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DarkRavie

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About DarkRavie

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  1. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - JAPE pronunciation: [jayp] Part of speech: VERB Origin: English, 14th century meaning: 1. Say or do something in jest or mockery. 2. To make a joke of something. Example: "He managed to jape at the beginning of his speech, so it wasn't quite so dry." "The children laugh and jape while they wait in the lunchline." About Jape Jape, as a verb, means to make a joke, but you can also use it as a noun. On April Fools' Day you might pull a jape, or a practical joke, on your family. May we suggest filling the bathroom with balloons overnight? Did you know? Jape is an English word that doesn't have a clear etymology from a foreign or ancient language. Chaucer used it in the 14th century in the senses of both trickery and mockery. Then somehow it gained the meaning of sexual intercourse. Most writers stopped using it then for fear of misinterpretation, but jape is still used in literary or formal writing.
  2. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - THE GUILLOTINE Did you know... that a guillotine is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions by beheading? The device consists of a tall, upright frame with a weighted and angled blade suspended at the top. The condemned person is secured with stocks at the bottom of the frame, positioning the neck directly below the blade. And FYI, France didn't stop executing people by guillotine until 1977! (Wikipedia) We think of this beheading instrument as something from the distant past, but the French were using the guillotine up until the same year Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars were released. The last person to be executed by guillotine was Tunisian agricultural worker Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of the kidnapping, torture, and the murder of a woman. He lost his head on February 24, 1977. Interesting Guillotine Facts 1. Guillotine – the name of the decapitation device can be traced back to France during the 1790s and the name became a household word during the French Revolution. 2. Though we believe that France gave the world the guillotine, it is not absolutely true. Guillotine was actually a borrowed concept because similar devices for execution were already in use hundreds of years earlier during the Middle Ages. 3. During the Middle Ages there was a device named ‘Planke’ that was used in Flanders and Germany. Again, there was Halifax Gibbet – a sliding axe that was put to use by the English. 4. However, the inspiration for the guillotine possibly came from Scottish Maiden that was extensively used between 16th century and the 18th century. 5. Some believe that guillotine’s concept came from another Italian device from the Renaissance era that went by the name ‘mannaia’. 6. Historical evidences actually put forward some baffling stuff. Historians say that the French people actually used primitive devices similar to guillotine way before the French Revolution actually started. 7. Though primitive guillotine-like devices were already in use in France, the most used tools for beheading (which was actually a capital punishment) were the axe and the sword, both of which were often very clumsy. 8. Since the sword and the axe turned out to be ineffective tools for smooth beheading, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin – a freemason as well as a French physician came to the government in late 1789 and asked for replacing the sword and the axe with a tool that would be lightning fast and neatly decapitate a person. 9. Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was very much against capital punishment but since he was in no position of putting an end to it once and for all, he wanted that the beheadings be done in a more humane fashion. 10. Unfortunately, the members of National Assembly declined Dr. Guillotin’s request. Not only was the request rejected, the members of the Assembly actually made fun of Dr. Guillotin and laughed at his proposal. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin - Wikipedia 11. The idea of such tool was once again revived in 1792 but this time it was Charles-Henri Sanson – a public executioner who made the request. 12. Sanson’s request was backed by Academy of Surgeons’ secretary, Dr. Antoine Louis. This time, the request was sanctioned. 13. Once the sanction was in place, Dr. Louis came up with the design of the machine. The first prototype of the machine was then created by Tobias Schmidt – a harpsichord maker of German origin. 14. Tobias started working on the prototype in April 1792 and completed the machine in under 1 week. Once the prototype of ready, the executioner was asked to test it by calves, sheep, corpses etc. The first test run took place on April 17, 1792. 15. It was then time for first human victim. A notorious thief named Nicolas Pelletier was the one selected for live human beheading. Pelletier was known for viciously assaulting his victims. The authorities fed Pelletier to the machine on April 25, 1792. Nicolas Jacques Pelletier 16. Since the machine was designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, it was named as Louisette and some called it Louison. Later the name was changed to guillotine because the idea was initially proposed by Dr. Guillotin. 17. This change in name was completely unexpected for Dr. Guillotin and he never wanted to get his name associated with the killing machine. 18. When in 1790s guillotine hysteria swept through France, Dr. Guillotin tried his best to get as far as possible from the machine. In early 19th century, Dr. Guillotin’s family sent a petition to French government to change the name of the machine. However, this was not accepted and the name continued to be in use. 19. In 1790s France was under the infamous Reign of Terror and many thousands of people who were against the French Revolution found their necks right under the blade of the guillotine. 20. Gradually guillotine beheadings became a public spectacle. Hundreds of people gathered around the stage of execution to watch public beheading using the guillotine. The machine became so popular that songs and poems and even jokes were written on its name. My French Life™ - Ma Vie Française® 21. That was not all! There was actually a restaurant named Cabaret de la Guillotine which was in business mostly because of the spectators who would grab a bite after watching a public beheading. Apart from that there were souvenirs made available for purchase and there was even a program that would read out the list of guillotine victims. 22. Watching guillotine beheadings actually became a daily habit of many people. There was a particular group of women who were known as Tricoteuses (knitting women), who would actually occupy seats right next to the scaffold and watch beheading after beheading and in the time between two consecutive decapitations, they would just sit there and knit. 23. Not just the adults, even the children were so fascinated by guillotine that they actually had miniature guillotines as toys. These toys would be about 2-foot in height with a real blade. 24. These miniature guillotines were fully operational and though they were not big enough to decapitate a human, they were good enough for decapitating dolls and live rodents. Children actually did get involved in such grisly acts as their favorite game. Luckily the toys were later banned in several cities of France to eliminate the possibilities of vicious influence on children. 25. Not just toy guillotines, there were something known as Novelty guillotines. These too were small but instead of being used as toys, they were actually place on dinner tables of upper class people. The only grisly act these guillotines were involved in was chopping down vegetable and breads. And lets not forget they were used to chop the tip off cigars too! ORNATE BRASS METAL GUILLOTINE CIGAR CUTTER 26. People who operated the guillotines enjoyed celebrity status nationwide. They actually had quite some reputation to defend during the French Revolution as the fame of many of these operators actually depended on how quickly they would behead multiple victims and that too pretty neatly. 27. Some executioners actually made guillotine operation a family business. One of the most famous was the Sanson family (see #11). Several generations of the family actually worked as state executioner between the years 1792 and 1847. Two of the most famous victims of the Sanson family were Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI. 28. There was yet another popular family – the Deibler family. Only the father and son duo were in business since 1879 to 1939. The Deibler family was well-known for their clothing choices while appearing on the scaffold. In fact so popular was their clothing choices that they actually created fashion trends! 29. Not just general public. Even the criminals were pretty much fascinated by guillotine to such an extent that they often had tattoos craved on their bodies with slogans etched on skin that would say which executioner family their heads belonged to. 30. France wasn’t the only country to make use of guillotine. Even Germany under Nazi rule made use of the guillotines to execute people during 1930s and 1940s. Guillotine in the basement of German Reichstag 31. The Nazi installed 20 guillotines across the country and used them to execute around 16,500 men and women during the period extending from 1933 to 1945. Most of the people who were executed by the Nazis using guillotines were either political dissidents or resistance fighters. 32. The French gave the guillotine a nice name. They used to call it as National Razor because it was used for capital punishment. 33. France kept using guillotine till late 1970s. The last person who was put under the National Razor was Hamida Djandoubi – a person convicted of murder. This guy was executed in 1977. That was the last time guillotine was ever used in this world. Its usage stopped because in 1981, France decided to abolish capital punishment forever. 34. Guillotine was definitely an effective killing machine because it severed the head of a victim in just 0.005 seconds. 35. The primary reason for such swift action was the razor sharp blade that was dropped from a height of 226 centimeters or 89 inches. The blade itself was pretty heavy but to make it even heavier, a separate metal weight known as the mouton was added. Guillotine schematic 36. A single person was not actually in charge of making a guillotine. In fact different parts of the machine were manufactured separately by different people like blacksmiths, carpenters, craftsmen and metal workers. The different parts were then carried to the execution site and assembled. 37. Guillotines were never put into mass production. Only a handful of them were produced and installed in key places. Interestingly, the guillotines were actually properties of the executioners and they were put in charge of maintaining the quality of the machines. Each executioner had multiple guillotines that they would cycle between use and maintenance. 38. Since the guillotine was extremely swift, several people asked whether the severed heads retained consciousness or not. Many attempts were made by experts and scientists to figure this out. The debate about severed heads retaining consciousness reached its maximum popularity during 1793. 39. That was the year when an assistant to the head executioner picked the severed head of one of the victims and slapped hard on the face. Claims were made by many spectators that the cheeks of the severed head actually flushed in anger. 40. Many other experiments were conducted the name of the decapitated person was called out loud to see if the eyes of the severed head reacted. Other would simply put the severed head in ammonia or on a candle flame to see if there were any reactions. Some doctors even asked many victims to either blink or keep one of their eyes opened after the execution took place. Source: Facts Legend
  3. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - ABSTEMIOUS pronunciation: [əb-STEE-mee-əs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, early 17th century meaning: 1. Not self-indulgent, especially when eating and drinking. 2. Abstaining. Example: "He threw his abstemious diet out the window and indulged in cake on his birthday." "The family was very abstemious, keeping no sugar or junk food in the house." About Abstemious “Abstemius” in Latin is spelled slightly differently from its English counterpart, abstemious, but they mean the same thing. “Ab” means from and “temetum” means alcoholic drink. An abstemious man is one who does not indulge in excessive food or drink. Did you know? There’s a fun trick hidden in the word abstemious. Take a look at the vowels — notice anything? Each vowel appears only once and in alphabetical order. Feel free to use this bit of trivia at your next happy hour.
  4. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - KATHMANDU VALLEY Kathmandu valley seen from Palanse, Bhaktapur Did you know... that The Kathmandu Valley, historically known as Nepal Valley or Nepa Valley, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of the Indian subcontinent and the broader Asian continent, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists? There are seven World Heritage Sites within the valley. (Wikipedia) Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property is inscribed as seven Monument Zones. These monument zones are the Durbar squares or urban centres with their palaces, temples and public spaces of the three cities of Kathmandu (Hanuman Dhoka), Patan and Bhaktapur, and the religious ensembles of Swayambhu, Bauddhanath, Pashupati and Changu Narayan. The religious ensemble of Swayambhu includes the oldest Buddhist monument (a stupa) in the Valley; that of Bauddhanath includes the largest stupa in Nepal; Pashupati has an extensive Hindu temple precinct, and Changu Narayan comprises traditional Newari settlement, and a Hindu temple complex with one of the earliest inscriptions in the Valley from the fifth century AD. The unique tiered temples are mostly made of fired brick with mud mortar and timber structures. The roofs are covered with small overlapping terracotta tiles, with gilded brass ornamentation. The windows, doorways and roof struts have rich decorative carvings. The stupas have simple but powerful forms with massive, whitewashed hemispheres supporting gilded cubes with the all-seeing eternal Buddha eyes. As Buddhism and Hinduism developed and changed over the centuries throughout Asia, both religions prospered in Nepal and produced a powerful artistic and architectural fusion beginning at least from the 5th century AD, but truly coming into its own in the three hundred year period between 1500 and 1800 AD. These monuments were defined by the outstanding cultural traditions of the Newars, manifested in their unique urban settlements, buildings and structures with intricate ornamentation displaying outstanding craftsmanship in brick, stone, timber and bronze that are some of the most highly developed in the world. Criterion (iii): The seven monument ensembles represent an exceptional testimony to the traditional civilization of the Kathmandu Valley. The cultural traditions of the multi ethnic people who settled in this remote Himalayan valley over the past two millennia, referred to as the Newars, is manifested in the unique urban society which boasts of one of the most highly developed craftsmanship of brick, stone, timber and bronze in the world. The coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism is considered unique. Criterion (iv): The property is comprised of exceptional architectural typologies, ensembles and urban fabric illustrating the highly developed culture of the Valley, which reached an apogee between 1500 and 1800 AD. The exquisite examples of palace complexes, ensembles of temples and stupas are unique to the Kathmandu Valley. Criterion (vi): The property is tangibly associated with the unique coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism. The symbolic and artistic values are manifested in the ornamentation of the buildings, the urban structure and often the surrounding natural environment, which are closely associated with legends, rituals and festivals. Integrity All the attributes that express the outstanding universal value of the Kathmandu Valley are represented through the seven monument zones established with the boundary modification accepted by the World Heritage Committee in 2006. These encompass the seven historic ensembles and their distinct contexts. The majority of listed buildings are in good condition and the threat of urban development is being controlled through the Integrated Management Plan. However the property continues to be vulnerable to encroaching development, in particular new infrastructure. Authenticity The authenticity of the property is retained through the unique form, design, material and substance of the monuments, displaying a highly developed traditional craftsmanship and situated within a traditional urban or natural setting. Even though the Kathmandu Valley has undergone immense urbanization, the authenticity of the historic ensembles as well as much of the traditional urban fabric within the boundaries has been retained. Protection and management requirements The designated property has been declared a protected monument zone under the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1956, providing the highest level of national protection. The property has been managed by the coordinative action of tiers of central government, local government and non-governmental organizations within the responsibilities and authorities clearly enumerated in the Integrated Management Plan for the Kathmandu World Heritage Property adopted in 2007. The implementation of the Integrated Management Plan will be reviewed in five-year cycles allowing necessary amendments and augmentation to address changing circumstances. A critical component that will be addressed is disaster risk management for the property.
  5. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - MUMMER pronunciation: [mə-mər] Part of speech: NOUN Origin: Old French, 15th century meaning: 1. An actor in a traditional masked mime, especially of a type popular in England in the 18th and early 19th centuries. 2. A pantomimist. Example: "Our trip to England included a theatrical performance by a traditional mummer." "The mummer performed on the corner every day, occasionally receiving donations from the crowd." About Mummer Mummer is thought to be a combination of the Old French verb “momer,” meaning to wear a mask, and the Middle English verb “mommen,” meaning to mutter or be silent. This gives us mummer, or one who practices the art of pantomime. Today you’ll typically find a mime wearing a full face of white paint instead of a mask. Did you know? While pantomime plays featuring mummers as actors reached peak popularity in the 18th and early 19th centuries, some more modern mimes have also gained notoriety. Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp character was a breakout star in silent films. And perhaps the most famous mime, Marcel Marceau, charmed the world as Bip the Clown.
  6. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - MUMMIES Did you know... that a mummy is a dead human or an animal whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or lack of air, so that the recovered body does not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions? (Wikipedia) When you think of ancient Egypt, your mind probably summons images of hieroglyphics, pharaohs, and mummified remains. Mummies have been wrapped up in countless creepy myths and exaggerated legends over the centuries, but how much do you really know about their history? I know I was surprised to learn they weren’t even the first culture to embalm and enclose their lost loved ones in the lifelike manner — or the ghastly reason shipping the remains to Europe became popular during the Middle Ages. The Practice Didn't Start In Egypt According to reports from Public Radio International, an ancient South American culture known as the Chinchorro were the first to mummify their deceased loved ones 2,000 years before Egyptians formed their own technique. The Egyptian Process Took 70 Days The Smithsonian Institute explains how a special priest would perform the ritual by reciting prayers throughout the process, starting by removing all of the internal organs. They saved those to either be placed in jars around the body or later, embalm and replace them back inside. They would then use a type of salt called “natron” to remove all the moisture from the body. After making the deceased appear as lifelike as possible by filling in sunken areas with linen and adding fake eyes, they would begin wrapping them with hundreds of yards of linen. Resin was used between the layers of cloth to keep it secure. They Left The Heart In Place Despite removing every other organ, the Smithsonian Institute also revealed that ancient Egyptians would never remove the deceased’s heart as they believed it to be “center of a person’s being and intelligence.” Egyptians Mummified Animals, Too Archaeologists uncovered more than a few critters entombed beside human remain — millions of them, in fact. The History Channel claims that “researchers believe [they] produced more than 70 million animal mummies between 800 BC and 400 AD.” This included cats, birds, cows, frogs, baboons, and countless other creatures who were either personal pets of the deceased or intended as offering or protection for them in the afterlife. They Only Weighed A Few Pounds When unwrapped, a typical mummy would weight just about five pounds, according to EgyptAbout.com. Mouths Were Often Left Open In fact, the British Museum explains how there was a whole ritual known as an “opening of the mouth ceremony.” This required a special tool and was done so the deceased could eat, drink, breathe, and speak in the afterlife, per their beliefs. Mummification Was A Lucrative Business The highly skilled Egyptian embalmers were paid well for their careful work. According to reports from NPR, they even formed trade unions to protect their personal techniques. Remains Were Used In Medicine In The Middle Ages The Smithsonian Magazine revealed the troubling special ingredient many medieval Europeans believed helped cure whatever might ail them: mummy flesh. Grave robbers would travel back from Egypt with remains and sell them to everyone from royals to regular civilians for a pretty penny. Essentially, they were treating any ache or pain by cannibalizing ancient humans. Victorians Held "Unwrapping" Parties Known as “mummy unrollings,” Atlas Obscura explains how folks would gather in the 1800s at the height of “Egyptomania” to watch as their host would slowly reveal a mummy underneath the layers of ancient linen.
  7. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - SWASH pronunciation: [swawsh] Part of speech: verb Origin: Imitative, 16th century meaning: 1. (of water or an object in water) move with a splashing sound. 2. (of a person) flamboyantly swagger about or wield a sword. Example: "Break out the kiddie pool and let the little ones play and swash in the water." "He loves to watch Olympic fencing as the graceful fighters swash back and forth." About Swash As a verb, swash describes splashing water, but it also applies to a particularly flamboyant swagger, especially while wielding a sword. Just picture Inigo Montoya from “The Princess Bride” — “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Did you know? The etymology of swash can’t be traced back to a particular language; it’s imitative. That means the word imitates a particular sound, such as the swish-swash of moving water back and forth. You can also call an imitative word an onomatopoeia.
  8. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - EVAPORATION Did you know... that evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs on the surface of a liquid as it changes into the gas phase? The surrounding gas must not be saturated with the evaporating substance. When the molecules of the liquid collide, they transfer energy to each other based on how they collide with each other. (Wikipedia) Evaporation happens when a liquid turns into a gas. It can be easily visualized when rain puddles “disappear” on a hot day or when wet clothes dry in the sun. In these examples, the liquid water is not actually vanishing—it is evaporating into a gas, called water vapor. Evaporation happens on a global scale. Alongside condensation and precipitation, evaporation is one of the three main steps in the Earth’s water cycle. Evaporation accounts for 90 percent of the moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere; the other 10 percent is due to plant transpiration. Substances can exist in three main states: solid, liquid, and gas. Evaporation is just one way a substance, like water, can change between these states. Melting and freezing are two other ways. When liquid water reaches a low enough temperature, it freezes and becomes a solid—ice. When solid water is exposed to enough heat, it will melt and return to a liquid. As that liquid water is further heated, it evaporates and becomes a gas—water vapor. These changes between states (melting, freezing, and evaporating) happen because as the temperature either increases or decreases, the molecules in a substance begin to speed up or slow down. In a solid, the molecules are tightly packed and only vibrate against each other. In a liquid, the molecules move freely, but stay close together. In a gas, they move around wildly and have a great deal of space between them. In the water cycle, evaporation occurs when sunlight warms the surface of the water. The heat from the sun makes the water molecules move faster and faster, until they move so fast they escape as a gas. Once evaporated, a molecule of water vapor spends about ten days in the air. As water vapor rises higher in the atmosphere, it begins to cool back down. When it is cool enough, the water vapor condenses and returns to liquid water. These water droplets eventually gather to form clouds and precipitation. Evaporation from the oceans is vital to the production of fresh water. Because more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, they are the major source of water in the atmosphere. When that water evaporates, the salt is left behind. The fresh-water vapor then condenses into clouds, many of which drift over land. Precipitation from those clouds fills lakes, rivers, and streams with fresh water. Evaporation on a Farm Water evaporates from a sugar beet field after a summer shower in Borger, Netherlands. Evaporation is a key step in the water cycle. PHOTOGRAPH BY BUITEN-BEELD/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO Source: National Geographic Evaporation facts for kids Kids Encyclopedia Facts (A simple picture explaining the evaporation of water, though in real life you can not see the water, but only steam) Evaporation is when a liquid becomes a gas without forming bubbles inside the liquid volume. If bubbles are formed we are talking instead about "boiling". For example, water left in a bowl will slowly disappear. The water evaporates into water vapor, the gas phase of water. The water vapor mixes with the air. The reverse of evaporation is condensation. When the molecules in a liquid are heated, they move faster. This makes them full of energy and so the particles collide with each other, and eventually they become so far apart that they become a gas. Differences between evaporation and boiling During evaporation only the molecules near the liquid surface are changing from liquid to vapor. During boiling the molecules inside the volume of the liquid are also changing to vapour. For this reason during evaporation no bubbles are formed, instead they are formed during boiling. Evaporation can happen at any temperature, while boiling happens only at a specified temperature called the "boiling point". Evaporation happens slowly, but boiling happens quickly. Rate of evaporation Some liquids evaporate more quickly than others. There are many factors that affect the evaporation rate. The rate of evaporation depends on the liquid's exposed surface area (faster when increased), the humidity of surroundings (slower when increased), the presence of wind (faster when increased) and the temperature (faster when increased). Liquid with high boiling points (those that boil at very high temperatures) tend to evaporate more slowly than those with lower boiling temperatures. Evaporation is a very essential part of the water cycle. Thermodynamics Evaporation is an endothermic process, in that heat is absorbed during evaporation. Applications Industrial applications include many printing and coating processes; recovering salts from solutions; and drying a variety of materials such as lumber, paper, cloth and chemicals. The use of evaporation to dry or concentrate samples is a common preparatory step for many laboratory analyses such as spectroscopy and chromatography. Systems used for this purpose include rotary evaporators and centrifugal evaporators. When clothes are hung on a laundry line, even though the ambient temperature is below the boiling point of water, water evaporates. This is accelerated by factors such as low humidity, heat (from the sun), and wind. In a clothes dryer, hot air is blown through the clothes, allowing water to evaporate very rapidly. The Matki/Matka, a traditional Indian porous clay container used for storing and cooling water and other liquids. The botijo, a traditional Spanish porous clay container designed to cool the contained water by evaporation. Evaporative coolers, which can significantly cool a building by simply blowing dry air over a filter saturated with water. Combustion vaporization Fuel droplets vaporize as they receive heat by mixing with the hot gases in the combustion chamber. Heat (energy) can also be received by radiation from any hot refractory wall of the combustion chamber. Pre-combustion vaporization Internal combustion engines rely upon the vaporization of the fuel in the cylinders to form a fuel/air mixture in order to burn well. The chemically correct air/fuel mixture for total burning of gasoline has been determined to be 15 parts air to one part gasoline or 15/1 by weight. Changing this to a volume ratio yields 8000 parts air to one part gasoline or 8,000/1 by volume. Source: Kiddle Encyclopedia
  9. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - POTATION pronunciation: [po-TEY-shən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 15th century meaning: 1. A drink. 2. The action of drinking alcohol. Example: "Sit down and join me for a potation." "A majority of the plans for the bachelor party concerned copious potation." About Potation Head to your favorite watering hole, and order a potation. It’s not a fancy cocktail made by a mixologist; it’s just a drink. Potation is a bit of an old-fashioned term for a beverage, usually alcoholic. Bartender’s choice when you ask for a potation. Did you know? Po-TEY-tion, po-TAH-tion. Actually, potation has nothing to do with potatoes. The Latin verb “potare” means to drink, and that turned into “potation” in Old French and then Middle English. The noun form means a drink, or the action of drinking.
  10. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - SIEGE OF PARIS Did you know... that the siege of Paris of 845 AD was the culmination of a Viking invasion of France? The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named "Reginherus", or Ragnar, who traditionally has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok. (Wikipedia) Ragnar Lothbrok, the notorious Viking, is still a historical mystery veiled in myths, or even believed to be a collective personage for several different Viking leaders. He is the father of the famous Vikings Björn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Halfdan Ragnarsson, and Ubba. However, history is most certain of one thing. Among all raids led by Ragnar, is the Vikings’ raid of Paris in 845. The adventurous Danish Viking Reginheri after a series of vicious attacks over the region of what was then Frankia and what would be later known as France managed to capture the city of Paris. His steps were followed by other great Viking leaders – Earl Siegfried and Rolf the Ganger. At that time, Paris, a small walled island city on the Seine was the seat of the Frankish king Charles the Bald. After the first siege of Paris, the Frankish continueD to experience attacks from the Norsemen, but would manage to withstand another besieging in 885. (Ragnar Lodbrok. The Dockyards) The First Viking attack on Paris – 845 The year is 845. The city of Paris, situated on the small island Île de la Cité will wake up to the sounds of the city bell. The city was being attacked by the Norsemen who have been scavenging the area for the past 4 years, yet who had never tried taking over the city of Paris. The spring waters of the Seine brought over 120 Viking barques carried the 5000 warriors, under the command of the Danish Viking Reginheri. Before their arrival, they’ve sacked the city of Rouen. Chieftain Raginheri had some score to settle with the Frankish leader. Not so long ago, in 841, King Charles gifted him with lands in Turnholt, where the Vikings could build their settlement, but the Danish Chieftain soon lost the favor of the Frankish king. King Charles, afraid of losing the Abbey of Saint-Denis to the Danes who were coming towards Paris, gathered his army. King Charles the Bald assembled his men, divided them into two garrisons, and ordered them to fortify on the two shores of the river Seine. The tactics of the Frankish leader, however, did not pay off and the Vikings effortlessly destroyed one of the garrisons, and even took prisoners. (Ragnar/Raginheri and Aslaug) On the 28th and 29th of March, the Danes without much resistance or even need of a siege took over Paris. The fate of these 111 souls who the Norsemen captured when battling the garrisons was too sealed. Their lives were sacrificed to the might of the Northerners’ god, the all mighty Odin. The Price of Peace The Frankish King Charles, afraid for the safety of the citizens of Paris and his own skin offered a tribute to Chieftain Raginheri. The freedom of Paris was worth 7000 livres of silver and gold. Raginheri wanted revenge for the deeds of the Frankish king who paid the substantial amount. After the withdrawal of Raginheri from the city some villages along the coast were still pillaged, that including the holy Abbey of Saint-Denis, which the king wanted to protect so much. The same year, the Vikings' King Horik and his men ravaged the archbishopric city of Hamburg. The king of East Frankia sent his count Cobbo as a diplomat to resolve the issue with the Vikings and made a peace treaty with the Danish king. As Raginheri returned to King Horik who was his superior, he explained the ease with which he entered the city yet lost many men to the plague at Saint Germain in Paris. King Horik, afraid the plague was a curse for the Vikings’ attack on the Abbey, ordered the execution of those raiders who survived and freed the captured Christian. During the 860 many of the villages around Paris and the city itself again suffered pillaging and ravaging attacks from the Norsemen. The King of West Frankia – Charles died in 877 and left the city in a chaotic state. As a result, several different rulers’ unsuccessfully reigned for short periods and all failed to create a defense against the raging Vikings. At last, in 884, the King of Germany and Italy Charles the Fat took the throne of Frankia. One year later, the river Seine once again carried Norsemen under the command of Earl Siegfried the Sinric. That time, the boats of the Northerners brought along another of their fiercest warriors, Rolf the Ganger, or Rollo. He raided the region of Neustria from 877. The legends said he was so big no horse could carry him and thus, he received his nickname The Walker. This time, however, the Franks had learned their lessons and spent the last years improving their defense system in expectation of the next Vikings’ attack. Count Odo, son of Robert the Strong, followed his father’s example and took it upon himself to continue the fortification of Paris. (Alongside the river, he erected the defensive tower Grand Châtelet and two bridges, both with defensive towers on each end. Thus, in 885, the city of Paris was this time prepared to face the attack of the Vikings.) The Second Viking Siege of Paris 885-886 (The great army of Vikings, possibly around a few thousand men, gathered in Rouen under the command of Siegfried the Sinric. Rouen, still remembering the last Vikings’ raid chose to surrender in order to avoid any harm.) The Vikings first demanded tribute from Count Odo the Protector of Paris, who refused. Siegfried then decided to lead his ships up the stream of the Seine. Yet, he had no idea that the Franks had built the two low bridges, one of stone and the other of wood, which made it impossible for the Vikings’ barques to pass the towers and reach the city of Paris. The towers themselves were heavily guarded by men of Count Odo, his brother Robert, and few other Parisian royals. In late November the same year, the Danes asked for another tribute, which was again denied. In response, they began their attack on the Grand Châtelet on the right bank. The Norsemen used mangonels and catapults to hurl large pieces of stone and javelins, and started to climb the walls but the defenders poured boiling oil and wax on them. At sundown the Vikings ceased their attempts and regrouped, the Parisians used the night and rebuilt their tower. After seeing the renewed tower the next morning, the Danes concentrated on taking down the city gates, again with no success. Following the coming of the night, the Vikings crossed the river and made a camp on the opposite bank and continued building siege weapons. Next day, they renewed their efforts, throwing something similar to grenades and trying to take down the tower and enter the city. The siege of the Vikings continued for 2 months, during which they made incredible efforts and tactics in order to enter the city and scavenged the lands for provisions. In February 886, the Vikings made an attempt to take down the wooden bridge by setting it on fire with burning boats, again with no success. However, the bridge’s weakened support got destroyed by the flood and debris after a heavy rain. With the bridge’s tower and its defenders left isolated, it was an easy target. Since the Parisian warriors who were fortified inside refused to give themselves up peacefully, the Danes killed them once the tower was stormed. Tired of standing in one place, the Vikings separated into groups, leaving some to continue the siege, while others went on and pillaged the nearby lands. This gave count Odo the opportunity to send for help, and soon the Vikings that were still holding the siege were attacked from the back. Earl Siegfried, knowing his men were weary and weakened asked one more time for a small tribute of around 60 pounds of silver and left the siege in April. (Statue of Rollo in Falaise) The Vikings who maintained the siege were Rolf the Ganger and his men. After several clashes with the Parisians, the Vikings managed to capture and kill Count Henry of Saxony and made another attempt to take the city in the summer but were again repulsed. The Imperial Army, the hope of Count Odo, arrived in October and quickly scattered the Norsemen and put an end to the siege. King Charles and his imperial army instead of hunting the Norsemen down, sent them sailing up Yonne to the revolting Burgundy and promised them 700 livres for dealing with the revolt, which he paid upon their return in 887. The Beginning of the Norman Dynasty The Vikings sailed back to their land, but again in 911 Rolf returned to the lands of Frankia with the intent to raid and sack. However, Charles the Simple negotiated with Rolf, made him a count and married him to his daughter Gisela and gave him the city of Rouen. He later divorced Gisela and remarried his former wife Poppa. The County of Rouen later , around the 11th century became the Duchy of Normandy and the dynasty of Rolf continued ruling the lands and expanding their territories.
  11. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - BALACLAVA pronunciation: [bal-ə-KLAH-və] Part of speech: NOUN Origin: Turkish, mid-19th century meaning: 1. A close-fitting garment covering the whole head and neck except for parts of the face, typically made of wool. Example: "It was too cold to wear just a hat, so he pulled out his balaclava." "Adding a balaclava under his ski helmet made it fit perfectly." About Balaclava They're not just for bank robbers — the balaclava is popular in cold climates and in certain sports. This close-fitting hat covers the whole head, neck and parts of the face, usually leaving only the eyes bare. Did you know? This winter weather accessory came about because the British troops suffered in the cold during the Crimean War. Kind folks back home heard about their plight and started knitting. The special hat made to be worn under the helmet came to be called the balaclava, after the city of Balaklava in the Crimea.
  12. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - YARN Did you know... that yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, or ropemaking? Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine. (Wikipedia) Those who have never tried to knit or crochet might not realize that the fiber arts have quite an interesting history. Even experienced crafters might not know that there are tons of fun facts about cotton yarn and the practice of knitting. No one knows exactly how long knitting has been around Because knitting yarns decay with time, it’s nearly impossible for archaeologists to determine how long this art form has been around. Although the sharpened sticks found at numerous digging sites resemble knitting needles, they could also be tools with totally different uses. Experts think the craft may have originated in the Middle East and later brought west during the Crusades. What we do know is that the word “knitting” didn’t appear in the English language until the 1300s. The art of weaving is thought to be older than knitting, but most people think that crochet came after the practice of knitting. But we do know how long yarn has existed Approximately, anyway. The earliest known samples of fabrics and yarns were found in Switzerland and were thought to be nearly 7,000 years old! Knitting was thought to be a man’s enterprise While knitting with cotton yarn is now seen stereotypically (and unfairly) as “women’s work,” it was initially a male-only occupation! In 1527, the first knitting union was established in Paris, France — and no women were allowed to join. After the knitting machine was invented in the late 1500s, knitting by hand became a useful hobby, rather than a necessity. Since it transformed into a leisurely craft, this may explain why it was no longer considered a male task. Knitting is a record-breaking pastime Runner David Babcock broke a Guinness World Record for his time in the Kansas City marathon: five hours, 48 minutes, and 27 seconds. If you’re wondering what’s so special about his time, he managed to run the entire race while knitting a scarf that measured over 12 feet long! And in 2012, knitters gathered in the Royal Albert Hall in London set the record for the most people knitting simultaneously; they had 3,083 people knitting, all told. Knitting is a healthy activity Not only can knitting or crocheting with cotton yarn relieve stress, improve motor function, and prevent arthritic diseases, but it also burns calories! When you knit for a half hour, you can burn up to 55 calories — so if you spend a good couple of hours working on your knitting, you could potentially burn off 200 calories or so. Knitting is changing all the time The popularity of knitted fabrics has waxed and waned throughout the years, but there are always new advancements being made. Traditional choices like wool and cotton yarns are still prevalent, but there are also new fibers being used. Yarns made of soy, hemp, alpaca, bamboo, microfibers, and other exotic blends have emerged into the marketplace, which provide more choices for artisans and hobbyists alike. THREE TECHNIQUES OF YARN SPINNING Cotton, wool, and man-made staple products are converted to yarn by a process called spinning. Upholstery fabric yarns are spun by three basic methods: Warp Spinning In wrap spinning, a bundle of parallel fibers is wrapped in a spiraling fashion with other fibers. A bundle may contain 150-200 individual fibers along its length, yet not be thicker than a paper clip. Yarns spun by other methods are similar in size. Warp spinning is suitable for making strong, dense yarns. Ring Spinning In ring spinning a parallel bundle of fibers is tightly twisted for cohesion and strength. No wrapper fiber is needed. Open End Spinning With open end spinning the yarn has individual fibers that are not arranged as uniformly as in wrap or ring spun yarns. Most of the fibers are generally parallel, but with lots of crisscrossing, while some fiber irregularly wraps around the main bundle. THREE MAJOR METHODS OF FABRIC CONSTRUCTION Upholstery fabrics are constructed for durability and stability on quality furniture by three processes: Weaving, Tufting and Knitting WEAVING Woven fabrics interlace yarns essentially at right angles. Both velvet and flatwoven constructions are used for upholstery. In velvet wovens, the plush pile is locked in by an interlocking system as shown here. Flatwoven construction techniques range from simple basket-weaves to complex jacquard structures with patterns typical of brocade and damask. TUFTING In tufted material, the pile is sewn into a backing material. Tufted fabrics can be dyed to solid shades or patterns using special technology. Striped fabrics can be tufted by using colored yarns. KNITTING Velvet fabrics knitted on a Raschel machine are similar to woven velvets except the pile tufts are locked into loops rather than a crisscrossed structure. Knitted fabrics like these are suited for furniture that requires fitting fabric over many curves. COLORS AND FINISHING COLORS Color is the most important attribute to consumers in choosing an upholstered piece of furniture. The colors in fabrics are infinite. They can be solids, multi-colored stripes, or other pattern effects such as florals and geometries. Dyeing of the material can be done at any stage of making the fiber, yarn, or fabric. The desired effect to be achieved will usually dictate the dyeing method. For example, a multi-colored floral pattern requires the individual yarns to be pre-colored to as many different shades as there are in the desired pattern. The various colored yarns are then constructed into the floral pattern fabric. By contrast, a solid color can be achieved by constructing the fabric first and then dyeing the fabric. Another way to achieve a solid color or multi-color effect would be to use pre-dyed fiber, produce the colored yarn, and then construct the fabric. This assures consistently uniform color. Printing is localized coloration that also achieves multi-colored effects. FINISHING Finishing follows coloration. This treatment can be mechanical, chemical, or both. The mechanical treatment is done at the textile mill, prior to shipment to the furniture manufacturer. It can be one of various surface treatments. Brushing and polishing of velours, for example, can provide extra sheen and luster.
  13. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - VALEDICTION pronunciation: [val-ih-DIK-shən] Part of speech: NOUN Origin: Latin, mid-17th century meaning: 1. The action of saying farewell. 2. The word or phrase used to close out a letter before the signature. Example: "Make sure to give your mother a valediction before you leave for the weekend." "I always struggle with choosing an appropriate valediction for emails to my boss." About Valediction There’s valediction (the act of saying farewell), valedictorian (the student chosen to deliver a farewell address at a commencement ceremony), and valedictory, which is the noun for that speech, or an adjective describing something of a farewell nature. Did you know? If you’re a regular at church, you’ll know the benediction is the blessing given at the end of the service. Valediction has a similar Latin etymology. “Bene” in Latin is to wish well or bless. “Vale” is goodbye and “dicere” is to say. Benediction or valediction — depending on the context — are both appropriate ways to say goodbye.
  14. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - SOLAR ENERGY Did you know... that solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics, indirectly using concentrated solar power, or a combination? Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and solar tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. (Wikipedia) The consumption of non-renewable sources like oil, gas and coal is increasing at an alarming rate. The time has finally come to look after some other renewable sources of energy i.e. solar, wind and geothermal energy. Although many countries have started utilizing solar energy extensively but still they have to go a long way to exploit this energy to fulfill their daily demand for energy. Here are few facts on solar energy that can help you assess the potential of solar energy to meet global requirements. What is Solar Energy? Solar energy refers to energy from the sun. The sun has produced energy for billions of years. It is the most important source of energy for life forms. It is a renewable source of energy unlike non- renewable sources such as fossil fuels. Solar energy technologies use the sun’s energy to light homes, produce hot water, heat homes. The main benefit of solar energy is that it does not produce any pollutants and is one of the cleanest source of energy. It is a renewable source of energy, requires low maintenance and are easy to install. The only limitation that solar energy possess is that it cannot be used at night and amount of sunlight that is received on earth is depends on location, time of day, time of year, and weather conditions. Below are 40 Facts on Solar Energy Fact 1: Solar energy is a completely free source of energy and it is found in abundance. Though the sun is 90 million miles from the earth, it takes less than 10 minutes for light to travel from that much of distance. Fact 2: Solar energy which comprises of radiant heat and light from the sun can be harnessed with some modern technology like photo-voltaic, solar heating, artificial photosynthesis, solar architecture and solar thermal electricity. Fact 3: The solar technology can be distinguished into active and passive. Photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors which harness solar energy are examples of active solar technology. Passive technology includes constructing rooms to improve air circulation, orienting space to favorably use sunlight. Fact 4: The earth gets 174 Petawatts of incoming solar radiation in the upper atmosphere. About 30% is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed by oceans, clouds and land masses. Fact 5: The water cycle is an important result of solar insulation. The earth, oceans and atmosphere absorb solar radiation and their temperature rises. Warm air rises from the oceans causing convection. When this air rises to high altitudes, clouds are created by condensation of water vapor. These clouds cause rains that bring water back to the earth’s surface which completes the water cycle. Fact 6: Solar energy has also another use. By means of photosynthesis, solar energy is converted by green plants into chemical energy which creates the bio mass that makes up the fossil fuels. Fact 7: Horticulture and agriculture seek to make the maximum use of solar energy. These include techniques like timing of planting cycles and mixing of plant varieties. Green houses are also used to convert light into heat to promote year round cultivation of special crops. Fact 8: Solar powered hot water systems utilize solar energy to heat water. In certain areas, 60 to 70% of water used domestically for temperatures as high as 60 degree Celsius can be made available by solar heating. Fact 9: Solar chimneys are passive solar ventilation systems. Shafts connect the interior and exterior of the building. The functioning can be improved by glazing and using thermal mass materials. Fact 10: Solar energy can also be used for making potable, brackish or saline water. Without using electricity or chemicals, waste water can be treated. Creating salt from sea water is also one of the oldest uses of solar energy. Fact 11: Clothes can be dried in the sun using clothes lines, cloth racks etc. Fact 12: Food can be cooked, dried or pasteurized using solar energy. Fact 13: Solar power is the most exciting use of solar energy. It is how solar energy is converted into electricity by using either photo-voltaic (direct method) or concentrated solar power (Indirect). Large beams of sunlight are focused into a small beam using mirrors or lenses in the case of concentrated solar power. Photoelectric effect is used by Photo voltaic to convert solar energy into electric energy. Fact 14: Solar chemical processes replace fossil fuels as a source for chemical energy and can make solar energy storable and transportable. Photosynthesis can create a variety of fuels. Technology for producing Hydrogen is a major area of solar chemical research. Fact 15: Thermal storage systems can store solar energy in the form of heat by using common materials with high specific heat such as stone, earth and water. Solar energy can be stored also in molten salts. Fact 16: The oil crisis of 1970 revealed the delicate nature of fossil fuels as a source of energy for the world. As such research in alternative, renewable energy technology like that of solar and wind energy gained momentum. Fact 17: Solar energy is being recognized as the future of alternative energy sources as it is non polluting and helps combat the Greenhouse effect on global climate created by use of fossils fuels. Fact 18: Common domestic use of solar energy is from solar panels which absorb solar energy to use for cooking and heating water. Fact 19: Solar energy produce no pollution, have no environmental effects and is ecologically acceptable. Fact 21: Space missions by various countries use solar energy to power their spaceships. Fact 22: Solar energy is very reliable source of energy. Fact 23: With new advancements in scientific researches, solar energy could be more affordable in future with decreasing costs and increasing efficiency. Fact 24: Solar energy could prove to be the major source of renewable energy because of its massive potential and long-term advantages. Fact 25: The earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square meter. Fact 26: The largest solar power plant in the world is located in the Mojave Desert in California, covering 1000 acres. Fact 27: Solar energy is the preferred mode of creating power where the need is temporary. For e.g.: temporary fairs, mining sites, Olympics. Fact 28: Solar energy can also be used to power calculators. Fact 29: Solar panels are virtually maintenance free since the batteries require no water or other regular service and will last for years. Once, solar panels are installed, there are no recurring costs. Fact 30: Solar power can significantly reduce the electricity bills. Moreover, there are many tax incentives and rebate programs designed to spur the use of solar, and save home owners money at the same time. Fact 31: Solar power is noise pollution free. It has no moving parts, and does not require any additional fuel, other than sunlight, to produce power. Fact 32: A home solar panel system consists of several solar panels, an inverter, a battery, a charge regulator, wiring, and support materials. Sunlight is absorbed by the solar panels and is converted to electricity by the installed system. The battery stores electricity that can be used at a later time, like cloudy days or during the evening. Fact 33: By relying on battery backup, solar energy can even provide electricity 24×7, even on cloudy days and at night. Fact 34: Solar Energy is measured in kilowatt-hour. 1 kilowatt = 1000 watts. Fact 35: Though solar energy is used on a wide scale, it only provides a small fraction of the world’s energy supply. Fact 36: Solar energy is used in many applications including Electricity, Evaporation, Biomass, Heating water and buildings and even for transport. Fact 37: Large investment is one the primary reason why solar energy is not still not used by many people all over the world. Fact 38: Solar energy has been used for over 2700 years. In 700 BC, glass lenses were used to make fire by magnifying the sun’s rays. Fact 39: The sun is also the main source of non-renewable fossil fuels (coal, gas and petroleum) which began life as plants and animals millions of years ago. Fact 40: Clouds and pollution prevent the sun’s rays from reaching the earth. Every year the sun beams to the earth energy to sustain global needs of energy for the entire year. Solar energy is a technology used to convert solar energy into other forms like electrical energy to meet global requirements. As of now only one tenth of global energy needs is supplied by solar energy but the potential for the future is mind boggling. Source:
  15. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - SWAIN pronunciation: [sweyn] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old Norse, 14th century meaning: 1. A young lover or suitor. 2. A country youth. Example: "The eager swain showed up at her door with a bouquet of flowers to ask her to prom." "He didn’t often leave the farm, but the swain went into town for supplies once a month." About Swain It’s an old-fashioned term for a beau, boyfriend, or suitor. While the term isn’t used much these days, we highly recommend introducing your new boyfriend as your swain — the charming moniker might win over mom and dad. Did you know? In Old Norse, “sveinn” meant boy, or servant. Old English adopted swain to describe the young man attending a knight. It picked up a few more definitions over the years, with swain meaning a country youth, and then a gentleman suitor. The courting version stuck around in romantic literature.
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