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Posts posted by DarkRavie

  1. Fact of the Day - JUKEBOXES


    Did you know... that In 1877, Thomas Edison invented the phonograph, a coin-operated music machine that played music from a wax cylinder?  On November 23, 1889, Louis Glass installed a coin-operated phonograph in his Palais Royale Saloon located in San Francisco.  It was called "nickel-in-a-slot" because that was the amount of money needed to make a selection.  Later, the term was shortened to nickelodeon.  In 1906, John Gabel invented the "Automatic Entertainer," a music machine that replaced the wax cylinder with 78-rpm disc recordings and offered several selections of records that could be played. Gabel's Automatic Entertainer dominated the market until the mid-1920s.  The jukebox remained something of a novelty arcade item until the invention of the electric amplifier.  Without amplification, it was impossible for a large group of listeners to enjoy the music played by the jukebox.  When Automated Musical Instruments Inc. (AMI) developed an amplifier in 1927, the popularity of the jukebox surged. It was especially popular in the illegal speakeasies of the Prohibition Era because it provided a cheap form of entertainment.  AMI sold 50,000 of its amplified machines in one year, bringing to life the age of the jukebox.

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  2. Fact of the Day - JIGSAW PUZZLE


    Did you know... that back in 1766, a cartographer (that’s a person who makes maps) glued a map to a piece of wood and cut it up into bits?  He then issued a challenge to everyone to try to put it back together — and a craze was born!  But jigsaws (the tool that’s used to cut the wood into fancy shapes) weren’t invented until 1873, so puzzles back then were called "dissections" or "dissected puzzles."  Most puzzles today are made from cardboard, not wood, because they are cheaper and easier to make, and they come in all shapes and sizes!  


    Jigsaw puzzles can be more difficult for a lot of reasons.  When the first puzzles were invented, there was no picture to work from — so often people were guessing at where shapes would go just from the title on the box.  Do you think you could put a puzzle together if the title just said "building" or "tree"?  Puzzles that have no edge or corner pieces are also considered hard, along with ones that are all the same colour, or that have the pieces cut along colour line (so each piece is a solid colour, and no pieces have multiple colours).

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  3. Fact of the Day - COFFEE


    Did you know... that people surmise the word “coffee” entered the English language sometime in the 16th century?  Apparently, it was borrowed from the Italian word “caffe,” which comes from the Dutch word “koffie,” taken from the Ottoman Turkish “kahve,” which stemmed from Arabic “qahwah.”  


    In North America and a lot of western European countries, Starbucks and other coffee chains have dominated the market because they are providing to the customers a complete experience around coffee.  Coffee and friends, coffee and work, coffee and snacks and coffee to go!  The Irish mix coffee with whiskey and they call it “Irish coffee”.  In Italy the espresso and espresso machine were born and made it the favorite whole-day beverage of Italians. In Greece, there is the “kafenio”, an old fashioned coffee shop for old gentlemen, where they drink Greek coffee and exchange political ideas or they play cards and a board game called “tavli”.  Then also, in some countries, like Colombia or Brazil, the whole economy is based in coffee.

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  4. Fact of the Day - DRINKING FOUNTAINS


    Did you know... that Before potable water was provided in private homes, water for drinking was made available to citizens of cities through access to public fountains?  Many of these early public drinking fountains can still be seen (and used) in cities such as Rome, with its many fontanelle and nasoni (big noses).  In mid-19th century London, water provision from private water companies was generally inadequate for the rapidly growing population and was often contaminated. Legislation in the mid nineteenth century formed the Metropolitan Commission of Sewers, made water filtration compulsory, and moved water intakes on the Thames above the sewage outlets.  In this context, the public drinking fountain movement began. It built the first public baths and public drinking fountains.  In London, the Metropolitan Free Drinking Fountain Association was established in 1859.  The first fountain was built on Holborn Hill on the railings of the church of St Sepulchre-without-Newgate on Snow Hill, paid for by Samuel Gurney, and opened on 21 April 1859.  The fountain became immediately popular, used by 7,000 people a day. In the next six years 85 fountains were built, with much of the funding coming directly from the association.  The movement soon became associated with the temperance movementas they provided a substitute for alcohol and were purposely positioned outside public houses.

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  5. Fact of the Day - JINGLE DRESS DANCE


    Did you know... that there are few pow wow dances as ebullient, or as symphonic, as the Jingle Dress Dance, especially when there are multiple female dancers moving together?  The rows of metal cones, called ziibaaska’iganan in the Ojibew language, dangle from the dresses and rattle and clink as the dancers move.  The traditional dance required the dancers to never cross their feet, never dance backward, and never complete circle.  They kept footwork light, nimble, and close to the ground.  Their dresses chirped as they moved.  Modern Jingle Dress Dance allows more fluidity, the dancers can cross their feet, can complete full circles, and can dance backwards.  The dresses are designed so they can move more freely, but the metal cones remain, singing along, while the dancer often carries a feather fan during the dance.  The Jingle Dress Dance grew in popularity, and cultural significance, from the 1920s to around the 1950s, only to decline, go back to the dream-state from which it sprang, and rise back to life in the 1980s with the advent of pow wow expansion and competition.

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  6. Fact of the Day - DUELLING


    Did you know... that Surprisingly, duels were not usually begun with the intention of murder?  All over the world, main focus of duelling was generally gaining “satisfaction” for insulted honor.  The idea was that one’s honor was worth risking your life to avenge.  Because duelling was frequently forbidden throughout history (though that depended where and when), duels were often fought on a “field of honor,” which was usually a completely isolated area, to avoid witnesses.  In the West, they were usually fought at dawn for the same reason.  In the 19th century, the Ionian islands of Greece saw a tradition of duelling where the goal wasn’t actually to kill the other person.  First, sexually charged insults would be thrown at each other, and soon a knife fight would break out.  The first man to slash the other guy’s face and draw blood was the winner, and this earned him the right to spit on his beaten opponent or wipe his handkerchief in his opponent’s blood.  It was considered well worth the obligatory arrests and the slaps on the wrist by the local authorities.


    In ancient Scandinavian culture, a duel was known as holmgang.  Traditionally, if a man insulted another, they would meet later for a battle either to death or incapacitation.  Because it was a duel, neither could be charged with murder in the aftermath.  In Norway, the winner of the duel could claim all of the loser’s possessions—add insult to injury why dontcha?  


    Duels have been fought with all kinds of weapons throughout history.  The two most traditional weapons (at least in Europe and North America) were the pistol and the sword.  According to several duelling traditions, the person who was challenged to a duel was allowed to choose what kind of weapons would be used.

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  7. Fact of the Day - SOLAR FLARES


    Did you know... that solar flares are tremendous explosions on the surface of the Sun?  In a matter of just a few minutes they heat material to many millions of degrees and release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT.  They occur near sunspots, usually along the dividing line between areas of oppositely directed magnetic fields.  They release energy in many forms – high intensity electro-magnetic radiation (Gamma rays, X-rays, UV), energetic particles (protons and electrons), and mass flows.  Solar flares were first observed on the Sun by Richard Christopher Carrington, and independently by Richard Hodgson in 1859, as small visible areas within a sunspot group.  The frequency of occurrence of flares varies, from several per day when the Sun is particularly "active" to less than one each week when the Sun is "quiet".  Large flares are less frequent than smaller ones. Solar activity varies with an 11-year cycle (the solar cycle). At the peak of the cycle there are typically more sunspots, and consequently more solar flares.

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  8. Fact of the Day - MYTHIC CREATURE: GRIFFIN


    Did you know... that the foundation of the griffin dates back to the ancient Greek historian named Herodotus?  He traveled the world meticulously making notes about everything he saw.  The reason why he described these creatures in his book is because the Scythian nomads presented him with detailed reports.  Scythia was the area we today know as central Asia and Ukraine.  These nomads not just described the location of these creatures but also talked of the feeding habits linked to the griffin.  Additionally they explained the geographical range that was mainly located around Asia’s Gobi Desert, particularly near gold deposits.

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  9. Fact of the Day - POKEMON


    Did you know... that Rhydon was the first Pokemon ever created?  Most people would probably point to Pikachu or Bulbasaur as the first Pokemon. However, according to Ken Sugimori, Rhydon was the first Pokemon ever created by the original team.

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  10. Fact of the Day - THE MOON


    Did you know... that a 95-percent illuminated moon appears half as bright as a full moon?  Believe it or not, the moon is half as bright as a full moon about 2.4 days before and after a full moon.  Even though about 95 percent of the moon is illuminated at this time, and to most casual observers it might still look like a "full" moon, its brightness is roughly 0.7 magnitudes less than at full phase, making it appear one-half as bright.

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  11. Fact of the Day - CANADIAN PROVINCES


    ( Nova Scotia )


    Did you know... that few provinces have an official dog?  The Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, which has been bred in the province for more than 100 years, was declared the official provincial dog in 1995. It is the smallest of all retrievers and is a purely Canadian breed.


    There are 150 passengers of the Titanic buried in Halifax, the largest number anywhere in the world.  The bodies were recovered by ships whose crews spent several days searching the sea where the Titanic sank.  The class barriers so prevalent aboard the Titanic were adhered to in death: the bodies of first-class passengers were unloaded in coffins, those of second-class passengers in canvas bags and the crew on open stretchers.


    Alexander Graham Bell built a summer home in the town of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island in 1886, calling it Beinn Bhreagh, Gaelic for beautiful mountain.  He gradually came to spend more time in Baddeck, dying there in 1922 at age 75.  The location is now a national historic site.

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  12. Fact of the Day - TELESCOPES


    Did you know... that it all started with the first patented telescope design that was made by Dutch spectacle-maker Hans Lippershey in 1608?  He used the expertise that was collected and explained by the Arab scientists Alhazen in his “Book of Optic” and 2 centuries of European experience of crafting spectacles.  By using larger lenses and larger overall design, Lippershey managed to create first crude telescope that made significant waves in the scientific community of Europe.  While Lippershey’s design was very important, another design was remembered as beginning of true “usable” era of telescopes.  That model was created by none other than Galileo Galilei, who fixed some of the most important problems of Hans Lippershey (most notably inverted image).  Galilean telescope became the basis of all future telescopes, who very quickly received numerous updates from wide array of scientists and inventors.  Even the word telescope was created after Galileo made his design (coined by Greek mathematician Giovanni Demisiani who was smitten by Galileo’s design).

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  13. Fact of the Day - ROSA PARKS


    Did you know... that Parks had a prior encounter with James Blake, the bus driver who demanded she vacate her seat?  In 1943, Blake had ejected Parks from his bus after she refused to re-enter the vehicle through the back door after paying her fare at the front.  “I never wanted to be on that man’s bus again,” she wrote in her autobiography.  “After that, I made a point of looking at who was driving the bus before I got on.  I didn’t want any more run-ins with that mean one.”  After the written order from the Supreme Court outlawing bus segregation arrived and the Montgomery Bus Boycott ended on December 21, 1956, one of the newly integrated buses that Parks boarded to pose for press photographs happened to be driven by Blake.


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  14. Fact of the Day - WISHING WELLS


    Did you know... that a wishing well is a term from European folklore to describe wells where it was thought that any spoken wish would be granted?  The idea that a wish would be granted came from the notion that water housed deities or had been placed there as a gift from the gods.  This practice is thought to have arisen because water is a source of life, and was often a scarce commodity.  The Germanic and Celtic peoples considered springs and wells sacred places.  Sometimes the places were marked with wooden statues possibly of the god associated with the pool.  Germanic peoples were known to throw the armor and weapons of defeated enemies into bogs and other pools of water as offerings to their gods.  Water was seen to have healing powers, and wells became popular, with many people drinking the water, bathing in it or just simply wishing over it. Some people believed that the guardians or dwellers of the well would grant them their wish if they paid a price.  After uttering the wish, one would generally drop coins in the well.  That wish would then be granted by the guardian or dweller, based upon how the coin would land at the bottom of the well. If the coin landed heads up, the guardian of the well would grant the wish, but the wish of a tails up coin would be ignored.  It was thus potentially lucky to throw coins in the well, but it depended on how they landed.  The tradition of dropping pennies in ponds and fountains stems from this.  Coins would be placed there as gifts for the deity to show appreciation.

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  15. Fact of the Day - HUMMINGBIRDS


    Did you know... that hummingbirds have tongues that are grooved like the shape of a "W"?  Hummingbirds have tiny hairs on the tips of their tongues to help them lap up nectar… similar to a cat.  A hummingbird's bill is longer in proportion to its body, as compared to other birds.  They have no sense of smell, but can hear better than humans and are attracted to all bright colors, although red is most prominently associated with these tiny birds.   Hummingbirds see in ultraviolet light and they can see further than a human.  They have a great memory – they remember every flower & feeder they've been to, and how long it will take a flower to refill.  The hummingbird brain is 4.2% of its body weight – this is the largest, in proportion, of the wild bird group.  They are the only birds that can fly like a helicopter… up, down, sideways, front, and back! 


    Hummingbirds are the second largest family of birds with over 300 species.  Hummingbirds have weak feet – they mainly use them just for perching.  When food is scarce and they are fatigued, hummingbirds go into a hibernation-like state (also known as torpor) to conserve energy.  A hummingbird's heart beats up to 1,260 times per minute.  Hummingbirds do not mate for life.  A baby hummingbird is roughly the size of a penny and is unable to fly.  The average life span of a hummingbird is 5 years, but they have been known to live for more than 10 years.  Hummingbirds fly at an average of 25-30 miles per hour, and are able to dive up to 50 miles per hour.  Some hummingbirds will travel over 2,000 miles twice a year during their migration.

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  16. Fact of the Day - OLD HOLLYWOOD STARS


    Did you know... that Canadian-born Mary Pickford,, “the girl with the curls,” was one of the first bonafide Hollywood movie stars?  She made a record-breaking $10,000 a week at the peak of her popularity.  Pickford, along with D.W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, formed the United Artists studio in 1919.  The studio was intended to protect their work, and to wrest control from commercially minded producers and distributors.  This event is said to have given rise to the saying “the lunatics have taken over the asylum,” remarked by Richard A. Rowland, then head of Metro Pictures.

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  17. Fact of the Day - MONKEYS


    Did you know... that apes and lemurs are not monkeys?  The term "monkey" is sometimes used as a catch-all for every animal in the primate family, but the truth is that monkeys live on completely different branches of the evolutionary tree from both apes (i.e. chimpanzees, gorillas and humans) and prosimians (i.e. lemurs, tarsiers and lorises).  Some of the most fascinating monkey species are experiencing rapid declines in population due to a variety of factors based on their unique location.  These factors include everything from habitat loss and fragmentation, live capture for the global pet trade, and hunting for bushmeat or traditional medicines.  Just a few of the monkeys that are on the IUCN's list of the 25 most endangered primates year after year include the grey-shanked douc langur (pictured above), the Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, the Delacour's langur and the golden-headed langur.  


    Nearly all of the Earth's wild monkeys are confined to just four parts of the world: New World species are found in South and Central America, while Old World species are found in Asia and Africa.  There is one exception, though — the thriving population of wild Barbary macaques that roam free in the Iberian island of Gibraltar.  DNA analysis shows that these macaques, which have been in Gibraltar for many centuries, originated from Northern Africa.  Although these Barbary macaques are the only wild monkeys currently living in Europe, it's important to note that it wasn't always that way.  Prior to the Ice Age, macaques could be found as far north as Germany and the British Isles.

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  18. Fact of the Day - FIFA WORLD CUP


    FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association)


    Did you know... that the first official match between representatives of two nations was conducted between England and Scotland in 1872 at Hamilton Crescent, Partick, Glasgow, finishing in a 0–0 draw.?  The following year at The Oval, England enjoyed a 4–2 victory over the travelling Scots.  This was followed by the creation of the world's second national football association, the Scottish Football Association in 1873. Previously the Football Association had been the world's only governing body, though codified football was being played only in the United Kingdom at this stage.  With the number of inter-nation matches increasing as football spread, the need for a global governing body emerged.  Initially, it was intended to reflect the formative role of the British in football's history, but the football associations of the Home Nations unanimously rejected such a body.  This was led by rejection from Football Association President Lord Kinnaird.  Thus the nations of continental Europe decided to go it alone and 'FIFA' was born in Paris, uniting the Football governing bodies of France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland on 21 May 1904. Germany also joined the federation on the same day by Telegram but is not considered a founding member.


    The initial statutes of FIFA stated that:

    1. Only the represented National Associations would be recognised.
    2. Clubs that players could only play for two National Associations at a time.
    3. All Associations would recognise the suspension of a player in any Association.
    4. Matches were to be played according to the "Laws of the Game of the Football Association Ltd".
    5. Each National Association was to pay an annual fee of 50 French Francs.
    6. Only FIFA could organise International Matches.

    These statutes came into effect on 1 September 1905, decided by the founding members and Germany.  The first FIFA Congress was held on 23 May 1904 – Robert Guérin was elected President, Victor E. Schneider of Switzerland and Carl Anton Wilhelm Hirschmann of the Netherlands were made Vice Presidents, and Louis Muhlinghaus of Belgium was appointed Secretary and Treasurer with the help of Ludvig Sylow of Denmark.  Early attempts at the organization of a tournament began, but without the British countries this failed. England, however, joined on 14 April 1905, thanks to great efforts by Baron Edouard de Laveleye who was made the first honorary member of FIFA. In 1906, Daniel Burley Woolfall took over as president, making strides to uniformity in the globe's laws.  FIFA continued to expand in federations and influence, being able to monopolize international matches.  However, its organizational skills were still not refined, and it was the Football Association which organized the football tournaments at the 1908 and 1912 Olympic Games, both won by Great Britain.  In 1909 South Africa (the first non-European member) joined, and Argentina and Chile followed in 1912. The United States and Canada entered just before World War I in 1913.

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  19. Fact of the Day - JESTERS


    Did you know... that the jester was a very familiar face in the Middle Ages?  British, aristocratic households would employ Jesters who were often regarded as mascots or pets.  Occasionally they would dress like servants but more frequently they dressed in eccentric apparel.  Jesters were not only hired to amuse the master and guests but to criticize them as well.  Jesters held a freedom of speech privilege.  They were one of the very few people in the court that could speak their mind freely and use humor to joke about the nobles, ladies and lords without causing offense.  Most jesters were well educated and they came from diverse backgrounds.  Although they were granted quite a bit of freedom, excessive behavior commonly resulted in a jester being whipped.  There were two types of jesters, or fools.  The first type was a natural fool that was moronic and nit-witted and could not help what he said.  The second type was the licensed fool that the courts gave leeway too.  Both were fully excused by the courts within reason.  Another job of the jester was to deliver bad news that no one else would deliver to the king.

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  20. Fact of the Day - WASHING MACHINES


    Did you know... that we owe the invention of the washing machine to Jacob Christian Schäffer (1767)?  30 years later, an American, Nathaniel Briggs, obtained the first patent for a washing machine. It involved pouring hot water into a tank, turning a lever to wash the clothes and then wringing them between two rollers.  The tank was then drained using a tap.  210 years further on, the electric washing machine was invented.  In 1905, the first drum washing machines appeared. They were still hand-operated but the steel tank allowed for a coal burner to be included.  Towards 1920, the first electric machines were born: only the turning mechanism was electric.  The remaining controls were still manual.  It was only in 1930 that the machines became automatic.  Pressure switches, thermostats and timers were included in the new models.  From the 1980s onwards, advances in the field of electronics meant washing machines became reactive and ecological.  In 1990, a British inventor, James Dyson, produced a washing machine with two cylinders which turned in opposite directions, thus reducing washing times and giving better results.

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