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  1. Fact of the Day - ARTILLERY Soldiers of the Royal Artillery firing 105mm light howitzers during an exercise Did you know... that artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility generally providing the largest share of an army's total firepower. Originally, the word "artillery" referred to any group of soldiers primarily armed with some form of manufactured weapon or armor. (Wikipedia) Artillery By Dieter Storz | December 2014 French trench mortar Artillery consisted of the military’s heavy firearms. As a branch of the armed forces, its purpose was to fire explosive-filled projectiles across relatively large distances. In contrast to the infantry and the cavalry, the artillery could not enter into combat on its own. By the same token, other weapons required artillery support in order to be effective in battle. The structure of artillery 15 cm heavy field Howitzer 1902 Artillery is divided, technologically and tactically, into light and heavy artillery. Light artillery was generally referred to as "field artillery" and intended for mobile warfare, which was the norm until 1914. The artillery’s weaponry needed to be transportable. This required that it be able to bear up under long marches and cope with difficult terrain. As result, there were natural weight limits for artillery materiel, which was pulled by horses. This restricted both the caliber and the range, for large distances required powerful charges and hence heavy gun barrels and mounts. The field artillery from 1914, which consisted mainly of cannons with flat trajectories, had calibers of between 7.5 and 8.4 cm. 7.7 cm anti-aircraft gun France devised a groundbreaking innovation in 1897, when it introduced a field gun with long barrel recoil. With conventional guns, the barrel was firmly connected to the mount. They consequently jerked backwards when fired, and had to be both reloaded afterwards, and returned to their initial position and reset. The new type of gun featured a barrel in a cradle which could be slid backwards in the cradle. A brake mechanism elastically absorbed the barrel and returned it to its initial position. The weapon itself remained steady and it was no longer necessary to reset the weapon after each shot. The rate of fire increased exponentially, as a consequence, but so did the required supply of ammunition. Foot artillery, referred to as Fußartillerie in Germany, was considerably more complex and covered a variety of different weapons. Its proper domain was siege warfare in attack and defense. Mobility was of secondary importance. Of greater importance were the distance and impact of the individual shells. The Russo-Turkish War (1877/1878) had demonstrated that light field guns were not able to destroy improvised field fortifications. In Germany, this led to the buildup of “heavy artillery in the field army” with the newly manufactured large caliber guns that were still sufficiently maneuverable for mobile warfare. In 1914, Germany had an obvious lead in this type of artillery. Heavy artillery also included heavy mortar fire. This encompassed special guns with calibers of over thirty centimeters that were utilized for fighting against modern armoured turret fortifications. Along with caliber and distance, the trajectory of a round was an important criterion for judging the capabilities of guns. Cannons fired with flat trajectories; howitzers and mortars, by contrast, had curved lines of fire. The latter were thus able to shoot over high cover or hit targets behind them, since the shells descended at a steep angle at the end of their flight paths. Their range of fire, however, remained inferior to that of guns of the same caliber. German 13 cm cannon Artillery in war In 1914, mobile warfare largely came to a standstill within several weeks and transformed into trench warfare. As a result, siege warfare became the norm. The importance of heavy artillery increased to the degree that field fortifications were driven deeper into the ground vertically and structured with greater complexity horizontally. Thousands of old siege guns from the 19th century, still lacking recoil mechanisms, made their way to the front lines. While their firing rate was low and maneuverability minimal, they could nevertheless shoot high-caliber shells across great distances. Even though every effort was made to push ahead with the manufacture of modern recoil artillery, many of the old heavy guns remained in use through the end of the war and even after. Light artillery was supplemented - not replaced - by heavy artillery. Small guns with rapid rates of fire continued to be indispensable for many artillery-related tasks. In the First World War, the German field artillery is said to have fired 222 million rounds. 19th century siege guns Numerical examples The German field artillery entered the war with 5,600 light guns. An additional 1,400 guns existed in the home territory among training units or as reserve equipment. In the last year of the war, the field artillery had approximately 11,000 guns. The exact increase of heavy artillery is difficult to estimate due to the large quantity of old guns that were initially stored at fortifications. In addition to the 1,397 modern recoil guns, there were still 2,197 heavy guns of the old type. By the end of the war, there were approximately 5,000 heavy guns on the fronts, most of which were modern. The 15 centimeter heavy field howitzer became the German artillery’s main battle weapon on the Western Front. German 150 mm sFH18 howitzer At the beginning of the war, the French artillery possessed 3,960 light guns and 688 heavy guns for mobile operations. 380 of these, however, were old models without a recoil mechanism. In the fortifications, there were 7,000 old guns, which included 3,688 powerful 120- and 155 millimeter cannons. By the end of the war, there were 5,580 light and 5,749 heavy guns in use. In addition to light and heavy artillery, new types of special anti-aircraft artillery were developed during the war and used for the direct support of the infantry. Artillery related tasks were also fulfilled by small mortar-type weapons with short firing ranges called “trench mortars” (German: Minenwerfer). Originally constructed for siege warfare, their number increased during the war in Germany from 186 to 16,000 and they were used primarily by the infantry. In France, the special artillery was referred to as artillerie de tranchée (trench artillery). British troops loading a Vickers 2 inch Medium Mortar In order for these instruments of violence to carry out their destruction efficiently, information was required on their targets. For this reason, a comprehensive and highly sensitive surveillance and fire control organization emerged during the war which, along with conventional methods like visual spotting from the ground, also employed innovative methods of determining the location of targets by means of acoustics and light. The collaboration between the infantry and the artillery was already one of the primary topics of tactical discussions before the war. A wholly reliable solution, however, was not discovered by the end of the war, for it proved impossible to guarantee continual and uninterrupted communication between infantry and artillery. Classical modes of firing such as curtain fire and rolling barrages were mechanistic firing procedures determined in advance. These could hardly be altered in their operational sequence or adapted to the infantry’s course of fighting. In Germany, it was still discussed in the final year of the war whether curtain fire, which had been a routine practice for years, even made sense! German artillery barrage falling on Allied trenches at Ypres Artillery was able to destroy all field fortifications with a commensurate increase in the intensity of the effort. Just the same, the required expenditure of materials and time actually limited the success that could be achieved, not least because the inflicted damage created an artificial obstacle in the terrain for the attacking force. As a result of artillery fire, the infantry was forced to abandon its continuously occupied positions and assume an outpost-like occupation of the frontline. The need to destroy even small, difficult-to-detect targets intensified the artillery expenditure even further, which reached its peak in 1917. The accuracy of the weapons largely depended on their condition (barrel wear) and day-to-day variables such as wind, temperature and air density. By the last year of the war, it was possible to effectively exclude such errors of the day through calculations. This made it possible to use precision artillery fire in surprise attacks. As a result of the inevitable time-consuming preparations, however, this did nothing to change the fundamental inflexibility of the artillery apparatus. British Army on the Western Front (August 1917) Conclusion Besides the actions of small, raiding patrols, every military operation in the First World War required massive artillery support if there was to be any hope of success. In mobile warfare, most soldiers were killed or wounded by infantry fire. By contrast, in trench warfare, the artillery was responsible for 75 percent of the known casualties. During the war, the artillery not only experienced considerable growth in absolute numbers, but also in terms of its relative share of the entire army. This is demonstrated by the example of the French military: In 1914, artillery-men made up 20 percent of the army; in 1918, it was 38 percent. Dieter Storz, Bayerisches Armeemuseum Source: Wikipedia - Artillery
  2. What's the Word? - ZYMURGY pronunciation: [ZY-mər-jee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. The study or practice of fermentation in brewing, winemaking, or distilling. Example: "Zach loved experimenting with new zymurgy techniques." "The distillery offered zymurgy classes as part of its facility tour." About Zymurgy This word comes from the Greek “zymo-.” It combines a form of “zymē,” meaning "a leaven," and “-ourgia,” which means "a working." That comes from “ergon,” meaning "work." Did You Know? “Zymurgy” is the last word in many standard English dictionaries — but not all. The second edition of the Oxford English Dictionary ends with “zyxt,” (an obsolete version of the verb “to see”), and Century Dictionary ends with “zyxomma,” (a type of dragonfly).
  3. Fact of the Day - MARMOT Yellow-bellied marmot Did you know.... that marmots are relatively large ground squirrels in the genus Marmota, with 15 species living in Asia, Europe, and North America. These herbivores are active during the summer when often found in groups, but are not seen during the winter when they hibernate underground. They are the heaviest members of the squirrel family. (Wikipedia) Facts About Marmots By: Charlotte Heal | February 21, 2017 These cute little fluff balls are often talked about and seen as somewhat mystical since they are so hard to spot during the snowy months; craning necks whilst on chair lifts and feverishly following marmot tracks (if you’re lucky enough to spot them). We thought we’d help you out by giving you a few fun and insightful facts to help you understand why they are so rarely spotted during the winter and also to share with your party whilst wiling away the time on that long bubble ride… Where do you find them? Marmots can be found throughout North America, Europe and Asia in mountainous regions such as the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas and the Carpathians up to heights of 14,000 feet. Alpine marmots prefer meadows and high-altitude pastures, where colonies live in deep burrow systems up to 20m long and can be as much as 3m deep underground. What do they eat? Marmots are mainly herbivores and eat a wide variety of plants, flowers and seeds, as well as grain, insects, spiders and worms. Interestingly they will choose young and tender plants over any other kind, and hold food in their forepaws while eating. They mainly emerge from their burrows to find food during the morning and afternoon. When the weather is suitable, they will cleverly eat large amounts of food in order to create a layer of fat on their body, enabling them to survive their long hibernation period. They are also excellent diggers, able to penetrate soil that even a pickaxe would have difficulty with! How do they communicate? They communicate with each other using a variety of visual and audio signals such as whistles, screams and tooth chattering. Scent glands are also used for territorial marking and conflict resolution between males. They’ll give one long whistle for flying predators, and two short bursts for the four-legged, grounded variety. The hoary marmot (found in North America) is sometimes called the ‘whistle pig’. This nickname was the inspiration for renaming the popular ski resort ‘Whistler’! What’s a day in the life of a Marmot like? Marmots usually live in self-dug burrows; they hibernate 7-8 months out of the year and can lose two thirds of their body weight during that period. During hibernation the marmot’s heartbeat slows to 3 or 4 beats per minute compared to an average range of 110-200 beats per minute when they are active. Once emerged from hibernation in the spring they often tunnel through several meters of snow. Marmots may be seen "sun bathing", but actually this is often on a flat rock and it is believed they are actually cooling themselves, using the rock as a temperature regulating device! One can often see an alpine marmot "standing" while they keep a look-out for potential predators or other dangers, but this is due to their very defensive nature and need to guard the colony from predators. Most likely resort for Marmot spotting? In Zermatt it is the clean air, lack of cars and petrol powered machines and rugged countryside that create an ideal habitat for marmots. In summer the hillsides are filled with them: sunbathing on the rocks or frolicking with their young. There is even an organised Marmot trail coming down from Blauherd to Findeln, with information points along the way, telling you all about these fascinating little creatures. Since the path also happens to wind its way down past the fabulous restaurant Chez Vrony you can celebrate successful marmot spotting on the terrace with a glass of wine and their delicious food. Source: Wikipedia - Marmot | Facts About Marmots
  4. What's the Word? - LATITUDINARIAN pronunciation: [la-də-t(y)oo-dn-ER-ee-ən] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. Allowing latitude in religion; showing no preference among varying creeds and forms of worship. Example: "Dan adopted a latitudinarian attitude so his children could seek out their own paths." "Some houses of worship embrace a modern, latitudinarian stance." About Latitudinarian This word comes from the Latin “latitudo, meaning “breadth,” plus the “-arian” suffix, which denotes a concern or belief in a specified thing. Did You Know? In modern times, being called a latitudinarian is likely to be a compliment. But that wasn’t always the case — the word was originally used in a derogatory fashion to describe more liberal, tolerant Anglican clerics.
  5. Fact of the Day - GOAT Did you know... that the domestic goat or simply goat is a domesticated species of goat-antelope typically kept as livestock. It was domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the animal family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae, meaning it is closely related to the sheep. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat. It is one of the oldest domesticated species of animal, according to archaeological evidence that its earliest domestication occurred in Iran at 10,000 calibrated calendar years ago. (Wikipedia) Fun facts about goats! by BC - SPCA | March 30, 2020 Goats are very curious, playful and friendly animals, that are also a common animal found on farms. See what you know about these quirky animals and learn more! There are over 300 different breeds of goats With so many different breeds, sizes vary greatly. One of the smallest breeds of goat, the Nigerian dwarf goat, reaches weights of only up to 75 pounds, whereas the Nubian goat can reach weights up to 250 pounds. Some goats are fluffy. A specific breed of goat, the Angora goat, is known for its soft, long curly hair, called mohair. Ear size also varies between different goat breeds. Some goats have long floppy ears, like the Nubian or Boer goats, whereas Lamancha goats have very small ears. From left to right: Angora goat, Nubian goat and a Lamancha goat “Fainting” goats? “Fainting” goats have become an internet phenomenon. However, this breed of goat (Myotonic), doesn’t actually faint. Due to a genetic mutation, when they are frightened, their muscles freeze up, causing them to fall over. While they remain totally conscious, and their muscles quickly return back to normal, people should avoid purposely frightening goats. Did goats discover coffee? Legend goes that coffee was discovered after a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed that his goats became energized and wouldn’t sleep at night after they were spotted eating berries from a particular tree. After sharing his discovery, drinks began to be made with these mysterious berries, and the knowledge of these energizing beans spread across the world. Does, bucks, and kids A female goat is called a doe or nanny, and a male goat is called a buck or billy. Baby goats are called kids and when a female goat gives birth it is called kidding. Within minutes of being born, kids are standing and taking their first steps. baby-goats-cuddling Goats are picky eaters Unlike in fairy tails, real goats won’t eat just any old thing. Goats are not grazers; they are referred to as browsers or foragers. They have a very strong and sensitive upper lip that helps them sort through the vegetation and pick what they like. Goats are social animals Goats are very social animals and live in groups called herds. They are happiest when provided with social interactions with other goats, animals and humans. Goats can even tell a happy human from an unhappy human, and they prefer to spend time with happy people. They are even able to watch a person solve a problem and copy the person to access a food reward. Goats have rectangular pupils This shape allows them to have a wider field of vision than humans and other animals that have circular pupils. They can see 320-340 degrees around them, without having to move. The ability to see everything around them, except for what is directly behind them, is very useful in avoiding predators. However, goats have to move their head if they want to look up or down due to the rectangular pupil shape. Closeup of a white goat Goats bleat Goats communicate with each other through vocalizations called bleating. The sound of these calls is what allows goats to identify individuals and recognize emotional states. Each baby goat (kid) has a distinct call, and that helps its mother recognize it. Do only male goats have beards? Despite popular belief, both male and female goats can have beards! Both male and female goats also sometimes have “wattles” – bits of skin that dangle from their head or neck. No one is sure why they have them, but one thing is for sure – “wattles” is fun to say! Tan and white goat with wattles Goats do not have front teeth in their upper jaw Instead, they have a strong, hard dental pad that helps them breakdown the food. Goats are extremely agile As all domestic breeds of goats are descended from mountain goats, making them excellent climbers with great balance. Mountain goats can jump up to 12 feet or 3.5 meters in a single bound. Some goats have also been observed climbing trees. Mountain goat jumping at top of mountain The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Goats is being updated for the first time in 16 years. This code serves as law in some provinces, and sets the standard for minimum acceptable care of goats across Canada. Learn more about setting care standards for goats. We will need your help when the full update to the code is released for public comment. Sign up for action alerts so you are the first to hear about your next opportunity to improve the lives of goats on Canadian farms. Source: Wikipedia - Goat | Goat Facts
  6. What's the Word? - FASCICLE pronunciation: [FAS-ə-kəl] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 15th century Meaning: 1. A separately published installment of a book or other printed work. 2. (Anatomy and biology) a bundle of structures, such as nerve or muscle fibers or conducting vessels in plants. Example: "Mae wanted to study how different groups of fascicles in mammals function." "“Great Expectations” was originally published as sequential fascicles in a literary magazine." About Fascicle This word stems from the Latin “fasciculus,” the diminutive of “fascis,” meaning “bundle.” Did You Know? Charles Dickens started the serialized fascicle trend when he published “Pickwick Papers” in 20 parts between 1836 and 1837. Soon, other Victorian-era novelists were following suit. In England, these part-issue installments cost a shilling, making fiction affordable to an entirely new class of readers for the first time.
  7. Fact of the Day - LAPIS LAZULI Did you know.... that Lapis lazuli, or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BCE, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan. (Wikipedia) Interesting Facts About Lapis Lazuli By Admin | September 2019 Lapis lazuli is a semiprecious stone valued for its deep blue color. The unusual name of this gem is composed of “Lapis,” the Latin word for stone, and “Azula,” which comes from the Arabic and means “blue.” It is formed as a metamorphic rock of the limestone type. Lapis lazuli is semitranslucent to opaque, with a waxy to vitreous luster. It has a hardness of 5 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Variously described as indigo, royal, midnight, or marine blue, lapis lazuli’s signature hue is slightly greenish blue to violetish blue, medium to dark in tone, and highly saturated. In its most-prized form, lapis lazuli has no visible calcite, although it might have gold-colored pyrite flecks. Lapis lazuli is found in limestone in the Kokcha River valley of Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, where the Sar-i-Sang mine deposits have been worked for more than 6,000 years. Today, mines in northeast Afghanistan are still the major source of lapis lazuli. Important amounts are also produced from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, and in the Andes mountains in Chile. Smaller quantities are mined in Italy, Mongolia, the United States, and Canada. The gem was treasured by the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome. They valued it for its vivid, exquisite color, and prized it as much as they prized other blue gems like sapphire and turquoise. Ancient Romans used to call it “sapphires,” which was subsequently applied to the blue variety of corundum we know today as sapphire. Ancient Egyptians regarded lapis lazuli as a heavenly stone and often used it on the statues of their gods and in burial masks, as protection for the next life. The stone has been used in the Mask of Tutankhamun. It was a favorite stone for amulets and ornaments such as scarabs. The stone was also used to create blue cosmetics. There are many references to sapphires in the Old Testament, but most scholars agree that, since sapphire was not known before the Roman Empire, they most likely are references to lapis lazuli. At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive pigment available (gold being second). It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary. Michelangelo used lapis lazuli powder for the blue colors in his frescoes for the Sistine Chapel. Sistine Chapel Its usage as a pigment in oil paint largely ended in the early 19th century when a chemically identical synthetic variety became available. Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments, small statues, and vases. Lapis lazuli is the birthstone associated with the month of December. It is one of world’s most popular men’s gems. Source: Wikipedia - Lapis Lazuli | Just Fun Facts About Lapis Lazuli
  8. What's the Word? - LUCULLAN pronunciation: [luh-KUH-lən] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Roman, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. (Especially of food) extremely luxurious. Example: "Everything about the suites at the Plaza Hotel is Lucullan." "The convention ended with a Lucullan banquet." About Lucullan This word comes directly from the name of Licinius Lucullus, Roman general from the 1st century BC, famous for giving lavish banquets. Did You Know? Lucullan marble, also known as Lucullite, is a specific marble colored dark gray by carbon that is found along the Nile River Valley in Egypt. It has been used in world-famous architecture and sculptures, including the geometric flooring of the Temple of Herakles in Malibu’s Getty Villa Museum and the Furietti Centaurs sculptures in the Capitoline Museums in Rome.
  9. Fact of the Day - FENDER STRATOCASTER Fender Stratocaster Did you know.... that the Fender Stratocaster, colloquially known as the Strat, is a model of electric guitar designed from 1952 into 1954 by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, George Fullerton and Freddie Tavares. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has continuously manufactured the Stratocaster from 1954 to the present. It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top "horn" shape for balance. Along with the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG and Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most-often emulated electric guitar shapes. "Stratocaster" and "Strat" are trademark terms belonging to Fender. Guitars that duplicate the Stratocaster by other manufacturers are sometimes called S-Type or ST-type guitars. (Wikipedia) Electrifying Facts About the Fender Stratocaster BY CHRIS M. JUNIOR | JUNE 3, 2015 More than six decades after its introduction, the Fender Stratocaster is still one of rock 'n' roll’s most iconic electric guitars. Here’s everything you need to know about the beloved Strat. 1. Leo Fender didn’t come up with the name. By 1952, legendary instrument maker Leo Fender’s company had already developed the Telecaster guitar and the Precision bass (which was inspired by a mariachi band he once saw). Its next solid-body guitar was already a few years in the making when, in early 1953, Don Randall—Fender’s sales and marketing wizard—christened it the Stratocaster. Randall was a pilot and aviation fan, and it’s believed the name was a tribute to aircraft technology. 2. The Strat made huge advances in player comfort. The Stratocaster, which debuted in 1954, looked and felt different from other guitars on the market. It featured a rounded edge where the guitar meets a player’s ribcage and a flatter, forearm-friendly contour to the guitar body. Country guitarist Rex Gallion reportedly inspired the former feature when he asked Leo Fender, “Why not get away from a body that is always digging into your ribs?” 3. Fender firsts on the Strat included the pickup and bridge setups. On top of these design improvements, the new model boasted several key new features that its predecessor, the Telecaster, lacked. The Stratocaster came with three pickups (the Telecaster had two) and featured a bridge with a pitch-changing, string-bending vibrato bar, a key selling point in an early print advertisement. 4. Buddy Holly boosted the Stratocaster’s profile in 1957—twice. Early electric guitar rock 'n' rollers such as Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran preferred Gibson and Gretsch guitars, but Fender had a valuable advocate for the Stratocaster. Crickets leader Buddy Holly was a Fender electric man and one of the first rockers to play a Strat. He held one on the cover of 1957’s The ‘Chirping’ Crickets and played a Stratocaster when the band performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 1, 1957. 5. When CBS bought Fender, the Strat changed—and not for the better, in the eyes of certain collectors. The 1965 sale of Fender to CBS was followed by alterations to the instruments’ pick guards, contouring, and finishing, presumably to facilitate mass production. (There was also a redesign of the headstock, which was made larger in order to fit a bigger Fender decal.) As a result, pre-1965 Strats are generally held in higher regard (and priced higher) by collectors and enthusiasts than those made during the CBS era, which lasted until 1985. 6. Bob Dylan was armed with a Stratocaster when he “went electric.” On July 25, 1965, five days after releasing “Like a Rolling Stone,” a Stratocaster-strumming Bob Dylan showcased his new electrified sound and his new song at the Newport Folk Festival—to the vocal disapproval of the audience. Dylan’s Newport Strat was auctioned for $965,000 in 2013. 7. Jimi Hendrix upstaged everyone at 1967’s Monterey International Pop Music Festival by setting his "Strat" on fire. The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a relatively unknown act in the United States in mid-1967. But the band’s profile rose after its June 18, 1967, performance as part of California’s star-studded Monterey Pop Festival. Toward the end of the group’s set, Hendrix squirted lighter fluid on his Strat, lit a match, and dropped it on the guitar, which he then smashed on the stage. Nearly 45 years later, the manager of Jimi Hendrix’s record company revealed that Hendrix had switched out his Strat for a cheaper guitar, setting that one on fire and putting it up for auction. Hendrix's undamaged Strat sold at auction for £237,000. 8. Hendrix’s Strat-tastic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was a defining moment at 1969’s Woodstock Music & Art Fair. When he closed the Woodstock festival in upstate New York on August 18, 1969, Hendrix used his Strat to put his own spin on “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The musician played around with his guitar’s vibrato bar in order to create noises that highlighted certain lyrics (most notably during “And the rockets’ red glare”). The following month, a humble Hendrix discussed the artistic choice with TV’s Dick Cavett: “I thought it was beautiful.” 9. The Stratocaster that Eric Clapton used to record “Layla” was a second-hand purchase. Eric Clapton found the sunburst-finish Stratocaster he nicknamed “Brownie” at a London shop in May 1967. Three years later, Clapton used this 1956 instrument to record the classic “Layla.” The guitar is shown on the back cover of the song’s album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos. 10. Clapton’s other famous Strat was a composite. The Clapton guitar known as “Blackie,” which he used into the mid-1980s, was assembled from three Stratocasters. “He bought a bunch of Strats in 1970 … and [from those] he took a ’56 body, a ’57 neck and the pickups from a third guitar, and made Blackie,” Clapton guitar tech Lee Dickson told Vintage Guitar in 2004. “Blackie” was auctioned for $959,500 in 2004, with proceeds going to Clapton’s Crossroads Treatment Center in Antigua. 11. Fender’s Artist line of Stratocasters honors some of the best guitarists of all time. This Strat series has models named and styled in honor of such notables as Dick Dale, Buddy Guy, David Gilmour, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Yngwie Malmsteen, just to name a few. 12. Pete Townshend punctured his right hand onstage with his Stratocaster’s vibrato bar. Maybe it was karma catching up with The Who’s Townshend for all the guitars he destroyed. Regardless, while windmilling his way through “Won’t Get Fooled Again” during an August 1989 gig, Townshend jammed his right hand into his Stratocaster’s vibrato bar, puncturing his finger webbing. (He promptly left the stage for treatment, leaving the band to play encores without him.) 13. Rolling Stone included the Fender Stratocaster in its "American Icons"-themed issue in May 2003. The Strat, wrote senior editor David Fricke, is rock 'n' roll’s “ultimate guitar … a knockout package of the sex and futurism in the music itself.” Jeff Beck, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, and The Band’s Robbie Robertson were all quoted praising the instrument. 14. Not all Strats have been made in America. Fender’s manufacturing headquarters are in Corona, Calif., but not all Strats come out of the Golden State. A Fender plant opened in Japan in the early 1980s, followed by a Mexican factory in 1990. Some Strats are crafted in China and Indonesia. 15. The sticker price for a brand-new American Vintage ’56 Stratocaster will set you back a cool $2299.99. That’s one of the priciest Stratocasters included in Fender’s 2015 U.S. Pricelist. For wannabe Hendrixes on a budget, other Strats in the guide are listed as low as $499. Source: Wikipedia - Fender Stratocaster | Facts About the Fender Stratocaster
  10. What's the Word? - ARTIFICER pronunciation: [ar-TIH-fə-sər] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, late 14th century Meaning: 1. A skilled craftsman or inventor. 2. (British military) a skilled mechanic in the armed forces. Example: "The artificer could fix any kind of engine." "Terry was a skilled artificer who had applied for multiple patents." About Artificer This word stems from Anglo-Norman French, probably as an alteration of Old French “artificien,” from “artifice.” Did You Know? In the fifth edition of the fantasy role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons, the artificer characters are master inventors. They use a variety of tools to channel their impressive capabilities. They view magic as a complex system they need to decode and then utilize in their spells.
  11. Fact of the Day - HAPPINESS A smiling 95-year-old man from Pichilemu, Chile Did you know.... that the term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, eudaimonia, flourishing and well-being. (Wikipedia) Fun Facts to Make You Smile These will brighten your day and make you happy. by ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN | Jan 11, 2020 It is so much easier today to stay informed. People can connect to news on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, or on cable TV. This really is the information age. But, sometimes when you turn on the TV or open Facebook, it seems like all you see is bad news, making it difficult to see the silver lining behind every cloud. While it’s good to stay informed, we should also remember the big picture and notice the good things happening all around you. So brighten up your day with these 9 fun facts to make you smile. 1. Trees can make friends and talk to each other If you ever thought you heard whispering in the willows, you may be right! Ecologists released surprising research indicating that trees communicate through their closely connected root systems by sending messages via soil fungi. So what do trees “talk” about? Everything from sharing sunlight with their neighbors or to warn about environmental changes, according to Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate. 2. The oldest “Your Momma” joke dates back 3,500 years If you were around in the 90s, chances are you heard a few “your mama” jokes. As it turns out, people have had the same comedy routine for centuries. The New York Daily News wrote that scientists discovered a “your mom” joke on a 3,500-year Babylonian tablet in Iraq. 3. Humpback whales have recovered 30 percent of their population Conservationists rejoice! Humpback whales nearly went extinct after their population dropped to 450 in the 1950s. But a study published in Royal Society Open Science in October 2019 announced the South Atlantic humpback whale population has grown to 25,000 thanks to conservation efforts and a ban on commercial whaling. 4. Sea otters hold hands so they don’t drift apart Sleepy sea otters hold each other’s hands so that they don’t drift apart while taking a nap in the water so that they can stick together, as reported in The Daily Mail. As if these marine mammals couldn’t get any cuter? 5. The actors who played Mickey and Minnie Mouse were married in real life Sure, you’ve heard of the most famous mice in history, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, created by Walt Disney. But did you know of the real life romance behind the scenes? Actor, Wayne Allwine, provided the voice of Mickey Mouse for over 30 years. One day at work, he met Minnie, played by actress Russi Taylor. Soon Minnie became Mickey’s leading lady off-screen as well, and the two married until Allwine’s death in 2009. 6. We are all made of stars It may seem impossible to believe when you look up at the starry night, but according to The National Geographic scientists have discovered that elements found in the human body come from the thousands of stars in our Milky Way. In fact, everything on earth originates from stardust! 7. Norway knighted a penguin named Sir Nils Olav III If you visit the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, you’ll get to see a very special penguin… a knight, in fact. Sir Nils Olav III holds the ranks of mascot, brigadier, and colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King’s Guard. He represents the third in succession after Norway began the tradition in 1972 of knighting a selected king penguin to serve the high distinction. Not bad for a 3-foot tall penguin! 8. Happiness is contagious They say what goes around, comes around, and according to a study from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego, the same goes for happiness. According to WebMD, people feel statistically happier spending time around other happy people. Emotional health spreads to the people we come into contact with up to 3 degrees, reaching friends of friends. 9. Octopus make their own gardens at the bottom of the sea You may have already heard of The Beatles’ song, but did you know that you can visit a real octopus’ garden? The underwater creatures actually gather sponges and grow other marine plants on the seafloors. They even gather together in groups to lay eggs – like an octopus party! YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 7 Super Benefits Of Smiling More 10 Fun Facts about Animals to Make You Smile Why Reading Good News Is Good for You Source: Wikipedia - Happiness | Fun Facts to Make You Smile
  12. What's the Word? - STRIDULATE pronunciation: [STRIH-jə-lait] Part of speech: verb Origin: French, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. (Of an insect, especially a male cricket or grasshopper) make a shrill sound by rubbing the legs, wings, or other parts of the body together. Example: "The grasshopper stridulates with a distinct sound." "Ted was frustrated that he couldn’t find the cricket in his basement even when it stridulated." About Stridulate This word stems from the French “striduler.” It originates from the Latin “stridulus,” which means “creaking,” from the verb “stridere.” Did You Know? Which bug can stridulate the loudest? That would be an African cicada, Brevisana brevis, with its loudest song measuring 107 decibels when measured at a distance of 20 inches away. That’s comparable to the volume of a chainsaw.
  13. Fact of the Day - SMALLEST THINGS The world’s smallest artificial heart Did you know.... that from a human’s perspective, small can be anything from a single cell organism to miniature replicas of much larger things. We once thought that atoms were the building blocks of everything around us. But then, the protons, electrons, and neutrons opened a whole new world on the smallest scale. And just as we started to entertain the thought that these are fundamental particles, researchers showed that neutrons and protons themselves are made of multiple quarks. So, as far as we know, quarks and leptons (a family of elementary particles that include electrons) are the smallest, most fundamental matter in the universe. Below is a list of the smallest things. Smallest Things In The World by Bipro Das | February 7, 2020 Smallest Cannon According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s smallest working cannon (15 µm x 5 µm x 5 µm) was designed by a group of researchers, including Stuart Ibsen, Joseph Wang, and Sadik Esener, among others. It was developed as part of a study to create futuristic microscopic cannons that can be used to inject targeted medicine directly to patients’ skin tissue. Smallest Gun The record for the world’s smallest (functional) revolver goes to Miniature Revolver C1ST. It was designed by SwissMiniGun, a Switzerland based company. The gun, according to the company, operates the same way as a standard firearm would do. It is no bigger than 5.5 cm in length, fire 2.34 mm caliber rounds, and has a muzzle velocity of about 121 m/s. The bullet (muzzle) energy it produces is 0.97 J or about 0.71 foot-pounds. Since only a limited number of C1ST’s are ever produced, a vast majority of them remain in collector’s possession. Smallest Surviving Infant Weighing at just 245 grams at the time of the birth, Akel or Saybie, as the doctors and nurses nicknamed her, is the world’s smallest surviving infant. The baby was born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego, California. According to the University of Iowa’s Tiniest Babies Registry, Akel was seven grams less than the previous title holder at the time of her birth. The infant was delivered after a gestation period of mere 23 weeks and three days in the mother’s womb. A pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks or 9 months. Smallest Production Car The world’s smallest car, the Peel P50 is a three-wheeled, single-seater microcar, which was initially manufactured by the Peel Engineering Company in the 1960s for commercial purposes. It only has one door to its left, one central headlight, and a windscreen viper. The Peel P50 entered into the Guinness World Records in 2010, when Peel Engineering Ltd. (rebranded) restarted its production. Specific changes have been made to the car’s mechanical components to make it road legal. It includes the suspension, drive-train, and functional reverse gear, which was not present in the original version. The car is available in petrol as well as an electric model. The max. speed of both variants is 45 km/h. Back in 2016, a Peel P50 (initial production) was sold for US$ 176,000 in an auction. Read: 12 Smallest Stars in the Universe Smallest Fish A mature male specimen of the Photocorynus spiniceps, an anglerfish species, can measure anywhere between 6.2 to 7.3 millimeters in length. It is the smallest known of all mature fish species and vertebrates. The female individuals, however, can grow up to 50 millimeters. Anglerfish species, including the P. spiniceps, exhibit a unique behavior known as parasitism, in which smaller males depend on much larger females for their overall survival. While the males only provide sperm for reproduction. Smallest Horse Standing at just 56.7 cm, Bombel (“Bubble”) is the current smallest male horse in the world. It is a miniature Appaloosa (a North American horse breed with black spots) born and raised in Poland. At a young age, when Bombel was just two months old, he looked smaller even for a miniature horse. Both of its parents were normal-sized (miniature). The smallest horse ever was Thumbelina (43 centimeters), who died back in 2018. Smallest Computer In 2015, the University of Michigan unveiled the world’s smallest computer, Michigan Micro Mote (M3), measuring at just half a centimeter. The M3 carries a solar cell that produces 20nW (nanowatt), enough for the device to run uninterrupted under suitable conditions. While on standby, the device consumes as little as 2 nA. Each M3 computer features as much as eight layers that carry out different functions. These layers can be interchanged or tweaked to achieve a new sensing system. The Michigan Micro Mote can be used as motion detectors, pressure, and temperature sensor. Currently, the device has a small effective range of about 2 meters. If you’re wondering about small personal computers that you can actually buy, then there are a couple of options. The FXI Cotton Candy has a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB DRAM, all inside a USB shaped stick. There are Android mini PC’s for you to choose from. Read: The Smallest Spectrometer Ever Built | Made Of Single Nanowire Smallest Primate Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur at Kirindy Forest Reserve (Madagascar) With an average body length of 9.5 centimeters, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, or simply Berthe’s mouse lemur, is the world’s smallest primate. The species is found exclusively on the island country of Madagascar. At the time of its discovery, Berthe’s mouse lemur was misidentified as Pygmy mouse lemur, an identical but slightly larger species of mouse lemurs. It is now believed that Microcebus berthae has gone through extensive speciation. The species is listed as endangered in the Red List of threatened species due to large-scale deforestation in and near its habitat. Read: World’s Smallest House | About 20 Micrometer Long Smallest Radio In 2007, a team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley designed one of a kind radio receiver out of a carbon nanotube measuring just 100 micrometers in length and 10 micrometers in diameter. It remains the world’s smallest radio to date. Being the tiniest, the nanotube radio certainly works in a much different manner than conventional radio. Here, all the functions are carried out by a single nanotube together with two electrodes, between which it is placed. It can not only tune into a radio signal but also demodulate and amplify it. An external speaker is used to play the audio. Read: World’s Smallest, Single Atom Transistor That Works At Room Temperature Smallest Camera (Image Sensor) World’s smallest camera The record for the world’s smallest camera goes to OmniVision OV6948, developed by OmniVision Technologies Inc, a California based digital imaging products. The camera measures 0.65 x 0.65 x 1.158mm, while its tiny sensor is just 0.575 x 0.575 x 0.232mm. It has a resolution of 200 x 200, with each pixel size just 1.75 µm across and generates color images using an RBG Bayer filter. The OmniVision OV6948 is designed to operate inside the smallest of places and something as intricate as human veins. The camera’s minimal power usage and heat output mean surgeons can carry operations for longer duration without any discomfort to the patients. Smallest Atom Once thought the smallest thing in the universe, atoms were created shortly (on a cosmic scale) after the Big Bang. Atoms are made up of three particles; protons and neutrons, which are composed of much smaller quarks, and electrons. In terms of mass, the smallest atom known to us is a hydrogen atom, which has one electron and one proton. It has an atomic weight of 1.008 and is the lightest element in the universe. Smallest Particle The standard model of Elementary particles We have already established that quarks and electrons are the smallest known particles in the universe. So far, researchers have been able to identify six types or flavors of quarks, namely, up (u), down (d), charm (c), strange (s), top (t), and bottom (b). Multiple quarks bond together to form a subatomic composite particle known as hadron. Protons and neutrons are the two most common types of hadrons that have an odd number of quarks (three), also known as baryons. For instance, a proton carries one down quark and two up quarks. Out of all six quarks, up and down quarks have the lowest masses. The quark model was initially suggested (independently) by American physicists George Zweig and Murray Gell-Mann in 1964. Read: Scientists Gain Control Of Smallest Unit Of Sound: Phonon Electrons, unlike protons and neutrons, are elementary are part of a broader group of fundamental particles known as leptons. Electrons are about 1900 times less massive than protons. Source: Smallest Things in the World
  14. What's the Word? - AMALGAMATE pronunciation: [ə-MAL-ɡə-mait] Part of speech: verb Origin: Latin, early 17th century Meaning: 1. Combine or unite to form one organization or structure. Example: "Lourdes wanted to amalgamate the metals to see if the hybrid was stronger." "Mark was excited to amalgamate his work and living space under one roof." About Amalgamate This word originates from the medieval Latin “amalgamat-,” meaning “formed into a soft mass.” This comes from the verb “amalgamare,” from “amalgama.” Did You Know? “Amalgamate” is a term often used in scientific fields. For instance, a substance made of multiple metals is called an alloy —such as silver amalgamated with mercury, which was commonly used for dental fillings.
  15. Fact of the Day - JAPANESE ROCK GARDEN Ryōan-ji (late 16th century) in Kyoto, Japan, a famous example of a zen garden Did you know.... that the Japanese rock garden or "dry landscape" garden, often called a zen garden, creates a miniature stylized landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. A zen garden is usually relatively small, surrounded by a wall, and is usually meant to be seen while seated from a single viewpoint outside the garden, such as the porch of the hojo, the residence of the chief monk of the temple or monastery. Classical zen gardens were created at temples of Zen Buddhism in Kyoto during the Muromachi period. They were intended to imitate the essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of existence. (Wikipedia) What makes a Japanese Garden a Japanese Garden? by Ruth MacRae | August 30, 2018 Japanese gardens are full of rich history, culture, beauty, and tradition. For over 1000 years, gardens in Japan have refined and evolved into many distinct styles and each style brings a diverse purpose or perspective from strolling gardens to oasis of meditation. But what makes a Japanese garden uniquely Japanese? It’s impossible to describe Japanese gardens in detail but here are some quick facts to help you understand Japanese gardens and their origins better. And to augment our tour, Garden and Art Tour of Japan. Quick Facts Japanese gardens express the beauty of nature, avoiding artificial, man-made components wherever possible. Garden design is an art form in Japan whose purpose is create a scenic arrangement similar to the way an artist composes a landscape in a painting. Lack of space means gardens are viewed as miniaturized landscapes in a small yard, balcony or window box. The intent is to mimic a larger scene. Bonsai is a response to the lack of garden space. When outdoor space is unavailable, bonsai can be brought indoors. Temples or shrines incorporate gardens into their design. Gardens historically belong to upper- class dwellings and warrior class houses. Today small gardens grace inner courtyards of a home. Japanese gardens were often built to be viewed from a mediation room, a study room or a wide veranda. In 2001 Tokyo passed a law that all buildings of a certain size are required to have a rooftop garden to combat urban heat. Today there are over 1000 rooftop gardens in Tokyo. One of modern trends in Japanese home gardens is the move away from traditional gardening to English-style gardens or a combination of these styles. . (On a personal note: we saw a change in gardens from our visit in 2007 to our second visit in 2015. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues when we visit Japan again this November). Garden maintenance is very important in Japan. For instance some gardens have “river washers” who sweep garden ponds and waters. Climate sensitive trees and delicate shrubs are shrouded with straw jackets to protect them from cool winter weather. Quick History Facts Japan’s first gardens (538-710) were based on Chinese building methods and Buddhist beliefs. None of these gardens exist today. Over the years many of the gardens have lost their religious importance and have attempted to imitate scenic beauty in miniature or reinterpret a garden from literary texts. Zen gardens with the focus on contemplation and meditation appeared from 1185-1336. Each historical period influenced garden design and reflected the society of that time. For example, during the Edo period gardens were made popular for strolling by the nobility who were patrons of the arts. The oldest Japanese text on garden-making is Sakuteiki (Records of Garden Making). The work was based on oral traditions which were published for the first time in the 11th century. Quick Facts on the Elements of a Japanese Garden The key elements of Japanese gardens are rocks, trees, ponds and running water. All elements are placed to harmonize with nature and each element has a different meaning. Even in gardens of a limited size. Other elements may include islands, hills, bridges, teahouses, koi, stone lanterns, gates and fences. Again each element has its own significance. Many Japanese gardens adopt six key attributes: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, waterways and panorama. Japanese Garden Types There are many types of Japanese gardens but some examples are: Shūyū Garden: This strolling garden is a series of paths that you follow and that can be enjoyed from a variety of viewpoints. Strolling gardens include ponds, islands, hills, streams, stepping stones, koi, and often tea gardens. An example of a stroll garden you will see on our tour is Korakuen Garden in Okayama. Tsukiyama: This garden is an artificial or man-made hill and pond garden. It represents nature in miniature and includes ponds, hills, stones, trees, streams, bridges, koi, moss, and paths. Many cherry, maple and ginkgo trees can be found in this type of garden. This type of garden is very popular for cherry blossom viewing in the spring and maple tree viewing in the fall. An example of a tsukiyama garden on our tour is Ginkaku-ji or Silver Pavilion in Kyoto Japanese Pond Garden: This type of garden is very similar to strolling gardens and hill and pond gardens. But in these gardens, water is central, associated with tranquility, renewal and the flow of life in the afterlife. An example of this type of garden on our tour is Daikakuji Temple in Kyoto. Kanshō Garden: This garden is designed to be enjoyed and contemplated from one specific place such as a verandah. An example of a kanshō garden that you will see on our tour is the rock and raked gravel garden, Ryōan-ji in Kyoto. Tsubo-niwa Gardens: These are small courtyard gardens located under overhanging roofs, between buildings or where buildings form a junction. Because there is very little natural light, many tsubo-niwa gardens feature sand and small rocks. It has been suggested that this type of garden opens up the home’s interior while still providing privacy and provides an architectural focus for the building. You will see several of these small courtyard gardens in temples and shrines on our tour. Be sure to check out our other Japan tours… There are so many different things to see and do in Japan, so I know that Japanese gardens may not rank at the top of every traveler's list to Japan. However it will be hard to ignore them because the Japanese are devoted to nature and gardens are fundamental to their culture and history. Many gardens are associated with historically significant temples and shrines and I would recommend that you include a few in your trip to Japan. These can easily be incorporated into one of our other Japan tours or we can customize the tour you want. It is almost impossible to mention just a few gardens; but if gardens aren’t your thing then here are my top five garden recommendations: Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi (near Matsue This garden surrounds the museum and often is awarded the best Japanese garden in many prestigious garden magazines. Kenroku-en in Kanazawa: It is considered one of the top three gardens in Japan. Founded in the 1620’s it features the oldest fountain in Japan, a tea house, pagoda and stone bridges and incorporates the six characteristics of an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness. Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto: The most famous Zen garden, which is made of 15 stones placed on the pebbles. Purpose: Meditate on the meaning of life. Saihō-ji Temple or Kokedera in Kyoto: This temple is considered by many to be Kyoto’s most beautiful garden and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is named the Moss Temple as it houses 120 different kinds of moss. To enter the garden visitors must participate in the Buddhist practice of copying sutras called shakyo. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds! Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto: Ginkakuji consists of the Silver Pavilion, half a dozen other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden and a unique dry sand garden. For the best views of the gardens and buildings walk along the circular route to see the grounds from different perspectives. Source: Wikipedia - Japanese Rock Garden | Facts About Japanese Rock Gardens
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