, ornithologists haven’t exactly cast doubt on it; the Cornell Ornithology Lab cites him as the longest-lived crow. Tata’s longevity comes from being a pet, since crows in captivity aren’t exposed to the same dangers as a crow in the wild would.Edgar, a crow in captivity at the Saginaw Children's Zoo in Saginaw, Michigan, died in 2020 at about age 26. The oldest observed crow in the wild was 17 years and 5 months old. Source: Fascinating Facts About Crows | The Facts About Crows
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    What's the Word: MEED pronunciation: [meed] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old English, before the 12th century Meaning: 1. A deserved share or reward. Example: "The plaque was a way to show Lauren her meed." "It’s natural for people to crave meed, especially those who are often unrecognized." About Meed This word stems from the Old English “mēd,” of Germanic origin. It comes from an Indo-European root shared by the Greek “misthos,” meaning “reward.” Did You Know? “Meed,” “mead,” and “Mede” are easily confused homophones. While “meed” is a reward or recognition, “mead” can either be an archaic term for a meadow or a fermented drink made of water and honey, malt, and yeast. And a “Mede” is a member of a group of people who lived in ancient Media, now Iran, during the seventh century BCE.
  13. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/a-game-of-thrones-5858a3 A Game Of Thrones: The Board Game Digital Edition is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/car-mechanic-simulator-2018 Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://www.fanatical.com/en/game/reventure Reventure is currently free on Fanatical via newsletter.
  14. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - BEES Did you know... that bees are arguably the most important living creature for our environment. They are also the most studied, only second to humans. During the long history that humans have shared with bees over thousands of years, it’s’ no wonder we have learnt so much from them and depend on bees for life to exist as we know it. (Emmanuel | Last Updated: July 2019) Fascinating Facts About Bees by Lucas Reilly | Nov 18, 2013 | Updated: May 20, 2021 Sure, you know that bees pollinate our crops and give us honey. But there's so much more to these buzzing insects than that. 1. Bee stings have some health benefits. A toxin in bee venom called melittin may prevent HIV. Melittin can kill HIV by poking holes into the virus's protective envelope. (Meanwhile, when melittin hitches a ride on certain nanoparticles, it will just bounce off normal cells and leave them unharmed.) Scientists at Washington University in St. Louis hope the toxin can be used in preventative gels. Bee stings may also ease pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers at the University of Sao Paulo found that molecules in bee venom increase your body's level of glucocorticoid, an anti-inflammatory hormone. 2. Bees work harder than you do. During chillier seasons, worker bees can live for nine months. But in the summer, they rarely last longer than six weeks—they literally work themselves to death. 3. When bees change jobs, they change their brain chemistry. Bees are hardwired to do certain jobs. Scout bees, which search for new sources of food, are wired for adventure. Soldier bees, discovered in 2012, work as security guards their whole life. One percent of all middle-aged bees become undertakers—a genetic brain pattern compels them to remove dead bees from the hive. But most amazingly, regular honeybees—which perform multiple jobs in their lifetime—will change their brain chemistry before taking up a new gig. 4. Bee brains defy time. When aging bees do jobs usually reserved for younger members, their brain stops aging. In fact, their brain ages in reverse. (Imagine if riding a tricycle didn't just make you feel young—it actually made your brain tick like a younger person's.) Scientists at Arizona State University believe the discovery can help us slow the onset of dementia. 5. Bees are changing medicine. To reinforce their hives, bees use a resin from poplar and evergreen trees called propolis. It's basically beehive glue. Although bees use it as caulk, humans use it to fight off bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Research shows that propolis taken from a beehive may relieve cold sores, canker sores, herpes, a sore throat, cavities, and even eczema. 6. Bees can recognize human faces. Honeybees make out faces the same way we do. They take parts—like eyebrows, lips, and ears—and cobble them together to make out the whole face. It’s known as configural processing, and it might help computer scientists improve face recognition technology, The New York Times reports. 7. Bees have personalities Even in beehives, there are workers and shirkers. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that not all bees are interchangeable drones. Some bees are thrill-seekers, while others are a bit more timid. A 2011 study even found that agitated honeybees can be pessimistic, showing that, to some extent, bees might have feelings. Bees: They're just like us! 8. Bees get buzzed from caffeine and cocaine. Nature didn't intend for caffeine to be relegated to your morning pot of coffee. It's actually a plant defense chemical that shoos harmful insects away and lures pollinators in. Scientists at Newcastle University found that nectar laced with caffeine helps bees remember where the flower is, increasing the chances of a return visit. While caffeine makes bees work better, cocaine turns them into big fat liars. Bees "dance" to communicate—a way of giving fellow bees directions to good food. But high honeybees exaggerate their moves and overemphasize the food's quality. They even exhibit withdrawal symptoms, helping scientists understand the nuances of addiction. 9. Bees have Viking-like navigation techniques. Bees use the Sun as a compass. But when it's cloudy, there's a backup—they navigate by polarized light, using special photoreceptors to find the Sun's place in the sky. The Vikings may have used a similar system: On sunny days, they navigated with sundials, but on cloudy days, sunstones—chunks of calcite that act like a Polaroid filter—helped them stay on course. 10. Bees can solve hairy mathematical problems. Pretend it's the weekend, and it's time to do errands. You have to visit six stores and they're all at six separate locations. What's the shortest distance you can travel while visiting all six? Mathematicians call this the "traveling salesman problem," and it can even stump some computers. But for bumblebees, it's a snap. Researchers at Royal Holloway University in London found that bumblebees fly the shortest route possible between flowers. So far, they're the only animals known to solve the problem. 11. Bees are nature's most economical builders. In 36 BCE, Marcus Terentius Varro argued that honeycombs were the most practical structures around. Centuries later, Greek mathematician Pappus solidified the "honeycomb conjecture" by making the same claim. Almost 2000 years later, American mathematician Thomas Hales wrote a mathematical proof showing that, of all the possible structures, honeycombs use the least amount of wax. And not only are honeycombs the most efficient structures in nature—the walls meet at a precise 120-degree angle, a perfect hexagon. 12. Bees can help us catch serial killers. Serial killers behave like bees. They commit their crimes close to home, but far enough away that the neighbors don't get suspicious. Similarly, bees collect pollen near their hive, but far enough that predators can't find the hive. To understand how this "buffer zone" works, scientists studied bee behavior and wrote up a few algorithms. Their findings improved computer models police use to find felons. 13. Bees are job creators. The average American consumes roughly 1.51 pounds of honey each year. On top of that, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that honeybees pollinate up to 80 percent of the country's insect crops—meaning bees pollinate over $15 billion worth of crops each year. Bonus Facts: Bees can recognize human faces. by Interesting Facts Humans have known about bees for a long time: 8,000-year-old cave paintings in Bicorp, Spain, show early humans scaling trees to collect honey. But modern scientists wanted to know if bees recognize us, which is why researchers have put the insects’ microscopic brains to the test. In a 2005 study, honey bees were trained to memorize pictures of human faces by scientists who rewarded them for correct matches with droplets of sugar water. While a bee’s-eye view isn’t as clear as our own gaze, the buzzing insects were able to correctly differentiate between faces up to 90% of the time — even two days after first seeing them, and when the sweet incentives were removed. The emerging research into bee brains shows that not all living creatures need the complex brain systems humans have in order to recognize and recall environmental differences, but some researchers say that’s not entirely shocking. The Apis mellifera (aka the European honey bee) can visit up to 5,000 flowers in one day, distinguishing between buds that give off beaucoup nectar and those that don’t. So, it makes sense that bees have some form of working memory. And unlocking how bee brains work has practical applications for both us and them: Tech developers may be able to fine-tune artificial intelligence systems (in part by understanding how such tiny brains work so efficiently), and entomologists can better focus on supporting these crucial insects — which are responsible for an estimated 80% of food crop pollination. Arctic bees hibernate for nine months. Most researchers agree that bees are weather-sensitive; species living in four-season environments generally appear with warming spring temperatures and disappear into their hives to wait out winter. But that doesn’t mean all bees are delicate — some pollinator species are able to withstand the colder temps of the Arctic Circle. In the short summers between rugged winters, arctic bumblebees do the heavy lifting of pollinating wildflowers and berries that other animals rely on. Bombus polaris have adapted to the unforgiving climates of northern Alaska, Canada, Scandinavia, Russia, and elsewhere with thicker fur and the ability to shiver their muscles to raise internal temperatures, but they also have shorter life spans than bees in warmer regions. Queen arctic bumblebees emerge from a nine-month solitary hibernation in May with one task in mind: quickly laying eggs to jump-start a colony that will only live a few months, save for one new queen — who will replace her in August to start the process all over again. Source: Unbelievable Facts about Bees | Fascinating Facts About Bees | Bee Facts
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    What's the Word: FIRSTLING pronunciation: [FURS-tling] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old English, date unknown Meaning: 1. (Archaic; usually firstlings) The first agricultural produce or animal offspring of a season. Example: "The sheep’s firstling was adorable. " "Eggplant was the firstling of the spring season." About Firstling This word stems from the Old English “fyrest,” originally from Proto-Germanic “furistaz,” meaning “foremost.” The Old English “-ling” comes from the Proto-Germanic “-lingaz,” meaning “small, immature, miniature” or “follower.” Did You Know? “Firstling” isn’t a commonly used word now, but it pops up in classic texts. There are several spots in the Bible’s Old Testament that mention firstlings, often referring to various animals’ offspring. And in the fourth act of “Macbeth,” the titular character says in an aside, “From this moment the very firstlings of my heart shall be the firstlings of my hand,” meaning his first thoughts will translate into his first, immediate actions.
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    Fact of the Day - HOUSEHOLD ITEMS Did you know... that the color of the tag on your store-bought bread tells grocers what day of the week the bread was shipped. Bread is usually delivered fresh to stores five days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday—and each day has its own colored tag or twist tie. Though some companies use their own system, this common code is easy to remember: Just as the days of the week proceed in order from Monday to Saturday, their corresponding colors proceed in alphabetical order—blue, green, red, white, yellow. (Nick Gerhardt | Updated: Dec. 17, 2021) Fascinating Facts About Household Items by Interesting Facts The world is full of wonders, and some of them are closer than you think. For many of the everyday items in your household, there’s an interesting backstory or long-forgotten purpose — and since it’s always a good time to appreciate the small things, read on for a few of them. 1. The QWERTY Keyboard Was Designed to Prevent Typewriter Jams Before accidentally deleting a document was the worst thing that could happen to a piece of writing, typewriter jams were feared above all else. A number of brilliant minds did their utmost to alleviate this problem, but it was a newspaper editor in Kenosha, Wisconsin, who had perhaps the most positive impact on how we type today. Christopher Latham Sholes worked on several typewriter models, beginning in 1867, and eventually settled on the “QWERTY” design that is still in use today. (If the name has you confused, look at the first six letters on the top row of your keyboard, left to right.) If that arrangement seems counterintuitive, it’s quite literally by design. This particular array of letters was meant to slow writers down, since one of the many causes of typewriter jams was typing too fast; for instance, the letters “s” and “t” were separated because “st” is among the most common combinations of letters. Seasoned typists eventually got used to the layout and continued to punch out dozens of words per minute anyway, but other advances in typewriter design eventually helped make jams far less common. By the time the modern computer keyboard overtook the typewriter, keyboards were far more durable (though you still wouldn’t want to spill a drink on one!). 2. Pen Caps Have Holes for Safety Reasons If you’ve ever gotten bored enough to study the cap of your ballpoint pen, you may have noticed that it has a hole in it. This wasn’t done to save on plastic or to regulate air pressure. The design was added to prevent people — namely small children — from choking should they ever swallow one. This was first done by BIC, whose popular Cristal pen had a cap that proved more desirable amongst undiscerning children than safety-conscious parents would have liked. So while the conspiracy-minded among us tend to think that the holes are there to dry out the ink and ensure that consumers will have to continue buying pens in mass quantities, this particular design choice was actually made with public health in mind. 3. The Color of Your Bread Tag Has an Important Meaning Ever wonder why the tags used to seal loaves of bread come in different colors? Far from arbitrary, the color-coded system indicates which day of the week the bread was baked. The color system is even alphabetical: Monday is blue, Tuesday is green, Thursday is red, Friday is white, and Saturday is yellow. (Traditionally, bread wasn’t delivered on Wednesday or Sunday.) Because bread rarely remains on the shelf for more than a few days, this system is more for internal use among employees than it is for customers looking to get the freshest sourdough possible. But, if you favor a local bakery and get to know their system, you could either snag the best deals or the fluffiest dinner rolls in town. 4. Couches and Sofas Aren’t the Same Thing Though usually used interchangeably, these are technically two different pieces of furniture — and the distinction lies in the words themselves. “Couch” comes to us from French, namely coucher — “to lie down” — whereas we have the Arabic word suffah to thank for “sofa.” In the most traditional sense, a sofa would be a wooden bench that comes complete with blankets and cushions and is intended for sitting. eBay's selling guide used to distinguish between the two by defining a couch as “a piece of furniture with no arms used for lying.” Though it may be a distinction without a difference these days, purists tend to think of sofas as a bit more formal and couches as something you’d take a nap on and let your pets hang out on. 5. The Computer Mouse Also Had a Different Animal Name Whether you think the plural should be mice or mouses — some dictionaries accept both! — there’s no denying which animal the ubiquitous device is named after. Or is there? It turns out that early versions were named turtles, as the gadget’s hard, protective shell covers the important parts within. (You can even buy ones intentionally shaped like a turtle.) That said, the current name is so well known that it’s the same in several languages — many don’t even translate it into their own word for “mouse.” 6. High Heels Were Originally for Men High heels have long been a symbol of femininity, but that wasn’t always the case. The shoes, which are thought to date all the way back to the 10th century, were invented for a practical rather than sartorial reason: horseback riding. Anyone who’s placed their feet in stirrups while sitting atop a noble steed knows that it can be difficult to actually keep your feet inside them, and some enterprising equine enthusiast eventually realized that an extended heel allowed for a more secure fit. In addition to leisure, horseback riding was a crucial element of warfare, meaning that there was a time when entire armies rode into battle wearing high heels. Eventually people realized that this kind of footwear was pleasing to the eye, and in the 17th century high heels became a gender-neutral fashion statement — especially among those who wanted to show off their upper-class credentials (heels were associated with horses, and only the wealthy tended to own them). As for how heels became linked to women, it wasn’t haute couture but rather pin-up photography that brought them back en vogue. Source: Amazing Facts About Boring Objects in Your Home | Household Items Facts
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    What's the Word: LORICATE pronunciation: [LOR-ih-keit] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, early 19h century Meaning: 1. (Of an animal) having a protective covering of plates or scales; having a lorica (breastplate). Example: "Is a turtle a loricate animal?" "The porcupine is a great example of a loricate creature." About Loricate This word comes from the Latin “loricatus,” from “lorica,” which is a breastplate. It stems from “lorum,” meaning “strap.” Did You Know? In addition to being an adjective, “loricate” can also be a transitive verb or a noun. In its verb form, it means “to enclose in or cover with a protecting substance.” When “loricate” is used as a noun, it means “any animal covered in bony scales,” such as a crocodile.
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    Fact of the Day - PREDIDENTIAL MYTHS, LIES? William Howard Taft, 27th President Did you know... that history classes haven't done a great job of ridding popular presidential myths from the American consciousness. Everything from our presidents' most famous speeches to their most embarrassing moments has inspired legendary stories that aren't supported by facts. Some falsehoods are the products of centuries-old misunderstandings, while others started as deliberate hoaxes. Here are some famous stories you may have heard about six U.S. presidents that aren't true. (Michele Debczak | Feb 4, 2022) Presidential Myths, Debunked by Interesting Facts One thing’s for sure: U.S. Presidents are the stuff of legends. However, just because personal tales about the leaders are passed down from generation to generation doesn't mean the stories are rooted in truth. In fact, many of the stories are so outlandish that it’s amazing people believed them in the first place. From flammable teeth to ridiculous bathtub debacles, we take a look at the eight of the oddest presidential myths out there — and set the record straight. 1. Myth: George Washington Had Wooden Teeth Cherry tree aside, one of the most chewable facts is that the nation’s first President had a mouth full of wooden teeth. While it seems like an odd story to be linked to the founding father, a deeper dig gets to the root of the issue. Washington did indeed have terrible teeth, so much so that he had multiple dentures made. Those mouthpieces were made out of ivory, gold, lead, and even human teeth, but never any wood. Wood was not used by dentists at the time, because not only could wooden dentures cause splinters, but wood is also susceptible to expanding and contracting due to moisture — not ideal for something that lives in your mouth. 2. Myth: Thomas Jefferson Signed the Constitution It seems incomprehensible that a big-name founding father like Thomas Jefferson missed out on signing the U.S. Constitution, but he never inked the deal. He was actually absent during the Philadelphia Constitutional Convention in 1787, as he was across the Atlantic Ocean in Paris, France, as the U.S.’s envoy. 3. Myth: Abraham Lincoln Wrote the Gettysburg Address on an Envelope There’s no doubt that the 16th President was a brilliant orator. But the idea that he haphazardly scribbled one of the most important speeches in American history on the back of an envelope during a train ride sounds a little far-fetched. In reality, Abraham Lincoln toiled away at different versions of the Gettysburg Address, which he gave on November 19, 1863. Not just that, it was anything but a solo project. He collaborated with several associates on it — and there are even five original copies of the speech, not one of them on an envelope. 4. Myth: William Howard Taft Got Stuck in a Bathtub One of the stranger presidential myths might be chalked up to potty humor. Somehow, 27th President William Howard Taft became associated with an embarrassing incident around getting stuck in a bathtub. While it’s true that he was larger in stature, weighing in at 350 pounds, he never had to be rescued from a tub. That said, there is a reason he’s associated with baths. During his presidency, a super-sized porcelain tub that was 7 feet long, 41 inches wide, and a ton in weight was installed in the White House. It was so massive that four grown men could fit inside. In another bath incident after his presidency, he filled a tub at a hotel in Cape May, New Jersey, a little too high and when he stepped into it, it overflowed to the point that the guests in the dining room below got a bit of a shower. 5. Myth: The Teddy Bear Got Its Name After Theodore Roosevelt Saved a Real Bear Theodore Roosevelt had long been a hunter, but didn’t exactly show off his best skills on a bear hunt in November 1902. Everyone else in the group had had a fruitful hunt, so to help Roosevelt, the guide tracked a 235-pound bear to a watering hole, clubbed it, and tied it to a tree so the President could claim it. As the story goes, Roosevelt refused to shoot the bear. The incident made its way to the Washington Post, which published a satirical cartoon about the President sparing the bear. New York City store owners Morris and Rose Mitchom saw the cartoon, were inspired by the President's act of heroism, and created stuffed animals in his honor, appropriately naming them “Teddy’s bear.” The problem? Roosevelt didn’t shoot the bear, but he didn’t save it either. He saw that it had been mauled by dogs so savagely already that he asked for the bear to be killed with a hunting knife. Given the dark nature of this true tale, it makes sense that the details are often ignored when talking about this beloved childhood toy. 6. Myth: John F. Kennedy Won the Election Because of the TV Debates Against Richard Nixon The televised broadcast of a 1960 presidential debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon is often said to have clinched the victory for JFK, who many found to be more photogenic and charismatic. But when you truly look at the election numbers, it didn’t really have that big of an effect on the results. The candidates were pretty much neck-and-neck throughout the campaign, even appearing to be tied in the polls before and after the four debates. Kennedy seemed to have a slight boost after the first one on September 26, but then Nixon hit it out of the park on the others, especially with his foreign policy take during the final one. In the end, Kennedy won the election by a mere 119,000 votes. Kennedy and Nixon’s September 1960 debate is often credited as the first televised presidential debate, but that is also a myth. In 1956, a televised debate aired during the run-off between Republican President Dwight Eisenhower and Democrat Adlai Stevenson. However, neither of them attended, and sent surrogates in their place. Eisenhower sent Maine senior senator Margaret Chase Smith, while Democrats went with Eleanor Roosevelt, and it aired on CBS’ Face the Nation. 7. Myth: Zachary Taylor Was Poisoned Just over a year and four months into his term, 12th President Zachary Taylor fell ill and died while in office. For years, many thought that he may have been the first President to be assassinated, since it was rumored that he was poisoned. Despite his death in July 1850, it wasn’t until 1991 that Kentucky scientists definitively concluded there was no arsenic in his blood. Another story, that he died of eating cherries in iced milk, unfortunately may have more truth to it. After leaving the Washington Monument dedication in 1850, he had that combo as a snack and likely came down with severe gastroenteritis — an inflammation of the digestive system — dying five days later. 8. Myth: Gerald Ford Was a Total Klutz Throughout Gerald Ford’s presidency, many joked that his Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, was only a banana peel away from the presidency, since the 38th President was so often caught being clumsy. He tumbled down ski slopes, slipped in the rain, and fell coming out of Air Force One, so much so that he was spoofed by Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live. But in actuality, Ford was quite an athlete in his younger days. He was a football star at the University of Michigan, where he earned his letter for three years. He even tackled future Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger in 1934. During his White House years, he also swam and skied regularly, and played tennis and golf, so perhaps all that falling was just to add to his relatability. Source: False President Myths | Facts About Presidential Myths, Debunked
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    What's the Word: SCISSION pronunciation: [SIH-zhən] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, 14th century Meaning: 1. (Technical) The action or state of cutting or being cut; a division or split between people or parties. 2. (Biochemistry) Breakage of a chemical bond, especially one in a long chain molecule so that two smaller chains result. Example: "There was a scission between the two versions of events." "The geneticist wanted to create a scission in the DNA sequence." About Scission This word comes from Middle English by way of Old French. It stems from the late Latin “scissio(n-),” from “scindere,” meaning “cut, cleave.” Did You Know? It’s natural to assume that “scission” and “scissors” have the same root. They’re both related to cutting, but they have different etymological paths. “Scissors” comes from the Latin verb “caedere,” meaning “to cut.” The Middle English term for “scissors” was “sisoures” or “cisours,” which stems from the French “cisoires.” A printing mistake in the 1700s resulted in the cutting tool’s current form, and “scissors” was assumed to derive from “scindere,” like the word “scission.”
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    Fact of the Day - TOURIST ATTRACTIONS Lost City of Petra, Jordan Did you know... that travelers are always looking for inspiration to guide their adventures. Coming up with a list of places to visit can be challenging when you're staring at a globe. What are the top tourist attractions in the world? The most iconic sites that all travelers have on their bucket-list of things to see around the globe? Some destinations just stand out above the rest. Many are the type of places where you can take a photo, and it requires no explanation to identify the location: the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum. But some places are less well known to new travelers or those who have not yet ventured out to the more exotic destinations. These can often be the most rewarding to visit. For many of these attractions, it's what they symbolize and the destinations they represent that make them so significant. In other cases, it is the site itself that makes it worth visiting the country. Some of these are the more popular UNESCO World Heritage sites. ( Lana Law | Updated Feb 15, 2022) Fascinating Facts About Some of the World's Most-Visited Tourist Sites by Interesting Facts Fallingwater, Mill Run, Pennsylvania Think you know all there is to know about the world's most-visited sites? One lesson that savvy travelers learn is that even the most well-known landmarks — the ones that clutter our Instagram feeds and continue to attract millions of tourists each year — can still surprise you. If you're curious about what purpose Times Square originally served, what other famous landmark Gustave Eiffel helped design, or what color the pyramids of Giza once were, read on to discover 15 things you never knew about 15 of the top tourist attractions on the planet. 1. New York City's Times Square Wasn't Always Called That For the most-visited tourist site in the U.S., New York City's Times Square had humble beginnings. Once an area surrounded by countryside and used for farming by American Revolution-era statesman John Morin Scott, the area now known as Times Square fell into the hands of real estate mogul John Jacob Astor in the 1800s. By the second half of the 19th century, it had become the center of the city’s horse carriage manufacturing industry and home to William H. Vanderbilt’s American Horse Exchange. City authorities named it Long Acre Square, a reference to London’s historic carriage and coach-making district. This name remained until 1904, when The New York Times moved its headquarters to a lavish new skyscraper called One Times Square. Just eight years later, the newspaper relocated again to a nearby building, but the name Times Square stuck. 2. Las Vegas Is the Brightest City on Earth About 80% of the world’s population lives in a place lit up by artificial light at night. And according to NASA, nowhere do those lights shine brighter than in Las Vegas. A city that loves its neon signs and bright marquees, Las Vegas offers an around-the-clock dose of sensory overload — even New York City, “the city that never sleeps,” and Paris, “the city of lights” can’t match the over-the-top light show of Las Vegas when viewed from outer space. And in a city with so much artificial light, one manages to stand out: the Sky Beam atop the Luxor Hotel pyramid. It's powered by 39 ultra-bright xenon lamps (each 7,000 watts) and curved mirrors that collect their light and focus them into the world’s strongest beam of light. Not only can it be seen from space, but the Sky Beam provides enough illumination to read a book from 10 miles out in space. 3. The Great Wall of China Isn't a Continuous Structure Built from the third century BCE to the 17th century CE in order to keep out northern invaders, the Great Wall of China is considered the world's longest wall, extending a total 13,170 miles. Although our mental image of the Great Wall is probably one of a continuous structure winding its way across China, the reality is different. The Great Wall is actually composed of various stretches of wall and watchtowers — often with gaps between. There are even areas where the wall is non-existent. The original builders also made use of natural barriers to keep invaders out. As much as a quarter of the wall's length relied on features like rivers and mountainous ridges to keep the marauding hordes back. Today, much of the wall is in ruins, but sections that date from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) can still be seen. 4. The Great Barrier Reef Is So Large You Can See It From Space Australia's Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on the planet, covering an area of approximately 135,000 square miles. It’s not just the immense scale of the reef that makes it visible to astronauts in space, though. The contrast between the dark blue of the deeper parts of the ocean and the light turquoise of the lagoons on the other side of the reef makes it relatively straightforward to identify with the naked eye. But the pictures taken from space are valued for more than their aesthetic appeal. The MERIS sensor used on the Envisat satellite mission was a useful tool in mapping the extent of coral bleaching, the term for when stressed coral has rid itself of algae. 5. Gustave Eiffel Helped Designed the Statue of Liberty Even prior to the building of his namesake tower in Paris, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel was already one of France's leading structural engineers in the 19th century. Thus, he was a natural choice for New York Harbor's Statue of Liberty, especially after the statue's original designer died unexpectedly. Thanks to Eiffel, the statue's interior boasts a more contemporary design. Eiffel came up with the idea of a central spine in the statue, which functions as a connector for the various asymmetrical metal girders that give the statue its shape. This innovative technique not only provides the framework for the statue but also creates a kind of suspension system that allows the monument to withstand winds and other harsh weather conditions. 6. We Know of the "Lost" City of Petra, Jordan, Thanks to a Swiss Explorer Once a thriving cultural and economic hub, Petra (believed to have been established around 312 BCE) was later abandoned and left to ruin. For centuries, all except the local Bedouin people forgot Petra — its tombs and temples carved directly into the sandstone cliffs were abandoned and buildings fell into ruin, hidden by the surrounding canyons. But in 1812, a Swiss explorer named Johann Ludwig Burckhardt set off on an expedition in search of the source of the River Niger. On his way to Cairo, he heard rumors from locals of secret ruins of a grand city in the desert, so he hired guides and disguised himself as an Arab to gain access to what was considered a sacred place, forbidden to Westerners. They brought him to Petra. However, wary of pushing his luck too far, he didn’t stop to excavate. Five years later, Burckhardt died of dysentery in the Egyptian capital, but his “discovery” paved the way for future exploration of the site. 7. The Grand Canyon Isn't the Deepest Canyon in the U.S. Given its name, it’s a common misconception that the Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States. The Grand Canyon is very deep — 4,000 feet deep, in fact, with the deepest point reaching 6,000 feet. This gives it an average depth of about a mile. But Hells Canyon, running along the border of Oregon and Idaho, exceeds the depth of the Grand Canyon by plunging nearly 8,000 feet in some places. While not the country's deepest canyon, the Arizona landmark has other impressive stats: It extends for 277 miles and measures 18 miles wide. Totaling 1,904 square miles, this canyon is roughly the size of Rhode Island. And the national park there is visited by around 6 million people each year. 8. Machu Picchu's Buildings Were Designed to Be Earthquake-Proof The Inca people certainly knew how to build to accommodate their environment. That’s evident not only in Machu Picchu’s epic surroundings, but also in the foundation of the Lost City itself. Peru is located in a seismic zone, and the Incas were familiar with potential earthquakes. To protect against them, they made the buildings of the citadel seismic-resistant by using precisely fit stones held together by gravity alone. Nothing so thin as a credit card could be inserted in the cracks, allowing the mortar-free stones to “dance” during an earthquake, only to resettle back into place once it ends. Additionally, the Incas cornered structures with L-shaped blocks, built terrace buttresses into steep mountain slopes, rounded the corners in some buildings, and tilted the trapezoidal doors and windows inward. All of these small but ingenious details ensured that their structures were earthquake-ready. 9. The Golden Gate Bridge's Color Was Supposed to Be Temporary San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge features a distinctive reddish-orange paint color — but it came about by accident. Architect Irving Morrow noticed that some of the steel that arrived for construction of the bridge was coated in a dark red primer, which inspired him to write a 29-page report in 1935 advocating for a similar color to be used in the bridge’s final design. Although most bridges at the time were painted gray, silver, or black, he suggested using paint in a shade like orange vermillion or burnt sienna, as these luminous tones would emphasize the grand scale of the bridge and provide a contrast to the grey and blue color of the water beneath. Not everyone agreed, but in the end, Morrow won over his critics. The bridge was painted a shade unimaginatively called “International Orange,” and it’s been the same ever since. 10. The Taj Mahal's Four Minarets Look Perpendicular — But They're Not In the 1600s, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built India's Taj Mahal to honor the memory of his third wife, Mumtaz Mahal. Four 130-foot-tall minarets surround the Taj Mahal’s central tomb, where Shah Jahan and his wife are both buried, and showcase the emperor’s passion for symmetrical design. At first glance, they seem to stand perfectly perpendicular to the ground; however, on closer inspection you’ll notice they are tilted slightly outwards. This wasn’t a design fault, but rather a way to protect the tomb in the event of a natural disaster — should the minarets fall, then the material would land away from the building. The four towers were built to be used by a muezzin, the person who calls daily prayers, and each features two balconies and an elevated dome-shaped pavilion, called a chhatri. 11. There's a Secret Suite Inside Disney World's Cinderella Castle Cinderella’s castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, holds a few secrets. For starters, the bricks used to build the tops of the tall towers are smaller than the bricks used for the lower part of the structure — an engineering trick used by the designers in many buildings here to make them appear even taller than they truly are. Perhaps even more surprising, there’s a hidden suite inside this castle that was originally designed to be an office for Walt Disney himself, but he died before the castle was completed. Cinderella’s castle isn’t the only one hiding a surprise: Sleeping Beauty’s resting place (at Disneyland in California) boasts an actual working drawbridge. Reportedly, it has been used just twice, once for the opening ceremony in 1955 and again in the 1980s when Fantasyland opened. 12. Some of the Stones at Stonehenge Came From Nearly 200 Miles Away Located in Wiltshire, England, Stonehenge — roughly 5,000 years old — is one of the world’s most enigmatic monuments. It consists of roughly 100 bluestones and sarsens positioned upright and arranged in a circle. While the larger sarsens (a type of sandstone boulder) were hewn from the Marlborough Downs, which is relatively close to the site, the smaller bluestones have been traced to the Preseli Hills in southwest Wales, over 180 miles away. It’s hard to believe that its Neolithic builders — who lacked sophisticated tools or engineering — floated and dragged many of these giant lumps of rock over such a great distance, which only adds to the mystery of the original purpose of the stone circle. 13. Beijing's Forbidden City Is the World's Largest Imperial Palace Occupying some 7.7 million square feet, the Forbidden City is the largest imperial palace on the planet. The most-visited UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world, it features 980 individual buildings, which are home to almost 9,000 rooms. There are two distinct areas: The Inner Court served as the emperor’s residence, while the Outer Court was for ceremonial events. A 32-feet-high defensive wall protects the entire complex, around which is a 171-foot-wide moat. What's inside is even more impressive: The palace is home to a reputed 1.9 million artifacts — everything from calligraphy, ceramics, and paintings to gold and silverware, literary works, and religious icons. 14. The Great Pyramid of Giza Was Once Fully Covered in White Limestone The only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing, the Egyptian Pyramid of Giza was constructed around 2550 BCE. At 454 feet tall, it was the world’s tallest building at the time — a title it held until the 14th century. In contrast to the weathered sand-colored blocks you see today, the pyramids were once completely covered in polished limestone. This higher-quality stone was quarried at a place called Tura, which was about nine miles south of Giza. Its smooth, white surface would have gleamed in the sunshine, creating a dazzling effect. Today, most of the casing is gone except for a cap on the peak of the Pyramid of Khafre (Chephren), which has dulled over time. 15. Cambodia's Angkor Wat Temple Is the World's Largest Religious Structure Sprawling across more than 400 acres in northern Cambodia, the Angkor Wat temple complex is the world’s largest religious structure. Erected by the Khmer Empire in the 12th century, this awe-inspiring monument began as a Hindu temple and was later converted into a Buddhist place of worship. The temple design is an architectural portrayal of Mount Meru, which is the center of the Hindu universe. The five towers represent the five peaks of the mountain, and the surrounding moat and defensive wall symbolize the oceans and mountain ranges. How colossal is Angkor Wat? It's so large that many of its features are visible from space — just like the Sky Beam in Las Vegas and the Great Barrier Reef. Source: Tourist Attractions in the World | Facts About Tourist Sites
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    What's the Word: CRUCIVERBALIST pronunciation: [cru-sih-VER-bə-list] Part of speech: noun Origin: American English, 1970s Meaning: 1. A person who enjoys or is skilled at solving crosswords. Example: "The invention of Wordle has attracted both lifetime cruciverbalists and novice word game players." "My mother, the cruciverbalist, still receives the daily newspaper so she can solve the crossword with her pen." About Cruciverbalist “Cruciverbalist” adds the Latin prefix “cruci-,” meaning “cross,” to the existing English word “verbalist,” meaning one who is interested and skilled in using words. Did You Know? In 1971, “Crossword” magazine held a contest asking subscribers to invent “a succinct word to describe people who regularly attempt to solve crossword puzzles.” The word “cruciverbalist” was chosen in response to suggestions from numerous subscribers and the magazine’s crossword designer, Jonathan Crowther. “Cruciverbian” was another popular submission.
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    Fact of the Day - MANDELA EFFECT Did you know... What in the world is the Mandela Effect? In a nutshell, it’s having memories that don’t match with current reality and history. Fiona Broome, one of the people who coined the term, launched a website in 2009 to document the phenomenon, explains that the Mandela Effect “is what happens when someone has a clear memory of something that never happened in this reality.” But why is it called the Mandela Effect? (Kelly Bryant) Mind-Bending Examples of the Mandela Effect by Interesting Facts Nostalgia is a powerful feeling. Reminiscing about the past can be a bonding experience, whether it’s sharing memories of eating Jiffy peanut butter as a kid or hearing Darth Vader say, “Luke, I am your father,” for the first time. But sometimes reality isn’t quite how we remember it. Jiffy peanut butter never actually existed, for one, and Darth Vader never said those exact words. These are both examples of what has come to be known as the Mandela Effect, in which collective groups share a highly specific — yet completely false — memory. This phenomenon can pop up in the most unexpected of places, so prepare your brain for the unbelievable examples that lie ahead. 1. Nelson Mandela Did Not Die in the 1980s The term “Mandela Effect” was coined in 2009 by paranormal researcher Fiona Broome, who recounted her vivid memories of the coverage of Nelson Mandela’s death in the 1980s. From news clips to an emotional speech from Mandela’s widow, Broome was convinced that she accurately remembered the tragedy of Mandela dying in prison. In reality, Mandela was released from prison in 1990, went on to become South Africa’s first Black president, and died in 2013. Despite being completely off the mark, Broome wasn’t alone in her conviction. On her website, she went on to share the stories of over 500 other people who mysteriously and inexplicably held this same belief. 2. Jif vs. Jiffy Peanut Butter As confirmed by a representative from the J.M. Smucker Company, Jiffy brand peanut butter has never existed. That doesn’t stop people from claiming that they loved eating Jiffy as a kid. These peanut butter aficionados are likely confusing this fictitious brand with the similarly-sounding Jif or Skippy. And it’s not just peanut butter — the Mandela Effect is widely prevalent among the foods we know (or think we know) and love. “Fruit Loops” are actually named “Froot Loops,” there’s no hyphen in KitKat, and it’s “Cup Noodles,” not “Cup O’ Noodles.” 3. Berenstain Bears or Berenstein Bears? One visit to the Berenstain Bears’ official website and you can see that it’s clearly spelled “Berenstain.” The beloved children’s books about a family of bears were named after authors Stan and Jan Berenstain, who — like their creations — had an “a” in their last name. Yet many people who’ve read the books continue to insist (erroneously) that the name was once somehow spelled differently. In their possible defense, some early merchandise mistakenly featured both spellings, which may have led to some of the confusion. On top of that, audio tapes pronounced the name as “-steen,” which could have had a lasting influence on our collective psyche. Despite these arguments, the title is and always has been written as “The Berenstain Bears.” 4. Darth Vader Never Said “Luke, I Am Your Father” “Luke, I am your father” may be one of the most misquoted movie phrases of all time. Every Star Wars fan can remember the pivotal scene from Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, in which Darth Vader reveals that he’s Luke Skywalker’s, well, father. But the phrasing most people know is incorrect — watch it back and you’ll find that Vader actually says, “No, I am your father.” This is just one of many examples of the Mandela Effect in film. The queen in Disney’s 1937 animated film Snow White never says, “Mirror, mirror, on the wall,” referring to it instead as “Magic mirror.” And at no point in Silence of the Lambs does Hannibal Lecter ever say, “Hello, Clarice.” However, after years of fans misquoting the movie, the line “Hello, Clarice” was finally written into the film’s 2001 sequel. 5. The Monopoly Man Never Wore a Monocle The Monopoly Man is known for his top hat, mustache, and monocle, right? Well, that popular image is at least partly wrong. While the top hat and mustache have been part of Rich Uncle Pennybags’ appearance since he was first introduced in 1936, he’s never worn a monocle. Some psychologists believe that our collective subconscious could have been influenced by the advertising mascot Mr. Peanut (the mascot for Planters Peanuts), who’s just as well known and wears both a top hat and monocle. Gene Brewer, an associate professor in cognitive psychology at Arizona State University, explains that our brains can combine subjects with similar traits — “In studies, when you show participants word pairs and ask them to remember ‘blackmail’ and ‘jailbird,’ half of them will later say they remember learning the word ‘blackbird.’” 6. Fruit of the Loom’s “Vanishing” Cornucopia Take a look at the tag on a piece of Fruit of the Loom apparel. Now take a look again, just to be sure. Even though every fiber of your being may have thought otherwise, there’s no cornucopia to be found in the logo. As far back as 1893, when the logo was introduced — long before anyone on the internet claimed differently — it’s just been a simple combination of an apple and different varieties of grapes, with leaves on the side. It’s not clear why so many people remember a cornucopia being present. 7. It’s Just “Smokey Bear” For over 75 years, the U.S. Forest Service has featured an ursine mascot warning about forest fires. After all this time, you’d think we’d know his name. Commonly and mistakenly referred to as “Smokey the Bear,” this long-tenured advertising icon is actually just Smokey Bear. Some attribute this mistake to a 1952 song about Smokey, in which songwriters Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins added a “the” to his name in order to retain the song’s rhythm. While some may continue to argue over Smokey’s name, there’s much less ambiguity when it comes to who can prevent forest fires. That’s just “you.” Source: Mandela Effect Examples That are Seriously Mind-Bending | Facts About the Mandela Effect
  23. 1 point
    What's the Word: LUNATE pronunciation: [LOO-nayt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, late 18th century Meaning: 1. Crescent-shaped. Example: "The child drew the moon as yellow and lunate." "The lunate shape of the boomerang makes it sail right back to the thrower." About Lunate This word comes from the Latin “lunatus,” meaning "half-moon shaped," stemming from “luna,” meaning "moon." Did You Know? While the adjective “lunate” means “crescent-shaped,” it can also be used as a noun with two definitions. The first is a crescent-shaped prehistoric stone implement. The second is a human bone — a crescent-shaped carpal bone found in the center of the wrist.
  24. 1 point
    https://www.gog.com/en/game/beautiful_desolation Beautiful Desolation is currently free on GOG. https://www.gog.com/en/game/daggerfall_unity_gog_cut Daggerfall Unity: GOG Cut is free on GOG.
  25. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - AMUSEMENT PARKS Did you know... that the best theme parks create a sense of magic. You feel transported to another world, with crazy rides and costumed characters (and no lack of overpriced snacks). But since so many work so hard to create thrilling fantasy escapes, it can be easy to forget that there are real facts behind the make believe—astonishing histories, jaw-dropping stats, totally odd quirks. All in all, it's yet another a reminder that life—real life—is the greatest magic. (ALEX DANIEL | JANUARY 10, 2019) Amazing Facts About Amusement Parks by Interesting Facts Pleasure gardens walked so Six Flags could run. While many people visit amusement parks for a fun break from everyday life, things get much more interesting behind the scenes. What role did public transportation play in your favorite parks? What’s the fastest coaster? Which famous family attraction had a disastrous opening day? From the humble beginnings of carousels to record-breaking roller coasters, there’s a lot to learn about amusement parks. 1. The Oldest Amusement Park Dates Back to the 16th Century Amusement parks as we know them today are a fairly modern concept, but they started evolving from traveling fairs and pleasure gardens in Europe centuries ago. The Danish park Dyrehavsbakken, more commonly known as Bakken, opened to the public in 1583 as a pleasure garden known for its natural spring waters. Not long after, vendors started setting up booths for selling their wares and providing entertainment alike. Over the years, the park transitioned from a pleasure garden to a fair to an amusement park, and is now considered the world’s oldest amusement park. You won’t find much, if any, 1500s nostalgia there today, but Bakken has maintained one tradition over at least 200 years: Pjerrot the white-faced clown, a character who visits the park every day. Its oldest ride is a wooden roller coaster from 1932. Bakken also avoids many modern amusement park archetypes: The vendors are small, independent businesses, and the aesthetic is more simple than flashy. 2. American Amusement Parks Started as Trolley Marketing The electric trolley industry was booming in the 1890s, and while they became popular among commuters, evening and weekend traffic was pretty low. Electric companies often charged trolley operators a flat rate regardless of how much power they actually used, so trolley companies started trying to drum up business during the slow times. Enter the trolley park, a fun and relaxing destination at the end of the tracks. Attractions at these parks included dance halls, coin-operated machines, boat rides, and live entertainment. Because electric trolleys were much more pleasant to ride than their coal or steam predecessors, it was easy to pitch the ride as a tourist attraction in and of itself. The trolley park concept spread quickly across the country, and attractions started to resemble what you’d find in a modern amusement park. A 1902 issue of Cosmopolitan, then a family magazine, describes an early river-floating ride called an “aquarama,” a roller coaster called “Railway to the Moon,” and “the latest in the up-and-down railroad… the ‘loop the loop,’ as it is properly termed.” Lake Compounce in central Connecticut, the longest-operating amusement park in the United States, was founded in 1846, far before the trolleys came in — but it can still be counted as a trolley park. The park started with people flocking to the site to see scientific experiments. It operated as a “picnic park” that held frequent public barbecues until 1895, when Bristol and Plainville Tramway Company began service and the park got its own permanent structure, with a restaurant and ballroom. 3. The Fastest Roller Coaster Goes Almost 150 Miles an Hour The highest-speed coaster in the world is, fittingly, at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Called Formula Rossa, the ride reaches its top speed of 240 kilometers per hour (about 149 mph) in less than five seconds. The ride is so fast, passengers need to wear goggles to protect their eyes from any impacts with flying insects or sand. Ferrari’s other theme park, Ferrari Land in Tarragona, Spain, has the fastest coaster in Europe, at a comparably measly 112 miles per hour. Because no record can exist without somebody trying to break it, Formula Rossa may be dethroned soon by Falcon’s Flight at Six Flags Qiddiya in Saudi Arabia, scheduled to open in 2023. Park owners promise a top speed of at least 155 miles per hour. 4. Disneyland’s Opening Day Was a Disaster Today, Disneyland is one of the most well-known and most-visited theme parks in the world, welcoming 18.7 million visitors in 2019 alone. But its opening day on July 17, 1955, went so badly that some staff members called it “Black Sunday.” Many rides hadn’t opened yet, including the entirety of Tomorrowland, and crews had to build attractions at such a breakneck pace that they weren’t able to weed around the canal boat ride, instead placing signs pretending they were exotic plant species. But that was the least of the trouble. In the day’s 100-degree weather, the asphalt was so hot that high heels became stuck in it, and the availability of drinking fountains was severely impacted by a plumbers’ strike. This was before widespread use of car air conditioning, and families stuck in the seven miles of heavy traffic leading into the park had to endure extreme heat. When they finally got in, not only did they have insufficient access to water, but the restaurants and refreshment stands eventually ran out of food — due in part to the more than 10,000 people who had entered the park via a tall ladder instead of the front gate. Things continued to go badly for the next few weeks. Children managed to wreck 30 out of 36 cars in an attraction meant to teach them the rules of the road. Stagecoaches in Frontierland got the axe after they kept tipping over, both through faulty design and skittish, unpredictable ponies. Walt Disney’s dream of live circuses was dashed by a loose herd of llamas, and it just got worse from there. Regardless, people kept coming, and it only took seven weeks to amass 1 million visitors. 5. Epcot’s Original Concept Was a Whole City Epcot Center, a theme park within Walt Disney World, opened in 1982 with exhibits exploring human life and world culture in the past, present, and future. But Walt Disney’s original vision was significantly more ambitious: He imagined it as an entire city. Initially imagined by Disney as the “heart of everything” in the Disney World project, EPCOT, then an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was an urban planning experiment in a completely closed-in, climate-controlled environment led by Disney and other major corporations. In addition to building a whole planned community, including a radial transportation grid, from scratch, the Community of Tomorrow was meant to be a sandbox for new innovation and technology. Residents would either work in the city center or travel by people mover and monorail to a similarly experimental industrial park between it and the Disney World theme park. For better or for worse, Disney never realized this ambitious vision, since he died the same year (1966) that he presented his plan to the public. Disney did, however, keep the name, so the next time you’re visiting that giant golf ball, you can imagine what might have been. 6. A German Amusement Park Was Built in an Unfinished Nuclear Power Plan The SNR-300 nuclear reactor was ready to go in 1985, but with mounting public and political pressure against it, especially after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the project never moved forward. The plant was officially abandoned, and in 1991 a Dutch investor scooped up the property for 2.5 million euros, left the cooling tower and reactor building in place, and turned it into a hotel and theme park that opened in 1996. Wunderland Kalkar now has more than 40 attractions, a few specifically planned around the cooling tower. Climbing walls, plus a mountain mural, line the exterior. The base of the interior of the cooling tower is called “Echoland,” and, for the more adventurous, the “Vertical Swing” spins you all the way up to the top. 7. Carousels Started Out as a War Gam The carousel, now the most quaint of carnival rides, started its life in 12th-century Arabia and Turkey as a serious game called Little War, in which horsemen tossed perfumed clay balls at one another; whoever failed to catch the ball would have to live with the strong perfume smell until their next bath. Italian and Spanish crusaders brought the game to Europe, but once it got to France, things got really extravagant. Carosella meant “Little War” in Italian, and once the French got a hold of it, they named it carrousel. At first, French nobility played war games on their own horses, including the scented-ball game and a ring-lancing game, with both them and their horses dressed to the nines. Then they created mechanical models in the 17th century, with wooden horses attached to spokes extending from a central post, to practice the games. These models evolved into elaborately designed luxury diversions for the wealthy, typically powered by a horse, mule, or overworked human. These merry-go-rounds, a term first coined in 1729 by a British poet, spread throughout Europe. When the steam engine came along around 1870, it allowed for more elaborate carousel decorations and made them easier to manufacture — and before long they were the carnival staples they are today. Source: Amazing Facts About Theme Parks | Amusement Park Facts
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    What's the Word: DACTYLONOMY pronunciation: [dak-til-AHN-ə-mi] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, 18th century Meaning: 1. The practice of counting on one’s fingers, or otherwise representing numbers with one’s fingers. Example: "Instead of pulling out the calculator on my phone, I stick to dactylonomy." "I preferred dactylonomy to memorizing math equations well into middle school." About Dactylonomy The term combines the Greek prefix “δάκτυλος” (or “dactylo,” meaning “finger”) with the suffix “-onomy,” meaning “a system of knowledge.” The suffix “-onomy” is also drawn from the Greek suffix “νόμος” (or “nómos,” meaning “law”). Did You Know? Dactylonomy is far more complicated than counting to ten on one’s fingers (or twenty with the toes). In fact, various systems of dactylonomy have appeared around the world dating back at least as far as first-century Persia. These versions offered the ability to count into the hundreds, thousands, and even greater numbers using the fingers and parts of the hand. It’s commonly believed that the decimal system was popularized because of the universal experience of counting to 10 on one’s fingers.
  27. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - MAGICIANS Shin Lim Did you know... that the art of magic has long dazzled fans. At first thought to be actual paranormal powers, in recent decades magic has been revealed as mere deception, yet we still love the performances and clever ways with with magicians fool us. But with hundreds of mystifying performers alive today, how are we to christen the ten best currently living sorcerers, yet alone of those of all time? I've researched and reviewed many entertainers and hope to present some of the top artists in all magic fields (illusions, sleight of hand, escape, and so on). Thus, factoring in skills, legacy, and perhaps a pinch of personal bias, here are the top ten magicians of all time! (JEREMY GILL | JUL 28, 2020) the Most Influential Magicians Who Ever Lived by Interesting Facts Harry Houdini and David Blaine may be household names, but their success has been built on the shoulders of magicians who haven’t received much recognition. The “celebrity magician,” after all, is a recent phenomenon: For centuries, illusionists and escape artists were impugned as low-lifes (at best) and criminals (at worst). But none of that would stop these magic-makers, who helped pave the way for our modern superstars. From mythical sorcerers to skeptical writers, here are some of the most influential magicians in history. 1. Djedi: History’s Most Captivating Decapitator An Egyptian magician who purportedly lived 4,700 years ago, Djedi may have been history’s first illusionist. According to the Westcar Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian text, Djedi could magically remove — and reattach! — the heads of living animals: Geese, waterfowl, and even bulls. (Centuries later, David Blaine would re-enact the stunt with a chicken.) Historians, however, caution that the magician’s greatest trick was fooling us to believe he existed: Dejdi might be a work of fiction. 2. Belshazzar’s Incompetent Magicians: The Reason There’s Writing on the Wall The Bible contains dozens of references to sorcerers, necromancers, and conjurers. In the First Book of Samuel, the Witch of Endor summons the spirit of a prophet. In the apocrypha, Simon Magus is able to levitate and even fly. But one of the most famous references to magicians appears in the tale of King Belshazzar’s Feast. As the story goes, the King was enjoying an opulent meal when a hand mystically appeared and began to write a cryptic message on a nearby wall, spelling out his doom. A panicked Belshazzar asked his magicians to interpret the message — but the magicians failed, and Belshazzar soon died. The scene is now immortalized in the idiom: “To see the writing on the wall.” 3. Luca Pacioli: The Accountant Who Could Breathe Fire An Italian mathematician and friar who lived in the 15th century, Luca Pacioli is widely considered the “Father of Accounting.” But his skills expanded beyond bookkeeping: He’s also one of the earliest writers on the art of magic. His unpublished 1508 book De Viribus Quantitatis discusses an array of magic tricks: how to make an “egg walk over a table,” how to make a “cooked chicken jump on the table,” and how to “make a snow torch that burns.” He’s also the first to discuss various card tricks, coin tricks, and fire-eating techniques. 4. Ching Ling Foo: America’s First Chinese Superstar The first Chinese performer to hit it big in the U.S., Ching Ling Foo’s performances in 1899 routinely packed the house and made him a superstar. An expert in traditional Chinese illusions, Foo could throw a shawl into the air and — as it settled to the ground — conjure large objects out of thin air. Unfortunately, Foo would be the victim of a racist scam. An American magician named William Robinson stole Foo’s act, dressed in yellowface, called himself “Chung Ling Soo,” and billed himself as Foo’s competitor: “The Original Chinese Conjurer.” The two magicians would feud for the rest of their lives. 5. Jean-Eugène Robert-Houdin: The Clockmaker With Magic Hands A French clockmaker, Robert-Houdin developed fine-motor skills fixing cogs and gears in his family’s shop — and then began using them to learn sleight-of-hand tricks. He used this know-how to build androids and other mechanical wonders, which helped him build audiences in the mid-19th century. It wasn’t long before Robert-Houdin was performing conjuring acts for mass audiences. Today, Robert-Houdin is widely recognized as the father of modern magic, having transformed it from a low-class artform to something the theater-going wealthy could enjoy. He’d also inspire a young Ehrich Weiss, a Hungarian-American escapologist who you might know by a different name: Harry Houdini. 6. Alexander and Adelaide Herrmann: Magicians with a Funny Bone Few people have shaped our definition of a magician more than Alexander Herrmann. Called “Herrmann the Great,” the Victorian-era Frenchman was one of the first people to pull a live rabbit out of a hat. But Hermman’s most important contribution to modern magic was his performing style: He was one of the first magicians to make a comedy routine central to his performance. His wife, Adelaide, was no slouch, either. Called the “Queen of Magic,” she’s believed to be the first woman to ever perform the dreaded “bullet catch trick,” and she continued to tour internationally for another 25 years after Alexander’s death. 7. Jasper Maskelyne: The Illusionist Who Deceived the Nazis Every magician, at their core, is a master of deception. But when Jasper Maskelyne moved his act from the stage to the theater of war, his deception skills were used to save lives. During World War II, Maskelyne joined the British military and used his knowledge as an illusionist to trick the Nazis. His team took camouflage to a new level, creating deceptive decoys to trick enemy fighter pilots: fake harbors filled with phony boats and dazzling light-displays that, from above, looked like cities. The illusions reportedly caused the enemy to waste tons of ammunition. Source: Famous Magicians Throughout History | Facts About Influential Magicians
  28. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/supraland Supraland is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://s-xavier-uy.itch.io/reincarnated-as-a-noble Reincarnated as a Noble is currently free on Itch.io.
  29. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - ODD FOOD NAMES Did you know... that there are a lot of weird foods out there — foods we’d never, ever eat even if we were offered money to chow down on them. What the French think of as a delectable treat — hello, snails in a sizzling garlic sauce (aka escargot) — may very well be another culture’s nightmare. But what happens when a potentially-delicious food is given an awful name? From blood pudding to spotted dick, there’s a chance the names themselves would keep even the most adventurous foodies at bay. For one, most of us aren’t keen on eating blood, while anything “spotted” seems downright dangerous. You know, in the medical sense. Spam? Bangers and mash? We’ll pass. I mean, what is going on here? Why not just use words like “sausage” or “mystery meat”? Well, because it just wouldn’t be as fun — that’s why. So, let’s take a look at some of the weirdest food names out there — some of which are accompanied by even weirder ingredients. (LISA MARIE BASILE | August 12, 2019) The History of Oddly Named Foods by Interesting Facts Ladyfingers Whether you’re venturing out to a new restaurant or sharing a home-cooked meal with friends, chances are most of the foods you encounter are pretty self-explanatory. Mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, or chocolate cake — even without much of a description, it’s usually easy to discern what will be gracing your plate. But even some of the culinary delights that have become standard American fare carry unusual monikers that may have you wondering about their mysterious origins. Let the backstory on these seven oddly named foods give your brain a mental palate refresher. 1. Hot Dogs Despite originating in Germany, hot dogs are an essential American food — an estimated 7 billion hot dogs are served up each summer in the U.S. alone. And with that many sausages on the grill, the name for a food that doesn’t involve any actual dogs has become completely mainstream. But where did it come from? Some food historians believe that early songs and jokes gave the wieners their name, suggesting that sausage meat came from dogs. But a more likely story is that German butchers named early American frankfurters “dachshund sausages” after the long and skinny dogs they resembled, which was eventually shortened to “hot dogs.” 2. Sweetbreads Beware the common confusion about sweetbreads: They’re neither sugary nor baked. That’s because sweetbreads aren’t at all a pastry, but instead a type of offal (organ meats). These small cutlets are actually the thymus and pancreas glands from calves or lambs. While sweetbreads may seem off-putting to some diners, they’re known by many chefs to be exceptionally tender with a mild flavor — which could explain their misleading name. The first recorded mention of the British dish dates to the 1500s, a time when “bread” (also written “brede”) was the word for roasted or grilled meats. In conjunction with being more delicate and flavorful than tougher cuts, the name “sweetbread” likely took hold. 3. Head Cheese There’s no dairy involved in making head cheese. In fact, the dish more closely resembles a meatloaf than a slice or wedge of spreadable cheese. That’s because head cheese is actually an aspic — a savory gelatin packed with scraps of meat and molded into a sliceable block. As for the name, head cheese gets its label in part from the remnants of meat collected from butchered hog heads. And while not a cheese, it’s likely the dish is named such because early recipes called for pressing the boiled meats together in a cheese mold. Head cheese is popular throughout the world, especially in Europe, where it's known by less-confusing names. In the U.K. butchers call the dish “brawn,” and meat-eaters in Germany refer to it as “souse.” 4. Pumpernickel Bread Most bread names are self-explanatory: cinnamon-raisin, sandwich wheat, potato bread. So what exactly is a “pumpernickel”? Originating in Germany, this dark and hefty bread combines rye flour, molasses, and sourdough starter for a dough that bakes at low heat for a whole day. Many American pumpernickel bakers speed up the process by using yeast and wheat flour, which makes for a lighter loaf that reduces (or altogether removes) pumpernickel’s namesake side effect: flatulence. German bakers of old acknowledged the bread’s gas-inducing ability with an unsavory nickname: pumpern meaning “to break wind,” and nickel for “goblin or devil.” Put together, the translation reads as “devil’s fart” — a reference to how difficult pumpernickel could be on the digestive tract. 5. Jerusalem Artichokes If there’s any vegetable that suffers from bad branding, it may just be the Jerusalem artichoke — a bumpy root crop that’s not actually an artichoke and doesn’t have any link to Israel. Unlike their real counterparts, Jerusalem artichokes are actually the edible tuber roots of a sunflower species, similar in appearance to ginger root (real artichokes produce purple, thistle-like flowers that turn into above-ground edible bulbs). Jerusalem artichokes were first called “sunroots” by Indigenous Americans, who shared the tubers with French explorers in the early 1600s. Upon arriving back in France, the vegetables were called topinambours. Italian cooks renamed them girasole, aka “sunflower,” in reference to their above-ground buds. As sunroots spread throughout Europe, the girasole morphed into “Jerusalem” thanks to mispronunciation, with the addition of “artichoke” in reference to the vegetable’s flavor. 6. Dutch Baby Pancakes Few foods are universal, but pancakes may be the exception. While they may be made with culture or region-specific ingredients, nearly every country has some variation of the pancake. Queue the Dutch baby, a baked treat with a name that misidentifies both its origin and size. Also known as a German pancake or pfannkuchen, Dutch babies are a blend of popovers and crepes baked in a large skillet or cast-iron pan, topped with fruit, syrup, or powdered sugar. So how did these dinner-plate-sized pancakes get their most popular moniker? Culinary legend attributes the misnomer to the daughter of a Seattle restaurant owner, who mistakenly subbed “Dutch” for “Deutsch” (meaning German). The eatery downsized its versions into miniature servings and deemed the pancakes “Dutch babies.” 7. Grasshopper Pie Insects are protein-packed main courses in many countries, but the idea of chomping down on bugs isn’t appealing to all stomachs. Luckily, this bug-branded dessert is entirely free of its namesake insect. Grasshopper pie features a cookie crust and fluffy filling made from whipped cream, mint and chocolate liqueurs, and green food coloring. Fittingly, grasshopper pie often makes its appearance at springtime celebrations just as the leaping bugs are emerging from their winter slumber, but that’s not where the name comes from. While hitting peak popularity during the 1950s and ‘60s, grasshopper pie is actually a dessert version of the grasshopper cocktail, which first debuted some four decades prior. Philibert Guichet, a New Orleans restaurateur, invented the drink as part of a cocktail competition in 1919, naming his creation for its bright green hue. Source: The Weirdest Food Names Out There | Facts About Oddly Named Foods
  30. 1 point
    What's the Word: APRICATE pronunciation: [AP-rə-keit] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. To bask in the sun, or to expose to the sun Example: "I planned my vacation so that I could apricate on the beach all day." "My neighbor finds it relaxing to apricate on his porch roof." About Apricate “Apricate” is drawn directly from the Latin “aprīcāt” meaning “to bask in the sun.” Did You Know? Cats like to apricate more than nearly any other animal, and with good reason: modern cats’ ancestors lived in the desert and were exposed to ample sun. Another reason cats are happy to apricate in all seasons is that basking in the sun makes it easier for them to sleep. Cats’ body temperatures fluctuate when they’re asleep, but lying in the sun helps keep their temperatures stable.
  31. 1 point
    Fact of the day - BUMBLEBEE BAT Did you know.... that Kitti's hog-nosed bat, also known as the bumblebee bat, is a near-threatened species of bat and the only extant member of the family Craseonycteridae. It occurs in western Thailand and southeast Myanmar, where it occupies limestone caves along rivers. Kitti's hog-nosed bat is the smallest species of bat and arguably the world's smallest mammal. It has a reddish-brown or grey coat, with a distinctive pig-like snout. Colonies range greatly in size, with an average of 100 individuals per cave. The bat feeds during short activity periods in the evening and dawn, foraging around nearby forest areas for insects. Females give birth annually to a single offspring. Although the bat's status in Myanmar is not well known, the Thai population is restricted to a single province and may be at risk of extinction. Its potential threats are primarily anthropogenic, and include habitat degradation and the disturbance of roosting sites (Wikipedia) Bumblebee Bat Facts by Sunny | Modified: 08 Jun 2022 Crowned as the smallest mammal in the world by size, a bumblebee bat can actually rest comfortably on your finger. Apart from its resemblance to the bumblebees in size, these little bats are less scary than you’d expect. Learn more about them in these bumblebee bat facts and you might just like them a little more. 1. The bumblebee bat is also known as Kitti’s hog-nosed bat. Definitely an adorable name for the world’s smallest mammal. The binomial name of the bumblebee bat is Craseonycteris thonglongyai. This species is named after its discoverer, Kitti Thonglongya, a Thai zoologist, who founded them in 1973. It was his colleague, John E. Hill who named the species in his honor after Kitti Thonglongya passed away from a heart attack. 2. The lifespan of bumblebee bats is 5 to 10 years. Researchers do not have their exact lifespan. However, based on studies of other similar bat species, the average lifespan is estimated to be between 5 and 10 years. 3. Bumblebee bats live in limestone caves near rivers. These bats live near the tops of the caves for warmth. Bumblebee bats are mostly found in limestone caves in western Thailand. More specifically, they are under legal protection in Sai Yok National Park. They are also found in the southeastern part of Myanmar, near the shared borders with Thailand. 4. Bumblebee bats have a short activity period. Every day, they only leave their caves for 30 minutes in the evening, and 20 minutes at dawn for foraging. They normally fly along the top of bamboo trees and they catch their prey in flight. They do not fly more than 1 kilometer away from their caves. 5. Their main sources of food are insects and spiders. As bumblebee bats are insectivores, they can contribute towards pest control. However, the impact is not substantial due to their small population size. 6. Human activities are endangering the habitats of the bumblebee bats. Ever since the discovery of bumblebee bats, tourists have been flocking to these sites just to have a look at these bats. Furthermore, locals even captured them for sale as souvenirs. Other human activities include limestone extractions and deforestations. These result in loss of natural habitat and a decrease in prey hunting activities for the bumblebee bats. 7. There are mixed reactions towards the monks meditating at these caves. Many are against the monks meditating at these caves as the smoke given off can potentially harm the bats. However, the good news is, monks in Myanmar have become the cave protectors instead. They occupy the entrances, in turn preventing hunters and drug addicts from entering the caves and destroying the natural habitats. 8. A conservation program was launched to protect the bumblebee bats. In 2007, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) launched the Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) project. Bumblebee bats were one of the first 10 focal species to be protected under this project. Currently, the bumblebee bat falls under the Vulnerable category, with an EDGE score of 4.73. 9. The latest wild sighting of the bumblebee bats was at Krabi, Thailand. About twenty bumblebee bats were found clinging against the 10-meter high ceiling in Phra Phutthabat Cave in Krabi. These bats have the same reddish-brown color with black wings. However, they are not confirmed to be bumblebee bats yet. Experts are still verifying the identity of these bats, and if they turn out to be bumblebee bats, this would be the second place in Thailand the bats can call home. Source: Wikipedia - Kitti's hog-nosed bat | Brief Facts About Bumblebee Bats
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    What's the Word: OXFORDIAN pronunciation: [ox-FOR-dee-ən] Part of speech: adjective Origin: From proper name, 17th century Meaning: 1. Relating to or denoting the theory that Edward de Vere (1550–1604), Earl of Oxford, wrote the plays attributed to Shakespeare. Example: "The Oxfordian lecturer proposed that everything we thought about Shakespeare was false." "Jane hasn’t yet seen evidence that would turn her from a Shakespeare fan into an Oxfordian." About Oxfordian Named for Edward de Vere’s rank as Earl of Oxford, “Oxfordian” combines the proper name of “Oxford” with the suffix “-ian,” indicating “belonging to.” Did You Know? Not everyone believes William Shakespeare wrote all – or any – of the famous plays attributed to him. Some believe instead that Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, was the true author. Though nearly all his works have been lost to time, de Vere was considered by many to be one of the best poets of the Court of Elizabeth I. This reputation helped cement the theory that he wrote the work attributed to Shakespeare. However, a majority of Shakespearean scholars have rejected any “alternative authorship” theories.
  33. 1 point
    What's the Word: GRANDISONANT pronunciation: [gran-DIH-sə-nənt] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Grand-sounding, giving the impression of grandeur; rhetorical; bombastic. Example: "The mayor gave a grandisonant speech about the contributions of the city’s founders." "The hotel manager offered a grandisonant description of the room service options." About Grandisonant “Grandisonant” is derived from the classical Latin “grandisonus,” meaning “pompous” or “loud sounding.” Both the English word and its Latin source are formed by mixing the Latin roots “grandis” (meaning “large”) and “sonus” meaning “sound”). Did You Know? “Grandisonant” can be both a compliment and an insult, depending on how it is applied. If the speaker on a very serious occasion gives a grandisonant speech, it may well bring a feeling of solemnity to the day. Yet a person speaking in a grandisonant tone about trivial things risks sounding pompous or bombastic.
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    One chapter left before OP goes on break until July 25. As for what happens this week, the Elder Stars contemplate how to proceed after hearing Kaido and Big Mom get defeated. Though as CP0 is told to try capturing Nico Robin again, their signal gets jacked by someone we don't see. And Wano is still celebrating a week after the big battle. Hard to say if Hawkins bit the dust, but it seems Ashura and Izo did. And before we see new titles and bounties, it looks like Admiral Ryokugyu is flying in Wano. Oh boy.
  35. 1 point
    This week, Anti rambles about Platinum End
  36. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - GREAT BARRIER REEF Did you know... that the Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral reef system composed of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands stretching for over 2,300 kilometres over an area of approximately 344,400 square kilometres. The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia, separated from the coast by a channel 100 miles wide in places and over 200 feet deep.[6] The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world's biggest single structure made by living organisms. This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981. CNN labelled it one of the seven natural wonders of the world in 1997. Australian World Heritage places included it in its list in 2007. The Queensland National Trust named it a state icon of Queensland in 2006. (Wikipedia) Fascinating Facts About the Great Barrier Reef by Interesting Facts Australia’s Great Barrier Reef more than lives up to its name: It’s one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the largest coral reef ecosystem on the planet, covering an area of approximately 135,000 square miles. That equates to nearly the entire size of Germany, or the land area of the states of Washington and North Dakota combined. But although most of us have heard of it, how much do you really know about this remarkable place? Here are seven things you might not know about the Great Barrier Reef. 1. The Great Barrier Reef Isn’t a Single Reef The Great Barrier Reef extends for 1,429 miles along the coast of Queensland, Australia, and according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), it's the largest living structure on Earth. But that figure disguises the fact that the Great Barrier Reef comprises about 2,500 to 3,000 separate but interconnected smaller reefs, as well as over 900 coral or sand islands known as cays. There are also different types of reef. The term “barrier reef” refers to a type of reef that forms on the outer edges of the continental shelf, separated from land by a deep lagoon. Fringing reefs are closer to the shoreline and tend to form near islands. Platform and patch reefs are small and isolated, while ribbon reefs are long and narrow and lack a lagoon. 2. It’s Home to 600 Species of Coral The Great Barrier Reef isn’t just home to coral — it’s made of it. Approximately three-quarters of the world’s coral species can be found here. There are two main types, hard coral and soft coral. It is the hard or stony corals (scleractinians) that are responsible for creating the reef itself. Made up of tiny polyps, each stony coral measures around one-tenth of an inch, but they band together to form colonies that consist of millions of individual polyps. The coral secretes calcium carbonate, which grows over the limestone remains of previous colonies. This slow and steady growth — less than two inches per year if conditions are ideal — eventually formed the structure of the Great Barrier Reef. The coral is precious, which is why visitors should never be tempted to break off a piece as a souvenir, no matter how small and insignificant it might seem. 3. The Reef Is the Most Biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage Site on Earth Aside from the coral itself, the Great Barrier Reef is home to more than 1,500 species of fish. Perhaps the most curious is a scorpion fish called the Rhinopias agriloba. Occasionally found in the northern part of the reef, it appears to walk along the seafloor balancing on its fins. Approximately 4,000 species of mollusks and about 240 species of birds also live in the reef’s ecosystem. On top of this extraordinary roll call, you’ll find migrating whales, dolphins, dugongs, sea turtles, crustaceans, sponges, anemones, and other marine life, making the reef the most biodiverse UNESCO World Heritage Site in the world. Humans, too, are intrinsically linked to the reef: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have forged a strong connection with the reef during their 60,000-year history, as evidenced by shell deposits, fish traps, and marine totems. 4. Some Reef Dwellers Should Be Feared More Than Others Snorkelers and divers at the Great Barrier Reef should familiarize themselves with some of its more dangerous inhabitants. The reef is home to 14 species of sea snakes, and some are more poisonous than any found on land. The venomous blue-ringed octopus should also be avoided. The octopus tucks itself into shells and won’t attack unless provoked, but a bite is usually fatal. Some types of jellyfish are another potential hazard. Species like the Carukia barnesi are known to cause Irukandji syndrome, which can result in severe lower back pain and muscle cramps. Meanwhile, the crown-of-thorns starfish can devastate the coral itself. It feeds on the coral, stripping a thin layer of tissue off its skeleton and irreparably damaging the fragile polyps. 5. Coral Spawning Season Is a Spectacle Like No Other One of the most breathtaking sights visitors can witness along the Great Barrier Reef is mass coral spawning. This annual event takes place once a year after a full moon and when the water reaches a particular temperature. Corals are hermaphrodites, meaning they’re neither male nor female, but both. Spawning occurs as they release eggs and sperm into the water at the same time, increasing the chance of fertilization. For up to a weeklong period, the water takes on the appearance of a subterranean blizzard each night, though the “snow” is red, orange, and yellow in addition to white. The fertilized eggs rise to the surface and float around for a while before sinking to the ocean floor. There, they start to bud and the coral begins to develop. 6. The Reef Is So Large, You Can See It From Space It’s not just the immense scale of the reef that makes the Great Barrier Reef visible to astronauts in space. The contrast between the dark blue of the deeper parts of the ocean and the light turquoise of the lagoons on the other side of the reef makes it relatively straightforward to identify with the naked eye. But the pictures taken from space are valued for more than their aesthetic appeal. The MERIS sensor used on the Envisat satellite mission was a useful tool in mapping the extent of coral bleaching, the term given to stressed coral which has rid itself of algae. 7. In 2020, Scientists Discovered a Reef Taller Than the Empire State Building Scientists are continually studying the Great Barrier Reef, but the discovery of a 1,640-foot-tall reef off the North Queensland coast was an exceptional find, the largest discovery in more than a century. By comparison, the Empire State Building measures 1,454 feet from sidewalk to tip. Researchers from the Schmidt Ocean Institute in California were using an underwater robot to create a 3D map of the seafloor when they made the discovery. The submarine landform, which is about a mile wide, is right off the northern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. Source: Wikipedia - Great Barrier Reef | Great Barrier Reef Facts
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    Fact of the Day - ANCIENT PYRAMIDS Did you know... that the site of the most well-known Egyptian pyramids, known as the Giza Pyramid Complex, has been the subject of continuous investigation for more than a century. The area is home to the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, the Pyramid of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Over time, and through archeological research, the pyramids have divulged secrets once only known to their architects. And these are just a handful of the pyramids in Egypt. From hidden shafts to sapphire-toothed saws, these are the most fascinating facts about these engineering marvels. ( Christopher McFadden | Apr 22, 2021) Interesting Facts About Ancient Pyramids by Interesting Facts Few monuments capture the public imagination quite like pyramids. These feats of engineering teach us about cultures that lived long before us — not just their art and innovations, but their everyday lives. Just how old is the earliest pyramid? How did Egyptians start building their iconic smooth-sided pyramids? What are we still discovering within them? From the towering Great Pyramids of Giza to the complex stepped pyramids of Mesoamerica, these seven facts reveal just how mind-blowing pyramids really are. 1. Egyptian Pyramids Were Rarely Just Pyramids In Egypt, these triumphs of architecture — reserved for royal tombs — were the main buildings of larger complexes. Typically, the complex also included an attached mortuary temple with shrines, an open courtyard, and chapels, staffed in perpetuity, with an offering table. Ancient Egyptians also buried pits full of boats around these monuments to help ensure smooth sailing into the afterlife. One of the more impressive boats was uncovered in 1954 next to the Great Pyramid of Khufu — sometimes referred to as just the Great Pyramid. The 144-foot-long, 4,600-year-old ship was buried in more than 1,200 pieces stashed underneath stone blocks. 2. The Great Pyramids of Giza Created Whole Cities Around Them Building pyramids as large as the Great Pyramids of Giza was a major undertaking, and required a lot of labor — especially the Great Pyramid of Khufu which, at 481 feet high, was the tallest building in the world for thousands of years. (The date of its construction is debated, but may have begun around 2550 BCE.) Archaeologists have uncovered two "towns" around the Great Pyramids that not only housed pyramid-builders, but bakers, carpenters, weavers, stoneworkers, and others that supported day-to-day life. Some lived in family dwellings with their own courtyards and kitchens, while others, likely itinerant workers, slept in something more like a barracks. There is so much we don’t know about these areas, but one thing’s for sure: Based on animal bones and pottery found around the site, everyone there was very well-fed… and had plenty of beer to drink. 3. The First Known Pyramid Is 4,700 Years Old Djoser’s Step Pyramid, built sometime between 2667 and 2648 BCE, is considered the oldest pyramid, although it doesn’t have the smooth sides we associate with Egyptian pyramids today. Previously, pharaohs had been buried underneath mastabas — structures that look like single plateaus. The Step Pyramid stacked multiple mastabas on top of one another, creating the tapered effect. It’s located Saqqara, a necropolis about 15 miles south of Cairo. 4. Pyramids in Egypt Used to be Bright and Shiny We picture pyramids now as immense buildings of sandy-colored stone, but when they were originally constructed, they were adorned in polished limestone. These casing stones needed to be individually cut to a specific angle and sanded until they shone. Many of these outer layers were knocked loose by an earthquake or dismantled for building other things. 5. Sudan Has More Than 200 Pyramids Egypt has around 140 pyramids that we know about, but to the south, present-day Sudan has more than 200 of them. Until the mid-20th century, many archaeologists viewed these sites as extensions of Egypt, rather than part of a unique cultural heritage. But Sudan’s pyramids, most of them located in Meroe, are much smaller and steeper, surrounded by their own collections of chapels and monuments, and are unique to Nubian culture. For what it’s worth, Egyptian-style pyramids are all over the place, including Italy and Greece. Pyramids more broadly, however, take many different forms. 6. The Americas Contain More Pyramids Than the Rest of the World Combined — Including the Biggest One of All In ancient Mesoamerica, a region spanning from much of modern-day Mexico through most of Central America, peoples such as the Inca, Aztec, Maya, and Olmec had their own style of pyramid dating back to about 1000 BCE — and they built a lot of them. Unlike Egypt, they weren’t used exclusively for tombs. The most well-known Mesoamerican pyramids are the ones in Teotihuacan, an Aztec city near present-day Mexico City. The Pyramid of the Sun, the largest of the structures, and nearby Pyramid of the Moon were both constructed by putting rubble inside a set of retaining walls, building adobe brick around it, then casing in limestone. The Pyramid of the Sun hides an extra secret: another pyramid, accessible through a cave underneath. These pyramids were built between 1 and 200 CE, although the pyramid inside the cave is even older. The Great Pyramid in La Venta, an ancient Olmec civilization by present-day Tabasco, Mexico, is much different: It’s essentially a mountain made of clay. Later Olmec pyramids were also earth mounds, only faced with stone in a stepped structure. The largest pyramid on the planet by volume, not height, is the Great Pyramid of Cholula, or Tlachihualtepetl, in Mexico. It dates back to around 200 BCE, and is essentially six pyramids on top of one another. Later civilizations expanded on previous construction, taking care to preserve the original work. It’s made of adobe bricks and, whether accidentally or through a deliberate effort from the locals, eventually became covered in foliage and was later abandoned. When Spanish invaders, led by Hernán Cortés, came through, murdered 3,000 people, and destroyed more visible structures, they thought Tlachihualtepetl was part of the natural topography and let it be. 7. We’re Still Finding New Stuff Inside Pyramids The Great Pyramid of Khufu, the tallest of the Great Pyramids, has been the topic of rigorous study for more than a thousand years — but we’re still finding out what’s inside, including whole new chambers. The Scan Pyramids project, a collaboration between Egyptian, French, and Japanese research institutions that started in 2015, uses updated cosmic ray technology for a noninvasive peek inside. So far, they’ve found two previously unidentified areas: a corridor on the north face of the pyramid and a “big void” above the Grand Gallery. The void is at least 100 feet long and has a similar cross-section as the Grand Gallery, which connects various areas of the pyramid, including the burial chamber. A team of American researchers hopes to use even more advanced technology to try to get a full three-dimensional image of the big void. Whether it’s a structural element or a whole new chamber, it could provide a wealth of information on how the pyramids were built. Source: Explore Interesting Facts about the Ancient Egyptian Pyramids | Ancient Pyramids, the Facts
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    What's the Word: WHEEPLE pronunciation: [WEE-pəl] Part of speech: verb Origin: Scottish dialect, 10th century. Meaning: 1. To emit a shrill cry or whistle, sometimes feebly. Example: "The chicks in the nest outside my window wheepled as they waited for their mother to bring them worms." "JD wheepled up to Veronica’s window, hoping not to wake her parents." About Wheeple “Wheeple” is a Scottish dialect term adopted into English in the early 19th century. Did You Know? The term “wheeple” in Scottish also appeared as “whipple,” “wheeble,” “wheeffle,” and “feeple,” and originally referred particularly to the high-pitched cries of birds such as the plover and curlew. After the mid-19th century, “wheeple” also described people whistling, especially tunelessly.
  39. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - AIRCRAFT CABINS Did you know... that airplanes have changed a lot since the time Wright brothers invented it. Those bulky wood and cloth aircrafts have transformed into sleek Boeing Dreamliners, thanks to modern technology. Airplanes today are designed in a very unique way and everything you see inside has a specific purpose. To help you understand the inner workings of air travel, click the link below for a few interesting facts about airplanes that you must know. (AIRWHIZZ | AVIATION INSIDER | JUL 16, 2018) Things You Might Not Know About Airplane Cabins by Interesting Facts Most features in an airplane cabin are designed for a very specific purpose. However, due to the cabin’s complex design, the flight attendants don’t usually take the time to explain every detail to their passengers. (They're more concerned with making sure everyone is safe and comfortable.) However, if you're a curious person who likes to know how things work, we've got you covered. Here are six things you never knew about airplane cabins. 1. Cabin Lighting Has a Purpose Have you noticed that the cabin lights dim during takeoff and landing? It turns out that there are two very good reasons for this. According to Reader's Digest, the first reason is safety. If the lights stayed on and were to suddenly switch from bright to dark in an emergency, it would take precious seconds for passengers' eyes to adjust. With dim lighting during takeoff and landing, our eyes are already adjusted — making it easier to find an exit. The second reason is the mood. Dim lights are more relaxing than bright lights and might calm a passenger who struggles with flight anxiety. Some airlines such as Virgin Atlantic take this a step further by adding colored lights. Virgin Atlantic uses different shades of their brand color for various situations, like a rosy pink color for boarding and a hot magenta color for drinks. 2. The Temperature Is Cold for a Reason Passengers often complain about the cold temperature in airplane cabins. Flight staff will provide passengers with a blanket, but they don't ever increase the heat. That's because the temperature on an aircraft has been set in a very intentional way — and it's for your safety. A study by ATSM International found that people were more likely to faint on an aircraft than on the ground due to a condition called hypoxia. The pressurized environment of an airplane cabin can prevent our body from getting enough oxygen, which causes fainting. The warmer the temperature onboard the aircraft, the more likely this is to happen. To prevent passengers from passing out, airlines intentionally lower the cabin temperature. While this might be slightly uncomfortable, it's much safer for your body. 3. The Air Is Cleaner Than You Think A common myth about air travel is that you're sharing air — along with germs and food particles — with all the other passengers on board. Gross, right? In reality, airlines do a great job of maintaining clean air quality onboard the aircraft. They actually use a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter system. According to the International Air Transportation Association (IATA), this is the same type of filter used to clean the air in hospital operating rooms. The next time you fly, don’t worry: Cabin air is cleaner than you think. 4. Bathrooms Can Be Unlocked From the Outside While there is a lock inside cabin bathrooms for passengers to use, flight attendants also have the ability to quickly unlock the door from the outside as well. According to Aerotime Hub, this is for passenger safety. In the event of an emergency, flight attendants need to be able to access the bathroom without picking the lock or taking the door off its hinges. This is necessary if a passenger has a health scare or needs assistance while in the bathroom. It can also be used for children who are unable to unlock the door themselves. Don't worry, though: A flight attendant would never just open the door for no reason. They respect passenger privacy and would only use the unlock option in an emergency. 5. Window Blinds Must Remain Open During takeoff and landing, most flight attendants will ask that passengers lift their window blinds. Like so many other things on an airplane, there's a real reason for this. Open blinds allow the flight staff to see any issues on the ground or on the airplane itself. Passengers might also report unusual circumstances they observe from their windows. Lifting the blinds also allows our eyes to adjust to the conditions outside quickly in case of an emergency. Cabin windows also sometimes have triangle stickers on them to mark certain seats. According to Captain Joe, these stickers indicate which windows provide the best view of the wings. Flight attendants can easily look for the triangle when they need to see the wings for safety reasons. According to Captain Joe, these aisles are also great for passengers prone to motion sickness due to the extra stability provided by the wings. 6. There's a Secret Handrail Walking down the aisle of a moving airplane can be a wobbly experience — especially when there's turbulence. Most passengers end up grabbing the seats as they walk, which can disturb the people in those seats, but there's actually a better way. If you watch the flight attendants, you'll notice that they repeatedly reach up to the ceiling when they walk down the aisle. That's because there's a built-in handle rail along the bottom edge of the storage compartment, which can be used to steady yourself. Next time, copy the flight attendants, avoid aggravating fellow passengers, and use this secret rail instead! Source: Interesting Facts About Airplanes That You Probably Didn’t Know | Facts About Airplane Cabins
  40. 1 point
    What's the Word: EUDAEMONISM pronunciation: [yoo-DEE-mə-niz-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, early 19th century Meaning: 1. A system of ethics that bases moral value on the likelihood of actions producing happiness. Example: "Janick practiced eudaemonism by planning a pleasant and educational event for each weekend." "The teacher encouraged students to explore eudaemonism by doing at least three pleasurable things every day." About Eudaemonism “Eudaemonism” entered English in the 19th century from the Greek “εὐδαιμονία,” meaning happiness, with the suffix “-ism” to indicate a system of belief or practice. Did You Know? “Eudaemonism” is based on the Greek term “eudaemonia,” introduced by Aristotle. Aristotle’s “eudaemonia” described the positive condition of doing and living well. It was not, in fact, a synonym for happiness, but rather it described a greater state of positive existence, which combined wisdom, contemplation, virtue, and other beneficial attributes for personal success.
  41. 1 point
    Street Fighter 2 free on Steam through promotional package https://store.steampowered.com/sub/733011/
  42. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/maneater Maneater is currently free on Epic Games Store.
  43. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - WEDDING TRADITIONS Did you know.... that you have likely attended a wedding or two and have seen all of the traditions, but have you ever wondered where they came from? Why is the bride requiring something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue? Why does the groom toss the garter into a crowd of men, and why is a wedding cake so important? Nearly every aspect of a wedding has some sort of significance behind it, and we have been busy finding the origins behind some of the most popular wedding traditions to help give you a little perspective. (Roberts Centre | 2017) The Origins of Wedding Traditions by Interesting Facts Whether you’re planning a wedding now or have many years of marriage under your belt, some things about weddings don’t seem to change — someone wears white, the couple spends the night before apart, and there’s almost always cake. But how did that come to be? Here’s the backstory on a few of these surprisingly ancient (and some fairly modern) wedding traditions. 1. Keeping the Couple Apart Until the Ceremony While not seeing your spouse-to-be until the ceremony starts is now a romanticized tradition, it once was considered a way to ensure marrying off a daughter happened as planned. Marrying for love is a relatively new concept; prior to the 18th century, marriage was primarily a means to improve a family’s social standing. Brides and grooms were often paired off without giving much of their own input, thanks to their families’ arrangements. Consequently, arranged marriages had a high risk for cold feet — which is why keeping the intendeds apart until they said their vows reduced the chances of one party backing out before they made it to the altar. 2. “Something Old, Something New” Most modern brides who follow the “something old” tradition will borrow a family member’s wedding dress or jewelry, but brides of past centuries had no problem wearing someone else’s underwear for good luck. The English rhyme, which reads “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe,” originated around the mid-19th century and first appeared in print in 1871. These objects were thought to bring a bride luck for not only her wedding day, but also her chances of becoming pregnant. While “something old” could be almost anything, “something borrowed” was often a pair of bloomers on loan from a woman who had already become a mother. 3. Wearing a White Wedding Dress Walk through any bridal shop and it’s obvious that white wedding dresses are the norm, but it wasn’t always so. Historically, brides often repurposed their best dress as their wedding gown, and most were not white — because white was exceptionally difficult to keep clean prior to the advent of modern washing machines and stain removers. Queen Victoria, who wore a lacy white gown at her 1840 wedding in place of the then-popular red, is often credited for popularizing bridal white (though Mary, Queen of Scots wore white during her 1558 Notre Dame wedding, and many lesser-known royals did before Victoria’s reign, too). Within a decade of Victoria’s wedding, dressmakers and etiquette books had run with the idea that white was virginal and pure, with the popular Godey’s Lady’s Book writing that a white dress was “an emblem of the innocence and purity of girlhood, and the unsullied heart which she now yields to the keeping of the chosen one.” 4. Exchanging Wedding Bands The act of both parties exchanging a wedding ring is fairly modern; historically, men didn’t wear wedding rings. While women have worn engagement and wedding rings for centuries, they were often gifted as a gesture of betrothal (or in the Romans’ case, as a sign that a woman had entered into a marriage contract). During the 1920s, jewelers made an attempt to popularize the men’s engagement ring, which would be picked out and gifted by women, but the cultural norms about masculinity and marriage led to the ad campaign’s demise. It wasn’t until the 1940s that men’s wedding rings became socially acceptable — rings became seen as a romantic link between married couples who were separated during World War II, and post-Depression, couples could more often afford the cost of two rings. 5. The Art of Bridal Mehandi Many Indian, Asian, and African brides spend the days before their weddings having bridal mehandi applied — swirling, floral designs made with henna that cover the hands and feet. While it’s unclear exactly when mehandi first started as a pre-wedding tradition, historians know that henna has been used to create temporary body tattoos for at least 5,000 years, and they believe that early mehandi was likely less ornate than it is today. Because intricate mehandi designs can take hours to complete, the practice is traditionally done the night before the wedding in an effort to signify that a bride was kept safely at home with family members. 6. The Purpose of Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Asking your nearest and dearest to be in your bridal party is one way of honoring friends and family members, though the task once came with a lot more work than just throwing a couple of showers and a bachelor/bachelorette party. For Ancient Romans, having a bridal party was a legal means to an end — Roman law required 10 male witnesses to vouch for the couple, while a bride’s female companions would prepare and escort her to the ceremony. In many cultures, bridesmaids acted as incognito bodyguards for a bride; dressing similarly prevented kidnappers and thieves from making off with a bride’s dowry or the bride herself. As for groomsmen? Beyond helping the groom get ready, some of their historical roles included safeguarding the bride, preventing others from intervening in the wedding, or, in the darkest scenarios, kidnapping an unwilling or unwitting woman and forcibly bringing her to the groom. 7. Objections to a Marriage While many couples now skip the infamous “speak now or forever hold your peace” line, it was once a standard question to prevent bigamy. During the Middle Ages, Christian churches required upcoming weddings to be announced three Sundays in a row, allowing time for the news to spread. If the bride or groom were already married to someone else, word could get back to the priest — who would ask one last time during the ceremony — to determine if the marriage could proceed. 8. Crushing Glass Jewish weddings often end with the cheer of “Mazel tov!” after a couple steps on and crushes a well-wrapped piece of glass. The practice is first described in the Talmud, a religious text that contains extensive commentary on Jewish law, folklore, and more, and dates back to at least the 4th century. The breaking of glass is used to signify the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem, and the story is used as a reminder of sacrifice and loss, even during happy times. The ceremonial glass crushing also refers to a covenant; in Judaism, these religious agreements only become official with breaking something. Grooms traditionally were responsible for the glass stomping, but many modern couples now opt to both smash glasses in an act of marital equality. 9. Jumping the Broom Jumping the broom is now a happier wedding ceremony element, but the tradition in Black communities has a somber history. During American slavery, Black enslaved people were sometimes permitted to exchange vows and wed in small ceremonies, but their marriages were not legally recognized because the law considered the bride and groom to be property, not people. Jumping the broom — literally jumping over a simple broom that was sometimes placed along the threshold of a couple's cabin — was an act that enslaved people sometimes performed to signify their union, especially in cases where a slaveowner did not recognize or approve of the marriage. However, historical accounts suggest that not all couples were eager to be wed that way for fear their marriages would be perceived as less meaningful than couples who had formal ceremonies. Now, many Black couples pay homage to their ancestors by choosing to jump the broom into a new life together. 10. Tossing Celebratory Rice Showering newlywed couples with grains has its roots in many cultures, with the kinds used differing by region. Ancient Romans thought wheat was the best signifier of fertility, with rice taking up its role throughout Europe in the Middle Ages. Lentils, oats, peas, and other grains are also popular alternatives throughout the world. As for the theory that wedding rice is dangerous because it can explode a bird’s stomach at altitude? That’s an urban legend that became popular in the mid-1980s. Even if birds do consume a hefty amount of dried rice, the grains are broken up in their gizzards, making it impossible for their stomachs to expand unnaturally. Source: Where Did That Come From? | Facts About Wedding Tradition History
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    What's the Word: NYCTALOPIA pronunciation: [nik-tə-LOH-pee-ə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 17th century, Meaning: 1. The inability to see in dim light or at night. Also called night blindness Example: "I wanted to arrive home before dusk since my nyctalopia makes it difficult to drive at night." "Shari turned the living room lights on in the afternoon in anticipation of her nyctalopia." About Nyctalopia The Latin term “nyctalopia” (for “night blindness”) is based on the 6th century Byzantine Greek term “νυκταλωπία,” meaning “night blindness.” It was first adopted in French in 1666 as “nyctalopie,” from which it was adopted in English in the late 17th century. Did You Know? Nyctalopia describes difficulty seeing in low-light conditions, meaning nyctalopia subjects find it hard to navigate outdoors at night or indoors with low lighting. However, many also find it challenging to negotiate shifts between light and dark, such as leaving a well-lit house and adjusting to the darkness of night. While people with healthy eyes can adjust to such shifts quickly, those with nyctalopia take much longer to adapt to darkness.
  45. 1 point
    We see a more mature Momonosuke declare that Wano is free from Kaido & his forces as well as Orochi, and Yamato declaring to want to sail with the Straw Hats, Time will tell if the latter will actually come true.
  46. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - CALENDARS Did you know... that for thousands of years, we humans have been trying to work out the best way to keep track of our time on Earth. It turns out that it’s not as simple as you might think. (Alison Eldridge) Puzzling Questions About the Calendar, Explained by Interesting Facts For most of recorded human history, time has been carved up into various numbers of days, months, and years. Some ancient cultures relied on the moon to note the passage of days, and this ancient tradition still impacts the way we talk about the calendar (the words “moon” and “month” are actually related). Eventually, mathematicians and astronomers encouraged counting the days using another prominent feature of Earth’s sky — the sun. Over the course of a few millennia, the calendar has been shaped and rearranged to fit fleeting political whims, religious observances, bureaucratic challenges, and bizarre superstitions. The story of the calendar is the story of humanity, and the answers to these questions show why. 1. Why Are There 12 Months? At its start in the eighth century BCE, Rome used a 10-month calendar traditionally believed to be created by its legendary wolf-suckling founder, Romulus. This was a lunar calendar: The beginning of a month, or a new moon, was called the “kalends,” while a waxing half-moon around the seventh of the month was called the “nones,” and a full moon around the 15th of the month was called the “ides.” In this calendar, the year started with March, ended in December, and only added up to about 304 days. So what happened to the 60 or so days between December and March? Well, nothing — Romans just waited for the first new moon before the spring equinox to start the new year, meaning that much of the winter passed in a period without a calendar. This system, understandably, didn’t work well, and was soon reformed by Rome’s second king, Numa Pompilius, around 713 BCE. Pompilius added additional months — now called January and February — to the end of the year, creating a 12-month calendar (they eventually moved to the front of the year by 450 BCE). The months totaled 354 days, but because of a Roman superstition around even numbers, an extra day was added to January. Since 355 days is still out of sync with the solar year and thus the seasons and celestial events, the king then added extra days, called intercalation, to the latter part of February in certain years. This made the Roman calendar’s average length 366.25 days long — still off, but much better than Romulus' temporal train wreck. Pompilius’ creation was eventually undermined by Roman pontifices, or priests, who wielded intercalation like a political cudgel — extending the rule of favored politicians while curtailing the term limits of enemies. After 700 years, the Roman calendar was a mess, and the powerful general and statesman Julius Caesar decided to fix it. Following consultation with Rome’s greatest mathematicians and astronomers, he implemented the Julian calendar in 45 BCE.. Influenced by the 365-day Egyptian calendar and the mathematics of the Ancient Greeks, this calendar discarded Pompilius’ even number superstition and added extra days equaling 365. But the most notable advancement of Caesar’s calendar was that it embraced the sun as the basis of the calendar rather than the moon. Finally, after 700 long, horribly mismanaged years, the calendar was divided into our modern 12 months. 2. Where Do the Names of the Months Come From? The short answer is Rome, but the long answer is much more interesting. Remember Romulus’ 10-month calendar? Well, September, October, November, and December simply mean “seventh month,” “eighth month,” “ninth month,” and “tenth month” in Latin, respectively. But these names no longer made sense after the later additions of January, named after the Roman god Janus, and February, named after the Roman purification festival Februa. As for the rest of the months, March is named for the Roman god Mars, April after the Greek goddess Aphrodite (though there’s some debate about whether it might be based on the Latin word aperio, which means “I open” in relation to spring flowers), May after the Greek deity Maia, and June in honor of the powerful Roman goddess Juno. The names of the last two months come from a few powerful Romans who got a little full of themselves. In 44 BCE, the month Quintilis (which means “fifth” in Latin) was changed to July in honor of Julius Caesar. His heir, Augustus, received the same honor in 8 BCE, when Sextilis (you guessed it, meaning “sixth” in Latin) was changed to August. 3. Why Is February the Shortest Month of the Year? February has fewer days because of the superstitions of ancient Rome. In the late eighth century BCE, Romans — including their king Numa Pompilius — held a superstition that even numbers were somehow unlucky. Although he created a version of a 12-month calendar, Pompilius realized there was no mathematical way for every month to have an odd number of days and for the total number of days in the year to also be odd. So while the other months were either 29 or 31 days long, February became the unlucky month to have only 28 days, making Pompilius’ calendar the apparently-less-scary number of 355. In 45 BCE, Caesar — disregarding Pompilius’ fear of even numbers — added days to a number of other months, but not February. Some experts believe Caesar didn’t want to disrupt the important festivals that took place in that month and so he just let it be. But with the introduction of the Julian calendar, February did receive a consolation prize in the form of an additional day every four years. Speaking of which … 4. Why Do We Need a Leap Day? A year isn’t 365 days, it’s actually 365.24219 days. Because of our planet’s frustratingly imperfect solar orbit, calendars need small adjustments as the years pass to keep in alignment with equinoxes and solstices. Ancient astronomers and mathematicians figured that waiting four years and then adding a day made the most sense. In 45 BCE, Julius Caesar introduced the modern leap year, which added an extra day in February every four years (though originally that extra day was added between the 23rd and the 24th). This moved the calendar closer to solar reality at 365.25 days. Close, but not close enough — which is where the pope comes in. 5. Who Made the Modern Calendar? In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII had a problem. As head of the Catholic Church, he realized that Easter — his religion’s holiest day — had drifted 10 days off in relation to the spring equinox, which is supposed to be used to calculate Easter day. That’s because Caesar’s small mathematical error had grown exponentially larger when stretched across 1,600 years. Gregory XIII needed a very slight adjustment to the calendar, just enough to nudge it closer to that magical 365.24219 number. First, Gregory XIII lopped 10 days off the calendar to set things straight, then tweaked the leap year. Now, whenever a new century began that wasn’t divisible by 400 (i.e. 1700, 1800, 1900), no extra day was added. This edged things just enough in the right direction that this new calendar, named the Gregorian calendar, was now 365.2425 days long — close enough. Catholic nations adopted this new calendar immediately, but the Protestant British Empire, along with its American colonies, didn’t sign on until 1752. Today, the Gregorian calendar is used in nearly every country. 6. When Did We Start Using B.C. and A.D.? Before the invention of A.D. (“anno domini,” which means “in the year of our Lord”) and B.C. (“before Christ”), years were often tracked by the reigns of pharaohs, kings, and emperors. In a way, B.C. and A.D. still reflect this system but focus on just one moment — the birth of Jesus. It’s difficult to trace the exact origins of this system, but one of the earliest recorded uses of “anno domini” occurs in 525 with the work of Dionysius Exiguus, a monk who was trying to determine what days Easter would fall in future years. Crucially, he started his tables with the year 532, stating that this year was “from the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The conception of “B.C.” is slightly murkier. Some believe the Venerable Bede, the famous medieval English historian, was the first to use it, or at least greatly popularized it in his 731 work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Others point to a 1627 work by a French Jesuit who used “ante Christum” to describe the pre-Jesus years. The terminology became more widespread during the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, who used it as a standard form of dating across Europe in the ninth century. Within the last few decades, more publications and organizations have opted to strip the years of their religious connotation, preferring BCE (Before the Common Era) and CE (Common Era) over the traditional B.C./A.D. system, although the move is not without some controversy. But this subtle change in phrasing doesn’t alter the fact that the world still counts the years in accordance with the birth of Jesus. 7. Why Is a Week Seven Days? The seven-day week is a timekeeping oddity. Unlike days, months, and years, the week doesn’t align with any celestial reality, and it doesn’t divide elegantly into existing periods of time. For example, there aren't 52 weeks in an average year — there are 52.1428571429. So how did this happen? Babylonians, the ancient superpower of Mesopotamia, put a lot of stock in the number seven thanks to the seven observable celestial bodies in the night sky — the sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. This formed the seven-day week, which was adopted by the Jewish people, who were captives of the Babylonians in the sixth century BCE. Eventually, it spread to ancient Greece and elsewhere thanks to the battle-happy Macedonian Alexander the Great. Efforts have been made throughout history to reform the seven-day week, but this oddball unit of time has become ingrained in many religions, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, rendering any sort of tweak pretty unlikely. Source: Crazy Facts About Calendars | Calendar Questions Explained
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    What's the Word: GAINSAY pronunciation: [gayn-SAY] Part of speech: noun Origin: Middle English, 14th century Meaning: 1. (formal) Deny or contradict (a fact or statement) 2. Speak against or oppose (someone) Example: "It’s hard to gainsay the importance of U.S. blues musicians to 1960s British rock ‘n’ roll." "The prosecution’s clear evidence gainsays the defendant’s version of the events." About Gainsay In Old English, the terms “gęgn-“ and “géan” both implied reversal or opposition. Adding “gain-” as a prefix to “say” implied “to say in opposition.” This meaning of “gain” is also recognizable in the word “against.” Did You Know? The Oxford English Dictionary describes “gainsay” as “now a purely literary word,” but the term appears frequently enough to be familiar. Its most common form is expressed in the negative as a confirmation of unarguable opinion. For example, an argument “cannot be gainsaid,” or “no one may gainsay” a well-supported opinion. In both cases, the inability to gainsay is confirmation of truth.
  48. 1 point
    What's the Word: IMPREST pronunciation: [IM-prest] Part of speech: noun Origin: Italian, mid-16th century Meaning: 1. A fund used by a business for small items of expenditure and restored to a fixed amount periodically. 2. A sum of money advanced to a person for a particular purpose. Example: "The business has a specific imprest fund." "Charlotte was clear that she was offering her friend an imprest for her bills." About Imprest This term stems from the earlier phrase “in prest,” meaning “as a loan,” likely influenced by the Italian or medieval Latin “imprestare,” meaning “lend.” Did You Know? “Imprest” is pronounced exactly like another, more common word in the American lexicon: impressed. But they have two very different meanings — while an “imprest” is related to loans and business funds, “impressed” means either “feeling or showing admiration or respect for someone or something” or “applied to something using pressure,” depending on the context.
  49. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - TEETH Did you know.... that teeth are a very important part of your body. Without your teeth, you would not be able to smile, eat the food you love, or talk to people. We all know that seeing your dentist and brushing your teeth regularly will keep your teeth healthy, but do you know these fun facts? (Reno Dental Associates | May 29, 2019) Interesting (and Weird) Facts About Teeth by Interesting Facts When it comes to teeth, there's always something new to learn. Innovations like fillings and toothbrushes had a long and rich history before they reached our mouths, and cultural norms can vary wildly — or be oddly similar — throughout place and time. Which famous author became a tooth-removal evangelist? What animals have far more teeth than you’d expect? What kinds of small creatures gather baby teeth in the night? Smile big and read on for eight facts that just might change the way you think about your pearly whites. 1. Tooth Enamel Is the Hardest Substance in the Human Body Move over, bones! The outer layer protecting our teeth is the hardest thing in our bodies. The next layer down, dentin, is also stronger than bone. The trade-off is that teeth have a very limited ability to heal themselves, unlike bones. You can’t put a cast on a cavity, after all. 2. Snails Have Thousands of Teeth Each unassuming snail hides a microscopic secret: between 1,000 and 12,000 tiny teeth protruding from its tongue. They use these teeth to break down parts of their food, and since the teeth are not especially durable, they need to be replaced pretty frequently. This tooth-covered tongue is called a radula, and it's not exclusive to snails. Slugs have them, too, along with some squids. Not all radula are the same, though. Some predatory snails have venomous radula, and the terrifying-looking Welsh ghost slug has razor-sharp (and teeny-tiny!) teeth for eating worms. 3. The Earliest Toothbrushes Came From China Tooth-cleaning goes back thousands of years, with methods including abrasive powder, cloth, and frayed sticks. Bristle toothbrushes emerged in China during the Tang dynasty (618–907 CE); the handles were made from ivory or bamboo. These brushes didn’t catch on in Europe until the 17th century, first in France and later in England. While toothbrushes evolved in design throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, the materials stayed largely the same. Plastic handles came along in the early 1900s, and nylon bristles followed in 1938. 4. It Took a While to Get Americans to Brush Their Teeth It sounds gross, but it’s true: Toothbrushing didn’t become a standard, everyday part of American life until the 1940s. That doesn’t mean all people didn’t brush their teeth — it just wasn’t the standard practice it is today. The tide started to change in the decades prior, though. In the 1910s, schools started implementing dental hygiene programs like toothbrush drills, in which children practiced brushing their teeth with their teachers. Similar programs visited factories to care for workers’ teeth. This wasn’t just benevolence: Employers hoped their workers would miss fewer days of work due to tooth infections. With dental hygiene already becoming normalized, one thing set it over the edge: American soldiers during WWII were required to brush their teeth every day, and brought the habit back home with them. 5. The Oldest Known Dental Filling Is Made of Beeswax In 2012, scientists used the jaw of a Neolithic man to test out some new X-ray equipment — and in the process, made an exciting discovery. The man, who lived 6,500 years ago in modern-day Slovenia, had a filling made out of beeswax. Drilling goes back even further than filling, though; archaeologists have found drill holes in teeth from more than 7,500 to 9,000 years ago in a graveyard in Pakistan. 6. Tooth Pulling Used to Be a Public Spectacle Before modern dentistry existed, the task of tooth extraction in Britain fell to a strange assortment of professions, including blacksmiths, wigmakers, and a very specific kind of sideshow entertainer. Like snake-oil salesmen, charlatan tooth-drawers traveled to fairs and marketplaces wearing silly hats and sometimes even strings of teeth, eager to rip out teeth for curious spectators. They typically made a grand entrance, sometimes on horseback or with a team of assistants. Loud noises were a key part of the act, both to draw a crowd and to drown out the screams of their “patients.” This continued into the 1800s. The alternatives, for what it’s worth, weren’t great either. In the 18th and 19th centuries, you could see a “barber-surgeon” (or later, just a surgeon) to get your painful tooth removed with a tooth key, a clawed device that looks a little like a broken corkscrew. All in all, it was not a great time to have bad teeth. 7. Tooth Fairy? More Like Tooth Mousie Today, the most common American version of the tooth fairy is a small, whimsical figure, typically female, who checks under our pillows at night for lost baby teeth. But the tooth fairy is an early-20th-century invention, and that particular image rose to prominence right as Disney was releasing animated films featuring kind, gentle, feminine fairies. The fairy is likely layered on top of a much longer tradition of offering baby teeth to rats and mice — the hope being that the child’s permanent teeth would grow in as strong as a rodent’s. While this practice appears throughout the world, it’s perhaps most common today in Spanish-speaking households. In fact, a specific tooth mouse named Ratoncito Perez emerged in Spanish lore in the 1800s, and spread throughout Latin America in children’s stories. A similar tooth mouse, La Petite Souris, goes back to 1600s France. In some countries, children make it more convenient for the rodent by placing their teeth in or near mouseholes. The core concept — giving children money in exchange for teeth — dates back to at least the 12th or 13th century, and appears in Norse and Northern European tradition, while other lost-tooth rituals are common throughout the world’s history. 8. Roald Dahl Had All His Teeth Removed — Voluntarily — at 21 Famed author Roald Dahl was strange in many ways, including his strong opinions about teeth. When he was 21 years old and working at Shell Oil, he decided having teeth was just too much trouble, so he visited a highly regarded dentist in London to have them all taken out and an artificial set created. Five years later, he treated himself to extra-fancy new teeth with the sales from Shot Down Over Libya, his first piece of paid writing. This wasn't especially unusual for British people at the time, but it gets weirder: Dahl became a teeth-removal evangelist. He convinced his mother to have all of hers removed. Then he turned to his four living siblings, none of whom actually went for it; this made him impatient and “foul-mouthed,” according to biographer Donald Sturrock. Finally, he convinced his brother-in-law to go — but to Dahl’s surprise, he never got false teeth to replace them. Source: Fun Facts About Teeth | Facts About Teeth
  50. 1 point
    What's the Word: NEEP pronunciation: [neep] Part of speech: noun Origin: Middle English, pre-12th century Meaning: 1. (Scottish, Northern English) A turnip. Example: "Joanna made a creamy neep soup." "Cedric has perfected the art of growing neeps." About Neep This word stems from the Middle English “nepe,” from the Old English “nǣp.” This comes from the Latin “napus,” meaning “turnip.” Did You Know? In Scotland a turnip is called a “neep,” but sometimes so is a rutabaga (which is also called a “swede”). “Neeps and tatties” is a traditional Scottish dish made of mashed neeps and mashed potatoes. It’s usually eaten as a side dish to haggis during Burns Night Supper, which marks the anniversary of Scottish poet Robert Burns’ birth on January 25.
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