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  1. Fact of the Day - CURSE WORDS Did you know... In 1939, Rhett Butler, played by Clark Gable, ended "Gone With The Wind" with the world's most famous dismissive zinger: "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn." At the time, it was a bit of a shocker, even though the expletive had been uttered a year earlier in "Pygmalion." People just don't swear like they used to. As long ago as 1944, H.L. Mencken, the great observer of American language, sadly noted that cursing had been on the decline since the Civil War, and that while there was still obscenity, "it is all based upon one or two four-letter words and their derivatives, and there is little true profanity in it." Taboos against what we would today consider pretty mild exclamations like "damn!" "hell!" and "Jesus Christ!" led the swearers of years past to come up with creative substitutions that gave them some measure of emotional release while keeping within the bounds of propriety. These substitutions are called "minced oaths," and they've left their mark on our vocabulary. Gosh, gee, golly, dagnammit, darn, drat, gadzooks, zounds, heck, and cripes are all minced oaths that are still around to charm us with their innocent old-timey ring. But there are others you may not have heard of. They could come in handy when you get tired of ho-hum obscenity and want something with a little more profane zing. By Arika Okrent | March 25, 2013 | Updated: Apr 6, 2021 1. Bejabbers! A substitute for "by Jesus!" that is similar to "bejesus!" but jabbier. Bejabbers is an Irish import, along the lines of "faith and begorrah!" Especially good for toe-stubbing. 2. Consarn! A substitute for "damn." From an 1854 Dictionary of Northamptonshire words: "Consarn you! If you don't mind what you're about I'll give it to you!" Slow down and hit both syllables equally hard, and it's like squeezing a stress ball. 3. Dad-Sizzle! A substitute for "goddamn." "Well, dad-sizzle it!" was one way to show you meant business. There were a whole range of "dad" forms, from dadgum to dad-blast, dad-seize, dad-rat, dad-swamp, and many more. 4. Thunderation! A substitute for "damnation," similar to "tarnation" and "botheration." WTF is so tired. Try "What in thunderation?" instead. 5. Great Horn Spoon! Something you can swear by, used in a way similar to "by God!" It seems to have come from seafaring slang, and might refer to the Big Dipper. But you don't need to know the origin to find it useful. Today the strange randomness of the words makes it feel mystically satisfying to shout. 6. 'Snails! A shortening of "by God's nails!" This kind of shortening also gave us "zounds!" (God's wounds), "Gadzooks!" (God's hooks), "strewth!" (God's truth), and "ods bodikins!" (God's little body). 7. Gosh-all-Potomac! This one goes along with the rest of the "gosh all" family: goshamighty, gosh-all-hemlock, gosh all fish-hooks, etc. "Gosh all Potomac" is the earliest one attested in the Dictionary of American English on Historical Principles, and it's about time we brought it back. 8. G. Rover Cripes! One of the minced oaths that approximate the sounds in "Jesus Christ!" it uses all the strategies found elsewhere: the "gee" sound (Gee! Jeepers! Jeez!), the middle name (Jesus H. Particular Christ!), and the "cr" sound (Crikey! Criminy! Cracky! Christmas!). 9. By St. Boogar and all the saints at the backside door of purgatory! There is no St. Boogar—this is a line from Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy, published in 1759. 10. By the double-barrelled jumping jiminetty! It's too bad the tradition of productive, long "by the" swears like this one have fallen out of fashion. You could load enough nonsense on there to really scare your kids into cleaning their rooms. Source: Old-Fashioned Swears to Spice up Your Cussin'
  2. Fact of the Day- NAMED AFTER INTERNATION CITIES Did you know.... Place names in the United States have a variety of influences. Many spots retain their Indigenous names, while some are derived from a European language; others are twists on cities that already existed. (Here’s looking at you, New York). If you’ve ever driven along the interstate and seen a sign directing you to a European capital or ancient civilization, that’s because a handful of American cities enthusiastically adopted the name of another place. Here are the stories behind eight of the most interesting cities in the U.S. that are named after other cities abroad. 1. Melbourne, Florida With palm trees and blue seas all around, you might be forgiven for mistaking this Florida city for its Australian namesake. But it’s not the geographical similarities that led to this city being named after the Melbourne Down Under. The area around the Indian River Lagoon began rapidly developing in the late 19th century, and when a post office became necessary to serve the community, the settlement needed a name. The area’s inhabitants found inspiration in the town’s first postmaster, Cornthwaite John Hector, who had spent many of his formative years in Melbourne, Australia. (However, it wasn’t Hector who proposed calling the settlement Melbourne; a local woman suggested it.) On December 23, 1888, straws were drawn to select a new name — and Melbourne won. Today, this harbor city retains many historic Victorian wooden houses that wouldn’t look out of place in Melbourne, Australia. 2. Athens, Georgia Like its European counterpart, Athens, Georgia, is a center of academia, culture, and the arts. The University of Georgia — the first public land-grant university in the U.S. — was founded here in 1785. After classes began in 1801, a burgeoning city sprang up around campus. In 1806, the city was incorporated, and the Georgian governor at the time, John Milledge, suggested the name Athens, as the Greek capital was home to Europe’s earliest intellectuals, including revered philosophers Plato and Aristotle. Today, the 19th-century Greek Revival buildings in the city center, including the Taylor Grady House, remind visitors of the Parthenon everywhere they look. And, like its Greek counterpart, Athens, Georgia, enjoys a thriving student scene — you can’t miss the music of up-and-coming indie bands emanating from the campus town’s trendy bars and restaurants. 3. Paris, Texas A railroad boom town on the northern edge of the Lone Star State, Paris, Texas, is arguably the most famous of all America’s towns named after the French capital — indeed, locals call it “the second-largest Paris in the world.” But no one is exactly sure why the two cities share a name. Popular belief is that an employee of the town’s founder, George Washington Wright, came up with the idea when the town was incorporated in 1844. The employee, Thomas Poteet, lobbied to call the new town Paris in honor of his French ancestors. But other theories abound, from a local girl winning naming rights in a beauty pageant and choosing Paris, to a group of bored men simply plucking the name out of thin air. Whatever the origins of its name, Paris, Texas, gained fame thanks to the 1984 road movie of the same name. Visit today, and you’ll find old-school trolleys taking tourists around town, particularly to see the 65-foot high replica Eiffel Tower topped with a red Texan hat. (Just in case you weren’t sure which Paris you were in.) 4. Memphis, Tennessee With its neon lights and blues music on every corner, Memphis, Tennessee, feels a world away from its ancient Egyptian namesake. The Tennessee city was built thousands of years after Memphis, Egypt, was abandoned, but both cities have something in common: They were constructed alongside great rivers. It’s not certain why the three men (including future President Andrew Jackson) who founded the Tennessee city named it after the one in Egypt, but perhaps they felt the Mississippi River evoked the spirit of the Nile and the prosperous trading and temple city built on its banks. Modern Memphis is known throughout the world for its music scene. Elvis Presley built Graceland on the city’s outskirts, and Sun Studios, the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, is steps away from Beale Street. While there aren’t many obvious similarities with the ruined city on the banks of the Nile, there is one big homage to its Egyptian connection: the Memphis Pyramid. 5. Boston, Massachusetts As one of the first cities built by English settlers in the U.S., it’s no surprise that Boston’s name comes from a town in England. Established in 1630, just a decade after the Plymouth colony (a name itself taken from the Cornish port the Puritan settlers had departed) was founded, this Massachusetts city was named for Boston, Lincolnshire. Many of the colony’s most prominent early citizens hailed from the English cathedral town — which was a hotbed for religious nonconformism at the time — including the governor and his deputy. It’s estimated that about 250 people left Boston, England, for the shores of the New World in the 1630s (a significant portion of its population). The Puritans of early Boston named the city after their English home, as they hoped to set a shining example of how life could be for their former homeland. It quickly flourished, and trade with Europe soon brought the Massachusetts city wealth and a growing population that now far eclipses that of its namesake. 6. Portland, Maine Maine’s largest city wasn’t always named Portland. It was originally called Casco, a name either derived from the Abenaki Indigenous word aucocisco, meaning “a place of herons,” or the Spanish word for “helmet.” Later, English settlers called their city on the peninsula Falmouth, after a port town in England. However, Falmouth was destroyed during the Revolutionary War, and its survivors built a new city in its place in 1786, naming it Portland after a peninsula on the Jurassic Coast of England. The resemblance between the American town and its English namesake is striking. Both places sit on rocky peninsulas, and both have iconic lighthouses looking out over the Atlantic. Portland, Maine, is also the closest transatlantic port in the U.S. to Europe, so its ties with the continent are strong. 7. Toronto, Ohio Some American cities didn’t need to look too far abroad to find a suitable name. One such example is the city of Toronto, located on the shores of the Ohio River. A respected businessman from Toronto, Ontario, W. F. Dunsbaugh was working in this part of Ohio in the 1880s when the city was named in his honor. Whether it was his own suggestion, or the citizens came up with the idea, is unclear, but it certainly seemed that Toronto, Canada, was, “a place worth emulating,” according to locals at the time. Toronto, Ohio, is perhaps better known by the name on its welcome sign: Gem City. That’s not because of an abundance of precious stones, but rather the many riverboat captains who stopped here to pick up supplies and were so impressed with the variety of wares available that they called it “a gem of a place.” 8. Berlin, Connecticut This charming town just outside of Hartford was originally known as Pagonchawnischage (“the great white oak place”) by the area’s Mattabasset Indigenous peoples and later, bizarrely enough, as the Great Swamp Society by the first ecclesiastical group in the area. When it was incorporated in 1785, the area was renamed Berlin, after the capital of Prussia (now capital of Germany). Although the town has a German name, it takes its Connecticut home to heart. (Quite literally, as it’s located at the geographic center of the state.) Berlin also proudly proclaims to be the “home of the Yankee peddler,” the traveling salesmen who sold mid-19th century Americans everything from nutmeg to hardware. When you’re done admiring the area’s history, explore the verdant woodlands surrounding town or check out neighboring New Britain — another place that searched for identity abroad. Source: The Stories Behind 8 U.S. Places Named After International Cities
  3. What's the Word: DÉMARCHE pronunciation: [dey-MARSH] Part of speech: noun Origin: French, 17th century Meaning: 1. A political step or initiative. Example: "The démarche of President Nixon visiting China in 1972 is remembered for warming U.S.-Chinese relations." "Most politicians have careers full of attempted démarches that never go anywhere, but some are remembered for initiatives that really captured the public’s enthusiasm." About Démarche “Démarche” is based on the French verb “démarcher,” meaning “to take steps.” Did you Know? One of the features of American democracy is the right for citizens to launch their own political démarches. In many other countries, political programs may be presented and approved only by elected officials; however, the U.S. system of initiatives and referendums gives citizens the ability to introduce legislation to ballots for approval by popular vote. Known in different states and districts as “ballot measures,” “ballot questions,” and “propositions,” these popular decisions have led to legislative changes on démarches as wide-ranging as legalizing cannabis, setting the minimum wage, adopting renewable energy, and recalling elected leaders.
  4. Fact of the Day - CELEBRITY INVENTORS Did you know... Not all inventors fit the image of the white-haired, bespectacled eccentric scribbling out notes while surrounded by beeping machines and steaming beakers. Some are gorgeous actors or gifted musicians who achieve fame and fortune in their chosen fields, yet still are motivated to fulfill a need or solve a problem afflicting the public. Here are six such celebrities who found the time between photo shoots, interviews, and the demands of their day jobs to follow their personal passions to the patent office. 1. Marlon Brando He may not have originated the "method acting" technique, but Marlon Brando was an innovator when it came to his enthusiasm for drumming. Late in life, the Oscar winner devoted his energy to developing a conga drum that could be tuned by way of a single lever at the bottom, as opposed to the usual five or six bolts along the top. Although he received four patents prior to his death in 2004, Brando likely needed to put in more work to make his creation a reality; one drum manufacturer interviewed for a 2011 NPR article indicated that the actor's design was practical, but not cost-effective enough for production. 2. Hedy Lamarr During her Hollywood heyday, Hedy Lamarr was known as "the most beautiful woman in the world," a designation that ignored the impressive brain power behind those green eyes. Determined to aid the Allied cause during World War II, Lamarr teamed with composer George Antheil to devise a radio transmission technique that defied enemy disruption efforts by randomly jumping to different frequencies. Although it was initially dismissed by the U.S. Navy, the secret communication system is now recognized as a precursor to the wireless technology that fills our everyday lives. Lamarr also dabbled in more mundane creations, like an improved stoplight and dog collar, and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014. 3. Eddie Van Halen While he is rightly celebrated for dazzling solos for his namesake band, Eddie Van Halen was also a craftsman who constantly sought out ways to improve the guitar-playing experience for himself and others. In 1987, the rocker patented his musical instrument support, a plate that props up a guitar against the player's body and frees the hands to "explore the musical instrument as never before." Van Halen also acquired patents for a tension adjustment mechanism for stringed instruments, the design and implementation of a noise-canceling humbucking pickup, and a guitar peghead. 4. Zeppo Marx The youngest of the Marx Brothers, Herbert "Zeppo" Marx was largely overshadowed as the straight man of the comedic quartet, but he later came into his own as an agent, businessman, and health-minded inventor. His first patent was for a vapor delivery pad for distributing moist heat, intended to replace the inefficient method of dipping towels in hot water to apply to achy body parts. The erstwhile entertainer later received multiple patents related to cardiac monitoring applications, one of which made headlines as the pulse-tracking "heart wristwatch." 5. Jamie Lee Curtis While she'd already achieved stardom by way of roles in films such as Halloween (1978) and Trading Places (1983), Jamie Lee Curtis showed she was just as burdened as the next parent when she patented a new and improved diaper in the late 1980s. The solution was a simple one, as her infant garment came with a front pocket for wipes to eliminate the need to hunt down both items during stressful moments. Although she let the patent expire because of concerns over the product's biodegradability, Curtis continued her pursuit of the perfect diaper with another patent in 2017, this time including a plastic bag to make disposal even more tidy. 6. Bill Nye Best known as the "Science Guy" from his popular 1990s PBS show, Bill Nye has engaged in a wide-ranging career that includes stints as a mechanical engineer, a stand-up comic and yes, an inventor. As befitting his brainy reputation, Nye designed a noise-and-vibration-reducing device called a hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor for use on the Boeing 747 jumbo jet, and he later received patents for his educational lens and digital abacus. More surprising are his patents for a throwing technique trainer, to help budding baseball players, and his toe shoe, to provide additional support for the grueling regimen of a ballerina. Source: Celebrities Who Doubled as Inventors
  5. What's the Word: OPSIGAMY pronunciation: [op-SIH-gə-mee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Greek, 19th century Meaning: 1. Marriage at an old age. Example: "Opsigamy might be on the rise as older people are starting to use dating apps to find new partners later in life." "Opsigamy once raised eyebrows, but it’s much more common now for people to wait to get married until they are older." About Opsigamy “Opsigamy” is formed by combining the ancient Greek “ὀψέ,” or “opsé” (meaning “late”) with the suffix “-gamy,” meaning “marriage.” Did you Know? When using a rare term such as “opsigamy,” getting married later in life sounds out of the ordinary. But in fact, the practice is already common, especially among celebrities. George Clooney was known for years as Hollywood’s most eligible bachelor, but he settled down to marry at 53. Barbra Streisand married her current husband when she was 56, and Harrison Ford married when he was 67. George Takei was even older when he wed his partner of 20 years at the age of 71, almost the moment same-sex marriage became legal in the United States.
  6. Fact of the Day - COLOR GREEN Did you know.... The color green is intimately tied to the human experience. The hue fills our world as the color of nature, and its particular wavelength has a fascinating relationship with our visual sense. The color can represent positive notions (peace and fertility) as well as negative ones (greed or envy). Although it’s considered a secondary color, because it’s a mix of both yellow and blue primary colors, green is maybe the most important hue in the visual spectrum — and these five mind-blowing facts explain why. 1. Human Eyes Are Most Sensitive to the Green Wavelength of Light Electromagnetic radiation comes in a variety of types, including radio waves, gamma rays, and visible light. The human eye can perceive wavelengths around 380 to 740 nanometers (nm), also known as the visual light range. The size of the wavelength determines the color we see: For example, at 400 nm our eyes perceive the color violet (hence the name “ultraviolet” for wavelengths directly under 400 nm), whereas at 700 nm our eyes glimpse red (but can’t see the “infrared” wavelengths just beyond it). In the middle of this spectrum of visible light is the color green, which occupies the range between 520 to 565 nm and peaks at 555 nm. Because this is right in the middle of our visual range, our eyes are particularly sensitive to the color under normal lighting conditions, which means we can more readily differentiate among different shades of green. Scientists have also found that the color green positively affects our mood in part because our visual system doesn’t strain to perceive the color — which allows our nervous system to relax. 2. The Color Green Has Meant Many Things Throughout History Today, the color green is associated with a variety of feelings and social movements. Turning a shade of green can indicate nausea, but you can also become “green” with envy. Green is closely associated with money and capitalism, while also embodying aspects of nature and the environmentalist, or “Green,” movement. However, these cultural definitions have changed over millennia, and have different associations in different parts of the world. For example, in ancient Egypt, green was often linked with both vegetation and death, and Osiris (god of fertility and death) was often depicted as having green skin. These days, green is prevalent throughout the Muslim world — adorning the flags of Muslim-majority nations such as Iran and Saudi Arabia — because it was supposedly the prophet Mohammad’s favorite color. Many African nations also include the color green in their flags to represent the natural wealth of their continent, and Confucius believed green (more specifically jade) represented 11 separate virtues, including benevolence, music, and intelligence. 3. Hollywood Uses Green Screens Because of Human Skin Tones If you’ve seen any big-budget Hollywood film, it probably used some variety of green screen-enabled special effects. In fact, some version of green screen technology, also known as “chroma keying,” has been around since the early days of film. The reason why screens are green is actually pretty simple — human skin is not green. When a camera analyzes chrominance, or color information, it can easily separate green (or blue) from the rest of the shot so that a video backdrop can be inserted. However, the technology isn’t foolproof, as green clothes can blend in with backgrounds. (That’s why meteorologists don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day.) Because of this deficiency, among other reasons, some productions are shifting to high-tech LED panels to recreate otherworldly locations. 4. The Color Green May Have Killed Napoleon Bonaparte In 1775, German Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele made a green-hued pigment that eventually bore his name — Scheele’s green. Unfortunately, the pigment was extremely dangerous, since it was made with arsenic. However, its rich hue ignited a craze for green, and the pigment was used in wallpaper, clothing, and even children’s toys. In fact, some historians believe that Napoleon Bonaparte died from the Scheele’s green pigment embedded in the wallpaper of his bedroom on the island of St. Helena. However, that wasn’t the end of green’s deadly reputation. Decades later, impressionist painters — such as Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet — used a green pigment called Paris green that was highly toxic, if less dangerous than Scheele’s green. Experts suggest that the chemical could have contributed to Cézanne’s diabetes and Monet’s blindness. 5. No One Is Sure Why the Backstage Room Is Called a “Green Room One early reference to a “green room” in the sense of a waiting room appears in The Diary of Samuel Pepys, the famed journal kept by a civil servant in 1660s London. Pepys mentions a “green room” when going to meet the royal family — likely a reference to the color of the walls. A “green room” was then tied to the theater in English playwright Thomas Shadwell’s 1678 comedy A True Widow, which includes the line: “Selfish, this Evening, in a green Room, behind the Scenes.” However, Shadwell doesn’t mention why it was called a green room. One notable London theater did have a dressing room covered in green fabric, but other theories behind the term reference actors going “green” because of nervousness, amateur or young (aka “green”) actors, or a place where early actors literally waited “on the green” lawns of outdoor theaters — among many other ideas. It’s possible we’ll never know the origin of the phrase for sure. Source: Fascinating Facts About the Color Green
  7. What's the Word: VAGILE pronunciation: [VAJ-əl] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, early 20th century Meaning: 1. (Biology) Free to move about. Example: "When they retired, my grandparents became vagile and spent winters in the South, springs in Europe, and summers and falls here at home." "This river valley is on the flight path of many vagile birds, so we see many flocks land for the night during migration season." About Vagile “Vagile” is based on the Latin “vagus” (meaning “wandering”). Did you Know? In biology, a vagile organism is one that can adapt to changes in its environment, and often, this means an organism will change its location over time. The most visible vagile organisms are those that migrate to warmer climates in winter and return to cooler places in summer. Birds are known for their migratory habits, but other creatures including bats and insects also migrate seasonally. Monarch butterflies are legendarily vagile, flying as far as 3,000 miles to Mexico each fall from all across the North American continent.
  8. Fact of the Day - BLACK INVENTORS Did you know... The world would be unrecognizable without the groundbreaking contributions of Black inventors. Whether it’s the country’s most popular toy or a well-known piece of lifesaving battlefield gear, the extraordinary men and women who dreamed up these ideas did so while facing virulent racism and systemic injustice, yet persevered to make the world a better — or at least more interesting — place. 1. While Working at NASA, Lonnie Johnson Invented the Super Soaker Inventor Lonnie Johnson has quite the résumé. A nuclear engineer by profession, Johnson worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, joined the Air Force, then jumped ship to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1979, where he worked on Galileo — a robotic orbiter studying Jupiter and its moons. While at NASA, Johnson worked on a heat pump that used water instead of Freon. “I was experimenting with some nozzles that I machined, and I shot a stream of water across the bathroom,” Johnson told CNN in 2020. “I thought, ‘Geez, maybe I should put this hard science stuff aside and work on something fun like a water gun.’” In 1989, Johnson licensed his famous invention, and in two years, the Super Soaker became the No. 1 toy in America, making more than $200 million in sales. 2. Alexander Miles Made Elevators Less Harrowing Alexander Miles first found success as a barber, and then as an elevator innovator. The first passenger elevator debuted in 1853, but riding one was less than ideal. Because elevator doors had to be manually operated, elevator-related deaths were far too common. An owner of many buildings himself, Miles saw firsthand the dangers of elevators and decided to do something about it. Using a flexible belt attached to the elevator cage, drums above and below the doors on each floor, and other equipment, Miles’ invention automated the process of opening and closing elevator doors. Miles was granted a patent for his invention in 1887. At the time of his death in 1918 in Seattle, the barber-turned-inventor was the wealthiest Black man living in the Pacific Northwest. 3. The Inventor of the Home Security System Was a Nurse Necessity is the mother of invention, and that can certainly be said of Marie Van Brittan Brown and her home security system. In the mid-1960s, Brown lived in a rough neighborhood in Queens, New York, while working as a nurse. She was often alone at night, so she decided to design her own peace of mind. Her invention featured four peepholes on the front door and a motorized camera that could look through the holes at varying heights. The camera was connected to a television inside the home, and a microphone both inside and outside the door allowed her to interrogate uninvited visitors. For added security, Brown also devised a way to alert police via radio. This ingenious use of cameras and closed-circuit television helped Brown score a patent for her security system in 1969. Today, Brown’s invention is widely regarded as the cornerstone of modern home security systems. 4. George Washington Carver Was the First Black American Honored With a National Monument George Washington Carver is one of the greatest minds in American history. Primarily an agricultural scientist, he invented hundreds of products using sweet potatoes, soybeans, and peanuts (but not peanut butter, as a persistent myth suggests). Carver was born enslaved around 1864, but 30 years later, and after many trials, he earned a bachelor's degree in science. And he put that degree to work. Carver developed crop rotation methods, invented the Jesup wagon (a sort of mobile classroom for Carver to teach farmers about agricultural science), and lots of peanut-based products, including milk, Worcestershire sauce, cooking oils, paper, cosmetics, and wood stains. Carver died in early 1943 having dedicated his life to science, and a grateful nation honored him for his efforts later that same year, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt founded the George Washington Carver National Monument. It was the first national monument dedicated to a Black American — or to any non-President. 5. Traffic Signal Inventor Garrett Morgan Was Also a Hero Garrett Morgan’s life as an inventor began at the turn of the 20th century, when he started working at a sewing machine factory. After learning the inner workings of his machines, Morgan patented an improvement that earned him some much-needed income. He later developed a hair-straightening cream that made him financially independent and able to pursue his own interests. In 1914, Morgan developed “safety hoods” for firefighters to wear when battling blazes, and the underlying design eventually found its way into the trenches of World War I. Then, in 1916, Morgan became a local hero when a tunnel explosion under Lake Erie trapped workers in close quarters with noxious fumes. Upon hearing of the accident, Morgan and his brother donned their breathing devices and saved two people’s lives. However, Morgan’s greatest invention came in 1923, when he developed the first automatic traffic signal to control stop-and-go traffic at intersections. He acquired patents for the device in the United States, Britain, and Canada, and it saved thousands of lives over the years. 6. George Crum Accidentally Invented the Potato Chip In the 1850s, George Crum (born George Speck) worked at Moon’s Lake House, a high-end restaurant in upstate New York. The legend goes that one day a surly customer didn’t like the way Crum prepared his french fries and complained they were too thick. With a not-so-subtle amount of spite, Crum cut some fresh potatoes incredibly thin and then fried them up for his needy patron. To Crum’s surprise, the thinly sliced fry — or potato chip, as we call it today — became a big hit, and soon the restaurant became known for its “Saratoga chips.” Although the owner of the restaurant tried to take credit for the invention, as did others, Crum soon opened his own establishment and provided a basket of chips on every table. The potato chip remained a local delicacy in upstate New York until Herman Lay began building his snack food empire in the 1920s. Source: Amazing Facts About Black Inventors Who Changed the World
  9. What's the Word: KLUDGE pronunciation: [kloodj] Part of speech: verb Origin: Invented word, 1960s Meaning: 1. Use ill-assorted parts to make (something). Example: "The campers kludged a rickety lever and pulley system to carry buckets of water up from the river." "The computer that ran the house lights was on the fritz, but Svend managed to kludge a repair, despite his minimal tech skills." About Kludge The root of “kludge” is unclear, but the word may be related to the German word “klug,” meaning “clever,” or the Danish term “kludder,” meaning “disorder.” Did you Know? The word “kludge” was popularized in the 1962 article “How to Design a Kludge,” published in the computing magazine “Datamation,” but that was not the birth of the term. The Oxford English Dictionary considers “kludge” an invented word based on the existing words “bodge” and “fudge,” but there are some potential etymological ties to German and Danish terms. “Kludge” is related to — but distinct from — the U.S. military slang word “kluge,” meaning “something that shouldn’t work but does.” Because “kludge” was associated with computing quite early on, that has become the most commonly used context for the term. Though “kludge” began life as a noun describing a solution cobbled together out of unlikely parts, today it is also used as a verb to describe the process of implementing a crude but functional solution.
  10. Fact of the Day - FOUNDING FATHERS Did you know.... Few figures loom as large in American history as the Founding Fathers. Although wrapped in myth and shrouded in legend, these leaders lived fascinating lives molding a fractious colony into a new nation. Although their stories have been meticulously detailed — through their own writings as well as centuries of biographies and classroom textbooks — not everything about them is well known. Which famous general lost more battles than he won? Which two Founding Fathers died on the same day? Which one invented a strange musical instrument? Here are seven little-known facts about the men who created a nation. 1. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Died on the Same Day John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, bitter political rivals and, at times, close friends, died on the very same day — July 4, 1826, 50 years after signing the Declaration of Independence. The two were the last surviving of the original revolutionaries who helped forge a new nation after breaking with the British Empire. During their presidencies, the two diverged on policy and became leaders of opposing political parties, but at the urging of another founding father, Benjamin Rush, around 1812, Adams and Jefferson began a correspondence that lasted the rest of their lives. On his deathbed at the age of 90, Adams’ last words were reportedly “Jefferson still lives,” but he was mistaken — Jefferson had died five hours earlier in Monticello, Virginia. 2. James Madison Was the Shortest President in U.S. History Although James Madison’s signature doesn’t adorn the Declaration of Independence, as the nation’s fourth President and chief architect of the Bill of Rights, he’s widely regarded as one of the most influential Founding Fathers. Madison had a large impact on early U.S. history even though he is also the country’s shortest President thus far, standing just 5 feet and 4 inches tall. That makes Madison a full foot shorter than America’s tallest President, Abraham Lincoln (and no, that height doesn’t include Lincoln’s signature stovepipe hat). 3. John Hancock Was Accused of Smuggling On May 24, 1775, John Hancock became the presiding officer over the Second Continental Congress. A little more than a year later, his signature became famous when he wrote his name in grandiose letters, taking up some 6 square inches, on the Declaration of Independence. (Legend says Hancock wanted the king to be able to see it without spectacles.) However, Hancock was also known as an importer, and — at least when it came to British tea — was accused of being a smuggler. The British seized his sloop Liberty in 1768 because of suspected smuggling, which instigated a riot. Luckily, fellow founding father and lawyer John Adams cleared Hancock of all charges, and there was only flimsy evidence for the charges in the first place. 4. Sam Adams Might Never Have Brewed Beer Sam Adams was the most influential member of the Sons of Liberty, a loosely organized political organization that formed in opposition to the Stamp Act in 1765. But to many Americans, he’s also the name behind one of the most successful beer brands in the U.S. The company says it picked the name because its founder, Jim Koch, “shared a similar spirit in leading the fight for independence and the opportunity for all Americans to pursue happiness and follow their dreams.” That’s good, because it’s not clear whether Sam Adams actually ever brewed beer. After his father’s death in 1748, Adams inherited his malt house, which is where grains are converted into malt that’s then sold to brewers. But within only a few years, the business was bankrupt and the malt house itself was crumbling; the whole family estate was then put up for auction. Adams proved more effective as a political firebrand than as a “maltster.” 5. George Washington Lost More Battles Than He Won General George Washington embodies the phrase “losing the battle but winning the war,” because during the American Revolution, he lost more battles than he won. Despite some experience in the British army, Washington had little experience fielding a large fighting force, and the Continental Army was filled with soldiers who were far from professional fighters. However, Washington’s resilience, determination, and long-term strategy eventually won the day. According to Washington’s aide Alexander Hamilton, the plan was simple: “Our hopes are not placed in any particular city, or spot of ground, but in preserving a good army … to take advantage of favorable opportunities, and waste and defeat the enemy by piecemeal.” Washington, also aided by competent generals such as Nathanael Greene and assisted by the French Navy, decisively ended British ambitions in the colonies at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781. 6. Benjamin Franklin Invented a Musical Instrument Used by Mozart and Beethove In the mid-1700s, while serving as a delegate for the American colonies in Europe, Benjamin Franklin experienced a popular musical performance — singing glasses. Intrigued by the beautiful sound of a wet finger on glass, Franklin developed an instrument known as a “glass armonica” in 1761. Working with a glassblower in London, Franklin altered the thickness of glass bowls, interlocked along a rod, in order to produce a range of pitches. Far from being one of Franklin’s odder ideas (like his failed phonetic alphabet), the glass armonica was an 18th-century sensation. Some of the era’s greatest composers, including Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, wrote music for the instrument. However, it was largely forgotten by the 1820s — many musicians complained of dizziness and other symptoms after playing it, with some blaming lead poisoning or the instrument’s vibrations as the cause. Today, a few musicians still practice the subtle, ethereal art of the glass armonica. 7. Alexander Hamilton Was Captain of One of the Oldest U.S. Army Regiments in Existence Alexander Hamilton is known for many things — he was the prolific writer behind the Federalist Papers, the first secretary of the treasury, the creator of the U.S. Coast Guard, and the inspiration for one of Broadway’s biggest musicals. What’s less celebrated about Hamilton is his military career, though when fighting broke out, the eager immigrant from Nevis island in the Caribbean joined the cause. On March 14, 1776, Hamilton was named captain of the New York Provincial Company of Artillery, and soon fought in the battles at Kip’s Bay and White Plains, among others. Hamilton slowly climbed up the military ladder, first serving as General George Washington’s aide and then as commander of a light infantry battalion at the decisive Battle of Yorktown. However, it’s his original artillery company that holds a singular distinction. Known today as 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, Hamilton’s former artillery unit is one of the oldest active regiments still serving in the U.S. Army. Source: Amazing Facts About America’s Famous Founding Fathers
  11. What's the Word: COMPRADOR pronunciation: [kom-prə-DOR] Part of speech: noun Origin: Portuguese, 17th century Meaning: 1. A person within a country who acts as an agent for foreign organizations engaged in investment, trade, or economic or political exploitation. Example: "Before we sold our house, we made arrangements with a comprador in Belize who helped organize our accommodations there." "We wanted to expand the business overseas, but we had to hire a comprador to help us make sense of the European regulations first." About Comprador “Comprador” is taken from Portuguese, based on the roots “comprar” (meaning “to buy”) and the suffix “-dor” (meaning “agent”). Did you Know? In its earliest history, the term “comprador” was associated with Europe’s colonial era: A comprador was a local person in a colonized country who helped representatives of the colonizing European power make their way in a society that was foreign to them. That sense of the term has fallen away. Today a “comprador” is simply another word for “intermediary” or “middleman,” usually in a business venture. However, a comprador is more than a simple go-between, because in addition to connecting businesspeople and setting up deals, they also boast the skill of translating the language and culture of a foreign land.
  12. Fact of the Day - DOGS Did you know.... There are few creatures on the planet as cuddly, loyal, and beloved as dogs. Many people pamper their pooches and treat them as members of the family, and in return, dogs provide unconditional love and companionship. In some cases, they can even be trained to sniff out diseases, detect explosives, or assist people with disabilities. But no matter their breed or purpose, they’re incredible animals — with a fascinating history to boot. Here are six faithful facts about dogs. 1. The World’s Oldest Dog Is Over 30 Dog lovers are living in a historic era: As of this writing, the longest-surviving dog on record is alive and well. Bobi is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo, which is a Portuguese breed known to be good at protecting livestock and guarding property. On average, dogs of this type live between 12 and 14 years, but Bobi was born on May 11, 1992, and recently celebrated his 30th birthday… in human years! According to the Guinness Book of World Records, that milestone makes Bobi not only the oldest dog currently living in the world, but the oldest dog to ever live. The previous record holder for history’s oldest dog was an Australian cattle dog named Bluey, who was born in 1910 and lived for 29 years and five months. Bobi is the first dog on record to surpass three decades in age, which is especially miraculous considering that he nearly didn’t survive infancy. Bobi’s owner, Leonel Costa, worked hard to save and take care of Bobi when the pooch was born, despite being just an 8-year-old kid himself at the time. His efforts obviously paid off, as Bobi has lived a long and full life in Leiria, Portugal, consuming a delicious diet of unseasoned human food soaked in water. 2. President Harding’s Dog Had His Own Seat at Cabinet Meetings These days, presidential pets are almost as famous as their commanders in chief — but that wasn’t always the case. The first White House animal to really achieve celebrity status was President Warren G. Harding’s pup, an Airedale terrier named Laddie Boy, who lived in Washington, D.C., during the Harding administration from 1921 to 1923. Laddie Boy was a fixture at the President’s side from the very beginning. In fact, on March 5, 1921, one day after taking office, Harding interrupted his first official Cabinet meeting to introduce the dog, who had just arrived from Ohio. After that, Laddie Boy became a regular at Cabinet meetings, and even had his own chair at the table. As part of Harding’s attempt to appeal to the average person and capitalize on his campaign slogan, which promised a “Return to Normalcy,” Laddie Boy also accompanied the President on the golf course, helped welcome foreign delegates, and once participated in the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. The pooch was beloved not only by Harding but by the press as well; newspapers would publish pretend interviews with fictitious quotes from Laddie Boy, much to the delight of the public. After Harding’s death, more than 19,000 newsboys donated pennies to be turned into a copper statue of Laddie Boy, which now belongs to Washington’s Smithsonian Institution. 3. The Dog Who Played Toto Earned $125 per Week Few dogs are more famous than the cairn terrier who played Toto in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz. Terry, as she was known off-screen, was born in 1933 and rescued by Carl Spitz after being abandoned by her birth parents. Despite a tumultuous start to her life, she went on to have a prolific career in Hollywood that even many human actors would envy. Spitz ran his own Hollywood Dog Training School, and although he initially took in Terry just as a pet, she quickly became his biggest star. His technique used silent hand signals, which gave him (and his dogs) an edge over other trainers who had to vocally call out their commands. With his help, Terry landed an uncredited role in 1934’s Ready for Love, and later that year starred alongside Shirley Temple in Bright Eyes. After appearing in several other films, Terry ascended to superstardom when she booked the role of Toto in The Wizard of Oz, earning $125 a week for portraying Dorothy’s trusted companion — more than some of her human castmates made. 4. The Beatles’ “A Day in the Life” Features a Whistle Only Dogs Can Hear Back in 2013, the Beatles’ Paul McCartney revealed a little canine-related trick the band had included on their seminal 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. At the end of the album’s final track, “A Day in the Life,” the Fab Four added a tone pitched at 15 kilohertz, making the sound audible to dogs but difficult to hear for most humans. The tone was reportedly added at the request of John Lennon, who asked producer George Martin to dub in the high-pitched frequency. “We’d talk for hours about these frequencies below the sub that you couldn’t really hear and the high frequencies that only dogs could hear,” McCartney explained. “If you ever play Sgt. Pepper, watch your dog.” 5. Spiked Dog Collars Originated in Ancient Greece Though they serve a more decorative purpose in modern times, spiked dog collars had an important use in ancient Greece, where they were originally conceived of as protection for pooches patrolling farms, as those dogs were susceptible to harm from random wolf attacks. Inspired by standard dog collars that had been developed in the ancient Egyptian city of Naucratis — with whom the Greeks frequently traded — Greek dog owners designed a couple of spiked options to defend against predators. One type of collar was made of metal, thus forming a kind of chain-link guard with spikes, whereas the other was made of leather with metal spikes poking through the material and secured by rivets. In both cases, the spikes were meant to protect the dog’s throat and potentially injure the attacking wolf. Artistic depictions suggest the collars could also be symbols of status, perhaps ornamented with engravings. Dogs were important creatures within Greek society, and had a profound cultural impact as well. In his epic poem the Odyssey, for example, Homer wrote of Argos, the faithful dog who waits 20 years for the return of the hero Odysseus. 6. Some Domesticated Dog Breeds Date Back Millennia There’s some debate around the oldest breed of domesticated dog, but if you go by the Guinness Book of World Records, that title belongs to the saluki, which is believed to have originated circa 329 BCE (though some experts posit it may date back even further to around 7000 BCE). Sometimes called the royal dog of Egypt, the saluki was heralded in ancient Egyptian society; the dogs were even honored with mummification after death, much like pharaohs at the time. In many Arab cultures throughout the Middle East, hunters used salukis — which boast incredible speed — to track and take down gazelle. The breed eventually made its way to England by the mid-1800s, and was finally recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1927. Source: Faithful Facts About Dogs
  13. What's the Word: EUSTRESS pronunciation: [YOO-stres] Part of speech: noun Origin: English, 20th century Meaning: 1. Moderate or normal psychological stress, interpreted as being beneficial. Example: "The challenge of my new job was stimulating and left me in a state of eustress." "During my college days, I always thrived under the eustress of finals season." About Eustress “Eustress” was formed in English by adding the prefix “eu-” (meaning “good”) to the word “stress.” Did you Know? “Eustress” was a term coined in the 1960s by psychologists exploring the phenomenon of stress. Stress is often experienced as a negative state, so most people were already familiar with the term “distress,” suggesting discomfort, alarm, or suffering, often associated with the threat of danger. As a counterpoint, psychologists suggested the term “eustress” to describe a response to stress that is not distressing, but rather motivating and provoking happiness. For example, a world-class baseball pitcher taking the field in the World Series may well feel stress, but it is likely a stress associated with a task he feels capable of accomplishing to the best of his impressive ability. As a result, he feels eustress — excitement about and focus on what he is potentially about to accomplish — rather than distress.
  14. Fact of the Day - MYSTERIES Jack the Ripper Did you know... Although humans often prefer stories with a simple beginning, middle, and end, history doesn’t always line up so nicely. These six moments from the past represent some of the most head-scratching conundrums that still stump scientists, FBI investigators, and even amateur sleuths. Some of them might never be solved, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun to try. 1. What Happened to the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke? The legend of the Roanoke colony is so enduring because it lies at the heart of the founding of America. Starting in 1584, 23 years before the establishment of the Jamestown colony in nearby Virginia, three English expeditions landed at Roanoke Island, nestled between the Outer Banks and mainland North Carolina, although these initial forays failed to establish a permanent settlement. In 1587, John White, along with roughly 115 colonists, traveled from England and established a colony on Roanoke Island. White sailed back to England later the same year to get supplies, but upon his return three years afterward (having been delayed by the Spanish Armada), he found Roanoke completely abandoned. There was no sign of foul play. Houses were replaced with a fortress, and the word “Croatoan” had been carved into a post — a reference to the nearby island of Croatoan, now called Hatteras Island, as well as the tribe that lived there. White tried to travel to the island but storms prevented him from doing so, and he sailed back to England. He died in 1593 unable to return to Roanoke, and no one truly knows what happened to the colonists — no bodies have ever been found. Theories range from the practical (confrontation or assimilation with Native Americans) to the supernatural or extraterrestrial, but it’s unlikely historians will ever know for sure. 2. What Happened Aboard the Mary Celeste? The world’s oceans have swallowed many ships since the dawn of the Age of Sail in the 16th century, but no story is quite like the curious case of the Mary Celeste. On November 7, 1872, the Mary Celeste set sail for Genoa, Italy, loaded with 1,700 barrels of alcohol as cargo. Fast-forward nearly a month later, and a British merchant vessel named Dei Gratia spotted the ship some 400 miles east of the Azores in the mid-Atlantic. But something was wrong — no one on board the Mary Celeste was responding to the Dei Gratia’s signals. After boarding, sailors found the ship mostly undamaged, but abandoned. There was little to no sign of struggle, and six months of food onboard. Only the lifeboat and navigational tools were missing. The ship’s captain, his family, and his crew have never been found. The theories put forward to explain the ship’s abandonment include pirates, an earthquake, or a mutiny. However, the most colorful theory includes a giant squid attack. 3. Who Was D.B. Cooper? On November 24, 1971, a man calling himself Dan Cooper (later erroneously reported as D.B. Cooper) boarded Northwest Orient Flight 305 traveling from Portland, Oregon, to Seattle, Washington. Described as a mid-40s white man dressed in a business suit, Cooper ordered a bourbon and soda before alerting the stewardess that he had a bomb in his briefcase. Cooper then handed the stewardess a list of demands, saying that he wanted parachutes, a refueling truck, and $200,000 in cash waiting for him when the plane landed in Seattle. He added the phrase, “no funny stuff.” After an exchange of the flight’s passengers for the money and other goods, the plane took off for Cooper’s requested destination in Mexico City — but he didn’t get far. While flying over southern Washington, Cooper strapped on one of the parachutes he had demanded and jumped out of the plane. Nine years later, a boy found $5,800 in southern Washington with serial numbers that matched the money stolen by Cooper. The FBI has described the case as “one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history,” although it is no longer currently investigating it. Over 100 suspects have been evaluated, but the mysterious criminal has yet to be identified. 4. What Is the Purpose of the Nazca Lines? The Nazca Lines are massive geoglyphs — sometimes more than a thousand feet long — carved into the ground some 250 miles south of Lima, Peru. At first glance, these lines might look similar to crop circles, and can only be viewed from the cockpit of a helicopter or airplane. Depicting animals, plants, and various shapes, the Nazca Lines were created by the Nazca people some 2,000 years ago. Archaeologists have studied the lines for 80 years (and are still discovering new geoglyphs), but still don’t know for sure why ancient people created such massive monuments they couldn’t even see. Early theories suggest the lines had some sort of astronomical or calendrical purpose — not unlike Stonehenge — although more recent theories suggest the structures could’ve been tied to irrigation or elaborate religious ceremonies. Whatever the reason, the Nazca Lines remain a mystery etched into the very face of the planet. 5. Where Are the Gardner Museum Paintings? Museum heists are common throughout history (and Hollywood), but the ne’er-do-wells are usually captured in the following months, or sometimes years. Unfortunately, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts, wasn’t so lucky. In the early morning of March 18, 1990, two burglars dressed as police officers subdued the museum’s two security guards and purloined 13 paintings worth over $500 million, including works by Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Edgar Degas, Govaert Flinck, and Édouard Manet. By 8:30 a.m., several hours after the heist, the police (the actual police) found the guards handcuffed in the basement. Four years later, a mysterious letter sent to the museum offered to return the paintings for $2.6 million. Although the museum agreed, a second letter revealed the mysterious author was clearly spooked by FBI involvement, and the deal fell through. A Netflix documentary and a popular podcast have explored the heist, and the FBI even offered a $10 million reward leading to the paintings’ whereabouts, but despite it all, the 13 masterpieces — as well as the two burglars — have yet to be found. 6. What Happened to Amelia Earhart? In the 1930s, Amelia Earhart wasn’t just one of the most famous pilots in the world — she was arguably the most famous woman in the world. In 1928, she had become the first woman to fly across the Atlantic; in 1932, she became the first woman to make a solo nonstop transcontinental flight, from L.A. to Newark. So it’s no wonder her disappearance on July 2, 1937, while trying to circumnavigate the globe, sent a shockwave through society whose ripples can still be felt. On that fateful summer day in 1937, Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, set out from Lae, New Guinea, flying a Lockheed Model 10 Electra and headed for Howland Island, a Pacific island that measures only 1 square mile. Although Earhart was in contact with the U.S. Coast Guard ship near the island, the famous pilot never arrived. In her last transmission, she noted her position and that she was running low on fuel. Neither Earhart, her navigator, nor her plane was ever seen again. The leading theory is that Earhart simply crashed into the ocean, but an extensive search of the surrounding area has turned up nothing. Other theories suggest Earhart possibly landed on a nearby island in line with her last coordinates. In 2017, another theory suggested that Earhart survived as a Japanese prisoner, and some argued that she can be seen in a grainy photo taken on the then-Japanese Marshall Islands shortly after the crash (though some experts have poured cold water on the idea). It’s unlikely we’ll ever know what happened to one of history’s most famous aviators, but that won’t keep people from looking for answers. Source: Most Perplexing Mysteries in History
  15. What's the Word: PROFICUOUS pronunciation: [prə-FIK-yə-wəs] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. Useful or profitable. Example: "The gas station attendant’s proficuous directions helped us avoid the tolls." "An emergency bag packed in your car trunk can be a proficuous source of aid in a crisis." About Proficuous “Proficuous” is based on the Latin “proficuus,” meaning “beneficial.” Did you Know? Social media has been a surprising repository for proficuous information in the form of users sharing “life hacks.” These tidbits of advice used to be shared from person to person and in practical magazines such as “Good Housekeeping” and “Popular Mechanics.” It was commonplace to cut out a clipping of a good recipe or a useful home gardening tip and share it with a neighbor, but now social media has turned the practice viral. Almost everyone who spends time on Facebook or TikTok has learned a proficuous life hack or two.
  16. Fact of the Day - HIBERNATION Did you know... When the weather warms in spring, animals begin stirring from hibernation. But they haven’t spent the previous few months just catching up on beauty sleep. Hibernation is a complex physiological state that helps animals survive seasons when resources are low. Here are a few facts on this unusual adaptation, and the critters that have mastered it. 1. Hibernation’s Purpose Is To Conserve Energy Hibernation is a form of torpor — a dormant state in which an animal’s body temperature cools and its heart rate and metabolism slow to conserve energy. Torpor can last as little as a few hours: Hummingbirds in the Andes, for example, cool their internal temperature up to 33 degrees Celsius and enter torpor overnight, saving energy until the following morning. Hibernation is basically torpor that lasts several weeks to several months. The degree of hibernation among animals can vary from the practically dead (the Arctic ground squirrel can lower its body temperature below the freezing point of water) to relatively active (bears don’t lower their body temperatures as much and periodically wake up during hibernation). 2. A Lack of Food Usually Sets Hibernation in Motion Biologists used to think that cold weather was the signal for animals to start hibernating, since those in the temperate Northern Hemisphere disappeared into their dens when summer turned into fall and emerged when winter turned to spring. Then scientists discovered that numerous species in the tropics also hibernate, which suggested that hibernation was triggered by a seasonal lack of food instead of a change in temperature. These tropical species enter a hibernation-like state called estivation during hot and dry periods when water or food is scarce. 3. Hibernation Is Different From Sleep When animals hibernate, they’re not just sleeping for weeks on end. “Light” hibernators like bears cycle between periods of rest, when their body temperature and functions are dormant, and brief periods of wakefulness when they change position, urinate, or even get some actual sleep. Female bears and other mammals may give birth and raise their young during this time. Deep hibernators, like some species of groundhog, mice, and bats, may remain practically motionless for months. 4. Hibernators Wake Up Hungry Hibernating animals eventually wake up, signaled by the changing temperature of their environment or possibly by an internal “alarm clock.” The months spent in their cozy dens are actually not that relaxing: When animals emerge from torpor, they’re often underweight, tired, hungry, and thirsty. Their first post-hibernation acts are to drink water, hunt or forage for food, and size up potential mates. 5. A Huge Variety of Animals Hibernate Numerous species of warm-blooded animals experience some degree of torpor, but only a small percentage of them are considered true hibernators. A single species of bird, the common poorwill, and a single fish, an Antarctic cod (which isn’t warm-blooded, but does produce antifreeze-like proteins in its body), are known to hibernate. The practice is much more common among mammals; hibernating mammals include echidnas, insect-eating bats, at least one species of armadillo, the fat-tailed dwarf lemur, badgers, ground squirrels, marmots, jumping mice, dormice, and black and brown bears. 6. There Have Been a Few Cases of Human “Hibernation” You may have noticed one mammal that doesn’t hibernate — us. But there are a handful of cases in which humans have endured a lethally low body temperature and lived, with no lasting effects. The most famous is the ordeal of Mitsutaka Uchikoshi, a 35-year-old Japanese civil servant, who slipped on a mountain trail and broke his hip in October 2006. He was rescued after 24 days suffering from extreme hypothermia “similar to hibernation,” his doctors said. After nearly two months in the hospital, he emerged with no residual injury. In 2012, a Swedish man was stranded in his snowed-in car for two months but survived, despite having severe hypothermia and no food, possibly due to having entered a torpor-like state. 7. Hibernation Might Help Humans Get to Mars Research into animal hibernation has the potential to help humans. Understanding why hibernators can withstand extremely low body temperatures and slowed metabolism without injury might give us clues for recovering from heart attacks, preserving human organs for transplant, or conducting complex surgeries. Scientists are even experimenting with “induced hibernation” as a way to conserve astronauts’ energy on long journeys through space, and to reduce the amount of resources needed on future missions to Mars. Source: Facts About Hibernation
  17. What's the Word: SATURNINE pronunciation: [SAT-ər-nahyn] Part of speech: adjective Origin: Old French, 15th century Meaning: 1. (Of a person or their manner) Slow and gloomy. Example: "While most characters in “Winnie-the-Pooh” are cheerful, Eeyore is saturnine." "Poor weather at the beginning of my vacation put me in a saturnine mood." About Saturnine “Saturnine” is based on the Old French “Saturnin,” from the Latin “Saturninus,” meaning “of Saturn.” Did you Know? Saturn was the Roman god of time, wealth, and periodic renewal, among other things. From his name we get the December festival Saturnalia — a season of feasting, fun, and gift-giving. How is it, then, that a “saturnine” personality is gloomy and melancholic? In the Middle Ages, Saturn was believed to be the farthest planet from the sun, and therefore cold and desolate. Rather than the god Saturn, remembered with joyous celebrations of plenty, the planet Saturn was associated with gloom and darkness — the characteristic features of a saturnine personality.
  18. Fact of the Day - KATHARINE HEPBURN Did you know... She was a true Hollywood luminary, the headliner of such classic films as The Philadelphia Story (1940), The African Queen (1951), and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). Yet Katharine Hepburn was far more than a screen persona propped up by a camera and lights: She clashed with studio executives over her refusal to dress like a typical starlet, navigated her own way out of professional slumps, and largely lived and loved as she saw fit over a career that spanned more than six decades. Here are six facts about this one-of-a-kind leading lady. 1. Hepburn’s Stage Career Got Off to a Rough Start Fresh out of Bryn Mawr College in the late 1920s, the ambitious but unrefined actress struggled to hold on to several of the stage roles she relentlessly pursued. She was fired from productions of The Big Pond, Death Takes a Holiday, and The Animal Kingdom, and was briefly replaced before delivering a breakout performance in 1932's The Warrior's Husband. Even after making a successful leap to Hollywood with celebrated turns in 1933’s Morning Glory and Little Women, Hepburn was humbled by a widely panned return to Broadway that year in The Lake, and bought out her contract to avoid the embarrassment of continuing with the production on tour. 2. Hepburn Endured a Close Call With the Leopard of “Bringing Up Baby” Hepburn spent several scenes with a dangerous co-star in 1938's Bringing Up Baby, and it wasn't Cary Grant. She initially got along pretty well with Nissa the leopard — the titular "Baby" of the screwball comedy — who enjoyed nuzzling his head into Hepburn’s perfume-laden negligee. However, a leopard never changes its spots, and something in its primal brain was triggered when the leading lady changed to a dress weighted with metal pieces to enhance its swirling capabilities. As she recalled in her memoir Me: Stories of My Life: "[O]ne quick swirl and that leopard made a spring for my back, and [the trainer] brought that whip down right on his head. That was the end of my freedom with the leopard." 3. The A-Lister Was an Excellent Athlete Raised by parents who encouraged the athletic development of their children and provided the financial means for doing so, Hepburn and her siblings engaged in a wide array of sports while growing up. She was particularly adept at golf, thanks to the private lessons she received as a teenager, and more than held her own in high-level competitions before pursuing her acting career. Hepburn also was known for her daily workouts on the tennis court by the time she was an A-list star, and continued to play regularly into her 80s. Fans can watch the screen great show off her natural skills in both sports in the 1952 comedy Pat and Mike. 4. Hepburn Enjoyed Instant Chemistry With Longtime Co-Star and Lover Spencer Trac Upon meeting 5-foot-9 Spencer Tracy shortly before they were to begin shooting 1942's Woman of the Year together, the 5-foot-7 Hepburn remarked that she would refrain from wearing high heels in his presence. Tracy soon had his revenge: After Hepburn knocked over a glass of water during an early take, Tracy continued with his lines while handing her a handkerchief, essentially forcing her to wipe up the mess while in character. It was that sort of spirited interaction that fueled their unparalleled screen chemistry over nine films, as well as their open-secret, real-life romance, which endured from their first production until his death in 1967. 5. She Performed Her Own Stunts It wasn't quite Jackie Chan territory, but Hepburn insisted on doing her own stunts to preserve the authenticity of her shoots. Yes, that's her dangling from Grant's grasp off the scaffold at the end of Bringing Up Baby, and that's her tumbling into an unsanitary Venetian canal in Summertime (1955). Furthermore, advancing years did little to dampen her enthusiasm for such exertion: She endured horseback rides across treacherous terrain for Rooster Cogburn (1975), less than a year after undergoing hip surgery, and insisted on doing her own dives into frigid waters for On Golden Pond (1981), a few weeks after having an operation for a separated shoulder. 6. Hepburn Won a Slew of Awards Later in Her Career For all her early successes in films like Morning Glory and The Philadelphia Story, Hepburn didn't fully hit her stride until reaching an age when many actresses struggle to land quality roles. She received the bulk of her 12 Academy Award nominations after age 40, and three of her record four Oscar wins after turning 60. Additionally, Hepburn picked up the first of her two Tony nominations just before turning 63, and claimed her lone Emmy five years later. It was partly due to that record of longevity, and her embrace of both the joys and vulnerabilities of aging in her performances, that inspired the American Film Institute to name her the top female screen star of all time. Source: About Iconoclastic Screen Star Katharine Hepburn
  19. What's the Word: BUSKER pronunciation: [BUS-kər] Part of speech: noun Origin: Spanish, 17th century Meaning: 1. A person who performs music or other entertainment in the street or another public place for monetary donations. Example: "The busker outside the restaurant was playing a moving rendition of a Whitney Houston song." "Shirish put himself through college by performing as a busker with his guitar outside the movie theater downtown." About Busker “Busker” is based on the verb “to busk,” meaning “to ask for money in exchange for entertaining the public in the street.” This term was likely based on the Spanish “buscar,” meaning “to seek,” or “to fetch.” Did you Know? Cities as disparate as Halifax, Dubai, San Diego, Tullamore, and Zagreb play host to busker festivals every year. Many of these claim to be “the world’s largest festival of buskers,” though none has been proven to be so. The buskers themselves are as creative as they are unpredictable. There are plenty of performances of live music, juggling, and magic, but there are deep variations on even those traditional ideas. People attending a busker festival might see someone juggling chainsaws and bowling balls, or musicians playing whimsical instruments (and non-instruments) in surprising ways.
  20. Fact of the Day - TABLE ETIQUETTE Did you know... When we’re eating casually at home, most of us don’t have a large formally set dining table complete with multiple pieces of silverware and glassware. We can stick to a few basic rules that we learned as children, like not speaking with our mouths full of food. But at a fancy event, or when we’re trying to impress someone important, the rules may seem a little more complex and overwhelming. Here are six table etiquette guidelines that you might not know. 1. When It Comes to Silverware, Work From the Outside In A formal dinner setting might have three or more forks, and just as many knives and spoons. It can all get a bit confusing. You may be confronted with a shellfish fork, a soup spoon, or a fish knife and fork, all in addition to the main dinner knife and fork. For some multiple-course meals, utensils may be brought in with each course. This is especially true for salad and dessert courses, and it makes it easier to know what to use. When in doubt, the basic rule to remember is that you should always start at the outside and work your way inward so that the largest tools are used for the main course. Another helpful tip is to wait for the host or hostess to begin eating. Not only is it good manners to do so, but it also allows you to see which implement they are using. 2. Put Your Napkin on Your Lap The first paper napkins are believed to have appeared in ancient China, where they were used in little baskets that carried tea cups. Before that, many cultures (including the Romans) used finger bowls for wiping food remnants from their hands. During the Middle Ages, most people used whatever was available, usually a sleeve, for wiping their mouths. That slowly changed, with nobles using a separate cloth or nappe. This may have started as a giant tablecloth, but eventually became what we recognize today as a cloth napkin. Of course, napkins eventually developed their own rules of etiquette. When sitting down to eat, it is polite to take the napkin and spread it on your lap. Do not tuck it into the neck of your shirt. Use it to gently dab at your mouth during the meal and, when finished, leave the napkin loosely folded on the table. 3. Wait on the Bread It’s an all-too-common scenario. By the time the entrée arrives at a restaurant, everyone has eaten their fill of bread. But at a formal dinner, the bread is to be eaten with the courses, rather than by itself. So as tempting as the smell of freshly baked bread may be, wait. There are also rules about how to eat the bread. Do not spread the entire slice with butter. Likewise, don’t cut a bread roll in half and butter both halves. The reasoning is that this may leave you with butter smeared across your face. The correct way to eat it is to break off a small piece and butter just that piece. Continue to butter one bite at a time. And to avoid confusion, the bread plate is to your left. 4. Consider Adopting the Continental Style The American method of using eating utensils is often very different from the Continental, or European, method, which can lead to some confused looks on either side of the Atlantic. Each style is correct, but one may be more appropriate depending on the setting. The Continental style is to hold the fork in your left hand with the tines facing down. The knife is held in the right hand. The index finger of each hand is extended along the utensil. Meanwhile, the American method often sees the fork being transferred from one hand while cutting food to the other while eating. Etiquette experts advise that the Continental style may be “the most diplomatic.” Again, if in doubt, it is always wise to default to copying your host. 5. No Elbows on the Table (But Only While Eating) Where and why did the rule about no elbows on the table originate? No one seems to know for sure, but the rule is common to many cultures. There is even a reference to it in the Old Testament of the Bible. In the 16th century, the Dutch philosopher Erasmus warned that only those weakened by old age or infirmity should rest their elbows on the table. More recently, Emily Post continues to caution against it, unless engaging in conversation between courses. Some believe that the use of elbows could once have been seen as a sign of intimidation or potential violence. Martha Stewart claims that resting one’s elbows increases the likelihood of slouching, which was once considered, in itself, rude. Whatever the reasoning, most people agree that elbows on the table while eating can be seen as impolite and can intrude upon your neighbor’s space. 6. Pay Attention to Local Customs Table etiquette varies from one country to another. To avoid insulting a host when dining overseas, it can be useful to brush up on local manners. If eating with your hands in India and parts of the Middle East, remember to always use the right hand, as the left is considered unclean. Slurping one’s noodles may be a definite faux pas in the U.S., but in Japan and China, it is a sign of appreciation. In France, any bread on the table is to be eaten during the meal, not before. Furthermore, to avoid offending your French dinner host, both hands should rest on the table and not in your lap when you’re not eating. Meanwhile, never use your fork as a scoop for your peas in the United Kingdom. Although it may seem very impractical, the “proper” way is to use the tines of your fork to lightly squash a small amount at a time, or stick them to some mashed potatoes. Source: Table Etiquette Tips You Might Not Know
  21. What's the Word: MULIEBRITY pronunciation: [myoo-lee-EB-ri-tee] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 16th century Meaning: 1. Womanly qualities; womanhood. Example: "Women express muliebrity in many different ways, ranging from motherhood to paths at home, in the workplace, and in the public sphere." "Eileen felt most at home in her muliebrity when she became a grandmother." About Muliebrity “Muliebrity” is based on the Latin “muliebritās,” meaning “womanliness.” Did you Know? “Muliebrity” is a way of describing womanhood, with roots stretching back to Latin, so it records a history of the way the Romans, and later English-speaking civilizations, thought of women. The Latin root “mulier” can mean either “woman” or “wife.” Such similarities exist in modern languages as well: The French word “femme” can mean both “woman” and “wife.” However, today, womanhood and womanly qualities are expressed across a spectrum of characteristics and experiences that span beyond matrimony.
  22. Fact of the Day - EMPIRE STATE BUILDING Did you know.... In a metropolis filled with architectural marvels both new and old, the Empire State Building still carries major clout as a defining landmark of New York City. Whether it’s because of the classy art deco design, the attention-grabbing light displays, or the far-reaching views offered from its observation decks, the Great Depression-era skyscraper remains a top tourist attraction and one of the most photographed buildings in the world. Here are six facts you might not know about the longtime stalwart of 34th Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. 1. The Empire State Building Was Built in 410 Days The brainchild of financier John J. Raskob, the Empire State Building was conceived at a time when multiple developers were racing to leave their imprint on the New York City skyline — and it became a reality with mind-boggling speed. Fueled by the labor of as many as 3,400 daily workers, the structure climbed off the ground at a peak rate of 4.5 stories per week following its formal groundbreaking on March 17, 1930. Remarkably, the massive building — comprising 60,000 tons of steel, 200,000 cubic feet of Indiana limestone and granite, 730 tons of aluminum and stainless steel, and 10 million bricks — was completed ahead of schedule (and below budget) after just 410 days. President Herbert Hoover officially dedicated the new skyscraper on May 1, 1931. 2. The Empire State Building Was the Tallest Building in the World for Four Decades Although it's since been dwarfed by giants such as the United Arab Emirates' 2,720-foot Burj Khalifa, the Empire State Building once set the standard for human ambition to reach for the skies. At 102 stories and 1,250 feet tall (not counting the later addition of an antenna, which added 204 feet), it was the first building to pass the 100-story mark, and its height easily surpassed the 1,046-foot record previously established by the Chrysler Tower in 1930. The Empire State Building remained the world's tallest building until the 110-story Twin Towers of Lower Manhattan's World Trade Center both pushed past 1,360 feet in the early 1970s. 3. The Empire State Building Has Its Own Zip Code Since May 1980, with the designation of the skyscraper’s very own 10118 ZIP code, the Empire State Building’s tenants have enjoyed the postal privileges of a small city. This was the result of an effort to speed up mail delivery in Manhattan by giving higher-volume areas their own digits. Of the 63 new ZIP codes introduced in the borough that year, 39 were buildings that received at least 5,000 pieces of mail per day. The Empire State Building easily surpassed that cutoff with a daily intake of 35,000 pieces of mail. 4. The Building’s Colorful Light Displays Began in 1976 Among the Empire State Building's famed features are the crowning lights that frequently change colors to honor cultural events, organizations, and local sports champions. The building first shone a beacon following Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidential election in November 1932, but the multicolored displays that New Yorkers have come to know and love date back to the red, white, and blue bicentennial celebration of July 1976. The lights have since flashed in a range of colors, such as pink to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month, blue for Frank Sinatra's 1998 death, and even neon green in 2009 for the 25th anniversary of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic book. The building switched to LED lights in 2012, giving operators the ability to choose from 16 million colors and add special effects like ripples, sparkles, and strobes. 5. Competitors Race to the Top in the Annual Empire State Building Run-Up For those with energy to burn (and maybe a masochistic bent), the Empire State Building Run-Up offers runners from around the world a chance to scale the majority of the skyscraper by foot. An annual tradition since 1978, the Run-Up covers 1,576 steps over 1,050 vertical feet, from the lobby to the 86th-floor observatory. The fastest record for what is billed as "the world’s first and most famous tower race" was set by Australian Paul Crake, who completed the grueling climb in nine minutes and 33 seconds in 2003. And while that's obviously slower and more strenuous than the sub-minute it would take to ride an elevator, it does hold some appeal, given the lines to visit the observatory stretch the average elevator wait time to upwards of 45 minutes. 6. It's Been Featured in More Than 250 Movies As one of the world’s most famous structures, the Empire State Building has made numerous appearances on the big screen. Just how many is impossible to determine, considering the number of low-budget films that fly under the radar, but the Empire State Building's website once cited an estimate of "more than 250 movies." The most famous ones include King Kong (1933), which features the titular ape swatting at planes from the newly completed skyscraper; Independence Day (1996), which sees the Empire State Building destroyed by a giant alien spaceship; Sleepless in Seattle (1993), which features an unforgettable meeting between the main characters in the film’s finale; and Andy Warhol's Empire (1965), which focuses solely on the iconic building over the course of its eight-hour run time. Source: Towering Facts About the Empire State Building
  23. What's the Word: ALLUVIUM pronunciation: [ə-LOO-vee-əm] Part of speech: noun Origin: Latin, 17th century Meaning: 1. A deposit of clay, silt, sand, and gravel left by flowing streams in a river valley or delta, typically producing fertile soil. Example: "Thanks to a layer of alluvium covering the ground, the valley was easy to walk through." "Soil full of alluvium makes a fantastic garden." About Alluvium “Alluvium” is based on the Latin “alluvius,” meaning “washed against.” Did you Know? Alluvial deposits are sediments that are moved around and left behind by rivers. Often, “alluvium” refers to existing deposits of silt, sand, clay, and gravel left long ago by water that no longer exists where it once did. But the sediments can also appear with seasonal shifting river currents, and be filled with nutrients. The nutrient-rich soil will be distributed to areas downstream by the river current.
  24. Fact of the Day - ALCATRAZ Did you know....Alcatraz Island, known colloquially as “The Rock,” was once the most notorious prison in the United States. Located 1.25 miles offshore from San Francisco, the island saw Civil War prisoners in the 1860s, mob bosses in the 1930s, and much more. Today, it’s one of the Bay Area’s most popular tourist attractions, and an on-island museum tells the story of the prison’s past. These seven facts span the many ages of Alcatraz and reveal how it became one of the most infamous sites in American history. 1. The Word “Alcatraz” Means “Pelican” in Archaic Spanish In 1775, Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala became the first European to sail into San Francisco Bay. He named the bay and its islands, including one he called “Alcatraces.” Although the island’s name was anglicized over the decades, its origin is widely believed to mean “pelican” or “strange bird.” The island was once a particular hot spot for California brown pelicans (Pelecanus occidentalis californicus), which were so plentiful in the 19th century that one French observer noted that when a group of pelicans took off in flight, it created winds like a hurricane. Although the birds’ numbers dwindled sharply due to hunting and the use of DDT over the decades, the pelican rebounded in the latter part of the 20th century, and was removed from the Endangered Species List in 2009. 2. Before Becoming a Prison, Alcatraz Was a Military Outpost Although Alcatraz is known as one of America’s most infamous prisons, its first official U.S. role was as a military outpost. With California joining the U.S. in 1850 after being ceded from Mexico two years prior, and with hundreds of thousands of people flooding the state as part of the California Gold Rush, the U.S. military needed to protect San Francisco Bay. Alcatraz, along with Fort Point and Lime Point, formed a “triangle of defense” that guarded the bay’s entrance. At one point, the U.S. even installed 100 cannons on the 22-acre island, making it the most heavily armed military outpost in the Western U.S. But by the decade’s end, the first prisoners had been brought to the island, and Alcatraz played host to both Confederate prisoners and Union deserters during the Civil War. 3. Alcatraz Was Home to the First Lighthouse on the U.S. West Coast During the island’s days as a military outpost, the U.S. constructed a lighthouse to serve vessels crisscrossing the busy shipping lanes of San Francisco Bay. Although the lighthouse tower was built by 1852, the Fresnel lens — a compact lens designed to make lighthouses brighter — didn’t arrive until 1854. Luckily, the delay didn’t cost the lighthouse the impressive accolade of being the first lighthouse constructed on the West Coast of the United States. Sadly, the structure was damaged beyond repair following the catastrophic 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It was rebuilt, however, and still operates to this day. 4. Prison Life at Alcatraz Wasn’t Always Bad Alcatraz became a federal prison in 1934, after being transferred to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. It was designed as a maximum security penitentiary meant for the most difficult inmates in the federal system, and was partly an attempt to show the public that the government was being tough on the widespread crime of the 1920s and ’30s. Although Alcatraz cut an intimidating figure, some prisoners reported that the experience wasn’t so bad. The first warden of Alcatraz made sure the food was good to dissuade rioting, and a menu in the 1940s even included “bacon jambalaya, pork roast with all the trimmings, or beef pot pie Anglaise.” Prisoners lived one man to a cell, which wasn’t a certainty in other federal prisons, and had basic rights to food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Through good behavior, prisoners could earn privileges that included work on the island and even playing music. In fact, Alcatraz’s reputation far surpassed those of some other federal prisons, and occasionally inmates around the country even requested transfers to “The Rock.” 5. Al Capone Wrote Love Songs While an Inmate at Alcatraz Arguably the prison’s most famous inmate was Al Capone, who was known at Alcatraz as Prisoner 85. Although a ruthless mob leader who ran the Italian American organized crime syndicate known as the Chicago Outfit, Scarface was finally put behind bars for tax evasion in 1931. In a few instances, he resorted to violence when provoked, but he mostly spent time playing banjo in the prison band the Rock Islanders, and writing love songs. In 2017, Capone’s handwritten lyrics to one song, titled “Humoresque,” sold at auction for $18,750. The lyrics included such memorable lines as “You thrill and fill this heart of mine, with gladness like a soothing symphony, over the air, you gently float, and in my soul, you strike a note.” Capone was eventually released from prison in November 1939, after more than seven years behind bars, by which time he was in ill health due to an untreated case of syphilis. 6. No One Has Ever Escaped From Alcatraz (Probably) Of the 14 escape attempts at Alcatraz, all failed — except one daring attempt (forever immortalized in the 1979 film Escape From Alcatraz). On June 12, 1962, an early morning bed check at the prison revealed that three inmates were missing from their beds — and in a made-for-Hollywood twist, they’d been replaced by papier-mâché heads constructed in secret to fool the night guards. While hacking together homemade life vests (an idea they got from the DIY magazine Popular Mechanics), the escapees tried their luck across the bay toward San Francisco. The FBI discovered the vests on Cronkhite Beach and found other bits of evidence (including letters sealed in rubber) scattered throughout the bay — but the authorities never found any evidence of the men living in the U.S. or abroad, and believed they actually drowned in the bay’s frigid waters. The FBI closed the case on December 31, 1979, but the U.S. Marshals Service has continued to investigate. 7. Native Americans Occupied Alcatraz One problem with running a prison on an island is that it can be pretty expensive to maintain, and so in March 1963, the century-old military outpost-turned-penitentiary closed its doors — but that wasn’t the end of its story. In November 1969, a group of Native Americans led by activist Richard Oakes traveled to Alcatraz and began an occupation of the island that lasted 19 months. The group referenced the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which allowed Native people to repossess retired or abandoned federal land, as the basis for their seizure. They issued a proclamation that included a letter to the “Great White Father and All His People,” which highlighted the hypocrisy of the U.S. government’s treatment of Native Americans both past and present. Over the following months, the occupation grew in size to as many as 600 people, before numbers began to dwindle in January 1970. The government cut off electrical and water supplies to the island, food became scarce, and in June 1971 U.S. marshals forcibly removed the final 15 occupiers from the island. A highly publicized moment of Indigenous activism, the protest brought considerable attention to the plight of America’s Native peoples. In 1970, President Richard Nixon even ended the U.S.’s decades-long termination policy — an effort to forcibly eliminate tribes and assimilate Native Indians into American society. The occupation of Alcatraz was the first intertribal protest, and part of a rich history of modern Native American activism. Source: Amazing Facts About Alcatraz
  25. What's the Word: TOCSIN pronunciation: [TOK-sin] Part of speech: noun Origin: Old French, 16th century Meaning: 1. An alarm bell or signal. Example: "We awoke every morning to the blaring tocsin of the alarm in our neighbor’s apartment." "The flooding was the tocsin our county needed to take coastal erosion more seriously." About Tocsin “Tocsin” is based on the Old French “toquesain,” which combined the Old Occitan roots “tocar” (meaning “to strike”) and “senh” (meaning “bell”). Did you Know? In modern terms, a “tocsin” can refer to any kind of alarm, whether literal or figurative. Historically, though, a tocsin was specifically an alarm sounded by bells. Prior to modern communication, a tocsin could be used to warn residents of an entire city of important events. The word comes from Old French, so tocsins were notably sounded during the French Revolution, and then, during the Cold War of the 20th century, the “alert” implication of the term was applied in English-speaking countries to describe that era’s tensions and concerns.
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