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  1. Fact of the Day - FOUR CORNERS MONUMENT Did you know... There’s only one place in the U.S. where four states meet. Want to try being in four places at once? Then get thee to the aptly named Four Corners Monument, which marks the intersection of Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico. It’s the only place in America where so many states converge, which is especially impressive given that there are 65 spots where three states meet. The exact location of the quadripoint (the technical term for a place where four territories touch) was a matter of more debate than you might expect, with some surveyors arguing that it should have been about 2,000 feet to the west, thanks to changes in the technical reference systems used for various surveys. It wasn't until a 1925 Supreme Court case that the matter was officially settled. Ending the dispute was an especially lengthy process when you consider that the borders were first surveyed in the aftermath of the Civil War. What’s more, it isn’t just state boundaries that are marked by the Four Corners Monument: The lands of the Navajo Nation, which maintains the site, meet those of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe there. The monument itself is fairly modest, with each state’s seal embedded in a cement pad around a circular granite disk that reads, “Here meet in freedom under God four states.” Sprawl just so on that disk, and you can have a different limb in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico each. There’s only one four-nation quadripoint in the world. Situated in Southern Africa, it marks the intersection of Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia. As with the Four Corners in the U.S., there have been disagreements over the precise boundaries and whether they constitute a true quadripoint; because it involves sovereign nations rather than neighboring states, the stakes of those debates have occasionally led to diplomatic spats. Unlike its American counterpart, however, there’s no monument to mark this quadripoint — mainly because it's in the middle of a river — but it’s a gorgeous sight nevertheless. ( Interesting Facts ) The National Monument That's in the Wrong Place Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings reveals that one of our country's most popular tourist attractions—the Four Corners National Monument—is actually not in the correct location. BY KEN JENNINGS - July 1, 2013 Americans are funny. We’ll complain if have to walk all the way to the sidewalk to take out the trash, or drive a friend to the airport. And yet we’ll drive hundreds of miles into the desert to see a completely arbitrary point and take pictures of ourselves standing on top of a small metal disk where nothing ever happened. We feel as if we’ve accomplished something important, standing in four states at once. But have we really? It turns out that the famed Four Corners Monument isn’t even in the right place. The “Four Corners,” where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico meet, is the only quadripoint of its kind in the United States. Canada has had its own Four Corners since 1999, when the new territory of Nunavut was carved out of the Northwest Territories. There probably hasn’t been an international quadripoint since 1961, though there’s some disagreement about one in southern Africa. So it is a fairly rare geographical oddity, which helps explain why Four Corners gets over 250,000 visitors a year. It’s been cannily promoted as a tourist destination by the Navajo Nation, which owns the site and sells admission, frybread, and turquoise necklaces. Visitors line up in the hot sun to stand on the bronze-and-granite circle and attempt an awkward pose that will put them in all four states at the same time. The Four Corners quadripoint dates back to the Civil War, when some residents of the vast New Mexico Territory tried to split off a new territory called Arizona—and join the Confederacy. Confederate maps show Arizona and New Mexico as a stack of two flat territories, divided north and south, but when the Union won the war, they elected to separate Arizona and New Mexico east and west, by continuing the Utah-Colorado border all the way down to Mexico. All these borders were defined as straight lines of latitude and longitude (which, incidentally, were measured not from the Prime Meridian at Greenwich, England, but from the zero meridian commonly used on American maps of the time: Washington, D.C.) Unfortunately, 19th-century surveying technology wasn’t precise enough to follow the meridians and parallels precisely. The Utah-Colorado state line, for example, wanders a mile and a half away from the legislated border at one point. The Supreme Court ruled in 1925 that the initial survey should remain the official border (and the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department has gone to lengths to remind everyone of that), even where it was screwed up, but the fact remains that Four Corners is not where Congress tried to put it in 1863. The real spot, we can now see with GPS, is 1,807 feet to the west. But there aren’t any souvenir stands up there, if you’re trying to buy a blanket. Source: Facts About the Four Corners Monument | Four Corners Monument in the Wrong Place?
  2. What's the Word: NOSTRUM pronunciation: [NAH-strəm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. A pet project or favorite remedy, especially one for bringing about some social or political reform or improvement. 2. A medicine, especially one that is not considered effective, prepared by an unqualified person. Example: "I know ginger ale is a nostrum with no medical effect, but I still drink it when I have a cold." "For years, Michael’s nostrum was restoring the town gazebo, but lately he’s become interested in raising funds for the library." About Nostrum “Nostrum” is taken directly from the possessive Latin for “ours.” Did you Know? The root of “nostrum” — a Latin expression meaning “ours” — makes more sense in the history of “patent medicines.” These nonprescription formulations were also called “elixirs,” “tonics,” or “liniments,” and were sometimes advertised as containing snake oil (which was supposed to have a healing effect). They were also generally patented, whether they worked or not. Most had no effect but were advertised as a cure-all for nearly any ailment. Because those peddling such patent medications (sometimes called “snake-oil salesmen”) wanted to convince the public to buy their product and not their competitor’s, the word “nostrum” became associated with the uniqueness of the patent medication formula. A snake-oil salesman selling a nostrum would claim no other formulation but his own — “nostrum,” or “ours” — would provide the same relief.
  3. Fact of the Day - PISTACHIOS Did you know... Pistachios can spontaneously combust. It turns out there’s a price to pay for how tasty and nutritious pistachios are: Under the right circumstances, they can spontaneously combust. Everyone’s favorite shelled nut is especially rich in fat, which is highly flammable. Thankfully, that only becomes a problem when pistachios are packed too tightly during shipping or storage. It’s important to keep the nuts dry lest they become moldy — but if they’re kept too dry and there are too many of them bunched together, they can self-heat and catch fire without an external heat source. Though exceedingly rare and easy to avoid if the proper instructions are followed, pistachio self-combustion is a real enough concern that the German Transport Information Service specifically advises that pistachios “not be stowed together with fibers/fibrous materials as oil-soaked fibers may promote self-heating/spontaneous combustion of the cargo.” Don’t worry, though: It won’t happen in your pantry with just a few bags, which means you can indulge in the shelled snack of your dreams without worrying about their flavor becoming unexpectedly smoky. Raw cashews are toxic. Cashews are delicious, but you’d never know it from looking at a cashew tree — they’re quite strange-looking. If seeing one in the wild makes you hesitant to eat the fruit they bear, there’s a good reason for that: Cashew shells are toxic. They contain a toxin called urushiol, which triggers a delayed allergic reaction in the form of a painful, itchy rash; urushiol is also found in poison ivy, which, like cashews and pistachios, is a member of the Anacardiaceae family of trees. It’s for this reason that cashews are roasted before being sold and consumed, even those labeled as “raw.” Doing so removes all traces of urushiol and makes them safe to eat. ( Interesting Facts ) Surprising Facts About Pistachios By Julie Upton, MS, RD | March 30, 2016 They may be small, but the puny pistachio packs a nutritional punch. Here are 10 reasons to go nuts for pistachios: 1. They're nutrient-dense. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database, pistachios provide more than 30 different vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. 2. They have as much protein as an egg. A serving (1 oz or 49 nuts) has 160 calories and 6 grams of protein – about the same as an egg. 3. Their shells may help you eat less. It's true: Preliminary research suggests, but does not prove, that in-shell pistachios may help you reduce calorie consumption. In one study, people who left pistachio shells on their desk lowered their calorie intake by 18 percent compared to participants who discarded shells immediately after consumption. The shells may help remind you of how much you've eaten, so you're less likely to overindulge. 4. They smile. In China, pistachios are known as the "happy nut" because they look like they're smiling. Often given as a gift during the Chinese New Year, pistachios are a symbol of health, happiness and good fortune. 5. They're heart-healthy. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's qualified health claim for nuts: "Scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as pistachios, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease." Be sure to check the nutrition information on the back of the package for fat content. 6. They're grown in the U.S. While the cultivation of pistachios began in the Middle East thousands of years ago, today more than 550 million pounds of pistachios are grown in California, making the U.S. the second leading producer of pistachios. 7. They'll fill you up, not out. Pistachios provide fiber and protein to help keep you fuller longer. What's more, they're one of the lowest-fat, lowest-calorie and highest-protein tree nuts. 8. They're great for cooking and baking. Pistachios provide a rich, nutty flavor and texture to savory chicken or seafood meals, as well as sweet baked goods and grain-based sides. Here's a great Pistachio Crusted Salmon recipe to try. 9. They'll help you snack smarter. According to USDA research, about a quarter of daily calories – 586 for men and 421 for women – now come from between-meal bites. Pistachios are a healthier alternative to the most popular snacks, including soda, chips, candy and baked goods. [See: Healthy Snacks for When You Feel Hangry.] 10. They open on their own. Pistachios grow in heavy grape-like clusters surrounded by a fleshy hull (they're actually related to mangoes!). When they ripen, the pistachio kernel grows inside until (in most cases) the shell splits open. BONUS: Pistachio Recipes Pistachio cake recipe Vegan apricot and pistachio chocolate bark recipe Pistachio and macadamia cookie recipe Pistachio nut butter recipe Source: Interesting Facts About Pistachios | More Facts About the Pistachio Nut
  4. What's the Word: DYAD pronunciation: [DY-ad] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Something that consists of two elements or parts. Example: "As closing time approached, the café servers dropped hints to the dyad in the back corner that it was time to leave." "Tina Fey and Amy Poehler have proven time and again that they’re one of the most inventive dyads in comedy history." About Dyad “Dyad” is from the Latin, based on the ancient Greek “δυάς” (“duás”) or “δυάδ-“ (“duád-l”), both meaning “two.” Did you Know? “Dyad” can be a stand-in for terms such as “couple,” “pair,” or “duo”; however, the term is widely used across many fields of study to refer to specific two-parted concepts. In sociology, “dyad” refers to two people in a relationship, but in music, a dyad is a chord of two notes. There are also more complicated uses for the term in chemistry, biology, and mathematics, but all return to the same focus on pairs or couples. Whether it’s in linear algebra, chromosomal structures, or atomic chemistry, “dyad” always describes a relationship of two factors.
  5. Fact of the Day - BODY DOUBLES Did you know... Queen Elizabeth had a longtime body double. Leaders have historically used body doubles to thwart would-be assassins, but Queen Elizabeth II’s double served a different — and significantly less bloody — purpose. A big part of being the queen of the United Kingdom was simply showing up. Whether opening a hospital or hosting a foreign dignitary, the queen was always busy. A majority of her events required rehearsals, and that’s where Ella Slack came in. Although she doesn’t look like her majesty, Slack is about the same height and build, so if an event needed to test camera angles or see if the sun would be in the queen’s eyes, Slack was the person for the task. Slack got the job while working for the BBC’s events department in the 1980s. She stood in for the queen more than 50 times, including riding in the royal carriage and attending rehearsals for the opening of Parliament. However, Slack didn’t get to enjoy all the comforts of royalty. As a strict rule, she was never allowed to sit on the throne in the House of Lords and instead just “lurked” above it. Slack was never paid for her stand-in efforts, but considered her role “a pleasure and an honor.” Technically, the queen owned all unmarked mute swans in open waters in the U.K. Since the 12th century, the English monarchy has held the title of Seigneur (lord) of the Swans. For many years, mute swans — the elegant type you know from “Swan Lake” — were a popular food served by the rich. It was the king or queen who granted swan ownership rights, and the cost of going against those rights was severe. For example, anyone caught stealing swan eggs could face a year in prison, and it was treasonous to illegally eat a swan until 1998. In the 14th century, the crown granted swan ownership rights to Abbotsbury Swannery, one of only a few surviving companies with such privileges. The swannery marks their swans with a small ring around the bird’s leg. Any mute swan that isn’t marked in such a way remains property of the monarch. Strangely, this law also applies to dead swans, so any well-meaning taxidermist not wishing to run afoul of the law must contact the royal swan marker before stuffing any of the crown’s birds. ( Interesting Facts ) Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Hollywood Body Doubles By Shaunacy Ferro | December 8, 2017 Hugh Jackman and his Real Steel body double, Taris Tyler When you see the back of an actor’s head in a movie, it may not be the actor you think it is. In addition to stunt performers, most movies employ body doubles (or photo doubles) with a passing resemblance to the principal actors. While some body doubles are brought on set for specific skills—like helping an actor pass as a professional athlete—the job can often involve just being a body, whether that means being nude on camera, having photogenic hands, or appearing in place of actors who can’t be on set for some reason. Here are nine secrets of the job: 1. THEY MIGHT ONLY BE MODELING ONE BODY PART. Body double Danielle Sepulveres has played the hands of other actors in plenty of roles in her career, on TV and in beauty commercials featuring close-up shots of her holding moisturizer or makeup. She’s drizzled dressing on salad in place of Brooke Shields. She regularly slides files across tables, makes lists, and pours wine in the place of actresses on The Good Wife. (She has also played Jill Flint's butt on the show.) “I knew only glimpses of my hands might make it into a shot, or part of my shoulder along with a wisp of hair,” she wrote of one of her jobs in Good Housekeeping in 2016. But she overheard the director complaining that her wrists looked “vastly different” than those of the principal actress in the movie, 2015’s Mania Days. “Luckily, I didn't get fired in spite of my wrists, but I wouldn't have been surprised had it happened.” 2. THEY’RE NOT JUST THERE TO SHOW THEIR BUTTS. Yes, body doubles are often brought in if an actor doesn’t want to bare it all on camera. But they are hired for other reasons, too. For one thing, union rules mandate the actors get 12 hours off between when they leave set for the day and their next call time, so if the shoots are running long, the crew might employ someone else to stand in. Other times, it's a matter of particular talents. Most actors may be able to sing, dance, and cry on camera, but few also have the athletic skills to allow them to pass as a sports legend. In Battle of the Sexes (2017), Emma Stone plays Billie Jean King, one of the best tennis players of all time. To realistically represent King’s skills on the court, the movie makers brought in tennis doubles to play in place of Stone and her co-star, Steve Carell. Stone’s double was chosen for her playing style, which resembled King’s, and worked with King on-set to perfect her imitation. The effort was, according to The Wall Street Journal, a huge success. “Not only is the tennis believable, it’s a meticulous representation of the type of tennis played in that era: serve and volley, chipping and charging to the net, touch volleys and soft hands.” 3. ACTORS CAN GET TOUCHY ABOUT WHO PLAYS THEM. When you are tasked with choosing a celebrity doppelgänger, you’ve got to keep egos in mind. “The choice reflects on the principal actor,” DeeDee Ricketts, the casting director for Titanic, told Vanity Fair in 2016. “We have to take into consideration that they can’t be too thin, or more beautiful, or too heavy, or too old, or else the principal actor will think, That’s how they see me?” Actors often get to give input on who will be their double, and sometimes have final approval rights written into their contracts. When she was being considered for the job of Janet Leigh's body double in Psycho's iconic shower scene, model and Playboy covergirl Marli Renfro had to strip down for both Alfred Hitchcock and Leigh herself so that they could make sure her body looked enough like Leigh's, as Renfro recently revealed at a Brooklyn screening of the documentary 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene. In the case of nude scenes, actors might even have final approval on what physical moves their doubles are allowed to make. 4. THEY MIGHT NEVER MEET THEIR DOUBLE ... If you’re working as an actor’s double, by definition, you’re not going to have scenes with them, and so some body doubles never meet the stars they’re pretending to be. Danish actor Elvira Friis, who worked as a body double for Charlotte Gainsbourg (and her character’s younger self, played by Stacy Martin) during the racier scenes of Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac (2013), never met the actor. “The closest I got to Charlotte Gainsbourg was that I was wearing her dress,” Friis told The Wall Street Journal. 5. OR THEY MIGHT SPEND A LOT OF TIME WITH THE PEOPLE THEY'RE PORTRAYING. But how much time an actor spends with their doppelgänger really depends on the role. Some actors spend plenty of time with their doubles on set helping them get into the role. In What Happened to Monday (2017), Noomi Rapace plays the roles of seven identical sisters, making body doubles a necessity on set. Rapace helped direct her doubles during filming, “as they needed to know how the star would play the scene for each character so that it would sync up when she performed the part herself,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Game of Thrones star Lena Headey (who plays Cersei) worked closely with her double Rebecca Van Cleave for a nude scene in the show’s fifth season finale. Headey walked Van Cleave through her character’s thinking and movements for each shot. Then, Headey did the same performance herself, wearing a beige dress that could later be edited out. In the final product, Headey’s facial expressions were merged with Van Cleave’s nude body. 6. THEY DON’T ALWAYS LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THEIR COUNTERPARTS. Because body doubles are often only seen from the back or side, they may not look quite as much like their acting counterpart as you’d think. Brett Baker, who worked as Leonardo DiCaprio’s body double for Titanic, is several inches shorter than DiCaprio and seven years older. From the front, you wouldn’t peg him as a Jack Dawson lookalike. But with the same clothes and haircut, shot from above and behind, he passed easily as DiCaprio. Once Leo’s closeups were done, according to Vanity Fair, Baker was often brought in to stand opposite Kate Winslet as she played through her half of the scene. In some cases, he didn’t make it into the final shot at all, but still had to be on set for those 14-hour days. 7. THESE DAYS, THEY GET A BOOST FROM CGI. With the help of technology, filmmakers can put their leading actor’s face on a body double’s torso, so they don’t have to limit their body doubles to just back-of-the-head or partial shots. This allows them to seamlessly meld both the main actor and the body double’s performances in post-production. That can allow directors to get exactly the scene they want in shows like Orphan Black, which features Tatiana Maslany playing multiple roles, or in cases where actors don't want to get totally naked on-camera. In rare cases, it can also be used to bring actors back from the dead. When Paul Walker died in a car crash midway through filming Furious 7 (2015), the filmmakers used his brothers and another actor as body doubles, superimposing computer-generated images of Walker’s face on their performances. Around 260 shots featuring Walker’s doubles appeared in the final cut. 8. IF AN ACTOR CAN’T ALTER THEIR WEIGHT FOR A ROLE, A BODY DOUBLE CAN FILL IN. When Matt Damon was filming The Martian (2015), he wanted to lose 30 to 40 pounds to portray astronaut Mark Watney after he had been surviving on meager rations for years. But the filming schedule made that impossible, so a body double had to be brought in for some shots. “I was going to lose a bunch of weight in the third act of the movie, then put the weight back on,” Damon told Maclean’s. However, as the schedule shook out, they filmed the NASA interiors in Hungary, then immediately went to Jordan, which doubled as the Red Planet for the film’s purposes, and shot all the exterior shots from the beginning, middle, and end of the movie, with no time for Damon to lose a significant amount of weight. The skinny body double isn’t on screen for long. “It was, like, two shots,” Damon describes. (Still, fans noticed.) 9. SOMETIMES THEY NEVER MAKE IT IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA AT ALL. When it comes to nude scenes, sometimes body doubles are hired but never used. Veteran body double Laura Grady was cast as Robin Wright’s lookalike for State of Play (2009), but didn’t shoot a single scene. “I just sat in my trailer, ready to go, and then at the end, [Wright] decided to do her own scenes,” Grady told Vulture in 2014. “That happens sometimes. Sometimes they just get a body double because they think they might need one, and then all of a sudden the actress is comfortable and she’s like, ‘No, I’ll just do it.’ Or they change a scene and they don’t make it as risqué.” Don’t worry, though—the double still gets paid. Source: Facts About Body Doubles | Facts About Hollywood Body Doubles
  6. What's the Word: PREPONE pronunciation: [pree-POHN] Part of speech: verb Origin: Indian English, 20th century Meaning: 1. To reschedule to a time earlier than the current scheduled time. Example: "I’m going to call the dentist to see if I can prepone my appointment to this afternoon." "Head office preponed our annual meeting, leaving my team scrambling to get our reports finished in time." About Prepone “Prepone” is a reworking of the word “postpone” to include the suffix “pre.” It is also related to the Latin “praepōno,” meaning “to place before.” Did you Know? As far back as the 16th century, “prepone” meant to place something in front of another thing, but in the 20th century, the word was adopted as an opposite term for “postpone,” which has always meant “to put off until the future.” Accordingly, “prepone” is now used to describe moving a date forward in time. While “postpone” was originally a Scottish term, “prepone” is only in wide usage in Indian English (or “Hinglish,” as it is sometimes called, a code-switched merger of “Hindi” with “English”). Though it is an English word, “prepone” is among the cluster of English expressions — such as “passing out of college,” or “being out of station” — that are today considered exclusively Indian English.
  7. Fact of the Day - BLACK FRIDAY Did you know... "Black Friday" once referred to employees calling in sick after Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving is known for the deluge of holiday shoppers that descends on stores for serious savings. Some will tell you that the term “Black Friday” originally referred to the bottom lines of these stores, as the day of skyrocketing sales sent them out of the “red” (losing money) and into the “black” (making money) — hence, “Black Friday.” However, the origins of the phrase are a bit murkier. The first known use of “Black Friday” to describe the day after Thanksgiving comes from the November 1951 issue of the page-turning magazine Factory Management and Maintenance. In it, a writer hyperbolically describes the day as “a disease second only to the bubonic plague in its effects. At least that’s the feeling of those who have to get production out, when the ‘Black Friday’ comes along. The shop may be half empty, but every absentee was sick … ” In other words, “Black Friday” wasn’t about hordes of shoppers pulsing through stores, but weary (and possibly hungover) factory workers calling in sick. Although this is the first recorded use of the term, it’s unlikely that this version is what eventually became known across the U.S. as “Black Friday” in the late 20th century. Our modern sense of the term likely originated in the 1950s, when Philadelphia cops began using “Black Friday” to describe the traffic mayhem of shoppers and sports fans descending on the city after Thanksgiving and before the Army-Navy football game on Saturday. Philadelphia stores tried to change the name to “Big Friday” but failed, so instead transformed the day’s negative connotation into a positive one, and the idea of “Black Friday” as a day of financial solvency was born. Benjamin Franklin never wanted the turkey to be the national bird. A common myth from the United States’ nascent years is that Benjamin Franklin, the polymath inventor and founding father, advocated for the humble turkey to be the national avian symbol rather than the more fearsome-looking bald eagle. Although Franklin loved turkeys more than your average 18th-century celebrity, he never seriously considered the turkey a suitable U.S. icon. The myth originates from a letter Franklin wrote criticizing the Society of the Cincinnati, a hereditary patriotic organization founded by former Revolutionary officers in 1783 (and, incidentally, the inspiration for the name of Cincinnati, Ohio). Franklin wrote that the bird on the society’s seal looked more like a turkey than an eagle. To clarify that he was not maligning the noble game bird, Franklin described the turkey as a “respectable bird,” a “true original Native of America,” and a “Bird of Courage.” Conversely, Franklin described the bald eagle as a creature of “bad moral Character.” Yet the larger focus of the letter was meant to criticize the hereditary nature of the Society of Cincinnati, which Franklin felt was contrary to American principles. He never actively advocated for the turkey to replace the bald eagle, and his bird-related comments may have been intended merely as a humorous aside. ( interesting Facts ) Fun Black Friday Facts: History and Weird Stats Author: Kellye | Updated November 21, 2022 Welcome to fun Black Friday facts 101. If you’re like most Black Friday shoppers, you have your eye on laptops, TVs, game systems like Nintendo Switch, or clothing, but what do you really know about one of the biggest shopping days of the year? Did you know that in 2021 roughly 155 million Americans shopped on Black Friday and 88 million folks shopped online? Whew! Americans spent $8.9 billion shopping Black Friday deals online in 2021. We’ve rounded up a few fun, interesting, and historical tidbits to keep you informed and entertained while you wait for your dream sales to pop up. 1. The nonretail term Black Friday dates back to 1869. Obviously, none of us were alive to remember the U.S. stock market crash of Friday, Sept. 24, 1869. That period was called Black Friday due to the financial crisis that resulted from two investors trying to drive up the price of gold. They bought as much gold as they could and sold it for astronomical prices, which led to the Wall Street bankruptcy. 2. The idea of after-Thanksgiving sales didn’t start until 1924. The post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza you know today started over 90 years ago. It wasn’t until the 1924 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that the idea of the Friday after Thanksgiving as the kickoff for the holiday shopping season was established. In a totally unrelated story, American factories in the 1950s used “Black Friday” to refer to the workers who called in sick the day after Thanksgiving to enjoy the long holiday weekend. They were definitely onto something. 3. Philadelphia coined the retail term in the early 1960s. When it comes to fun Black Friday facts in the retail realm, you have to give credit to Philadelphia. Historians say that Philadelphia cops used the phrase in the early 1960s. They were frustrated with the bad weather, congested shopping, 12-hour work days, and horrible traffic after an annual Army-Navy football game the day after Thanksgiving. 4. Big Friday instead of Black Friday? No thanks. In 1961 Philadelphia department stores attempted to rebrand Black Friday by calling it “Big Friday.” They wanted to stay away from the negativity of the name. Of course, you know the term didn’t stick. 5. Retailers in the 1980s started to gain a profit on Black Friday. Another theory in relation to the term Black Friday is that retailers’ accounting records during the 1980s moved from “red” to “black.” Red indicated loss, while black meant profit. Back then you kept financial records by hand. The phrase started gaining some traction after the ’80s due to the positive boost in sales despite the negative connotation. 6. Black Friday didn’t become what it is today until the 1990s. You started to see people camping out for items in the 1990s. However it wasn’t until 2005 that Black Friday was designated as the busiest shopping day of the year. Its predecessor was the Sunday before Christmas. 7. Plumbers are very busy on Black Friday. Some fun Black Friday facts are pretty gross. Did you know that Black Friday is the busiest time of year for plumbers? Yep, due to all of those clogged toilets at stores, the systems are overwhelmed. And somebody has to fix ’em, right? 8. Drunk shopping is pretty common. Did you know that 12% of Black Friday shoppers are drunk or plan on being under the influence? With a few clicks of your mouse, you could end up with some unique buys. No judgment here. 9. Free shipping is still the biggest draw on Black Friday. Free shipping has the biggest influence on buyers’ decisions, according to numerous shopping surveys. This is a growing trend that retailers are listening to. In the past consumers shied away from online purchases because paying for shipping was a drawback. In addition, both in-store and curbside pickup were in demand in 2021. Retailers who offered these options increased their sales by 50%. 10. America isn’t the only country to celebrate Black Friday. Over 15 countries in the world celebrate Black Friday or some kind of late-November holiday shopping spree. In Mexico, Black Friday is called “El Buen Fin,” which means “the good weekend.” Cheers to that! 11. Crest Whitestrips were a big seller on Black Friday. Who knew that you were so concerned about whitening your teeth during the holidays? In 2021 Crest 3D Whitestrips were a top seller, specifically the Professional Effects Teeth Whitening Kit. With over 69,000 reviews on Amazon — mostly five stars — it’s clearly popular. Fun Black Friday fact: in 2015 pajamas were the biggest seller. Some Walmart locations sold out, and the company had over 10 million in stock for the holiday. 12. Black Friday shopping causes more deaths than shark attacks. Since 2006 17 people have died and 125 people have been injured in the U.S. on Black Friday. National Geographic noted that there’s a 3.7 million chance of being killed by a shark. Your chance of being injured or dying on Black Friday is greater than your chance of being attacked by a shark. Source: Facts About Black Friday | Weird Facts About Black Friday
  8. What's the Word: APPOSITE pronunciation: [AP-ə-zət] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Apt in the circumstances or in relation to something. Example: "The lake in the park was an apposite location to race RC boats." "My mother believes cardamom is the apposite secret spice for carrot cake." About Apposite “Apposite” is based on the Latin “appositus,” the past participle of “adponere” (meaning “put”). Did you Know? “Apposite” is easily confused with its close homonym “opposite.” The two words don’t have similar meanings, but they share deep Latin roots. “Opposite” is based on the Latin “oppositus,” which is the past participle of “oppōnō,” meaning “I oppose,” while the Latin “appositus” traces to the verb for “to put.” However, Latin students can trace the etymology of “oppositus” to the root word for “put” (“pōnō”) as well. “Opposite” deals with things put at odds with or against one another, while “apposite” describes things well put together.
  9. Fact of the Day - MEANINGS BEHIND SONGS Did you know... You’ve heard them a million times. You may even know all of the lyrics. But no matter how often you’ve encountered these songs, there’s a good chance you’ve been interpreting them incorrectly. The “hidden” meanings and stories behind these six tunes will make you think twice the next time they cross your path. 1. “Walk This Way,” Aerosmith (1975) In late 1974, Aerosmith was messing around during the soundcheck at a show where they were opening for the Guess Who. They managed to land on the iconic guitar riff and drum beat that would eventually become “Walk This Way.” The lyrics, however, took a little longer. For a while, as they worked on the song, Steven Tyler would just scat nonsensical words — but then Mel Brooks came along. After seeing Brooks’ Young Frankenstein in early 1975, the band members were quoting lines from the movie at each other, including the part where Marty Feldman’s Igor tells Gene Wilder to “walk this way” and Wilder begins to imitate Igor’s hunched steps. Aerosmith’s producer heard the quote and suggested that it could make a great title for the song. Tyler worked his spontaneous scatting into lyrics, and a classic tune was born. When Run DMC covered the tune a decade later, it became a hit all over again — and helped revive Aerosmith’s sagging career. 2. “Philadelphia Freedom,” Elton John (1975) With lyrics like “From the day that I was born/I’ve waved the flag/Philadelphia freedom,” and because the song came out just a year before America’s bicentennial, it’s easy to assume that Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” is about patriotism. In reality, it’s about tennis legend Billie Jean King. After becoming friends with King in the early ’70s, the British-born John told her that he wanted to write a song in her honor and came up with the idea to name it after her tennis team, The Philadelphia Freedoms. He debuted the rough cut of the song for King and her team during the 1974 playoffs; King immediately fell in love. “He said, during the part where he goes ‘Philadelphia’… ‘That’s you getting upset with an umpire.’ Walking up to the umpire … stomping: ‘PHIL. UH. DEL-phia.’ I was laughing so hard,” she said in an interview with eltonjohn.com. King knows most people don’t know the song was written for her — and she doesn’t care. “We didn’t want it to be anything about tennis. No, it’s a feeling. It’s a great song for a team. It’s a great song if you’re not a team.” 3. “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” Bonnie Tyler (1983) This epic ’80s ballad is certainly a heartbreaker, but the lyrics are just vague enough that it’s not entirely clear what the heartbreak is. In 2002, lyricist Jim Steinman — who was also responsible for Air Supply’s “Making Love Out of Nothing at All” (1983) and Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” — came clean about the song’s origins to Playbill. “I actually wrote ["Total Eclipse of the Heart"] to be a vampire love song. Its original title was 'Vampires in Love' because I was working on a musical of 'Nosferatu,' the other great vampire story. If anyone listens to the lyrics, they're really like vampire lines. It's all about the darkness, the power of darkness and love's place in [the] dark.” Steinman revived the idea for a musical called Dance of the Vampires that opened on Broadway in December 2002, but despite starring the legendary Michael Crawford (of Phantom of the Opera fame), the brief, 56-performance show was a flop. Costing $600,000 per week to produce, and ultimately producing a loss of $12 million, the New York Times deemed Dance one of the most expensive Broadway flops of all time. 4. “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond (1969) The story of “Sweet Caroline” seems to be ever-evolving. For decades after the song first charted in 1969, no one knew who the mysterious Caroline was. Diamond managed to keep his inspiration a secret until 2007, when he played at a very famous 50th birthday party and revealed that the woman of the hour — Caroline Kennedy — had been his muse all of those years ago after he saw a picture of her riding a horse in a magazine. The claim was a little suspect; Caroline was only nine in the photo, and the lyrics contain some decidedly adult lyrics. But the rest of the story came together in 2014 when Diamond told the Today show that the song itself was about his then-wife, Marsha. Because the two syllables in her name didn’t fit the scheme of the song, the singer racked his brain for a three-syllable substitute that would roll off the tongue. He recalled the famous photo of the young Caroline Kennedy, and that’s when he realized that her name was so good, so good, so good. 5. “Blackbird,” the Beatles (1968) The lyrics “Take these broken wings and learn to fly” have inspired many people from many different walks of life in the 50-plus years since Paul McCartney wrote “Blackbird.” But at a concert in 2016, he revealed that he had written the song with a very specific issue in mind: civil rights in the U.S. Although he has mentioned the connection several times over the decades, it was particularly poignant when he talked about his inspiration during a 2016 concert in Little Rock, Arkansas. “Way back in the Sixties, there was a lot of trouble going on over civil rights, particularly in Little Rock,” McCartney said. “We would notice this on the news back in England, so it’s a really important place for us, because to me, this is where civil rights started,” he told the crowd, which included two members of the Little Rock Nine (a group of Black students whose enrollment at a previously all-white high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957 drew national attention). “We would see what was going on and sympathize with the people going through those troubles, and it made me want to write a song that, if it ever got back to the people going through those troubles, it might just help them a little bit, and that’s this next one.” 6. “Sabotage,” the Beastie Boys (1994) The subject of this 1994 classic with the even more iconic video was a mystery until the Beasties’ memoir was released in 2018. As it turns out, it was their creative response to a producer who was rushing them to finish Ill Communication. While working on their fourth album, the group was having some trouble making decisions about their songs, and producer Mario Caldato was over it. In order to move things along and complete the album, he pushed on tracks that weren’t ready or good enough — much to the Boys’ chagrin. To protest, Ad-Rock penned the famous “I can’t stand it” opening scream with Caldato in mind. “I decided it would be funny to write a song about how Mario was holding us all down, how he was trying to mess it all up, sabotaging our great works of art,” he wrote. Source: Meanings Behind Famous Some Famous Songs
  10. What's the Word: FARCTATE pronunciation: [FARK-teyt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 19th century Meaning: 1. Stuffed; filled solid. 2. Stuffed; full from overeating. Example: "Jim was completely farctate following his third serving of Thanksgiving dinner." "It was hard to fit the final items into the farctate moving van, so we carried some with us in the cab." About Farctate “Farctate” is derived from the Latin “farctus,” meaning “stuffed” or “full.” Did you Know? “Farctate” was first known as a botanical term: A “farctate stem” on a plant was solid or filled solid, rather than hollow. Over time, however, the term has shifted its focus; in most cases it describes the human sensation of being uncomfortably full after overeating. However, the adjective “farctate” can describe anything that is stuffed full, whether a solid branch, a very full belly, or a subway train packed so full of people, it cannot admit any more commuters.
  11. Fact of the Day - MARS (planet) Did you know... Mars is a constant point of discussion for space explorers around the world. We’ve sent dozens of spacecraft there to study it. Some want to land astronauts on it. The planet is just far away to make that dream difficult, but just close enough to spark our imagination. So what are some of the most important things to learn about the Red Planet? ( ELIZABETH HOWELL | FEBRUARY 13, 2015 ) Fascinating Facts About Mars by Interesting Facts When it comes to human spaceflight, NASA and other space agencies around the world have their sights set on Mars. Humans have gazed upon this small pinprick of red in the night sky for millennia, and in that time, ancient astronomers, Enlightenment philosophers, and high-tech robots have learned a lot about our planetary neighbor. Named after the Roman god of war, Mars lies some 33.9 million miles from Earth at its closest possible approach. It’s during this precious moment of planetary alignment, which occurs roughly every two years, that NASA sends its scientific cargo toward the red planet. These six fascinating facts are the result of centuries of tireless research and scientific discovery, even as they hint at other mysteries yet to be answered. 1. Mars Isn’t Really Red “The red planet” is a slight misnomer. Martian rocks are filled with iron, and much like on Earth, if you leave iron outside in the elements it’ll eventually rust. The dust from these oxidized rocks gets kicked up into the atmosphere, creating the red hue stargazing humans see. But over the millennia, we’ve crept closer to our planetary neighbor for a better look — even dropping a few robotic rovers to do some poking around — and scientists have discovered that the surface of Mars is more yellowy-brown, sort of like butterscotch. In fact, Mars is a vibrant palette of gold, tan, brown, and even some green. NASA’s Curiosity rover also discovered in 2015 that if you dig only a few inches beneath the oxidized outer layer of the Martian surface, the soil is actually bluish-gray — not red at all. 2. Mars’ Moons Are Nothing Like Earth’s Moon Ever since their discovery in 1877, the moons Phobos and Deimos — named after the Greek gods of fear and dread, respectively — have been something of a curiosity. Phobos orbits only 3,700 miles above Mars (compared to our moon’s 238,855 miles). Deimos, meanwhile, is relatively tiny at some 6.8 miles in diameter, making it one of the smallest moons in the solar system. However, the biggest mystery about Mars’ moons is where they came from. One theory suggests that the two moons could have been formed from asteroids impacting the Martian surface, much like our moon. Alternatively, they could possibly be asteroids themselves, captured in orbit by Mars’ gravitational pull. Unfortunately, neither moon will be around forever. Phobos is slowly being pulled toward Mars and will eventually (in 50 million years or so) break apart, either forming a ring around Mars or impacting the surface. Deimos, on the other hand, is slowly escaping Mars’ gravitational clutches and will one day be flung into space. 3. Mars Also Has Four Seasons Seasons might seem like a feature exclusive to planet Earth, but Mars also experiences four distinct seasons. Because the Martian year is twice as long as Earth’s, its seasons are also double in length — stretching from 142 days in autumn to nearly 200 days in spring in its Northern Hemisphere. (Days on Mars are 24 hours, 39 minutes, 35.244 seconds.) Mars’ ice caps grow during its winter period and recede, almost disappearing entirely, when spring turns to summer. Summer on Mars can be tumultuous: Because the Red Planet is closest to the sun when the Southern Hemisphere is tilted toward it, Martian summers in the Southern Hemisphere are much hotter than summers in the Northern Hemisphere, and this temperature difference creates strong storms. Martian summers are also far from hospitable, as lows reach -284 degrees Fahrenheit. However, summer highs can reach a balmy 68 degrees if you’re willing to brave those chilly nights. 4. Mars Has Liquid Water Earth is a water planet — 71% of its surface is covered with the stuff. Mars, on the other hand, has more in common with the Mojave Desert, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t sporting some H2O of its own. Scientists have known for a while that water flowed on Mars in its distant past, but until recently, many believed that any water on the planet was currently locked up in its frozen ice caps or in Martian rocks. But in 2018, the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission used ground-penetrating radar to explore Mars’ southern ice cap, and scientists were astounded to find that liquid water flowed a mile beneath the surface of a subglacial lake. Although temperatures there are far below water’s typical freezing point, salt deposits keep the water in liquid form. These pools beneath the icy surface are similar to Lake Vostok in Antarctica, and their discovery opens up an exciting new area for exploration. 5. Mars’ Soil Is Poisonous With a nearly nonexistent atmosphere, freezing temperatures, and scarce water, Mars isn’t a place you want to stay if you’re a living, breathing organism. Even microbes can’t survive on the surface, because Mars’ soil is poisonous. For more than 20 years, Mars rovers have analyzed soil samples in different parts of the planet and have found a ubiquitous compound known as perchlorate, a substance toxic to humans. Usually, microbes love perchlorates, but Mars’ particular conditions — especially its high abundance of UV light — turn the perchlorates into a toxic cocktail. In 2017, scientists recreated Martian conditions in a lab and found that UV rays broke down perchlorates into hypochlorite and chlorite, a mixture that’s fatal to bacteria. Within 30 seconds, all microbes exposed to this Martian soil facsimile were sterilized. 6. Mars Is the Only Planet Entirely Inhabited by Robots Scientists haven’t found life on Mars (yet), but that doesn’t mean Mars is a boring place. On July 4, 1997, NASA’s Pathfinder rover landed on the red planet, and in the quarter-decade since, NASA has sent four more rovers — Spirit, Opportunity, Curiosity, and its latest robotic addition, Perseverance (2020-2021) — to follow in its footsteps (or in this case, treads). The European Space Agency also hopes to send its rover, the Rosalind Franklin, to Mars by 2028. In addition to these rovers, Mars is also populated by robotic landers such as NASA’s InSight, several orbiters from space agencies around the world, and even a pint-sized robot helicopter. Mars might be void of life, but until humans put boots on Martian soil, the planet will continue to be a playground for one thing: robots. Source: Interesting Facts About the Planet Mars | Facts About Mars
  12. What's the Word: INSTAURATION pronunciation: [in-staw-REY-shən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. The action of restoring or renewing something. Example: "The instauration of the old mill was a complex undertaking after decades of abandonment and disrepair." "Rather than rebuild the family home, which hadn’t been lived in for 20 years, my father set out to give it a full instauration." About Instauration “Instauration” is from the Latin “instauratio,” which refers to the act of renewing, as well as to the restarting of a ritual that has been interrupted or gone wrong. Did you Know? “Instauration” is easily confused with its near homonym “restoration,” and both broadly describe the act of making something old nicer. However, “instauration” is specifically about the process of repairing and restoring something — such as a building, or a work of art — that has suffered neglect, decay, and dilapidation. “Restoration” is concerned simply with restoring something to its original state, and does not consider the present state from which such a restoration must begin. “Instauration,” however, makes it clear that the job of restoration will be a serious one, as it will begin with a building or object in a state of significant deterioration.
  13. Fact of the Day - STATE NAMES Did you know... You can practically glean the history of America in the names of all 50 states. The story of the United States begins in the East and the South and is reflected in the origin of the names of the states. In the East and South, many states owe their monikers to our forebears from England, France, and Spain. These states include New York, Vermont, and Florida. Another influence from the earliest time in our history is Native American culture, apparent in several state names. It is also apparent in many city names. There are a lot of obscure places with strange names that people have a hard time with – like these 50 town names most people will struggle to pronounce. ( John Harrington | July 2nd, 2020 ) States Whose Names Were Almost Very Different by Interesting Facts If you grew up in the United States, chances are you learned the names of all 50 states at a pretty young age. But while it may be hard to imagine now, the U.S. map could have looked very different. Here are eight states that almost had entirely different names — and the fascinating stories behind them. 1. Nevada Anyone who has traveled around the West has probably come across the name Humboldt. It appears in county names, street signs, rivers, and mountain ranges — and if history had gone a little differently, the state of Nevada would bear this name, too. The Humboldt name found its way across the region because of the exploits of an explorer and naturalist named Alexander von Humboldt. Born in 1769, Humboldt helped popularize scientific exploration with his book Kosmos. He had a fascination with geology, and he ended up traveling approximately 6,000 miles across Central and South America, exploring the oceans and landscapes. On his travels, Humboldt became the first person to figure out that altitude sickness was caused by lack of oxygen. However, Humboldt never actually set foot in the western U.S. It was fellow explorer John C. Frémont who chose to name many locations after him in honor of his scientific contributions. When Nevada became a state in 1864, Humboldt was seriously considered as a name — but ultimately, the government chose Nevada, the Spanish word for “snow-covered” instead. 2. Utah The origins of Utah are closely tied to the history of the Mormons, who initially wanted to name this state Deseret after a name in the Book of Mormon. While the Mormon church began in New York, its members struggled to acclimate. This forced church members to hit the road as they searched for a place to settle. Leader Brigham Young decided to move the Mormons west to the Salt Lake basin. As they began to settle, Young petitioned Congress to create a new state for them. The initial suggested boundaries of Utah were enormous, spreading across what is now Nevada and stretching all the way to the coastline of Southern California. Young’s petition was initially declined, at least in part due to the prevailing anti-Mormon bias in American society at the time. However, after the Mormons publicly abandoned polygamy several decades later, they were finally granted statehood in 1896. The resulting state was much smaller than they had hoped, and they didn't get to name it Deseret. Instead, the government chose the name Utah, after the Ute tribe that lived there. 3. Maine New Somerset, Yorkshire, Columbus, and Lygonia were all potential names for Maine, but, of course, none of them stuck. In fact, King Charles reportedly hated the name New Somerset so much that he responded adamantly that the region should be known as "the County of Mayne and not by any other name or names whatsoever." The name Mayne first appeared in writing as early as 1622, but to this day, no one is quite sure how it morphed into Maine instead — and where the name ultimately came from. The most prevalent belief is that the region was named after the nautical term "main land" to distinguish it from the many islands located in the sea around the coast of Maine. An alternate theory is that it was named after an English village or a French province of the same name. However it came to be, King Charles can rest easy knowing that the name New Somerset never stuck (though Somerset is the name of a county in Maine). 4. Kentucky We’re all familiar with Kentucky bourbon and the Kentucky Derby, but if history had gone another way, we could have been drinking Transylvania bourbon while watching the Transylvania Derby. The name has nothing to do with Dracula, although T-shirts for Lexington’s Transylvania University are always a popular tourist souvenir. In 1750, physician and explorer Thomas Walker came across a long-rumored path through the Appalachian Mountains, which he named the Cumberland Gap in honor of the Duke of Cumberland. Nearly 20 years later, explorer Daniel Boone crossed the Gap; Fort Boonesborough was established in 1775. Around the same time, businessman Richard Henderson set up the Louisa Company to negotiate the purchase of some land in what is now Kentucky. The company soon changed its name to the Transylvania Company, and in 1775, Henderson signed the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with the Cherokee tribe, granting him a large tract of land. It became known as the colony of Transylvania. The Latin root "sylvania" refers to a wooded area, and "trans" means “across” (as in, across the Appalachians). Unfortunately, Henderson’s treaty was quickly struck down since Virginia had already laid claim to the land and declared ownership of all rights. Hopes for Transylvania faded, and in 1792, this part of Virginia’s land broke away to become the state of Kentucky. However, no one can quite agree on the origin of the name. Possible translations include “prairie,” “land of tomorrow,” and “river of blood.” 5. Oklahoma Fifty-five Native American tribes live in Oklahoma, and at one time, it was proposed that Oklahoma would be named after one of their most renowned figures — Sequoyah, who introduced reading and writing to the Cherokee language. In 1890, the Oklahoma Organic Act passed in Congress, with the intention of creating a new state. At the time, the land included in the proposal covered two territories: the Oklahoma Territory in the west and the Indian Territory in the east, where multiple tribes had been forcibly moved as a result of the 1830 Indian Removal Act. The Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations united in a proposal to seek statehood, which would allow them to maintain control over the lands originally granted to them during the previous treaties and resettlements. The state would be run in accordance with tribal governments, with each tribe having its own county. In 1905, several bills were filed in Congress to request the state of Sequoyah. However, politicians in D.C. refused to even consider the possibility of a Native American-led state. Instead, President Theodore Roosevelt suggested that the two territories be joined, and in 1906 he signed the law that created the state of Oklahoma, a name that comes from the Choctaw language and means “honorable nation.” 6. West Virginia In 1863, West Virginia was formed after taking the unusual step of seceding from the state of Virginia. The move protested Virginia’s secession from the Union in support of the Confederacy. The original proposed name for the new state was Kanawha, although some were worried that this might be confused with the existing county of the same name. Eventually, Kanawha gave way to simply West Virginia. This wasn’t the region’s first attempt to form a separate state. Benjamin Franklin proposed the State of Vandalia in the 1770s. (The name was in honor of George III’s wife Charlotte, reputedly a descendant of the Vandal people.) The state would have encompassed what is now West Virginia, as well as parts of Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. However, the Revolutionary War superseded those plans. In 1775, locals petitioned the Continental Congress to create Westsylvania, comprising roughly the same area as the proposed Vandalia. Both that petition and another in 1783 went ignored. Historians suspect that the Continental Congress did not want to rile up Virginia or Pennsylvania at a time when they needed to show a united front. 7. Wyoming Wyoming's name is derived from the Delaware Native American word mecheweamiing, which means “large plains.” But the original Wyoming wasn’t out west — it was the name of a valley in Pennsylvania. In 1865, when a new territory was being considered in what is now Wyoming, James Ashley, a U.S. representative for Ohio, suggested the name Wyoming. Born in Pennsylvania, he was familiar with the Wyoming Valley and believed that the name would reflect the verdant valleys of the newly expanding American West. But this was before he’d actually visited the region — after doing so, he expressed regret about the name choice, deeming the land not fertile enough to produce crops or sustain a population. However, by this time, the name had already caught on. When Wyoming finally achieved statehood in 1890, alternatives more fitting to the area’s peoples and history were considered. Potential names included Cheyenne, Yellowstone, Big Horn, Sweetwater, and others. But Wyoming was how most people referred to the land, and so the state retained its historical link with Pennsylvania. 8. Colorado Before Idaho achieved statehood in 1890, its name was almost used for another state: Colorado (which joined the Union in 1876). While some claim that the name Idaho came from a Kiowa word for “enemy,” historians say that there is no trace of the word before it was mentioned in Congress in 1860. When much of the West was opening up to mining, lobbyist George M. Willing proposed the name for what is now Colorado, claiming it was a Shoshone word. Although this was disputed, few people paid attention at the time. Later, though, an amateur historian who had originally joined Willing in the proposal did a little more research and came to the conclusion that the word was made up. He asked the Senate to change the name, and Colorado (Spanish for “red-colored”) was chosen instead. Despite the misconceptions, the Idaho name stuck around in popular consciousness. When Congress later decided to create another mining territory further north, the name was chosen for the territory. Source: Facts About States Names | States Almost Named Differently
  14. What's the Word: SOUGH pronunciation: [səf] Part of speech: noujn Origin: Middle English, 14th century Meaning: 1. A moaning, whistling, or rushing sound as made by the wind in the trees or the sea. Example: "We could hear the gentle sough of the creek before we could see it." "The house was surrounded by corn fields, which emitted a sough every time the wind picked up." About Sough “Sough” is a Middle English word likely based on the Old English “swōgan,” meaning “to make a sound” or “to roar.” Did you Know? Before “sough” was a noun referring to a soft rustle or murmur, the word was a verb meaning to make such a noise. As a Middle English verb, “sough” was closely associated with “swough,” and based on the Old English “swōgan.” In the early days when “sough” was a verb, the noun form of the word as we know it today was “swei,” based on the Old English “swēg.” Both words were associated with the verb “swoon” — also based on “swōgan,” which could be translated as “to make a sound” or “to suffocate.”
  15. Fact of the Day - CARROTS Did you know... Carrots weren’t originally orange. Today carrots are practically synonymous with the color orange, but their auburn hue is a relatively recent development. When the carrot was first cultivated 5,000 years ago in Central Asia, it was often a bright purple. Soon, two different groups emerged: Asiatic carrots and Western carrots. Eventually, yellow carrots in this Western group (which may have developed as mutants of the purple variety) developed into their recognizable orange color around the 16th century, helped along by the master agricultural traders of the time — the Dutch. A common myth says the Dutch grew these carrots to honor William of Orange, the founding father of the Dutch Republic, but there’s no evidence of this. What’s more likely is that the Dutch took to the vegetable because it thrived in the country’s mild, wet climate. (Although the orange color may have first appeared naturally, Dutch farmers made it the predominant hue by selectively growing orange roots — scholars say these carrots likely performed more reliably, tasted better, and were less likely to stain than the purple versions.) The modern orange carrot evolved from this period of Dutch cultivation, and soon spread throughout Europe before making its way to the New World. Today, there are more than 40 varieties of carrots of various shapes, sizes, and colors — including several hues of purple. Purple is associated with royalty thanks to a rare mollusk. For most of European history, creating a rich, resilient purple dye was an extremely expensive process. The dye could only be made from the dried mucus glands of murex shellfish found near the ancient Phoenician town of Tyre on the Mediterranean (now part of Lebanon). Making just one gram of this pigment, known as Tyrian purple, required nearly 9,000 of these mollusks, so only the very wealthy — emperors and royals — could afford to use the color. In ancient Rome, purple became associated with the power of the emperor, and the idea continued after the empire’s fall. In medieval and Elizabethan England, a series of sumptuary laws ensured that the color purple was reserved only for the most elite members of society “upon payne to forfett the seid apparel.” Luckily, in 1856, chemist William Henry Perkin accidentally created a synthetic purple dye, later called mauve, while trying to synthesize a drug for malaria. Purple’s imperial reign was over. ( Interesting Facts ) Interesting Carrot Facts Worth Knowing by Emily Hannemann | Updated: July 18, 2022 Few vegetables are as versatile as carrots. They’re equally at home in desserts like carrot cake as they are in casseroles, and, of course, being taken straight from the fridge and dunked in ranch dressing. It’s no wonder many gardeners add carrots to their yearly harvest — there’s so much you can do with them! In celebration of the iconic veggie, here’s a collection of fun carrot facts. Carrots Are Older Than You Think Despite their prominence in modern grocery stores, orange carrots emerged in the 1600s. Purple and yellow were once the most prevalent colors, and today, heirloom varieties have made a big comeback. We Eat a Lot of Carrots! The average person eats more than 10,000 of these sweet, crunchy vegetables in their lifetime. On a yearly basis, folks munch on 8.3 pounds of fresh carrots, and consume 1.4 pounds of the veggie from the freezer. Learn how to store vegetables so they stay fresh longer. Carrots Are Very Good for You To those who know about nutrition, this’ll probably be the least surprising of our carrot facts. These orange vegetables are an incredible source of nutrients like beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium, but they’re especially high in vitamin A. Even just half a cup of cooked or raw carrots contains about 204% of your recommended daily value. The Carrot “Life Cycle” Takes Two Years Carrots, a biennial vegetable, have a life cycle that takes two years. If you leave a healthy carrot in the ground, its top will bloom and produce a round of seeds in its second year. Learn more about growing carrots. Most of the Carrots in the U.S. Are Grown in One State More than 85% of carrots in the U.S. are grown in California—the city of Holtville, California, calls itself the carrot capital of the world. Michigan and Texas are also among the top carrot-growing states. Source: Facts About Carrots | Fun Facts About Carrots
  16. What's the Word: POLYGLOTTAL pronunciation: [PAH-lee-glaht-əl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: French, 17th century Meaning: 1. Knowing or using several languages. 2. (Of a book) Having the text translated into several languages. Example: "We were grateful to our polyglottal guide, who could translate each of the different local languages into English for us." "Many readers of T.S. Eliot’s polyglottal poem “The Waste Land” find its array of languages overwhelming." About Polyglottal “Polyglottal” is based on the French “polyglotte.” This is derived from the Greek “poluglōttos,” from “polu-“ (meaning “many”) and “glōtta” (meaning “tongue”). Did you Know? Many Deaf people who use sign language will also learn to read and write in their local spoken language. Deaf people in the United States will usually learn to read and write in English, but they’ll likely also learn American Sign Language (ASL). This makes most Deaf people bilingual. However, many Deaf people learn to read and write in more than one language, and they may learn different sign languages, becoming polyglottal.
  17. Fact of the Day - MASTERPIECE THEATER Did you know... It’s been parodied by Sesame Street and the Disney Channel, and beloved by millions of culture-seeking television viewers for more than four decades now. Today marks the 45th anniversary of Masterpiece’s debut on PBS. Though today’s Masterpiece looks slightly different than the Masterpiece Theatre that made its premiere on January 10, 1971, the program has succeeded in remaining “steadfast in our commitment to bringing the best in drama to American public television audiences.” Here are 13 things you might not know about the Sunday night tradition. ( Jennifer M Wood | Jan 10, 2016 ) Things You Might Not Know About "Masterpiece Theatre" by Interesting Facts In today’s world of streaming entertainment on demand and short attention spans, the idea of a television series celebrating its 50th anniversary feels like — and is — an anomaly. But such is the case for Masterpiece, formerly known as Masterpiece Theatre (more on that later), which is still going strong five decades after its January 1971 debut. Incredibly, although the series has undergone numerous changes over the past five decades, it still offers basically the same winning formula that it has offered for generations: curated programming largely consisting of adaptations of classic novels by (mostly British) authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie, and Jane Austen, among others. Some of its most popular dramas, like the award-winning Downton Abbey and fan-favorite Sherlock, have become so successful that viewers often forget they’re products of the anthology series. As well-established as Masterpiece is, however, there’s a lot about its history and its form that remains a mystery to even its most ardent fans. Here are eight surprising facts about the long-running series that may help shed some light on the ever-enduring appeal of Masterpiece. 1. It’s the Longest-Running Primetime Drama in the History of American Television — Even Though the Content Is Exclusively British Masterpiece Theatre premiered its first episode on January 10, 1971, following the success of a 1967 adaptation of John Galsworthy’s The Forsyte Saga. Stanford Calderwood, who was then the president of WGBH, Boston’s PBS affiliate, saw that success and wondered whether there might be a growing American appetite for British drama. His instincts proved spot-on. While on vacation in London, he convinced the execs at BBC that a partnership could prove fruitful for both networks; now, 50 years later, American viewers continue to clamor for classic British stories told with beautiful sets and elaborate costumes. 2. Producers Found the Iconic “Masterpiece” Theme Song at a Club Med in Sicily Part of the appeal of Masterpiece is its unapologetic British-ness, from the period costumes to the bucolic sets. Interestingly, however, the trumpet-filled theme song that ushers in each episode comes not from England but from France — specifically, French composer Jean-Joseph Mouret. Even stranger, producer Christopher Sarson stumbled upon the now-instantly-recognizable intro at a Club Med in Palermo, Sicily. As the story goes, Sarson heard the music on vacation with his soon-to-be-wife in 1962, when Club Med played the stately tune (“Rondeau” from Mouret’s Symphonies and Fanfares for the King’s Supper) each morning as a way to summon guests out of their grass huts for breakfast. “It was just magic,” Sarson previously told PBS. “I wanted to use it for Masterpiece Theatre but there was no way I could bear to put a French piece of music on something that was supposed to be English. I went through all kinds of English composers and nothing worked. So, it became the theme.” 3. The Series’ Original Host, Alistair Cooke, Thought It Was Going To Fail Masterpiece Theatre’s very first host was British-American broadcaster, author, and journalist Alistair Cooke. Cooke was the face of the series for more than 20 years, but he actually turned down the hosting gig when it was first offered to him. At the time, he was working on his own BBC series, and he wasn’t convinced that Masterpiece would appeal to American audiences. According to Rebecca Eaton, who has served as Masterpiece’s producer since 1985, Cooke only agreed to sign on at his daughter’s urging. In a show of skepticism, Eaton wrote in her 2013 book Making Masterpiece, he signed a one-year contract just weeks before the series premiered — and proceeded to sign one-year contracts for the remainder of his time as host, a whopping 22 seasons. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Russell Baker, who succeeded Cooke as the show’s host in 1993, didn’t want to take the job either, though for different reasons. The journalist reportedly had qualms about filling Cooke’s big shoes — it was only after his daughter begged him to consider the role that he eventually agreed. 4. Helen Mirren’s “Prime Suspect” Character, Jane Tennison, Is Believed To Have Inspired More Nuanced Female TV Roles Helen Mirren has been acting since the 1960s, but she is perhaps most beloved for her leading role in the early ’90s Masterpiece Theatre series Prime Suspect, in which she played a no-nonsense Detective Chief Inspector for London’s Metropolitan Police Service. The series itself was groundbreaking for honing in on themes of sexism in the workplace, especially as it affected Mirren's character, Jane Tennison. Mirren was nominated six times (and won twice) for Best Actress in a Miniseries at the Emmys, and her character has been credited as a model for strong female TV leads, including Kyra Sedgwick’s Brenda Leigh Johnson on The Closer and Gillian Anderson's Stella Gibson on The Fall. 5. “Downton Abbey” Is the Series’ Most Successful and Popular Miniseries In its 50-year history, no Masterpiece miniseries has drawn as much buzz as Downton Abbey, which debuted in the U.K. on September 26, 2010, and on PBS the following January. The series, which aired its final season in the U.S. in 2016, chronicled the lives of an aristocratic family and their domestic servants in the fictional Yorkshire county estate of Downton Abbey. It tackled historic events ranging from the First World War to the Spanish influenza pandemic to the Irish War of Independence, all through the lens of the highly hierarchical household. It’s the most nominated non-U.S. series in Emmy history, with a total of 59 nominations and 12 wins. In 2019, a full-length feature film was released due to popular demand, furthering the storyline of the original Masterpiece series and featuring many of the original actors. 6. Parodies Include “Sesame Street’s” “Monsterpiece Theater” and Disney Channel’s “Mousterpiece Theater” Masterpiece has become such a cultural institution that it has inspired parodies in a number of mainstream shows, ranging from Sesame Street’s “Monsterpiece Theater” (featuring host Cookie Monster as “Alistair Cookie”) to the Disney Channel’s “Mousterpiece Theater,” hosted by George Plimpton. The hilarious Thug Notes is also a clear spin on the prim and proper Masterpiece formula, as is Issa Rae’s Ratchetpiece Theatre. A number of sketch comedy shows have featured spoofs of the long-running series, too, including In Living Color, which aired a sketch in season 5 that had Jamie Foxx and David Alan Grier reciting the lyrics of popular gangster rap songs in a deadpan manner. Mad TV also previously ran a sketch called “Master P’s Theater,” with the titular rapper sitting in the host’s seat. 7. The Decades-old Series Was Given a Modern Brand Update in 2008, Dropping the Word “Theatre” and Splitting Into Three Sections So, about that name change: In 2008, in a bid to modernize the series, the word “Theatre” was dropped from Masterpiece Theatre, resulting in a sleeker, simpler moniker. The series was also split into three different sections that would ostensibly serve up different stories for different viewers — Masterpiece Classic, Masterpiece Mystery!, and Masterpiece Contemporary. Masterpiece Classic was originally hosted by Gillian Anderson, but has since been taken over by Laura Linney and dropped the word "Classic," to become just Masterpiece. Alan Cumming hosts Masterpiece Mystery!, and David Tennant hosts Masterpiece Contemporary (first hosted by Matthew Goode). 8. Countless Hollywood Stars Made a Name for Themselves on “Masterpiece” Series Before (And After) Crossing Over to the States Helen Mirren is far from the only household name to grace the ever-expansive web of Masterpiece cast lists. Other A-listers, including Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Laurence Olivier (Henry V), and Peggy Ashcroft (The Jewel in the Crown) also had major roles on Masterpiece series. Source: Cultured Facts About Masterpiece Theatre | What You Might Not Know About "Masterpiece Theatre"
  18. What's the Word: ANENT pronunciation: [ə-NENT] Part of speech: preposition Origin: Old English, pre-13th century Meaning: 1. Concerning; about. Example: "I received a letter from the municipality anent increases to local taxes." "The professor delivered a lecture anent the French Revolution and the Enlightenment." About Anent “Anent” is based on the Old English “on efen,” meaning “in line with,” or “in company with.” Did you Know? “Anent” has existed in some form or another since Old English, which appears more like German than modern English. Early on, “anent” had several meanings, including “alongside” or “in line with,” or “along with.” The contemporary meaning of “anent” (“concerning”) has been one of the word’s earliest definitions since the 13th century. As the other definitions have fallen away, use of the term as a synonym for “about” has remained constant. In Scotland, the expressions “thereanent” and “whereanent” are similar to “thereabout” and “whereabout.”
  19. Fact of the Day - ACRONYMS Did you know... Whether you realize it or not, you likely use acronyms all the time in your everyday speech. When you tell someone about a funny GIF, for instance, you're using an acronym to describe the moving image that made you laugh. And did you ever stop to wonder what the abbreviations a.m. and p.m. mean when it comes to time? Yes, acronyms are very much a part of our daily language, but most people don't have a clue what many of them mean. For example, what are we actually doing when we RSVP? Keep reading to find out the answer—and the meanings of several more of the most common acronyms in the English language. Spoiler alert: Some of them aren't even English! ( MORGAN GREENWALD | DECEMBER 18, 2019 ) Acronyms You See Every Day and Their Meanings by Interesting Facts Some words and letters are such a familiar part of everyday life that they almost fade into the background. From markings on your electronics, food packaging, and clothes to the words you see on water bottles and inside elevators, here are the meanings behind some mysterious letters you might see every day. 1. UL The letters "UL" can be found on many things, including electric plugs, heaters, smoke alarms, and personal flotation devices. UL stands for “Underwriters Laboratories,” a company that's been conducting product safety testing for more than a century. If an item meets UL's safety standards, it earns the right to bear a "UL" mark. The man who founded what became UL, William Henry Merrill Jr., got the idea to set up an electrical testing laboratory after being dispatched to check fire risks at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The Underwriters Electrical Bureau was founded in 1894, and Underwriters Laboratories was incorporated in 1901. UL began offering its label service to certify products it had tested in 1906. 2. CE You may have spotted a "CE" on eyeglass frames, mobile phones (or their packaging), appliances, electronics, and more. CE stands for the French phrase "Conformité Européenne," which means “European compliance.” The CE designation indicates an item has met the standards to be sold in the European Economic Area. The certification process ensures that products in specific categories adhere to safety, health, and environmental standards. Placing CE on things isn't required outside of Europe, but plenty of manufacturers leave the CE mark on items that are sold both in Europe and elsewhere. 3. FCC Mobile phones, earbuds, television stations, and other communication devices operate on radio frequencies. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission checks to make sure these devices can function with no harmful interference. The FCC also ensures a device won't overexpose users to radiofrequency (RF) energy, which is a type of electromagnetic radiation. After obtaining FCC approval, manufacturers will place an FCC logo on the device and/or its packaging. At first glance, this logo can appear as if it contains just an F and a C next to each other, but a closer look will reveal there's a second C hidden inside the first one. 4. OTIS Maybe you study the insides of elevators to have something to do during your ascent or descent, or perhaps you get nervous and read every bit of elevator signage in search of reassurance it's working properly. If so, you've likely seen "OTIS" emblazoned on an elevator's floor, control panel, or elsewhere. This isn't an acronym or abbreviation — OTIS refers to the Otis Elevator Company. In the 1830s and '40s, passengers regularly died in elevators when lifting cables broke. Inventor Elisha Graves Otis created an elevator safety brake, and in 1853, showed off his invention at New York City's Crystal Palace Convention by ascending on an open platform, cutting the hoisting rope with an ax, and not falling thanks to the safety brake. Four years later, E.V. Haughwout and Company's department store in Manhattan became the first business to use elevators equipped with this special brake. After the Otis Elevator Company was founded in 1853 and Otis patented his invention in 1861, Otis elevators helped transform cities. Today, the company continues to make elevators with the name “Otis” displayed inside. The safety mechanisms in present-day elevators even stick to the same basic engineering principles that Otis originally used. 5. OU People who don't keep kosher may have seen the letter “U” inside a circle on some food items and not have known this indicated the item was processed according to Jewish dietary laws. This letter “U” is actually inside an “O,” not a circle; “OU” stands for “Orthodox Union Kosher.” Some products may be marked with “OU-D” to indicate that they contain dairy or were made on equipment that handled dairy. “OU-P” tells people an item is kosher for Passover. “OU” isn't the only way to signal that a food item is Kosher. A “K” inside a circle or a star are other well-known marks for kosher foods. 6. PET You can find the letters "PET" on many plastic bottles, including most of the ones that hold beverages. PET is an acronym for the plastic “polyethylene terephthalate,” which is part of the polyester family of polymers. Above the word "PET" on these bottles, you'll also usually see a 1 in a triangle made up of arrows. This is a recycling code. PET bottles can successfully be recycled, so make sure to do this instead of throwing yours away. 7. USB USB is such a familiar term that you may not be aware it's an acronym for "universal serial bus." USB really did live up to the "universal" part of its name. Before USB, serial ports, parallel ports, and more were used to connect external devices like keyboards, mice, and printers. USB made it possible for these different devices to hook up to computers via the same connection. USB technology was developed by a group of American businesses, notably Intel, and first became available in 1996. When Apple's iMac came out in 1998, it was a USB-only computer. USB is still popular today, as are USB-C ports on phones, tablets, and certain computers. 8. YKK Zippers are part of our daily lives, whether on our jeans, coats, or bags, and as long as they work, they usually don't receive intense scrutiny. However, a closer look at various zippers will likely reveal that many of them are inscribed with the letters "YKK.” YKK stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikikaisha,” which roughly translates to “Yoshida Manufacturing Shareholding Company.” This company, founded in 1934, uses its own brass, polyester, threads, and even zipper machines. By controlling so much of the process, YKK can deliver high-quality zippers. The company also sells these zippers at reasonable prices. The combination has made YKK a go-to in the garment industry — and explains why half of the world’s zippers have YKK zippers. Source: Common Acronyms Meaning | Facts About Acronyms and Their Meaning
  20. What's the Word: DEOMEDARY pronunciation: [DRAH-mə-der-ee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old French, 15th century Meaning: 1. An Arabian one-humped camel, especially one of a light and swift breed trained for riding or racing. Example: "When we arrived in the town in the Saharan desert, we were surprised to see more dromedaries than horses or cars." "Nearly 35% of all the dromedaries in the world live in the Horn of Africa." About Dromedary “Dromedary” is based closely on the Old French “dromedaire,” itself based on the Latin “dromedarius,” meaning “swift camel.” Did you Know? Growing as tall as 8 feet, dromedaries lived wild until they were domesticated between four and nine millennia ago. Dromedaries have always been a key part of life in Africa and the Arabian peninsula. The animals have carried both human passengers and cargo, while also nourishing generations with their milk and meat. Though the domesticated animals still appear mainly in the world’s most arid regions, a number of feral dromedaries have established themselves in the wilds of western Australia.
  21. Fact of the Day - MUSTACHES Did you know... Whether you have one, want one, or wish they’d all disappear, the Mo has made its comeback. Just in time for Movember, the author of One Thousand Moustaches lets us in on some hairy secrets. (Allan Peterkin | Updated: Oct. 04, 2018) Comb Through These 6 Facts About Mustaches by Interesting Facts Each November, millions of people around the world grow out their facial hair for Movember, an annual celebration that started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2003. The mustache serves as a symbol of a movement to raise awareness and money for health issues such as prostate and testicular cancer, but Movember isn’t the first time mustaches have played an outsized role in culture. From their time as a fashion-forward Victorian status symbol to an expression of freedom in 20th-century France, these six fascinating facts about mustaches might have you seeing “face lace” in a whole new light. 1. The World’s Longest Mustache Is Over 14 Feet Long If every person were like Ram Singh Chauhan, most razor companies would go out of business. Since March 2010, Chauhan has proudly held the Guinness World Record for the longest mustache. He has been growing his since 1970, when he was just a 12-year-old boy, and recent measurements from Chauhan’s personal Instagram account put the mustache’s ever-increasing length at 19.3 feet. This isn’t to say that Chauhan’s mustache is unkempt — on the contrary, Chahuan spends up to two and a half hours each day meticulously grooming his facial hair and massaging it with herbal oils. He only trims around the lip area and washes the mustache once every two weeks. While his whiskers initially caused strife between him and his wife, Asha, she now shares Chauhan’s sense of pride and considers the hairy accessory part of the family. 2. Some Indian Police Officers Are Paid Bonuses for Growing Mustaches In India, mustaches are considered symbols of masculine pride and respect — so much so that police departments in parts of the country (from the large central state of Madhya Pradesh to Uttar Pradesh in the north) pay out bonuses to officers who grow out their upper lip hair. Indian police chiefs believe that mustachioed constables are treated with more respect, hence the unusual bonuses. The tradition of sporting robust mustaches faded somewhat among Indian men after the 1990s, but the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary found their incentive program so successful that they hiked their mustache bonus by 400% in 2019. While it remains up to each individual officer whether they grow a mustache or not, officers who do so will earn a few hundred extra rupees in their pockets each month. 3. French Waiters Once Went on Strike for the Right to Grow Mustaches While growing a mustache may be incentivized by Indian police departments, facial hair was strictly regulated in France around the turn of the 20th century. With French elites attempting to co-opt the mustache as a class symbol, waiters, domestic workers, and even priests were forbidden from growing one. Tensions came to a head in April 1907, when a group of French waiters participated in a strike to demand benefits such as better pay and more freedom to grow facial hair. The waiters were among several groups fed up with forced shaving, and their decision to strike left high-end Parisian restaurants losing roughly 25,000 francs per day in revenue. A bill was introduced to outlaw mustache bans across France, and even though it ultimately failed, many waiters at individual restaurants across the country successfully earned the right to wear mustaches. Unfortunately, such a win came at the expense of meaningful financial gains like pay raises, so it mainly proved to be a symbolic victory for workers’ rights. 4. Mustachioed Victorian Men Used Special Utensils for Tea and Soup Growing a mustache or beard was a fashionable choice during the Victorian era in Great Britain, but it didn’t come without challenges — especially when it came to consuming hot liquids. Men with facial hair often found their mustache wax melting straight off their upper lip and into their drinks. Luckily, an intrepid inventor named Harvey Adams came up with a solution in the 1860s: the “mustache cup.” The cup featured a built-in ledge for men to rest their mustaches against for protection, as well as a hole for liquid to travel through. These adult sippy cups were popular not only in the U.K. but also throughout the U.S., where they were sold at stores like Sears and Marshall Field’s. The Victorian era also saw a few other mustache-based inventions for the kitchen: In 1868, New York engineer Solon Farrer came up with a mustache spoon, which inventor Ellen B. A. Mitcheson tweaked and submitted for patent in 1873. Her idea involved adding a piece of metal to a traditional spoon to keep the mustache from coming into direct contact while slurping down soup, allowing hot liquids to travel through while maintaining perfectly waxed whiskers. 5. Copies of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” Included Cardboard Mustaches The Beatles famously ditched their mop-top haircuts and clean-shaven faces in favor of a new, mustachioed look in advance of their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The decision actually had a practical purpose: Paul McCartney suffered a moped accident in 1965, which split his upper lip. As with any fashion choice the Beatles made, fans wanted to replicate their look, so the band included cardboard cutout mustaches that could clip onto the nose with the release of the chart-topping album. The set of accessories also included cardboard badges and military stripes to dress like Sgt. Pepper. 6. Salvador Dali’s Mustache Is Reportedly Still Intact Though surrealist artist Salvador Dalí passed away in 1989 at the age of 84, his most striking physical feature is reportedly still intact: his mustache. According to Narcís Bardalet, the embalmer who tended to Dalí’s body after his death and participated in his 2017 exhumation to collect DNA for a paternity claim, Dalí’s mustache still perfectly sits “[like clock hands at] 10 past 10, just as he liked it.” While still alive, Dalí was known to be proud of his distinctive facial hair; he once claimed that he and French novelist Marcel Proust used the “same kind of pomade” for their mustaches. Dalí’s mustache was even the subject of a book, 1954’s Dali’s Mustache: A Photographic Interview, which the artist co-authored with photographer Philippe Halsman. The book features their interview alongside 28 images of the artist’s unique and seemingly immortal facial hair. Source: Things You Didn’t Know About Moustaches | Facts About Mustaches
  22. What's the Word: XERIC pronunciation: [ZER-ik] Part of speech: noun Origin: Ancient Greek, early 20th century Meaning: 1. (Of an environment or habitat) Containing little moisture; very dry. Example: "The moment we stepped off the plane in Las Vegas, we could feel the xeric atmosphere in our lungs." "It’s a challenge to attempt farming in a xeric region where almost nothing grows easily." About Xeric “Xeric” is based on the ancient Greek word “ξηρός” (“xērós”), meaning “dry.” Did you Know? One of the most intensely xeric areas on Earth is the Atacama desert plateau, which runs nearly 1,000 miles along Chile’s western coast. Some parts of the Atacama plateau are so xeric, they’ve gone more than 500 years without a drop of rain. Though the ground beneath the Atacama plateau is rich in some minerals, the region is best known as one of the most ideal areas in the world for astronomical telescopes, thanks to the rarity of clouds. The xeric environment has also been compared to that of Mars — the Atacama plateau has been used both as a backdrop for movies set on Mars and as a testing site for NASA engineers developing technology for future Mars voyages.
  23. Fact of the Day - LAMBORGHINI Did you know... Lamborghini began by making tractors. Today, the name Lamborghini is synonymous with automotive opulence, but the Bologna, Italy-based company has an origin story that’s more humble than you might expect. Born in 1916, Ferruccio Lamborghini served in the Italian Air Force as a mechanic during World War II, learning the ins and outs of some of the most advanced vehicles in the world. Returning home after the war, Lamborghini knew his home country would need to increase agricultural output to recover from the devastation of the conflict. With other tractor companies (one of them being FIAT) too expensive for his war-weary compatriots, Lamborghini put his mechanical skills to work and created cheap-yet-powerful tractors salvaged from surplus military material. Starting with its first tractor, named Carioca, in 1948, Lamborghini Trattori became an immensely successful business. Lamborghini’s fortune from the tractor business, along with other proceeds from his dabblings into air-conditioning and heating systems, provided enough capital for Lamborghini to buy his own Ferrari 250 GT sports car in 1958. Ever the mechanic, Lamborghini was unimpressed with his Ferrari (especially its less-than-luxurious clutch) and even began a feud with Enzo Ferrari himself. So, he decided to make his own sports car, and in 1963, Automobili Lamborghini launched a legacy of fine automobile craftsmanship that has lasted for 60 years and counting. (They also still make tractors.) Lamborghini tried to make one of the U.S. military’s most important vehicles. In the early 1970s, Lamborghini was in dire financial straits. To bring in some much-needed cash, the Italian luxury brand looked to an unlikely place — the U.S. military. By the mid-1970s, the Pentagon was seeking to finally retire its WWII automobile warhorse, the Jeep, for a new vehicle that could withstand the rigors of the modern battlefield. In partnership with a defense contractor based in San Jose, California, Lamborghini developed the Cheetah, an all-terrain vehicle, and debuted its creation at the 1977 Geneva Motor Show. Although the concept vehicle ran into some legal troubles, the biggest problem was that its one-off prototype handled poorly and was easily destroyed during testing. The military went another route instead, and in 1983 chose AM General’s High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, otherwise known as HMMWV, or the more phonetically friendly “Humvee.” (Interesting Facts) Facts Everyone Should Know About Lamborghini BY IAN WRIGHT | JANUARY 01, 2022 From inventing the supercar to failing to sell motorcycles. Ferruccio Lamborghini was born on April 28, 1916, and developed a reputation for mechanical ingenuity when he was stationed as a vehicle maintenance supervisor for the Italian Royal Air Force. Stuck on an island in the middle of World War II meant the supply chain for parts wasn't reliable, so he had to get creative to keep things running. When he returned to Italy, he created a business making tractors from surplus military machines, then expanded into manufacturing all kinds of things, including heating and air-conditioning systems. Ferruccio Lamborghini became a wealthy man and spent some of his money on sports cars, specifically a Ferrari 250GT regularly serviced by Ferrari at its Maranello headquarters. When Lamborghini's own mechanic pointed out that a replacement clutch in the car was the same as used in Lamborghini tractors, but with a massive markup from Ferrari, he was incensed and confronted Enzo Ferrari. Enzo being Enzo, he belittled Ferruccio Lamborghini as a tractor maker that didn't know anything about sports cars. Lamborghini responded to Enzo Ferrari's arrogance by building his own sports car, the Lamborghini 350 GTV. It was a two-seater coupe powered from the front by a V12 engine. Automobili Lamborghini was established as a company in 1963 in Sant'Agata Bolognese, Italy, and changed the automotive world in short order. 1. Lamborghini Invented The Supercar As We Know It Enzo Ferrari gave in to the mid-engine layout in race cars as it was necessary, but he liked his production cars to be traditional grand tourers. Ferruccio Lamborghini preferred powerful sports cars that were more comfortable cruisers over race car-derived road machines. Lamborghini's top engineers thought the way forward was mid-engine, so Gian Paolo Dallara, Paolo Stanzani, and Bob Wallace set about building a prototype on their own time. Ferruccio wasn't wholly convinced of its long-term viability but recognized that a ferocious mid-engined car could be a great marketing tool. He gave the engineers a free hand to develop the idea to the end, then contracted the Italian design studio Bertone to design the bodywork. Between them, they invented the Lamborghini Miura and created the first supercar with a rear mid-engine two-seat layout. Just 764 were built between 1966 and 1973, but it became a global sensation. Amazingly, the engineers took a massive design idea from the equally culturally important Mini by designing the engine and transmission as a single unit to share lubrication from the oil. 2. Total Of 26 Lamborghini Models At the time of writing, Lamborghini has produced just 26 separately named models. If you ignore the single and special production models based on existing models, that number drops to 18 over 59 years. The one with the most sub-models is the landmark Lamborghini Diablo with 18 different variations despite only around 900 being built in total. The lowest selling model was Lamborghini's second, the 400 GT. The biggest selling model is, at the time of writing, the current Huracan which sold its 14,022nd unit in 2019, matching the Gallardo's total build number over its ten-year production run. Not bad for a company that started out with farm equipment. 3. There's More To The Logo Than Bullfighting It's well known that most Lamborghini models are named after an aspect of bullfighting history, but that's not the only reason the bull was settled on as a logo. Ferruccio Lamborghini's star sign was Taurus, and the bull and bullfighting were passions for him. Also, the bull represented power, speed, and prestige to him - as well as a great response to Ferrari's prancing horse logo. The original logo for the automaker was a black-and-white bull on a red background with the shield outlined in black. The more familiar black-and-gold color scheme didn't appear until 1972, but in 1974, a monochrome version was created, and it wasn't until 1998 that black and gold returned and the badge we know today was created. 4. It Took 11 Years For The Countach To Officially Reach North America The Lamborghini Countach was launched in 1974, and its radical design and performance changed the supercar game again. However, it wasn't built from the factory to meet the United States or Canadian safety and emissions regulations. That didn't stop Americans, though, and quite a few made their way across the ocean as gray market imports and modified to meet legislation. Lamborghini was well aware the US was a big market for the brand and the car but didn't build one to meet standards until the US-specification Countach LP5000 QV in 1985. Like other sports cars of the era, the US model had larger energy-absorbing bumpers fitted. Inevitably, most owners pulled them off straight away. 5. The Fastest And Most Expensive Lamborghini Is The Veneno A new Lamborghini is never going to be cheap, but the Veneno Coupe weighed in at $4 million and the Veneno Roadster at $4.5 million. Five coupes and nine roadsters were built and, if you want one now, expect to pay at least double the original cost when one comes up for auction again. Not only did the Veneno arrive in 2013 as the most expensive production car on the planet, but its 6.5-liter V12 pushed it to 60 mph in 2.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 221 mph. The specs don't stop wowing there, though. In corners, the Veneno will pull 1.41 G, and it'll come to a stop from 60 mph in just 98 feet. That's the length of the world's largest bus or two feet short of the height of a ten-storey building. 6. Lamborghini Offers Winter Driving Courses Most high-end manufacturers will teach you how to drive fast in one of their vehicles on a track. Lamborghini, however, will put you out on a track topped with ice and snow. In 2020, the event that Lamborghini describes as a "fun and instructional program" took place in Aspen, Colorado, and people attending had the chance to thrash Lamborghini Huracán EVO and Urus models around in the snow. We're not sure if this benefitted any of them in the real world, but we'd bet our bottom dollar that the experience was seriously fun. Teaching Urus owners that their SUVs are more than just pavement pounders is something we can get behind too. 7. Ferruccio Lamborghini Didn't Want To Go Racing According to Lamborghini's founder, taking the brand racing would drain too many resources, including cash. As a result, he decided there would be no factory team or factory support for racing teams. His engineers didn't agree, particularly the ones that came from Ferrari, where selling road cars was what supported the racing. Under Ferruccio's reign, a few highly modified prototypes were built but none went racing. Lamborghini did build Formula 1 engines from 1989 to the early 1990s to the Larrousse, Lotus, Ligier, Minardi, and Modena teams. It's commonly believed the Modena team was Lamborghini's factory project, but the automaker was just a supplier. Now, though, Lamborghini does have visibility in racing through its motorsport department, Lamborghini Squadra Corse. The department organizes the Lamborghini Super Trofeo and Lamborghini GT3 one-make series. Lamborghini these days is happy to build customer race cars such as the Huracán GT3 EVO to go tear up the track with. 8. Lamborghini Built A Motorbike The 1980s were a great time for Lamborghini financially, and the head of the company at the time, Patrick Mimran, decided the brand should branch out. Lamborghini still builds incredible engines for boats, but the project to develop and sell a motorcycle didn't go so well. The Design 90 motorcycle was outsourced to Boxer Bikes and used a Kawasaki engine. Fifty orders for the bike were made, but only six were built, including concepts. The project was iced when GM took over Lamborghini and was ultimately forgotten about. The last time we saw a Design 90 in the wild, it went up for auction but didn't meet its reserve price. Still, Lamborghini remains a highly attractive marque, and the vehicles it has found success with are better than ever. Source: Facts About Lamborghini | Interesting Facts to Know About Lamborghini
  24. What's the Word: SEPTUAGENARIAN pronunciation: [sep-tə-wə-jə-NER-ee-ən] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 18th century Meaning: 1. A person who is from 70 to 79 years old. Example: "The audience of mostly septuagenarians wanted to hear the band’s hit songs from the 1960s." "I hope that by the time I am a septuagenarian, I can retire near the beach." About Septuagenarian Taken from the Latin “septuāgēnārius,” meaning “containing 70.” Did you Know? "Septuagenarian" refers to someone in their seventh decade of life, but "September" is the ninth month of the year. "Septum" is Latin for "seven," and under the ancient Roman calendar, September was the seventh of 10 months. In 46 BCE, the Julian calendar added January and February to the beginning of the year, and the rest of the months were bumped back.
  25. Fact of the Day - COMMON SURNAMES Did you know... Last names, also known as surnames, can tell us a lot about our family history and cultural identity. Our surnames can help us trace our family trees, but they can also tell us about the history of how people traveled across the world, built their communities, and contributed to society. It turns out that there’s actually a lot to know about last names...including why some last names are more popular than others. (Ashley Robinson | Feb 28, 2021) The Story Behind 9 of the Most Common Surnames in the World by Interesting Facts What are the world’s most popular surnames? It’s a big question, to be honest. Naming conventions vary across the globe. Folks in some countries, such as Mongolia, don’t have surnames at all. In other places, like Hungary, the so-called “last name” comes first. Meanwhile, in Russia and elsewhere, the spelling and pronunciation of a name may depend on your gender. And sometimes a surname can change with each passing generation, as in Iceland. All of this complicates tracking the world’s most common surnames. The task is made even more challenging by the fact that if we were to simply stick to raw totals, this list would contain only names from China or the Indian subcontinent. (After all, those regions are home to one-third of the world’s population.) Instead, we looked at the most popular surnames from different geographic regions: Asia, the Middle East, South America, and so on. (An approximation of the number of name-holders is provided by Forebears, a genealogy portal.) In no particular order, here’s the history behind some of the world’s most storied surnames. 1. Wang (107 million) The surname Wang used to be a handy way to show off your family’s political connections. It’s represented by the Chinese character for “King” or “Monarch.” The name’s popularity in China grew over millennia as various ruling clans and dynasties used it to highlight their pedigree and inheritance. Today, it doesn’t carry much political clout: Approximately 107 million people share the name Wang, making it the most common surname in the world. 2. Nguyen (24.6 million) About 2,100 years ago, China conquered present-day Vietnam. At the time, the Vietnamese didn’t have surnames, which was a problem for the Chinese, who wanted to keep track of their new vassals. So they started handing out surnames. One of those names was Ruan, which would evolve into Nguyen. “It seems likely that some mid-level Chinese bureaucrat, in seeking to figure out who actually lived in his newly conquered Vietnamese territory, simply decided that everyone living there would also be named Ruan—which became Nguyen,” writes Dan Nosowitz at Atlas Obscura. Today, up to 40 percent of Vietnam’s population bears the name. 3. Kim (18.8 million) From 57 B.C.E. up until the year 935, most of the Korean peninsula was called the kingdom of Silla. In the fourth century, The 17th ruler of Silla, Naemul, established a hereditary monarchy that would maintain control of the throne for an impressive five centuries. These people called themselves Kim. The name was fit for a King: The word means “gold.” (Today, approximately one in every five South Koreans are called Kim.) 4. Smith (4.5 million) Anglo-Saxon in origin, Smith harks back to the word smite, which means to “strike with a hammer. In medieval Europe, professional smiths (blacksmiths, goldsmiths, coppersmiths, and more) were among the most skilled and respected citizens in a community. Eventually, occupational names like “Tim the Smith” were shortened. Today, Smith is the most common surname in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, and Australia. 5. Singh (35.7 million) Derived from the Sanskrit word “lion,” Singh is common among North Indian Hindus. And like Kaur, it’s also the name-of-choice for male Sikhs. In fact, the surnames Kaur and Singh are so widespread that immigration officials have complained that it’s too difficult to process paperwork from Sikhs. For 10 years, Canada addressed the problem by telling Sikhs to change their last names before applying to immigrate. According to the policy, “the names ‘Kaur’ and ‘Singh’ is not sufficient for the purpose of immigration to Canada.” 6. Johnson (3.1 million) This surname owes its popularity to the New Testament. The given name John is one of the most popular in Christian world, and for good reason—The Bible is chock full of beloved Johns: John the Apostle, John the Baptist, and John the Evangelist to name a few. The spread of Christianity helped make John one of the most popular first names in the western world. When patronymic surnames became popular in the middle ages, Johnson would become an obvious frontrunner. (And it hasn’t hasn’t looked back. It’s now the second most common surname in the United States.) 7. Ahmed (25.7million) As common a first name as it is a last name, Ahmed and its variants is easily one of the most well-known names on the planet. Extremely popular in Pakistan and east Africa—especially the small island nation of Comoros—the word means “To thanks or praise” or, more specifically, “thanks to God.” The name appears in the Koran, in which Jesus foretells that “an apostle … shall come after me, and whose name shall be Ahmed.” 8. Gonzalez (9.8million) In the 5th century, the Visigoths settled in modern Spain and imported a distinct Germanic language, called Gothic. The name Gonzalez, meaning “son of Gonzalo,” roots back to the Gothic tongue. It’s believed the name Gonzalo may trace back to the old Gothic word for “battle” or “battlefield.” Others suggest it refers to the Gothic words for “war hall” or “castle.” (The Gonzalez family crest is an imposing castle tower.) 9. Rodriguez (9.2 million) For Spanish surnames, the suffix -ez is patronymic. That is, anytime you see a Spanish name ending in -ez, the name means “son of.” The surname Rodriguez, for example, merely means “Son of Rodrigo.” It derives from the old Germanic name Hrodric, which loosely means “powerful ruler.” Back in the day, anybody in the Rodriguez clan could claim that he or she was related to a political bigwig. Source: Most Common Last Names in the World | Surname History
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