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  1. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - GOATS Did you know.... Goats have rectangular pupils. The animal kingdom is full of incredible variety, thanks to evolution, but one thing most animals have in common is that they use a set of eyes to navigate the world around them. But even the pupil of the eyeball, the biological aperture responsible for how much light enters the eyes, is nearly as diverse as the types of birds that soar the skies or fish that swim the seas. For mammals, one big factor determining the shape of a pupil is whether the creature is predator or prey. For example, a goat is a grazing prey animal that would be a pretty easy target for coyotes, bears, and other predators with sharp teeth. Yet evolution gave the goat a few tools to defend itself. The horns certainly help, but the biggest advantage is a goat’s horizontal rectangular pupils. These long, horizontal pupils create a panoramic view that lets the animal see more of the landscape, which makes it harder to sneak up on them. The pupils also enhance the image quality of objects (read: threats) all around the goats, and they cut down on glare from the sky by capturing less light from above and more from below. Cats and snakes, on the other hand, are ambush predators, whose vertical pupils help them hunt in the night and judge the distance between themselves and their next meal. But according to scientists, vertical pupils are reserved only for animals whose eyes are close to the ground. That’s why other cats that are higher up, like lions and tigers, have round pupils rather than vertical ones. Goats have accents. A 2012 study from Queen Mary University of London revealed that kids (the goat kind, not the human kind) altered their bleating when socializing with other goats. The ability to change one’s voice in response to a social environment is known as “vocal plasticity,” and humans display an extreme form of this concept — it’s how we can develop accents. Goats develop similarly distinct accents based on their social group, admittedly with a more limited vocabulary. In the study, scientists analyzed one-week-old goats compared to five-week-old goats; the latter is about the time goats form social groups known as “crèches.” They found that young goats raised in the same crèches developed similar bleats, altering their noises to fit in their social group as they aged. It’s also possible these accents help goats identify members of their group, an idea familiar to anybody who’s traveled outside their home country — or even their hometown. (Interesting Facts) Things You Didn't Know About Goats Baby goats are as cute as puppies. You just want to pick them up and cuddle them. Some research finds they even have canine-like personalities. Goats of all ages have expressive faces, even with their odd eyes and interesting facial hair. Domesticated about 10,000 years ago, there are more than 200 domestic goat breeds found all over the world today. They come in all sorts of colors and sizes and can be found eating grass or tree trunks. What else do we know about these doe-eyed creatures? Here are lots of interesting goat facts. 1. They're More Like Dogs That We Thought In research published in Biology Letters, scientists found that goats will look people in the eye when they're frustrated with a task and could use a little help. For the study, a team trained goats to remove a lid from a box in order to receive a reward. As the final task, they made it so the lid couldn't be removed from the box. They recorded the goats' reactions when they gazed toward the experimenters who were in the room, as if asking for a little help. They looked longer if the person was facing the goat than if the person was facing away. 2. They Have Beards and Wattles Both male and female goats can have tufts of hair under their chin called beards. Both can also have wattles — hair-covered appendages of flesh, usually around the throat area, but sometimes found on the face or hanging form the ears. Wattles serve no purpose and aren't harmful to the goat. Wattles sometimes can become caught on fences or in feeders or may be chewed on by other goats. To avoid those kinds of injuries, sometimes owners will have them removed. 3. They Love a Smile Goats prefer happy faces. In a simple experiment published in the Royal Society Open Science, researchers put photos on the wall at a goat sanctuary of the same face: one happy and one angry. Goats tended to avoid the angry faces, while they approached the happy ones and explored them with their snouts. Researchers already knew that goats were very aware of human body language, but this takes things a step farther. Said lead author Christian Nawroth: "Here, we show for the first time that goats do not only distinguish between these expressions, but they also prefer to interact with happy ones." 4. Goats Are Great at Diets You might have seen a goat in a cartoon on comic, gnawing on a tin can and heard that goats will eat pretty much anything. That's not true. They're actually very picky eaters but very resourceful and are able to find the most nutritious offerings wherever they are. That can include tree bark, which is rich in tannins. Goats can survive on the thinnest patches of grass, so the only place goats can't live are tundras, deserts and aquatic habitats. There are even some feral groups of goats on Hawaii and other islands. 5. Goats Were Domesticated Early Goats were among the first livestock species to be domesticated, about 10,000 years ago. Goat remains have been found at archaeological sites in western Asia dating back about 9,000 years, according to the National Zoo. In a 2000 study published in the journal Science, researchers found archaeological evidence that goats (Capra hircus) were first domesticated about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent region of the Middle East about 10,000 years ago. Some researchers believe that goats were domesticated from bezoars (C. aegagrus), a mountain ibex found in West Asia. 6. They Don't Love Rain Goats are generally pretty hardy animals, but the one thing they don't seem to like is rain. According to the USDA National Agricultural Library, "Goats will run to the nearest available shelter on the approach of a storm, often arriving before the first drops of rain have fallen. They also have an intense dislike for water puddles and mud. Probably through evolution they have been more free of parasites if they have avoided wet spots." Some people will offer goats a covered shelter with an elevated, slatted floor so they can stay dry from their head to their hooves. 7. There are Different Types of Goats There are three types of goats: domestic goats (Capra hircus), which are the kind you find on a farm, and mountain goats (Oreamnos americanus), which typically live in steep, rocky areas in the northwestern United States, and wild goats (Capra genus), which include ibex, markhors and turs. There are more than 200 recognized domestic breeds of goats. They are raised all over the world for dairy, meat, and their fiber. 8. Their Odd Eyes Have a Purpose Some people are creeped out by the odd horizontal, rectangular pupils in a goat's eyes. In a 2015 study published in Science Advances, researchers looked at the eyes of 214 land animals and found a "striking correlation" between the shape of their pupils and their ecological niche, which they defined as foraging mode and time of day they are active. Side-slanted eyes typically belong to grazing prey. It gives them a wider field of vision, but they don't absorb as much light from above. This stops the sun from blinding their view and lets them keep an eye out for predators. 9. They Are Emotional Goats also have richer emotional lives than many people realize. Not only are they surprisingly intelligent in general and can learn a task within about 12 attempts, but they can also identify their friends by sound alone and even distinguish other goats' emotions by listening to their calls. In a study published in Frontiers in Zoology, researchers found that goats have different physiological reactions based on the emotions they hear from other goats, a sign of a social phenomenon known as emotional contagion. The goats' heart-rate variability — the time between heartbeats — was greater when positive calls were played compared to when negative calls were played. 10. They Come in All Kinds of Colors Goat coats come in a rainbow of colors and even a few patterns. They can be white, black, brown, gold, and red with many variations of those colors. For example, a "brown" goat can be anywhere from light fawn to dark chocolate. Their coat patterns can be solid, striped, spotted, a blend of shades and they can have stripes on their faces. Some are belted, with a white band across their middles. They can be roan — where their body is sprinkled with white hairs — or pinto, where they have patches of white or black or another dark color. 11. They Have Interesting Names A female goat is a doe or nanny. A male goat is a buck or billy, or a wether if he's castrated. A young male goat that isn't yet sexually mature is a buckling and a young female goat that isn't sexually mature is a doeling. A yearling is a goat that is between 1 and 2 years old. A baby goat that is less than a year old is a kid, and giving birth is called kidding. A group of goats is called a tribe or a trip. 12. They Are Born With Teeth Goats are often born with teeth. Those are deciduous incisor teeth, also called baby teeth or milk teeth. Later pairs of baby teeth grow in from the center of the jaw moving out. A baby goat usually gets one pair of teeth per week, so a kid usually has a full set of eight incisors by the time it is only a month old. These baby teeth stick around until a goat is about a year old. Once these teeth fall out, adult goats end up with 32 teeth: 24 molars and 8 lower incisors. Goats don't have teeth in their upper front jaw. Instead, a hard dental pad acts like teeth. 13. They Come in All Shapes and Sizes Goat size varies greatly, depending on the breed. Domesticated goats range from mini, dwarf, and pygmy to full size. On the tiny end, Nigerian dwarf goats weigh only about 20 pounds (91.1 kilograms) and are 18 inches (45.7 centimeters) tall. On the larger size, Anglo-Nubian goats can weigh as much as 250 pounds (113.5 kilograms) and are 42 inches (106.7 centimeters) tall, reports the National Zoo. 14. Goats Have Unique Digestion Like cows, sheep, and deer, goats are what's known as ruminants. meaning they have a complex system of stomachs for digestion. They have four compartments in their stomachs: reticulum, rumen, omasum, and abomasum (also called the true stomach). When simple-stomach animals like humans, dogs, and cats, eat, food is broken down in the stomach with acid and then undergoes enzymatic digestion in the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed. In ruminants like goats, microbial digestion occurs in the first two compartments, followed by acidic digestion in the second two. Then nutrients are absorbed in the small intestine. Goats graze using their lips, teeth and tongue. It then takes 11 to 15 hours for food to pass through the animal's four stomachs. 15. They Play a Part in Mythology When you think about creatures that played a role in mythological history, you might think centaurs or sirens, banshees or dragons. But goats also spring up in a surprising place. Thor, the god of thunder, typically walked or used his mythical hammer to fly. But according to Norse mythology, during a thunderstorm Thor rode in a chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir (Norse for "teeth-barer") and Tanngnjóstr ("teeth grinder"). When he was hungry, Thor ate his goats, only to resurrect them with his hammer. Source: Facts About Goats | What You Didn't Know About Goats
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    What's the Word: ASSOIL pronunciation: [ə-SOYL] Part of speech: verb Origin: Middle English, late 12th century (earliest known reference) Meaning: 1. To absolve or release (someone) from blame or sin; to forgive, to pardon. 2. To clear up or resolve (a difficulty, doubt, problem, etc.); to absolve, to solve. Example: "After their apology, I assoiled my neighbor for driving over my flowers." "Part of the clerk’s job is to assoil scheduling conflicts." About Assoil From Middle English “assoilen,” meaning “to absolve or release someone from bonds of sin, to free (a country or someone) from an ecclesiastical offense or excommunication; to free someone from a criminal charge or sentence. This stems from the Anglo-Norman “as(s)oiler” or “as(s)oilier” and the Old French “as(s)oille.” Did You Know? Although “assoil” is considered an archaic, obsolete term now, it was widely used in centuries past. It could refer to absolving someone of sin, resolving a doubt, refuting an argument, or someone atoning for wrongdoing. It also has a completely different definition: “to make (something) dirty or soiled; to soil; to stain; to sully. The possible etymology of this version of “assoil” is either “a-,” an intensifying prefix or “ad-,” a prefix meaning “to, toward,” or indicating an addition or tendency, plus‎ soil, meaning “to make dirty.”
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    Fact of the Day - MCDONALD'S Did you know..... We all know those famous golden arches and what lies inside the doors of McDonald's. I mean, who doesn't love it? (Even though most of you are going to say you don't, I know that deep down you really do). Every time I enter into a Mickey-D's, a smile beams across my face. Here are some incredible facts that I'm willing to bet a large amount on that you don't already know. (Connor Howe) Mouthwatering Facts About McDonald’s by Interesting Facts With over 99 billion customers served at the chain, chances are that most people have set foot in a McDonald’s at one point or another. What began as a small California hot dog stand during the Great Depression has since blossomed into an international operation, with more than 36,000 locations in over 100 countries. Throughout the decades, McDonald’s has amassed a rich history filled with facts that tantalize the brain, much as its burgers tantalize the taste buds. 1. McDonald’s Is the World’s Largest Toy Distributor Since the creation of the Happy Meal in 1979, McDonald’s has leapfrogged industry giants such as Hasbro and Mattel to become the world’s largest toy distributor. Early Happy Meal toys included stencils and spinning tops, though the trinkets were later designed as part of advertising campaigns to promote family movies, like 1989’s The Little Mermaid. All told, McDonald’s distributes 1.5 billion toys worldwide each year. As part of a recent effort to be more environmentally conscious, the company has pledged to largely phase out plastic toys in Happy Meals, and vowed to work to provide kids with plant-based or recycled toys instead. 2. One McDonald’s in Arizona Features Turquoise Arches Golden arches may be synonymous with McDonald’s, but they’re nowhere to be found at one location in Sedona, Arizona. Due to a local law that prevents buildings from infringing on the region’s natural beauty, this McDonald’s instead features turquoise arches. City officials determined the gold would clash with the surrounding red rocks, whereas the turquoise was a more appropriate hue. Other unique color schemes at McDonald’s around the world include white arches at Paris and Belgian locations, as well as a big red “M” in place of the traditional yellow at one Rocklin, California, joint. 3. McDonald’s Used to Sell Hot Dogs and Barbecue The men who founded the chain that would become McDonald’s — Dick and Mac McDonald — opened the fast food giant as a modest California hot dog stand in 1937. They would later pivot to a different food: On May 15, 1940, they opened McDonald’s Bar-B-Que in San Bernardino. The foray into BBQ was somewhat short-lived, however, because by October 1948 the brothers had realized that most of their profits came from selling burgers. The pair decided to establish a simple menu featuring hamburgers, potato chips, and orange juice, and added French fries and Coke a year later. The franchise was licensed to Ray Kroc in 1954, who transformed McDonald’s into the chain we know today. 4. Coca-Cola Tastes “Better” at McDonald’s No, it’s not your imagination, Coke actually does taste different — and many would say better — at McDonald’s restaurants. This is largely due to the way it’s packaged. While the actual flavoring is identical to other restaurants, McDonald’s gets its Coke syrup delivered in stainless steel tanks instead of the more common plastic bags, which in turn keeps the syrup fresher. McDonald’s also filters its water prior to adding it to the soda machines, and calibrates its syrup-to-water ratio to account for melting ice. In addition, McDonald’s utilizes wider straws than normal, allowing more Coke to “hit your taste buds,” according to the company. 5. Queen Elizabeth II Technically Owns a McDonald’s While she’s not actually there whipping up McFlurries, Britain’s reigning monarch technically owns a branch located in Oxfordshire, England, atop the Crown Estate, which is land belonging to the royal family. The queen used to own a second location in Slough, but sold the land in 2016. The location is truly fit for royalty, with leather couches and table service, plus a menu that includes English breakfast tea and porridge. This is not the only royal association with McDonald’s: Princess Diana used to frequently take her sons William and Harry to McDonald’s, despite the fact that they had access to a personal chef. 6. A McDonald’s Superfan Has Eaten Over 30,000 Big Macs In a tradition that first began over 50 years ago on May 17, 1972, Wisconsin’s Don Gorske has consumed upwards of 32,340 Big Macs — and counting. While Gorske originally ate, on average, a whopping (no Burger King pun intended) nine Big Macs per day, he has since scaled back to about two a day. Gorske claims that in those 50 years he has only missed eating a Big Mac on eight days. The previous record for Big Macs eaten in one lifetime was 15,490, a number that Gorske smashed back in 1999 and has been dwarfing ever since. 7. McDonald’s Sells 75 Burgers Per Second According to its own training manual, McDonald’s locations combined sell more than 75 hamburgers per second. The average hamburger is cooked and assembled in 112 seconds, whereas a Quarter Pounder takes a lengthier but still lightning-quick 180 seconds to prepare (assuming there are no other orders being worked on at the same time). McDonald’s produces and sells so many burgers that it had already sold its 100 millionth by 1958. In 1963, it sold its billionth burger live on TV during an episode of Art Linkletter’s variety show. The chain officially stopped keeping track in 1993, when it updated its signs to say “Over 99 Billion Served.” Source: Hard-To-Believe Facts About McDonald's | Facts About McDonald's
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    What's the Word: FERIATION pronunciation: [fər-ee-EY-shən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. (Obsolete) The observation of a holiday; cessation from work. Example: "The July 4th feriation is typically accompanied by fireworks." "Camila celebrated her feriation from work with a spa day." About Feriation This word stems from the Latin “ferior,” meaning “to keep holiday,” from “feriae,” meaning “holidays.” Did You Know? The pronunciation of “feriation” sounds extremely similar to a much more common word, “variation.” But that’s where the similarities end. While “feriation” is an obsolete word that means observation of a holiday, “variation” means “a change or slight difference in condition, amount, or level, typically within certain limits.”
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    Fact of the Day - TOP PHILOSOPHICAL IDEAS Did you know.... Introspection is one of the most fundamental necessities of trying to understand who you are and what your place in the world is. It should be necessary to everyone to explain to themselves in a satisfactory manner a) why they believe in what they believe b) is there a possibility of them being completely and utterly wrong in their conclusions. In addition, being able to examine your own internal process from a non-involved vantage point while it's happening is extremely helpful in creating a complete idea of your self-identity. (Alex Bützow [Nordic Law Student] | Updated Dec 6, 2017) Major Philosophical Ideas, Explained by Interesting Facts Philosophy can be daunting. Over the past two millennia, there have been dozens of movements, doctrines, and various “isms.” The texts can be excruciatingly dense, cryptic, and dry. Yet some philosophical theories are so powerful, they shape the way you think and act without you even noticing. Here are six major philosophical ideas that still resonate today. 1. Plato’s Theory of Forms Close your eyes and imagine a perfect circle. Now open your eyes and try to draw one. That’s Plato’s metaphysics in a nutshell: While most of us can conceive of a perfect circle, none of us can recreate one. According to Plato, every object on Earth is imperfect (like the circle you drew) but possesses an ideal “form” (like the perfect circle in your mind). Forms are unchangeable, pure, and ideal. The objects on Earth are mere “shadows” — blemished imitations — of those forms. While it may sound uselessly abstract, Plato’s Theory of Forms is actually the bedrock of much Western thought. Early Christian writers, for example, adopted Plato’s theory to build their understanding of God and heaven. It was also a major influence on early scientific thought. And it continues to affect our thinking today. For example, replace the idea of the perfect circle with the perfect justice system. Many people believe that a truly fair, truly ideal system of justice is “out there.” They also believe that the current system falls short of that vision. Our belief that a standard, fixed, and ideal justice system is “out there” as a goal to aim toward is fundamentally Platonic. This belief that all things possess inherent, discoverable qualities has a name: “Essentialism.” As we’ll later discover, it can be controversial. 2. Descartes’ Dualism “I think, therefore I am.” More than a catchy quote, the famous declaration by René Descartes continues to shape the way people live. And it all started in the 17th century when Descartes was engaged in a tit-for-tat on the topic of “radical doubt.” At the time, many philosophers believed that we learn about certain truths through senses such as touch and sight. Descartes thought that this was wrong: The senses were deceiving. (A person, after all, could be hallucinating or dreaming.) Descartes’ critics responded by asking: “If the senses can be so deceiving, then what’s stopping us from doubting everything, including our own existence?” Descartes’ response: Cogito, ergo sum — “I think, therefore I am.” The fact that you can doubt your own existence, the philosopher said, is proof that you exist. Mental phenomena, Descartes declared, are not part of the senses. They are not of the physical world at all. Rather, the mind and body are distinct, separate. Consciousness and the mind are not made of physical matter. This latter argument, called Cartesian dualism, was widely adopted by thinkers across the West and led to a flourishing of scientific thought, particularly in medicine. Writing for the journal Mens Sana Monograph, psychology professor Mathew Gendle notes, “The formal separation of the ‘mind’ from the ‘body’ allowed for religion to concern itself with the noncorporeal ‘mind,’ while dominion over the ‘body’ was ceded to medical science.” This advance contributed to great strides in medicine, but it also created problems. For one thing, it encouraged a view that physical and mental problems are entirely separate, without the ability to influence one another. It also promoted a sense that mental experiences are less legitimate than physical ones, contributing to a culture that often stigmatizes mental health concerns. As it turns out, when an entire society separates mind from body, we risk treating mental health problems as less “real,” even though they can affect us just as much as any broken bone. 3. Rousseau’s “General Will” Jean Jacques Rousseau never viewed himself as a mere philosopher — he was also a musician, playwright, and composer. But his political philosophy had a more lasting influence than any aria, shaping governments across the world. In the 1760s, Rousseau was in his 50s and monarchs were still ruling Europe. The Geneva-born thinker believed that kings and queens had no divine right to legislate the masses, however. He outlined these beliefs in a book called The Social Contract, envisioning a world where free and equal people ruled. When the book was promptly banned in France, it proved Rousseau’s central thesis: Individual freedom was easily hampered by the authority of the state. In The Social Contract, Rousseau spent a lot of time exploring the contradictions of freedom. Society was expanding at the time, and people were growing more dependent on others for survival. A strong state was necessary to help ensure equality and justice. But how could you build strong political institutions — endowed with power and authority — and still protect individual freedoms? Rousseau’s solution was his theory of “the general will.” Under a monarchy or a dictatorship, laws routinely impinge on freedoms. Rousseau argued that, to protect those freedoms, laws had to be determined by the collective will (or “general will”) of the citizenry. And the best tool to interpret the general will was via democracy. Only then could the state truly serve the will of the people. Rousseau’s theory is credited with sparking the French Revolution and possibly inspiring many of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Today, many of our political differences continue to revolve around the fundamental tension Rousseau identified: how best to balance personal freedoms with state power. 4. Schopenhauer’s Theory of Aesthetics Arthur Schopenhauer was a famous curmudgeon, a wild-haired pessimist who notably helped introduce Western intellectuals to Indian philosophy. His writings, however, would forever change the way we think about art. Before Schopenhauer, most artwork — whether music or painting or dance — was considered a frivolous diversion or akin to a decorative craft, not an expression of genius or a person’s innermost feelings. But Schopenhauer helped change those attitudes with his theory about the human will. It’s complicated, but briefly: The philosopher believed we are held captive by our wills — our strivings, our desires, our urges — and are doomed to suffer. One way to escape this suffering, Schopenhauer argued, was through aesthetic experiences. Art functions as a quasi-religious experience, freeing us from the suffering of our own will. Furthermore, he argued, great art was the product not of mere craftsmen, but of genius. Naturally, a lot of artists liked Schopenhauer’s thoughts on aesthetics. Richard Wagner, Leo Tolstoy, and reams of other creatives trumpeted his work, which elevated art to a higher plane. Thanks to Schopenhauer’s theories, artists and artwork started being lauded as vital and necessary to the health of society. A canon of famous masterpieces was assembled, with people treating their creators with a growing God-like reverence. Many of these attitudes, which helped define 19th-century Romanticism, still persist today. 5. Nietzsche’s Übermensch One of the most misunderstood and misappropriated philosophers, Friedrich Nietszche is often cast as a gloomy nihilist. But that gets it wrong. Nietzsche was staring into the headlights of a crisis and wanted to help humanity before it was too late. In his 1882 book The Gay Science, Nietzsche famously wrote that “God is dead.” But the philosopher wasn’t advocating for atheism, he was making an observation: Christianity had lost much of its power in Europe. For centuries, Christian thought was — for better and for worse — the foundation of the continent’s value system. But by the late 19th century, science and scholarship had chipped away at people’s faith. Nietzsche saw two possible outcomes: Either people would despair into nihilism and drift away from any moral principles, convinced life had no meaning, or they would try to find new “religions” elsewhere, namely in mass political movements like fascism or communism. Nietszche shuddered at the thought of the second option, which would later become frighteningly real in his home country of Germany. He argued that people had no choice but to forge ahead through nihilism instead. But rather than embrace a meaningless life — and fall into corrosive despair — he offered a way to overcome this nihilism: the “Übermensch.” To Nietszche, the Übermensch is a person who rises above the conventional notions of morality and creates new values that embrace the beauty and suffering of existence. Hardly just the stuff of gloomy teenagers, Nietszche’s philosophy aimed to be life-affirming. (In fact, alternate translations of The Gay Science call it “The Joyful Wisdom.”) 6. Sartre’s Existentialism Remember Plato’s forms, the idea that everything on Earth is an imitation of an ideal form possessing a distinct essence? Essentialism has helped serve as the foundation of some of humanity’s great ideas. But it’s also been deployed in service of discrimination, suggesting that certain people — based on their race or gender — intrinsically possess specific (often negative) traits. French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre thought essentialist thinking was faulty. For Sartre, essences do not pre-exist people. Our world is not an imitation of “forms.” Rather, it’s the reverse: “Existence precedes essence,” Sartre said. Our values, our identity, and our purpose on Earth are not inherent or predetermined. We are not some imperfect manifestation of some perfect cosmic blueprint. Rather, we create our own essence by going out into the word, living, and making choices. This basic declaration is the very starting point for Sartre’s existentialism, the idea that humans are “condemned to be free” and that “life is nothing until it is lived … the value of it is nothing else but the sense that you choose.” Source: Philosophical Ideas That Everyone Should Understand? | Major Philosophical Ideas, Explained
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    What's the Word: GAMBIT pronunciation: [GAM-bət] Part of speech: noun Origin: Italian, mid-17th century Meaning: 1. An act or remark that is calculated to gain an advantage, especially at the outset of a situation. 2. (In chess) an opening move in which a player makes a sacrifice, typically of a pawn, for the sake of a compensating advantage. Example: "The campaign felt the opponent’s op-ed was more of a gambit than a heartfelt message." "Otis liked to use different gambits against opponents when he played chess." About Gambit This word, originally spelled “gambett,” comes from the Italian “gambetto,” meaning “tripping up.” This stems from the Late Latin “gamba,” meaning “leg.” Did You Know? “The Queen’s Gambit” is a 1983 book that was recently adapted into a popular Netflix miniseries. Both iterations follow chess prodigy Beth Harmon’s journey to becoming an elite chess player during the mid-20th century while battling a host of personal obstacles. The title refers to a common chess opening where white appears to sacrifice the c-pawn. However, some consider this gambit to be a misnomer since black cannot retain the pawn without incurring a disadvantage.
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    Fact of the Day - GOLD Did you know.... There are many interesting facts about the element gold, which is listed on the periodic table as Au. This is the only truly yellow metal on Earth, but there's a lot more to learn about gold. (Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. | Updated on January 29, 2020) Precious Facts About Gold by Interesting Facts When Earth was about 200 million years old, it passed through a field of rocks suspended in space. The rocks smashed into our planet and embedded millions of tons of new elements in Earth’s crust — including gold. Over time, the particles coalesced into veins, forming the bulk of the gold later mined for use in jewelry, currency, artworks, electronics, and more. Here are seven facts about this marvelous metal. 1. Gold Has Unique Chemical Properties Pure gold is sun-yellow, shiny, and soft, and has about the same hardness as a penny. It’s the most malleable metal: One gram of gold, equivalent in size to a grain of rice, can be hammered into a sheet of gold leaf measuring one square meter. Gold doesn’t rust or break down from friction or high temperatures. It conducts heat well and can be melted or reshaped infinitely without losing its elemental qualities. Gold can also be alloyed with other metals to increase hardness or create different colors. White gold, for example, is a mix of gold, nickel, copper, and zinc, while rose gold comprises gold, silver, and copper. 2. People Fashioned Gold Into Jewelry as Far Back as 4000 BCE Cultures in the Middle East and the Mediterranean began using gold in decorative objects and personal ornaments thousands of years ago. The Sumer civilization of southern Iraq made sophisticated gold jewelry around 3000 BCE, and Egyptian dynasties valued gold for funerary art and royal regalia. By the time of the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, gold was the standard for international commerce, and even played a role in mythology and literature. The story of Jason’s quest for the Golden Fleece may have emerged from an old method of filtering gold particles from streams with sheepskins. 3. Governments Have Used Gold as Currency for Millennia Traders in the Mediterranean region used gold rings, bars, or ingots as currency for centuries, and Chinese merchants bought and sold goods with gold tokens as far back as 1091 BCE. In the sixth century BCE, the civilization of Lydia (in present-day Turkey) minted the first gold coins. Cities across the Greek world followed suit, establishing gold coins as the standard currency for trade with Persia, India, and farther afield. 4. The Search for Gold Fueled the European Invasion of the Americas European nations’ lust for gold prompted numerous expeditions of discovery to the Americas, beginning in 1492 with Columbus’ voyage to Hispaniola. Spanish conquistadors found the Aztec and Inca cultures awash in gold, which the Native peoples viewed as sacred. The Indigenous leaders gave the conquistadors gifts of gold earrings, necklaces, armbands, figurines, ornaments, and other objects. Seeing the potential riches for the taking, the Spanish government quickly authorized the conquest of the Indigenous cities and requisition of their gold, spelling disaster for the Aztec and Inca peoples. 5. America’s First Gold Rush Took Place in 1803 Gold is spread across Earth’s crust in varying concentrations. Over the past two centuries, the discoveries of particularly large deposits have often sparked gold rushes. In 1799, 12-year-old Conrad Reed found a 17-pound nugget in a stream on his grandfather’s North Carolina farm, the first time gold was found in the United States. Four years later, the Reed Gold Mine opened and attracted other prospectors hoping to strike it rich. Gold rushes also occurred in California in 1848, Nevada in the 1860s, and the Klondike region in the 1890s. Major gold rushes took place in Australia in the 1840s and 1850s and in South Africa in the 1880s as well. 6. Today, Gold Is Everywhere From Your Smartphone to the ISS Thanks to gold’s physical properties, it can be used for a huge range of applications in addition to currency, jewelry, and decorative objects. Dentists repair teeth with gold crowns and bridges, and some cancer therapies use gold nanoparticles to kill malignant cells. Gold also protects sensitive circuitry and parts from corrosion in consumer electronics, communication satellites, and jet engines. And gold sheets reflect solar radiation from spacecraft and astronauts’ helmets. 7. The U.S. Still Maintains a Stockpile of Gold During the Great Depression, when the U.S. monetary system was based on the Gold Standard — in which the value of all paper and coin currency was convertible to actual gold — the federal government established the Fort Knox Bullion Depository in Kentucky to store the gold needed to back the currency. The U.S. eliminated the Gold Standard in 1971, but still maintains a gold stockpile at Fort Knox. Today, it holds about 147 million ounces of gold in bars roughly the size of a standard brick. That’s about half of all of the gold owned by the United States. Source: Interesting Facts About Gold | Gold Facts
  8. 1 point
    What's the Word: AMBISINISTER pronunciation: [am-bih-SIN-is-tər] Part of speech: adjecive Origin: Latin and Middle English Meaning: 1. (Rare) Awkward or clumsy with both hands. Example: "Jesse couldn’t play basketball because he was ambisinister." "Arthritis made Phyllis feel ambisinister after years of working with her hands." About Ambisinister This word translates literally into “both sides left-handed.” “Ambi-” is a prefix originating from the Latin “ambo-,” meaning “both.” “Sinister” stems from the Middle English “sinistre,” meaning “unlucky.” It comes from the Old French “sinistra,” meaning “left,” from the Latin “sinestra,” which is “left hand.” Did You Know? “Ambisinister” goes hand in hand, so to speak, with “ambidextrous,” which means having strong and equal abilities in both hands. While ambisinister translates into “both sides left-handed,” the latter literally means “both sides right-handed,” — the dominant hand for most people.
  9. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE Did you know.... Mary Owen wasn’t welcomed into the world until more than a decade after Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life made its premiere in 1946. But she grew up cherishing the film and getting the inside scoop on its making from its star, Donna Reed—who just so happens to be her mom. Though Reed passed away in 1986, Owen has stood as one of the film’s most dedicated historians, regularly introducing screenings of the ultimate holiday classic, including during its annual run at New York City’s IFC Center. She shared some of her mom’s memories with us to help reveal 25 things you might not have known about It’s a Wonderful Life. (Jennifer M Wood | Dec 17, 2018 | Updated: Dec 18, 2020) Facts About “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Interesting Facts Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life is a certified American classic. The story follows George Bailey (James Stewart), a small-town banker and family man on the brink of a breakdown. When George is visited by a bumbling second-class guardian angel named Clarence (Henry Travers), he learns the error of his ways and discovers that life is, in fact, wonderful. Before you settle in for a viewing, get to know the film better with these 10 facts. 1. The story idea came to its writer “complete from start to finish.” In 1938, a writer named Philip Van Doren Stern had an idea for a story while shaving: A Christmas tale about a man on the brink of suicide, saved by his guardian angel. The author quickly sketched out the idea and, over the next five years, slowly transformed it into a short story. In 1943, he mailed about 200 copies of his yarn, called “The Greatest Gift,” as his annual Christmas card. 2. The script employed a dream-team of writers. Eventually, a draft of “The Greatest Gift” fell into the hands of an agent at RKO Pictures, who paid the author $10,000 for the motion-picture rights. Attempts to transform the story into a screenplay fizzled until director Frank Capra stepped in. Capra’s team of writers — which included Dorothy Parker and the future Pulitzer Prize-winner Frances Goodrich — turned it into a viable script. Filming began in April 1946. 3. The film was never intended for Christmas. Amazingly, It’s a Wonderful Life — whose entire plot happens on Christmas Eve — was originally scheduled for a late January 1947 release. The studio intended their Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. vehicle Sinbad the Sailor to be its holiday release, but when production problems with Sinbad’s Technicolor caused a delay, the black-and-white movie got bumped to the earlier Christmas slot. 4. Jimmy Stewart was the real war hero. In the movie, George Bailey's brother, Harry (Todd Karns), is a well-decorated war hero. But, in reality, that honor belonged to Jimmy Stewart. The leading man was one of the first Hollywood stars to enlist in the military after the United States entered World War II. He spent the war with the Army Air Corps and flew nearly two dozen combat bombing missions over Europe. Stewart remained active in the military for decades and eventually retired in 1968 as a brigadier general — making him America’s highest-ranking actor. 5. The set of Bedford Falls was enormous. Filmed mostly at RKO’s movie ranch in Encino, California, the fictional town of Bedford Falls covered about four acres. The Main Street stretched three city blocks and the town itself contained dozens of buildings — and even 20 fully grown oak trees. (The buildings weren’t all newly constructed, though. Many of them had been used in the 1931 Oscar-winning film Cimarron.) 6. Many towns claim to be “the real” Bedford Falls. A lot of places claim to be the inspiration for Bedford Falls: Seneca Falls (New York), Westchester County (New York), Califon (New Jersey), and Pottersville (New Jersey) to name a few. Seneca Falls has the strongest claim — Frank Capra purportedly visited the town while working on the script — yet there’s no solid proof it was his inspiration. "I have been through every piece of paper in Frank Capra's diaries, his archives, everything,” film historian Jeanine Basinger told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “There's no evidence of any sort whatsoever to support this.” 7. The set was unbearably hot. If you look closely, it’s clear that Jimmy Stewart and other actors are glistening with sweat. That’s because the wintry scenes were shot in the middle of a scorching summer heat wave. Even Capra, who was known for ignoring the elements, believed the heat was too intense: He canceled one day of filming because of the rising mercury. 8. The special effects team invented a new type of fake snow. In the 1940s, most film sets used painted corn flakes for snow scenes. Problem was, corn flakes were loud and crunchy whenever anybody stepped on them. Capra was forced to re-shoot and dub multiple scenes, costing the production time and money. To solve the problem, the film’s special effects team invented a new type of fake snow reportedly made from soap flakes and fire extinguisher foam. 9. The movie failed at the box office. Shot on a budget of $3.7 million, It’s a Wonderful Life did not recoup its costs. In fact, it left Capra $525,000 in the hole. Some blame the film’s failure on a bitter cold spell on the East Coast, which kept many would-be movie-goers indoors. Others blame the film’s dark themes. Others point fingers at the movie’s advertising team, which failed to play up the film’s relation to the Christmas season. “Instead, it portrayed the film more as a purely warm romance,” film historian Jeremy Arnold has said. 10. It owes its subsequent popularity to a copyright error. Some of the film’s actors never even saw it when it was released. Leading lady Donna Reed (who played George’s wife Mary) didn’t catch it until the late 1970s, and Karolyn Grimes, who played daughter Zuzu, waited nearly four decades. After its lackluster opening, the film was practically forgotten until 1974 when the copyright lapsed (reportedly because of a filing error). With no royalties to pay, television stations began playing It’s a Wonderful Life almost non-stop around the holidays. The movie’s popularity blossomed. Source: Wonderful Facts About It's a Wonderful Life | Movie Facts of It's a wonderful Life
  10. 1 point
    What's the Word: PHILTER pronunciation: [FIL-tər] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, late 18th century Meaning: 1. A drink supposed to arouse love and desire for a particular person in the drinker; a love potion. Example: "In many classic stage comedies, characters deploy philters with unexpected and hilarious results." "Charles was so enraptured with Justina that he felt like he’d drunk a philter." About Philter “Philter” entered English in the 18th century through the Middle French “philtre,” also meaning “love potion.” However, the original basis for the word is the Ancient Greek “φῐ́λτρονm” (“phíltron,” meaning “love charm”). Did You Know? In Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” the mischievous sprite Puck applies a philter to the eyes of sleeping fairy queen Titania. The proud and serious Titania wakes and falls desperately in love with the first living thing she sees: Nick Bottom, a weaver whose head Puck has turned into that of a donkey.
  11. 1 point
    https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/geneforge-1-mutagen Geneforge 1: Mutagen is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/hood-outlaws-and-legends Hood: Outlaws & Legends is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://store.epicgames.com/en-US/p/iratus-d0e5ba Hood: Outlaws & Legends is currently free on Epic Games Store. https://freebies.indiegala.com/interstellaria Intersterllaria is currently free on IndieGala.
  12. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - NATIONAL PARLS Did you know.... At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the third largest country in the world. With all that room to roam, it's no surprise that America has some absolutely beautiful national parks. But how much do you know about them, really? We bet you had no idea that there are sand dunes that actually sing in Colorado. Or that every summer a firefly light show twinkles in the woodlands of South Carolina. So, if you're interested in hearing more about the stunning landscapes in your own backyard, don't miss these jaw-dropping facts about each of the 62 national parks in the U.S. (KRYSTIN ARNESON | MARCH 18, 2020) Amazing Facts About 12 of the Most Stunning U.S. National Parks by Interesting Facts On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone National Park the country's first national park. In the 150 years following, 62 more national parks have joined the fold, in addition to the hundreds of other sites under the purview of the U.S. National Park Service today, including national historic sites, battlefields, lakeshores, monuments, preserves, and trails. Once called “America’s Best Idea,” national parks have preserved wide swaths of the country's most magnificent scenery and geological history for millions to enjoy every year — from open prairie to mountain ranges, unique rock formations, deserted island beaches, and Arctic forests. But as popular as these parks are, many visitors are unaware of the surprising features they contain within their borders. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the first national park, read on to discover 12 fascinating facts about 12 famous U.S. national parks. 1. Great Smoky Mountains Is the Most Visited National Park in the U.S. Straddling the border between North Carolina and Tennessee, Great Smoky Mountains National Park attracted 14.1 million visitors in 2021. For comparison, that is nearly three times the number of people who visited the second-most popular park, Utah's Zion National Park, which drew a still-respectable 5 million visitors. Park officials estimate that since Great Smoky Mountains National Park opened in 1934, more than 560 million people have enjoyed all that it has to offer. Part of the reason may be that there is no entry fee to the park, and it never closes (although some roads may be closed during severe weather). In addition to countless opportunities for hiking and nature viewing, the park now allows fishing in all of its approximately 2,900 miles of waterways. 2. Death Valley National Park Is the Hottest Place on Earth It might not come as much of a surprise given its name, but Death Valley gets hot — extremely hot. The national park is the home to the hottest ever recorded temperature on Earth, a 134.1-degree-Fahrenheit reading taken in Furnace Creek Ranch, California. But it doesn't always get that hot. The average temperature during summer is a still-sweltering 115 degrees, but temperatures regularly exceed 120 degrees. According to the National Park Service, the hot weather can be attributed to the valley's low depths, high walls, and lack of shade cover. Since there is little plant life to absorb the heat, the sun rays radiate throughout the valley floor and are absorbed by rocks. When night falls, the warm air rises but is trapped by the high mountain walls. If you want to visit Death Valley in the cooler months, December and January are a safe bet, with daily averages maxing out in the mid-60s. 3. Yellowstone National Park Is Home to a Supervolcano Crowds flock to Yellowstone National Park (located mostly in Wyoming, but with parts in Idaho and Montana) to see the famous eruptions of Old Faithful. However, the park is home to a whopping 10,000-plus hydrothermal features, including 500 geysers — which scientists estimate is about half of the world's geysers. But perhaps the park's most impressive geological feature is a supervolcano, a type of volcano that’s thousands of times more powerful than a regular volcano. Approximately 2 million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption triggered a push of magma to Earth’s surface through a thin spot in the crust at the present-day location of Yellowstone. Much of the continent was left covered in ash. Hot lava still ripples below the ground throughout the park today, its heat causing the constant bubbling of springs and mud. But worry not: The last time the supervolcano erupted was 664,000 years ago, and some scientists think it may never happen again. 4. The World’s Longest Known Cave System Is in Mammoth Cave National Park The world’s longest cave system winds its way beneath much of western Kentucky, and, fortunately, a portion of it is open to visitors. To date, more than 412 miles of Mammoth Cave have been mapped, but experts say it may well extend more than 1,000 miles in total. Several new miles of the cave system are discovered each year. The cave structure is particularly stable thanks to a layer of sandstone that caps the limestone beneath. There are numerous impressive cave structures on display, including stalactites, stalagmites, and a type of gypsum formation called "gypsum flowers." The dry, cool environment of Mammoth Cave also makes it an ideal habitat for several endangered forms of bat and cave shrimp. 5. Denali National Park Contains the Highest Elevation Point in North America Previously known as Mount McKinley, the namesake of Alaska’s Denali National Park soars 20,320 feet above sea level, making it the highest point in North America. Upwards of 600,000 people visit Denali annually to see the majestic mountain views. In fact, the three highest points in U.S. national parks are all located in Alaska: In addition to Denali, Mount Saint Elias reaches 18,008 feet, and Mount Fairweather stands at 15,325 feet. Outside of Alaska, the highest point in a national park is California’s Mount Whitney, which towers 14,498 feet above sea level in Sequoia National Park. 6. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park Is Home to the World's Most Active Volcano The Hawaiian archipelago, made up of 137 islands, is a hotbed of volcanic activity. The islands formed as the result of eruptions due to the constant motion of the Pacific plate beneath the ocean. Located on the Big Island in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, Mount Kilauea is the world's most active volcano mass — it has been erupting continuously since 1983. Molten lava from the eruption pours down the sides, eventually cooling to add to the landmass of the island. But some lava streams flow directly into the sea, creating impressive vapor clouds when the two meet. Kilauea is also known as the home of Pele, the Hawaiian goddess of fire and volcanoes. 7. Arches National Park Has More Natural Arches Than Any Other Place on Earth Vibrant red-tinged rocks frame a brilliant blue sky in many an Instagram photo taken by visitors to Utah’s Arches National Park, home to more than 2,000 natural sandstone arches — more than in any other spot on Earth. Arches, bridges, and windows dot the desert, providing geologists with a fascinating view of millennia gone by. Over a period of about 65 million years, the area’s geologic plates shifted, and wind and rain also played a hand in shaping the rock into nature’s own sculpture garden. Arches grow and widen until they eventually collapse, leaving columns in their stead. As with many of these park features, in another million years, the landscape may be completely different than what we see today. 8. Gateway Arch National Park Is the Country's Smallest National Park Named after a human-made arch rather than a natural one, Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis is the smallest of the country's 63 national parks, covering just over 90 acres. It’s also one of the country’s few urban national parks and includes green forestland, riverfront access, and five miles of recreational trails that are home to diverse native plant species. Of course, the centerpiece of the park is the 630-foot-high (and 630-foot-wide) Gateway Arch — the tallest human-made monument in the U.S. — which stands against the St. Louis skyline. 9. Theodore Roosevelt National Park Is the Only National Park Named After a Person The 26th President’s namesake park is located in the North Dakota badlands, and got its name because Roosevelt had a residence there. When Roosevelt served as President from 1901 to 1909, he established more than 200 national parks, forests, wildlife reserves, and monuments across 230 million acres of public land, earning him the nickname the “conservationist President.” Visited by 600,000 people each year, Theodore Roosevelt National Park covers more than 70,000 acres with the Little Missouri River flowing through it. It is filled with wildlife and scenic vistas, including the famous Painted Canyon, where the former President’s cabin is located. 10. North Cascades National Park Has More Glaciers Than Anywhere in the Continental U.S. Located about 100 miles north of Seattle, Washington’s North Cascades National Park is home to a mountain range that’s often referred to as “the American Alps” for its rugged, glacier-capped peaks. In fact, the area is home to more than 300 glaciers — more than any other U.S. national park outside of Alaska. It’s one of the snowiest places on the planet, and all that snow accumulates and compacts into glacial ice. Overall, however, the U.S. national park that has the most glaciers is Alaska’s Wrangell St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Covering 13.2 million acres, it’s also the largest national park in the country and home to some of the biggest glaciers in the world. 11. Mesa Verde National Park Was One of the World's First UNESCO Sites With 5,000 known archaeological sites, 600 of which are cliff dwellings made of sandstone and mud mortar, Mesa Verde National Park offers a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people, who lived in the southwestern Colorado area from around 550 to 1300. Among the most impressive structures are the Cliff Palace, Balcony House, and Square Tower House, plus various relics like farming terraces, field houses, shrines, and rock art. The area was designated a national park in 1906, and in 1978, it earned a spot among an elite group of only 12 places around the world named the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mesa Verde was one of two sites in the U.S. — the other was another national park, Yellowstone. 12. There's Only One U.S. National Park in the Southern Hemisphere Spanning rainforests, volcanoes, beaches, and coral reefs on three islands in the South Pacific, the National Park of American Samoa is the southernmost park of any U.S. territory — and the only national park south of the equator. The park was established in 1988 after environmentalists proposed a bill to preserve the hundreds of plant species in the rainforest and to save the habitat of the endangered Flying fox (a fruit bat). Covering 13,500 acres on the islands of Ofu, Tutuila, and Ta’ū, the park is a spectacular preserve for hikers and snorkelers. And its very existence is a reflection of Polynesia’s oldest culture and its deep-rooted respect for the island environment — the name Samoa translates to “sacred earth.” Source: Fascinating Fact About America's National Parks | Facts About US National Parks
  13. 1 point
    What's the Word: NUTRIMENT pronunciation: [NOO-trə-mənt] Part of speech: noun Origin: Late middle English, 15th century Meaning: 1. Nourishment; sustenance. Example: "My mother’s meals were simple but full of nutriment." "Siobhan wanted wholesome nutriment after a weekend of eating junk food." About Nutriment “Nutriment” is taken from the Latin “nūtrīmentum,” meaning “nourishment.” Did You Know? The word “nourishment” is more common than “nutriment,” but “nutriment” often means the same thing. “Nutriment” describes both food (as a plural noun) and the nourishment that food contains in the form of vitamins, minerals, and energy. A person may eat nutriments, but they may also eat a food for its nutriment.
  14. 1 point
    Fact of the Day - FAIRYTALE CREATORS Did you know.... Most of us know a few fairy and folk tales, and have grown up seeing multiple renditions and retellings of these stories. But less of us are familiar with the collections that popularised them, or the writers that penned the versions we know today. So I thought I’d have a look at 6 fairy tale collectors and writers that have given us some of our most beloved fairy tales. (NICOLA | OCTOBER 10, 2016) From Mother Goose to Brothers Grimm: 8 of History’s Most Important Fairy-Tale Creators by Interesting Facts Everybody knows the stories of Cinderella, Aladdin, and Sleeping Beauty. These centuries-old fairy tales have been immortalized in every art form imaginable, from books and ballets to musicals and movies. What’s often forgotten, however, is where these stories came from — and who was responsible for writing them down. Here’s a look at eight of history’s most important fairy-tale tellers. 1. Aesop: A (Literal) Legend If you’ve ever taken “the lion’s share” or claimed that “necessity is the mother of invention,” then thank Aesop. The Greek fabulist — purportedly born around 620 BC — is responsible for some of our most famous phrases and fables, including The Hare and the Tortoise. Greek authors like Herodotus and Plutarch claim that Aesop was a slave who became an adviser to Croesus, the King of Lydia. The accuracy of their accounts, however, is disputed, and it’s possible that Aesop was never a real person. 2. Marie-Catherine le Jumel de Barneville: Pioneer of the Fairy Tale Countess d’Aulnoy’s life is like a folktale — difficult to parse fact from fiction. A French author who lived during the 17th century, de Barneville may have been a spy who accused her husband of high treason. True or not, she established a literary salon later in life and published at least two collections of tall tales. Her works, like “The White Cat,” were famously conversational in style and were lauded for being popular with adults and children alike. In fact, she even coined the term “fairy tale.” 3. Hanna Diyab: The Man who Conjured Aladdin The brain behind Aladdin and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Diyab was a Syrian storyteller who lived during the early 18th century. When Diyab was young, he bumped into a French collector of antiquities who hired him to become his traveling assistant. Diyab visited Paris and met the folklorist Antoine Galland, who he entertained with folktales from home. Years later, Galland published some of Diyab’s tales in his famous translation of The Thousand and One Nights. Diyab wouldn’t receive credit until centuries later. 4. Jean de la Fontaine: The Editor Who Turned Fairy Tales into an Art Form In 1668, Frenchman Fontaine released the first volume of Fables, a literary landmark that would lay out a formula for centuries of European folk and fairy tales. Born to a well-to-do family, de la Fontaine became interested in writing upon being inspired by the work of the French poet Malherbe. Between 1668 to 1694, he released six volumes of fables — a total of 239 stories — that drew from diverse sources, from the Roman fabulist Phaedrus to the Panchatantra, an Indian book of fables. De la Fontaine’s fresh and artful retellings of stories such as “The Grasshopper and the Ant” and “The Raven and the Fox” turned Fables into an instant classic. 5. Charles Perrault: The Original Mother Goose A major influence on the Brothers Grimm, Perrault — hailing from France as well — helped transform tales like “Puss in Boots,” “Cinderella,” “Blue Beard,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and “Little Red Riding-Hood” into cultural touchstones. His 1697 book Histoires ou Contes du Temps Passe — better known as The Tales of Mother Goose — was an unexpected departure from his life’s work. Perrault had spent decades working as a government official, but when political bickering forced him to change careers, he turned to writing literary fairy tales for aristocratic literary salons. The career change at age 67 is what made him famous. 6. The Brothers Grimm: Disney before Disney Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm didn’t write “Rapunzel” or “Snow White,” but they did popularize the tales among the masses. The German-born brothers attended college with the intention of becoming civil servants, but a pair of influential teachers changed their minds — and inspired a love of folk poetry (or naturpoesie) and the arts. The duo gave up any hopes of a law career and began collecting literature that, they believed, emphasized the character of German culture and people. The brothers didn’t view themselves as writers, but as preservationists and historians who were saving common tales from extinction. Published in 1812, their first edition contained 156 fairy tales, including “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rumpelstiltskin,” “The Elves and the Shoemaker,” and “The Fisherman and His Wife.”. 7. Hans Christian Andersen: The Original Ugly Duckling The Danish writer of over 150 fairy tales — including “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” “The Little Mermaid,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “Thumbelina” — Andersen, born in 1805, came from humble beginnings. His mother was illiterate and his father only had an elementary school education. And when his dad died, Andersen started working at a factory at the age of 11. But he always had an artistic side, and he tried to express his struggles through his work. As a teenager, for example, Andersen was routinely harassed by other boys because he had a high voice, and that abuse inspired him to write “The Ugly Duckling.” “The story is, of course, a reflection of my own life,” he once wrote. 8. Alexander Afanasyev: From Bureaucrat to Bard Russia’s answer to the Brothers Grimm, Afanasyev was a 19th century Slavic folklorist who published nearly 600 folk and fairy tales. (His works include “The Firebird,” which was famously transformed into a ballet by composer Igor Stravinsky in 1910, and “Vasilisa the Beautiful and Baba Yaga.”) Much like Charles Perrault, Afanasyev spent decades clocking in at a normal day-job for the government. But while working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Empire, he developed an obsession with collecting and preserving local fairy tales. Unlike many of the other folklorists on this list, Afanasyev regularly cited his sources and often tried to pinpoint where the tale originated. Source: Famous Fairy Tale Writers and Collectors | Facts About Fairy-Tale Creators
  15. 1 point
    What's the Word: CHAUTAUQUA pronunciation: [shə-TOK-wə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Iroquoian, late 19th century Meaning: 1. (North American) An institution that provided popular adult education courses and entertainment in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Example: "Elena wanted to visit a chautauqua community during her vacation." "Leilani was instrumental in establishing her community’s first chautauqua." About Chautauqua This word stems from the New York town of the same name, where an annual Methodist summer colony featured lectures. The name originates from “ja'dahgweh,” a Seneca (Iroquoian) name, possibly meaning "one has taken out fish there." An alternative suggested meaning is "raised body." Did You Know? The Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly was organized at a campsite on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake in 1874. It started as an experiment to provide education in a nontraditional format. For instance, The Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle was structured as a four-year correspondence course that provided the essential knowledge and skills of a college education to those who couldn’t afford the standard college experience. Today, the Chautauqua Institution offers a variety of lecture series, artistic resident programs, and more during the summer.
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