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DarkRavie

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  1. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - PROBOSCIS pronunciation: [prə-BAH-skəs] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, early 17th century meaning: 1. The nose of a mammal, especially when it is long and mobile such as the trunk of an elephant or the snout of a tapir. 2. (in many insects) an elongated sucking mouthpart that is typically tubular and flexible. Example: "At the zoo I had the chance to watch an anteater use its proboscis to stir up the dirt and eat insects." "The garden was planted with flowers known to have pollen to attract bees and other insects with a proboscis." About Proboscis You’ll recognize the long snout called a proboscis on animals such as the elephant, tapir, and anteater, but they’re also in the insect world. On a lepidoptera, or butterfly, the proboscis is also called a haustellum, and it’s used to reach down deep into flowers for pollen and nectar. Did you know? Many mammals have a nose or snout that could be called a proboscis, but one species of monkey earned special designation. The proboscis monkey is endemic to Borneo, and is one of the largest species of Asian monkeys. Females and babies have smaller, pointier proboscises, while the males have a more pronounced and bulbous feature.
  2. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - SOPHOCLES Sophocles Did you know... that Sophocles is one of three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays have survived? His first plays were written later than or contemporary with those of Aeschylus, and earlier than or contemporary with those of Euripides. (Wikipedia) Sophocles wrote over 120 plays during the course of his life, but only seven have survived in a complete form: Ajax, Antigone, Women of Trachis, Oedipus Rex, Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus. For almost 50 years, Sophocles was the most celebrated playwright in the dramatic competitions of the city-state of Athens that took place during the religious festivals of the Lenaea and the Dionysia. He competed in 30 competitions, won 24, and was never judged lower than second place. Aeschylus won 13 competitions, and was sometimes defeated by Sophocles, while Euripides won four competitions. The most famous tragedies of Sophocles feature Oedipus and also Antigone: they are generally known as the Theban plays, although each play was actually a part of a different tetralogy, the other members of which are now lost. Sophocles influenced the development of drama, most importantly by adding a third actor, thereby reducing the importance of the chorus in the presentation of the plot. He also developed his characters to a greater extent than earlier playwrights such as Aeschylus. (Wikipedia) Sophocles was the younger contemporary of Aeschylus and the older contemporary of Euripides. He was born at Colonus, a village outside the walls of Athens, where his father, Sophillus, was a wealthy manufacturer of armour. Sophocles himself received a good education. Because of his beauty of physique, his athletic prowess, and his skill in music, he was chosen in 480, when he was 16, to lead the paean (choral chant to a god) celebrating the decisive Greek sea victory over the Persians at the Battle of Salamis. The relatively meagre information about Sophocles’ civic life suggests that he was a popular favourite who participated actively in his community and exercised outstanding artistic talents. In 442 he served as one of the treasurers responsible for receiving and managing tribute money from Athens’ subject-allies in the Delian League. In 440 he was elected one of the 10 stratēgoi (high executive officials who commanded the armed forces) as a junior colleague of Pericles. Sophocles later served as stratēgos perhaps twice again. In 413, then aged about 83, Sophocles was a proboulos, one of 10 advisory commissioners who were granted special powers and were entrusted with organizing Athens’ financial and domestic recovery after its terrible defeat at Syracuse in Sicily. Sophocles’ last recorded act was to lead a chorus in public mourning for his deceased rival, Euripides, before the festival of 406. He died that same year. These few facts are about all that is known of Sophocles’ life. They imply steady and distinguished attachment to Athens, its government, religion, and social forms. Sophocles was wealthy from birth, highly educated, noted for his grace and charm, on easy terms with the leading families, a personal friend of prominent statesmen, and in many ways fortunate to have died before the final surrender of Athens to Sparta in 404. In one of his last plays, Oedipus at Colonus, he still affectionately praises both his own birthplace and the great city itself. Oedipus at Colonus Sophocles won his first victory at the Dionysian dramatic festival in 468, however, defeating the great Aeschylus in the process. This began a career of unparalleled success and longevity. In total, Sophocles wrote 123 dramas for the festivals. Since each author who was chosen to enter the competition usually presented four plays, this means he must have competed about 30 times. Sophocles won perhaps as many as 24 victories, compared to 13 for Aeschylus and four for Euripides, and indeed he may have never received lower than second place in the competitions he entered. Dramatic And Literary Achievements Ancient authorities credit Sophocles with several major and minor dramatic innovations. Among the latter is his invention of some type of “scene paintings” or other pictorial prop to establish locale or atmosphere. He also may have increased the size of the chorus from 12 to 15 members. Sophocles’ major innovation was his introduction of a third actor into the dramatic performance. It had previously been permissible for two actors to “double” (i.e., assume other roles during a play), but the addition of a third actor onstage enabled the dramatist both to increase the number of his characters and widen the variety of their interactions. The scope of the dramatic conflict was thereby extended, plots could be more fluid, and situations could be more complex. The typical Sophoclean drama presents a few characters, impressive in their determination and power and possessing a few strongly drawn qualities or faults that combine with a particular set of circumstances to lead them inevitably to a tragic fate. Sophocles develops his characters’ rush to tragedy with great economy, concentration, and dramatic effectiveness, creating a coherent, suspenseful situation whose sustained and inexorable onrush came to epitomize the tragic form to the classical world. Sophocles emphasizes that most people lack wisdom, and he presents truth in collision with ignorance, delusion, and folly. Many scenes dramatize flaws or failure in thinking (deceptive reports and rumours, false optimism, hasty judgment, madness). The chief character does something involving grave error; this affects others, each of whom reacts in his own way, thereby causing the chief agent to take another step toward ruin—his own and that of others as well. Equally important, those who are to suffer from the tragic error usually are present at the time or belong to the same generation. It was this more complex type of tragedy that demanded a third actor. Sophocles thus abandoned the spacious Aeschylean framework of the connected trilogy and instead comprised the entire action in a single play. From his time onward, “trilogy” usually meant no more than three separate tragedies written by the same author and presented at the same festival. Sophocles’ language responds flexibly to the dramatic needs of the moment; it can be ponderously weighty or swift-moving, emotionally intense or easygoing, highly decorative or perfectly plain and simple. His mastery of form and diction was highly respected by his contemporaries. Sophocles has also been universally admired for the sympathy and vividness with which he delineates his characters; especially notable are his tragic women, such as Electra and Antigone. Few dramatists have been able to handle situation and plot with more power and certainty; the frequent references in the Poetics to Sophocles’ Oedipus the King show that Aristotle regarded this play as a masterpiece of construction, and few later critics have dissented. Sophocles is also unsurpassed in his moments of high dramatic tension and in his revealing use of tragic irony. Antigone; Oedipus the King; Electra The criticism has been made that Sophocles was a superb artist and nothing more; he grappled neither with religious problems as Aeschylus had nor with intellectual ones as Euripides had done. He accepted the gods of Greek religion in a spirit of unreflecting orthodoxy, and he contented himself with presenting human characters and human conflicts. But it should be stressed that to Sophocles “the gods” appear to have represented the natural forces of the universe to which human beings are unwittingly or unwillingly subject. To Sophocles, human beings live for the most part in dark ignorance because they are cut off from these permanent, unchanging forces and structures of reality. Yet it is pain, suffering, and the endurance of tragic crisis that can bring people into valid contact with the universal order of things. In the process, a person can become more genuinely human, more genuinely himself. The Plays Only seven of Sophocles’ tragedies survive in their entirety, along with 400 lines of a satyr play, numerous fragments of plays now lost, and 90 titles. All seven of the complete plays are works of Sophocles’ maturity, but only two of them, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus, have fairly certain dates. Ajax is generally regarded as the earliest of the extant plays. Some evidence suggests that Antigone was first performed in 442 or 441 BC. Philoctetes was first performed in 409, when Sophocles was 90 years old, and Oedipus at Colonus was said to have been produced after Sophocles’ death by his grandson. Ajax The entire plot of Ajax (Greek Aias mastigophoros) is constructed around Ajax, the mighty hero of the Trojan War whose pride drives him to treachery and finally to his own ruin and suicide some two-thirds of the way through the play. Ajax is deeply offended at the award of the prize of valour (the dead Achilles’ armour) not to himself but to Odysseus. Ajax thereupon attempts to assassinate Odysseus and the contest’s judges, the Greek commanders Agamemnon and Menelaus, but is frustrated by the intervention of the goddess Athena. He cannot bear his humiliation and throws himself on his own sword. Agamemnon and Menelaus order that Ajax’ corpse be left unburied as punishment. But the wise Odysseus persuades the commanders to relent and grant Ajax an honourable burial. In the end Odysseus is the only person who seems truly aware of the changeability of human fortune. Amphora with Ajax and Achilles playing a board game, painted by Exekias, c. 550–540 BC; in the Vatican Museum. Antigone Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus, the former king of Thebes. She is willing to face the capital punishment that has been decreed by her uncle Creon, the new king, as the penalty for anyone burying her brother Polyneices. (Polyneices has just been killed attacking Thebes, and it is as posthumous punishment for this attack that Creon has forbidden the burial of his corpse.) Obeying all her instincts of love, loyalty, and humanity, Antigone defies Creon and dutifully buries her brother’s corpse. Creon, from conviction that reasons of state outweigh family ties, refuses to commute Antigone’s death sentence. By the time Creon is finally persuaded by the prophet Tiresias to relent and free Antigone, she has killed herself in her prison cell. Creon’s son, Haemon, kills himself out of love and sympathy for the dead Antigone, and Creon’s wife, Eurydice, then kills herself out of grief over these tragic events. At the play’s end Creon is left desolate and broken in spirit. In his narrow and unduly rigid adherence to his civic duties, Creon has defied the gods through his denial of humanity’s common obligations toward the dead. The play thus concerns the conflicting obligations of civic versus personal loyalties and religious mores. Antigone Want to learn more about Sophocles? Click below. Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica
  3. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - CAVALCADE pronunciation: [ka-vəl-KAYD] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, late 16th century meaning: 1. A formal procession of people walking, on horseback, or riding in vehicles. Example: "A cavalcade of horses led the Founder’s Day parade every year." "The members of the hot rod club formed a cavalcade for a weekly Saturday drive." About Cavalcade This word for a formal procession (usually on horseback, but could also be by foot or motor vehicle), has taken quite a journey of its own. English borrowed cavalcade from French, but in Italian it’s “cavalcata,” which comes from the verb “cavalcare,” or to ride. And like most Romance language words, it all traces back to Latin. Did you know? Have you heard of a caballero? This Spanish word means gentleman, but it was adopted in the Southwestern United States to describe a horseman. It makes sense then that it shares a root word with cavalcade. The Latin word “caballus” means horse.
  4. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - NEPTUNE Did you know... that Neptune is the eighth and farthest known planet from the Sun in the Solar System? In the Solar System, it is the fourth-largest planet by diameter, the third-most-massive planet, and the densest giant planet. Neptune is 17 times the mass of Earth, slightly more massive than its near-twin Uranus. (Wikipedia) SIZE OF NEPTUNE COMPARED WITH THE EARTH Side by side comparison of the size of Neptune vs Earth FACTS ABOUT NEPTUNE It takes Neptune 164.8 Earth years to orbit the Sun. On 11 July 2011, Neptune completed its first full orbit since its discovery in 1846. Neptune was discovered by Jean Joseph Le Verrier. The planet was not known to ancient civilizations because it is not visible to the naked eye. The planet was initially called Le Verrier after its discoverer. This name, however, quickly was abandoned and the name Neptune was chosen instead. Neptune is the Roman God of the Sea. In Greek, Neptune is called Poseidon. Neptune has the second largest gravity of any planet in the solar system – second only to Jupiter. The orbit path of Neptune is approximately 30 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun. This means it is around 30 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun. The largest Neptunian moon, Triton, was discovered just 17 days after Neptune itself was discovered. Neptune has a storm similar the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. It is commonly known as the Great Dark Spot and is roughly the size of Earth. Neptune also has a second storm called the Small Dark Spot. This storm is around the same size as Earth’s moon. Neptune spins very quickly on its axis. The planet's equatorial clouds take 18 hours to complete one rotation. The reason this happens is that Neptune does not have a solid body. Only one spacecraft, the Voyager 2, has flown past Neptune. It happened in 1989 and captured the first close-up images of the Neptunian system. It took 246 minutes – four hours and six minutes – for signals from Voyager 2 to reach back to Earth. The climate on Neptune is extremely active. In its upper atmosphere, large storms sweep across it and high-speed solar winds track around the planet at up to 1,340 km per second. The largest storm was the Great Dark Spot in 1989 which lasted for around five years. Like the other outer planets, Neptune possesses a ring system, though its rings are very faint. They are most likely made up of ice particles and grains of dust with a carbon-based substance coating them. Neptune has 14 known moons. The largest of these moons is Titan – a frozen world which spits out particles of nitrogen ice and dust from below its surface. It is believed that Titan was caught by the immense gravitational pull of Neptune and is regarded as one of the coldest worlds in our solar system. (Note: Titan is the largest moon of Saturn) Neptune has an average surface temperature of -214°C – approximately -353°F. When scientific discoveries are made there is often a debate (sometimes heated) as to who deserves credit. The discovery of Neptune is one such example. Shortly after the discovery of the planet Uranus in 1781, scientists noticed that its orbit had significant fluctuations that were not expected. To solve this mystery, they proposed the existence of another planet whose gravitational field would account for such orbital variances. In 1845, the English astronomer John Couch Adams completed his calculations as to the position of this unknown planet. Although he submitted his findings to the Royal Society (the leading English scientific organization), his work was met with little interest. However, a year later the French astronomer Jean Joseph Le Verrier made known his calculations that were strikingly similar to those of Adams. As a result of the two men’s independent estimates being so close, the scientific community took notice and began its search for the planet in the region of the sky Adams and Le Verrier had predicted. On September 23, 1846, the German astronomer Johann Galle observed the new planet near to where Adam’s calculations had forecasted and even closer to those of Le Verrier. John Couch Adams Le Verrier was initially given credit for the discovery. As a result, an international dispute arose, with one faction championing Adams and the other Le Verrier. This conflict, however, was not shared between the two men themselves. Eventually, the campaign for each side cooled, and both men were given credit. Until the Voyager 2 spacecraft fly-by in 1989, little was known about Neptune. This mission provided new information about Neptune’s rings, number of moons, atmosphere and rotation. Additionally, Voyager 2 discovered significant features of the moon Triton. There are no official planetary missions scheduled to Neptune in the near future. ATMOSPHERE Neptune’s upper atmosphere is composed of 80% hydrogen (H2), 19% helium and trace amounts of methane. Similar to Uranus, the blue coloration of Neptune is due in part to its atmospheric methane, which absorbs light having a wavelength corresponding to red. Unlike Uranus, Neptune is a deeper blue, and, therefore, some other atmospheric component must be present in the Neptunian atmosphere that is not found in Uranus’ atmosphere. Two significant weather patterns have been observed on Neptune. The first, seen during the Voyager 2 fly-by mission, are the Dark Spots. These are storms comparable to the Great Red Spot found on Jupiter. However, a difference between these storms is their duration. Whereas the Great Red Spot has lasted for centuries, the Dark Spots are much more shortly lived as is evident by their disappearance when Neptune was viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope just four years after the Voyager 2 fly-by. Hubble Space Telescope The second of the two weather patterns observed by Voyager 2 is the swiftly moving white storm system, nicknamed Scooter. This type of storm system, which is much smaller than the Dark Spots, also appears to be short-lived. As with the other gas giants, Neptune’s atmosphere is divided into latitudinal bands. The wind speed achieved in some of these bands is almost 600 m/s, the fastest known in the Solar System. INTERIOR The interior of Neptune, similar to that of Uranus, is made of two layers: a core and mantle. The core is rocky and estimated to be 1.2 times as massive as the Earth. The mantle is an extremely hot and dense liquid composed of water, ammonia and methane. The mantle is between ten to fifteen times the mass of the Earth. Interior of Neptune Although Neptune and Uranus share similar interiors, they are, however, quite distinct in one way. Whereas Uranus emits only about the same amount of heat that it receives from the Sun, Neptune emits nearly 2.61 times the amount of the sunlight it receives. To place this in perspective, the two planets’ surface temperatures are approximately equal, yet Neptune receives only 40% of the sunlight that Uranus does. Additionally, this large internal heat is also what powers the extreme winds found in the upper atmosphere. ORBIT & ROTATION With the discovery of Neptune, the size of the known Solar System increased by a factor of two. With an average orbital distance of 4.50 x 109 km, it takes sunlight almost four hours and forty minutes to reach Neptune. Moreover, this distance also means that a Neptunian year lasts about 165 Earth years! Neptune’s orbital eccentricity of .0097 is second smallest behind that of Venus. This small eccentricity means that the orbit of Neptune is very close to being circular. Another way of looking at this is to compare Neptune’s perihelion of 4.46 x 109 km and its aphelion of 4.54 x 109 km and notice that this is a difference of less than two percent. Like Jupiter and Saturn, Neptune rotates very quickly as compared to the terrestrial planets. With a rotational period of a little over 16 hours, Neptune has the third shortest day in the Solar System. The axial tilt of Neptune is 28.3°, which is relatively close to the Earth’s 23.5°. What is amazing is that, even at such a far distance from the Sun, Neptune still experiences seasons (though more subtly) similar to those on Earth as a result of its axial tilt. RINGS Currently, Neptune is known to have thirteen moons. Of these thirteen only one is large and spherical in shape. This moon, Triton, is believed to have originally been a dwarf planet captured by Neptune’s gravitational field, and, thus, not a natural satellite of the planet. Evidence for this theory comes from Triton’s retrograde orbit of Neptune; that is, Triton orbits in the opposite direction that Neptune rotates. With a recorded surface temperature of -235° C, Triton is the coldest known object in the Solar System. Retrograde orbit: the satellite (red) orbits in the direction opposite to the rotation of its primary (blue/black) Neptune has three major rings – Adams, Le Verrier and Galle. This ring system is much fainter than that of the other gas giants. In fact, some of the rings are so dim that it was believed at one time that they were incomplete. However, images from the Voyager 2 fly-bys show extremely faint rings. Source: The Planets
  5. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - MULTIVERSE pronunciation: [məl-tee-vərs] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, 1960s meaning: 1. An infinite realm of being or potential being of which the universe is regarded as a part or instance. Example: "My favorite sci-fi series explores the different realities possible in a multiverse." "The physics department seems to be split into those who believe in a multiverse theory, and those who do not." About Multiverse If you’re a physicist, a comic book writer, psychologist, or theologian, you will probably be familiar with a multiverse. This philosophy that there are multiple, or even infinite, states of being in the universe has long been a topic for debate. Did you know? Fans of “The Big Bang Theory” are probably familiar with one example of a multiverse: Schrödinger's cat. On the TV show, Sheldon explained the hypothetical situation where a cat is inside a box, and, until you open the box, the cat could be alive or dead. There are two potential universes in that scenario, which is also the many-worlds interpretation of a multiverse.
  6. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - KLEENEX TISSUES Did you know... that facial tissue, paper handkerchief, and Kleenex refers to a class of soft, absorbent, disposable papers that are suitable for use on the face? They are disposable alternatives for cloth handkerchiefs. (Wikipedia) In 1924, the Kleenex brand of facial tissue was first introduced. Kleenex tissue was invented as a means to remove cold cream. Early advertisements linked Kleenex to Hollywood makeup departments and sometimes included endorsements from movie stars (Helen Hayes and Jean Harlow) who used Kleenex to remove their theatrical makeup with cold cream. Kleenex and Noses By 1926, Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the manufacturer of Kleenex, became intrigued by the number of letters from customers stating that they used their product as a disposable handkerchief. A test was conducted in the Peoria, Illinois, newspaper. Ads were run depicting the two main uses of Kleenex, either as a means to remove cold cream or as a disposable handkerchief for blowing noses. The readers were asked to respond. Results showed that 60% used Kleenex tissue for blowing their noses. By 1930, Kimberly-Clark had changed the way they advertised Kleenex and sales doubled, proving that the customer is always right. Highlights of Kleenex History In 1928, the familiar pop-up tissue cartons with a perforated opening were introduced. In 1929, colored Kleenex tissue was introduced and a year later printed tissues. In 1932, pocket packs of Kleenex were introduced. That same year, the Kleenex company came up with the phrase, "The handkerchief you can throw away!" to use in their advertisements. During World War II, rations were placed on the production of paper products and the manufacturing of Kleenex tissues was limited. However, the technology used in the tissues was applied to the field bandages and dressings used during the war effort, giving the company a big boost in publicity. Supplies of paper products returned to normal in 1945 after the war ended. In 1941, Kleenex Mansize tissues were launched, as indicated by the name, this product was aimed at the male consumer. In 1949, a tissue for eyeglasses was released. During the '50s, the spread of the popularity of the tissues continued to grow. In 1954, the tissue was the official sponsor on the popular television show, "The Perry Como Hour." During the '60s, the company began successfully advertising the tissue during daytime programming rather than just nighttime television. SPACESAVER tissue packs were introduced, as well as purse packs and juniors. In 1967, the new square upright tissue box (BOUTIQUE) was introduced. In 1981, the first scented tissue was introduced to the market (SOFTIQUE). In 1986, Kleenex started the "Bless You" advertising campaign. In 1998, the company first used a six-color printing process, allowing for complex prints on their tissues. By the 2000s, Kleenex sold tissues in over 150 different countries. Kleenex with lotion, Ultra-Soft, and Anti-Viral products were all introduced. Where Did the Word Come From? In 1924, when Kleenex tissues were first introduced to the public, they were intended to be used with cold cream to remove makeup and "clean" the face. The Kleen in Kleenex represented that "clean." The ex at the end of the word was tied to the company's other popular and successful product at the time, Kotex brand feminine napkins. Generic Use of the Word Kleenex The word Kleenex is now commonly used to describe any soft facial tissue. However, Kleenex is the trademarked name of the soft facial tissue manufactured and sold by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation. How Kleenex Is Made According to the Kimberly-Clark company, Kleenex tissue is made in the following way: At the tissue manufacturing mills, bales of wood pulp are put into a machine called the hydrapulper, which resembles a giant electric mixer. The pulp and water is mixed to form a slurry of individual fibers in water called the stock. As the stock moves to the machine, more water is added to make a thinner mixture which is more than 99 percent water. The cellulose fibers are then thoroughly separated in refiners before being formed into a sheet, on the forming section of the creped wadding machine. When the sheet comes off the machine a few seconds later, it is 95 percent fiber and only 5 percent water. Much of the water used in the process is recycled after being treated to remove contaminants prior to discharge. A felt belt carries the sheet from the forming section to the drying section. In the drying section, the sheet is pressed onto the steam-heated drying cylinder and then scraped off the cylinder after it has been dried. The sheet is then wound into large rolls. The large rolls are transferred to a rewinder, where two sheets of wadding (three sheets for Kleenex Ultra Soft and Lotion Facial Tissue products) are plied together before being further processed by calender rollers for additional softness and smoothness. After being cut and rewound, the finished rolls are tested and transferred to storage, ready for converting into Kleenex facial tissue. In the converting department, numerous rolls are put on the multifolder, where in one continuous process, the tissue is interfolded, cut and put into Kleenex brand tissue cartons which are inserted into shipping containers. The interfolding causes a fresh tissue to pop out of the box as each tissue is removed. Source: The History of Kleenex Tissue
  7. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - NEBULA pronunciation: [NEB-yə-lə] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, mid-17th century meaning: 1. A cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as an indistinct bright patch or as a dark silhouette against other luminous matter. 2. (in general use) any indistinct bright area in the night sky, for example, a distant galaxy. Example: "On a clear night you might be able to see a nebula without the help of a telescope." "Long before modern science, astronomers have been fascinated by the comets, nebulas, and stars in the night sky." About Nebula Before high-powered space telescopes were passing back images of far-away galaxies, astronomers were looking at the bodies visible in the night sky. They gave the word nebula to describe the bright clouds in the sky. We now know that these are patches of gas and dust, and possibly sites of future exploration. Did you know? In addition to its astronomical usage, nebula is a medical term. The Latin word literally means “mist.” Your ophthalmologist, or eye doctor, might diagnose a nebula — a clouded spot on the cornea causing defective vision.
  8. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - WEAVER BIRDS Did you know... that weaver birds are the only birds recorded with the ability to tie knots? Sociable weaver nests are the largest structures built by birds. Some flocks of red-billed quelea are so massive they can take 5 hours to pass. Weaver birds are a group of several families of small passerine birds that are related to the finches. Most weaver birds are yellow, but there are also red, brown or black varieties. They are commonly known for their construction of elaborate nests. A group of weaver bird nests Their blunt, conical bills allow them to easily feast on seeds and grain, with some weaver birds, such as the red-billed quelea featured below, proving a massive problem for crop farmers. The Ploceidae weaver finches are the most common, with 64 individual species. Most weaver finches can be found in Sub-Saharan Africa, with five Asian and two Madagascan species. The Nests Weaver bird nests are extraordinary structures. Most individual nests are cylindrical in shape, with downward-facing, narrow entrances that are usually situated over or next to water. Ensuring that the entrance faces downwards and is as narrow as possible deters thieves and potential predators. Some nests even have a long tube, extending the entrance further beneath the nest body. Having selected a good location for his nest, the weaver bird starts to loop and weave strands of grass or strips of leaves around the ends of one or two branches in a tree. Having created a looped basis for the nest body, the weaver bird then builds the hollow body before adding the tubular entrance last. The males are the main weavers, leaving the females with the responsibility of selecting their breeding-partner. They do this based on the location, design and relative comfort of the nest which ensures the good genetic quality for the father of her offspring alongside a safe home for her eggs. Sociable Weaver Sociable weaver bird nest in Namibia, Africa The sociable weaver of southern Africa builds large, permanent nests for a community of birds, usually found around areas where the stiff, dry grass they use as a building material can be found. Some of these nests are the largest structures built by birds. Usually found spread throughout the branches of certain trees, sociable weavers have also been known to take advantage of telegraph poles and other tall, man-made structures. The nests resemble a pile of hay in the tree with entrance holes placed underneath in order to deter nest invaders. The nests provide a more consistent environment for sociable weavers who inhabit an area whose climate can see a fluctuation of extremes. Protected from the intense heat of the day and sometimes brisk night-time temperatures, sociable weavers can raise their young and ride out extreme weather in relative comfort, all the time safe in the knowledge that they are surrounded by members of their own species. However, despite this "safety in numbers" it has been found that nest raiding can be quite high with up to 80% of young not making it to adulthood. Red-Billed Quelea The red-billed quelea is the world's most abundant wild bird, with some estimates numbering them in the billions. Perhaps even as high as 10 billion! Found throughout sub-Saharan Africa, except the forests and the southern tip, they can congregate in vast swarms that can clear swathes of crops, proving to be a massively destructive pest. Some extreme methods of control include the burning of roosting colonies with napalm. Quick Facts Male weavers tend to be the nest builders. Weaver birds are the only birds recorded with the ability to tie knots. Sociable weaver nests are the largest structures built by birds. Some flocks of red-billed quelea are so massive they can take 5 hours to pass. Source: Life on Earth: Eden
  9. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - REGENT pronunciation: [REE-jənt] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 15th century meaning: 1. A person appointed to administer a country because the monarch is a minor or is absent or incapacitated. 2. A member of the governing body of a university or other academic institution. Example: "Until the young king reached his 18th birthday, his cousin was appointed regent." "As a regent of the university, she wanted to direct the endowment to grant more scholarships to low-income students." About Regent The Latin word “regent” means ruling, which comes from the verb “regere.” The spelling and meaning are easy enough that they have been retained in English. A regent is a leader who rules when a monarch is unable to, and in North America the word has been borrowed to describe the people who govern a university. Did you know? Flip through European history books and you’ll find details of regents serving when a monarch could not — George IV of Great Britain, Phillippe II of France. But as the monarchies have died out, so have regents. In 2020, only one country has an active regency in Alois, Hereditary Prince of Liechtenstein.
  10. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - SQUALL This shows a series of squalls in a series of squall lines coming off the North Atlantic towards the Isle of Hoy. Did you know... that a squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed lasting minutes, contrary to a wind gust lasting seconds? They are usually associated with active weather, such as rain showers, thunderstorms, or heavy snow. (Wikipedia) A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed lasting minutes, contrary to a wind gust lasting seconds. They are usually associated with active weather, such as rain showers, thunderstorms, or heavy snow. Squalls refer to the increase to the sustained winds over that time interval, as there may be higher gusts during a squall event. They usually occur in a region of strong sinking air or cooling in the mid-atmosphere. These force strong localized upward motions at the leading edge of the region of cooling, which then enhances local downward motions just in its wake. (Kiddle Encyclopedia) Squalls refer to the increase to the sustained winds over that time interval, as there may be higher gusts during a squall event. They usually occur in a region of strong sinking air or cooling in the mid-atmosphere. These force strong localized upward motions at the leading edge of the region of cooling, which then enhances local downward motions just in its wake. Character of the Wind The term "squall" is used to refer to a sudden wind-speed increase lasting minutes. In 1962 the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) defined that to be classified as a "squall", the wind must increase at least 8 m/s and must attain a top speed of at least 11 m/s, lasting at least one minute in duration. In Australia, a squall is defined to last for several minutes before the wind returns to the long term mean value. In either case, a squall is defined to last about half as long as the definition of sustained wind in its respective country. Usually, this sudden violent wind is associated with briefly heavy precipitation as squall line. Severe Weather A shelf cloud such as this one can be a sign that a squall is imminent A squall line is an organized line of thunderstorms. It is classified as a multi-cell cluster, meaning a thunderstorm complex comprising many individual updrafts. They are also called multi-cell lines. Squalls are sometimes associated with hurricanes or other cyclones, but they can also occur independently. Most commonly, independent squalls occur along front lines, and may contain heavy precipitation, hail, frequent lightning, dangerous straight line winds, and possibly funnel clouds, tornadoes and waterspouts. Squall lines require significant low-level warmth and humidity, a nearby frontal zone, and vertical wind shear from an angle behind the frontal boundary. The strong winds at the surface are usually a reflection of dry air intruding into the line of storms, which when saturated, falls quickly to ground level due to its much higher density before it spreads out downwind. Significant squall lines with multiple bow echoes are known as derechos. Squall line life cycle There are several forms of mesoscale meteorology, including simplistic isolated thunderstorms unrelated to advancing cold fronts, to the more complex daytime/nocturnal Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) and Mesoscale Convective Complex (MCC), to squall line thunderstorms. Formation The main driving force behind squall line creation is attributed to the process of in-filling of multiple thunderstorms and/or a single area of thunderstorms expanding outward within the leading space of an advancing cold front. Pressure perturbations Pressure perturbations within an extent of a thunderstorm are noteworthy. With buoyancy rapid within the lower and mid-levels of a mature thunderstorm, one might believe that low pressure dominates in the mesoscale environment. However, this is not the case. With downdrafts ushering colder air from mid-levels, hitting ground and propagating away in all directions, high pressure is to be found widely at surface levels, usually indicative of strong (potentially damaging) winds. Wind shear Cirrus uncinus ice crystal plumes showing high level wind shear, with changes in wind speed and direction. Wind shear is an important aspect to measuring the potential of squall line severity and duration. In low to medium shear environments, mature thunderstorms will contribute modest amounts of downdrafts, enough to turn will aid in create a leading edge lifting mechanism – the gust front. In high shear environments created by opposing low level jet winds and synoptic winds, updrafts and consequential downdrafts can be much more intense (common in supercell mesocyclones). The cold air outflow leaves the trailing area of the squall line to the mid-level jet, which aids in downdraft processes. Updrafts Warm, moist updraft from a t hunderstorm associated with a southward-moving frontal boundary - taken from Texarkana, Texas looking north. The leading area of a squall line is composed primarily of multiple updrafts, or singular regions of an updraft, rising from ground level to the highest extensions of the troposphere, condensing water and building a dark, ominous cloud to one with a noticeable overshooting top and anvil (thanks to synoptic scale winds). Because of the chaotic nature of updrafts and downdrafts, pressure perturbations are important. As thunderstorms fill into a distinct line, strong leading-edge updrafts – occasionally visible to a ground observer in the form of a shelf cloud – may appear as an ominous sign of potential severe weather. Beyond the strong winds because of updraft/downdraft behavior, heavy rain (and hail) is another sign of a squall line. In the winter, squall lines can occur albeit less frequently – bringing heavy snow and/or thunder and lightning – usually over inland lakes (i.e. Great Lakes region). Bow echoes Radar image of a bow echo crossing Kansas City at 2:14 AM on 2 May 2008 (NWS Kansas City) Following the initial passage of a squall line, light to moderate stratiform precipitation is also common. A bow echo is frequently seen on the northern and southern most reaches of squall line thunderstorms (via satellite imagery). This is where the northern and southern ends curl backwards towards the middle portions of the squall line, making a "bow" shape. Bow echoes are frequently featured within supercell mesoscale systems. Mesolow A Spectacular Tropical Storm-Like Meso-Low Over Lake Superior The northern end of the squall line is commonly referred to as the cyclonic end, with the southern side rotating anticyclonically. Because of the coriolis force, the northern end may evolve further, creating a "comma shaped" mesolow, or may continue in a squall-like pattern. A wake low is another kind of mesoscale low-pressure area to the rear of a squall line near the back edge of the stratiform rain area. Due to the subsiding warm air associated with the systems formation, clearing skies are associated with the wake low. Severe weather, in the form of high winds, can be generated by the wake low when the pressure difference between the mesohigh preceding it and the wake low is intense enough. When the squall line is in the process of decay, heat bursts can be generated near the wake low. Once new thunderstorm activity along the squall line concludes, the wake low associated with it weakens in tandem. Dissipation As supercells and multi-cell thunderstorms dissipate due to a weak shear force or poor lifting mechanisms, (e.g. considerable terrain or lack of daytime heating) the squall line or gust front associated with them may outrun the squall line itself and the synoptic scale area of low pressure may then infill, leading to a weakening of the cold front; essentially, the thunderstorm has exhausted its updrafts, becoming purely a downdraft dominated system. The areas of dissipating squall line thunderstorms may be regions of low CAPE, low humidity, insufficient wind shear, or poor synoptic dynamics (e.g. an upper level low filling) leading to frontolysis From here, a general thinning of a squall line will occur: with winds decaying over time, outflow boundaries weakening updrafts substantially and clouds losing their thickness. Signs in the sky Shelf Clouds and Roll Clouds Shelf clouds and roll clouds are usually seen above the leading edge of a squall, also known as a thunderstorms' gust front. From the time these low cloud features appear in the sky, one can expect a sudden increase in the wind in less than 15 minutes. Want to read more on Squalls click below. Source: Wikipedia
  11. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - DYNAMISM pronunciation: [DY-nə-miz-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, mid-19th century meaning: 1. The quality of being characterized by vigorous activity and progress. 2. (Philosophy) The theory that phenomena of matter or mind are due to the action of forces rather than to motion or matter. Example: "The dynamism of the auto industry brought great prosperity to Detroit in the early 20th century." "The professor became known primarily for his writings on the philosophy of dynamism." About Dynamism In Greek, “dunamis” means power, but English actually borrowed dynamism from the French word “dynamisme.” In French it means having vitality and energy, and the English usage closely follows. You can describe activity and progress as having dynamism, but you might also describe a person with a vigorously positive attitude as having dynamism. Did you know? Dynamism is a philosophy first expressed in the 17th century by Gottfried Leibniz. His theories on the action of forces on matter and mind went against previous theories from other scientists and opened up new areas of experimentations in physics. Even if you’re not a student of his philosophies, just remember, dynamism = motion.
  12. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - PANTHEON pronunciation: [PAN-thee-ahn] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 14th century meaning: 1. A group of particularly respected, famous, or important people. 2. All the gods of a people or religion collectively. Example: "Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, and Patsy Cline are original members of the pantheon of female country musicians." "The vase up for auction displayed the deities of the Greek pantheon." About Pantheon If there’s a particular group of people you wish to honor, you could call the collection a pantheon. If you’re honoring the dead, you could do that in a structure called a pantheon. But in ancient Greece and Rome, a pantheon was a temple dedicated to all of the gods. Did you know? The Pantheon in Rome is a former Roman temple, now a Catholic church. Built in the second century, it’s one of the best preserved examples of Roman architecture. Nearly 2,000 years after it was built, it’s still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
  13. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY Aerial photo of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Did you know... that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) is in Speedway, Indiana (an enclave suburb of Indianapolis) in the United States. It is the home of the Indianapolis 500 race and the Brickyard 400 race. It was built in 1909. It is the original Speedway, the first racing facility to use the word Speedway. IMS has permanent seating for more than 257,000 people. The infield raises capacity to approximately 400,000. It is the largest and highest-capacity sporting facility in the world. The Speedway is considered relatively flat by American standards but high-banked by Europeans. It is a two and a half mile, nearly rectangular oval. Each of the four turns are 1/4 mile. Two 5/8 mile long straight connect turns 2 to 3 and turns 4 to 1. Two 1/8 mile short straights, termed short chutes, connect turns 1 to 2 and turns 3 to 4. A modern infield road course was constructed between 1998 and 2000. It used part of the oval and the infield to create a 2.605-mile (4.192 km) track. In 2008, the road course was changed to add another infield section. This is used for motorcycle racing, and is a 2.621-mile (4.218 km) course. On the grounds of the Speedway is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, which opened in 1956. It is also the home of the Brickyard Crossing Golf Resort, which originally opened as the Speedway Golf Course in 1929. Indianapolis Motor Speedway was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. In addition to the Indianapolis 500, the Speedway also hosts NASCAR's Brickyard 400. The Speedway also hosted the United States Grand Prix for Formula One from 2000 to 2007. In 2008, the Speedway added the Indianapolis motorcycle Grand Prix. After winning his fifth United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis in 2006, Formula One driver Michael Schumacher holds the record for most victories with the Formula One version of the road course. A.J. Foyt, Al Unser and Rick Mears each won the Indianapolis 500 four times on the traditional oval. Jeff Gordon has also won four times on the oval in the Brickyard 400. Johnny Aitken holds the record for total wins at the track, with 15 victories (all on the oval), during the 1909, 1910 and 1916 seasons. EARLY HISTORY The Indianapolis Motor Speedway under construction The first motorsports event at the track consisted of 7 motorcycle races, sanctioned by the Federation of American Motorcyclists (FAM), on August 14, 1909. The first weekend of automobile races took place August 19–21, 1909. It was 16 races sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA). The event almost turned into a disaster because of the surface of crushed stone and tar. There were several accidents and five fatalities. The final race of the weekend was halted after 235 miles (378 km) of its originally-scheduled 300 miles. Carl Graham Fisher (1874–1938) of Indiana, an American vehicle parts and highway entrepreneur, co-founder and first President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. May 1909. Carl G. Fisher, was an Indiana native, and both a former race car driver and one of the owners of the track. He led the work to make the track safer for the drivers and spectators. The track surface was paved with 3.2 million paving bricks. This gave the track its popular nickname The Brickyard. Today, 3 feet (0.91 m) (one yard) of the original bricks remain at the start/finish line., still giving meaning to the 'brick yard'. The final brick added to the roadway was a gold plated brick and laid by Governor Thomas R. Marshall on December 17, 1909. The Speedway reopened in 1910. Sixty-six automobile races held during three holiday weekends (Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day). Each weekend featured two or three races of 100-mile (160 km) to 200-mile (320 km) distance. Several shorter contests were also held. Each race was its own event and earned its own trophy. All races were sanctioned by the AAA. In 1911, a change in marketing focus led to holding only one race per year. An estimated 80,000 spectators came to the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race on Memorial Day May 30, 1911. Admission was one dollar. Ray Harroun won the race at the average speed of 74.602 mph (120.060 km/h). The next five Indianapolis 500 were held from 1912–1916. Three of the Indy 500 winners were Europeans. These races drew worldwide attention to the Speedway. More international drivers began to enter. The 1916 race was shortened to 120 laps for 300 miles (480 km). Several things caused the race to be shortened . There was a lack of entries from Europe and a lack of oil. Another reason was out of respect for the war in Europe. On September 9, 1916, the Speedway hosted a day of short racing events. These were called the Harvest Classic. There were three races held at 20, 50 and 100-mile (160 km) distances. Johnny Aitken, in a Peugeot, won all three events, his final victories at the track. After the Harvest Classic, no race other than the Indianapolis 500 to be held on the grounds for seventy-eight years. Racing was interrupted in 1917–1918 by World War I. The facility served as a military center for repairs. Racing resumed in 1919. Speeds quickly increased. In 1925 Peter DePaolo became the first to average 100 mph (160 km/h) for the race. By the early 1930s, the increasing speeds began to make the track more dangerous. In the period 1931–1935 there were 15 fatalities. Part of the bricks were replaced with tarmac (a tar covered macadam or small stones). During the 1935–1936 seasons a number of changes were made. The inside wall was removed in the corners. The outside wall angle was changed to help keep cars inside the track. Hard crash helmets became required. The first yellow lights were installed around the track. Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Automotive Industries, Volume 21 – September 23, 1909 Want to know more on this topic? Click on the link below. Source: Kiddle Encyclopedia
  14. DarkRavie

    Fact of the Day

    Fact of the Day - SCULPTURES Sumerian male worshipper, alabaster with shell eyes, 2750−2600 B.C.E. Did you know... that sculpture is the branch of the visual arts that operates in three dimensions. It is one of the plastic arts. Durable sculptural processes originally used carving (the removal of material) and modelling (the addition of material, as clay), in stone, metal, ceramics, wood and other materials but, since Modernism, there has been an almost complete freedom of materials and process. A wide variety of materials may be worked by removal such as carving, assembled by welding or modelling, or molded or cast. Assyrian lamassu gate guardian from Khorsabad, circa 800–721 BCE Sculpture in stone survives far better than works of art in perishable materials, and often represents the majority of the surviving works (other than pottery) from ancient cultures, though conversely traditions of sculpture in wood may have vanished almost entirely. However, most ancient sculpture was brightly painted, and this has been lost. Sculpture has been central in religious devotion in many cultures, and until recent centuries large sculptures, too expensive for private individuals to create, were usually an expression of religion or politics. Those cultures whose sculptures have survived in quantities include the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean, India and China, as well as many in Central and South America and Africa. The Western tradition of sculpture began in ancient Greece, and Greece is widely seen as producing great masterpieces in the classical period. During the Middle Ages, Gothic sculpture represented the agonies and passions of the Christian faith. The revival of classical models in the Renaissance produced famous sculptures such as Michelangelo's David. Modernist sculpture moved away from traditional processes and the emphasis on the depiction of the human body, with the making of constructed sculpture, and the presentation of found objects as finished art works. Michelangelo's Moses, (c. 1513–1515), San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome, for the tomb of Pope Julius II Types A basic distinction is between sculpture in the round, free-standing sculpture, such as statues, not attached (except possibly at the base) to any other surface, and the various types of relief, which are at least partly attached to a background surface. Relief is often classified by the degree of projection from the wall into low or bas-relief, high relief, and sometimes an intermediate mid-relief. Sunk-relief is a technique restricted to ancient Egypt. Relief is the usual sculptural medium for large figure groups and narrative subjects, which are difficult to accomplish in the round, and is the typical technique used both for architectural sculpture, which is attached to buildings, and for small-scale sculpture decorating other objects, as in much pottery, metalwork and jewellery. Relief sculpture may also decorate steles, upright slabs, usually of stone, often also containing inscriptions. Open air Buddhist rock reliefs at the Longmen Grottoes, China Another basic distinction is between subtractive carving techniques, which remove material from an existing block or lump, for example of stone or wood, and modelling techniques which shape or build up the work from the material. Techniques such as casting, stamping and moulding use an intermediate matrix containing the design to produce the work; many of these allow the production of several copies. Netsuke of tigress with two cubs, mid-19th-century Japan, ivory with shell inlay The term "sculpture" is often used mainly to describe large works, which are sometimes called monumental sculpture, meaning either or both of sculpture that is large, or that is attached to a building. But the term properly covers many types of small works in three dimensions using the same techniques, including coins and medals, hardstone carvings, a term for small carvings in stone that can take detailed work. Medal of John VIII Palaeologus, c. 1435, by Pisanello, the first portrait medal, a medium essentially made for collecting. The very large or "colossal" statue has had an enduring appeal since antiquity; the largest on record at 182 m (597 ft) is the 2018 Indian Statue of Unity. Another grand form of portrait sculpture is the equestrian statue of a rider on horse, which has become rare in recent decades. The smallest forms of life-size portrait sculpture are the "head", showing just that, or the bust, a representation of a person from the chest up. Small forms of sculpture include the figurine, normally a statue that is no more than 18 inches (46 cm) tall, and for reliefs the plaquette, medal or coin. Statue of Unity Modern and contemporary art have added a number of non-traditional forms of sculpture, including sound sculpture, light sculpture, environmental art, environmental sculpture, street art sculpture, kinetic sculpture (involving aspects of physical motion), land art, and site-specific art. Sculpture is an important form of public art. A collection of sculpture in a garden setting can be called a sculpture garden. French Sculptures, L.A. Garden Source: Kiddle Kids Encyclopedia
  15. DarkRavie

    New Game: What's the Word?

    What's the Word? - KINETIC pronunciation: [kə-NED-ik] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Greek, mid-19th century meaning: 1. Relating to or resulting from motion. 2. (of a work of art) depending on movement for its effect. Example: "The garden was designed with a large kinetic water fountain as the centerpiece." "The museum featured a breathtaking display of kinetic art for the spring showcase." About Kinetic Kinetic comes from the Greek word “kinētikos,” from the verb “kinein,” meaning to move. You can describe any sort of motion — from your first stretch in the morning to the giant drop on a roller coaster — as kinetic. It’s also used in the art world to describe moving sculptures. Did you know? You’ll likely recognize “kine” in other moving words, including kinesiology (the study of the mechanics of body movements), kinematics (the properties of an object in motion), and kinesics (gestures and body movements serving as non-verbal communication).
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