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    Neurodeck Psychological Deckbuilder is currently free on GOG. https://www.gog.com/game/neurodeck_psychological_deckbuilder
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    Fact of the Day - TABLE ETIQUETTE Did you know... When we’re eating casually at home, most of us don’t have a large formally set dining table complete with multiple pieces of silverware and glassware. We can stick to a few basic rules that we learned as children, like not speaking with our mouths full of food. But at a fancy event, or when we’re trying to impress someone important, the rules may seem a little more complex and overwhelming. Here are six table etiquette guidelines that you might not know. 1. When It Comes to Silverware, Work From the Outside In A formal dinner setting might have three or more forks, and just as many knives and spoons. It can all get a bit confusing. You may be confronted with a shellfish fork, a soup spoon, or a fish knife and fork, all in addition to the main dinner knife and fork. For some multiple-course meals, utensils may be brought in with each course. This is especially true for salad and dessert courses, and it makes it easier to know what to use. When in doubt, the basic rule to remember is that you should always start at the outside and work your way inward so that the largest tools are used for the main course. Another helpful tip is to wait for the host or hostess to begin eating. Not only is it good manners to do so, but it also allows you to see which implement they are using. 2. Put Your Napkin on Your Lap The first paper napkins are believed to have appeared in ancient China, where they were used in little baskets that carried tea cups. Before that, many cultures (including the Romans) used finger bowls for wiping food remnants from their hands. During the Middle Ages, most people used whatever was available, usually a sleeve, for wiping their mouths. That slowly changed, with nobles using a separate cloth or nappe. This may have started as a giant tablecloth, but eventually became what we recognize today as a cloth napkin. Of course, napkins eventually developed their own rules of etiquette. When sitting down to eat, it is polite to take the napkin and spread it on your lap. Do not tuck it into the neck of your shirt. Use it to gently dab at your mouth during the meal and, when finished, leave the napkin loosely folded on the table. 3. Wait on the Bread It’s an all-too-common scenario. By the time the entrée arrives at a restaurant, everyone has eaten their fill of bread. But at a formal dinner, the bread is to be eaten with the courses, rather than by itself. So as tempting as the smell of freshly baked bread may be, wait. There are also rules about how to eat the bread. Do not spread the entire slice with butter. Likewise, don’t cut a bread roll in half and butter both halves. The reasoning is that this may leave you with butter smeared across your face. The correct way to eat it is to break off a small piece and butter just that piece. Continue to butter one bite at a time. And to avoid confusion, the bread plate is to your left. 4. Consider Adopting the Continental Style The American method of using eating utensils is often very different from the Continental, or European, method, which can lead to some confused looks on either side of the Atlantic. Each style is correct, but one may be more appropriate depending on the setting. The Continental style is to hold the fork in your left hand with the tines facing down. The knife is held in the right hand. The index finger of each hand is extended along the utensil. Meanwhile, the American method often sees the fork being transferred from one hand while cutting food to the other while eating. Etiquette experts advise that the Continental style may be “the most diplomatic.” Again, if in doubt, it is always wise to default to copying your host. 5. No Elbows on the Table (But Only While Eating) Where and why did the rule about no elbows on the table originate? No one seems to know for sure, but the rule is common to many cultures. There is even a reference to it in the Old Testament of the Bible. In the 16th century, the Dutch philosopher Erasmus warned that only those weakened by old age or infirmity should rest their elbows on the table. More recently, Emily Post continues to caution against it, unless engaging in conversation between courses. Some believe that the use of elbows could once have been seen as a sign of intimidation or potential violence. Martha Stewart claims that resting one’s elbows increases the likelihood of slouching, which was once considered, in itself, rude. Whatever the reasoning, most people agree that elbows on the table while eating can be seen as impolite and can intrude upon your neighbor’s space. 6. Pay Attention to Local Customs Table etiquette varies from one country to another. To avoid insulting a host when dining overseas, it can be useful to brush up on local manners. If eating with your hands in India and parts of the Middle East, remember to always use the right hand, as the left is considered unclean. Slurping one’s noodles may be a definite faux pas in the U.S., but in Japan and China, it is a sign of appreciation. In France, any bread on the table is to be eaten during the meal, not before. Furthermore, to avoid offending your French dinner host, both hands should rest on the table and not in your lap when you’re not eating. Meanwhile, never use your fork as a scoop for your peas in the United Kingdom. Although it may seem very impractical, the “proper” way is to use the tines of your fork to lightly squash a small amount at a time, or stick them to some mashed potatoes. Source: Table Etiquette Tips You Might Not Know
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    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/chess-ultra-91bba3 Chess Ultra is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/world-of-warships--starter-pack-ishizuchi World of Warships Starter Pack: Ishizuchi is currently free on Epic Games Store.
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    What's the Word: MULIEBRITY pronunciation: [myoo-lee-EB-ri-tee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. Womanly qualities; womanhood. Example: "Women express muliebrity in many different ways, ranging from motherhood to paths at home, in the workplace, and in the public sphere." "Eileen felt most at home in her muliebrity when she became a grandmother." About Muliebrity “Muliebrity” is based on the Latin “muliebritās,” meaning “womanliness.” Did you Know? “Muliebrity” is a way of describing womanhood, with roots stretching back to Latin, so it records a history of the way the Romans, and later English-speaking civilizations, thought of women. The Latin root “mulier” can mean either “woman” or “wife.” Such similarities exist in modern languages as well: The French word “femme” can mean both “woman” and “wife.” However, today, womanhood and womanly qualities are expressed across a spectrum of characteristics and experiences that span beyond matrimony.
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    Fact of the Day - EMPIRE STATE BUILDING Did you know.... In a metropolis filled with architectural marvels both new and old, the Empire State Building still carries major clout as a defining landmark of New York City. Whether it’s because of the classy art deco design, the attention-grabbing light displays, or the far-reaching views offered from its observation decks, the Great Depression-era skyscraper remains a top tourist attraction and one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Here are six facts you might not know about the longtime stalwart of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. 1. The Empire State Building Was Built in 410 Days The brainchild of financier John J. Raskob, the Empire State Building was conceived at a time when multiple developers were racing to leave their imprint on the New York City skyline — and it became a reality with mind-boggling speed. Fueled by the labor of as many as 3,400 daily workers, the structure climbed off the ground at a peak rate of 4.5 stories per week following its formal groundbreaking on March 17, 1930. Remarkably, the massive building — comprising 60,000 tons of steel, 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel, and 10 million bricks — was completed ahead of schedule (and below budget) after just 410 days. President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated the new skyscraper on May 1, 1931. 2. The Empire State Building Was the Tallest Building in the World for Four Decades Although it's since been dwarfed by giants such as the United Arab Emirates' 2,720-foot Burj Khalifa, the Empire State Building once set the standard for human ambition to reach for the skies. At 102 stories and 1,250 feet tall (not counting the later addition of an antenna, which added 204 feet), it was the first building to pass the 100-story mark, and its height easily surpassed the 1,046-foot record previously established by the Chrysler Tower in 1930. The Empire State Building remained the world's tallest building until the 110-story Twin Towers of Lower Manhattan's World Trade Center both pushed past 1,360 feet in the early 1970s. 3. The Empire State Building Has Its Own Zip Code Since May 1980, with the designation of the skyscraper’s very own 10118 ZIP code, the Empire State Building’s tenants have enjoyed the postal privileges of a small city. This was the result of an effort to speed up mail delivery in Manhattan by giving higher-volume areas their own digits. Of the 63 new ZIP codes introduced in the borough that year, 39 were buildings that received at least 5,000 pieces of mail per day. The Empire State Building easily surpassed that cutoff with a daily intake of 35,000 pieces of mail. 4. The Building’s Colorful Light Displays Began in 1976 Among the Empire State Building's famed features are the crowning lights that frequently change colors to honor cultural events, organizations, and local sports champions. The building first shone a beacon following Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential election in November 1932, but the multicolored displays that New Yorkers have come to know and love date back to the red, white, and blue bicentennial celebration of July 1976. The lights have since flashed in a range of colors, such as pink to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, blue for Frank Sinatra's 1998 death, and even neon green in 2009 for the 25th anniversary of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. The building switched to LED lights in 2012, giving operators the ability to choose from 16 million colors and add special effects like ripples, sparkles, and strobes. 5. Competitors Race to the Top in the Annual Empire State Building Run-Up For those with energy to burn (and maybe a masochistic bent), the Empire State Building Run-Up offers runners from around the world a chance to scale the majority of the skyscraper by foot. An annual tradition since 1978, the Run-Up covers 1,576 steps over 1,050 vertical feet, from the lobby to the 86th-floor observatory. The fastest record for what is billed as "the world’s first and most famous tower race" was set by Australian Paul Crake, who completed the grueling climb in nine minutes and 33 seconds in 2003. And while that's obviously slower and more strenuous than the sub-minute it would take to ride an elevator, it does hold some appeal, given the lines to visit the observatory stretch the average elevator wait time to upwards of 45 minutes. 6. It's Been Featured in More Than 250 Movies As one of the world’s most famous structures, the Empire State Building has made numerous appearances on the big screen. Just how many is impossible to determine, considering the number of low-budget films that fly under the radar, but the Empire State Building's website once cited an estimate of "more than 250 movies." The most famous ones include King Kong (1933), which features the titular ape swatting at planes from the newly completed skyscraper; Independence Day (1996), which sees the Empire State Building destroyed by a giant alien spaceship; Sleepless in Seattle (1993), which features an unforgettable meeting between the main characters in the film’s finale; and Andy Warhol's Empire (1965), which focuses solely on the iconic building over the course of its eight-hour run time. Source: Towering Facts About the Empire State Building
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    What's the Word: ALLUVIUM pronunciation: [ə-LOO-vee-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. A deposit of clay, silt, sand, and gravel left by flowing streams in a river valley or delta, typically producing fertile soil. Example: "Thanks to a layer of alluvium covering the ground, the valley was easy to walk through." "Soil full of alluvium makes a fantastic garden." About Alluvium “Alluvium” is based on the Latin “alluvius,” meaning “washed against.” Did you Know? Alluvial deposits are sediments that are moved around and left behind by rivers. Often, “alluvium” refers to existing deposits of silt, sand, clay, and gravel left long ago by water that no longer exists where it once did. But the sediments can also appear with seasonal shifting river currents, and be filled with nutrients. The nutrient-rich soil will be distributed to areas downstream by the river current.
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    Fact of the Day - ALCATRAZ Did you know....Alcatraz Island, known colloquially as “The Rock,” was once the most notorious prison in the United States. Located 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco, the island saw Civil War prisoners in the 1860s, mob bosses in the 1930s, and much more. Today, it’s one of the Bay Area’s most popular tourist attractions, and an on-island museum tells the story of the prison’s past. These seven facts span the many ages of Alcatraz and reveal how it became one of the most infamous sites in American history. 1. The Word “Alcatraz” Means “Pelican” in Archaic Spanish In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala became the first European to sail into San Francisco Bay. He named the bay and its islands, including one he called “Alcatraces.” Although the island’s name was anglicized over the decades, its origin is widely believed to mean “pelican” or “strange bird.” The island was once a particular hot spot for California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus), which were so plentiful in the 19th century that one French observer noted that when a group of pelicans took off in flight, it created winds like a hurricane. Although the birds’ numbers dwindled sharply due to hunting and the use of DDT over the decades, the pelican rebounded in the latter part of the 20th century, and was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009. 2. Before Becoming a Prison, Alcatraz Was a Military Outpost Although Alcatraz is known as one of America’s most infamous prisons, its first official U.S. role was as a military outpost. With California joining the U.S. in 1850 after being ceded from Mexico two years prior, and with hundreds of thousands of people flooding the state as part of the California Gold Rush, the U.S. military needed to protect San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz, along with Fort Point and Lime Point, formed a “triangle of defense” that guarded the bay’s entrance. At one point, the U.S. even installed 100 cannons on the 22-acre island, making it the most heavily armed military outpost in the Western U.S. But by the decade’s end, the first prisoners had been brought to the island, and Alcatraz played host to both Confederate prisoners and Union deserters during the Civil War. 3. Alcatraz Was Home to the First Lighthouse on the U.S. West Coast During the island’s days as a military outpost, the U.S. constructed a lighthouse to serve vessels crisscrossing the busy shipping lanes of San Francisco Bay. Although the lighthouse tower was built by 1852, the Fresnel lens — a compact lens designed to make lighthouses brighter — didn’t arrive until 1854. Luckily, the delay didn’t cost the lighthouse the impressive accolade of being the first lighthouse constructed on the West Coast of the United States. Sadly, the structure was damaged beyond repair following the catastrophic 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was rebuilt, however, and still operates to this day. 4. Prison Life at Alcatraz Wasn’t Always Bad Alcatraz became a federal prison in 1934, after being transferred to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It was designed as a maximum security penitentiary meant for the most difficult inmates in the federal system, and was partly an attempt to show the public that the government was being tough on the widespread crime of the 1920s and ’30s. Although Alcatraz cut an intimidating figure, some prisoners reported that the experience wasn’t so bad. The first warden of Alcatraz made sure the food was good to dissuade rioting, and a menu in the 1940s even included “bacon jambalaya, pork roast with all the trimmings, or beef pot pie Anglaise.” Prisoners lived one man to a cell, which wasn’t a certainty in other federal prisons, and had basic rights to food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Through good behavior, prisoners could earn privileges that included work on the island and even playing music. In fact, Alcatraz’s reputation far surpassed those of some other federal prisons, and occasionally inmates around the country even requested transfers to “The Rock.” 5. Al Capone Wrote Love Songs While an Inmate at Alcatraz Arguably the prison’s most famous inmate was Al Capone, who was known at Alcatraz as Prisoner 85. Although a ruthless mob leader who ran the Italian American organized crime syndicate known as the Chicago Outfit, Scarface was finally put behind bars for tax evasion in 1931. In a few instances, he resorted to violence when provoked, but he mostly spent time playing banjo in the prison band the Rock Islanders, and writing love songs. In 2017, Capone’s handwritten lyrics to one song, titled “Humoresque,” sold at auction for $18,750. The lyrics included such memorable lines as “You thrill and fill this heart of mine, with gladness like a soothing symphony, over the air, you gently float, and in my soul, you strike a note.” Capone was eventually released from prison in November 1939, after more than seven years behind bars, by which time he was in ill health due to an untreated case of syphilis. 6. No One Has Ever Escaped From Alcatraz (Probably) Of the 14 escape attempts at Alcatraz, all failed — except one daring attempt (forever immortalized in the 1979 film Escape From Alcatraz). On June 12, 1962, an early morning bed check at the prison revealed that three inmates were missing from their beds — and in a made-for-Hollywood twist, they’d been replaced by papier-mâché heads constructed in secret to fool the night guards. While hacking together homemade life vests (an idea they got from the DIY magazine Popular Mechanics), the escapees tried their luck across the bay toward San Francisco. The FBI discovered the vests on Cronkhite Beach and found other bits of evidence (including letters sealed in rubber) scattered throughout the bay — but the authorities never found any evidence of the men living in the U.S. or abroad, and believed they actually drowned in the bay’s frigid waters. The FBI closed the case on December 31, 1979, but the U.S. Marshals Service has continued to investigate. 7. Native Americans Occupied Alcatraz One problem with running a prison on an island is that it can be pretty expensive to maintain, and so in March 1963, the century-old military outpost-turned-penitentiary closed its doors — but that wasn’t the end of its story. In November 1969, a group of Native Americans led by activist Richard Oakes traveled to Alcatraz and began an occupation of the island that lasted 19 months. The group referenced the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which allowed Native people to repossess retired or abandoned federal land, as the basis for their seizure. They issued a proclamation that included a letter to the “Great White Father and All His People,” which highlighted the hypocrisy of the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans both past and present. Over the following months, the occupation grew in size to as many as 600 people, before numbers began to dwindle in January 1970. The government cut off electrical and water supplies to the island, food became scarce, and in June 1971 U.S. marshals forcibly removed the final 15 occupiers from the island. A highly publicized moment of Indigenous activism, the protest brought considerable attention to the plight of America’s Native peoples. In 1970, President Richard Nixon even ended the U.S.’s decades-long termination policy — an effort to forcibly eliminate tribes and assimilate Native Indians into American society. The occupation of Alcatraz was the first intertribal protest, and part of a rich history of modern Native American activism. Source: Amazing Facts About Alcatraz
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    What's the Word: TOCSIN pronunciation: [TOK-sin] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old French, 16th century Meaning: 1. An alarm bell or signal. Example: "We awoke every morning to the blaring tocsin of the alarm in our neighbor’s apartment." "The flooding was the tocsin our county needed to take coastal erosion more seriously." About Tocsin “Tocsin” is based on the Old French “toquesain,” which combined the Old Occitan roots “tocar” (meaning “to strike”) and “senh” (meaning “bell”). Did you Know? In modern terms, a “tocsin” can refer to any kind of alarm, whether literal or figurative. Historically, though, a tocsin was specifically an alarm sounded by bells. Prior to modern communication, a tocsin could be used to warn residents of an entire city of important events. The word comes from Old French, so tocsins were notably sounded during the French Revolution, and then, during the Cold War of the 20th century, the “alert” implication of the term was applied in English-speaking countries to describe that era’s tensions and concerns.
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    https://www.gog.com/en/game/lorelai Lorelai is currently free on GOG. https://freebies.indiegala.com/drunken-fight-simulator Drunken Fight Simulator is currently free on IndieGala. https://donquae-alfred.itch.io/goosesimulator Goose Simulator is currently free on Itch.io.
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    Bulletstorm: Full Clip Edition for the PS4. I originally bought the Duke Nukem Version. My guess was only that but happened to got the original version along it's way. Decided to play the original and beat it on very hard mode. Might think to throw a 2nd playthrough. This time, it will be Duke. It real good to hear and play him again like another DN franchise. Since DN Forever I think- Wait, it's 20th Anniversary.
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    Fact of the Day - GRACE KELLY Did you know.... Although she appeared in just 11 feature films, Grace Kelly endures as a larger-than-life figure due to her magnetic screen presence, her impeccable fashion sense, and a fairy-tale marriage that whisked her from Tinseltown to the royal palace of a glamorous European city-state at the height of her career. Here are seven facts about a leading lady who lived a life seemingly scripted by the Hollywood machine she left behind. 1. Grace Kelly Hailed From an Accomplished Family The Philadelphia-based Kelly clan was a group of high achievers: Grace's father, Jack Sr., won three Olympic gold medals for rowing, earned a fortune from his construction business, and had significant political connections; her mother, Margaret, was a model and the first woman to teach physical education at the University of Pennsylvania. Two of Grace's uncles also enjoyed success in the entertainment industry: Walter Kelly was a vaudeville star whose career stretched to the advent of talking pictures, and George Kelly, who served as a valuable mentor to his niece, was a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright. 2. Pre-Fame, Grace Kelly Was a Highly Paid Model Despite her parents' finances (and because they disapproved of her acting ambitions), a teenage Kelly insisted on paying her own tuition to attend New York City's American Academy of Dramatic Arts in the late 1940s. Fortunately for her, the beauty and poise that soon became familiar to theater audiences was already apparent, and Kelly quickly found work with the John Robert Powers modeling agency. According to Donald Spoto's High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly, the budding actress appeared in a series of print ads and commercials for shampoo, soap, toothpaste, beer, and cigarettes, with earnings of more than $400 per week making her one of the city’s highest-paid models at the time. 3. A Failed Screen Test Fueled Her Later Success Sometime between 1950 and 1952 (sources differ on the year), Kelly auditioned for the part of a desperate Irish woman in a New York City-based drama called Taxi (1953). She was passed over for the role, but her screen test eventually found its way to celebrated director John Ford, who lobbied for the little-known actress to be included in his high-profile adventure film Mogambo (1953). Separately, Alfred Hitchcock also saw something intriguing in the same Taxi screen test, leading to Kelly’s first true starring role, in Dial M for Murder (1954). 4. She Enjoyed a Running Gag With Alec Guinness As told in Spoto's High Society, Kelly and Alec Guinness engaged in a running gag that lasted more than two decades after their time together on the prank-filled set of The Swan (1956). After Kelly relentlessly teased her co-star about an overzealous fan, Guinness retaliated by having a concierge slip a tomahawk into her hotel bed. A few years later, Guinness was surprised to return to his London home and discover the same tomahawk nestled between his bedsheets. He later enlisted English actor John Westbrook to redeliver the item while Kelly and Westbrook toured the U.S. for a poetry reading during the 1970s, but her highness got the last laugh when Guinness again found the tomahawk in his Beverly Hills hotel bed in 1979. 5. Her Romance With Prince Rainier Got Off to a Rocky Start Per High Society, Kelly was in France to attend the 1955 Cannes Film Festival when she agreed to travel to Monaco to meet Prince Rainier III (part of a scheme put together by the magazine Paris-Match for a photo story). However, the prince was delayed by a commitment elsewhere, and by the time he rushed back to his palace an hour late, his fed-up guest was ready to leave. When Rainier asked if she wanted to tour the palace, Kelly coolly replied that she'd already done so while waiting. They subsequently relaxed while walking through the palace garden, their brief meeting giving rise to an epistolary friendship that turned romantic, and eventually led to their "wedding of the century" in April 1956. 6. As Princess Grace of Monaco, She Devoted Herself to Charity Along with giving birth to Prince Albert and Princesses Caroline and Stephanie, Kelly transitioned to life as Princess Grace by immersing herself in charitable initiatives in her adopted country. After taking over the presidency of the Monaco Red Cross in 1958, the erstwhile actress launched the World Association of Children’s Friends (AMADE) in 1963 and the Princess Grace Foundation the following year. Additionally, the princess opened the city-state's first day care in 1966, and channeled her longtime love of flowers into the formation of the Monaco Garden Club two years later. 7. Princess Grace Starred in a Little-Seen Comedy Just Before Her Death A glance at a standard Kelly bio gives the impression that her screen career ended with her marriage, save for the occasional documentary appearance. However, the princess did deliver one final acting performance — albeit as a fictionalized version of herself — in the early '80s mistaken-identity comedy Rearranged. Initially intended as a promotion for the Monaco Garden Club’s annual competition, the half-hour-long short was a hit, sparking plans to expand the piece into an hour-long American TV special. However, its star's untimely death following a September 1982 car accident torpedoed those plans, and the original short remains within Monaco’s royal archives, largely unavailable to viewers. Source: Facts About Hollywood Star Turned Real-Life Princess Grace Kelly
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    What's the Word: NOSISM pronunciation: [nah-si-zəm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 19th century Meaning: 1. The use of a first-person plural pronoun (such as “we”) instead of a first-person singular pronoun (such as “I”) to refer to oneself. Example: "We could tell our AirBnB host was a character from his use of nosism and the way he referred to the condo as “The Manor.”" "These days, using what is called “the royal we” is so uncommon that anyone who lapses into nosism sounds affected." About Nosism “Nosism” was created by combining the Latin plural first-person pronoun “nōs” with the English suffix “-ism.” Did you Know? “Nosism” is the practice of using what is popularly called “the royal we,” or a single person’s use of a plural pronoun to describe themselves. (This is also known as “majestic plural.”) The practice has been associated with the English monarchy since the 12th-century rule of Henry II, who used the pronoun “we” to signify that because he ruled by divine right, he represented both himself and God simultaneously.
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    Fact of the Day - ELEVATORS Did you know.... Today, riding an elevator is a mundane activity, but little more than two centuries ago, these mechanical contraptions were steam-powered, death-defying wonders. In the years since, these mostly unseen pieces of urban infrastructure have become a key part of what makes modern cities possible. Without them, a city’s upward trajectory would be impossible, and the design of our world would be unimaginably different. Here are six amazing facts about the humble elevator, from its surprisingly ancient origins to the many places it may take us in the future. 1. Greek Mathematician Archimedes Invented an Elevator in 236 BCE The elevator is a surprisingly old invention. According to writings from the ancient Roman engineer Vitruvius (the same Vitruvius who inspired Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”), the Greek mathematician Archimedes invented a primitive elevator back in 236 BCE. Archimedes’ contraption bore little resemblance to today’s people-movers: It worked via manpower, with ropes drawn around a drum that was then turned by a capstan, a large revolving cylinder often used to wind ropes on ships. Although the attribution was written after Archimedes’ death, the invention makes sense for the great Greek thinker, who was famous for his exploration of compound pulley systems. Elevators join the list of other surprising ancient inventions, including such wonders as the world’s first steam engine and the world’s first computer. 2. Before the Modern Elevator, Top Floors Were Undesirable Today the most luxurious high rises are crowned with multimillion-dollar penthouses, but before the rise of elevators (pun intended), the most desirable floors were those closest to the ground. The first building to include elevators at the design stage was the 130-foot Equitable Life Building in downtown Manhattan, which was built in 1870. Society was slow to adjust to the elevator, and the building was designed to look like it had fewer floors than it did. Also, the insurance company that worked out of the building still occupied the “valuable” lower floors, while the custodian enjoyed the upper floors. The era of the penthouse didn’t arrive in full swing until the 1920s, when the decade’s economic boom brought a flurry of construction projects to New York City and other cities around the world. 3. An American Inventor Created the First Modern Passenger Elevator A key part of the very first passenger elevator was invented by Elisha Graves Otis, who founded the Otis Elevator Company, a manufacturer still in business today. Otis invented a safety device that would prevent an elevator car from falling if the cable broke. Before Otis’ invention, elevators were dangerous contraptions primarily reserved for moving cargo in factories, warehouses, and mines. In 1854, Otis introduced his “safety elevator” at New York City’s Crystal Palace, also known as “Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations,” where he asked someone to cut the rope that was holding him up. Once cut, the platform dropped only a few inches before catching him. This enhanced safety feature helped sway public opinion by demonstrating that elevators could be a safe means of vertical transportation. Today, elevators are considered statistically safer than stairs. 4. People Once Trained for Years To Be Elevator Operators Although Elisha Otis invented a safer elevator, that didn’t mean the device was foolproof. For decades, operating an elevator was considered a highly skilled job that required years of study in some parts of the world, such as Germany. In the late 19th century, elevators were operated using “shipper ropes,” and operators were trained on the precise timing of pulling these ropes to arrive at the right floor. A well-trained operator was highly desirable, since they made the difference between a smooth ride or a death-defying jumble of starts and stops. Over the decades, the job of the elevator operator became increasingly automated. In 1887, American inventor Alexander Miles designed the first automatic elevator doors, after reading about several accidents involving people falling down elevator shafts. But it wasn’t until the 1960s — a little over a century after Elisha Otis introduced the first safety elevator — that automated elevator cars began to replace human operators entirely. 5. The Fastest Elevator in the World Travels Up to 67 Feet Per Second In the early days, elevators could only travel at about 40 feet per minute. After some 150 years of innovation, the world’s fastest elevator can now travel 67 feet in a second (or around 46 miles per hour). This elevator is located in Shanghai Tower in China, which also includes the longest continuous elevator run, at 1,898 feet. Originally installed by the Japanese company Mitsubishi Electric in 2015, the elevator got an upgrade in 2016, allowing it to traverse a path from the second-level basement to the tower’s 119th floor in just 53 seconds. The elevator in the CTF Finance Center, also located in China, comes in a very close second, traveling at 65 feet per second. 6. German Engineers Designed a Sideways Elevator in 2017 Since their invention two millennia ago, elevators have done just two things — go up and go down. However, in 2017 a German elevator company began testing an elevator that can travel in any direction. Nicknamed the “Wonkavator” after the multidirectional elevator seen in 2005’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the machine was hailed as “the biggest development in the elevator industry” since the device’s invention. However, a sideways elevator is only the beginning of what’s in store for the technology’s future. Scientists (and sci-fi writers) have also hypothesized about the feasibility of a space elevator that can ferry future astronauts from the Earth’s surface to outer space — completely forgoing the need for expensive, pollution-belching rockets. Source: Amazing Facts About the Ups and Downs of Elevators
  14. 1 point
    What's the Word: MARMOREAL pronunciation: [mar-MOR-ee-əl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 18th century Meaning: 1. Made of or likened to marble. Example: "As the artists drew him, the model stood so still, he was practically marmoreal." "Sarah doubted the contractor’s claim that his new application process would give her driveway asphalt a marmoreal appearance." About Marmoreal “Marmoreal” is based on the Latin “marmoreus,” meaning “like marble.” Did you Know? In recent years, the vogue for marble countertops and bathroom tiles has given rise to an industry of marmoreal building materials. These products are not real marble, but many buyers are just looking for a marmoreal appearance without the cost (and weight) of authentic marble. Some of these replacements might be other stones, such as quartz or granite, but the cheapest means of achieving a marmoreal aesthetic is the least durable: Peel-and-stick paper can give any flat surface a marble pattern.
  15. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - COOKIES Did you know.... The Girl Scouts organization is known for exuding compassion, promoting leadership, and perhaps most famously of all, selling cookies. Since the group was established in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, Girl Scouting has blossomed into a global movement — a far cry from its humble origins as a single troop of 18 girls in Savannah, Georgia. In the United States, Girl Scouts raise money for their cause by selling their highly popular and ultra-decadent namesake brand of cookies. In honor of those mouthwatering snacks (which are on sale now!), here are six delectable facts about Girl Scout Cookies to sink your teeth into. 1. There Are Three Mandatory Flavors Sold Each Year Though there have been many changes to the kinds of Girl Scout Cookies sold over the decades, three stalwart flavors are mandated each year: Thin Mints, Do-si-dos (also called Peanut Butter Sandwiches), and Trefoils. None of these varieties existed in their current form in the earliest years of cookie sales, but a version of Thin Mints can be traced back to 1939, when troops started selling a flavor known as “Cooky-Mints.” By the 1950s, shortbread had joined the lineup, alongside the renamed Chocolate Mints and sandwich cookies in vanilla and chocolate varieties. Peanut Butter Sandwiches hit the scene soon after, and by 1966, all three of the aforementioned flavors were among the group’s bestsellers. Other cookies came and went in the decades that followed, but Thin Mints, Do-si-dos, and Trefoils have been staples since the 1970s — and for good reason. Thin Mints are the Girl Scouts’ No. 1 bestselling cookie variety, and the most searched-for Girl Scout Cookies in the majority of U.S. states. Do-si-dos rank fifth in sales (after Samoas/Caramel deLites, Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs, and Adventurefuls), and Trefoils feature a version of the Girl Scout logo and were inspired by the original Girl Scout Cookie recipe. 2. The “Cookie Queen” Sold 100,000 Boxes Elizabeth Brinton may not be a household name, but she’s a legend among Girl Scout Cookie sellers. From 1978 to 1990, Brinton sold 100,000 boxes of cookies before ultimately hanging up what she called her “cookie coat.” She began by selling cookies door to door, but in 1985 she pivoted to setting up shop at a local Virginia metro station to sell the treats to passengers during rush hour. Brinton sold 11,200 boxes in that year alone, and was soon dubbed the “Cookie Queen” by the media. She went on to set the record for the most Girl Scout Cookies sold in a single year, with 18,000 boxes, though that number was nearly doubled in 2021 by Girl Scout Lilly Bumpus, who sold a staggering 32,484 boxes. Brinton’s career record of 100,000 boxes has since been surpassed, too, but the Girl Scout who broke it, Katie Francis, actually consulted the Cookie Queen for advice. Brinton told Francis to “think outside of the box” — a maxim that served her well back in the 1980s. In 1985, Brinton wrote to her local congressman, Frank Wolf, to ask for his help in selling cookies to then-President Ronald Reagan, and in 1986, Wolf accompanied her to the White House, where she sold one box of every flavor to President Reagan. She also sold a few boxes to Reagan’s Vice President, George H.W. Bush, and Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Harry A. Blackmun, and William H. Rehnquist. 3. Girl Scouts Sold Calendars Instead of Cookies During World War II Due to wartime shortages, the Girl Scouts briefly pivoted away from the culinary world during World War II. The U.S. government began rationing sugar in May 1942, and butter in March 1943 — both integral ingredients in the Girl Scout Cookie creation process. Because of this, the Girl Scouts had trouble filling orders, though in certain instances local troops were supplied ingredients by benefactors, or Girl Scouts baked cookies specifically for members of the military. Most troops, however, had to find other ways to raise money, so in 1944, the Girl Scout National Equipment Service began producing calendars to be sold for 25 cents. Fortunately for both the Scouts and their customers, the cookie drought was only temporary. By 1946, ingredients were no longer being rationed, and cookie sales resumed and then grew; by 1950, the line of Girl Scout Cookies had been expanded to add new flavors. 4. Girl Scout Cookies Were Originally Homemade It may be hard to fathom today, given the sheer breadth of the current cookie operation, but Girl Scout Cookies were originally homemade. A troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, baked and sold the first cookies in a school cafeteria in 1917, and other troops soon followed suit. A few years later in 1922, a Chicago-based magazine called The American Girl published a recipe to be used by Girl Scouts all over the country. It was just a simple sugar cookie containing butter, sugar, milk, eggs, vanilla, flour, and baking powder, but it was a hit with consumers. Throughout the 1920s, Girl Scout Cookies were baked by troop members with help from their parents and members of the local community. The treats were subsequently packaged in wax paper, sealed with a sticker, and sold for 25 to 35 cents per dozen. It wasn’t until 1934 that the Girl Scouts of Greater Philadelphia Council became the first council to sell commercially baked cookies; within two years, the national organization began licensing the cookie-making process to commercial bakeries. 5. Girl Scout Cookies Differ Slightly Depending on Which Bakery Made Them In the late 1940s, 29 bakers were licensed to make Girl Scout Cookies. Today, Girl Scouts get their goods from just two licensed bakeries: ABC Bakers in Virginia and Little Brownie Bakers in Kentucky. Depending on which bakery produces the cookies your local troop sells, you may find that the snacks have slightly different names. For instance, Tampa residents receive Samoas from Little Brownie Bakers, whereas people who live just a few hours away in Orlando chow down on the virtually identical Caramel deLites from ABC Bakers. And it’s not just the branding that may differ from city to city. Cookies might also look or taste different due to minor discrepancies in each bakery’s recipes. For example, ABC’s Thin Mints are crunchier and mintier than Little Brownie’s richer and chocolatier version, and Caramel deLites are heavier on the coconut flavor than Samoas. A few cookies are also specific to one bakery: Currently, S’mores are made only by Little Brownie Bakers, while Lemonades are exclusive to ABC Bakers. (Little Brownie has a completely different lemon cookie called Lemon-Ups.) No matter which bakery provides the cookies, though, you’re in for an indulgent treat. 6. Over 50 Flavors Have Been Discontinued Some Girl Scout Cookie flavors are likely never to go away, due to their enduring popularity, but not all cookies are so lucky. Some 51 former varieties have come and gone in the decades since the snacks were first introduced. That’s not to say these bygone flavors didn’t have their fans, of course; many people look back fondly upon these scrumptious but discontinued treats, which include Kookaburras, a combination of Rice Krispies and chocolate, and Golden Yangles, a savory cheddar cheese cracker. There’s always the possibility of a comeback, though, as Lemon Chalet Cremes made a brief return in 2007 after having been phased out in the 1990s. It was a short-lived run, but you can still hold out hope that your favorite former flavor may return someday. Source: Delectable Facts About Girl Scout Cookies
  16. 1 point
    What's the Word: KLUDGE pronunciation: [kloodj] Part of speech: verb Origin: Invented word, 1960s Meaning: 1. Use ill-assorted parts to make (something). Example: "The campers kludged a rickety lever and pulley system to carry buckets of water up from the river." "The computer that ran the house lights was on the fritz, but Svend managed to kludge a repair, despite his minimal tech skills." About Kludge The root of “kludge” is unclear, but the word may be related to the German word “klug,” meaning “clever,” or the Danish term “kludder,” meaning “disorder.” Did you Know? The word “kludge” was popularized in the 1962 article “How to Design a Kludge,” published in the computing magazine “Datamation,” but that was not the birth of the term. The Oxford English Dictionary considers “kludge” an invented word based on the existing words “bodge” and “fudge,” but there are some potential etymological ties to German and Danish terms. “Kludge” is related to — but distinct from — the U.S. military slang word “kluge,” meaning “something that shouldn’t work but does.” Because “kludge” was associated with computing quite early on, that has become the most commonly used context for the term. Though “kludge” began life as a noun describing a solution cobbled together out of unlikely parts, today it is also used as a verb to describe the process of implementing a crude but functional solution.
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