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  1. 4 points
    Have a Happy Spooktacular Merry Halloween-mas.
  2. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/q-u-b-e-2/home Q.U.B.E. 2 is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/layers-of-fear/home Layers of Fear: Masterpiece Edition is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/space-beret/ Space Beret is currently free on IndieGala.
  3. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - YOUR BRAIN Did you know... that you have a finite amount of willpower each day because to exercise willpower you need energy in the form of oxygen and glucose? That’s why it’s harder to say ‘no’ when you are tired or not feeling yourself. A thought is a physical pathway in the brain. The more you have that thought the more you groove that path and the easier it is to have it again. That’s why having the thought “Why do I suck?” is never a great idea. Speaking of which, you have approximately 70,000 thoughts per day, although many will be the same ones looping round and round on your grooved cranial highway. So make sure you don’t think, “Why do I suck?” 50,000 times a day, or suck ye shall. Even if you consider yourself a left-brained person, your brain will still switch over to the right side every 90 to 120 minutes and then back again. That’s why even left-brained people can have times of the day when they are more creative and right-brained people can sometimes get their taxes in order. Note: If you want to know how you can tell which side is dominant at any one time, check out Creativity – Guaranteed and you can then plan your time accordingly. Reading out loud to kids accelerates their brain development. Reframing negative events in a positive light literally rewires your brain and can make you a happier person, as can regular meditation. The brain is approximately 75% water, but you should never drink it. Your brain only weighs about 3lbs yet the greedy bastard uses between 20% and 25% of your energy supplies each day. There are approximately 10 to the power of 60 atoms in the universe. Your brain laughs in the face of that figure however, as it has 10 to the power of 1,000,000 different ways it can wire itself up. That’s the number 10 followed up with 1 million zeros, which is to all intents and purposes (for anybody not called Stephen Hawking or Rob Collins), an infinite amount of ways. Speaking of large numbers, there are approximately 1.1 trillion cells and 100 billion neurons in the average human brain. The slowest speed information passes around your brain is approximately 260 mph. And here's a bit of Brain Trivia Your brain was disproportionately large compared to other organs when you were born. That’s why babies look a bit like aliens. Not yours of course, yours are cute, just other people's babies. If you lose blood flow to your brain you will last about 10 second before you pass out. Your brain has no pain receptors which is why if I managed to remove the top of your skull without you noticing I could poke around all day without you feeling a thing. The skull removal may hurt a bit though. Even though we say the amygdala regulates danger, the cerebellum motor control, and the limbic system emotions etc, this is somewhat misleading as no part operates independently and all need other parts of the brain to get their job done. Your peripheral vision improves at night which is why pilots are taught to use their peripheral vision when looking for traffic. To read more on this topic, click here.
  4. 2 points
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/alan-wake-american-nightmare/home Alan Wake's American Nightmare is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/observer/home Observer is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/silent-gentlemen/ Silent Gentleman is currently free on IndieGala. https://freebies.indiegala.com/nuclear-contingency Nuclear Contingency is currently free on IndieGala. https://freebies.indiegala.com/a-detectives-novel/ A Detective's Novel is currently free on IndieGala.
  5. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - BLOOD FALLS Did you know... that in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica is a big glacier named Taylor. From the Taylor oozes out a nearly frozen waterfall which is bright red in color. The color of the waterfall resembles the color of blood. This is why it has been named as Blood Falls and Taylor is known as the glacier that weeps blood or the glacier that bleeds. Just to let you know, Antarctica’s Dry Valleys are one of the most hostile environments on planet Earth and still, scientists have found out that the water from Blood Falls, which is unique for being almost devoid of oxygen, is the home for 17 different types of microbes. The red water oozing out from the glacier flows onto Taylor Valley’s West Lake Bonney’s frozen surface. The water oozing out from the glacier’s tongue is hypersaline and is rich in iron. It was Griffith Taylor, an Australian geologist who first found the Blood Falls back in 1911 while exploring the glacial valley. That’s why, both the glacier and its valley are named after him. The question was, what caused the blood red color? Initially pioneers blamed it on red algae but later studies revealed that the color was because of iron oxides present in the water. The Blood Falls is five-story high and sits in Earth’s one of the most inhospitable regions. Let us clarify a bit. In East Antarctica is an area known as Victor Land. In Victoria Land is what is known as McMurdo Dry Valleys or simply Dry Valleys. In the Dry Valleys is the Taylor glacier and the Taylor Dry Valley. Thus, the Blood Falls is somewhere in the middle of vast and completely inhabitable area. In 2009, Jill Mickucki, a geomicrobiologist from University of Tennessee proposed a theory to explain the blood red waterfall. Since then, her explanation has be considered as the most viable explanation for the phenomenon. It was Jill and her team who conducted experiments on the Blood Falls’ water to find that there is barely any oxygen in it and the team found at least 17 different types of microbes thriving in the water. Based on the test results, Mickucki proposed that somewhere deep underneath the glacial ice is a trapped body of water that is some two million years old. It is this trapped water source that provides the water for Blood Falls. There is a very interesting explanation as to how it all began. Scientists say that some 2 million years ago when the Taylor glacier was approaching during the so called Snowball Earth period, an ancient saltwater lake was sitting right on the path of the glacier. Over years, the glacier slid and moved over the lake, trapping the waterbed massive chunk of ice. Ever since then, the saltwater lake stayed trapped in there and so did the ancient microbes community that thrived in the water body. As the glacier covered the entire lake beneath hundreds of meters of ice, the lake was completely cut off from sunlight and oxygen supply. This pushed the microbes’ community to the very edge of extinction. With no sunlight and oxygen, photosynthesis was completely out of question for them. So, they had to adapt to a completely new method of survival. To make things even worse for those microscopic organisms, the water trapped deep below gradually lost all the dissolved oxygen, making it virtually oxygen-free water. On top of that, the water was extremely saline (twice as much as sea water) and had extremely low temperature. The extreme salinity of the water prevented it from freezing into solid ice all these years. Coming to the ancient microbe, Mickucki initially thought that they reverted to sulfate ions for survival. Many bacteria today are known to live on sulfate ions (SO42-). However, after conducting proper tests, Mickucki found that the water of the Blood Falls did not have any hydrogen sulfide! Why hydrogen sulfide? That’s because when bacteria and other microbes use sulfate as energy source, they convert the sulfate ions into sulfide ions (S2-). These sulfide ions are detected as hydrogen sulfide in water. Interesting, hydrogen sulfide was absent in waters of Blood Falls. To rule out the possibilities of any mistakes, Mickucki conducted further tests and this time on the microbes that came out from deep below along with the water of the Blood Falls. Interestingly she did not find dsrA (a particular group of genes that help microbes to use sulfate ions as energy source) in the genome of these primordial microbes. Mickucki took another step and analyzed the different types of sulfate isotopes present in the water and made and astonishing discovery. Based on the proportions of the isotopes, she realized that the sulfate ions in the water have not really depleted over last two million years. To read more on Blood Falls, click here.
  6. 1 point
    It took a long time for anyone to recommend these to me, and I think they deserved to be sooner, so I thought I'd spread some love for two of my favorites... REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA Faced with the death of social protest as a political force, director Ikuhara Kunihiko turned to television as a means to effect social change. But rather than brainwashing children with an ideology, he made a story about being trapped by and eventually freeing your mind from ideology—in this case, gender roles. It is drawn in a very distinctive, romantic art style to match the naïvité of the heroine and features both simple and sentimental music as well as dense "choral rock," a style invented for the show. Unless you're triggered by feminism or a narrative that cruelly mocks its characters, this may be the most satisfying show you ever watch. PERFECT BLUE My body was not ready for the way this film would play with my mind. Director Satoshi Kon was known for blurring the lines between reality and the imagined, a skill that was perfect for making this psychological horror. The protagonist playing a victim in a crime show suffers real trauma. The scenes in her acting job and her real life begin to mirror each other, and she is made to even doubt what she remembers doing the previous day. And we the audience are not objectively observing her, but are experiencing events from her perspective and suffer the same delusions at the hands of the cruel director, cutting from one scene to a scene that shouldn't be related but seems to be, and leaving out the information that could reassure us of our sanity.
  7. 1 point
    The Grudge - Exclusive Official Trailer (2020)
  8. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - ARM WRESTLING Did you know... that arm wrestling can be traced all the way back to ancient Egypt where a painting depicting a type of arm wrestling was found in an Egyptian tomb dating to about 2,000 B.C.? The modern sport is based on a Native American game. In fact, it was usually called "Indian wrestling" when practiced by frontiersman during the 19th century and by children in the 20th century. In addition to what has become known as arm wrestling, there are several other forms of "Indian wrestling." In one, the opponents stand facing one another, with the outer sides of their right feet set together and their right hands interlocked. The object is to throw the opponent off balance. In another, the opponents lie down with their near arms and near legs locked and each tries to force the other's leg down. In arm wrestling, which has now become a genuinely international sport, the opponents are seated at a table, facing one another. They lock their hands (usually the right hands, but there is now also left-handed competition), with their elbows firmly planted on the flat surface, and each attempts to force the others arm down to the table. In addition to being a semi-popular sport among high school and college students, arm wrestling was a tavern sport and the first organized competition was staged by a journalist, Bill Soberanes, in 1952 at Gilardi's Saloon in Petaluma, California. Over the next ten years, it became bigger and bigger. In 1962, the tournament moved to a large auditorium in Petaluma and renamed it the World Wristwrestling Championship. The sport got a major boost from "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles Schulz in 1968. Schulz did a series of comic strips in which Snoopy was headed to Petaluma to try to win the championship. However, in the last strip, he was barred from competition because the rules require that you lock thumbs with your opponent and Snoopy had no thumb. Largely because of that publicity, the championship was televised on ABC's Wide World of Sports in 1969 and became an annual event on the program for 16 years. The World Armsport Federation (WAF), was founded with the United States, Canada, Brazil, and India as the first members. In 1992, the World Armsport Federation (WAF), held its first world championships in Switzerland. Incidentally, although arm wrestling and wrist wrestling are generally considered the same sport, there's one slight technical difference between them. In arm wrestling, opponents grip a peg with the free hand. In wrist wrestling, they grip their free hands across the table. In 2010 Robert Drenk in conjunction with Bill Collins formed the Ultimate Armwrestling League with the Vision of bringing Armwrestling to the Masses, getting the public excited and involved in this sport again is in the makings... Armwrestling is Back!
  9. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - COURT FOOLS AND JESTERS Did you know.... that the Kings and Queens of history have been a confusing bunch, haven’t they? They’ve been respectable, knowledgeable, worthy leaders, and they’ve been shockingly unfit-to-rule disasters. They’ve been as dignified and restrained as Queen Elizabeth II, and they’ve gorged themselves until they were horribly rotund like King Henry VIII. Heck, Henry VIII was both, if you compare the way he composed himself as a Prince with his later behavior as King. There are a lot of misconceptions around monarchs, and around a particular member of their entourage: the court jester. This much-maligned figure of fun is often portrayed as somebody we laughed at, rather than laughed with; the clowns of the past in their silly, bell-adorned costumes. In fact, they were often highly intelligent, savvy entertainers. Before we take a look at what they really were, though, let’s take a closer look at how the court jester tends to be portrayed. Today, the concept of the court jester often evokes images of somebody who would humiliate themselves for the enjoyment of others. Somebody whose foolishness we could take advantage of, have cruel laughs at. A lot of sitcoms have a ‘comic relief’ character, where the source of the humor comes from the fact that they misunderstand what the group at large is talking about or doing. Think Homer Simpson, Joey Tribbiani of Friends or Woody from Cheers, for instance. Barely a brain cell to rub together between them, but some of the funniest characters in their respective shows. Again, though, we’re often laughing at them, not with them. If this how jesters were seen? As people to point and laugh at, like cruel schoolchildren when somebody accidentally calls the teacher ‘mommy’ in first grade? That’s a sweeping generalization, and far from the truth. In reality, the words fool and foolish tend to be misused. To Shakespeare, these people were geniuses! As Chris Wiley writes in his ‘Fooling Around: The Court Jesters of Shakespeare’, “Shakespeare wrote many “fools” into his plays, most of whom were treated respectfully… Distinctions must be made within the category of fools, however: clowns, who turn farce into a precise science (think “pie in the face); dunces, who turn their lack of intelligence into a medium for humor; and finally the princes of fooling, the court jesters, who turn fooling into a respectable profession.” That’s the key thing, here: the court jester, ridiculous as they may look and act, was a crucial and respected member of the court. In fact, they were sometimes given the role of advisor to their King or Queen, relaying information that others dare not. In one famous case in 1340, King Philippe VI’s French fleet has been soundly smashed in a battle with the British navy. His jester was tasked with bringing the King the news, and, carefully considering his delivery, told him, “they don’t even have the guts to jump into the water like our brave French.” Here’s one example of the true role of a court jester: combining their silly antics with wit and a vital role at their monarch’s side. It’s no surprise that we’ve got such a confused idea of what the life of a court jester was all about. After all, they did so many things! It wasn’t all making off-color jokes and jingling your bells. That was just an occasional part of their duties. Even the richest nobles and monarchs weren’t constantly throwing banquets for them to perform at, and they wouldn’t want the same person performing the same routine all the time anyway. As a result, History Extra reports, “medieval jesters only performed occasionally. The rest of the year, they were expected to carry out other duties in the household, such as being keeper of the hounds, or traveling to markets to buy the livestock to feed the family, their servants and their men-at-arms.” There you are, then. As we can see, being a “Fool” sometimes required you to be very, very un-foolish. When all is said and done, though, things aren’t as cut and dried as they may seem. Court jesters often were highly intelligent, contrary to popular belief, but the classic image of the poor soul who’s the butt of all the jokes (as well as the source of them) isn’t necessarily 100% wrong either. History Extra sums the whole thing up best, explaining that distinct kinds of fool emerged during the Middle Ages. “The professional fool employed by a nobleman was usually very astute, educated and generally wore normal clothes, like their masters, rather than the classic fool’s costume,” they explain. At the same time, though, “wealthy or noble families also adopted men and women who had mental illnesses or physical deformities, keeping them almost as pets for their amusement… Often referred to as ‘innocent fools’ and also given titles such as ‘the Queen’s fool’ or ‘Lord X’s fool’, they were not paid, just provided with food, clothes and a place to sleep on the floor.” The stark contrast here just goes to prove: you can’t judge a book by its cover, or a fool by their foolishness.
  10. 1 point
    Thank You Fanatical! Nice discount and I now have completed my collection.
  11. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - HALLOWEEN Did you know... that Halloween or Hallowe'en, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in several countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day? Halloween is a celebration of all things spooky, and in the United States it's surrounded by a few odd traditions like trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. “Jack o'lantern” comes from the Irish legend of Stingy Jack Legend has it that Stingy Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him, but Jack didn't want to pay for the drink so he convinced the devil to turn himself into a coin. Instead of buying the drink, he pocked the coin and kept it close to a silver cross in his house, so the devil couldn't take shape again. He promised to let the devil go as long as he would leave him alone for a year – and if Jack died that the devil wouldn't claim his soul. After a year, Jack tricked the devil again to leave him alone and not claim his soul. Basically, the devil is really gullible in this story. When Jack died, God didn't want such a conniving person in heaven, and the devil true to his word (what a good guy) would not allow him into hell. Jack was sent off into the night with only a burning coal to light his path. He placed the coal inside a carved-out turnip and has been roaming the earth ever since. People in Ireland and Scotland began creating their own creations of Jack's lanterns out of turnips, beets and potatoes. The tradition came to the United States along with the immigrants and people began to use pumpkins, native to North America, for the lanterns instead. Candy corn was originally called Chicken Feed Though many would argue that candy corn tastes like chicken feed, that's not how it got its original name. Created in 1880 by George Renninger, it was sold to the masses by Goelitz Confectionery Company (now Jelly Belly Co.) at the turn of the century. Because corn is what was used to feed chickens, the creation was called Chicken Feed and the box was marked with a colorful rooster. Trick-or-treating comes from“souling” Having children dress up in costume and go door-to-door like little beggars demanding treats is kind of weird. Like several other Halloween activities, the tradition can be traced back to the Middle Ages and the rituals of Samhain. It was believed that ghosts and spirits walked the Earth on the night of Samhain, so people would dress up as spirits themselves in an effort to fool the real deal into thinking they were one and the same. This act was called "guising." As the Catholic Church started supplanting pagan festivals with their own holidays (like All Saints' Day), the act of guising became popular and poor children and adults would go door to door dressed as angels or spirits on Hallowmas begging for food or money in exchange for songs and prayers. This was called "souling." The earliest known reference to the phrase "trick-or-treat" in North America is from 1927 in Alberta, Canada. The most lit jack o'lanterns on display is 30,581 According to Guinness World Records, the highest number of lit jack o'lanterns on display is 30,581 by the City of Keene, N.H. in 2013. The City of Keenne, represented by Let it Shine, has broken the record 8 times over since the original attempt. That's a whole lot of pumpkins! Halloween folklore is full of fortune-telling and magic Old English folklore about Halloween is full of superstition and fortune-telling that still lingers today, like bobbing for apples or avoiding black cats. One piece of folklore says that if a young unmarried person walks down the stairs backwards at midnight while holding a mirror, the face that appears in the mirror will be their next lover. Those people are all dead now. Day of the Dead should really be called Days of the Dead The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, takes place on November 1 and November 2 in Mexico and a few other Hispanic countries. The first day, Dia de los Inocentes honors children that died and family members decorate graves with baby's breath and white orchids. On November 2, Dia de los Muertos, families honor adults who have died and place orange marigolds on grave sites. The original Aztec celebration actually lasted a month long, but when Spanish conquistadors came over to Mexico in the 16th century, they merged the festival with the Catholic All Saints' Day. Today's celebration is a mix of both Aztec rituals of skulls, altars to the dead and food with Catholic masses and prayers. Michael Myers' mask is actually a William Shatner mask The 1978 horror classic Halloween can be easily recognized in just one image: the psychotic Michael Myers in his iconic pale-faced mask. Without a doubt, it's one chilling look that has struck terror in the hearts of pot-smoking, partying teens in slasher flicks. The film was actually on such a tight budget that the crew used the cheapest mask they could find: a $2 Star Trek William Shatner mask. They did spray-paint it white and reshape the eye holes, making Captain James Kirk look incredibly creepy. Gives a whole new meaning to the word "warp." Halloween originated from an ancient Celtic festival According to History.com, the Halloween we know today can trace its roots back to the ancient Celtic end-of-harvest festival of Samhain. During Samhain, people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off evil spirits. In the eighth century, in an effort to spread Christianity, Pope Gregory III decreed November 1 as All Saints' Day and incorporated some of the rituals of Samhain. All Saints' Day was also called All Hallows and the night before, when the traditional Samhain festival used to take place in Celtic regions, was called All Hallows' Eve. Des Moines has a hilarious tradition called Beggars' Night The night before Halloween, young children in Des Moines hit the streets for Beggars' Night. According to an article in the Des Moines Register, the event began around 1938 as a way to prevent vandalism and give younger children a safer way to enjoy Halloween. Beggars' Night is very similar to regular trick-or-treating, except kids are required to tell a joke, poem, or perform a "trick" for a treat. The best part? The jokes are notoriously groan-worthy like, "If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?" "Pilgrims." Get your best dad jokes ready! The White House is haunted The United States' most famous address has had several reports of ghostly appearances and eerie sounds – and that's not even including election years! The most common ghost sighting is of Abraham Lincoln who has been spotted by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands and Sir Winston Churchill. Other paranormal guests include Andrew Jackson, David Burns and Abigail Adams.
  12. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - SPARTA Did you know... that Sparta was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece? In antiquity, the city-state was known as Lacedaemon, while the name Sparta referred to its main settlement on the banks of the Eurotas River in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It is famous for its powerful army as well as its battles with the city-state of Athens during the Peloponnesian War. Unlike their counterparts in the city of Athens, the Spartans didn't study philosophy, art, or theatre, they studied war. The Spartans were widely considered to have the strongest army and the best soldiers of any city-state in Ancient Greece. All Spartan men trained to become warriors from the day they were born. The Spartan Army fought in a Phalanx formation. They would line up side by side and several men deep. Then they would lock their shields together and advance on the enemy stabbing them with their spears. The Spartans spent their lives drilling and practicing their formations and it showed in battle. They rarely broke formation and could defeat much larger armies. The basic equipment used by the Spartans included their shield (called an aspis), a spear (called a dory), and a short sword (called a xiphos). They also wore a crimson tunic so their bloody wounds wouldn't show. The most important piece of equipment to a Spartan was their shield. The biggest disgrace a soldier could suffer was to lose his shield in battle. Spartan society was divided into specific social classes. Spartan - At the top of Spartan society was the Spartan citizen. There were relatively few Spartan citizens. Spartan citizens were those people who could trace their ancestry to the original people who formed the city of Sparta. There were a few exceptions where adopted sons who performed well in battle could be given citizenship. Perioikoi - The perioikoi were free people who lived in Spartan lands, but were not Spartan citizens. They could travel to other cities, could own land, and were allowed to trade. Many of the perioikoi were Laconians who were defeated by the Spartans. Helot - The helots were the largest portion of the population. They were basically slaves or serfs to the Spartans. They farmed their own land, but had to give half of their crops to the Spartans as payment. Helots were beaten once a year and were forced to wear clothing made from animal skins. Helots caught trying to escape were generally killed. Spartan boys were trained to be soldiers from their youth. They were raised by their mothers until the age of seven and then they would enter a military school called the Agoge. At the Agoge the boys were trained how to fight, but also learned how to read and write. The Agoge was a tough school. The boys lived in barracks and were often beaten to make them tough. They were given little to eat in order to get used to what life would be like when they went to war. The boys were encouraged to fight one another. When the boys turned 20 they entered into the Spartan army. Spartan girls also went to school at the age of seven. Their school wasn't as tough as the boys, but they did train in athletics and exercise. It was important that the women stay fit so they would have strong sons who could fight for Sparta. The women of Sparta had more freedom and education than most Greek city-states at the time. Girls usually were married at the age of 18. The city of Sparta rose to power around 650 BC. From 492 BC to 449 BC, the Spartans led the Greek city-states in a war against the Persians. It was during the Persian Wars that the Spartans fought the famous battle of Thermopylae where 300 Spartans held off hundreds of thousands of Persians allowing the Greek army to escape. After the Persian Wars, Sparta went to war against Athens in the Peloponnesian War. The two city-states fought from 431 BC to 404 BC with Sparta eventually triumphing over Athens. Sparta began to decline in the coming years and lost the Battle of Leuctra to Thebes in 371 BC. However, it remained an independent city-state until Greece was conquered by the Roman Empire in 146 BC. Interesting Facts about Sparta Boys were encouraged to steal food. If they were caught, they were punished, not for stealing, but for getting caught. Spartan men were required to stay fit and ready to fight until the age of 60. The term "spartan" is often used to describe something simple or without comfort. The Spartans considered themselves to be direct descendents of the Greek hero Hercules. Sparta was ruled by two kings who had equal power. There was also a council of five men called the ephors who watched over the kings. Laws were made by a council of 30 elders which included the two kings.
  13. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - NFL FOOTBALL Did you know... that the NFL has its beginnings in a league formed in 1920 called the American Professional Football Association? There were 10 teams in the original league, none of which are still part of the NFL. The Green Bay Packers joined in 1921 and would be the oldest and longest running franchise in NFL history. In 1922 the league changed its name to the National Football League. Over the next several years or so many teams would come and go as the sport tried to catch on. The last team to fold was in 1952. In 1959 a rival league was formed, the American Football League (AFL). The AFL was very successful and soon was competing with the NFL for players. In 1970 the two leagues merged together. The new league was called the NFL, but they incorporated a lot of innovations from the AFL. ere are currently 32 teams in the NFL. They are split into two conferences, the NFC and the AFC. Within each conference are 4 divisions of 4 teams each. To see more on the teams go to NFL teams. In the current NFL season (2010), each team plays sixteen games and has one week off called a bye week. The top 6 teams from each conference get into the playoffs with the top two teams getting a bye the first week. The playoffs are single-elimination and the final two teams meet up in the Super Bowl. NFL players weren't required to wear helmets until 1943. The Chicago Bears had 6 tie games in 1932. A 30 second commercial in the 2011 Super Bowl cost around $3 million. More than 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year. They eat around 14,500 tons of chips! The Dallas Cowboys is worth over $1.5B and is one of the most valuable franchises in all of sports. Eli and Peyton Manning are the only brothers to both win the Super Bowl MVP.
  14. 1 point
    What's the Word? - PICARESQUE pronunciation: [pi-kə-ˈresk] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Spanish. early 19th century meaning: 1. Related to a mischievous character --- 2. A type of fiction concerning the adventures of roguish but likeable characters "His new novel was full of picaresque characters getting into scrapes and always escaping the arm of the law." "She wants to settle down and start a family, but she’s constantly drawn to picaresque sorts who will never give up a life of adventure. " About Picaresque Picaresque characters have been popping up in literature for hundreds of years. Beloved classics such as "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Pippi Longstocking" detail the exploits of the roguish title characters. For a more modern take on the picaresque novel, add "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tartt and "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas" by Hunter S. Thompson to your reading list. Did you Know? The Spanish novel "Don Quixote" is an excellent example of picaresque fiction. The word "quixotic," meaning impulsive or unpredictable, was coined in honor of the title character.
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    Fact of the Day - THE CIRCUS Did you know... that the history of the circus is a long one filled with pleasant childhood memories, but despite Hemingway’s glowing endorsement, beneath all that joy and adventure hides a world of sacrifice, hard work, abuse, and even death? Like many words in the English language, the word “circus” comes from Greek, by way of Latin—circus is a Latin word which comes from the Greek kirkos. The word originally meant “ring” or “circle,” and it referred to a place where Romans would hold all kinds of entertainment, whether it was gladiator battles, chariot racing, or feeding Rome’s enemies to the lions. These stadiums would also be used to re-enact legendary battles to allow Romans a chance to pat themselves on the back. In the case of naval battles, some arenas could actually be flooded with water so that ships could sail convincingly. That just might give Cirque du Soleil’s “O” a run for it’s money! While the roman circuses might not have been quite the same as what we call the circus today, their massive popularity is nothing to scoff at. The largest circus in Roman history was the Circus Maximus, in Rome, which was built and re-built several times until it could allegedly hold up to 250,000 spectators. With the fall of the Roman Empire, huge buildings and arenas fell out of fashion, and entertainment shifted to small traveling shows and festivals. The modern circus wasn’t born until until the 18th century (or re-born depending on if you count the Roman circuses as the real start). Ever wonder why the modern circus is shaped like a big ring? Well, the answer lies in a man named Philip Astley. Astley was a cavalry officer who had a talent for performing tricks while on horseback. While he wasn’t the first to do this kind of thing, unlike his rivals or contemporaries, Astley would ride his horse in circles rather than straight lines. He eventually set up an amphitheatre in 1768 where people could pay to see him perform his annular spectacle a big ring (the measurements of which are used in modern-day circuses to this day). He would later hire other performers such as acrobats and jugglers to provide halftime entertainment while he took breaks. For this, Astley has been called the father of the modern circus. Philip Astley’s act became so popular that, in 1773, he built an amphitheatre in London and named it after himself. While it needed to be rebuilt several times due to fire, the building endured until 1893. By then, it had become famous, and was referenced in several famous novels, including works by Jane Austen and Charles Dickens. Contrary to what you might guess, Astley didn’t come up with the term “circus” to describe the ring shaped venue he created—his rivals did. Another equestrian, Charles Hughes, teamed up with writer and actor Charles Dibdin to form the Royal Circus to compete with Astley. All across the world, people are taking action to end the practice of using animals in circuses. Sweden, Costa Rica, India, Finland, Singapore, Switzerland, Norway, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Israel, Taiwan, Malta, Netherlands, and Denmark all currently have nationwide bans on using certain—if not all—animals in circuses. The phrase “to jump on the bandwagon” has its beginnings in the circus. Before the American Civil War, Dan Rice was the most famous circus clown in the country. His shows sold out and he was a known figure in a time without the internet to help make him famous. So, it made sense for Zachary Taylor to ask Rice to endorse his presidential campaign. Rice accepted the offer, and even invited Taylor to campaign on the circus bandwagon, using it to drum up support. This was so successful that other candidates began seeking out their own place on the bandwagon, and the rest is history. Want to know more about the history of the circus? Click here.
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    Fact of the Day - MAPS Did you know.... that maps can be beautiful and good ones can be great investments? But what collectors often find most entrancing about maps are how they provide portals into history. The rise and fall of cities, the charting of war and adventure, the promise of riches through trade ... history continues to be rewritten according to scholars' reinterpretations of ancient cartography. John Selden's 17th-century map of China made a huge splash recently as the stimulus for two new books analyzing London's rise as an economic hub (the city's success is inextricably linked to trade with China, as the Selden map illustrates). Scientists "undiscover" South Pacific island According to some experts, the current unprecedented volume of global travel is also contributing to a burgeoning interest in map collecting. "I believe that as people travel more, migrate more and speak more languages, and as business becomes more globalized, the appeal of two types of attachment to the idea of 'place' increases," says Daniel Crouch, a London based specialist of antique maps and atlases. "One, as an identification with, or memory of, a place or homeland left behind, and the other as a statement of a new 'home' or adopted country, or fondness for a land visited." Crouch reveals some fascinating map facts gathered from a lifetime of collecting and selling antique maps, and shares favorites from his most recent exhibition in Hong Kong featuring maps of China. Even the wealthiest collectors of old master or impressionist paintings, Chinese ceramics or modern art can never hope to have collections of a quality to match the likes of the Louvre, the British Museum or the Met. However, that's not true of maps. The savvy collector can still buy maps or atlases as good as, and sometimes better than, those found in the world's major libraries and museums. "We have several items in our gallery that are at least as good, if not better, than the equivalent examples in, say, the Bibliotheque Nationale, the British Library or Library of Congress," says Crouch, whose gallery keeps approximately 250 maps and 50 atlases in stock at any one time. Antique maps featuring the world's biggest developing countries have seen a recent spike in prices. According to Crouch this heightened interest can be linked to the recently increased inbound and outbound travel from these countries. "Maps of B.R.I.C. nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) have seen the fastest growing markets (and prices) in recent years," says Crouch. "I have also noticed an increased interest in 'thematic' and 19th and even early 20th century mapping," he says. While the earliest maps were rudimentary diagrams drawn in caves in pre-historic times, the first proper manuscript maps appeared in the 12th century. The map of the Holy Land printed in the "Rudimentum Novitiorum," an encyclopedia of world history published in 1475, is considered the first modern printed map. A sample of the Rudimentum Novitiorum was sold for £500,000 ($829,000) in 2013. Ever been to the town of Agloe in New York State? Whitewall in California? Or Relescent in Florida? While these towns are clearly marked on a number of antique maps of the United States, they don't actually exist. "Paper towns" were fake places added to maps by early mapmakers in order to dupe forgers into copying them, thereby exposing themselves to charges of copyright infringement. "The best collection in the world, in my opinion, is that of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France in Paris, followed by the Library of Congress in the United States and the British Library," says Crouch. "Many of what we now regard as the major institutional collections of cartography were actually put together by individuals in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the United Kingdom, the best collection of such material was made by King George III." The latter collection is known as the "K.Top," and can be found in the British Library. The U.S. Library of Congress paid a record $10 million for German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller's Universalis Cosmographia, a wall map of the world printed in 1507. It's the only surviving copy of the map, which was the first to use the name "America." In 2007, Crouch brokered the sale of the most expensive atlas ever sold -- the 1477 Bologna Ptolemy, the first printed atlas -- for £1.9 million ($3.12 million). The annual European Fine Art and Antiques Fair in Masstricht, Netherlands is often considered the world's best place to shop for antique maps, classic and modern art and jewelry. More than 70,000 people visited the TEFAF Maastricht in 2013 to browse the 260 booths from 20 countries. "It's simply the biggest and best fine art fair in the world," says Crouch.
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    Fact of the Day - DUST BUNNIES Did you know... that there's a passage in the Bible that says we're all dust and to dust we will return? What you might not realize is that a little bit of us returns to dust every day. When you find dust around your home, a lot of it came straight from you in the form of skin cells that are constantly flaking off and falling to the ground. So as long as you and your family choose to live indoors, there's going to be at least some dust to clean up. Wright State University professor and researcher Larry Arlian is an internationally recognized expert on dust mites, the tiny, allergy-producing creatures that live and breed in household dust. And Arlian knows quite a bit about dust. Arlian says dust is a complex mixture of a lot of different materials, and a lot of it is unavoidable. The dust on mattresses, bedding and fabric furniture contains a large percentage of skin scales. Carpeted floors hold fewer skin scales, but they still hold a significant amount. Another major dust component is fabric fibers from your clothes, carpets, upholstery and any other fabric that is regularly moved or touched. Got dust bunnies? They are basically dirty balls of fabric fibers. Typically, when we think of dust, we think of dirt, and household dust indeed contains hard particles of minute sand and soil. Plant and insect parts come into the house with soil and sand. Dust is full of finely ground leaf parts, seed pod remnants, mold spores and other plant material. Arlian said that when you examine household dust under a microscope, it is not at all unusual to spot ant heads or other insect body parts. Pets can also add to dust. Like humans, pets shed skin scales, and they also shed fur, cast off feathers, track in dirt and release dander into the air. Pet dander and feathers are both major allergens, Arlian said. One of the best ways to reduce household dust, according to Arlian, is to get rid of carpets. Carpets hold onto dust making it harder to get the dust out of your house. They also produce dust of their own in the form of carpet fibers. Vinyl and leather furniture or wooden furniture produces and harbors less dust than upholstered furniture. Making your house less dusty takes a two-pronged approach: You must get existing dust out of the environment and you must reduce the amount of dust coming in. Using high-quality furnace filters and changing them regularly is one way of reducing the amount of dust that circulates in the air around your house. In cases where family members have serious allergies, it might pay to invest in air cleaning equipment attached to the heating and air conditioning system. The benefits of having your heating system's ductwork professionally cleaned are debatable. A spokesman for the National Air Duct Cleaning Association said recently that air-duct cleaning "could be extremely beneficial" for people with allergies. However, a spokesman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America said, "There is not a lot of evidence that duct cleaning provides a measurable improvement in indoor air quality." Vacuuming regularly helps keep dust down, and many vacuum cleaners available today have high-efficiency filtering systems that keep dust from escaping into the air after it is picked up. Arlian said dusting horizontal surfaces where dust accumulates is also important. "People used to dust with things like cloth diapers, and they just kind of moved dust around," he said. "There are a lot of dusting products available now that do a very good job of trapping dust as they are used." Unseen in the dust where we rest are colonies of eight-legged relatives to spiders and lobsters, mating, defecating and gorging themselves on our cast-off skin. Arlian, who has studied dust mites for more than 30 years, says that by the end of summer our beds and easy chairs are often teeming with microscopic dust mites. He said past studies in homes have found as many as 18,000 mites per gram of dust. Dust mites are more than just creepy; they're harmful. Researchers believe the critters and their waste can cause asthma, coughing, itchy eyes and running noses and may account for about 30 percent of all allergic discomfort. But Arlian said there are some fairly simple ways to drastically reduce the dust mite populations in the homes of people who are sensitive to their presence. First, allergy sufferers should get rid of the carpets in their bedrooms. Next they should purchase dust mite barrier covers for their mattresses and pillows. To kill the mites that live in sheets and pillowcases, bedclothes should be washed weekly in hot water. Arlian said the dust mite's major weakness is that it requires humidity to survive and remain active. He said mite populations crash during winter months when heating systems are active and indoor humidity is low. But their populations rebound in the humid summer. The best way to keep dust mite populations down, Arlian said, is to use a dehumidifier during warm months to keep the humidity in your house below 50 percent.
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    Fact of the Day - LEVIATHAN Did you know... that Leviathan, properly known as Livyatan melvillei, is a prehistoric whale which lived approximately 13 million years ago during the Miocene Period. It was first discovered in 2008 when fossils of Livyatan melvillei were collected from the coastal desert of Peru. It was then named in 2010. Livyatan means Leviathan in Hebrew and melvillei was given as an homage to Herman Melville – the man who wrote Moby Dick. When it was first discovered, it was actually given the name Leviathan, a name of a biblical sea monster. However, at the time it was found to be inappropriate. That’s because another species had already been called this name – a mastodon that is now named Mammut. Which is why Livyatan was given as this whale’s official name, although many paleontologists still refer to it as Leviathan. If you look at Leviathan pictures, then you might come to the conclusion that this whale looked very much like a modern sperm whale. That’s because paleontologists believe that it looked very much like one. However, since they only found the head, they can’t really be sure if the whole body was shaped like a sperm whale’s body. However, scientists do now know that Leviathan was an early ancestor of the sperm whale. Leviathan had a 10-foot long skull, which is a pretty good size. Extrapolating from its skull size, paleontologists are able to estimate that this prehistoric whale was approximately 50 feet long and weighed around 50 tons – or about 100,000 pounds. That means that it was longer than a truck’s semi-trailer and weighed more than 6 times the weight of an elephant. It also had teeth that were 14 inches long. Which means that its teeth were even longer than saber-tooth tigers! One of the most interesting facts about Leviathan, however, is that it didn’t feast on plankton like many whales do. No, it was carnivorous – which means that it ate meat. Paleontologists believe that it is likely that it would have eaten seals, dolphins and maybe even other whales. While paleontologists don’t know how long Leviathan survived as a species after the Miocene Period but they can venture a guess as to why it happened. Scientists believe that changing ocean temperatures led to a widespread decrease in the number of seals, dolphins and smaller whales. This loss of prey eventually led to its extinction. Leviathan is a creature with the form of a sea monster from Jewish belief, referenced in the Hebrew Bible in the Book of Job, Psalms, the Book of Isaiah, and the Book of Amos. The Leviathan of the Book of Job is a reflection of the older Canaanite Lotan, a primeval monster defeated by the god Baal Hadad.
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    Fact of the Day - THANKSGIVING DAY (CANADA) Did you know... that a lot of people think that the holiday is just a Canadian version of American Thanksgiving, but the Canadian celebration actually happened 40 years before the American pilgrims had their dinner? In 1578 the British explorer, and occasional pirate, Martin Frobisher held a feast of thanksgiving in Newfoundland. Frobisher was giving thanks that he and, well, most of his crew had come back from a rough trip through the Arctic looking for the Northwest Passage. After storms and cold and getting lost, Frobisher was sorry he hadn’t found the Passage but very happy to be alive. This meal likely wasn’t too tasty, coming out of ships’ storage mostly salted beef and mushy peas, but it started a tradition of being grateful for what food they had. From 1606 onwards, Samuel de Champlain followed the custom of First Nations harvest festivals and held feasts in the colony of New France attended by French settlers and local Mi’kmaq people. Official celebrations of Thanksgiving moved around a lot – once the day was held in the spring in 1816 to celebrate the end of a war between Britain and France – before becoming an annual Canadian holiday in 1879. Even then it was usually held in the first week of November, often celebrated along with Remembrance Day from the 1920s onwards. Finally in 1957, Parliament settled on making Thanksgiving officially happen every year on the second Monday in October. There’s no required way to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it usually involves a big meal with family and friends at some point over the long weekend. Since the meal happens in the fall, it usually features food that’s around in the autumn, like pumpkins, squash and potatoes. American Thanksgiving is known for being very serious about their Thanksgiving foods and the tradition of having turkey for dinner is one that has crossed the border. It comes out of the old English custom of eating a big goose for special meals, but since the turkey is native to North America, it stepped up and took the goose’s place on the plate with over 3 million birds getting served each year. In Québec the holiday is called Action de Grâce and usually doesn’t involve a big dinner. However you celebrate the day, it’s a good time to take a moment to look around and think about what you’re thankful for. It could be your food or your house or the people around you – or just having a day off school in October! But, did you also know, that Americans did not invent Thanksgiving? It began in Canada. Frobisher's celebration in 1578 was 43 years before the pilgrims gave thanks in 1621 for the bounty that ended a year of hardships and death. Abraham Lincoln established the date for the US as the last Thursday in November. In 1941, US Congress set the National Holiday as the fourth Thursday in November. Frobisher and early colonists, giving thanks for safe passage, as well as pilgrim celebrations in the US that began the traditions of turkeys, pumpkin pies, and the gathering of family and friends.
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    What's the Word? - PHANTASMAGORIA pronunciation: [fan-taz-mə-gohr-ee-ə] Part of speech: noun Origin: French & Greek. early 19th century meaning: 1. A dreamlike state in which images both real or imagined blur together --- 2. A constantly changing series of scenes or events that shift in color and intensity "On the ride home, he unfocused his eyes so that the lights outside his window raced past in a brilliant phantasmagoria." "The speed at which news happens and is communicated can blur into a confusing phantasmagoria of voices." About Phantasmagoria In the 18th and 19th centuries, a form of illusionistic entertainment became popular in which ghostly apparitions were "conjured" using a device called a magic lantern. The technique involved projecting a painting or other image onto a glass pane with an oil lamp. To the unwitting spectator, the flame's flicker in the glass produced an eerie, unsettling effect — or a phantasmagoria. Did you Know? While phantasmagoria is a direct translation from the French phantasmagorie, its origins actually date to Ancient Greece. As a compound word, phantasmagoria blends together the root phantasma, meaning "ghost," with the word agora, meaning "assembly."
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    I think it's extremely likely it will come to PC. Square-Enix has released pretty much all of their modern games to PC at some point: DQ11, FF 10-15, World of FF, etc. It's mostly just a "timed exclusive" for PS4. We'll likely here an announcement for PC release 6 months to a year later. I prefer PC gaming, so I tend to hold off on purchases waiting for eventual PC announcements. It sucks that they're not just upfront about it and announcing it earlier, but I understand it's a business thing and they're more likely to get people to buy the PS4 version and then double dip later by not announcing it upfront.
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    Mine would be as follows: Grant Morrison Kurt Busiek Mark Waid Gail Simone I also like Gaiman as well but I think he's more of a writer who also works on comic books.
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