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  1. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - HELLHOUNDS Did you know... that a hellhound is a supernatural dog in folklore. A wide variety of ominous or hellish supernatural dogs occur in mythologies around the world? Features that have been attributed to hellhounds include mangled black fur, glowing red eyes, super strength and speed, ghostly or phantom characteristics, and a foul odor. (Wikipedia) Hellhounds have been said to be as black as coal and smell of burning brimstone. They tend to leave behind a burned area wherever they go. Their eyes are a deep, bright, and almost glowing red. They have razor sharp teeth, super strength, and speed, and are commonly associated with graveyards and the underworld. If you’re traveling through the countryside at night, a whiff of brimstone or a blood-chilling howl can alert you to the presence of a Hellhound—but we don’t recommend that you look around for the beast. As soon as you lay eyes on one of these dark specters, your days are numbered; you will soon die. What is a Hellhound? A Hellhound is a monstrous dog, leashed to the spiritual world. Nicknamed “Bearer of Death” in some parts of the world, they can often be found guarding the entryways to the afterlife or skulking in the shadows behind a person who is doomed to die soon. Characteristics Physical Description The Hellhound’s appearance varies from region to region, but wherever they pop up, they strike fear into the hearts of witnesses. These phantom canines are considerably larger than a normal dog. A small Hellhound is about the size of a mastiff, while a large one can dwarf horses and bears. Their hair is black as coal, and their eyes glow like angry red or green flames. The most terrifying individuals may have multiple heads or, eerier still, have no head at all. Spotting a Hellhound can be difficult, since they are mostly nocturnal creatures, and their black hair blends in with the darkness of the night. Still, if you keep alert, you might smell a sulfurous odor as the beast gets closer, or you might notice a trail of scorched ground where his path crosses yours. Personality Despite their ferocious appearance, most Hellhounds are more mysterious than hostile. They rarely attack humans unless they are provoked. In fact, even if you wanted to fight one of these monsters (unlikely), it would probably run away or disappear into the mist or shadows before you had time to launch an attack. In some stories, Hellhounds are valiant and devoted guardians. They might be assigned to guard a treasure or sacred ground, in which case they will spend an eternity glowering over their charge. Again, the beasts will only attack if they are provoked—but if you put one toe too close to their treasure, it might be the last move you ever make. Unlike their free cousins, a guardian Hellhound will never back down or run away from a fight. In a few rare cases, Hellhounds have been seen escorting women through the night or escorting souls on their way to the afterlife, to protect them from other monsters that might be lurking in the dark. These accounts seem to show that the canines are soft-hearted and benevolent. However, other rare cases have documented the hounds attacking churches or other religious gatherings, which paints them in a nastier light. Special Abilities The hounds have many supernatural skills that make them both powerful allies and fearsome enemies. To begin with, they have incredible speed and strength, even for large predatory animals like themselves. They can outstrip a cheetah in a race and rip down trees with their claws. They are also masters of disguise, able to conjure up cloaks of mist, shapeshift into various forms, or even vanish into thin air. In cultures that associate fire with hell, the hounds are also able to play tricks with flames. They scorch the ground where they walk, and their claws are as hot as flames when they lash out. They are brilliant at dramatic entrances and exits, conjuring up pillars of fire to transport themselves. Overall, the Hellhound’s most dreadful ability is his uncanny sense for death. If you see a Hellhound, your odds of denying in the next year skyrocket. If you see him three times, you are definitely a goner. It is unclear whether these black specters appear merely as omens of death or if seeing them actually causes death. Either way, they are not a welcome sight! Cultural Representation Greek Mythology According to ancient Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the underworld, kept a monstrous Hellhound named Cerberus at the mouth of the underworld to prevent dead souls from escaping back into the world above. Cerberus, had three heads, with ferocious jaws and eyes, and the tail of a snake. At one point in history, he was captured by Heracles and removed from the underworld, which caused him so much distress (possibly because he was anxious about abandoning his post as a guardian and possibly because he was unused to sunlight) that he vomited poison and howled with grief. Eventually, he was returned to his home. Eastern Folklore In China, a huge black demon-dog, named Tiangou, is blamed for causing eclipses by eating the sun or the moon. In Japan, a wolf-like demon, called Okuri-inu, is said to follow men and women who travel by night. If the traveler has a worthy heart, the Okuri-inu will protect him from other monsters. If, however, the traveler displays cowardice or clumsiness (usually by tripping or falling), the hound will devour him. English Folklore England is haunted by more Hellhounds than any other country. From bustling coastal towns to lonely estates on the moor, each region has its own incarnation of the hound. The Barghest belongs to the Yorkshire area in northern England. He is noted for his talent as a shapeshifter, frequently appearing as a headless woman or a white cat or rabbit, as well as the traditional black dog. He is also less shy than other Hellhounds, and he is quite comfortable loping into a town square. Black Shuck belongs to the coastal areas of Norfolk, Essex, and Suffolk. He is distinguish by an unusual physical trait: he has only one eye, glowing in the center of his forehead. Generally Black Shuck is one of the gentlest Hellhounds, choosing to spend his time protecting women and young girls when they have to travel at night. However, in the sixteenth century, he made an infamous attack on two churches, killing two people and causing the steeple to fall through the roof. The Cŵn Annwn belongs to Wales. Unlike other Hellhounds, who generally travel alone, the Cŵn Annwn travels with a collection of other supernatural characters called the Wild Hunt. When they aren’t joining in the sport of the Wild Hunt, they spend their time guiding lost souls to the Otherworld, a paradise that can be reached after death. The Yeth Hound belongs to Devon. Like some other Bearers of Death, this hound is headless. He rarely interacts with humans, but his wailing cry can be heard by night travelers and is frequently interpreted as an omen of death. The Black Dog of Bouley belongs to England’s channel islands. It is the fastest of all Hellhounds, and it likes to terrify travelers by galloping in circles around them. Sometimes, this monstrous beast can run so fast that it actually creates a storm. The hound is known to wear a broken chain draped around its body, but no explanation of this chain has been given. Scandinavian Folklore In early Norse culture, the god Odin was said to be accompanied by one or two monstrous wolves, who helped protect him from danger. In one epic poem, Odin rides to Hel, the Viking underworld, and encounters a “hound” there who may be guarding the entryway. It’s believed that Odin’s wolves or these hounds may have inspired many of England’s stories about Hellhounds. Long after the Vikings had passed into the pages of history, Scandinavia continued to be haunted by “church grims.” These spectral black dogs guard the churches where they live, protecting it from evil spirits who might try to invade the sacred ground. Native American Folklore The indigenous people of Mexico and Central America have many legends about the Cadejo, a spirit dog that is often seen by travelers, especially at night. Cadejos come in two colors, white and black. The white spirits are benevolent and will protect travelers from harm, but the black spirits are evil and will kill travelers if they have the chance. Both versions of this hound have goat hooves and sometimes horns. They also have a unique gift: they can speak with humans. However, if you listen to them, you will probably go insane. Modern Incarnations The Hellhound is an enormously popular character in today’s fantasy stories. He has appeared in some of the bestselling books of our time: The Hound of Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle, Percy Jackson, by Rick Riordan, Good Omens, by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchet, and Harry Potter, by JK Rowling. He is also a popular character in video games, including Call of Duty and Final Fantasy. Most fantasy writers stick closely to the traditional legends about hellhounds; after all, this mysterious and complex creature gives them plenty of raw material to work with!
  2. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - CHING SHIH Did you know... that Ching Shih, was a Chinese pirate leader who terrorized the China Seas during the Jiaqing Emperor period of the Qing dynasty in the early 19th-century? She commanded over 300 junks (traditional Chinese sailing ships) manned by 20,000 to 40,000 pirates—men, women, and even children. (Wikipedia) The high seas weren't just ruled by male rogues; in fact, there were always plenty of female pirates who reigned supreme in oceans around the world. So, who were the most notorious sea queens of history? One of the baddest was certainly Ching Shih, AKA Cheng I Sao, one of the most successful women pirates to ever pirate. One of the fiercest pirates from China to ever set sail, Ching Shih began life as a sex worker and negotiated her own marriage to a pirate king. After his passing, she ruled over 70,000 sailors, creating a ruthless band of aquatic warriors. Ching Shih didn't start out her career as a pirate; in fact, she began it in a brothel. Called a "flower boat," or floating house of prostitution, the brothel-ship where she worked offered sex galore on the South China Sea. These were also called huafang, and they were places where customers feasted and were treated to theatrical performances before doing the deed. Ching Shih wasn't a sex worker for long before she married a pirate lord named Cheng I in 1801. The conditions of her marriage? She'd have joint control over his pirate fleet. Her lifestyle quickly became that of sea-going royalty. Four years after her wedding, the pair already controlled most of the waters in southern China. But just two years later, in 1807, Cheng I kicked the bucket, leaving his maritime empire up for grabs... and our favorite pirate queen was not about to let anyone else take over what was rightfully hers. After her husband's passing, she controlled numerous fleets, called the Red Flag Squadron. By making allegiances with powerful members of her husband’s crew and appointing a loyal commander of the squadron, this pirate queen commanded up to 70,000 men, including 400 ships. After her husband passed, Ching Shih eventually moved on and took a lover: her adopted son with her late spouse! This son was the second-in-command of the pirate fleet. According to Dian Murray’s article, Cheng I kidnapped the boy, Chang Pao, when he was a teen and initiated him into the pirate gang "by means of a homosexual liaison." The couple eventually adopted Chang Pao and raised him as a member of their family. After Cheng I passed, Ching Shih started a sexual relationship with the 21-year-old Chang Pao. They later married. With the help of her adopted son/lover, Ching Shih created a legal system for her tens of thousands of followers to abide by. These laws regulated the sharing of booty between pirates and put forth a penal code. This penal code was reportedly quite harsh. If you disobeyed a supervisor or took booty from the pirates' pooled treasure stash, you could be executed. All booty had to be registered and inspected before a pirate could keep some of it; the guy who'd captured it typically got about 20% of what he took. Perhaps most interestingly, one of Ching Shih’s major actions as pirate queen was the code of rules that she imposed on the pirates under her command. Among other things, pirates couldn’t disobey orders, they couldn’t steal from their own allies, they couldn’t rape captives, and if they took captives as their wives, they couldn’t abuse or cheat on their new wives. Punishments for breaking the rules included floggings, beheadings, and bodily harm. According to Richard Glasspoole, a British officer of the East India Company that she captured along with seven other British sailors in 1809, "the laws of discipline and civil government are equally enforced on board his (the chief’s) junk, and any transgressions from them immediately punished." Eighteenth- and 19th-century pirate gangs in China weren't only outlaws; they also formed their own political entities, sort of mini-states, in contrast to weakened political structures on the mainland. They were culturally diverse, had their own law codes, and followed their own rulers. But these pirate confederations weren't innocent: they captured rival territory and vessels, took others' cargo, and set up protection rackets. Having had enough of her encroachment on their booty and territory, the Chinese government tried to take Ching Shih down. They enlisted the British to help, but try as they might, no one could capture her. Fed up, in 1810, the government offered their rogue enemy amnesty - a pardon! - if she'd give up her pirate lifestyle. So Ching Shih’s career as a pirate queen came to an end after an intense series of battles with the Portuguese Navy. Surrendering to the Portuguese, Ching Shih was then offered a deal by the Qing Dynasty in China. If the pirates surrendered their weapons, amnesty would be granted to the thousands of pirates under her command, with fewer than 300 of those pirates receiving any sort of punishment for their actions. Ching Shih decided that she’d enough fun over the two years as pirate queen, and accepted the deal to keep her wealth and position. Ching Shih took the offer of pardon from the Chinese government and used her organizational prowess to set up a wealth-making operation of her own. She lived on shore and opened a proto-casino - a gambling house - and bootlegged opium into China until her passing in 1844. Remember Mistress Ching, one of the pirate lords from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise? Well, she was inspired by none other than Ching Shih. Similar to the real-life pirate queen, Mistress Ching had close ties to a brothel (but she ran one) and was an astute and fierce leader. In addition, both women hailed from or eventually lived in Canton. In 2015, actress Maggie Q starred in a Hong Kong drama series titled Captain of Destiny. In this series loosely based on history, Q portrayed a character who was very obviously based on Ching Shih, though the details of her life were liberally adapted. It wasn’t the first time that Q was set to channel Ching Shih’s spirit for the silver screen. The previous year, she’d been set to star as Ching Shih for the limited series Red Flag. After years of taking on the Chinese government, the East India Company, and the Portuguese Navy, it might have baffled some people to think that Ching Shih died peacefully. But that’s exactly what she did in 1844 at the age of 69, surrounded by her surviving family.
  3. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - ARCHERY Did you know... that Archery is the practice of using a bow to propel an arrow through the air, with the intention of hitting a target? Throughout history the bow are arrow has been used as a method of hunting and as a weapon in combat. In recent times archery has become more commonly used as a competitive sport and for recreation. Many mythical heroes and figures were archers, such as Apollo, Cupid, Robin Hood and Wilhelm Tell. Archers even appear in many Chinese myths, African myths, as well as Greek, Roman and German myths. Today there are many types of bows, including compound bows, cable-backed bows, longbows and flatbows. Arrows can be made of wood, bamboo, fiberglass, aluminum, and composite materials. Archery is even a sport in the Summer Paralympic Games. The first known use of bows and arrows in combat was in 2340BC by the Babylonians. It is believed that bows and arrows have been used for at least 25,000 years based upon the discovery of arrowheads in Africa. Archery is considered to be one of the oldest sports in the world. (Archery Facts - SoftSchools) Archery has been one of the most important inventions in history. Though today it is practiced primarily as a sport, archery formed nations (and destroyed some others). Once it was adapted to warfare, generals and kings demanded their citizens be trained at archery to be ready at a moment’s notice if other armies invaded. Once their archers took to horseback, they became lethal weapons which made invading armies think twice. Archery has seen a recent revival across the world, including in pop culture through expert sharpshooter Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. It continues to be a fixture at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In fact, the 1992 Olympic torch was lit by a flaming arrow fired from a Paralympic archer. The first official Paralympic Games were held in Rome in 1960. Eight sports debuted, including archery. Though the sport began for veterans with World War II spinal cord injuries, it has opened up over time to include all athletes. Archery is the national sport of Bhutan, a mountainous Himalayan country just north of India. Almost every village has an archery range, but, since it’s a Buddhist country, archery is only for sport. Famous do-gooder Robin Hood was reputed to be an expert at the bow. Legends of the bowman have become so popular that splitting an arrow with another is now referred to as a Robin Hood. The astrological sign Sagittarius is named after its constellation of the same name (not to be confused with the constellation Sagitta, “the arrow”). This Zodiac sign is depicted as a centaur pulling back on a bow, ready to fire its arrow. Archery began in Ancient Babylon and Egypt as a hunting tactic but was soon adopted in warfare. Once it spread to Asia and the Middle East, its purpose broadened into sport. Mounted archery – the use of bows and arrows while atop a mount such as a horse – gained prominence during the Iron Age. It was a much more efficient killing method than the chariots used during the Bronze Age. It took centuries for archery to advance beyond its basic roots. In the early 20th century, a group of scientists and engineers used high-speed photography to analyze different bow and arrow designs. The culmination was the 1947 book “Archery: The Technical Side” which led to new innovations such as fiberglass bows and making the bow grip more like a pistol handle. When an arrow hits the line between two circles, points are awarded for the higher score. This situation is called a line breaker. A toxophilite is the name for an archer, coming from the Greek words for “lover of the bow”. Toxophily is the study of archery and Toxophilus was the first book written on archery, in 1545 by Roger Ascham. Though archery may look easy to the uninitiated, scoring within the central gold ring is the equivalent to hitting a beer coaster – seven bus lengths away. Archery has long been featured in the mythology of many cultures, from the gods Artemis and Apollo for the Greeks to Osoosi for the West African Yorubas to Arjuna and Shiva for the Hindus. Archers participating in the 1900 Olympic Games used live pigeons as targets. Archery was the first Olympic sport in which women were allowed to compete. Eliza Pollack, a one-time gold and two-time bronze medalist in archery, is the oldest female Olympic medalist, having won in 1904 when she was 63 years old. Archery was revered so highly in Ancient Tahiti that it was considered a sacred sport; only high-ranking Tahitians were allowed to play. Archers shoot with their dominant eye, not their dominant hand. Thus, even if an archer is right-handed, he/she may shoot with their left-hand. Archery was one of the Ancient Chinese Six Noble Arts: the basis of education which also included mathematics, music, and charioteering. Men who perfected the six arts were known as a junzi: “a perfect gentleman”. Over the past few years, archery has experienced renewed popularity in China. Legend has it that King James II banned the sport of golf in Scotland in 1457. Why? He thought men were wasting time playing golf when they could instead be practicing their archery skills. Over a century before, King Henry VIII decreed all men had to practice their archery skills after Sunday church service. With the rise of guns, the use of bows and arrows has declined in hunting. A new field of archery, 3D archery, forgoes the old weapons and has hunters fire at life-sized animal models. If 3D archery wasn’t cool enough on our list of awesomely accurate archery facts, have you heard of ski archery? While skiing cross-country, archers shoot at targets along the trail while slaloming. Modern-day archery has become quite advanced. Nowadays, archers can choose from electronic sights which help them hone in on a target, stabilizers which dampen user movement while shooting, and compound bows where the string’s tension is achieved through a system of pulleys. Most archery competitions require a sharpshooter to carve or engrave their name into their arrows. A long bowman in the Middle Ages could fire an arrow every five-to-six seconds. That’s a rate of up to 12 arrows per minute! This skill helped England trounce the French at the Battle of Crecy (1346) where 2,000 French soldiers were killed compared to 50 Englishmen. It seems the kings’ insistence on archery really took off. The French blame their defeat at the Battle of Crecy on leaving their crossbows out in the rain. They’ve since learned their lesson and are now the country which has competed the most times in Olympic archery. Katniss Everdeen, the sharpshooting archer in The Hunger Games, was taught by five-time U.S. Olympic archery champion Khatuna Lorig. Antonio Rebollo, a Spanish Paralympic archer, lit the Olympic flame at the 1992 Olympics Games in Barcelona by firing a flaming arrow into the cauldron.
  4. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - VALENTINE'S DAY To all Kametsu members, Happy Valentine's Day! Enjoy the Flowers and chocolates!!! Did you know... that Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on February 14? (Wikipedia) Valentine’s Day is celebrated every February 14 as couples across the globe honor their spouses, partners and sweethearts. Hundreds of years of traditions and customs have made it into the holiday that we observe today. Here are nine interesting facts about the holiday dedicated to love. Ah, the most important of Valentine’s Day facts: why it’s celebrated on the 14th of February. February 14 is the feast of St. Valentine, a Catholic saint who was executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II on that date sometime during the third century A.D. Many legends surround the reason for his death sentence. The most popular one says he was a priest who married young couples after Claudius outlawed marriage for young men (apparently they were better soldiers when they weren’t romantically attached). Another says he helped save Catholics who were imprisoned for their religious beliefs. However, the holiday may have been promoted to overshadow the pagan festival Lupercalia. Between February 13 and 15, Romans celebrated by sacrificing a goat and a dog and whipping women with their hides. Crude as it may seem, people believed this made women more fertile, and women actually lined up to get slapped with bloody hides. In the fifth century, Pope Gelasius I outlawed Lupercalia and officially declared February 14 Valentine’s Day. Every year, thousands of romantics send letters addressed to Verona, Italy to “Juliet,” the subject of the timeless romantic tragedy, “Romeo and Juliet.” The city marks the location of the Shakespearean tale, and the letters that reach the city are dutifully answered by a team of volunteers from the Juliet Club. Each year, on Valentine's Day, the club awards the "Cara Giulietta" ("Dear Juliet") prize to the author of the most touching love letter. The Valentine’s Day tradition of giving a box of candy was started in the 19th century by Richard Cadbury, a scion of a British chocolate manufacturing family. With a new technique recently established at the company to create more varieties of chocolate, Cadbury pounced on the opportunity to sell the chocolates as part of the beloved holiday. If you get a box of chocolates this Valentine’s Day, thank Richard Cadbury. After he and his brother took over his family’s chocolate manufacturing business, he discovered a way to extract pure cocoa butter from whole beans and added it to the company’s chocolate drink. The process produced more cocoa butter than expected, so he put it in “eating chocolate” as well. Then, in a business ploy that would change the industry, Cadbury started designing beautiful boxes for his new chocolates, including special Valentine’s Day ones with cupids and roses. It’s believed that he made the first heart-shaped candy box, even though he didn’t patent it. History’s first valentine was written in perhaps one of the most unromantic places conceivable: a prison. Charles, Duke of Orleans wrote the love letter to his second wife at the age of 21 while captured at the Battle of Agincourt. As a prisoner for more than 20 years, he would never see his valentine’s reaction to the poem he penned to her in the early 15th century. Don’t worry, there’s a good reason we call our sweethearts the name of a beheaded priest. Legend has it that when St. Valentine was in prison, he prayed with the daughter of one of his judges and cured her blindness. Before his execution, he wrote her a letter, signing it “From your Valentine.” Whether or not this was a romantic gesture is up for debate. Nevertheless, the signature caught on and is still used to show affection. During the Victorian Era, those who didn’t want the attention of certain suitors would anonymously send “vinegar valentines." These cards, also called penny dreadfuls, were the antithesis of customary valentines, comically insulting and rejecting unwanted admirers. They were later used to target suffragettes in the late 19th and early 20th century. Back in the Victorian era, people expressed their emotions through floriography, or the language of flowers. Giving a certain kind of flower conveyed a specific message, and red roses meant romance. Today, they carry that same symbol of romance—and they’re really cheap. The United States buys huge quantities from large farms in Colombia and Ecuador, where the cost of labor is low. Then they’re transported on refrigerated planes and arrive stateside in just three or four days. The reason these summer flowers bloom in February? Growers control what temperature they’re stored at to make them open in time for Valentine’s Day. In need of more Valentine’s Day facts? Here’s what different rose colors mean. The term “wearing your heart on your sleeve” may have origins in picking a valentine. Smithsonian reports that during the Middle Ages, men would draw the names of women who they would be coupled with for the upcoming year while attending a Roman festival honoring Juno. After choosing, the men wore the names on their sleeves to show their bond during the festivities. The iconic chalky heart-shaped candies that have been passed out lovingly every Valentine’s Day started out as lozenges. According to the Food Business News, pharmacist and inventor Oliver Chase created a machine that would quickly create the lozenges before switching to using the machine to create candy—later known as Necco Wafers. Chase’s brother came up with the idea to print messages on the candy in 1866, and the candies got their heart shape in 1901, appealing specifically to Valentine’s Day sweethearts. In 2019, the Sweetheart brand of conversation hearts was suspended for a year as the candy’s new owner, Spangler Candy Co., needed time to make a supply of the hearts for Valentine’s. The chubby baby with wings and a bow and arrow that we call Cupid has been associated with Valentine’s Day for centuries. However, before he was renamed Cupid, he was known to the ancient Greeks as Eros, the god of love. Eros, the son of Greek goddess Aphrodite, would use two sets of arrows—gold to make people fall in love and lead to make people hate each other—to play with the emotions of his targets. It wasn’t until stories of his mischief were told by the Romans added him to their mythology as Cupid, the son of Venus, who was the goddess of love. He was considered somewhat of a sex symbol since he could woo humans and gods with his unnaturally good looks. During the Renaissance, artists painted Cupid as a putto, a cherub that resembled a naked child. Unfortunately for Cupid, that depiction stuck and went on to become a popular image for Valentine’s Day. The idea of using a kiss to sign off on valentines also has a long history, according to the Washington Post. The use of “X” came to represent Christianity, or the cross, in the Middle Ages. During the same time, the symbol was used to sign off on documents. After marking with an X, the writer would often kiss the mark as a sign of their oath. As the gesture grew among kings and commoners to certify books, letters and paperwork, these records were described as having been “sealed with a kiss.” If we were anatomically correct when we drew hearts, the result would be a complex clump of valves and muscles. While the shape we’re more familiar with is a lot easier to draw, no one really knows the origin of the heart shape. One possibility is that it resembles the now-extinct plant silphium. Once found in the African city-state Cyrene, the plant was used as food coloring, a cough syrup, and most notably, a contraceptive. The shape’s association with sex eventually turned into one of love. The other suggestion is actually anatomical in nature. Some have thought the shape to be a representation of breasts, buttocks, sexual organs, or an inaccurate depiction of a real heart. Red has long been considered the color of passion and sexuality, and science can now confirm it. A study by University of Rochester psychologists found that men viewed women wearing red or standing in front of a red background as significantly more attractive and sexually desirable than women wearing or standing in front of different colors. Women felt the same way about men wearing red. The color also symbolizes confidence, spontaneity, and determination—all important factors in a romantic pursuit.
  5. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - THE WIZARD OF OZ Did you know... that In the original 1900 Wonderful Wizard of Oz novel, written by author L. Frank Baum, the titular magic man revealed that his full name was actually much longer: Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs? In the story, Oz, as he calls himself, explains, "It was a dreadfully long name to weigh down a poor innocent child, and one of the hardest lessons I ever learned was to remember my own name. When I grew up I just called myself O.Z., because the other initials were P-I-N-H-E-A-D; and that spelled 'pinhead,' which was a reflection on my intelligence." It was the quintessential Golden Age of Hollywood film: Lovable characters (yes, even the bad guys), catchy song-and-dance numbers, and a story that still makes audiences cry 80 years after its initial release. The Wizard of Oz is an often-imitated but never-duplicated cinematic treasure (in this age of the multiple remake, that’s saying something) that remains an integral part of childhood decades after it first enchanted audiences in theaters. Based on L. Frank Baum's wildly popular 1900 children’s book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the iconic MGM film from 1939 is still a gift that keeps on giving with its innumerable catchphrases (“There’s no place like home,” “It’s a twistah! It’s a twistah!” “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!”), and timeless songs like “Over the Rainbow” and “We’re Off to See the Wizard.” Many movies have tried to top that magical, life-changing moment when farm girl Dorothy Gale (a 16-year-old Judy Garland) opens the door to Munchkinland and trades her drab, sepia-toned Kansas life for one of boundless Oz Technicolor—and none has yet succeeded. But as with any other classic movie, The Wizard of Oz has its share of triumphs, tragedies, and trivia. Read on for some of some insights into this venerated Hollywood masterpiece. 1. More so than the braids, the toy Toto, or even the blue-and-white gingham dress, those sparkly ruby-red shoes are the key to any Dorothy Gale costume. But one of the most important images of the enduring Wizard of Oz mythos did not come from the mind of author L. Frank Baum, but instead from Oz screenwriter Noel Langley. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book series, Dorothy’s shoes were made of silver. However, Langley recommended the slippers be changed to ruby for the film due to the fact that the bright red hue would show up much better against the Technicolor yellow brick road. The silver shoes did make a comeback nearly 40 years later, when The Wiz was adapted for the big screen and Diana Ross’s Dorothy kicked it old-school for her Oz footwear. 2. Victor Fleming may be the one officially credited onscreen, but The Wizard of Oz can boast four directors. The first, Richard Thorpe, was fired after less than two weeks. George Cukor was brought in next, but he was summoned away to go work on—of all projects!—Gone With the Wind. Then Fleming stepped in, until he too was called over to assist with Gone With the Wind, and King Vidor was hired to complete the movie. 3. And he wasn’t too happy about it. Ray Bolger felt his signature, loose-limbed dancing style would be stifled as the rusted-stiff Tin Man (“I’m not a tin performer. I’m fluid,” said Bolger of the part). So he managed to convince the actor cast as the Scarecrow, Buddy Ebsen, to switch roles. Considering Ebsen was so easygoing about the change, it seemed like this was all meant to be. Or not ... 4. Nine days into production on The Wizard of Oz, Ebsen found himself in the hospital, unable to breathe from the aluminum-powder makeup he wore as the Tin Man (cue the “Nice going, Bolger,” here). "My lungs were coated with that aluminum dust they had been powdering on my face," Ebsen explained in the book The Making of The Wizard of Oz. The actor, who would go on to star in The Beverly Hillbillies TV show in the 1960s, was subsequently replaced by Jack Haley (whose Tin Man makeup was tweaked from a powder to a paste). 5. Ebsen wasn’t the only one who had a near-fatal experience with his Oz cosmetics. Actress Margaret Hamilton, who played the green-skinned Wicked Witch of the West, suffered a second-degree burn on her face and a third-degree burn on her hand while filming her character’s dramatic, fiery exit from Munchkinland. Hamilton learned after the fact that her makeup was copper-based (read: toxic), and that if it hadn’t been removed immediately, she may not have lived to tell the tale. 6. Judy Garland’s Dorothy will always be remembered for her simple farm-girl look (and the subtle Emerald City makeover later in the movie), but when production first began on The Wizard of Oz, Garland was given the traditional Hollywood treatment. That meant a bouncy, blonde wig and tons of makeup. Fortunately, for the film’s legacy, Glam Dorothy didn’t last long. It was interim director George Cukor who did away with the wig and cosmetics, turning Dorothy back into what she was all along: A girl from the Kansas prairie. 7. Most of the main actors in The Wizard of Oz played two roles: A Kansas character and his or her Oz counterpart. This meant Ray Bolger (Scarecrow), Jack Haley (Tin Man), and Bert Lahr (Cowardly Lion) doubled as farmhands, and Margaret Hamilton got wicked in both Kansas (Miss Gulch) and Oz (the Witch). But Frank Morgan, who portrayed the shady Professor Marvel in the Kansas scenes (and was only billed for that role in the credits), not only showed up in Oz as the Wizard, but also as the uppity Doorman to the Emerald City, the Horse-of-a-Different-Color-owning Cabbie, and the snippy (later, sobbing) Wizard’s Guard. 8. In 1975, former kindergarten teacher Margaret Hamilton was a guest on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. On this episode, Hamilton spoke with Fred Rogers at length about her celebrated—albeit frightening—role, as a way to help children watching at home understand that her playing the Wicked Witch, in the words of a familiar Neighborhood term, was all “make-believe.” Hamilton discussed how kids could better sympathize with the Witch’s perspective by explaining her misunderstood nature: “She’s what we refer to as ‘frustrated.’ She’s very unhappy because she never gets what she wants.” (A prescient Hamilton was also hitting on the concept for the novel—and subsequent musical—Wicked here, 20 years before its publication.) The actress then ended her visit with Mr. Rogers in the coolest way possible: Dressing up in a Wicked Witch of the West costume (sans green makeup) and briefly slipping into her mischievous cackle. 9. Back in 1910, a 13-minute silent film called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was produced. By today’s standards, it’s delightfully creepy, but 105 years ago, it was probably a revelation for audiences. The movie also took a lot of liberties with Baum’s original story, which can be discombobulating for modern viewers. In this version, Dorothy and the Scarecrow are already pals by the time they’re both swept up in the (very primitive-looking) cyclone for their journey to Oz. The movie also ends with Dorothy ditching Kansas and opting instead to stick around this far more exciting magical land. “There’s no place like–Oz?” Another silent film, also called The Wizard of Oz, was released in 1925 and featured a young Oliver Hardy in the role of the Tin Woodsman. It, too, deviated significantly from the book. 10. Ay one point, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin man and the Cowardly Lion were doing a 1939 dance craze: The Jitterbug. But you never got to see it, because the entire sequence was cut from Oz for time (plus there’s the theory that producers felt inserting an up-to-the-minute dance craze would date the film). Right before the Wicked Witch’s Flying Monkeys descend upon Dorothy and her friends in the Haunted Forest, the group was supposed to be attacked by an insect (“The Jitterbug”) that would make them dance uncontrollably. In fact, at the start of the clip above, you can still hear the Witch comment to one of her monkeys, “I’ve sent a little insect on ahead to take the fight out of them” (continuity be damned). Full audio of the “Jitterbug” song still exists, as well as some very raw footage. The “Jitterbug” song-and-dance number has also been reinstated in some stage versions of The Wizard of Oz (including a 1995 high school production that featured the writer of this piece). 11. Margaret Pellegrini, who portrayed one of the Munchkins in the film, said that she was paid $50 a week to work on Oz. In 1939, that was a decent wage for a working actor. Trouble was, Dorothy’s canine companion was pulling in a whopping $125 a week. That had to make things awkward on set. 12. One day after Germany invaded Poland (thus beginning the Second World War), Iowa’s Mason City Globe Gazette ran an article heralding The Wizard of Oz’s run at the local movie house. As a way to both increase morale and ticket sales, Oz was billed as the perfect escapist fantasy for those worried about the events overseas. The actual headline read: “War Nerves? See The Wizard of Oz for a Genuine Rest.” Glinda the Good Witch and her cohorts may not have been able to solve the problem of encroaching Nazism, but at least they provided a couple hours’ worth of comfort away from the horrors of the real world. 13. Another casualty of the cutting room floor, this extended “If I Only Had a Brain” sequence showcased Ray Bolger’s deft control over his seemingly elastic body. It is also extremely trippy and gave the Scarecrow the inexplicable ability to fly—which wasn’t going to gel with the rest of the movie (if the Scarecrow could fly, then why didn’t he go one-on-one with the Wicked Witch?). Luckily for Berkeley, the decision to delete this part of the scene in no way hurt the legendary director-choreographer’s place in the annals of movie musical history. 14. It’s not easy being green, as Margaret Hamilton can attest. The Wicked Witch actress’ sorry excuse for a dressing room was a canvas tent that, in Hamilton’s words, was “simply awful.” But Billie Burke, who portrayed Glinda the Good Witch, had her own thin slice of pink-and-blue-hued heaven on the MGM lot that was probably decorated by Glinda herself (in reality, Burke was the widow of vaudeville impresario Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. and knew a thing or two about glamorous living). “She had a pink and blue dressing room,” said Hamilton in The Making of The Wizard of Oz. “With pink and blue powder puffs and pink and blue bottles filled with powder and baby oil. And pink and blue peppermints.” So on days Burke wasn’t on set, Hamilton admitted to eating her lunch in her co-star’s palace-like inner sanctum. 15. At 10 years old, Shirley Temple fit the little-girl profile of Dorothy Gale much more than the teenaged Judy Garland. She was also a box office sensation who could guarantee packed movie houses. So it made good business sense that some of The Wizard of Oz's producers were considering the child star for the role. But the official reason for why Temple ultimately didn’t end up as Dorothy remains a part of Hollywood lore: it could have been because 20th Century Fox wouldn’t loan her to MGM for the film, or because Temple was supposedly part of an inter-studio trade with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow that fell through upon Harlow’s death in 1937. Also, while Temple may have charmed movie audiences with her cherubic renditions of “On the Good Ship Lollipop,” she didn’t stand a chance when going up against a vocal powerhouse like Garland. 16. Today, it would be considered abuse and grounds for immediate dismissal. But 76 years ago, slapping your star across the face was not only condoned, it actually produced results. When Judy Garland couldn’t get her giggles under control when Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion made his big entrance, director Victor Fleming didn’t have time to play games.He took Garland aside, whacked her on the cheek, and then ordered her to “Go in there and work.” 17. When Dorothy and her friends arrive in the Emerald City, they take a scenic tour around the fun-filled town courtesy of a cabbie and his Horse of a Different Color. In order to achieve the horse’s purple, then red, then yellow hue, the production team created a Jell-O-based tint that wouldn’t be harmful to the animals on set (yep, the ASPCA was involved). The gelatin powder worked wonders, except for the fact that the horses couldn’t stop licking its sugary sweetness off their coats! 18. After Disney’s first-ever feature-length animated movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, did gangbusters at the box office following its 1937 release, MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer was determined to follow in Uncle Walt’s fairy-tale-to-screen footsteps. And once Mayer was in production on The Wizard of Oz, the Snow White influences were hard to avoid. Actress Gale Sondergaard was tested as the Wicked Witch of the West, with the intention that the character would be a sultry villainess à la Snow White’s Evil Queen. But even though producers ultimately decided that “Bad witches are ugly”—and Sondergaard lost out on the part—Snow White still literally managed to sneak into the picture unseen: Adriana Caselotti, who voiced Snow White in the Disney movie, sang the line“Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” during the Tin Man’s lament, “If I Only Had a Heart.”
  6. 2 points
    Fact of the Day - VIOLET KING HENRY Did you know... that Violet Pauline King Henry, lawyer (born 18 October 1929 in Calgary, AB; died 30 March 1982 in New York, NY). King was the descendant of Black settlers from the United States. Her life consisted of several important milestones. She was the first Black Canadian to obtain a law degree in Alberta, the first Black person admitted to the Alberta Bar and the first Black woman to become a lawyer in Canada. She was also the first woman appointed to an executive position with the YMCA in the United States. (The Canadian Encyclopaedia) Violet King, the first Black woman admitted to the Alberta Bar, and to practise law in Canada. E.J. McCormick, with whom she articled, shakes her hand, 2 June 1954. Early Life Violet King was born 18 October 1929 in Calgary, Alberta. Her paternal grandparents moved to Keystone (now Breton), Alberta, from Oklahoma in 1911. They were drawn to Canada after discovering the federal government’s campaign to entice American farmers to immigrate to the country. However, the Canadian government didn’t expect Black farmers to also answer this call. The government quickly moved towards discouraging Black immigration and thus limited the total number of Black immigrants to the Canadian Prairies to only about 1,000 by 1912 (see Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324 — the Proposed Ban on Black Immigration to Canada). King’s parents, John and Stella, moved to Calgary in 1919 and lived in the community of Hillhurst-Sunnyside. John worked as a sleeping car porter with the Canadian Pacific Railway and Stella worked as a seamstress. They had four children together, Violet, Vern, Lucille and Ted, who launched a legal challenge against a Calgary motel’s discriminatory policy in 1959. Violet King attended Crescent Heights High School and became president of the Girls’ Association in Grade 12. At a young age, King knew she wanted to pursue a legal career. Her Grade 12 yearbook caption read: “Violet wants to be a criminal lawyer.” DID YOU KNOW? Violet King’s brother Ted was the president of the Alberta Association for the Advancement of Coloured People (1958-61). In 1959, Ted King launched a legal challenge against a Calgary motel’s discriminatory policy, decades before human rights protections existed throughout Canada. The case made it to the Alberta Supreme Court. Though it was not successful, King’s case exposed legal loopholes innkeepers could exploit in order to deny lodging to Black patrons. Ted King, centre, is met by his parents on his return to Calgary, Alberta. From left to right: John King, Della Mayes, Ted King, Stella King, and Violet King. Photo dated 21 March 1946. Higher Education Violet King attended the University of Alberta in 1948. To finance her studies, she taught piano lessons in Edmonton. Out of 142 students, King was one of only three women in the Faculty of Law. She was a member of the Blue Stocking Club — a discussion group for women with an emphasis on history and public affairs. The club was likely inspired by the Blue Stockings Society, an informal group of intellectual women who discussed timely topics and issues in 18th-century England. She was vice-president of the students’ union and representative of the students’ union to the National Federation of Canadian University Students. In 1951-52, during her undergraduate studies, King was selected as class historian and served as the 1952 Alberta representative to the International Student Services Conference held in Hamilton, Ontario. That same year, King was one of four students to receive an Executive “A” gold ring during Colour Night, an annual event to celebrate students’ contributions to the University of Alberta. The other three students to receive the honour were Peter Lougheed, the future premier of Alberta (1971–85), Ivan Head, advisor to Pierre Trudeau, and Garth Fryett, a prominent Edmonton lawyer. King obtained a bachelor of arts degree in 1952 and received her LLB degree in 1953. She was the first Black person to graduate from law school in Alberta and the only woman in her graduating class (see Women and the Law). Legal Career Following graduation, Violet King articled in the Calgary firm of Edward J. McCormick, QC, a well-known criminal trial lawyer (see Criminal Law). King later recalled working on five murder trials during her year articling with McCormick, a substantial caseload. King was called to the Alberta Bar on 2 June 1954 and became the first Black female lawyer to practise law in Canada. Her admission made headlines in several local newspapers. Two Calgary publications described it as a milestone in Canadian history. (It was not until nearly 10 years later that Lionel Jones was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1963 — the second Black lawyer in the province.) King was also treasurer for a local labour union, the Calgary Brotherhood Council. Just after being called to the Bar, the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and Maids, the first labour union organized by African-Americans to be affiliated with the American Federation of Labor, recognized her achievements (see also Sleeping Car Porters in Canada). The president and a vice-president travelled from New York and Detroit to make a presentation to King in Calgary. Violet King presented with a purse by the Calgary local of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (IBSCP), June 1954. Left to right: King, Philip Randolph (president of the IBSCP), Bennie Smith (second vice-president of the IBSCP) and Roy Williams. DID YOU KNOW? Railway porters took care of passengers on trains. This was one of the few occupations available to Black Canadian men from the 1870s to the First World War. Black porters had to fight to form their own union, The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, after being denied representation by the White union. Violet King’s father and brother Ted both worked as porters. King practised law in Calgary for several years. She worked at a firm headed by A.M. (Milt) Harradence, QC, a Canadian criminal lawyer and later a judge of the Court of Appeal of Alberta (see Courts of Law in Canada). King spoke publicly about racism in the workplace at least once. In a speech delivered at the Beta Sigma Phi sorority banquet in Calgary, in November 1955, she remarked, “It is too bad that a Japanese, Chinese or colored girl has to outshine others to secure a position.” She also described the challenges women had faced in the work force to that point, and expressed hope that in future greater focus would be placed on a person’s ability and less on one’s race or gender (see Prejudice and Discrimination). Violet King was guest speaker at the Beta Sigma Phi pledge banquet in November 1955. Canadian Citizenship and Immigration King eventually moved to Ottawa to work with the federal department of Citizenship and Immigration (see Citizenship). Her role with the department included travelling the country to meet with leaders of different service and community organizations. To take on this role, in April 1956, she changed her status to become a non-practising member of the Law Society of Alberta. King worked in the department for seven years; her roles included executive assistant to the chief of the Liaison Branch of Canadian Citizenship and Immigration, and directing programs with the Canadian Citizenship Council. DID YOU KNOW? Ellen Fairclough, the first woman appointed to a federal Cabinet position in Canada, was Minister of Citizenship and Immigration from 1958 to 1962. YMCA In 1963, King moved to New Jersey to become executive director of the Newark YMCA’s Community Branch. This role involved assisting Black applicants who were actively seeking employment opportunities. In 1965, King married Godfrey C. Henry, who later received an MA in Political Science from Columbia University and a Law degree from Rutgers. In 1966, the couple gave birth to their only child, Jo-Anne Henry. In 1969, King moved to Chicago to become director of planning, and later became director of manpower, planning and staff development with the YMCA. In 1976, she was appointed executive director of the National Council of YMCA’s Organizational Development Group, making her the first woman named to an executive position with the national organization. Legacy and Significance King passed away from cancer in New York, NY. She died 30 March 1982, at age 52. King shattered glass ceilings and broke down colour barriers to pave the way for future generations. Her hard work and drive to excel in all facets of her career are an inspiration for those who also aspire to do great things in their field. In 1998, King was inducted to the National YMCA Hall of Fame.
  7. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - RAINFORESTS Did you know... that rainforests are forests characterized by high and continuous rainfall, with annual rainfall in the case of tropical rainforests between 2.5 and 4.5 metres and definitions varying by region for temperate rainforests? (Wikipedia) Rainforest is described as tall, hot and dense forest near the equator and is believed to be the oldest living ecosystems on Earth which gets maximum amount of rainfall. If you don’t know too much about tropical rainforests, then you will probably be surprised to find that there are a few little known facts out there about them. This type of habitat is very different, in comparison to many of the other habitats that you are used to being around. Rainforests are essential to life on Earth. Not only do they provide air, water, medicine, food, and shelter to a multitude of living beings, they are also one of our best natural defenses against climate change because of their capacity to absorb greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. When the founders of the Rainforest Alliance set out more than thirty years ago to save the world’s rainforests, we quickly learned that in order to do so, we’d have to transform the agricultural sector (the number one driver of deforestation worldwide), as well as forestry and tourism. From the beginning, our approach has been to work with farmers and indigenous and forest communities to cultivate sustainable rural livelihoods that incentivize conservation. Rainforests are a powerful natural climate solution. Not only do they regulate global temperatures, they also cool and regulate local micro-climates and limit the Earth’s reflectivity—which in turn stabilizes ocean currents, wind, and rainfall patterns. In a 2017 analysis published in the scientific journal PNAS, climate scientists concluded that natural climate solutions, including forest conservation/restoration and sustainable agriculture, could provide more than one-third of the global climate mitigation necessary to stabilize warming to below 2 °C. Tropical forests have become a net carbon emitters. In a distressing development, a 2017 study published in the journal Science reveals that tropical forests that once served as the Earth’s carbon sinks now emit more carbon than they absorb, because of deforestation and forest loss caused by humans. However, we cannot afford to give up on tropical forests. Restoring them and their ability to sequester carbon is one of several critical steps we must take to address our global climate crisis. Tropical rainforests cover less than 3% of Earth's area, yet they are home to more than half our planet's terrestrial animal species. Bengal tigers, mountain gorillas, orangutans, jaguars, and blue poison dart frogs are just a few of the magnificent animals found in rainforests. Sadly, many of these species are on the brink of extinction, and their continued existence is crucial to maintaining the balance of marvelously efficient—but delicate—rainforest ecosystems. Rainforests play an essential role in maintaining the Earth’s limited supply of fresh water. Rainforests add water to the atmosphere through the process of transpiration, by which plants release water from their leaves during photosynthesis. Deforestation reduces the moisture released into the atmosphere, causing rainfall to decrease. This is why the loss of forests often leads to drought. Forests are also natural water filters, keeping pollution and debris from flowing into water supplies and slowing the movement of rainwater so it flows into underground reserves. Scientists estimate that about 15% of the world’s freshwater flows from the Amazon Basin alone. Rainforest plants are used in some of the world's most important, life-saving medicines. More than 60% of anticancer drugs originate from natural sources, including rainforest plants, according to research published in the International Journal of Oncology. Because rainforests are so rich in biodiversity, they hold enormous potential for future discoveries. Compounds in rainforest plants are already used to treat malaria, heart disease, bronchitis, hypertension, rheumatism, diabetes, muscle tension, arthritis, glaucoma, dysentery, and tuberculosis, among other health problems. And many commercially available anesthetics, enzymes, hormones, laxatives, cough mixtures, antibiotics, and antiseptics are also derived from rainforest plants and herbs. A swath of rainforest the size of 40 football fields disappears each minute. According to Global Forest Watch, our planet loses tropical forestland equivalent to the size of Bangladesh is every year. In 2017 alone, we lost 15.8 million hectares of tropical forests; all told, humans have destroyed nearly half of the world’s original forest cover. 1 out of 4 people worldwide depend on forests for their livelihoods. Nearly 1.6 billion people—more than 25% of the world’s population—rely on forest resources for their livelihoods, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and most of them (1.2 billion) use trees on farms to generate food and income. Generating sustainable, forest-based livelihoods that incentivize conservation is a proven approach to saving the world’s forests. You can help conserve rainforests by choosing products that bear the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal (Hint: just #FollowTheFrog!). The Rainforest Alliance’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard includes requirements designed to protect standing forests, including native forest set-asides for large farms and practices that nurture soil health and increase productivity on existing farmland (thereby reducing pressure to expand by cutting down forests). Added benefit: the shade requirements for Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee and cocoa farms also contribute to better quality crops. Working in partnership with rural communities is an effective, proven approach to keeping forests standing and conserving natural resources. The Rainforest Alliance works hand-in-hand with indigenous, forest, and farming communities to advance sustainable development initiatives that cultivate rural prosperity, which is key to the successful conservation of standing forests and other natural resources. Since 2011, the rural producers and indigenous communities participating in these initiatives have earned $191 million in revenue while protecting their natural resources.
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    Fact of the Day - THE TYPEWRITER Did you know... that the first machine known as the typewriter was patented on 23rd June 1868, by printer and journalist Christopher Latham Sholes of Wisconsin? Though it was not the first personal printing machine attempted—a patent was granted to Englishman Henry Mill in 1714, yet no machine appears to have been built—Sholes’ invention was the first to be practical enough for mass production and use by the general public. With the help of machinist Samuel W. Soulé and fellow inventor Carlos Glidden, Sholes had spent the summer of 1867 developing his machine, and by September of that year was able to type his name in all capital letters. That was just the beginning, as the typewriter’s societal and cultural impacts are still felt today. We’ve gathered these fascinating facts about this remarkable device, from its effect on women in the workforce to its direct influence on computers over a century later. 1. Christopher Latham Sholes (1819-1890) had produced 50 machines by 1873, but was unable to sell them; that year, he sold the production rights to gun manufacturer Philo Remington (1816-1889). By 1874, the first Remington-made typewriter was sold by E. Remington & Sons. In 1878, the first typewriter to offer upper and lowercase letters, the Remington No. 2, debuted. 2. In the 1890s, Remington competitor John Thomas Underwood (1857-1937) bought the rights to a more practical “front-stroke” machine from inventor Franz Xavier Wagner. The US Navy ordered 250 Underwood typewriters in 1897, solidifying his place in the market, and by 1915, the company employed 7,500 workers and produced 500 typewriters daily. Image credit: Drawing for a Typewriter, 06/23/1868. This is the printed patent drawing for a typewriter invented by Christopher L. Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and J. W. Soule. From the National Archives. Brian0918, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons. 3. Even though he had been unsuccessful in the marketing of his invention, Sholes was aware that the typewriter would be vital in helping women achieve entrepreneurial freedom, saying it was a means for women to “more easily earn a living.” Typewriting led to a separation of the authorship and the writing up of documents, which provided a new social avenue for women, especially in business and politics. 4. Mark Twain was the first author to submit a book manuscript in typed copy, having bought a typewriter in 1874. The typewriter became a symbol of a certain type of writer, and many are still preserved in the estates or museums of well-known authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Rudyard Kipling, George Bernard Shaw, and Ian Fleming. 5. In 1909, G. C. Mares described a hypothetical situation that would allow “a man sitting at his Zerograph [another early typewriter] in London…to hold written converse with his correspondents in the furthermost parts of the globe, without the intervention of any physical connection”—a process that sounds very similar to email. 6. The original typewriter’s most ubiquitous impact on modern society, seen all around the world on computer keyboards and mobile phones, is its key layout known as QWERTY. Christopher Latham Sholes originally tried an alphabetical layout in his prototypes, but the keys would jam; his solution shifted three of the most commonly used letters (E, T, and A) to the left hand, resulting in a design that slowed typists down and avoided jamming on the earliest machines. 7. In 1932, William Dealey and August Dvorak introduced the Dvorak keyboard, which was designed to make typing faster and less fatiguing; studies showed it increased accuracy and speed by about 70%. However, it never caught on because QWERTY had become too entrenched in society. It had been the sole layout when Remington cornered the market at the beginning, and by the 1930s, manufacturers, typists, and typing schools had too much invested in the status quo to change, even to a more efficient format. 8. Famed polymath and horologist Rupert T. Gould (1890-1948) was fascinated with typewriters his entire life; by the 1940s, he had one of the largest collections in existence—at least 71—and wrote the first independent history of the machine, called The Story of the Typewriter in 1949. Image credit: Fig. 1: Machines with one character per key. Fig. 2: Machines with two characters per key. Fig. 3: Machines with three characters per key. Larousse mensuel illustré, 1911, Public Domain via (Wikimedia Commons). 9. It has been argued that the typewritten page was an influence in the move in book designs from justified lines to even-spacing between words and the uneven right-hand margins this causes. Artists in the 1950s also used the typewriter to experiment with the placement of text to create “concrete poetry.” Poet Aram Saroyan wrote: "I write on a typewriter, almost never in hand … and my machine—an obsolete red-top Royal Portable—is the biggest influence on my work. This red hood hold [sic] the mood, keeps my eye happy. The type-face is a standard pica; if it were another style I’d write (subtly) different poems. And when a ribbon gets dull my poems I’m sure change."
  10. 1 point
    What's the Word? - GERMANE pronunciation: [jer-MAIN] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 17th century meaning: 1. Relevant to a subject under consideration. 2. Closely related. Example: "Discussing the author’s childhood was germane to the lecture on his influences." "You can find germane sources listed in the appendix to the book." About Germane Germane, previously spelled “germain,” was synonymous with the adjective german (lowercase) in Middle English. Both words come from the Latin word “germanus,” meaning genuine, or of the same parents. Did you Know? The modern definition of germane — relevant to a given subject — first appears in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” “The phrase would bee more Germaine to the matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides." (Yes, the alternate spellings are present in the text of “Hamlet.”)
  11. 1 point
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    What's the Word? - APÉRITIF pronunciation: [ə-PEHR-i-teef] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, French, late 19th century meaning: 1. An alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite. 2. (rare) An hors d'oeuvre, such as crackers, cheese, and olives, preceding a meal. Example: "The hostess greeted her guests at the door with an apéritif." "The menu included a light apéritif served before dinner." About Apéritif An apéritif is an alcoholic drink usually served before the meal to stimulate the appetite. Common apéritifs include vermouth, dry sherry, brandy, champagne, and gin. Usually the drier the better when it comes to an apéritif. Did you Know? The noun apéritif is taken from the French adjective of the same spelling, meaning stimulating appetite. The apéritif has been served in Europe and abroad since the 5th century, but it really gained traction in the mid-19th century. In America the tradition earned greater popularity in the 1970s and became known as “Happy Hour.”
  13. 1 point
    What's the Word? - DOUGHTY pronunciation: [DOW-tee] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Middle English, pre-12th century meaning: 1. Brave and persistent. 2. Displaying courage. Example: "The doughty knights of old were known for their courageous actions." "Even though he was young, he still showed that he was doughty and loyal in the face of difficulty." About Doughty This courageous word first appeared in Old English as dyhtig, which became dohtig. Then by the 13th century we see doughty. It was probably used in its earliest days to praise brave and fearless knights. It’s seen less often these days, but you should fearlessly include it in your vocabulary. Did you Know? While this word first popped up in Middle English, there are other European influences, which can be seen in similar words in other languages. In Danish, “dygtig” means virtuous and proficient. In Dutch, “duchtig” is severe or strict. In German, someone capable and efficient is “tüchtig.” “Dygðugur” is Icelandic for virtuous, and in Swedish, “duktig” is efficient or clever.
  14. 1 point
    13/2/2020 Weekly GTA Online Bonuses New Content: Dinka Sugoi Podium Car: Roosevelt Valor New Diamond Casino Heist loot: Diamonds Double GTA$ and RP Activities: Til Death Do Us Apart Hasta La Vista Offense Defence Lost vs Damned Nightclub Daily Income Select heists (Fleeca, Prison, Series A) Discounted Content: Terrorbyte Renovations Terrorbyte Stromberg, $1,437,000 Ardent, $690,000 Festival Bus, $831,000 Nightclubs, 35% Discount Swinger, $545,400 Tyrant, $1,634,750 Entity XXR, $1,498,250 Facilities, 35% Discount High End Apartments, 35% Discount Spectre, $389,350 Comet SR, $744,250 Hustler, $437,500 Neon, $975,000 Rapid GT Classic, $575,250 Vagner, $997,750 Penetrator, $528,000 Seven 70, $451,750 Roosevelt Valor, $687,400 Roosevelt, $525,000 Automatic Weapons Select Benny’s conversions Twitch Prime Bonuses: Additional 10% Discount for all Discounted Content Fire Truck, $1,606,312/$2,141,750. Lifeguard Granger
  15. 1 point
    https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/kingdom-come-deliverance/home Kingdom Come: Deliverance is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/product/aztez/home Aztez is currently free on Epic Game Store. https://www.gog.com/game/alders_blood_prologue Alder's Blood Prologue is currently free on GOG.
  16. 1 point
    What's the Word? - FUNICULAR pronunciation: [fyoo-NIK-yə-lər] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid-17th century meaning: 1. Relating to a rope or its tension. 2. (of a railway, especially one on a mountainside) operating by cable with ascending and descending cars counterbalanced. Example: "The funicular pulley system in the barn let him hoist the large bales of hay by himself." "I don’t know how to ski, but I still enjoy taking the funicular tram to the top of the mountain." About Funicular Funicular comes from the Latin “funiculus,” which means rope. The adjective can be applied to any description of a rope and its tension, but it is most commonly used to describe a specific type of railway. Funicular can also be used as a noun, to name such a railway. Did you Know? The adjective funicular is commonly placed before railway to refer to a type of train system in which counterbalanced cars are propelled up a steep incline on a cable and pulley system. The first public funicular railway was the Funiculaires de Lyon, which opened in France in 1862. The first funicular railway in the United States was the Telegraph Hill Railroad, which was in operation in San Francisco from 1884 through 1886.
  17. 1 point
    Crunchyroll announced on Tuesday that it will begin streaming the English dub of the World Trigger anime on Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. EST in the United States and Canada. The release will include 48 episodes with an English dub. World Trigger from Toei Animation premiered in October 2014 and the series ended in April 2016 with 73 episodes in total. Toei Animation premiered the first three English-dubbed episodes at Anime Expo in July 2015. Toei Animation itself commissioned the English dub of the first six to seven episodes. Crunchyroll streamed the English sub of the anime as it aired in Japan. Hulu also streamed the series. Toei Animation describes the anime's story: World Trigger begins when a mysterious gate to another world is opened in Mikado City, letting invaders from another dimension called "Neighbors" overrun the area. A new defense league called "Border" is created in order to protect the City from these apparitions. The fighters are equipped with an amazing weapon called "Trigger" allowing them to put on an armor and use special powers. The story takes place four years after those events, when a young student, Yuma Kuga, arrives at Mikado City. He witnesses, along with another student Osamu Mikuno, a portal opening. To fight the creature, Osamu finds himself forced to reveal his affiliation to the Border and pulls his Trigger out. When Osamu is injured, Yuma joins the fight and saves him. Yuma turns out to be very powerful! Who is really Yuma? Why did he come to Mikado City? The anime is getting a new season that will air on TV Asahi. Daisuke Ashihara debuted the World Trigger manga in Shueisha's Weekly Shonen Jump magazine in 2013. The 21st compiled book volume shipped on December 4 in Japan. Viz Media publishes the manga series simultaneously in its digital anthology version of Weekly Shonen Jump. Ashihara took a one-week break in September 2014 to treat the nerve roots affected by cervical spondylosis (wear and tear on neck area of spinal column), and has since taken several one-week breaks due to sudden illness. The manga went on hiatus in November 2016 due to Ashihara's poor physical health, and returned in the magazine in October 2018 for five issues before moving to Shueisha's Jump SQ. magazine in December 2018. The manga then took a one-month break in June 2019 so that Ashihara could recover from intestinal obstruction complications that arose from his recent cholecystectomy (gall bladder removal surgery). The manga took another one-month break in November due to Ashihara's poor physical health.
  18. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - CREDIT CARD Did you know... that credit cards were originally like today’s department store cards — offered by individual stores and only for use at those stores? The first one to be used at multiple locations was offered by The Diner’s Club in the US in 1950 – it was good for use in 27 restaurants in New York City. To fully appreciate the modern convenience of credit cards, simply insert your chip card, pause while it processes, and consider what it replaced. Prior to plastic, money as a means of exchange for goods and services was cumbersome, if not outright dangerous. Beginning as far back as 9000 B.C. with cattle and camels, currency took some truly odd shapes, from cowrie shells, bronze and copper imitation cowrie shells and gold and silver nuggets to Chinese deerskin notes and Native American stringed wampum beads. From the beginning, credit cards offered significant advantages over all forms of money: They’re pocket size, easily portable, relatively secure and have no intrinsic value in themselves. What’s more, true credit cards buy you time to pay your bill, typically with a modest fee attached. The dawn of credit cards According to historian Jonathan Kenoyer, the concept of using a valueless instrument to represent banking transactions dates back 5,000 years, when the ancient Mesopotamians used clay tablets to conduct trade with the Harappan civilization. While still cumbersome, a slab of clay with seals from both civilizations certainly beat the tons of copper each would have had to melt down to produce the coins of that era. Fast-forward to America circa the 1800s. During westward expansion, merchants would use credit coins and charge plates to extend credit to local farmers and ranchers, allowing them to forgo paying their bills until they harvested their crops or sold their cattle. In the early 1900s, a few U.S. department stores and oil companies took credit one step further by issuing their own proprietary cards, the precursor to modern-day store cards. Such cards were accepted only at the issuing merchant and designed less for convenience than to promote customer loyalty and improve service. Bank-issued charge cards originated in 1946 when a Brooklyn banker named John Biggins launched the Charg-It card. Charg-It purchases were forwarded to Biggins’ bank, the middleman that reimbursed the merchant and obtained payment from the customer in what came to be known as the “closed-loop” system. Purchases could only be made locally and only bank customers could obtain a Charg-It card. Five years later, New York’s Franklin National Bank followed suit, issuing its first charge card to its loan customers. With postwar America on the go, two dining and entertainment charge cards quickly followed. The Diners Club Card, which debuted in 1950, was inspired a year earlier by an “a-ha” moment when a customer named Frank McNamara forgot his wallet while attending a business dinner at New York’s Major’s Cabin Grill. Months later, McNamara and his partner, Ralph Schneider, returned to the restaurant with a small cardboard card and a proposal that resulted in the Diners Club Card. Used mainly for travel and entertainment, the Diners Club Card claims the title of the first credit card in widespread use. Although its purchases were made on credit, Diners Club was technically a charge card, meaning the bill had to be paid in full at the end of each month. By 1951, Diners Club had 20,000 cardholders. The American Express card, which launched in 1958, had an altogether different provenance. Formed in 1850 as a competitor to the U.S. Postal Service, American Express had introduced money orders in 1882, invented traveler’s checks in 1891, and contemplated a travel charge card as early as 1946, before Diners Club beat it to the punch. American Express would soon claim milestones of its own by expanding its reach to other countries and introducing the first plastic card in 1959, replacing cardboard and celluloid. Within five years, 1 million American Express cards were in use at 85,000 merchants, foreign and domestic. Bank cards and revolving credit Major banks would soon launch their own consumer cards, but with a welcome twist. Instead of users having to settle their bill in full each month, bank cards would truly become credit cards by offering revolving credit, which allowed cardholders to carry their monthly balance forward for a nominal finance charge. Bank of America was first out of the gate in 1958, mailing unsolicited BankAmericard credit cards to select California markets. In 1966, BankAmericard went national to become the nation’s first licensed general-purpose credit card. It would be renamed Visa a decade later to acknowledge its growing international presence. Also in 1966, a group of California banks formed the Interbank Card Association (ITC), which would soon issue the nation’s second major bank card, MasterCard. Now known as Mastercard Worldwide, the nation’s first card association competes directly with a similar Visa organization, both of which are run by boards comprised primarily of high-level executives from their member banks. Unlike their non-bank competitors, the bank card associations operate in an “open-loop” system that requires interbank cooperation, as well as transfers of funds. While banks initially had to choose between the Visa and MasterCard association, changes to association bylaws have since allowed banks to join both associations and issue both types of cards to their customers. Want to learn more about Credit Cards? Click here.
  19. 1 point
    Kidd Video. A cartoon from my youth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GBQS1cgsEdU
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