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DarkRavie

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  1. Fact of the Day - FRENCH LANGUAGE Did you know.... that French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the Latin spoken in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French. (Wikipedia) FUN FACTS ABOUT THE FRENCH LANGUAGE Rebecca Twose | 19/03/2020 Bonjour! March 20th is French Language Day, so we’ve put together 10 fun facts all about the French language… 1. Official status in 29 countries French is second only to English for the number of countries where it has official status. French is an official language in 29 countries whereas English is one of the official languages in 67 countries. French is an official language in countries such as France, Belgium, Canada, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Congo, Mali, and Senegal. 2. Over 300 million speakers Around 80 million out of 300 million French speakers are native. As well as the 80 million native French speakers in the world, there are an estimated 220 million partial speakers, and these numbers are increasing. Owing to population growth in Africa, the total number of French speakers could rise to as much as 700 million by 2050, according to demographers. 3. Around 30% of English words are of French origin About 30% of modern English words are of French origin. After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, French became the language of the aristocracy and administration, which resulted in a great number of French words and expressions being incorporated into English. Over the centuries, French remained a major language influencing modern English. English continues to borrow words from French and adapt them into its everyday lexicon, for example, words like déjà vu or cul-de-sac. 4. Kinshasa is the second-largest French-speaking city Kinshasa, the capital of The Democratic Republic of Congo, is the second-largest French-speaking city after Paris, followed by Montreal in Quebec, Canada, and Brussels. 5. Counting in French Every language approaches counting in their own, unique way, but with French, it can be particularly interesting, especially between 80 and 99. While in English you would say “eighty”, in French you would say, “quatre-vingts”, or “four twenties”. It gets really interesting when you reach 99. Instead of saying, ninety-nine, you would say, “quatre-vingt-dix-neuf” or “four twenties, ten, nine.” 6. Romance language French is a Romance language descended from Latin, with influences across the centuries from the Celts, the Romans, and the Vikings. 7. French literature French is a language of literature. You’re probably familiar with Les Misérables but did you know that some of the most famous children’s fairy tales were originally written in French as well? Think La Belle et la Bête (Beauty and the Beast), Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots), Cendrillon (Cinderella), La Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard), and La Belle au Bois Dormant (The Sleeping Beauty). 8. French-speaking celebrities When we think of Bradley Cooper, we think of a talented actor (and singer), but did you know he also speaks French? Other French-speaking celebrities include Jodie Foster, Johnny Depp, Serena Williams, and Emma Watson! 9. Liberté, égalitié, fraternité ‘Liberty, equality and fraternity’ (or brotherhood) is the national motto of France. It first appeared around the time of the Revolution and today you’ll see it on coins, postage stamps and government logos often alongside ‘Marianne’ who symbolizes the ‘triumph of the Republic’. 10. French Language Day The United Nations celebrates six “Language Days” each year, dedicated to the six official languages of the United Nations, which are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Language Days at the United Nations were introduced in 2010 to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity. The date of the Day of the French language was chosen symbolically with reference to March 20, 1970, which marks the creation of the Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation (ACCT), which has become the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF). So, there you have our ten facts about the French language! If you have any other interesting facts about French then let us know in the comments below. If you require French translation and language services, then please get in touch with our teams today to discuss our range of services! Bonus Facts: About 45% of modern English words are of French origin After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, French became the language of the aristocracy and administration, which resulted in a great number of French words and expressions being incorporated into English. Over the centuries, French remained a major language influencing modern English. Along with English, French remains an influential language in the diplomatic world Many international institutions have French as one of their official languages, including the United Nations, the European Union, the International Olympic Committee, the Red Cross, and Médecins sans Frontières. Many international courts also use French as an official language. Source: Wikipedia - French Language | Facts About the French Language
  2. What's the Word? - BUTTLE pronunciation: [BUH-dl] Part of speech: verb Origin: Old French, time period unknown Meaning: 1. (humorous) Work as a butler. Example: "Niles buttled for the whole Sheffield family in the TV show “The Nanny.”" "It’s not as common to see someone buttle as it was in centuries past." About Buttle “Buttle” comes from the Old French “boteille” and later the Old French “butiller,” meaning “butler” or “officer in charge of wine.” Did You Know? There’s no way around it: “buttle” is a funny-sounding word! Since it’s not part of American vernacular, people tend to use it facetiously. But knowing the word “buttle” can really up your game — in Scrabble, it’s worth 8 points, and in Words With Friends, it’s worth 11 points.
  3. Fact of the Day - HOBBIES Collecting sea shells Did you know... that a hobby is considered to be a regular activity that is done for enjoyment, typically during one's leisure time. Hobbies include collecting themed items and objects, engaging in creative and artistic pursuits, playing sports, or pursuing other amusements. (Wikipedia) FUN FACTS: UNUSUAL HOBBIES Cristobal Gomez | July, 2020 Everyone has different hobbies. It can be doing things, making things, collecting things or learning things. You are doing it to relax or to belong. Some people like to dress up as anime characters while others collect coins. Some think a little bit outside the box and take up hobbies you might not even know existed. Here is a list of the most unusual hobbies we found: 1. TREE SHAPING It’s a very cool hobby in which you train living trees and other woody plants into artistic shapes or useful structures. Think about growing your own chair! It might take a while though. 2. BEETLE FIGHTING Choose different types of beetles to fight against each other. Beetle fighting enthusiasts sometimes breed different species of beetles for fighting. You can find videos about it online, but while some might find it interesting, others may think it's a bit gross! 3. NEWSRAIDING This consists of appearing as a bystander in the background of television shows. Very few have the resolve, planning skills, and perfect star-alignment to call this a hobby and not just a mere pipe dream. There has only been one truly great newsraider, Paul Yarrow, from the UK. He has appeared in many many broadcasts. Check out a collection here! 4. EXTREME IRONING Yes, it’s a competitive sport, also known as “EI”. Extreme ironing consists of ironing clothing in different, usually extreme, situations like while rock climbing, surfing, on a kayak… 5. STONE SKIPPING Yes it’s exactly that. You take a nice oval stone and you try to make it bounce on water as many times as possible. The current record holder managed a 51 bounce throw. 6. GEOCACHING This is free real-world treasure hunting hobby using technology. There are hidden containers called geocaches with items inside these are located using a smart phone or GPS. This hobby good for exploring the world and sharing experiences with other members. If you're interested in getting started, check out the Geocaching website. 7. SUING Ok, this belong more in the comedy category but it seems there was at least 1 person who made suing into an actual hobby. Despite being incarcerated at a federal prison in Kentucky, Jonathan Lee Riches has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. He was named as the person who has filed the most lawsuits ever. So what did he do next? He filed a lawsuit against the folks at Guinness! He filed lawsuits against the New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, former President George W. Bush, Somali pirates, Britney Spears and Martha Stewart. He's also filed lawsuits against Plato, Nostradamus, James Hoffa, “Various Buddhist Monks,” the Lincoln Memorial, the Eiffel Tower and Three Mile Island. In his latest court filing, Riches wrote about how he sued Black History Month, the president of Iran and butter substitute I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! 8. ELEMENT COLLECTING Hafnium samples for collectors You collect elements from the periodic table. People do this in different ways and of different purities. Heavy elements, poisonous and radioactive ones are not recommended to collect. 9. COMPETITIVE DUCK HERDING Yes competitive duck herding is a hobby. You learn to herd duck like you would sheep. Apparently it has become popular for corporate days out... at least according to this article. 10. TOY VOYAGING Do you have a toy that needs a vacation? Some people create a travel log and profile for their traveling toy! You can also include Life Missions for your toy, where you tell potential hosts what your toy wants to do while visiting. Hosts and owners update the travel log and add pictures. People taking part in these hobbies are no different than you or me, they just found something unique to put their interest into. Even among celebrities there are hobbies that you might have not even thought of. For example did you know that… Claudia Schiffer is an insect collector? John Travolta is a jumbo jet pilot? Mike Tyson is a pigeon racer? Or Tom Selleck is an avocado farmer? Source: Wikipedia - Hobby
  4. What's the Word? - GEMUTLICH pronunciation: [ge-MOOT-lik] Part of speech: adjective Origin: German, mid 19th century Meaning: 1. Pleasant and cheerful. Example: "The dinner party had a gemütlich, easygoing vibe." "Steven was known for his gemütlich demeanor." About Gemütlich This word comes from the Middle High German “gemüetlich,” meaning “pleasant.” Originally from “gemüete,” meaning “mentality, mind.” Did You Know? There is no single word in English that is a direct translation of “gemütlich.” Even though it’s often likened to “cozy,” that one word lacks the elements of belonging and friendliness intrinsic to the term. “Gemütlich” in its German usage is more of an overall aesthetic term.
  5. Fact of the Day - GLITTER Did you know... that glitter is an assortment of small, reflective particles that come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Glitter particles reflect light at different angles, causing the surface to sparkle or shimmer. Glitter is similar to confetti, sparkles and sequins, but somewhat smaller. (Wikipedia) Incredible Facts You Never Knew About Glitter It's even been used for military purposes! Buuuuut it can also be not so great for the environment. by Juliana Kataoka | March 2017 1. There is an evolutionary reason why we are so attracted to glitter. Ever wonder why people are so mesmerized by these little, shiny dots? Well, according to this article from "Fast Co Design," it's because glitter reminds us of something else that also glistens, reflects, and that we can't live without: that's right, water. 2. Glitter has been around since ancient times. If we were to map out glitter's family tree, the mineral group mica would be at the top! According to this article in "The New Yorker," mica flakes have been used this way since the days of cave paintings. In fact, it was being used by some ancient civilizations (including the Egyptians, Chinese, Greeks, and Romans) since as early as 40,000 B.C.! 3. But glitter as we know it today was actually invented by accident by a machinist. Glitter as we know it today was invented in 1934 by the American machinist Henry Ruschmann. He basically created a machine that crushed plastic in large quantities. According to this article from "The Huffington Post," the company he founded remains one of the industry's largest in the United States to this day. 4. Glitter is made more or less like this: According to this Reddit AMA (answered by a guy who worked in a glitter factory), the color is applied to a sheet of plastic polymer that is glued to a sheet of reflective material, such as aluminum. The new sheet goes into a rotary crusher and the result is glitter in small pieces of identical size. The smaller the glitter, the longer it takes to make because there are more cuts needed. 5. Did you know that glitter has even been used for military purposes? According to this article by Mental Floss, for some time the US Air Force used a military strategy called "chaff," which consisted of releasing glitter from the back of warplanes to confuse the radar of enemy forces. The UK also tried a similar trick to fool German radar, using strips of aluminum-coated paper. 6. Here is a brief guide to getting glitter off any part of your body: Fingernails: To remove glitter nail polish, moisten a cotton ball with acetone, place it on the nail, secure it with an elastic band or wrap it with tinfoil, and leave it there for a few minutes. The acetone will practically melt away most of the polish that's sticking the glitter to the nail, which makes removal very easy. The face: According to makeup artist Hannah Levy Nunes, when you're applying makeup and get glitter in an area where you don't want it, the quickest way to get it off is by using adhesive tape. Try to use tapes specifically meant for the skin, such as a micropore medical tape, for example. And remember, you shouldn't use stationery glitter near your eyes. "You can use it everywhere except the eyes. It's itchy, and your eyes could become inflamed or you could even scratch your cornea!" explains the makeup artist. The face and body after partying: To get the glitter to come off easily with water, apply a little cream makeup remover or even conditioner. Just be careful not to rub too hard, or else you might irritate the skin. The oilier makeup removers only work if you used a product to glue the glitter onto your skin, such as eyelash glue, for example. Otherwise, they may have the opposite effect and make the glitter stick even better! If a lot of glitter still remains even after you've showered, you can use the tape trick, or even use one of those adhesive lint and hair removers for clothes. Hair: A recent beauty trend is glitter roots, which consists of applying glitter to the roots of your hair. But if there's a technique for putting it on, there's usually one for taking it off, too. Here it is: separate the part that you slathered with glitter and saturate it with conditioner. Pass a fine-tooth comb through it, and then rinse thoroughly. Then simply wash your hair as you normally would. If, after shampooing, there are still some remnants of glitter, when your hair is dry, you can then use paper towels sprayed with a little hairspray and dab the area with the sticky towels to remove the excess pieces of glitter. 7. Glitter at the scene of a crime is every investigator's dream. The glitter particles spread all over the place — on the victim, at the crime scene, in the car, on the criminal's clothes — and it can be a fundamental piece of evidence to incriminate a criminal. That's what happened in this case of a pedophile who tried to attack a little girl who left home wearing glittery tennis shoes. 8. Glitter can be an enemy to the environment. Glitter is at the center of an ecological controversy. Because they're so tiny, glitter particles can pass through sewage treatment filters and then end up being dumped into the ocean. Since they're made of plastic, it can take up to 400 years for each tiny particle to degrade. And in the meantime, they interfere with ocean life and could even end up in YOUR stomach! 9. But if you still want to sparkle without messing up the planet, don't worry! You can buy eco-friendly glitter! It's made from ingredients like vegetables, seaweed, minerals, and other biodegradable materials. This special glitter is perfect for all those who want to keep on shining without messing with Mother Earth. Source: Wikipedia - Glitter | Facts About Glitter
  6. What's the Word? - RIMPLE pronunciation: [RIM-pl] Part of speech: verb Origin: Middle English, date unknown. Meaning: 1. To form into small folds or undulations; to wrinkle; especially (of water) to ripple. Example: "Serena hates it when the bed sheets rimple." "Some women don’t like taffeta in their formal wear because it is prone to rimpling." About Rimple This word’s origins are murky, but it possibly stems from Old English’s “hrympel,” meaning “wrinkle” or might be influenced by the Middle Dutch “rumpelen,” related to Old English “hrimpan,” meaning “to fold, wrinkle.” Did You Know? “Rimple” can also be used as a noun. Example: Troy folded rimples into the paper to create origami.
  7. Fact of the Day - STUDIO GHIBLI Did you know.... that Studio Ghibli Inc. is a Japanese animation film studio headquartered in Koganei, Tokyo. The studio is best known for its animated feature films, and has also produced several short subjects, television commercials, and one television film. The studio's mascot and most recognizable symbol is a character named Totoro, who is a giant cat-like spirit from the 1988 anime film My Neighbor Totoro. Among Studio Ghibli's highest-grossing films are Spirited Away (2001), Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and Ponyo (2008). The studio was founded on June 15, 1985 by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata and producer Toshio Suzuki, after the successful performance of Topcraft's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). It has also collaborated with video game studios on the visual development of several video games. (Wikipedia) Things Even Die-hard Fans Don't Know About Studio Ghibli Films Studio Ghibli has had a profound effect on the animation industry over the years. But as famous as they are, there's a lot you don't know about them. BY ARCHITA MITTRA | PUBLISHED AUG 17, 2019 It's not a surprise that many of us wish that our lives were like a Studio Ghibli film. Studio Ghibli films have a charm of their own. Most of them are wholesome, without being overtly sentimental and they teach us important lessons about life, as well as remind us not to take the little moments for granted. Often, they carry socially relevant messages that gently nudge us to pause and think deeper about certain issues. In addition to being aesthetically delightful, they are also laden with Easter eggs and several of the films have interesting backstories that are almost as fascinating as the movies themselves. How many of these fun facts do you already know? Miyazaki's Inspiration For Princess Mononoke Came From Diverse Sources Princess Mononoke (1997) has often been hailed as Studio Ghibli's best and most nuanced of all films, especially for its strong critique of environmental destruction and war, themes that were also explored in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). Being a pacifist throughout his life, Miyazaki's inspiration to make this film came from a variety of sources. Firstly, he was impacted by the wars in former Yugoslavia that contributed to the strong anti-war tone in the film. A manga called "Mudmen" that refers to the Asaro Mudmen from Papua New Guinea perhaps provided the basis for the conception of San and the Spirit of the Forest. Miyazaki's own childhood encounters with blacksmiths in turn led to the creation of Irontown in the film. Finally, John Ford's westerns also provided some ideas and the magical forest depicted in the film was inspired by the Shiratani Unsuiky forest in Japan. A Worm Was Named After The Catbus In My Neighbor Totoro My Neighbor Totoro (1988) is a heart-warming film that can be re-watched anytime to rediscover the magic of childhood. It also showcased the Ghibli mascot as a forest spirit that loves cuddles, affection and children. While the figure of Totoro itself is a mixture of several animals (including a racoon, cat and an owl), a species of velvet worms (Eoperipatus totoro) in the animal kingdom has been named after its resemblance to the Catbus- another beloved character in the film. The Water In Ponyo Was Hand-Drawn By Miyazaki Almost every frame in a Ghibli film is a work of art in itself- beautifully detailed and illustrated that captures a small moment in life. And it appears that Miyazaki seems to prefer the personal and traditional touch of hand-drawn animation over CGI imagery. In fact, his attention to detail is so on-point that he drew most of the waves and the sea in Ponyo On The Cliff (2008) by himself. The film which is loosely based on the "Little Mermaid" fairytale literally features the director's own artistry. The Tale Of Princess Kaguya Is Based On An Anonymous Science Fiction Fairytale The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is one of Ghibli's more recent efforts. It tells a poignant story about a magical princess who must return to her immortal realm on the moon following a bittersweet stay on the planet. However the story isn't a Ghibli original, but based on an anonymous Japanese folktale dating back to 1592. The story has been characterized as a proto science fiction story on account of its references to the moon and the fact that Princess Kaguya or "Lil' Bamboo" is technically an extraterrestrial being. Moreover, it has been adapted onscreen before- Princess of the Moon (1987) and Claire (2001), both of which are live-action films. The Character Of Howl From Howl's Moving Castle Is Different In The Book Howl's Moving Castle (2004) which is based on the book of the same name by British fantasy author Diana Wynne Jones is perhaps one of the Ghibli films that are more well-known to western audiences. It's a rather unusual and pretty colorful love story and the characters of Sophie Hatter (who is cursed to look like an aged woman) and Howl (a young wizard) have been particularly praised. However, the character of Howl as he appears in the film is notably different from the book. For one, Howl in the book is more vain and prone to throwing tantrums while Howl in the movie has the vibe of a somewhat brooding Byronic hero. Moreover, the movie Howl can also transform himself into a bird. The Same Characters Appear Across Films If You Can Spot Them There are some creatures that reappear in Ghibli films and you have to be an astute fan to spot them. For instance, near the end of The Secret World of Arietty (2010), when Arietty and her family leave the house in search of a new home, there's a racoon in that scene. The same racoon appeared in Pom Poko (1994). Similarly, the fox squirrel that was seen near the robot in Laputa's garden in Castle In The Sky (1986) had previously appeared in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984). Gaiman Wrote Two Scripts For Ghibli And Miramax Princess Mononoke (1997) was immensely successful, broke numerous records, and even made Ghibli films familiar to a western audience. In fact, Neil Gaiman was hired with the task of adapting the Japanese script to English. However, while Ghibli wanted Gaiman to retain the Japanese flavor and cultural nuances, Miramax wanted the script to be westernized. Unable to reach a compromise, Gaiman wrote two scripts for the two companies and let them figure out the rest. Porco Rosso Was Supposed To Be An In-Flight Film. Porco Rosso (1992) wasn't supposed to be a full-length film. It was originally planned as a short in-flight film for the Japan Airlines of 30 to 45 minutes. However the war in Yugoslavia that had recently broken out made the director consider a more serious and extensive approach. Set during the 1930s, the film follows the adventures of a war veteran who presently freelances as bounty hunter, who is suddenly transformed into a pig. The title literally translates to "Red Pig" in Italian. Nevertheless, before the film was released in the theaters, it was showcased as an in-flight film. Kiki Is Almost Hit By A Bus Named "Studio Ghibli" Kiki's Delivery Service (1989) follows the adventures of young Kiki, a loveable witch who moves into the city and begins a flying courier service as well as makes new friends on the way. There's a scene near the beginning of the film where she's almost hit by a passing bus. Now that would have been a pretty unremarkable detail had it not been for the fact that the bus bore the name "Studio Ghibli" on it. That's a pretty clever self-insert, don't you think? Whisper Of The Heart Has A Spin-Off Sequel The numerous Easter Eggs also seems to suggest that all Ghibli films are set more-or-less in the same universe, due to the many meta-references and the reappearances of familiar faces. For instance, Whisper Of The Heart (1995) is a beautiful coming-of-age romance film that ends with a happily ever after. The heroine in the film Shizuku is a passionate bookworm and she meets her future boyfriend when she notices that a certain Seiji is the one who had checked out her library books. Her love for reading also gives way for her talent for writing and she even writes a fantasy story. And it seems that stories do have a life of their own. For example, there's a scene in the library where she is looking for a new book and one of the books on the shelf is called "Totoro"- a not-so-subtle reference to My Neighbor Totoro (1988). Moreover the cat figurine "The Baron" that features in her fantasy novel also appears The Cat Returns (2002) which is a sort of spin-off sequel to the film. There's another stray cat Muta who is introduced in there and who appears in The Secret World of Arietty (2010). Looks like the Ghibli films are all full of interconnected and delightful secrets! Source: Wikipedia - Studio Ghibli | Amazing Studio Ghibli Facts
  8. What's the Word? - AVIDITY pronunciation: [ə-VID-ə-dee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Late Middle English, mid 15th century Meaning: 1. Extreme eagerness or enthusiasm. 2. [Biochemistry] the overall strength of binding between an antibody and an antigen. Example: "The doctor scoured the medical studies on antibody avidity, hoping to find answers." "Kate binged the Netflix series with an avidity she rarely showed for anything." About Avidity This word stems from the French “avidité” or directly from the Latin “aviditas,” from “avidus,” meaning “eager, greedy.” Did You Know? In biochemistry, “affinity” and “avidity” are closely related. “Affinity” is how well a single antibody-antigen site binds, whereas “avidity” refers to the strength of all those interactions collectively. With avidity, binding strength depends on the effects that come from multiple proteins “working together” because it’s easier for one to bind if another is already tethered nearby.
  9. Fact of the Day - EXTREMADURA Towering over 2,400 m, the Calvitero is considered to be Extremadura's highest point. Did you know... that Extremadura is an autonomous community of Spain. Its capital city is Mérida. The provinces Cáceres and Badajoz are a part of Extremadura. Extremadura is bordered by Portugal to the west. To the north, it borders Castile and León. To the south, it borders Andalusia. To the east, it borders Castile-La Mancha. (KidsKiddle) Things You Should Know About Extremadura by Irene Corchado Resmella | April 2018 Despite being known for its Iberian ham, its vast open landscapes and for being an ideal birdwatching destination, Extremadura still is by far Spain’s most overlooked region by international travelers. Yet this fascinating area has many treasures and secrets to be discovered. Read on to discover 10 things you may not know about Extremadura. It’s a wine-lovers paradise Spain is a world-leading wine producer, but fierce competition means many high-quality wines are unheard of abroad. Did you know, for example, that Extremadura has the second biggest wine-making area in Spain (over 80,000 hectares)? The main Denomination of Origin is Ribera del Guadiana, and two of the best areas to try local wines are Cañamero (Caceres province) and the Tierra de Barros area (Badajoz province). Many cities around the world are named after places in Extremadura Most Spanish conquistadors of the Americas hailed from Extremadura, and that’s why you can find towns and cities sharing their name on both sides of the Atlantic. Mérida is Extremadura’s capital city and also a large city in México. Trujillo is a Peruvian city sharing its name with one of Extremadura’s most beautiful towns (and with cities in Colombia, Venezuela and Puerto Rico). Cáceres has a Colombian counterpart. Medellín is Colombia’s second largest city, but not many know that the original Medellín is a small town in Badajoz province. Even fewer know that there are other cities called Medellín in Mexico, Argentina and the Philippines. It boasts six UNESCO sites Despite still being Spain’s most underrated and overlooked region for foreign travelers, Extremadura is a perfect destination for history, architecture and nature lovers. It proudly boasts six UNESCO sites, comprising three World Heritage Sites: Mérida’s archaeological ensemble, Cáceres’ medieval city centre and Guadalupe’s Royal Monastery; two Biosphere Reserves: Monfragüe and Tajo International Natural Parks; and one Geopark: Villuercas-Ibores-Jara. Extremadura has some crazy festivals If you think famous Tomatina is crazy, wait until you see the quirky festivals northern Extremadura has in for you. In January, head up to the mountain town of Piornal to take part in its Jarramplas festival, where a local guy wearing a colourful demon-inspired costume walks the streets playing the drum while everybody else throws huge turnips at him. Jarandilla de la Vera celebrates an equally crazy festival in December, involving fire and called Los Escobazos. Locals wearing flame-resistant clothing and a broom gather in the main square and smack each other for three hours with their brooms, which are on fire. It has been featured in ‘Game of Thrones’ The popular TV series chose three locations in Extremadura for filming scenes of its seventh season, all of them within Cáceres province. Trujillo’s Arab castle became Casterly Rock, while Cáceres’ magnificent medieval streets were chosen to serve as King’s Landing. Not far from Cáceres is the Los Barruecos Natural Park, a protected area, is home to one of Europe’s biggest colonies of white stork. In the series, the park served as the perfect background for the season’s most important battle. Spain’s only blue flag award-winning inland beach is in Extremadura Extremadura may be far from the coast, but that doesn’t mean the region lacks places for swimming. Not only is it the Spanish region with the most freshwater coastline and a great place for wild swimming, it’s also home to Spain’s only Blue Flag-awarded inland beach – Orellana reservoir. Located within a special protection area for birds in Badajoz province, it’s one of the biggest reservoirs along River Guadiana. It has a secret language only 6,000 people speak In a small and remote corner in the northwest of Extremadura, between Salamanca province and Portugal, you can hear a Fala. This secret language is only spoken by around 6,000 people from three villages – San Martín de Trevejo, Eljas and Valverde del Fresno. There are several hypotheses about its origins, linking a Fala with Galician, Portuguese, and the Castilian language spoken in the former Kingdom of León. Despite being such a little-known language, spelling and pronunciation still varies from one town to another. Spain’s famous omelette was invented in Extremadura There have been numerous claims from different cities as the place of origin of the famous Spanish tortilla. A recent study published by scientist Javier López Linaje revealed that the Spanish omelette was invented by two landowners from Villanueva de la Serena (Badajoz province) in 1798. To show how proud villanovenses are of their omelettes, the local authorities have announced a monument will be erected in its honour. Extremadura is the cheapest region in Spain to buy a house According to the latest data released by Tinsa, the Spanish home valuation specialists, Extremadura is Spain’s cheapest region for buying a house. The average price per square metre is only €768 (US$950), a figure that contrasts sharply with the €2,159 (US$2670) per square metre you would pay on average in the Madrid community. Extremadura is also one of the three Spanish regions where the house prices continue to fall year after year. If you’re looking for your dream country house in Spain on a budget, Extremadura will offer plenty to choose from. It’s home to a ghost town Granadilla was a thriving little town in northern Extremadura until the mid-1950s when plans to build a reservoir and the declaration of a ‘flood zone’ forced everyone to leave. Granadilla itself was never flooded, but it got surrounded by water and, even today, it’s only accessible by one pot-holed road. After decades of neglect, a restoration process started in the eighties, and some 20 houses have been restored so far. The castle tower and a walk around the fortress offer fantastic panoramic views over the remains of the old city and the nearby reservoir. Source: Kids Encyclopedia Facts | Facts About Extremadura
  10. What's the Word? - SCUMBLE pronunciation: [SKUM-bəl] Part of speech: verb Origin: Unknown location, late 17th century Meaning: 1. [With object] modify (a painting or color) by applying a very thin coat of opaque paint to give a softer or duller effect. 2. Modify (a drawing) with light shading in pencil or charcoal to give a softer effect. Example: "Today’s online art lesson will teach students how to scumble." "Pablo decided to scumble the sharp lines in his painting." About Scumble Even though the word’s specific roots are unknown, “scumble” is possibly related to the verb “scum,” an antiquated version of “skim.” Did You Know? Scumbling became a popular artistic technique during the 15th century. Some art historians believe Renaissance-era painter Titian invented the technique.
  11. Fact of the Day - SNOWMOBILE Did you know.... that a snowmobile, also known as a motor sled, motor sledge, skimobile, snow scooter, Ski-Doo, or snowmachine, is a motorized vehicle designed for winter travel and recreation on snow. It is designed to be operated on snow and ice and does not require a road or trail, but most are driven on open terrain or trails. Snowmobiling is a sport that many people have taken on as a serious hobby. Older snowmobiles could generally accommodate two people; however, most snowmobiles manufactured since the 1990s have been designed to only accommodate one person. Snowmobiles built with the ability to accommodate two people are referred to as "2-up" snowmobiles or "touring" models and make up an extremely small share of the market. Snowmobiles do not have any enclosures, except for a windshield, and their engines normally drive a continuous track at the rear. Skis at the front provide directional control. Early snowmobiles used simple rubber tracks, but modern snowmobiles' tracks are usually made of a Kevlar composite construction. Originally, snowmobiles were powered by two-stroke gasoline internal combustion engines and since the mid-2000s four-stroke engines have also entered the market. The second half of the 20th century saw the rise of recreational snowmobiling, whose riders are called snowmobilers or sledders. Recreational riding is known as snowcross/racing, trail riding, freestyle, boondocking, ditchbanging and grass drags. In the summertime snowmobilers can drag race on grass, asphalt strips, or even across water (see Snowmobile skipping). Snowmobiles are sometimes modified to compete in long-distance off-road races. (Wikipedia) A Brief History of Snowmobiles and Snowmobiling By Chaz Wyland | Updated April 20, 2021 Snowmobiles, snowmachines, Ski-Doos, motor sleds – whatever you call them in your part of the world, these winter machines are a ton of fun to ride. They also have a fascinating history that many riders don’t know about. I’m Chaz, a snowmobile enthusiast who has been riding trails and exploring the backcountry by snowmobile since I was a kid. I have nearly 30 years of experience under my belt, and I’ve learned a thing or two about these amazing machines during that time. I wanted to write up a section of this site based on snowmobile history to provide my fellow riders with an in-depth look into how far the sport has come in the last 100 years or so. While researching, I learned quite a bit of information and will highlight my favorite facts, unique stories, and some rules and regulations I think everyone should be aware of. There is plenty of other information found below that I think is cool and valuable, as well. And now, on with the history lesson. When Was The First Snowmobile Invented? Snowmobiles have existed for quite a while – longer than I thought before I started looking into the subject. These machines have been around for basically as long as automobiles – just not precisely in a form you’d recognize compared to modern-day sleds. The first patent for a motor sleigh dates back to 1915. This was for a vehicle invented to move over the snow, which had skis up front and a track in the back. Some people even converted old Ford Model T cars to have tracks and skis, which date to around the same time. The first machine that I would officially call a snowmobile wasn’t built and tested on the snow until 1935. But the first versions of the converted Model Ts I mentioned above were around in the early 1920s. 1921 Ford Model T snowmobile Where Was the Snowmobile Invented? The patent that I mentioned above showed up in Canada in 1915. The first US patent was in 1916. Ask a Canadian and an American where the snowmobile was invented and you’ll get two different answers. The first versions of these machines were created out of a necessity to get across areas that saw severe winter conditions. This means a few different versions were developed at the same time in different places. The vehicle propeller, which led to the development of nearly every sort of motor-powered machine in the early 20th century, was invented by Harold J. Kalenze (pronounced Collins) in Manitoba, Canada. The first patent for a motor sleigh was also in Canada but was created by a man from Michigan. So what’s the official verdict on where the snowmobile was invented? I’m going to say some cold and snowy location in northern Michigan or southern Canada. It’s certainly up for debate. Who Invented the Snowmobile? This is another question that has a few different answers. The modern snowmobile as we know it was a result of a few decades of developments and advancements. It was more than one person’s work, but there are a few people who deserve similar credit. A man named Ray H. Muscott was the person who developed the first patents for the initial concept of a snowmobile. Joseph-Armand Bombardier usually earns the official title of inventor of the snowmobile. Bombardier was the first to successfully build a machine that looked similar to the sleds we ride today. This initial concept also worked effectively and survived initial test runs better than earlier concepts. Carl Eliason invented a motor-powered sled in the 1920s. This design used a propeller to push the sled across ice and snow, so even though it was around earlier, it isn’t as close in design to modern machines. The Carl Eliason machine. A Russian named Adolphe Kégresse invented the track system somewhere between 1906 and 1916. This was a significant development that would be used down the road as snowmobile designs continued to develop. Snowmobile History Timeline 1895 – First over-snow vehicles developed in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada. These included bikes with grip fins and steam-powered sleighs. 1905 – The American Motor Sleigh was build and sold as a machine for travel over the snow. 1911 – Harold J. Kalenze patents the Vehicle Propeller. The Aerosani was also first built around this time, an over-snow machine that was propeller-powered. 1906-1916 – Adolphe Kegresse invents a track system to be used on a variety of vehicles. 1915-16 – First patents for snow machines more resembling modern designs were granted. 1920s – Carl Eliason creates the first versions of the modern snowmobile. These were first patented in 1927 and later contracted for military use. Model T conversions using skis and tracks also popped up during the 1920s. 1935 – Joseph-Armand Bombardier invents the first version of the modern-day snowmobile. 1937 – Bombardier receives his first patent for these machines. 1941 – Eliason snowmobiles go into official production. 1950 – The first Canadian-designed snowmobile, the Ingham Motor Toboggan, goes into production. 1956 – Polaris creates its first widely sold snowmobile, the Sno-Traveler. 1962 – The first Arctic Cat snowmobile goes into production, the Model 500. 1963 – Rubber tracks begin to be used rather than metal caterpillar style tracks. 1968 – Yamaha produces the first snowmobile with slide valve carbs. 1973 – Ski-Doo develops the ski carbide 1980 – The Polaris TXL Indy 340 is the first snowmobile to offer independent front suspension. 1991 – The first fuel-injected snowmobile, the Polaris 650 RXL EFI, is created. 2000 – Four-stroke engines begin to appear in snowmobiles 2012 – Ski-Doo develops a rear suspension system 2016 – The Yamaha Sidewinder is the first snowmobile to have an OEM turbo engine. 2020 – Snowmobiling continues to thrive as the sport gains popularity across the world. Early Snowmobiles vs. Modern Snowmobiles The snowmobiles we ride today represent many years of development. Technologies, materials, and capabilities have come a long, long way over the last 100+ years since the initial concepts for an over-the-snow vehicle. The very first snowmobile designs were nothing more than bicycles rigged up to be capable in the snow. These existed in the late 1800s before the engine was available. These bikes would have runners up front and grip tires with studs or tracks in the back. After this came the first motor sleighs and motor sleds. Most of these were propeller-driven, meaning that they used an engine mounted in the rear to generate thrust and push the sled forward. These early versions were basically a sled with a fan attached. It was practical for traveling along flat, icy surfaces but didn’t provide enough grip or thrust for deep snow or off-road conditions. They were also difficult to steer and control. Next, people began to convert Model T Ford automobiles to work in the snow. Skis were retrofitted on the front wheels, with tracks place in the year – closely resembling modern snowmobile design in many ways. These snow-cars were capable of transporting several people at once and benefited from having a closed passenger area. They were underpowered and also not able to handle challenging terrain and conditions. Motorcycles were also converted for on-snow use by putting sled runners on a side-by-side type of bike. These concepts didn’t have any sort of track system and were essentially just motorcycles with skis. They would get across some conditions but had apparent limitations. Developments started to come quickly in the 1920s. The Eliason snowmobile used a two-cylinder motorcycle engine on a long sled. This engine turned a rotating track that achieved higher speeds and better control in the snow. The early Eliason models also had skis up front to float over the snow and effective steering capabilities. This version marked a solid foundation for the future of snowmobiles, and modern design elements still pay tribute to these early models. The next major innovation in snowmobile design came when Joseph-Armand Bombardier developed his version of the machine. These represented a significant upgrade over previous snow machines because of the rubber track that was used. Instead of an all-metal track, Bombardier used a rubber track that spun along with a toothed wheel. This created immediate benefits and improvements in traction, control, and capability. It was the first version of the modern snowmobile track as we now know it. The difference between the Bombardier snowmobiles and modern versions was that many of his models were intended for multi-passenger use. In that way, they more closely resembled today’s Snow Cats. But this track system was critical for on-snow machines moving forward. In the mid-1950s, the brand Polaris began to produce some of the first widely available production snowmobiles. The first of these was the Sno-Traveler that came out in 1957. This was a bulky, heavy machine that wouldn’t go very fast. But it was a snowmobile. Polaris employees created the first Polaris snowmobile in late 1955. The early Polaris sleds looked essentially like the sleds we ride today: an open driver’s seat, ski runners in the front, and a single track powering the sled forward. This was the basic design that would be improved upon for the next half a century into modern times. Many new brands would start to tinker and tweak with the Polaris models. These early models still used a 2-stroke engine that would continue until around the turn of the century. These engines were cheaper, weighed less, and were easier to maintain. Horsepower and performance began to see major developments in the 1990s. Snowmobiles built from the 1950s into the 1970s could get you across the snow, but you weren’t going to go very fast or have a lot of engine power. In the 1990s, engines in the 600cc to 800cc range were put into action, and these generated over 100 horsepower. The age of performance snowmobiles was beginning and would develop quickly. Machines in the 1990s were also the first to use fuel-injected engines. With the turn of the 20th century came even more drastic improvements in snowmobile design. Fuel injection was common, and the first four-stroke engines were beginning to pop up. This increased performance drastically, as did more modern suspension components. The 21st century also gave rise to the different snowmobiling styles, with snowmobiles built for various purposes now common. Trail riding, snocross, turbo-charged engines, and larger machines were available in all types of models and sizes. The most modern sleds found today allow almost endless choices for personal customization. If you want a powerful engine to go fast, you got it. If you want a backcountry cruiser that can handle anything, it’s available. The possibilities available are impressive. It will be interesting to see where the future of snowmobile innovation takes us. I’d expect to see electric sleds available in the next few years, and I’m excited to see how fast these can go! If the J-curve of progress is any indicator, we can expect snowmobile technologies and capabilities to improve continuously. Click below to keep reading a brief history on snowmobiles. Source: Facts on Snowmobile History | Wikipedia - Snowmobile
  12. What's the Word? - IMMANENT pronunciation: [IM-ən-ənt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid 16th century Meaning: 1. Existing or operating within; inherent. 2. (Of God) permanently pervading and sustaining the universe. Example: "The role of government is immanent in the Constitution." "Teri’s research paper discussed whether altruism is an immanent trait or a learned one." About Immanent This word stems from the late Latin “immanent,” meaning “remaining within.” Comes from “in-” + “manere,” meaning “remain.” Did You Know? ”Immanent” is easily confused with “imminent” and “eminent” since they all sound quite similar. However, “imminent” refers to something happening soon, while “eminent” describes something that stands out prominently. “Immanent” is an adjective for an inherent quality.
  13. Fact of the Day - SYNTHESIZER Early Minimoog by R.A. Moog Inc. (ca. 1970) Did you know... that a synthesizer (also spelled synthesiser) is an electronic musical instrument that generates audio signals. Synthesizers generate audio through methods including subtractive synthesis, additive synthesis, and frequency modulation synthesis. These sounds may be shaped and modulated by components such as filters, envelopes, and low-frequency oscillators. Synthesizers are typically played with keyboards or controlled by sequencers, software, or other instruments, often via MIDI. (Wikipedia) 10 greatest synthesizers of all time: the machines that changed music By Scot Solida | December 26, 2020 We've seen countless hardware synths over the past 40 years - and the market for them is currently booming - but only a few instruments can claim true classic status. These synths made a historical impact, changing the way future instruments would be designed and, most importantly, inspiring the musicians who played them. These are the synths we're celebrating here, as we count down the 10 best synths of all time. You will, of course, have your own ideas of what we should have included (or omitted), and your opinions are now less valid than our own. It pained us to leave some of classics out, and we debated long and hard over some of the inclusions. Still, it can't be denied that each and every one of these synths has made an indelible mark on the music industry. You'll note that a good number of them were designed and built by individuals, working with limited means, but with unlimited imaginations. All of them have a character that is unique to that instrument. Some are classy, some quirky and all of them still worth a look. Maybe more so now that the industry is awash in mass-produced, assembly line instruments. If you own one of these instruments, then you can count yourself among those insightful enough to recognise a Very Good Thing when you saw one. If not, there's always eBay. 10. Oberheim OB-Xa The success of Sequential Circuits' Prophet-5 shook the synth industry. Monosynths were declared dead almost overnight, and if your synth couldn't store sounds, you might as well have scrapped it for parts. Every manufacturer that could afford to do so began pumping out competitive products. Some attempted to bring the cost of programmable polyphonic synthesizers down, while others, like Oberheim, attempted to put their own stamp on 'em. Oberheim had, in reality, been there before Sequential. It offered polyphony in the form of its OB Four and Eight Voice instruments, achieved by strapping a handful of its S.E.M. modules into a case, attaching a keyboard and expecting the user to identically tweak each individual S.E.M. There was even a rudimentary programmer available that could store some (but not all) of the parameters for later recall. They sounded immense, but they were difficult to manage, to say the least. Oberheim had a bit of a re-think after the Prophet-5 whizzed by, and took the best of its previous designs and combined them into the huge OB-X. It worked a treat and begat a number of follow-ups, each with its own specific qualities and refinements, and each with its own loyal following. We could have picked the OB-X or OB-8 for our list, but we chose the one smack dab in the middle, the OB-Xa. Like the OB-X that preceded it, the OB-Xa was available in four-, six- or eight-voice versions and sported a somewhat simplified dual oscillator signal path. The OB-Xa, however, added a 24 dB filter to the OB-X's 12 dB job and, in fact, you could create layered sounds that combined both for a more complex and engaging sound. And what a sound it was. The OB-Xa may be the single phattest sounding instrument we have ever heard. Users who dare to click that Unison button may have to have their teeth re-enameled. Yeah. It's big. As with all Oberheim instruments of the time, the OB-Xa could be lashed together with a DMX or DX drum machine and a DSX sequencer to form a complete Oberheim 'System'. Such a System in full swing was a sight to behold in those pre-MIDI days, a technological wet dream that was far out of reach of all but the most successful musicians of the day. Emulations: Arturia's Oberheim OB-Xa V is a thorough plugin recreation, and there's also the free OB-Xd from discoDSP. Behringer is also working on a hardware clone. 9. Roland JD-800 It was a difficult decision, putting the JD-800 on the list in lieu of the massively popular D-50. The latter is arguably the classic between the two and represented a major shift in Roland's approach to instrument design and sales. Yet the JD-800 was, frankly, a far better instrument. Like the D-50, the JD combined sample-based oscillators with a fairly typical signal path that included a resonant filter, envelope generators and the like. However, the JD-800 offered something not available on any other sample-based synthesizer: a bucket load of sliders. Yep, the JD harkened back to the analogue era, offering scads of real-time control (that, alas, could only be transmitted via SysEx). It was big, impressive and utterly sexy, even if it was made mostly of plastic. More than that, it sounded out-of-this-world. At a time when manufacturers were doing their best to cram as many grainy 8-bit low-rate samples into an instruments' ROM as possible, Roland used only hi-res stuff, resulting in outstanding sound quality. Alas, the JD-800 was released a decade too soon. The analogue revival was still years off and sales fizzled (at least by D-50 standards). However, Roland knew what it had, and the technology behind the JD-800 would pop up again and again in its best-selling series of rack-mountable MIDI modules. Emulations: There are no straight emulations of the JD-800, but Roland's JD-XA could be seen as a spiritual successor. 8. Yamaha CS-80 Everything about the CS-80 was big. Physically, it was a massive beast, weighing in at over 200lbs. It has a huge, garish front-panel, festooned with rocker buttons, sliders and the single best ribbon controller ever devised. Eight voices of polyphony, aftertouch and distinct ring modulation were among the features on offer when the CS-80 was released in 1976. Quirky and cantankerous, it was possessed of a sort of pseudo-programmability in the form of a trap door that hid most of a miniature front panel and could be set up before your show. If you dared take the thing to a gig, that is. It was also hugely unstable, with analogue oscillators that drifted at every opportunity. Too hot? Too cold? Bang out of tune. Too humid? Forget it. Need to move it? Nope. The mere act of tipping it on end to wheel it about on its casters would throw it out of whack. If you were one of the lucky few who had a stable CS-80 (or could afford to hire in for the intimidating calibration process), you would have been able to avail yourself of a device capable of unparalleled expression. The CS-80 felt like a real instrument. It could be made to bend to your mood and will. It responded beautifully to aftertouch. The CS-80 could scream like a banshee, cry plaintively, or tap out a pattern as delicate as rain on a stained glass window. We've recently seen one going for over 10,000 smackers and you know what? The buyer is going to get their money's worth. Emulations: The Deckard's Dream MK2 is undoubtedly inspired by the CS-80, and Yamaha has indicated that it may be thinking of revisiting the instrument in some form. Inevitably, there's also been talk of a Behringer clone. On the software side, look no further than Arturia's CS-80 V. 7. Korg Wavestation To understand the pull of the Wavestation, you have to take yourself back to 1990. Analogue was dead and FM was on life-support. Sample-playback instruments had taken hold and the biggest sellers of the day were seen as little more than glorified organs, capable of calling up a reasonably convincing sampled ensemble for the Holiday Inn crowd: "Thank you ladies and gents, I'll be here all week. Don't forget to tip your waitresses". It was into this very environment that Korg dared to release the Wavestation. The product of a US-based team of designers rescued from the now-defunct Sequential Circuits, the Wavestation shared the vector synthesis of Sequential's Prophet-VS. The onboard samples were of a decidedly electronic nature, with none of the usual drum kits, pianos or nylon guitars (for the moment, anyhow). They could be stacked, layered, filtered and processed by a still-impressive selection of effects. Better still, you could crossfade and blend your sounds with the joystick mounted above the pitch and mod wheels. That might have been enough to shake synthesists out of their doldrums, but it was the inclusion of wavesequencing that tipped the scales. The Wavestation gave users the ability to string any of the onboard waveforms together in a row with individual control over pitch, volume, and crossfade time. Using this technology, it was a breeze to fashion sounds that shifted and evolved over time. Complex rhythmic passages could likewise be created. It was, and is, brilliant, though it is seen as being difficult to program. Fortunately, there are software editors available for the thing even to this day, not to mention an utterly convincing virtual incarnation from Korg itself. Emulations: Korg has released both desktop and iOS versions of the Wavestation, while the Wavestate hardware synth nails its sound while being very much a new instrument. 6. Yamaha DX7 In this age of retro-fetishism, it can be hard to believe that musicians might once have grown weary of analogue synthesizers. Yet, as the 1980s kicked into gear, that is precisely the mood that had settled into the electronic music industry. After over a decade of nothin' but analogue, musicians were looking for that Next Big Thing, and a mega-corporation just happened to have been working on exactly that. It was dubbed the DX7 and it shook the entire music world upon its release in 1983. Offering a then-staggering 16 voices of polyphony, a full-sized, velocity and aftertouch capable keyboard, the DX7 was different on the outside as well as under the hood. You see, the DX7 was the first mass-produced instrument to make use of FM synthesis, a technique devised by John Chowning at Stanford and licensed by Yamaha. Unlike the familiar analogue-style FM seen on a few semi-modular instruments, Yamaha's variant of FM was no mere effect; it was the core of the instrument's architecture, and it left some old hands scratching their heads. In fact, the DX7 quickly earned FM synthesis a somewhat undeserved reputation for being difficult to program, giving birth almost single-handedly to the third-party sound design industry in the process. Truth be told, FM isn't too difficult to fathom; it simply wasn't much fun to patch one parameter at a time and with very little visual feedback. For better or worse, the DX7 also ushered in the era of menu-driven synthesis, thanks to its spartan front panel and diminutive display. Yet those who programmed the thing discovered a wealth of new and exiting timbres. The DX7 could be cold, clear and crystalline. It was capable of crisp percussive timbres and hard-as-nails basses. The sounds could be quite lively, too, if you were one of the few who bothered to employ the many real-time controllers, including the much-underused breath control input. Most users, however, contented themselves with the numerous presets. From the now-famous electric pianos to the overused harmonica (!), the DX7 quickly became ubiquitous, selling in numbers that had been heretofore unheard of for a synthesizer. It's easy to slag it off today, but it was a breath of fresh air back in '83, and revitalised (and to an extent commercialised) the synthesizer industry. Emulations: Yamaha has the cute Reface DX, while Korg offers the even dinkier Volca FM. If you want a plugin, Arturia has obliged once again with the DX7 V, and there's also Native Instruments' evergreen FM8. Penny-pinchers should try the free Dexed on PC and Mac or AudioKit's FM Player 2, a DX synth for iPad. 5. ARP 2600 If the Minimoog was designed to simplify modular synthesis for mass consumption, then the ARP 2600 was created to haul the whole kit and caboodle into the hands of performing musicians. Rather than limit the options with a written-in-stone signal path as Moog did, the 2600 presented a fully patchable instrument in a fairly compact package. Offering three oscillators, noise, filter, ring mod and reverb, the 2600's fixed signal path could be defeated by patching cables into just about any point in the instrument's architecture. This meant that it was as complex as you needed it to be. Respectably complex patches could be created without plugging in a single cable, but once you chose to do so, the sky was the limit. We've heard 2600s producing everything from pseudo sequences to full on drum beats, complete with swing. The 2600 was given a leg up by its stable oscillators, and early models benefited from a filter that was all-too-similar to Moog's (at least as far as Moog's lawyers were concerned). The 2600 went through a number of revisions over the years, from its initial blue metal incarnation through the more numerous tolex-encased units to the final gaudy black and orange jobs of the early 1980s. ARP 2600s are trading for silly prices these days. Units that were given away for pennies are selling for many thousands of dollars on the used market. Be careful, though: the earliest models are hard to repair, thanks to ARPs habit of encasing the circuits in epoxy. Emulations: If you can get hold of one and have the money, you can't beat Korg's ARP 2600 FS (here's hoping for a mini version at some point) and Behringer has its own take on the synth in the works. Arturia has given it the treatment in plugin form. Click the link below to read more on the 10 greatest synthesizers of all time. Source: Facts on the Greatest Synthesizers of all Time | Wikipedia - Synthesizer
  14. What's the Word? - EUREKA pronunciation: [yoo-REE-kə] Part of speech: exclamation Origin: Greek, early 17th century Meaning: 1. A cry of joy or satisfaction when one finds or discovers something. 2. Marked by usually sudden triumphant discovery. Example: "When Seth solved the complicated problem, he cried out “Eureka!”" "Maria had a eureka moment that made the rest of her day much easier." About Eureka This word comes from the Greek “heurēka,” meaning “I have found it,” originally from “heuriskein,” or “find.” Legend has it that Archimedes said this when he discovered a method of determining the purity of gold. Did You Know? Eureka is also a port city located on northern California’s Humboldt Bay. The area was settled in the 1850s to provide a convenient alternative route to supply miners on the network of rivers where gold was discovered during the Gold Rush. “Eureka” (which originally translated to "I have found it!") is also the California state motto.
  15. Fact of the Day - PETS Did you know... that a pet, or companion animal, is an animal kept primarily for a person's company or entertainment rather than as a working animal, livestock or a laboratory animal. Popular pets are often considered to have attractive appearances, intelligence and relatable personalities, but some pets may be taken in on an altruistic basis (such as a stray animal) and accepted by the owner regardless of these characteristics. Two of the most popular pets are dogs and cats; the technical term for a cat lover is an ailurophile and a dog lover a cynophile. Other animals commonly kept include: rabbits; ferrets; pigs; rodents, such as gerbils, hamsters, chinchillas, rats, mice, and guinea pigs; avian pets, such as parrots, passerines and fowls; reptile pets, such as turtles, alligators, crocodiles, lizards, and snakes; aquatic pets, such as fish, freshwater and saltwater snails, amphibians like frogs and salamanders; and arthropod pets, such as tarantulas and hermit crabs. Small pets may be grouped together as pocket pets, while the equine and bovine group include the largest companion animals. (Wikipedia) Fun Facts About Pets Saving & Tips | April 2020 Here at Direct Auto, we love our pets. If you’re anything like us, it’s safe to say every month is National Pet Month – but since the celebration is officially observed every May, we’ve decided to share some fun facts about pets that will make you love your pet even more. (As if you needed another reason to love them!) Keep reading for fun facts about dogs, cats, and every critter in between – plus, funny animal GIFs that will make you LOL. 1. Dogs can tell time. OK, so your pup can’t quite look at a clock and tell the time, but they can sense the time. Humans have constructed artificial measures of time, like seconds, minutes, and hours, and use episodic memory to recall past events and look ahead to future ones. Dogs may not be able to interpret time this way, but that doesn’t mean they’re always living in the present moment. It’s believed that dogs can be trained to perceive time and anticipate future events based on past experiences. According to research, there may be a canine version of episodic memory. Canine episodic memory could be the reason why your pup is standing at the door to go for a walk before you even take the leash out, sitting by the window waiting for you to come home from work, or extra excited to see you after a long absence. 2. Cats don’t meow at each other. Did you know cats don’t actually meow at each other? That’s right – it’s a communication tool reserved exclusively for humans. According to a Cornell University study, cats are skilled at modifying their vocalizations based on the situation. For example, researchers suggest that the 7 a.m. “feed me” meow is longer and lower in frequency compared to the shorter, equal parts high and low frequency “adopt me” meow. So, if you’ve ever felt like you understood what your cat was saying, now you know – you really do! 3. Goldfish have a longer life expectancy than you think. Poor goldfish. They’re known for their ultra-short lifespan, but according to National Geographic, the average life expectancy for a goldfish in the wild is 41 years! They can live up to 10 years on average in captivity, and up to 30 years in a pond. Some of the oldest goldfish ever recorded came from the United Kingdom. The oldest captive goldfish ever recorded, Tish, was won at a fair in the U.K. in 1956 and died in 1999 at the ripe old goldfish age of 43! Tish beat the record for the previous titleholder Fred, another U.K. goldfish that died in 1980 at age 41. Perhaps the fountain of youth is across the pond. 4. Your dog’s feet really do smell like Fritos. Ever notice how Fido’s feet smell like Fritos? That signature stink is a byproduct of the natural bacteria found of a dog’s feet: Proteus bacteria, known for producing a sweet, corn tortilla smell, and Pseudomonas bacteria, which give off a slightly sweeter, popcorn-like odor. These bacteria make their way from soil into the crevices of your pooch’s paws, and the smell is perfectly normal. Sometimes, however, it can indicate infection. If you notice your dog is excessively licking their feet, has greasy paws, or has inflammation in between their toes, you might want to take them to the vet. 5. Dogs lick their feet to help them remember. While you should be concerned about excessive licking, it’s perfectly normal for your dog to lick their paws. Not only is it your furry friend’s way of self-cleaning, but it’s also a way for them to remember where they’ve been throughout the day. How cute is that? 6. Cat whiskers aren’t just for cuteness. Why do cats have whiskers? It turns out they don’t just look cute – they serve a purpose! Your cat’s whiskers (vibrissae) are more deeply embedded in their body than their topcoat. Whiskers contain a sensory organ called a proprioceptor, which is constantly communicating information about their surroundings to their muscular and nervous systems. Cats use their whiskers to judge distance and space, which is why they can jump so gracefully, and they can sense even the slightest change in their environment. Want to know how your cat is feeling? Just take a look at their whiskers. Are they straight and still? Your cat’s calm, cool, and collected. Pushed forward? Your cat’s curious! Pushed back? You’ve got a scaredy-cat! Trimming or cutting off your cat’s whiskers is a huge no-no. It’s like putting a blindfold on a human. Without whiskers, your cat will feel disoriented and scared. 7. Hamsters’ cheeks are seriously huge. Anyone who’s had a pet hamster knows these adorable little rodents can fit an alarming amount of stuff in their chubby cheeks, and there’s an anatomical reason why. The BBC x-rayed a little critter eating for its Pets – Wild at Heart series and found that hamsters’ cheek pouches extend all the way down to their hips! 8. Geckos have superpowered tails. Did you know there are roughly 1,500 species of geckos? Though their size and shape vary, there are a few things all geckos have in common, like their superpowered tails! A gecko’s tail stores fat that it can use for energy when food is scarce. But that’s not all: a gecko also has pre-formed score lines in its tail that allow it to snap off as a predator response! Don’t worry – these little critters (like other amphibians) have evolved to regenerate their tails like it never happened. 9. Dogs have unique nose prints. Just like humans have unique fingerprints, every dog has a unique nose print! According to the Calgary Humane Society, the Canadian Kennel Club has accepted nose prints as a form of dog identification since 1938. Megvii, an artificial intelligence startup that works with facial recognition software, recently developed software that can identify dogs based on their noses. Using AI-driven pattern recognition, the technology captures and classifies nose print patterns using pics of your pooch’s snout. In the future, we could see nasal recognition technology play a role in urban pet management and pet insurance. 10. Guinea pigs aren’t actually from Guinea. Guinea pigs are native to the Andean Mountain region in South America. The Incas first domesticated Guinea pigs more than 3,000 years ago. Spanish conquistadors took Guinea pigs from South America to Europe toward the end of the 16th century, where they became popular pets in Elizabethan society. 11. Your dog is staring at you because they love you. Belly rubs, long walks, and tasty treats – there are a lot of ways we show our dogs how much we love them. But how can you tell if they feel the same way? Have you ever noticed your dog staring at you? According to dog expert Brian Hare, when your dog stares into your soul eyes, it’s their way of hugging you with their eyes. That’s because when your dog looks at you, the brain hormone oxytocin is released – the same hormone that helps mothers bond with their newborn babies. Oxytocin is released in both dogs and humans when they touch, play, or look into each other’s eyes. See for yourself: try to maintain eye contact with your furever friend throughout the day and see how they respond! 12. Americans adopt 3.2 million shelter animals every year. Luckily, fewer animals are entering shelters. According to the ASPCA, 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters every year, down from 7.2 million annually in 2011. The most significant decline was in dogs, down from 3.9 million to 3.3 million. Today, the ASPCA estimates that Americans adopt approximately 3.2 million shelter pets each year. That’s a lot of love! Source: Wikipedia - Pet | Fun Pet facts
  16. What's the Word? - PRESCIENT pronunciation: [PRESH-ənt] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, early 17th century Meaning: 1. Having or showing knowledge of events before they take place: Example: "The psychic gave a prescient warning of things to come." "No one understood how prescient the press statement was until a few days later." About Prescient This word comes from the Latin “praescient-,” meaning “knowing beforehand.” This stems from the verb “praescire” — “prae” meaning “before” and “scire” meaning “know.” Did You Know? Jeane Dixon, a self-proclaimed psychic, was admired by many for her supposed prescience. She reportedly predicted John F. Kennedy’s assassination, that one pope would be harmed, and another would be assassinated during the twentieth century, among other predictions. Richard Nixon followed her predictions via his secretary, and Dixon was one of several astrologers Nancy Reagan consulted. However, Temple University mathematician John Allen Paulos coined “the Jeane Dixon effect,” which outlines a penchant for highlighting a few correct predictions while ignoring a larger amount of incorrect ones.
  17. Fact of the Day - TRIPLE CROWN Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner, at the 1919 Preakness Stakes Did you know... that the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, often shortened to Triple Crown, is a series of horse races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment in Thoroughbred racing. The term originated in mid-19th-century England and nations where Thoroughbred racing is popular each have their own Triple Crown series. In the United States, the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, commonly known as the Triple Crown, is a series of horse races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds, consisting of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. The three races were inaugurated in different years, the last being the Kentucky Derby in 1875. The Triple Crown Trophy, commissioned in 1950 but awarded to all previous winners as well as those after 1950, is awarded to a Triple Crown winner. The races are traditionally run in May and early June of each year, although global events have resulted in schedule adjustments, such as in 1945 and 2020. The first winner of all three Triple Crown races was Sir Barton in 1919. Some journalists began using the term Triple Crown to refer to the three races as early as 1923, but it was not until Gallant Fox won the three events in 1930 that Charles Hatton of the Daily Racing Form put the term into common use. (Wikipedia) (Wiki) Horse Racing’s Triple Crown: 10 Fast Facts by CHRISTOPHER KLEIN | JUN 8, 2012 | UPDATED:JUN 5, 2019 Secretariat and jockey Ron Turcotte near victory during the Belmont Stakes on June 9, 1973. 1. Sir Barton was the first Triple Crown winner in 1919. Even though he was the grandson of 1893 English Triple Crown winner Isinglass, Sir Barton was a most unlikely thoroughbred to become the first to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont. Sir Barton was entered in the 1919 Kentucky Derby to set the pace for his more famous stable mate, Billy Kelly, but he ended up winning the Run for the Roses (nickname for the Kentucky Derby) by five lengths. Just four days later in Baltimore, Sir Barton won the Preakness. (Present-day thoroughbreds have two weeks between the two races.) On June 11, 1919, the equine set an American record in defeating two other horses in the Belmont. It wasn’t until the 1930s, however, that the sweep of the three races was widely referred to as the “Triple Crown.” 2. There have been 13 Triple Crown winners. Thirty horses have won the first two legs of the Triple Crown, but 19 of them failed to win the Belmont. In addition to Sir Barton, the other Triple Crown winners have been Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015) and Justify (2018). 3. The longest gap in Triple Crown winners was 35 years. After Affirmed's Triple Crown in 1978, the longest drought in Triple Crown history began in 1979 with Spectacular Bid's failed Triple Crown attempt at the Belmont Stakes, and lasted until American Pharoah won in 2015. There were plenty of near misses, however. Between 1979 and 2014 13 horses, including I’ll Have Another, won both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but not the Belmont Stakes. 4. There were seven years in which it was impossible to have a Triple Crown winner. Winning a Triple Crown is a tough enough task, but there were years when it was simply impossible. In 1890, the Belmont and the Preakness were held on the same day, while in 1917 and 1922 the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness coincided on the calendar. The Preakness was not run between 1891 and 1893, while the Belmont was cancelled in 1911 and 1912 after New York State passed anti-gambling laws that failed to exempt horse racing. (While horse racing was suspended at Belmont Park, the Wright Brothers brought airplane races to the track for a 10-day event in October 1910. The highlight was a race to the Statue of Liberty, which drew a crowd of 150,000 to watch the start and finish.) 5. No filly has ever won the Triple Crown. The filly Ruthless won the very first Triple Crown race, the 1867 Belmont. Only two female thoroughbreds have captured the Belmont since, however. (In fact, only 22 fillies have ever competed in the event.) Three fillies have won the Kentucky Derby, and five, the most recent being Rachel Alexandra in 2009, have won the Preakness. 6. No horse was faster than Secretariat. On June 9, 1973, Secretariat didn’t just become the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown—he may also have blazed the single greatest performance in horse racing history. After winning the Kentucky Derby in a record time that still stands, “Big Red,” as he was known, set a world record for a mile-and-a-half distance on a dirt track at 2 minutes, 24 seconds. The overwhelming favorite, at 1-10 odds, crossed Belmont’s finish line an unfathomable 31 lengths in front of the field. Secretariat was such a star that he was the only non-human on ESPN’s 100 Greatest Athletes of the Twentieth Century. 7. African-American jockeys dominated the early history of the Triple Crown. While there are few African-American jockeys in horse racing today, that was not the case in the early years of the Triple Crown races. In the inaugural Kentucky Derby in 1875, 13 of the 15 jockeys—including Oliver Lewis, who rode Aristides to victory—were black. Fifteen of the first 28 Derby-winning jockeys were African-Americans, including three-time victor Isaac Murphy. During the course of the 1890s, Willie Simms became the only black rider to win all three of the Triple Crown races. 8. The Belmont Stakes is the oldest and longest Triple Crown event. New York banker August Belmont established the Belmont Stakes, which was first run at Jerome Park in the present-day Bronx, in 1867. The race predates the Preakness (first run in 1873) and the Kentucky Derby (first run in 1875). At a distance of a mile and a half, it is the longest of the three races. 9. On five occasions, betting on the Belmont Stakes was as easy as flipping a coin. While a field of 12 will race in the 2012 Belmont, there were five times when the race had only two horses in the field: 1887, 1888, 1892, 1910 and 1920. 10. The Belmont Stakes favors inside-post horses and favorites. Looking to put a sawbuck or two on the Belmont? Here’s some history. Since 1905, the most winners, 23, have come out of the No. 1 post. Street Life will have the inside post for the 2012 Belmont. Also, the race often goes to form. Of the 143 previous running' of the Belmont, the betting favorite has won 61 times, nearly 42 percent of the races. Source: Wikipedia - Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing (United States) | Wiki - Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing | Horse Racing's Triple Crown Fast Facts
  18. What's the Word? - TONIC pronunciation: [TAH-nik] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, mid 17th century Meaning: 1. Something with an invigorating effect. 2. The first note in a scale which, in conventional harmony, provides the keynote of a piece of music. Example: "Layla knew she needed to drink the tonic even though it tasted bitter." "The tonic in his original composition was a very high note." About Tonic This word comes from the French “tonique” by way of the Greek “tonikos,” meaning “of or for stretching.” Did You Know? “Tonic” can also be used as an adjective in several different ways. In phonetics, a tonic is “denoting or relating to the syllable within a tone group that has greatest prominence, because it carries the main change of pitch.” And in physiology, it means “relating to, denoting, or producing continuous muscular contraction.”
  19. Fact of the Day - KITES Did you know... that A kite is a tethered heavier-than-air or lighter-than-air craft with wing surfaces that react against the air to create lift and drag forces. A kite consists of wings, tethers and anchors. Kites often have a bridle and tail to guide the face of the kite so the wind can lift it. (Wikipedia) THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT KITES by Alexandra Simon | April 20, 2016 What do you know about kites? Well, April is National Kite Flying Month, so to celebrate, we’re going to learn some things people might not know about kites. The image that people probably envision when they think about kites is most likely a lightweight object, typically shaped like a diamond (or triangle), that is flown high in the air by a string attached to it. I have known this description of kites since childhood, and from what I knew then, it was a popular item for outdoor leisure activity—and one of the quadrilaterals I learned in math (hey geometry). Today when I think of kites, I am reminded of kite sightings I see in spring near a beach in my area. But there is so much more than what people usually know about kites. The origin of kites dates back some thousands of years ago in Asia. It has a cultural significance in countries like China and India, and other parts of Southeast Asia. And they aren’t just shaped like diamonds—kites can come in various shapes and sizes. In honor of National Kite Month, here are several things to know about this popular aerial object: 1. KITES COME IN A VARIETY OF LOOKS Earlier I mentioned the common look associated with kites was typically something similar to a diamond shape. Many kites you can purchase will have that shape or a triangular one. But one thing to know about kites is that they can be designed to take the shape of a face, an animal, a flower, mythical creatures, or anything really. Dragon kites are some of the most realistic looking kites there are. And even cooler, you can make your own with just a hanger, glue, some construction paper and string. Tap into your creative capabilities and learn to make a kite. 2. THEY ARE NATIVE TO CHINA Did you know about kites and their role in Chinese history? Although many countries have kites as part of their culture, historians say they were invented in China around 200 B.C. Evidence of this is that one of the first mentions of kites is in Chinese folklore. It is a tale about a Chinese general named Han Hsin who had his small army create a kite to measure the distance to attack an Emperor. That emperor would be conquered, and the successors would rule China by what we now know as the Han Dynasty. The Chinese went on to introduce the kite to surrounding countries India, Japan and Korea, and regions like the Pacific Islands. 3. THEY ARE SOMETIMES USED IN WAR Who knew that about kites? Aerial warfare has quite a significant place in history, especially in both World Wars. Before planes were invented, yet alone used for war, kites were the first air devices used to drop bombs on enemies. They were also used to communicate and send messages via leaflets. Then later into the 19th century, kites would be used to lift up a soldier for surveillance of their enemies and contracting intelligence. 4. KITES CAN BE USED IN SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS History says kites were introduced to the America in the mid-1700’s. One of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, famously flew a kite during a thunderstorm to demonstrate an experiment about electricity and nature in 1752. This is the first recorded kite flying in American history, and Franklin proved that lightning carries electricity. After this experiment, he would invent the lightning rod. What a cool thing to know about kites—it aided one of the world’s best inventors in a fascinating discovery! 5. KITES ARE INVOLVED IN FESTIVALS Portsmouth There are kite festivals all around the world. At many of them, participants come to watch, fly, and compete in contests and other kite-related activities. In a common kite contest, kites are judged based on their size (the biggest or smallest kite), which kite can fly at the highest angle, and kite-racing, among many other competitions. In the U.S., you can probably find kite festivals hosted in your city. One of the most popular kite fests in the country is the Washington State International Kite Festival. It is held in mid-August every year in Long Beach, Washington for a week. Outside of the U.S., the largest kite festivals in the world are held in China, India, Australia, and England. The International Kite Flying Festival in India boasts some of the most colorful, creative, and stylish kites in the annual fest which is held in January. China also holds a host of kite festivals. The biggest and most popular one is Weifang International Kite Festival, at which some of the best kites in China appear. Have some free time? Many kite festivals are free, and it might be something you’d be interested in doing this summer. Or if you plan on traveling abroad to Asia and want an event to attend, add a kite festival to your bucket list. 6. DID YOU KNOW ABOUT KITES AND SPORTS? Aside from flying, one of the many activities to do with a kite is kite fighting. How do you fight with kites, you wonder? In the game, a kite flyer’s objective is to cut the other opponent’s kite or string with their own kite. The goal is to be the only flying kite in the end. It is a traditional sport mostly played in South and Central Asia. An interesting fact to know about kites and this sport—this fun game was once one of the many things banned by the Taliban during their rule in Afghanistan. It was only after the regime lost power did Afghans start flying kites again. Before reading this, you probably thought kites were a children’s toy. However, the kite has an extensive and interesting history in war, communication, competition, and leisure. What didn’t you know about kites, that you know now? Check out these other sites about kites Popular Kites Festival of the World Kite History History of Kites Chinese Kites — History and Culture Source: Wikipedia - Kite | Some Brief Facts About Kites
  20. What's the Word? - SEDULOUS pronunciation: [SEH-jəl-əs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, mid 16th century Meaning: 1. (Of a person or action) showing dedication and diligence. Example: "Marnie’s sedulous nature was a good fit for medical research." "Because Jeremy is sedulous, he caught the mistake right away." About Sedulous This word stems from the Latin “sedulus,” meaning “zealous.” Did You Know? Even though the word “sedulous” offers a positive connotation of widely cherished values in society, it’s not a commonly used word. Words like “diligent” are used much more frequently to describe hardworking, dedicated individuals.
  21. Fact of the Day - BLUE JAY Did you know.... that the blue jay is a passerine bird in the family Corvidae, native to eastern North America. It lives in most of the eastern and central United States; eastern populations may be migratory. Resident populations are also found in Newfoundland, Canada; breeding populations are found across southern Canada. It breeds in both deciduous and coniferous forests, and is common in residential areas. It is predominantly blue, with a white chest and underparts, and a blue crest; it has a black, U-shaped collar around its neck and a black border behind the crest. Males and females are similar in size and plumage, and plumage does not vary throughout the year. Four subspecies have been recognized. (Wikipedia) Interesting Facts About Blue jays by JustFunFacts | 2017 The blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) is a songbird that belongs to the family Corvidae. They are native to forests of the eastern United States. Blue jays live in deciduous, coniferous and mixed forests throughout the eastern and central areas of the United States, and southern Canada. They also can be found in parks and suburban residential areas, and are frequent guests of backyard bird feeders. Blue jays have been recorded to live for more than 26 years in captivity and one wild jay was found to have been around 17 and a half years old. However, the average lifespan is 7 years in the wild. The blue jay measures 22–30 cm (9–12 inches) from bill to tail and weighs 70–100 g (2.5–3.5 oz), with a wingspan of 34–43 cm (13–17 in). There is a pronounced crest on the head, a crown of feathers, which may be raised or lowered according to the bird’s mood. When the crest is raised, making a prominent peak, the bird is excited, surprised, or aggressive. If the jay is frightened, the crest bristled out in all directions. If the bird is relaxed, the crest is laid flat on the head. Its plumage is lavender-blue to mid-blue in the crest, back, wings, and tail. Their face is typically white, and they have an off-white underbelly. They have a black-collared neck, and the black extends down the sides of their heads – their bill, legs, and eyes are also all black. The main wing and tail feathers are deep with black, sky-blue and white. Males and females are almost identical, but the male is slightly larger. As with most other blue-hued birds, the blue jay’s coloration is not derived from pigments but is the result of light interference due to the internal structure of the feathers; if a blue feather is crushed, the blue disappears because the structure is destroyed. The molting of the feathers all over the body and wings for the blue jay lasts about six weeks, between June and July. During this process the skin is covered, but the coating is not very thick. Blue jays are omnivores. They eats fruits and other berries, acorns, seeds, nuts, insects, mice, frogs and rarely eggs and nestlings. When a blue jay eats nuts, it holds the nut with its feet and cracks it open with its bill. The blue jay is a seed spreader. It often buries food to eat later. Some seeds and nuts are never recovered and grow into trees and other plants! The blue jay is very aggressive and territorial. Groups of blue jays often attack intruders and predators. They often drive other birds away from bird feeders. The blue jay is a moderately slow flier (roughly 32–40 km/h (20–25 mph)) when unprovoked. It flies with body and tail held level, with slow wing beats. Due to its slow flying speeds, this species makes easy prey for hawks and owls when flying in open areas. Blue jays are very vocal birds. They can make a large variety of sounds. The common call is a harsh, jeering jaay or jay-jay, for which it is named. They are known to mimic the sound of hawks – these calls inform other jays that a hawk is present, or may be used to deceive other species into believing a hawk is present. They may also learn to mimic human speech. They are fairly social and are typically found in pairs or in family groups or small flocks. It is a partially migratory bird, particularly in the northern parts of its range. It migrates during the daytime and join in large flocks of up to 250 birds to make the long journey. Much about their migratory behavior remains a mystery. Some are present throughout winter in all parts of their range. Some individual jays migrate south one year, stay north the next winter, and then migrate south again the next year. To date, no one has concretely worked out why they migrate when they do. Blue jays form long-lasting, monogamous pair bonds. These bonds usually last until one of the pair dies. The mating season begins in mid-March, peaks in mid-April to May, and extends into July. The male and female both help to build the nest and the male remains with the female to feed her throughout courtship and incubation of the eggs. There are usually between 3 and 6 (averaging 4 or 5) eggs laid and incubated over 16–18 days. The young fledge usually between 17–21 days after hatching. Blue jays will actively defend their nests against predators. Both parents will attack and chase hawks, falcons, raccoons, cats, snakes, squirrels, and even humans away from their nests. After the juveniles fledge, the family travels and forages together until early fall, when the young birds disperse to avoid competition for food during the winter. Blue jay populations are on the rise, and they are often very common where they occur. In old African American folklore of the southern United States, the blue jay was held to be a servant of the Devil, and “was not encountered on a Friday as he was fetching sticks down to Hell; furthermore, he was so happy and chirpy on a Saturday as he was relieved to return from Hell”. The blue jay was adopted as the team symbol of the Toronto Blue Jays Major League Baseball team, as well as some of their minor league affiliates. Their mascot is Ace, also a blue jay. Source: Wikipedia - Blue jay | Facts About Blue jays
  22. What's the Word? - GUFFAW pronunciation: [ɡə-FAW] Part of speech: noun Origin: Scottish, early 18th century Meaning: 1. A loud and boisterous laugh. Example: "Kevin let out a loud, spontaneous guffaw." "The comedian let out a guffaw at his own joke." About Guffaw This word originated in Scotland and was likely imitative of the sound of coarse laughter. Did You Know? “Guffaw” can also be used as an intransitive verb. For instance, “The group guffawed loudly.” Or “When she guffaws, it always makes him smile.”
  23. Fact of the Day - MISTAKES IN HISTORY Did you know.... that History is shaped by mistakes. Some lead to monumental leaps forward in human understanding. Most do not. Of those in the second category, many are simply embarrassing, and result in a good bar story. Meanwhile, other have simply disastrous consequences. (Rachel Seigel) “Some of the best lessons we ever learn are learned from past mistakes. The error of the past is the wisdom and success of the future” — Dale Turner Biggest Mistakes in History by Evan Bartlett | Louis Dor | April 2016 This week, news broke that a man deleted his entire company with one mistaken piece of code. Hosting provider Marco Marsala, ran the destructive command "rm -rf”, a piece of code which will delete everything it is told to, ignoring any warnings that come when deleting files. The code deleted everything on Mr Marsala’s computer, including all his customer websites and all the files stored on there - essentially his entire company. As blunders go, it’s a pretty large one - but it’s probably not the biggest of all time - that honour must surely go to one of the examples below. 1. Turning down JK Rowling Twelve publishing houses rejected J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter manuscript before Bloomsbury finally took her on following the advice of the company chairman's eight-year-old daughter Alice. The books were subsequently translated into over 60 languages and have earned Rowling a reported $1bn (£670m). 2. Throwing away that Bitcoin portfolio James Howells bought 7,500 Bitcoins in 2009 when their value was next to nothing. By 2013, one Bitcoin was worth £613, giving the Welshman a portfolio worth £4.5m. The only trouble? He'd left his hard drive tucked away in a drawer for years and then thrown it away without a minute's thought. After realising his mistake, he made a hopeful trip to his local landfill site where he was told the hard drive could be at any spot under around 5ft of rubbish. 3. Not buying Google for $1m Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin approached Excite CEO George Bell in 1999, saying they were looking to sell the search engine for around $1m. With Bell not keen on the initial offering, the pair went down to $750,000 in a bid to tempt him. He still rejected. Today, Google is valued at around $365bn. Oops. 4. Not shooting Hitler In 1914, British soldier Henry Tandey, who went on to become the most decorated private in the First World War, came across an injured and unarmed Lance Corporal Adolf Hitler in a ditch, but reportedly decided not to shoot him in cold blood (although there is some dispute over the accuracy of this story). 5. Selling 610,000 shares instead of one In 2005, a Japanese trader cost his company £190m after a so-called "fat finger" trade in which he sold 610,000 shares for 1 yen (0.5p) instead of selling one share at 610,000 yen as he was supposed to. Despite repeated requests from Mizuho Securities to cancel the trade, the Tokyo Stock Exchange refused to comply and the company was forced to buy back the shares at an inflated cost. 6. Angering Genghis Khan Genghis Khan, the ruler of the Mongol empire had sought to open diplomatic and trade links with Ala ad-Din Muhammad, Shah of the neighbouring Khwarezmid empire (modern day Iraq/Iran) in the 13th century. However, after the offer was rejected and a Mongol diplomat beheaded, Khan reacted furiously, sending in an estimated 200,000 warriors and utterly destroying the empire. 7. Turning down Brian Acton and Jan Koum for a job Facebook turned down programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum at job interviews in 2009. A few years later, Facebook paid $19bn (£11.4bn) for WhatsApp - the company the pair had developed after being rejected. 8. Ordering trains that were too wide The French state railway SNCF spent $15bn on a new fleet of trains this year. Unfortunately, they were too wide for 1,300 station platforms across the country; a problem that will cost and estimated €50m (£36m) to fix. “It’s like ordering a big, new car without checking the width of your garage,” said Emmanuel Grondein, of the SUD-Rail trade union. 9. Signing Brian Poole and the Tremeloes In 1962, record label Decca were looking to sign an up and coming band. They auditioned two young bands at their studios in London, deciding to sign Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. The one they rejected? A four-piece outfit from Liverpool known as The Beatles. 10. Misspelling a company name The British government was sued for £9m after a clerical error inserting a rogue "s" saw the wrong company recorded as being in liquidation. More than 250 people lost their jobs when Companies House mistook a 124-year-old Welsh family business called Taylor and Sons for Taylor and Son - a company that filed for bankruptcy in 2009. 11. Tetraethyl Lead The compound tetraethyllead was first put into petrol in 1922 when American chemist Thomas Midgley Jr. discovered that it helped the fuel burn more slowly and smoothly. However, lead has been known to be harmful to humans for thousands of years. Several workers adding the metal to gasoline in US factories during the early 1920s died, and at one stage Midgley himself took sick leave with lead poisoning. Scientists also later realised that leaded petrol could be linked to brain damage among inner-city children - the fuel additive is now banned around the world. 12. The burning of the library at Alexandria The Library has become a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge, having been one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world before it was burned down - an act attributed to various historical figures such as Julius Caesar, Aurelian and Umar. It didn't send us back to the stone age, but burning irreplaceable knowledge and literature is appallingly short-sighted. 13. The battle of Karánsebes, 1788 The historical accuracy of the accounts that report it are disputed, but 59 years after the date of the battle A. J. Gross-Hoffinger produced an account of the Austrian army fighting a battle against itself, in which 10,000 men were lost. The army supposedly set up camp while the vanguard scouted for the Ottoman Turks, instead finding Tzigani merchants who sold them alcohol. When the remaining infantry found them drinking, but not sharing the alcohol, in-fighting broke out which some military mistook for a Turkish ambush. Source: Factinate - Mistakes in History | Biggest Mistakes in History
  24. What's the Word? - SINOLOGY pronunciation: [sy-NAL-ə-jee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Unknown place of origin, mid-19th century Meaning: 1. The study of Chinese language, history, customs, and politics. Example: "After her trip to Beijing, Svetlana cultivated a fascination with sinology." "Jeremy did some research on sinology to better understand his girlfriend’s Chinese heritage." About Sinology “Sin-” is a word-forming element meaning “Chinese” from the late Latin “Sinæ” (plural) “the Chinese,” from Ptolemaic Greek “Sinai,” from Arabic “Sin,” meaning “China.” “-Logy” is a word-forming element meaning “a speaking, discourse, treatise, doctrine, theory, science” from the Greek “-logia.” Did You Know? Even though sinology refers to the study of China, it is often linked to scholarship that comes from the West. Surprisingly, the French were some of the first to set up sinological academic disciplines within its prestigious academic institutions.
  25. Fact of the Day - FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF Did you know.... that Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a 1986 American teen comedy film written, co-produced, and directed by John Hughes, and co-produced by Tom Jacobson. The film stars Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, a high-school slacker who skips school for a day in Chicago, with Mia Sara and Alan Ruck. Ferris regularly breaks the fourth wall to explain his techniques and inner thoughts. (Wikipedia) Fun Facts About Ferris Bueller's Day Off BY ROGER CORMIER | JUNE 11, 2017 In the face of a looming mid-1980s writers strike, John Hughes presented Paramount executive Ned Tanen with a one-sentence pitch: "I want to do this movie about a kid who takes a day off from school and ... that's all I know so far." Hughes wrote the script in six days, with one day to spare. The result was Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, another classic teen movie set in Hughes’ favorite fictional town of Shermer, Illinois, which was released on June 11, 1986. 1. ANTHONY MICHAEL HALL BELIEVES THAT JOHN HUGHES WANTED HIM TO PLAY FERRIS. Anthony Michael Hall told Vanity Fair that his relationship with the director ended rather abruptly following their work together on Weird Science, and after Hall had begun working with other directors. But he believed that Hughes wrote the roles of Duckie in Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller for him. For his part, Hughes said Broderick was the actor he had in mind when writing the screenplay. Casting directors Janet Hirshenson and Jane Jenkins only seriously considered one other actor for the part: John Cusack. 2. EMILIO ESTEVEZ TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF CAMERON. Instead it went to Alan Ruck, who turned 30 years old shortly after the film's release. 3. MATTHEW BRODERICK AND ALAN RUCK WERE FRIENDS BEFORE SHOOTING. Ruck’s agents convinced producers to let the older actor audition when they pointed out that Ruck and Broderick played two characters who were the same age while performing Biloxi Blues on Broadway (Broderick is about six years younger than Ruck.) The two even shared a trailer on the set of Ferris Bueller; Broderick’s trailer was much bigger than Ruck’s, so Ruck just moved into the star’s place. 4. RUCK’S IMPERSONATION OF SLOANE’S FATHER WAS DESIGNED TO MAKE BRODERICK CRACK. Ruck was doing Broderick’s impression of their Biloxi Blues director Gene Saks, who would at times get “flabbergasted.” As soon as Saks would walk away, Broderick would do an impression of Saks’s rants. 5. MOLLY RINGWALD WANTED TO PLAY SLOANE. Hughes allegedly told Molly Ringwald that the part wasn’t big enough for her. Hughes wanted an older actress to play Ferris’s girlfriend, and was surprised to discover that Mia Sara was only 18 years old. 6. LOVE WAS IN THE AIR. Matthew Broderick and Jennifer Grey (who played Jeanie, Ferris’s sister) got engaged just before the movie's release. Cindy Pickett and Lyman Ward, who played Ferris's parents, met on the set of the movie and eventually got married and had two children. 7. BEN STEIN WAS INITIALLY SUPPOSED TO DO HIS LECTURE OFF-CAMERA. The student extras laughed so hard that Hughes decided to put Ben Stein in front of the camera for his speech on supply-side economics. Stein himself picked the topic after Hughes asked him to speak about something he knew a lot about. Before he became a familiar movie and television presence, Stein—who is also a lawyer—was a speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford. 8. ROBERT SMITH OF THE CURE WROTE A SONG FOR THE ART MUSEUM SCENE THAT WAS NEVER USED. After a disagreement between John Hughes and music supervisor David Anderle, Anderle was taken off the project—and Smith’s instrumental number went with him. 9. HUGHES ALSO MANAGED TO ANNOY PAUL MCCARTNEY. The ex-Beatle complained that the version of “Twist and Shout” in the movie had too much brass in it. 10. BRODERICK COULDN’T DO MOST OF THE CHOREOGRAPHY HE WAS TAUGHT FOR THE PARADE SCENE. Broderick hurt his knee earlier running through the neighbors' backyards. The random shot of the construction worker dancing in the film was an actual construction worker caught by one of Hughes’s cameras dancing along to the fun. Jennifer Grey didn’t want to miss out on the action, even though Jeanie wasn’t in the scene, so she showed up disguised as an autograph hound with a bouffant wig. 11. THERE’S A REASON BEHIND CAMERON'S DETROIT RED WINGS JERSEY. For the first 12 years of his life, John Hughes lived in Grosse Pointe, Michigan and loved the local hockey team. Which is why Cameron wears Detroit gear in a Chicago movie. 12. CHARLIE SHEEN REALLY GOT INTO CHARACTER. He stayed awake for more than two days to achieve his police station look. 13. THE FERRARI WASN'T REAL. Though it was a Ferrari that Ferris and his friends "borrowed" from Cameron's dad, they weren't cruising around in the real thing. Three replicas of a Ferrari 250GT California Spyder manufactured by Modena were used instead. Replica or not, one of them was sold for $235,000 in 2013. 14. THE CUBS GAME THAT FERRIS ATTENDS AND THE ONE ON THE TV AT THE PIZZA PLACE WERE DIFFERENT GAMES. Broderick, Ruck, and Sara attended the September 24, 1985 game between the Montreal Expos and the Cubs. The game being broadcast at the pizza place, where Rooney catches a glimpse of the teens, was the June 5, 1985 Braves/Cubs afternoon matchup (the Braves and Expos wore similar-looking road jerseys that season). In his review of the film, Gene Siskel complained that real Chicago kids prefer to sit in the bleachers. 15. AN EARLY SCREENING OF THE FILM WAS "DISASTROUS." Broderick, Ruck, and Sara saw the movie a few months before its scheduled premiere and didn’t laugh once; they left thinking they had made a bad movie. Paramount executives were similarly unimpressed and concerned when they saw an early cut. Hughes and editor Paul Hirsch then spent two weeks cutting and pasting it into the movie we know (and love) today. Source: Wikipedia - Ferris Bueller's Day Off | Ferris Bueller's Day Off Fun Facts
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