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Fact of the Day - THE EIFFEL TOWER

 

10-Facts-You-Didnt-Know-About-the-Eiffel

 

Did you know... that the Eiffel Tower is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France? It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. (Wikipedia)

 

The Eiffel Tower, one of the most visited attractions in Paris - nay, the world - welcoming almost seven million visitors per year, opened 129 years ago today.

 

Read on for some very fascinating facts. 

1. Completed on March 31, 1889, the tower was the world’s tallest man-made structure for 41 years until the completion of the Chrysler Building in New York in 1930. 

2. It is 324 metres tall (including antennas) and weighs 10,100 tonnes.

3. It was the tallest structure in France until the construction of a military transmitter in the town of Saissac in 1973. The Millau Viaduct, completed in 2004, is also taller, at 343 metres.

4. It is possible to climb to the top, but there are 1,665 steps. Most people take the lift.

 

eiffel-building.jpg?imwidth=1240

 

5. The lifts travel a combined distance of 103,000 km a year – two and a half times the circumference of the Earth.

6. Victor Lustig, a con artist, "sold" the tower for scrap metal on two separate occasions.

 

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7. During cold weather the tower shrinks by about six inches. 

8. Gustave Eiffel, the engineer and architect behind the tower, was also involved in a disastrous attempt by the French to build a canal in Panama, and his reputation was badly damaged by the failure of the venture.

 

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9. Eiffel also designed interior elements of the Statue of Liberty.

10. He died while listening to Beethoven's 5th symphony.

 

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11. Since its opening more than 250 million people have visited the tower.

12. Today the tower welcomes almost 7 million people a year, making it the most visited paid-for monument in the world.

13. Its construction took two years, two months and five days - 180 years fewer than Paris's other great attraction, Notre Dame.

14. During the German occupation, the tower's lift cables were cut, and the tower closed to the public. Nazi soldiers then attempted to attach a swastika to the top, but it was so large it blew away and had to be replaced with a smaller one.

 

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15. In 1944, as the Allies approached Paris, Hitler ordered Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower, along with other parts of the city. The general refused.

16. Repainting the tower, which happens every seven years, requires 60 tonnes of paint.

17. The tower was the main exhibit at the 1889 Exposition Universelle (World’s Fair), held to commemorate the centennial of the French Revolution.

18. One attendee at the 1889 World's Fair was Sir John Bickerstaffe, Mayor of Blackpool. So impressed was he at the new attraction, he has a similar tower built on the English seafront.19. The tower appears in the 1985 Bond film A View to a Kill. There is a scene in the Jules Verne restaurant, and a fight in the stairway.

 

eiffel-restaurant.jpg?imwidth=1240

 

20. Semolina Pilchard climbs the Eiffel Tower in the Beatles song I Am the Walrus.

21. There are a number of other replicas around the world, including one in Las Vegas and one at the Window of the World theme park in Shenzhen, China.

22. The tower played a part in the Allied victory at the First Battle of the Marne, in 1914. One of its transmitters jammed German radio communications, hindering their advance.

23. It was originally intended to stand for 20 years before being dismantled, but its use as a wireless telegraph transmitter (in cases such as the one above) meant it was allowed to stay.

24. French car manufacturer Citroen used the tower as a giant billboard between 1925 and 1934 – the company name was emblazoned on the tower using a quarter of a million light bulbs – and was recorded as the world’s biggest advertisement by the Guinness Book of Records.

 

The world's 10 most visited cities

Annual arrivals (millions)

Hong Kong - 26.6
Bangkok - 21.2
London - 19.2
Singapore - 16.6
Macau - 15.4
Dubai - 14.9
Paris - 14.4
New York - 12.7
Shenzhen - 12.6
Kuala Lumpur - 12.3

 

25. In 2008 a woman with an objects fetish married the Eiffel Tower, changing her name to Erika La Tour Eiffel in honour of her ‘partner’.

26. The tower comprises 18,000 metallic parts, joined together by 2.5 million rivets.

27. To mark the 125th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower’s completion the British Virgin Islands launched a special tower-shaped $10 coin.

28. A number of aviators have flown an aircraft under the arches of the tower. In 1926 Leon Collet was killed after a failed attempt.

 

eiffel-aviator.jpg?imwidth=1240

 

29. The tower sways around six to seven centimetres (2-3 inches) in the wind.

30. Gustave Eiffel kept a small apartment of the third floor for entertaining friends. It is now open to the public.

31. The Eiffel Tower and Margaret Thatcher share the same nickname - La Dame de Fer ("The Iron Lady").

 

10 reasons you should visit Paris.

tilt-shift-paris.jpg?imwidth=1400

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/france/paris/articles/paris-reasons-to-visit-2018/

 

32. In 1960 Charles de Gaulle proposed temporarily dismantling the tower and sending it to Montreal for Expo 67. The plan was rejected.

33. The names of 72 engineers, scientists and mathematicians are engraved on the side of the tower, each of whom contributed to its construction.

34. In the computer game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, the tower is toppled by an airstrike.

35. There are 20,000 light bulbs used on the Eiffel Tower to make it sparkle every night.

 

eiffel-lights.jpg?imwidth=1240

 

36. Ever wanted to build your own Eiffel Tower? There's a LEGO set for that - number 10181 (it contains 3,428 bricks).

37. It costs €19 to take the lift to the top.

38. The majority of visitors (10.4%) are French, following by Italy and Spain (8.1% each), USA (7.9%), Britain (7.4%), Germany (5.8%) and Brazil (5.5%).

39. In 1905 a local newspaper organised a stair climbing championship at the tower. A M.Forestier won, taking three minutes and 12 seconds to reach the second level.

40. Pierre Labric cycled down the stairs of the tower in 1923. He won a bet, but was arrested by local police.

 

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - TORNADOES

 

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Did you know.... that a tornado is a rapidly rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud? (Wikipedia)

 

There are a number of facts about tornadoes. The biggest, the meanest, the longest and of all different kinds. This marvelous yet destructive beauty of nature can be a site to look at but a chilly experience to feel. Many people are so crazy with tornadoes that they want to see it with their own eyes but none of them have been alive to tell the tale. A tornado is nothing but a giant funnel that is a fascinating sight to watch. A violent tornado, however, can leave a mass trail of destruction behind.

 

1: A tornado is a strong, turbulent column of fast moving air, keeping in contact with the earth’s surface. It is thus like a vertically formed cloud carrying dense water vapors, called the cumulonimbus cloud. The bottom end of the vortex is surrounded by a cloud of dust and debris.

 

2: Tornadoes are formed from the extremely large thunderstorms called super cells.

3: Tornadoes can be very destructive in nature with their speed ranging from 110mph to 300mph.

4: Tornadoes can last to about 1-2 hours or 4 hours, in extreme cases, and can be as tall as 75 feet.

 

5: Tornadoes also occasionally occur in south-central and eastern Asia, northern and east-central South America, Africa, North West and South East Europe, West and South East Australia, and New Zealand.  Most commonly, tornadoes are observed to occur in the Tornado Alley, ranging from the states of Texas to Iowa, in the United States. Except Antarctica, tornadoes can occur in any place.

 

Tornado.jpg

6: The most destructive tornado recorded till date was the one Bangladesh on April 26, 1989, which killed approximately 1300 people.

7: Bangladesh has had at least 19 tornadoes in its history killing more than 100,000 people which is almost half of the total toll in the rest of the world.

 

8: The most record-breaking tornado in history was the Tri-state Tornado, which spiraled through parts of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana on March 18, 1925.  It holds records for longest path length (219 miles, 352 km), longest duration (about 3.5 hours), and fastest forward speed for a significant tornado (73 mph, 117 km/h) anywhere on Earth. It has been said that that tornado was an F5, which can be extremely violent and destructive. The letter “F” is used to denote the Fujita Scale, depending on the magnitude of the damage cause by the tornado. F0 being the least amount of damage and F6 being the maximum.

 

9: The effects causes by tornado can be devastating and the damage caused can be one mile wide and 50 mile long.

 

10: The sky turns to a characteristic greenish color when a tornado is on the rising. . For the detection of tornadoes, a Pulse-Doppler radar is used which collects data based on the velocity and reflectivity of the air of the surroundings. Effects like debris balls and hook echoes are observed

 

11: Like anything else on this planet, everything that takes birth, must die, even the tornadoes have a definite lifecycle. They last up to 1-2 hours. The down pouring rainfall drags a rapidly descending region of air which is known as the rear flank downdraft (RFD). It drags the super cell’s Meso cyclone (area of organized rotation) to the ground with it. This RFD, when becomes cool, chokes the tornado, stopping its power source of warm air and finally dissipates the vortex.

 

12: The tornadoes can be of different shapes and structures. They can be either a multiple vortex tornado, or a watersoupt tornado (tornadoes occurring over a water body). Their sizes differ too. Some are rope like, thin and long, and others can be spiral and wide.

 

13: A tornado normally appears transparent until it picks dust and mud from the ground.

14: There are many myths and misconceptions about tornadoes too. Some believe that areas near rivers, lakes and mountains are safe from tornadoes. But the fact is that tornadoes can occur almost anywhere.

 

15: In the late 1980s, a tornado swept through Yellowstone leaving a path of destruction up and down a 10,000-foot mountain. It is also believed that the low pressure in a tornado causes buildings to “explode” as the tornado passes overhead. But the fact remains that, rapid winds traveling at a speed of more 200mph and the debris slams into the buildings causing most structural damage.

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16. Most tornadoes spin in the cyclonic direction while some rotate in the anticyclonic direction.

17: Cyclonic is counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in Southern Hemisphere. Similarly, anticyclonic is a high pressure or ridge circulation in the Northern or Southern Hemisphere. 

18: Most tornadoes travel few miles before they exhaust themselves.

19: Areas which are prone to tornadoes have basement shelters.

20: Tornadoes are the fastest winds on the earth and can be and their rapid rotation often form a visible funnel of condensed water.

 

Tornadoes.jpg

 

21: Tornadoes can be formed any time throughout the year but a major number of tornadoes are formed during late April to May.

22: In the northern parts of USA, the peak session for tornadoes is much later. This is because it takes longer to warm the northern parts of the plains and hence the tornadoes form later.

23: Tornadoes can be detected through weather radar and give advanced warning.

24: Waterspouts are tornadoes that form over a body of water.

25: The United States averages around 1200 tornadoes each year.

26: During a tornado, basement and other underground areas are safest place to hideout.

27: Tornadoes are a work of creation and should always be stir-cleared away from as you never know how damaging the consequences can be.

28: Tornadoes are sometimes called Twisters.

29: Only 2% of all tornadoes are labeled as “violent tornadoes” that can last over an hour.

tornado.jpg

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Fact of the Day - BANH MI

Baguette9.jpg?resize=600,412&ssl=1

(Banh Mi Bagettes)

 

Did you know... that Bánh mì or banh mi is the Vietnamese word for bread? In Vietnamese cuisine, it also refers to a type of baguette which is often split lengthwise and filled with various savory ingredients as a sandwich and served as a meal. Plain banh mi is also eaten as a staple food. (Wikipedia)

 

For some, the bánh mì sandwich is just breakfast — cheap calories in a tidy little package. For others, it’s emblematic of the death of colonialism, the long overdue repudiation of horrific racism, bigotry and European arrogance. The Vietnamese were told not to change French dishes because they weren’t worthy of eating the same food as their masters — that they were an inferior people because of their simple rice and fish diet. From humble beginnings to global recognition, the history of the bánh mì sandwich is the history of modern Vietnam.
 

Down a tiny cement alley on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City, a lady in a colorful áo bà ba — or “pajama suit”, as foreigners call them — waits behind her aluminum food cart with the air of someone who doesn’t laugh all that often. She has everything she needs right in front of her: stacks of baguettes, eggs, pickled veggies, herbs, Maggi sauce, chili flakes, Laughing Cow cream cheese and various meats. When two students in matching white uniforms roll up on an electric scooter, she’s all business. They exchange a couple of words, and fifteen seconds later, she hands them two bánh mì sandwiches, snatching their 10,000 VND (0.44 USD) notes. Nothing extraordinary, just another routine part of life in Vietnam. But it wasn’t always this way.

 

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(How many Vietnamese get their breakfast © Aleksandr Shilov/shutterstock)

 

The French Colony of Cochinchina
The history of the bánh mì sandwich began, oddly enough, with the spread of Christianity in Asia. From as early as the 17th century, French missionaries were in Vietnam converting people to Catholicism. They were often harassed by local authorities who grew wary of foreign influence, and France, as their sovereign, felt obligated to protect them. Unfortunately for Vietnam, when the Emperor Tự Đức executed two Spanish missionaries in 1857, the French happened to have a military fleet nearby fighting China in the Second Opium War.

 

To punish the Vietnamese, the French attacked Tourane, which is present-day Da Nang. They wanted to force the emperor to allow Catholics to practice their faith, but the emperor refused to accept French demands. The French attacked and held parts of Saigon, but still, the emperor refused to be swayed.

 

When the French military finished with China in 1860, it attacked Vietnam with 70 ships, and over the course of the next two years, they took over all of Saigon and the surrounding area. By 1862, it was the French defining the terms. They felt they were owed substantial payments for their costly war, so they demanded three provinces and free use of trading ports throughout the country. This was the birth of the French Colony of Cochinchina.

 

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(French Governor's Palace in Saigon (1875) Original photo by Emile Gsell via Tommy Truong79/Flickr)

 

In those days, it wasn’t feasible to send large amounts of food all the way from France, so the new authorities introduced crops and livestock to Vietnam in order to keep up their European diets — things like coffee, milk and deli meats. But wheat simply refused to grow here. It had to be shipped in, and only the French could afford it. They used this inequality to reinforce their notions of European superiority. The locals weren’t worthy of bread.

 

The Fall of European Colonialism
Up until World War I, the Vietnamese diet hadn’t changed much, even with all the new ingredients available. As Simon Stanley describes in this excellent article, when war broke out in Europe, the warehouses of two large German exporters were seized by French troops. When the troops sailed for France to join the war effort, those stores of goods flooded the markets in Saigon — at prices everyone could afford. For the first time, many poor Vietnamese could afford to eat cold cuts, cheeses and baguettes.

 

1024px-governor-general_french_indochina

(French Governor-General of Indochina (1913) © Jean Martin/WikiCommons)

 

The bánh mì sandwich as we know it today only came about after the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Until then, Vietnamese ate bread in much the same way the French had: baguettes with a platter of cold cuts, butter and cheese. After the French left, Vietnamese in the south were free to modify French dishes to include local ingredients. Mayonnaise replaced butter, and veggies replaced the more expensive cold cuts. The bánh mì morphed into a dish everyone could afford.

 

Made in Saigon
The bánh mì sandwich was born in Saigon in the late 1950s. When Vietnam split into two countries in 1954, approximately one million northerners fled south. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Le, credited as the first to create what we now call the bánh mì sandwich. They were the first people to put the ingredients inside the bread so the customers could take it with them. This was long before plastic and styrofoam made everything portable. The bánh mì sandwich revolutionized dining in Saigon — perfect for the hustle of life in the modern world. The family still runs a small restaurant in District 3, called Banh Mi Hoa Ma.

 

Bánh Mì Hòa Mã, 53 Đường Cao Thắng, District 3, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

 

Thanks to American wheat shipments and the change to local ingredients, the bánh mì sandwich grew immensely popular. It was — and still is — a cheap meal, rich in both flavor and calories. New food carts and restaurants popped up all over the Republic of Vietnam, which was then the name of South Vietnam. Bakeries opened as well to supply the bread. An entirely new industry grew to supply people with bánh mì sandwiches.

 

banh-mi-food-cart.jpg

(Banh mi food cart with distinctive Saigon lettering © Jean-Marie Hullot/WikiCommons)

 

The Bánh Mì Sandwich Meets the World
After the fall of Saigon in 1975, millions of people fled Vietnam. They went to places like San Diego, Houston, Seattle and Paris, which already had an established Vietnamese community. The refugees, though light in possessions, brought with them their skills and rich traditions. Many of them opened small restaurants to serve other Vietnamese, making changes to incorporate local ingredients in their new homes.

 

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(One of many American versions © telse/shutterstock)

 

Over time, Americans and Europeans found they enjoyed Vietnamese food as well. Vietnamese entrepreneurs sensed this growing popularity and took advantage of it with food trucks and franchised restaurants. Now, the bánh mì sandwich is everywhere. It’s in American strip malls and restaurants around the world. For most Vietnamese people, though, it still comes from an aluminum food cart on the side of the street — a flaky sandwich to get the day going. The history is interesting, but today’s breakfast is more important.

 

Source: Writer, Matthew Pike

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - WRITTEN LANGUAGE

 

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Did you know... that a written language is the representation of a spoken or gestural language by means of a writing system? Written language is an invention in that it must be taught to children, who will pick up spoken language or sign language by exposure even if they are not formally instructed. (Wikipedia)

 

  1. A pangram is a sentence that contains every letter in the language. For example, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."
  2. The term "lynch" is derived from the name of Colonel Charles Lynch (1736-96), a Virginia landowner who began to hold illegal trials in his backyard in 1790.
  3. The shortest and oldest word in the English language is "I."
  4. The word "oysterhood" means "reclusiveness" or "an overwhelming desire to stay at home."
  5. An ambigram is a word that looks the same from various orientations. For example, the word "swims" will be the same even when turned upside down.
  6. English is the official language for maritime and aeronautical communications.
  7. English is the third most spoken native language in the world. Standard Chinese and Spanish are first and second, respectively.
  8. If you wrote out all the numbers (e.g. one, two, three . . . ), you would not use the letter "b" until the word "billion."

The longest word in the English language is not "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."

longest+word+in+english+3.jpg

The longest word in the English language is 45 letters long: "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis." It is the scientific name for a type of lung disease.

  1. Almost all of the 100 most frequently used words in English come from Old English. These words include, "a," "the," "and," pronouns, prepositions and conjunctions (from, with, when), and the various forms of the verbs "to have" and "to be."
  2. The Oxford English Corpus contains over 2.5 billion words. The Oxford English Corpus is a collection of 21st-century texts and is used to track the way English changes over time.
  3. Most average adult English speakers know between 20,000–35,000 words.
  4. Words have a lifespan of anywhere between 1,000 and 20,000 years. More commonly used words tend to last longer.
  5. Those who read fiction have a larger vocabulary than those who do not. Fiction usually contains a wider range of vocabulary than nonfiction does.
  6. More people in the world have learned English as a second language than there are native English speakers.

"The English language is nobody's special property. It is the property of the imagination: it is the property of the language itself."- Derek Walcott

  1. Shakespeare added 1,700 words to the English language during his lifetime.
  2. A new word is created every 98 minutes, which is about 14.7 words a day.
  3. In 2018, approximately 1.53 billion people speak English as a primary, auxiliary, or business language. This is about 1 in 7 people on Earth.
  4. The letter "e" is the most commonly used letter in the English language.
  5. Only one word in all of English has the letters X, Y, and Z in order: Hydroxyzine. This unique word is a type of medicine that prevents sneezing and anxiety.
  6. Though not commonly used, the day after tomorrow is called "overmorrow."
  7. English is the most commonly used language in the sciences.
  8. The 1066 Norman Conquest drastically changed the English language. When the Normans (French) conquered England, they brought with them thousands of French words associated with the church, court systems, and government, such as baron, noble, parliament, governor, banquet.

history-of-english-language.jpg

(The Norman Conquest changed the English language forever)

  1. English is not the official language of the United States.
  2. An anagram is a rearrangement of the letters in a word or phrase to form a different word or phrase. For example, the word "stifle" is an anagram of "itself."
  3. The most complex word in the English language is "set." This small word has over 430 definitions and requires a 60,000 word definition that covers 24 pages in the Oxford English Dictionary.
  4. There are only five words in the English language that consist of all vowels (aa, ae, ai, oe, and eau).
  5. The word "queue" sounds the same even if the last four letters are removed. Before it meant "line," a queue meant the tail of a beast in medieval pictures and designs.
  6. The longest common word with all the letters in alphabetical order is "almost."
  7. More English words begin with the letter "s" than any other letter.

fun-english-language-facts.jpg

("It has been estimated that the vocabulary of English includes roughly 1 million words, but this is a very rough estimate.")

  1. According to University of Warwick researchers, the top 10 funniest words in the English language are booty, tit, booby, hooter, nitwit, twit, waddle, tinkle, bebop, and egghead.
  2. The word "good" has the most synonyms of any other word in the English language, at 380.
  3. Yes, there is a word in English meaning "shapely buttocks." That word is "callipygian." It is from the Greek "kallipygos," meaning kallos (beauty) + pyge (buttocks).
  4. The longest common word with no vowels is "rhythms."
  5. The most commonly misused word in the English language is "ironic." Irony is often confused with sarcasm, coincidence, or paradox.
  6. "Rhinorrhea" is the medical term for "runny nose."
  7. The first number spelled out that contains an "a" is one thousand.
  8. China has more English speakers than the United States.
  9. The English words "moose," opossum," "pecan," "raccoon," "skunk," and "squash" originated from the now-extinct language of the Algonquian people. They were a native tribe that lived at the site of the earliest English colony on what is now Roanoke Island in the United States.
  10. The opposite of "sparkle" is "darkle."
  11. The word “whatever” consistently ranks as the most annoying English word.
  12. The language that is most closely related to English is Frisian, a West Germanic language spoken in parts of the Netherlands and Germany.
  13. The longest word you can make using only four letters is "senseless."
  14. The word "good-bye" is a contraction of "God be with ye."
  15. Capitonyms are words which change their meaning if the first letter is capitalized. For example: Turkey (the country) and turkey (the bird).
  16. The most commonly used noun in the English language is the word "time."
  17. The word "the" is the most commonly used English word overall, followed by "be," "to," "of," "and," "a," "in," "that," "have," and "I."

The 25 Most Common Nouns in the English Language
1. time - 2. person - 3. year - 4. way - 5. day
6. thing - 7. man - 8. world - 9. life - 10. hand
11. part - 12. child - 13. eye - 14. woman - 15. place
16. work - 17. week - 18. case - 19. point - 20. government
21. company - 22. number - 23. group - 24. problem - 25. fact

 

Acronyms that have Become Accepted English Words
SCUBA  -  self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
SNAFU  -  situation normal, all fouled up (or a differed "F" word)
LASER  - light amplification by the stimulated emission of radiation
RADAR   - radio detection and ranging
SONAR  -  sound navigation and ranging
MODEM  -  modulator/demodulator
YUPPIE  -  young urban professional

 

Fun English Contronyms (Words with Contrary Meanings)

Word  -  Contronymic Definition
Apology  -  A statement of contrition for an action, or a defense of one
Bill  -  A payment, or an invoice for payment
Bolt  -  To secure, or to flee
Bound  -  Heading to a destination, or restrained from movement
Buckle  -  To connect, or to break or collapse
Cleave  -  To adhere, or to separate
Clip  -  To fasten, or detach
Dust  -  To add fine particles, or to remove them
Fast  -  Quick, or stuck or made stable
Fine  -  Excellent, or acceptable or good enough
Garnish  -  To furnish, as with food preparation, or to take away, as with wages
Left  -  Remained, or departed
Let  -  Allowed, or hindered
Refrain  -  To desist from doing something, or to repeat
Rock  -  An immobile mass of stone or figuratively similar phenomenon, or a shaking or unsettling movement or action
Splice  -  To join, or to separate
Strike  -  To hit, or to miss in an attempt to hit
Trim  -  To decorate, or to remove excess from
Wind up  -  To end, or to start up

 

Brief History of the English Language

  • Date                       Event
  • 6000 BC  -  The English Channel is formed, cutting of the British Isles from mainland Europe.
  • 600 BC  -  The first languages in the British Isles are Celtic languages, such as Welsh and Scots Gaelic. Words of Celtic origin include bog, clan, glen, pet, slew, slogan, trousers.
  • 55 BC  -  The Romans invade Britain and introduce Latin.
  • 450 AD  -  Anglo-Saxons, the first people who spoke the language which over time evolved into English, conquer England. Their language is often called Anglo-Saxon or Old English. Many wordS still exist, such as cow, house, bread, and sword. 
  • 475  -  The Undley Bracteate medallion is found in Lakenheath in Suffolk, which is the first evidence of written English.
  • 731  -  The VenerabLe Bede completes his Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, which is the first text to mention the English language and the English people.
  • 800  -  Vikings from Denmark and Norway begin to invade Britain. They leave behind several words in EnglisH, such as "you," "husband," "law," and "anger.
  • 871  -  King Alfred of Wessex is the first person to call the language English
  • 1066  -  The Normans from France invade England and bring with them an early form of French, which becomes the high-status language in England. 
  • 1362  -  On October 13, the Chancellor of England opens Parliament with a speech in English rather than French for the first time.
  • 1400  -  English begins to supercede French again, and Middle English begins to develop. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is published. 
  • 1476  -  The printing press revolutionized society. Interest grows in creating a standard way of writing English.
  • 1520  -  William Tyndale translated the New Testament into English, which meant more people could read the Bible themselves. The Catholic Church tortured and burned Tyndale at the stake for his efforts. 
  • 1550  -  British scholars introduce more Latin and Greek words into English.
  • 1580  -  William Shakespeare infuses the English language with his sonnets and plays. He also invents words, which are still used today.
  • 1611  -  The King James Bible is published.
  • 1655  -  The first newspaper in English, the London Gazette is first published.
  • 1755  -  Samuel Johnson published his Dictionary of the English Language, which helps standardize spelling.
  • 1922  -  The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) begins transmission, which dramatically influenced the way English is used and spoken.
  • 2015  -  The Oxford English Dictionary honors "emoji" as its Word of the Year.

The Ten Most Common Letters in the Concise Oxford English Dictionary
Letter    Percentage of Words
1. E  -  11.1607
2. A  -  8.4966
3. R  -  7.5809
4. I  -  7.5448
5. O  -  7.1635
6. T  -  6.9509
7. N  -  6.6544
8. S  -  5.7351
9. L  -  5.4893
10. C  -  4.5388

  1. The plural of cul-de-sac is culs-de-sac.
  2. The word "embox" means to "place something in a box."
  3. The chess term “checkmate” is from a 14th-century Arabic phrase, “shah mat," meaning “the king is helpless.”
  4. A "blatteroon" is a senseless blabber or boaster.
  5. An aptonym (or euonym) is a personal name that is appropriate to their job, such as Liz Potter, Katherine Barber, or Martin Shovel.
  6. The ampersand used to be the 27th letter of the alphabet.
  7. The synonym for the word synonym is poecilonym. It's from the Greek "poikilos" (various) + "-onym" (name).

Source: Bizarre English Language Facts by Karin Lehnardt

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Fact of the Day - SOLAR ENERGY

 

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Did you know... that solar power is the conversion of energy from sunlight into electricity, either directly using photovoltaics, indirectly using concentrated solar power, or a combination? Concentrated solar power systems use lenses or mirrors and solar tracking systems to focus a large area of sunlight into a small beam. (Wikipedia)

 

The consumption of non-renewable sources like oil, gas and coal is increasing at an alarming rate. The time has finally come to look after some other renewable sources of energy i.e. solar, wind and geothermal energy. Although many countries have started utilizing solar energy extensively but still they have to go a long way to exploit this energy to fulfill their daily demand for energy. Here are few facts on solar energy that can help you assess the potential of solar energy to meet global requirements.

 

What is Solar Energy?
Solar energy refers to energy from the sun. The sun has produced energy for billions of years. It is the most important source of energy for life forms. It is a renewable source of energy unlike non- renewable sources such as fossil fuels. Solar energy technologies use the sun’s energy to light homes, produce hot water, heat homes.

 

The main benefit of solar energy is that it does not produce any pollutants and is one of the cleanest source of energy. It is a renewable source of energy, requires low maintenance and are easy to install. The only limitation that solar energy possess is that it cannot be used at night and amount of sunlight that is received on earth is depends on location, time of day, time of year, and weather conditions.

 

Below are 40 Facts on Solar Energy
Fact 1: Solar energy is a completely free source of energy and it is found in abundance. Though the sun is 90 million miles from the earth, it takes less than 10 minutes for light to travel from that much of distance.

Fact 2: Solar energy which comprises of radiant heat and light from the sun can be harnessed with some modern technology like photo-voltaic, solar heating, artificial photosynthesis, solar architecture and solar thermal electricity.

Fact 3: The solar technology can be distinguished into active and passive. Photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors which harness solar energy are examples of active solar technology. Passive technology includes constructing rooms to improve air circulation, orienting space to favorably use sunlight.

Fact 4: The earth gets 174 Petawatts of incoming solar radiation in the upper atmosphere. About 30% is reflected back to space and the rest is absorbed by oceans, clouds and land masses.

Fact 5: The water cycle is an important result of solar insulation. The earth, oceans and atmosphere absorb solar radiation and their temperature rises. Warm air rises from the oceans causing convection. When this air rises to high altitudes, clouds are created by condensation of water vapor. These clouds cause rains that bring water back to the earth’s surface which completes the water cycle.

Fact 6: Solar energy has also another use. By means of photosynthesis, solar energy is converted by green plants into chemical energy which creates the bio mass that makes up the fossil fuels.

Fact 7: Horticulture and agriculture seek to make the maximum use of solar energy. These include techniques like timing of planting cycles and mixing of plant varieties. Green houses are also used to convert light into heat to promote year round cultivation of special crops.

Fact 8: Solar powered hot water systems utilize solar energy to heat water. In certain areas, 60 to 70% of water used domestically for temperatures as high as 60 degree Celsius can be made available by solar heating.

Fact 9: Solar chimneys are passive solar ventilation systems. Shafts connect the interior and exterior of the building. The functioning can be improved by glazing and using thermal mass materials.

Fact 10: Solar energy can also be used for making potable, brackish or saline water. Without using electricity or chemicals, waste water can be treated. Creating salt from sea water is also one of the oldest uses of solar energy.

Fact 11: Clothes can be dried in the sun using clothes lines, cloth racks etc.

Fact 12: Food can be cooked, dried or pasteurized using solar energy.

Fact 13: Solar power is the most exciting use of solar energy. It is how solar energy is converted into electricity by using either photo-voltaic (direct method) or concentrated solar power (Indirect). Large beams of sunlight are focused into a small beam using mirrors or lenses in the case of concentrated solar power. Photoelectric effect is used by Photo voltaic to convert solar energy into electric energy.

Fact 14: Solar chemical processes replace fossil fuels as a source for chemical energy and can make solar energy storable and transportable. Photosynthesis can create a variety of fuels. Technology for producing Hydrogen is a major area of solar chemical research.

Fact 15: Thermal storage systems can store solar energy in the form of heat by using common materials with high specific heat such as stone, earth and water. Solar energy can be stored also in molten salts.

Fact 16: The oil crisis of 1970 revealed the delicate nature of fossil fuels as a source of energy for the world. As such research in alternative, renewable energy technology like that of solar and wind energy gained momentum.

Fact 17: Solar energy is being recognized as the future of alternative energy sources as it is non polluting and helps combat the Greenhouse effect on global climate created by use of fossils fuels.

Fact 18: Common domestic use of solar energy is from solar panels which absorb solar energy to use for cooking and heating water.

Fact 19: Solar energy produce no pollution, have no environmental effects and is ecologically acceptable.

 

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Fact 21: Space missions by various countries use solar energy to power their spaceships.

Fact 22: Solar energy is very reliable source of energy.

Fact 23: With new advancements in scientific researches, solar energy could be more affordable in future with decreasing costs and increasing efficiency.

Fact 24: Solar energy could prove to be the major source of renewable energy because of its massive potential and long-term advantages.

Fact 25: The earth receives about 1,366 watts of direct solar radiation per square meter.

Fact 26: The largest solar power plant in the world is located in the Mojave Desert in California, covering 1000 acres.

Fact 27: Solar energy is the preferred mode of creating power where the need is temporary. For e.g.: temporary fairs, mining sites, Olympics.

Fact 28: Solar energy can also be used to power calculators.

Fact 29: Solar panels are virtually maintenance free since the batteries require no water or other regular service and will last for years. Once, solar panels are installed, there are no recurring costs.

Fact 30: Solar power can significantly reduce the electricity bills. Moreover, there are many tax incentives and rebate programs designed to spur the use of solar, and save home owners money at the same time.

Fact 31: Solar power is noise pollution free. It has no moving parts, and does not require any additional fuel, other than sunlight, to produce power.

Fact 32: A home solar panel system consists of several solar panels, an inverter, a battery, a charge regulator, wiring, and support materials. Sunlight is absorbed by the solar panels and is converted to electricity by the installed system. The battery stores electricity that can be used at a later time, like cloudy days or during the evening.

Fact 33: By relying on battery backup, solar energy can even provide electricity 24×7, even on cloudy days and at night.

Fact 34: Solar Energy is measured in kilowatt-hour. 1 kilowatt = 1000 watts.

Fact 35: Though solar energy is used on a wide scale, it only provides a small fraction of the world’s energy supply.

Fact 36: Solar energy is used in many applications including Electricity, Evaporation, Biomass, Heating water and buildings and even for transport.

Fact 37: Large investment is one the primary reason why solar energy is not still not used by many people all over the world.

Fact 38: Solar energy has been used for over 2700 years. In 700 BC, glass lenses were used to make fire by magnifying the sun’s rays.

Fact 39: The sun is also the main source of non-renewable fossil fuels (coal, gas and petroleum) which began life as plants and animals millions of years ago.

Fact 40: Clouds and pollution prevent the sun’s rays from reaching the earth.

 

Every year the sun beams to the earth energy to sustain global needs of energy for the entire year. Solar energy is a technology used to convert solar energy into other forms like electrical energy to meet global requirements. As of now only one tenth of global energy needs is supplied by solar energy but the potential for the future is mind boggling.

Source:  CEF_Logo-300x84.png

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Fact of the Day - YARN

 

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Did you know... that yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, or ropemaking? Thread is a type of yarn intended for sewing by hand or machine. (Wikipedia)

 

Those who have never tried to knit or crochet might not realize that the fiber arts have quite an interesting history. Even experienced crafters might not know that there are tons of fun facts about cotton yarn and the practice of knitting.

 

No one knows exactly how long knitting has been around
Because knitting yarns decay with time, it’s nearly impossible for archaeologists to determine how long this art form has been around. Although the sharpened sticks found at numerous digging sites resemble knitting needles, they could also be tools with totally different uses. Experts think the craft may have originated in the Middle East and later brought west during the Crusades. What we do know is that the word “knitting” didn’t appear in the English language until the 1300s. The art of weaving is thought to be older than knitting, but most people think that crochet came after the practice of knitting.

 

But we do know how long yarn has existed
Approximately, anyway. The earliest known samples of fabrics and yarns were found in Switzerland and were thought to be nearly 7,000 years old!

 

Knitting was thought to be a man’s enterprise
While knitting with cotton yarn is now seen stereotypically (and unfairly) as “women’s work,” it was initially a male-only occupation! In 1527, the first knitting union was established in Paris, France — and no women were allowed to join. After the knitting machine was invented in the late 1500s, knitting by hand became a useful hobby, rather than a necessity. Since it transformed into a leisurely craft, this may explain why it was no longer considered a male task.

 

Knitting is a record-breaking pastime
Runner David Babcock broke a Guinness World Record for his time in the Kansas City marathon: five hours, 48 minutes, and 27 seconds. If you’re wondering what’s so special about his time, he managed to run the entire race while knitting a scarf that measured over 12 feet long! And in 2012, knitters gathered in the Royal Albert Hall in London set the record for the most people knitting simultaneously; they had 3,083 people knitting, all told.

 

Knitting is a healthy activity
Not only can knitting or crocheting with cotton yarn relieve stress, improve motor function, and prevent arthritic diseases, but it also burns calories! When you knit for a half hour, you can burn up to 55 calories — so if you spend a good couple of hours working on your knitting, you could potentially burn off 200 calories or so.

 

Knitting is changing all the time
The popularity of knitted fabrics has waxed and waned throughout the years, but there are always new advancements being made. Traditional choices like wool and cotton yarns are still prevalent, but there are also new fibers being used. Yarns made of soy, hemp, alpaca, bamboo, microfibers, and other exotic blends have emerged into the marketplace, which provide more choices for artisans and hobbyists alike.

 

THREE TECHNIQUES OF YARN SPINNING
Cotton, wool, and man-made staple products are converted to yarn by a process called spinning. Upholstery fabric yarns are spun by three basic methods:
Warp Spinning

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In wrap spinning, a bundle of parallel fibers is wrapped in a spiraling fashion with other fibers. A bundle may contain 150-200 individual fibers along its length, yet not be thicker than a paper clip. Yarns spun by other methods are similar in size. Warp spinning is suitable for making strong, dense yarns.


Ring Spinning

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In ring spinning a parallel bundle of fibers is tightly twisted for cohesion and strength. No wrapper fiber is needed.


Open End Spinning

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With open end spinning the yarn has individual fibers that are not arranged as uniformly as in wrap or ring spun yarns. Most of the fibers are generally parallel, but with lots of crisscrossing, while some fiber irregularly wraps around the main bundle.

 

THREE MAJOR METHODS OF FABRIC CONSTRUCTION
Upholstery fabrics are constructed for durability and stability on quality furniture by three processes: Weaving, Tufting and Knitting

 

WEAVING

weaving.gif
Woven fabrics interlace yarns essentially at right angles. Both velvet and flatwoven constructions are used for upholstery. In velvet wovens, the plush pile is locked in by an interlocking system as shown here.

Flatwoven construction techniques range from simple basket-weaves to complex jacquard structures with patterns typical of brocade and damask.

 

TUFTING
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In tufted material, the pile is sewn into a backing material. Tufted fabrics can be dyed to solid shades or patterns using special technology. Striped fabrics can be tufted by using colored yarns.

 

KNITTING
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Velvet fabrics knitted on a Raschel machine are similar to woven velvets except the pile tufts are locked into loops rather than a crisscrossed structure. Knitted fabrics like these are suited for furniture that requires fitting fabric over many curves.

 

COLORS AND FINISHING

 

COLORS

Color is the most important attribute to consumers in choosing an upholstered piece of furniture. The colors in fabrics are infinite. They can be solids, multi-colored stripes, or other pattern effects such as florals and geometries. Dyeing of the material can be done at any stage of making the fiber, yarn, or fabric. The desired effect to be achieved will usually dictate the dyeing method.

 

For example, a multi-colored floral pattern requires the individual yarns to be pre-colored to as many different shades as there are in the desired pattern. The various colored yarns are then constructed into the floral pattern fabric.

 

By contrast, a solid color can be achieved by constructing the fabric first and then dyeing the fabric. Another way to achieve a solid color or multi-color effect would be to use pre-dyed fiber, produce the colored yarn, and then construct the fabric. This assures consistently uniform color. Printing is localized coloration that also achieves multi-colored effects.

 

FINISHING

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Finishing follows coloration. This treatment can be mechanical, chemical, or both. The mechanical treatment is done at the textile mill, prior to shipment to the furniture manufacturer. It can be one of various surface treatments. Brushing and polishing of velours, for example, can provide extra sheen and luster.

 

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Fact of the Day - SIEGE OF PARIS

 

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Did you know... that the siege of Paris of 845 AD was the culmination of a Viking invasion of France? The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named "Reginherus", or Ragnar, who traditionally has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok. (Wikipedia)

 

Ragnar Lothbrok, the notorious Viking, is still a historical mystery veiled in myths, or even believed to be a collective personage for several different Viking leaders. He is the father of the famous Vikings Björn Ironside, Ivar the Boneless, Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, Halfdan Ragnarsson, and Ubba.

 

However, history is most certain of one thing. Among all raids led by Ragnar, is the Vikings’ raid of Paris in 845. The adventurous Danish Viking Reginheri after a series of vicious attacks over the region of what was then Frankia and what would be later known as France managed to capture the city of Paris. His steps were followed by other great Viking leaders – Earl Siegfried and Rolf the Ganger.

 

At that time, Paris, a small walled island city on the Seine was the seat of the Frankish king Charles the Bald. After the first siege of Paris, the Frankish continueD to experience attacks from the Norsemen, but would manage to withstand another besieging in 885.

 

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(Ragnar Lodbrok. The Dockyards)

 

The First Viking attack on Paris – 845 

The year is 845. The city of Paris, situated on the small island Île de la Cité will wake up to the sounds of the city bell. The city was being attacked by the Norsemen who have been scavenging the area for the past 4 years, yet who had never tried taking over the city of Paris. The spring waters of the Seine brought over 120 Viking barques carried the 5000 warriors, under the command of the Danish Viking Reginheri. Before their arrival, they’ve sacked the city of Rouen.

 

Chieftain Raginheri had some score to settle with the Frankish leader. Not so long ago, in 841, King Charles gifted him with lands in Turnholt, where the Vikings could build their settlement, but the Danish Chieftain soon lost the favor of the Frankish king.

 

King Charles, afraid of losing the Abbey of Saint-Denis to the Danes who were coming towards Paris, gathered his army. King Charles the Bald assembled his men, divided them into two garrisons, and ordered them to fortify on the two shores of the river Seine. The tactics of the Frankish leader, however, did not pay off and the Vikings effortlessly destroyed one of the garrisons, and even took prisoners.

Rayner_Lothbroc__Kraka_by_August_Malmstr

(Ragnar/Raginheri and Aslaug)
 

On the 28th and 29th of March, the Danes without much resistance or even need of a siege took over Paris. The fate of these 111 souls who the Norsemen captured when battling the garrisons was too sealed. Their lives were sacrificed to the might of the Northerners’ god, the all mighty Odin.

 

The Price of Peace
The Frankish King Charles, afraid for the safety of the citizens of Paris and his own skin offered a tribute to Chieftain Raginheri. The freedom of Paris was worth 7000 livres of silver and gold. Raginheri wanted revenge for the deeds of the Frankish king who paid the substantial amount. After the withdrawal of Raginheri from the city some villages along the coast were still pillaged, that including the holy Abbey of Saint-Denis, which the king wanted to protect so much.

 

The same year, the Vikings' King Horik and his men ravaged the archbishopric city of Hamburg. The king of East Frankia sent his count Cobbo as a diplomat to resolve the issue with the Vikings and made a peace treaty with the Danish king.

 

As Raginheri returned to King Horik who was his superior, he explained the ease with which he entered the city yet lost many men to the plague at Saint Germain in Paris. King Horik, afraid the plague was a curse for the Vikings’ attack on the Abbey, ordered the execution of those raiders who survived and freed the captured Christian.

 

During the 860 many of the villages around Paris and the city itself again suffered pillaging and ravaging attacks from the Norsemen. The King of West Frankia – Charles died in 877 and left the city in a chaotic state. As a result, several different rulers’ unsuccessfully reigned for short periods and all failed to create a defense against the raging Vikings. At last, in 884, the King of Germany and Italy Charles the Fat took the throne of Frankia.

 

One year later, the river Seine once again carried Norsemen under the command of Earl Siegfried the Sinric. That time, the boats of the Northerners brought along another of their fiercest warriors, Rolf the Ganger, or Rollo.  He raided the region of Neustria from 877. The legends said he was so big no horse could carry him and thus, he received his nickname The Walker.

 

This time, however, the Franks had learned their lessons and spent the last years improving their defense system in expectation of the next Vikings’ attack. Count Odo, son of Robert the Strong, followed his father’s example and took it upon himself to continue the fortification of Paris.

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(Alongside the river, he erected the defensive tower

Grand Châtelet and two bridges, both with defensive

towers on each end. Thus, in 885, the city of Paris was

this time prepared to face the attack of the Vikings.)

 

The Second Viking Siege of Paris 885-886

second-siege.jpg

(The great army of Vikings, possibly around a few thousand men,

gathered in Rouen under the command of Siegfried the Sinric.

Rouen, still remembering the last Vikings’ raid chose to surrender in order to avoid any harm.)

 

The Vikings first demanded tribute from Count Odo the Protector of Paris, who refused. Siegfried then decided to lead his ships up the stream of the Seine. Yet, he had no idea that the Franks had built the two low bridges, one of stone and the other of wood, which made it impossible for the Vikings’ barques to pass the towers and reach the city of Paris. The towers themselves were heavily guarded by men of Count Odo, his brother Robert, and few other Parisian royals.

 

In late November the same year, the Danes asked for another tribute, which was again denied. In response, they began their attack on the Grand Châtelet on the right bank. The Norsemen used mangonels and catapults to hurl large pieces of stone and javelins, and started to climb the walls but the defenders poured boiling oil and wax on them. At sundown the Vikings ceased their attempts and regrouped, the Parisians used the night and rebuilt their tower. After seeing the renewed tower the next morning, the Danes concentrated on taking down the city gates, again with no success.

 

Following the coming of the night, the Vikings crossed the river and made a camp on the opposite bank and continued building siege weapons. Next day, they renewed their efforts, throwing something similar to grenades and trying to take down the tower and enter the city. The siege of the Vikings continued for 2 months, during which they made incredible efforts and tactics in order to enter the city and scavenged the lands for provisions.

 

In February 886, the Vikings made an attempt to take down the wooden bridge by setting it on fire with burning boats, again with no success. However, the bridge’s weakened support got destroyed by the flood and debris after a heavy rain. With the bridge’s tower and its defenders left isolated, it was an easy target. Since the Parisian warriors who were fortified inside refused to give themselves up peacefully, the Danes killed them once the tower was stormed.

 

Tired of standing in one place, the Vikings separated into groups, leaving some to continue the siege, while others went on and pillaged the nearby lands. This gave count Odo the opportunity to send for help, and soon the Vikings that were still holding the siege were attacked from the back. Earl Siegfried, knowing his men were weary and weakened asked one more time for a small tribute of around 60 pounds of silver and left the siege in April.

 

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(Statue of Rollo in Falaise)

 

The Vikings who maintained the siege were Rolf the Ganger and his men. After several clashes with the Parisians, the Vikings managed to capture and kill Count Henry of Saxony and made another attempt to take the city in the summer but were again repulsed. The Imperial Army, the hope of Count Odo, arrived in October and quickly scattered the Norsemen and put an end to the siege.

 

King Charles and his imperial army instead of hunting the Norsemen down, sent them sailing up Yonne to the revolting Burgundy and promised them 700 livres for dealing with the revolt, which he paid upon their return in 887.

 

The Beginning of the Norman Dynasty

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The Vikings sailed back to their land, but again in 911 Rolf returned to the lands of Frankia with the intent to raid and sack. However, Charles the Simple negotiated with Rolf, made him a count and married him to his daughter Gisela and gave him the city of Rouen. He later divorced Gisela and remarried his former wife Poppa.  The County of Rouen later , around the 11th century became the Duchy of Normandy and the dynasty of Rolf continued ruling the lands and expanding their territories.

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Fact of the Day - EVAPORATION

 

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Did you know... that evaporation is a type of vaporization that occurs on the surface of a liquid as it changes into the gas phase? The surrounding gas must not be saturated with the evaporating substance. When the molecules of the liquid collide, they transfer energy to each other based on how they collide with each other. (Wikipedia)

 

Evaporation happens when a liquid turns into a gas. It can be easily visualized when rain puddles “disappear” on a hot day or when wet clothes dry in the sun. In these examples, the liquid water is not actually vanishing—it is evaporating into a gas, called water vapor.

 

Evaporation happens on a global scale. Alongside condensation and precipitation, evaporation is one of the three main steps in the Earth’s water cycle. Evaporation accounts for 90 percent of the moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere; the other 10 percent is due to plant transpiration.

 

Substances can exist in three main states: solid, liquid, and gas. Evaporation is just one way a substance, like water, can change between these states. Melting and freezing are two other ways. When liquid water reaches a low enough temperature, it freezes and becomes a solid—ice. When solid water is exposed to enough heat, it will melt and return to a liquid. As that liquid water is further heated, it evaporates and becomes a gas—water vapor.

 

These changes between states (melting, freezing, and evaporating) happen because as the temperature either increases or decreases, the molecules in a substance begin to speed up or slow down. In a solid, the molecules are tightly packed and only vibrate against each other. In a liquid, the molecules move freely, but stay close together. In a gas, they move around wildly and have a great deal of space between them.

 

In the water cycle, evaporation occurs when sunlight warms the surface of the water. The heat from the sun makes the water molecules move faster and faster, until they move so fast they escape as a gas. Once evaporated, a molecule of water vapor spends about ten days in the air.

 

As water vapor rises higher in the atmosphere, it begins to cool back down. When it is cool enough, the water vapor condenses and returns to liquid water. These water droplets eventually gather to form clouds and precipitation.

 

Evaporation from the oceans is vital to the production of fresh water. Because more than 70 percent of the Earth’s surface is covered by oceans, they are the major source of water in the atmosphere. When that water evaporates, the salt is left behind. The fresh-water vapor then condenses into clouds, many of which drift over land. Precipitation from those clouds fills lakes, rivers, and streams with fresh water.

 

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Evaporation on a Farm
Water evaporates from a sugar beet field after a summer shower in Borger, Netherlands. Evaporation is a key step in the water cycle. 

PHOTOGRAPH BY BUITEN-BEELD/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

 

Source: National Geographic

 

Evaporation facts for kids
Kids Encyclopedia Facts

 

Evaporation.png

(A simple picture explaining the evaporation of water, though in real life

you can not see the water, but only steam)

 

Evaporation is when a liquid becomes a gas without forming bubbles inside the liquid volume. If bubbles are formed we are talking instead about "boiling".

For example, water left in a bowl will slowly disappear. The water evaporates into water vapor, the gas phase of water. The water vapor mixes with the air.

 

The reverse of evaporation is condensation.

 

When the molecules in a liquid are heated, they move faster. This makes them full of energy and so the particles collide with each other, and eventually they become so far apart that they become a gas.

 

Differences between evaporation and boiling
During evaporation only the molecules near the liquid surface are changing from liquid to vapor. During boiling the molecules inside the volume of the liquid are also changing to vapour. For this reason during evaporation no bubbles are formed, instead they are formed during boiling.

 

Evaporation can happen at any temperature, while boiling happens only at a specified temperature called the "boiling point". Evaporation happens slowly, but boiling happens quickly.

Rate of evaporation
Some liquids evaporate more quickly than others. There are many factors that affect the evaporation rate.

 

The rate of evaporation depends on the liquid's exposed surface area (faster when increased), the humidity of surroundings (slower when increased), the presence of wind (faster when increased) and the temperature (faster when increased).

 

Liquid with high boiling points (those that boil at very high temperatures) tend to evaporate more slowly than those with lower boiling temperatures.

 

Evaporation is a very essential part of the water cycle.

 

Thermodynamics
Evaporation is an endothermic process, in that heat is absorbed during evaporation.

 

Applications

  • Industrial applications include many printing and coating processes; recovering salts from solutions; and drying a variety of materials such as lumber, paper, cloth and chemicals.
  • The use of evaporation to dry or concentrate samples is a common preparatory step for many laboratory analyses such as spectroscopy and chromatography. Systems used for this purpose include rotary evaporators and centrifugal evaporators.
  • When clothes are hung on a laundry line, even though the ambient temperature is below the boiling point of water, water evaporates. This is accelerated by factors such as low humidity, heat (from the sun), and wind. In a clothes dryer, hot air is blown through the clothes, allowing water to evaporate very rapidly.
  • The Matki/Matka, a traditional Indian porous clay container used for storing and cooling water and other liquids.
  • The botijo, a traditional Spanish porous clay container designed to cool the contained water by evaporation.
  • Evaporative coolers, which can significantly cool a building by simply blowing dry air over a filter saturated with water.

Combustion vaporization
Fuel droplets vaporize as they receive heat by mixing with the hot gases in the combustion chamber. Heat (energy) can also be received by radiation from any hot refractory wall of the combustion chamber.

 

Pre-combustion vaporization
Internal combustion engines rely upon the vaporization of the fuel in the cylinders to form a fuel/air mixture in order to burn well. The chemically correct air/fuel mixture for total burning of gasoline has been determined to be 15 parts air to one part gasoline or 15/1 by weight. Changing this to a volume ratio yields 8000 parts air to one part gasoline or 8,000/1 by volume.

 

Source: Kiddle Encyclopedia

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Fact of the Day - MUMMIES

 

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Did you know... that a mummy is a dead human or an animal whose skin and organs have been preserved by either intentional or accidental exposure to chemicals, extreme cold, very low humidity, or lack of air, so that the recovered body does not decay further if kept in cool and dry conditions? (Wikipedia)

 

When you think of ancient Egypt, your mind probably summons images of hieroglyphics, pharaohs, and mummified remains.

 

Mummies have been wrapped up in countless creepy myths and exaggerated legends over the centuries, but how much do you really know about their history? I know I was surprised to learn they weren’t even the first culture to embalm and enclose their lost loved ones in the lifelike manner — or the ghastly reason shipping the remains to Europe became popular during the Middle Ages.

 

The Practice Didn't Start In Egypt

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According to reports from Public Radio International, an ancient South American culture known as the Chinchorro were the first to mummify their deceased loved ones 2,000 years before Egyptians formed their own technique.

 

The Egyptian Process Took 70 Days

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The Smithsonian Institute explains how a special priest would perform the ritual by reciting prayers throughout the process, starting by removing all of the internal organs. They saved those to either be placed in jars around the body or later, embalm and replace them back inside.

 

They would then use a type of salt called “natron” to remove all the moisture from the body. After making the deceased appear as lifelike as possible by filling in sunken areas with linen and adding fake eyes, they would begin wrapping them with hundreds of yards of linen. Resin was used between the layers of cloth to keep it secure.

 

They Left The Heart In Place

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Despite removing every other organ, the Smithsonian Institute also revealed that ancient Egyptians would never remove the deceased’s heart as they believed it to be “center of a person’s being and intelligence.”

 

Egyptians Mummified Animals, Too

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Archaeologists uncovered more than a few critters entombed beside human remain — millions of them, in fact. The History Channel claims that “researchers believe [they] produced more than 70 million animal mummies between 800 BC and 400 AD.”

 

This included cats, birds, cows, frogs, baboons, and countless other creatures who were either personal pets of the deceased or intended as offering or protection for them in the afterlife.

 

They Only Weighed A Few Pounds

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When unwrapped, a typical mummy would weight just about five pounds, according to EgyptAbout.com.

 

 Mouths Were Often Left Open

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In fact, the British Museum explains how there was a whole ritual known as an “opening of the mouth ceremony.” This required a special tool and was done so the deceased could eat, drink, breathe, and speak in the afterlife, per their beliefs.

 

Mummification Was A Lucrative Business

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The highly skilled Egyptian embalmers were paid well for their careful work. According to reports from NPR, they even formed trade unions to protect their personal techniques.

 

Remains Were Used In Medicine In The Middle Ages

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The Smithsonian Magazine revealed the troubling special ingredient many medieval Europeans believed helped cure whatever might ail them: mummy flesh.

Grave robbers would travel back from Egypt with remains and sell them to everyone from royals to regular civilians for a pretty penny. Essentially, they were treating any ache or pain by cannibalizing ancient humans.

 

 Victorians Held "Unwrapping" Parties

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Known as “mummy unrollings,” Atlas Obscura explains how folks would gather in the 1800s at the height of “Egyptomania” to watch as their host would slowly reveal a mummy underneath the layers of ancient linen.

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - KATHMANDU VALLEY

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Kathmandu valley seen from Palanse, Bhaktapur

 

Did you know... that The Kathmandu Valley, historically known as Nepal Valley or Nepa Valley, lies at the crossroads of ancient civilizations of the Indian subcontinent and the broader Asian continent, and has at least 130 important monuments, including several pilgrimage sites for Hindus and Buddhists? There are seven World Heritage Sites within the valley. (Wikipedia)

 

Located in the foothills of the Himalayas, the Kathmandu Valley World Heritage property is inscribed as seven Monument Zones. These monument zones are the Durbar squares or urban centres with their palaces, temples and public spaces of the three cities of Kathmandu (Hanuman Dhoka), Patan and Bhaktapur, and the religious ensembles of Swayambhu, Bauddhanath, Pashupati and Changu Narayan. The religious ensemble of Swayambhu includes the oldest Buddhist monument (a stupa) in the Valley; that of Bauddhanath includes the largest stupa in Nepal; Pashupati has an extensive Hindu temple precinct, and Changu Narayan comprises traditional Newari settlement, and a Hindu temple complex with one of the earliest inscriptions in the Valley from the fifth century AD. The unique tiered temples are mostly made of fired brick with mud mortar and timber structures. The roofs are covered with small overlapping terracotta tiles, with gilded brass ornamentation. The windows, doorways and roof struts have rich decorative carvings. The stupas have simple but powerful forms with massive, whitewashed hemispheres supporting gilded cubes with the all-seeing eternal Buddha eyes.

 

As Buddhism and Hinduism developed and changed over the centuries throughout Asia, both religions prospered in Nepal and produced a powerful artistic and architectural fusion beginning at least from the 5th century AD, but truly coming into its own in the three hundred year period between 1500 and 1800 AD. These monuments were defined by the outstanding cultural traditions of the Newars, manifested in their unique urban settlements, buildings and structures with intricate ornamentation displaying outstanding craftsmanship in brick, stone, timber and bronze that are some of the most highly developed in the world.

 

Criterion (iii): The seven monument ensembles represent an exceptional testimony to the traditional civilization of the Kathmandu Valley. The cultural traditions of the multi ethnic people who settled in this remote Himalayan valley over the past two millennia, referred to as the Newars, is manifested in the unique urban society which boasts of one of the most highly developed craftsmanship of brick, stone, timber and bronze in the world. The coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism is considered unique.

 

Criterion (iv): The property is comprised of exceptional architectural typologies, ensembles and urban fabric illustrating the highly developed culture of the Valley, which reached an apogee between 1500 and 1800 AD. The exquisite examples of palace complexes, ensembles of temples and stupas are unique to the Kathmandu Valley.

 

Criterion (vi): The property is tangibly associated with the unique coexistence and amalgamation of Hinduism and Buddhism with animist rituals and Tantrism. The symbolic and artistic values are manifested in the ornamentation of the buildings, the urban structure and often the surrounding natural environment, which are closely associated with legends, rituals and festivals. 

 

Integrity
All the attributes that express the outstanding universal value of the Kathmandu Valley are represented through the seven monument zones established with the boundary modification accepted by the World Heritage Committee in 2006. These encompass the seven historic ensembles and their distinct contexts. The majority of listed buildings are in good condition and the threat of urban development is being controlled through the Integrated Management Plan. However the property continues to be vulnerable to encroaching development, in particular new infrastructure.

 

Authenticity
The authenticity of the property is retained through the unique form, design, material and substance of the monuments, displaying a highly developed traditional craftsmanship and situated within a traditional urban or natural setting. Even though the Kathmandu Valley has undergone immense urbanization, the authenticity of the historic ensembles as well as much of the traditional urban fabric within the boundaries has been retained.

 

Protection and management requirements
The designated property has been declared a protected monument zone under the Ancient Monument Preservation Act, 1956, providing the highest level of national protection. The property has been managed by the coordinative action of tiers of central government, local government and non-governmental organizations within the responsibilities and authorities clearly enumerated in the Integrated Management Plan for the Kathmandu World Heritage Property adopted in 2007.

 

The implementation of the Integrated Management Plan will be reviewed in five-year cycles allowing necessary amendments and augmentation to address changing circumstances. A critical component that will be addressed is disaster risk management for the property.

 

 

 

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Fact of the Day - THE GUILLOTINE

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Did you know... that a guillotine is an apparatus designed for efficiently carrying out executions by beheading? The device consists of a tall, upright frame with a weighted and angled blade suspended at the top. The condemned person is secured with stocks at the bottom of the frame, positioning the neck directly below the blade. And FYI, France didn't stop executing people by guillotine until 1977! (Wikipedia)

 

We think of this beheading instrument as something from the distant past, but the French were using the guillotine up until the same year Saturday Night Fever and Star Wars were released. The last person to be executed by guillotine was Tunisian agricultural worker Hamida Djandoubi, convicted of the kidnapping, torture, and the murder of a woman. He lost his head on February 24, 1977.

 

Interesting Guillotine Facts

1. Guillotine – the name of the decapitation device can be traced back to France during the 1790s and the name became a household word during the French Revolution.

2. Though we believe that France gave the world the guillotine, it is not absolutely true. Guillotine was actually a borrowed concept because similar devices for execution were already in use hundreds of years earlier during the Middle Ages.

3. During the Middle Ages there was a device named ‘Planke’ that was used in Flanders and Germany. Again, there was Halifax Gibbet – a sliding axe that was put to use by the English.

4. However, the inspiration for the guillotine possibly came from Scottish Maiden that was extensively used between 16th century and the 18th century.

5. Some believe that guillotine’s concept came from another Italian device from the Renaissance era that went by the name ‘mannaia’.

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6. Historical evidences actually put forward some baffling stuff. Historians say that the French people actually used primitive devices similar to guillotine way before the French Revolution actually started.

7. Though primitive guillotine-like devices were already in use in France, the most used tools for beheading (which was actually a capital punishment) were the axe and the sword, both of which were often very clumsy.

8. Since the sword and the axe turned out to be ineffective tools for smooth beheading, Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin – a freemason as well as a French physician came to the government in late 1789 and asked for replacing the sword and the axe with a tool that would be lightning fast and neatly decapitate a person.

9. Dr. Joseph-Ignace Guillotin was very much against capital punishment but since he was in no position of putting an end to it once and for all, he wanted that the beheadings be done in a more humane fashion.

10. Unfortunately, the members of National Assembly declined Dr. Guillotin’s request. Not only was the request rejected, the members of the Assembly actually made fun of Dr. Guillotin and laughed at his proposal.

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Joseph-Ignace Guillotin - Wikipedia

 

11. The idea of such tool was once again revived in 1792 but this time it was Charles-Henri Sanson – a public executioner who made the request.

12. Sanson’s request was backed by Academy of Surgeons’ secretary, Dr. Antoine Louis. This time, the request was sanctioned.

13. Once the sanction was in place, Dr. Louis came up with the design of the machine. The first prototype of the machine was then created by Tobias Schmidt – a harpsichord maker of German origin.

14. Tobias started working on the prototype in April 1792 and completed the machine in under 1 week. Once the prototype of ready, the executioner was asked to test it by calves, sheep, corpses etc. The first test run took place on April 17, 1792.

15. It was then time for first human victim. A notorious thief named Nicolas Pelletier was the one selected for live human beheading. Pelletier was known for viciously assaulting his victims. The authorities fed Pelletier to the machine on April 25, 1792.

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Nicolas Jacques Pelletier

 

16. Since the machine was designed by Dr. Antoine Louis, it was named as Louisette and some called it Louison. Later the name was changed to guillotine because the idea was initially proposed by Dr. Guillotin.

17. This change in name was completely unexpected for Dr. Guillotin and he never wanted to get his name associated with the killing machine.

18. When in 1790s guillotine hysteria swept through France, Dr. Guillotin tried his best to get as far as possible from the machine. In early 19th century, Dr. Guillotin’s family sent a petition to French government to change the name of the machine. However, this was not accepted and the name continued to be in use.

19. In 1790s France was under the infamous Reign of Terror and many thousands of people who were against the French Revolution found their necks right under the blade of the guillotine.

20. Gradually guillotine beheadings became a public spectacle. Hundreds of people gathered around the stage of execution to watch public beheading using the guillotine. The machine became so popular that songs and poems and even jokes were written on its name.

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My French Life™ - Ma Vie Française®

 

21. That was not all! There was actually a restaurant named Cabaret de la Guillotine which was in business mostly because of the spectators who would grab a bite after watching a public beheading. Apart from that there were souvenirs made available for purchase and there was even a program that would read out the list of guillotine victims.

22. Watching guillotine beheadings actually became a daily habit of many people. There was a particular group of women who were known as Tricoteuses (knitting women), who would actually occupy seats right next to the scaffold and watch beheading after beheading and in the time between two consecutive decapitations, they would just sit there and knit.

23. Not just the adults, even the children were so fascinated by guillotine that they actually had miniature guillotines as toys. These toys would be about 2-foot in height with a real blade.

24. These miniature guillotines were fully operational and though they were not big enough to decapitate a human, they were good enough for decapitating dolls and live rodents. Children actually did get involved in such grisly acts as their favorite game. Luckily the toys were later banned in several cities of France to eliminate the possibilities of vicious influence on children.

25. Not just toy guillotines, there were something known as Novelty guillotines. These too were small but instead of being used as toys, they were actually place on dinner tables of upper class people. The only grisly act these guillotines were involved in was chopping down vegetable and breads. And lets not forget they were used to chop the tip off cigars too!

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ORNATE BRASS METAL GUILLOTINE CIGAR CUTTER

 

26. People who operated the guillotines enjoyed celebrity status nationwide. They actually had quite some reputation to defend during the French Revolution as the fame of many of these operators actually depended on how quickly they would behead multiple victims and that too pretty neatly.

27. Some executioners actually made guillotine operation a family business. One of the most famous was the Sanson family (see #11). Several generations of the family actually worked as state executioner between the years 1792 and 1847. Two of the most famous victims of the Sanson family were Marie Antoinette and King Louis XVI.

28. There was yet another popular family – the Deibler family. Only the father and son duo were in business since 1879 to 1939. The Deibler family was well-known for their clothing choices while appearing on the scaffold. In fact so popular was their clothing choices that they actually created fashion trends!

29. Not just general public. Even the criminals were pretty much fascinated by guillotine to such an extent that they often had tattoos craved on their bodies with slogans etched on skin that would say which executioner family their heads belonged to.

30. France wasn’t the only country to make use of guillotine. Even Germany under Nazi rule made use of the guillotines to execute people during 1930s and 1940s.

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Guillotine in the basement of German Reichstag

 

31. The Nazi installed 20 guillotines across the country and used them to execute around 16,500 men and women during the period extending from 1933 to 1945. Most of the people who were executed by the Nazis using guillotines were either political dissidents or resistance fighters.

32. The French gave the guillotine a nice name. They used to call it as National Razor because it was used for capital punishment.

33. France kept using guillotine till late 1970s. The last person who was put under the National Razor was Hamida Djandoubi – a person convicted of murder. This guy was executed in 1977. That was the last time guillotine was ever used in this world. Its usage stopped because in 1981, France decided to abolish capital punishment forever.

34. Guillotine was definitely an effective killing machine because it severed the head of a victim in just 0.005 seconds.

35. The primary reason for such swift action was the razor sharp blade that was dropped from a height of 226 centimeters or 89 inches. The blade itself was pretty heavy but to make it even heavier, a separate metal weight known as the mouton was added.

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Guillotine schematic

 

36. A single person was not actually in charge of making a guillotine. In fact different parts of the machine were manufactured separately by different people like blacksmiths, carpenters, craftsmen and metal workers. The different parts were then carried to the execution site and assembled.

37. Guillotines were never put into mass production. Only a handful of them were produced and installed in key places. Interestingly, the guillotines were actually properties of the executioners and they were put in charge of maintaining the quality of the machines. Each executioner had multiple guillotines that they would cycle between use and maintenance.

38. Since the guillotine was extremely swift, several people asked whether the severed heads retained consciousness or not. Many attempts were made by experts and scientists to figure this out. The debate about severed heads retaining consciousness reached its maximum popularity during 1793.

39. That was the year when an assistant to the head executioner picked the severed head of one of the victims and slapped hard on the face. Claims were made by many spectators that the cheeks of the severed head actually flushed in anger.

40. Many other experiments were conducted the name of the decapitated person was called out loud to see if the eyes of the severed head reacted. Other would simply put the severed head in ammonia or on a candle flame to see if there were any reactions. Some doctors even asked many victims to either blink or keep one of their eyes opened after the execution took place.

 

Source: Facts Legend

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Fact of the Day - INSTANT NOODLES

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Did you know... that instant noodles are a common college staple? They’re cheap, inexpensive, and easy to make. However, have you ever thought about the true facts of the ramen noodle? Where did it come from? Who should we thank for creating the classic college staple? (Spoon University)

 

1. It was once considered a luxury item.

Ramen wasn’t always so cheap. When it was first released, it was actually considered a luxury because it was cheaper to buy fresh Japanese noodles (udon) from the grocery store than it was to purchase instant noodle.

 

2. You can live off of instant noodles for about $150.

Instant noodles are a college staple because with textbooks, housing, tuition and other various expenses, every penny you can save counts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make them into a real dinner.

 

3. Ramen is the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word lamein.

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Ramen and lamien, sound similar right? The true history of this noodle is unclear. Some say it has a Chinese origin, while others say it was invented in the 20th century by Japan. Either way, the Japanese word for ramen comes from the Chinese word lamien, which means Chinese noodles.

 

4. China consumes the most instant ramen.

According to the World Instant Noodles Association (yes, a noodles association actually exists). Because of the high global demand, China consumes 46 billion packets of ramen yearly.

 

5. It is the best selling item in Rikers Prison in New York.

Rikers Prison always has CupNoodles in stock. They are given the hot water to make the noodles and it’s a quick and easy meal to make. However sometimes, prisoners just use the seasoning packets to spice up their bland meals.

 

6. In Japan, there are at least 22 different styles.

 

The basics of this dish consists of the broth, the saltiness, the noodles, and the toppings. However, each place has its own take on what broth to use, how much salt, the type of noodles, and their toppings, creating ramen specialities in different regions. I guess you could say no two ramen places taste the same.

 

7. There is a CupNoodles Museum in Japan.

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There is a Foodseum (aka Food Museum) in Chicago, but Japan has got the museum of instant noodles covered. Learn the history of how the instant noodle came to be and don’t forget to make your own noodle concoction before you leave.

 

8. Momofuku Ando invented the idea of instant ramen.

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It was said that Momofuku Ando got the idea to make an instant noodle product when he saw a line of people waiting in long lines patiently for a bowl of ramen. Thus, he wanted to create a product that was tasty, inexpensive, and easy to prepare. He first introduced the chicken ramen in 1958 and then the Cup Noodle in 1971.

 

9. It was the first type of noodle in space.

Invented by Momofuku Ando in 2005, the “Space Ram” is a vacuum-packed ramen made with smaller noodles and a thicker broth. This space food was invented for Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi’s trip in the Discovery space shuttle.

 

10. There’s a movie about ramen starring Brittany Murphy.

Brittany Murphy, best known for her role of Tai in the movie Clueless, stars in a movie all about ramen called The Ramen Girl.

 

11. Jackie Cruz said she could live off of ramen.

Jackie Cruz, star of the hit TV show Orange is the New Black, told CelebBuzz that if she could eat one thing for the rest of her life, it would either be tacos or ramen.

 

12. Japan thinks ramen is one of the greatest inventions.

There is so much technology in Japan, yet the instant noodle was named the best invention of the 20th century. In second place, karaoke.

 

13. Not all of Nissin Top Ramen are vegetarian friendly.

You may think that all Nissin brand noodles are “vegetarian friendly” but actually, only the Oriental flavor and Chili flavor are truly vegetarian. The seasoning packets contain actual meat products. But don’t worry vegetarians, we can help you hack the menu in every restaurant here.

 

14. Some people eat instant noodles uncooked.

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People like David Chang, owner of the Momofuku chain, eats instant ramen uncooked. He would actually eat it as an after school snack, sprinkling the seasoning over the uncooked noodles before taking a bite.

 

15. The noodle length inside an instant ramen packet is 51 meters.

There are odd measurements out there in the world but when it comes to the length of the instant noodles, it is no mystery. 51 meters is equivalent to 2 basketball courts. What a length!

 

16. Eat in moderation because it contains Tertiary-butyl hydroquinone.

Everyone says not to eat instant noodles too much but do you know why? Well, it contains tertiary-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ), a chemical used commonly to extend the shelf life of food. However, there are many negative side effects which include, but are not limited to, nausea, vomiting, collapsing, and high blood pressure.

 

17. Don’t talk while eating.

It is considered respectful not to talk while eating ramen. This shows respects to the cooks who took the time to create such a wonderful and delicious masterpiece.

 

18. Start with the broth.

The broth usually takes hours to make and makes a ramen bowl distinct. There are a variety of different broths from shoyu to miso. Before eating the noodles, take a few sips of the broth first. Be careful, the broth is hot.

 

19. Eat fast.

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Ramen is best eaten while hot. The noodle is still cooking because the broth is very hot. It is best to consume the dish as quickly as possible or you may make a mistake and end up with overcooked noodles.

 

20. Slurp to cool.

Because the ramen is hot, slurping will actually cool the noodles. Also, it is considered respectful to slurp noodles as it shows that you enjoy the meal.

 

21. The yellow color is not from an egg yolk.

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There are 4 ingredients to making traditional ramen noodles: wheat flour, salt, water, and kansui. Kansui gives it the yellow color. Not egg.

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - THE FRISBEE

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Did you know... that a frisbee is a gliding toy or sporting item that is generally made of injection molded plastic and roughly 8 to 10 inches in diameter with a pronounced lip? It is used recreationally and competitively for throwing and catching, as in flying disc games. (Wikipedia)

 

Weird Fact: The inventor of the Frisbee was turned into one after his death. Walter Fredrick (Fred) Morrison invented the Pluto Platter in 1955 (the toy Wham-O eventually sold under the new name Frisbee). Fred Morrison, as he was commonly known, developed his disc idea when he became a pilot during World War II and suffered a period of imprisonment, and he finalised and commercialised his plastic invention in 1948 with Warren Franscioni, and called it a ‘Flying-Saucer’. When he died in 2010, his cremated remains were incorporated into one of the iconic toys.

 

Everyone knows what a frisbee is. Yes, it’s that flying disc that you toss to a friend who then catches it and tosses it back. Well, it might not sound like a lot of fun, but that’s because you haven’t played ultimate frisbee yet.

Ultimate frisbee is a game very similar to football or basketball where each team has a goal that they have to protect. Players on the team pass the frisbee to one another and try to get it into the opponent’s goal. A player can only pass the frisbee and is not allowed to move while holding onto it.

 

Here are a few other things you didn’t know about ultimate frisbee.

 

It’s Just ‘Ultimate’
Wham-O Toys incorporated trademarked the word ‘frisbee’ back when it was invented, so technically, it shouldn’t be used by anyone else. And since ultimate frisbee is an official game with an organisation and all that, they could be sued for copying the name. This is why the game is called ‘Ultimate’ instead.

 

No Referees
The game was first played at Columbia High way back in the 70s, and there were no referees in the first match. The players were simply expected to be honest enough to admit whether they had committed a foul.  This sport is considered to be a ‘gentleman’s game’, and keeping with that spirit, even today a game of Ultimate is not watched by any referees. However, there are officials known as observers who simply watch the game and intercede only when there is a dispute that cannot be settled by the players.

 

Rock, Paper, Scissors
The rules of Ultimate Frisbee don’t state anything about determining which team is granted possession at the start of the game. Even today, instead of a coin toss, most players play a game of rock, paper, scissors to determine who starts the game.

 

 

t’s A Part Of The World Games
Officials are still in talks with the Olympic Committee to try and make Ultimate Frisbee a part of the Olympic games. And it seems like the sport will soon be added to the list of sports in the Olympics.  For now, however, Ultimate Frisbee is already a part of the World Games and its popularity is steadily growing, The US won the gold medal in 2005, 2009, and 2013, and Canada won gold way back in 2001 when the sport was first added to the World Games.

 

Bigger End Zones
The end zones in Ultimate Frisbee are nearly twice as big as those in football. So while the field size of both sports is roughly the same, the actual playing area for Ultimate Frisbee is much smaller than the area in which football is played.  And it has to be because it’s not easy (or possible) to throw a frisbee across 53 yards.

 

‘Frisbee’ Is A Registered Trademark

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Often, you will hear people refer to this sport as simply ‘ultimate.’ Have you ever stopped to wonder why?

 

It is not just a way of shortening the name.  Instead, it’s because ‘frisbee’ is a registered trademark of the Wham-O toy company, and therefore, technically, the name cannot and should not be used by anyone else.

The term frisbee dates back to 1957, and the term is generally used to refer to all flying discs.  Even the World Flying Disc Federation, the international governing body for Ultimate, risks getting sued if they use the name ‘Frisbee.’ Hence, the sport is called ‘Ultimate.’

 

The Game Could Have Been Known as ‘Pluto Platter

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The frisbee idea came to Walter Frederick Morrison in his teenage years when he would throw lard popcorn tin lids with his girlfriend.  Later on, Morrison came to discover that cake pans flew better than lard can lids and went on to develop a business called Flyin’ Cake Pans.

 

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While developing this business idea, Morrison played around with different names for his new game, including Flyin’ Saucer, Whirlo-Way, and Pluto Platter.  So, there you have it, the game known as Ultimate Frisbee might as well have been called Pluto Platter.

 

From Pluto Platter to Frisbee

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So how did the game transition from being called Pluto Platter to being known as Frisbee?  There was a baking company known as Frisbie Baking Company, and it was based in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  This company was popularly known for its pies, sold throughout New England in tins bearing the world ‘Frisbie’ stamped on them.

 

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Students at Yale, where the pies were supplied, would toss and catch the empty pie tins, and this would provide them with hours of entertainment.

 

In 1957, on his 37th birthday, Morrison sold the rights to his invention to the Wham-O Toy Company.  When Wham-O came to learn that students were calling Pluto Platter ‘Frisbie,’ after the pie tins, then they renamed the sport to Frisbee.

 

A Gentleman’s Game

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Frisbee is a self-officiating game, and there are no referees involved.  Players are expected to be honest and own up when they have omitted a foul.  This spirit of the game goes back to 1968 when the first match was played at Columbia High School without there being any referees involved.

 

Consequently, this became the culture of the sport, which is what makes it a gentleman’s game.

 

There are no referees, but there are observers who are officials that watch the game and intervene only when there erupts a dispute which the players cannot settle amongst themselves.  Being a non-contact sport further enhances the gentlemanly nature of the game.

 

First Intercollegiate Game

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The first intercollegiate Ultimate Frisbee game was played on November 6th, 1972.

 

The match was played between Princeton University and Rutgers University, and it took place in a parking lot.  It was such a big deal that the New York Times covered the sporting event, and there were reportedly about 400 people in attendance.

 

Rutgers ended up winning the game by 2 points, as the match had a score of 29-27.  Now here’s a little fun fact about this first intercollegiate match: precisely 103 years ago, in 1869, the two teams played the first-ever football college game.

 

The football game had the same winner and the same score difference as the Ultimate Frisbee game: Rutgers winning by 2 points.

 

Ultimate Is Part of The World Games

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The International Olympic Committee (IOC) might not be too receptive to the idea of Ultimate Frisbee being incorporated as an Olympic event.  However, Ultimate is part of the next best thing: The World Games.  The World Games is a prestigious international sporting event that has over 30 sports disciplines.  Ultimate Frisbee was included in the World Games docket in 2001 and has been a part of the World Games events since.  This goes to prove that Ultimate Frisbee is an actual sport. Not just a pastime, you indulge in with your father while he sips a beer on the beach.

 

Bigger Endzones Than in Football

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An ultimate frisbee field is 110m long by 37m wide, while an American football field is 110m long by 49m wide.

The two fields are pretty much the same size, but the endzones in Ultimate are more than twice as deep as those in football.

As a result, the playing area in Ultimate is of a much smaller size than the area in which football is played.

For a good reason, though, because how often can you successfully throw a frisbee across a 49m distance?

So, while an ultimate frisbee endzone is 23m deep, a football endzone is 9m deep.

 

 

The Frisbee Made from A Man’s Remains

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Just how much do you enjoy playing Frisbee? Would you like for your ashes to be made into a frisbee after you’ve been cremated?  Sounds slightly insane, no?

Well, that’s just what happened to Fred Morrison.  Fred passed away in 2010 at the age of 90. His dying wish was for his body to be cremated, and the ashes turned into “memorial disc” frisbees for his family.  His wishes were respected.  Upon cremation, his ashes were used to make several frisbees, which were then distributed amongst his family members.

 

 Over 200 Million Frisbee Sales

Since acquiring the rights to Pluto Platter in 1957, the What-O Top Company reports having sold over 200 million frisbee discs.  That’s quite an impressive figure.  If the figures are correct, then that means there have been more Frisbee discs sold in the world than the number of soccer balls and basketballs that have been sold!  Well, it’s entirely believable considering frisbee discs are smaller and cheaper and make for a more relaxed casual play than basketball and soccer.  Besides, humankind has been hurling flat round objects since antiquity, so it comes as no surprise that ultimate Frisbee is a popular pastime.

 

Antique Frisbee Discs

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Frisbee discs made before 1964 are considered antique collector’s items, and they cost a pretty penny.

 

What would count as an antique disc could probably be a limited-edition disc, misprints of some discs, or discs signed by pro players. Branded discs can count too, such as ones bearing the Beatles or Led Zeppelin graphics. Besides, some discs are explicitly made for collectors, an example of this being the Ed Headrick Limited Last Flight Memorial Disc.

 

The rarer limited-edition discs have been known to sell for as much as $500. Although not an antique, Geoffrey Parker has a leather flying disc that costs $305, so if you are inclined to the finer things in life, this luxury frisbee is just what you need.

 

Conclusion
I don’t know how comfortable you’d be tossing a $305 ultimate frisbee disc, but then again, I’m not a man of means, so what do I know?  I’ll hold on to the one disc that holds a special place in my heart: my plastic frisbee.  Whichever disc you are using, ultimate Frisbee is a game anyone can enjoy: old and young, men and women.

 

Source: SportyGen

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - The Kennel Club

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Did you know.... that the Kennel Club is the official kennel club of the United Kingdom. It is the oldest recognised kennel club in the world. Its role is to act as governing body for various canine activities including dog shows, dog agility and working trials? (Wikipedia)

 

The Kennel Club was founded on 4th April 1873 by S.E. Shirley and twelve other gentlemen. They wanted to have a consistent set of rules for governing the popular new activities of dog showing and field trials. It was the first national Kennel Club in the world. The Kennel Club's first home was a three-room flat at 2 Albert Mansions, Victoria Street, London and since then, we have moved house ten times. 

 

The Victorian love of both dogs and hobbies meant that dog showing and activities became very popular in the 19th Century. The first conformation Dog Show was held in the Town Hall, Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1859 and the next 14 years saw explosive growth in this new and fashionable hobby. The first organised Field Trial took place at Southill in 1865 and this sport also gained a large following. Whilst Field Trials were very much for the country gent, Dog Shows were an urban activity, accessible to people of all classes and popular both with exhibitors and spectators. 

 

The founders of the Kennel Club wanted to ensure that all Dog Shows and Field Trials were run fairly and honestly and with the welfare of the dogs in mind so they set up the Kennel Club to govern these events nationwide. In 1874, the first Kennel Club Stud Book was published. It listed the results of all Dog Shows and Field Trials since 1859 and included sets of rules for running Dog Shows and Field Trials. A Kennel Club Stud Book has been published every year since and provides a record of results for all Championship Dog Shows, Field Trials and other dog activities, such as Obedience and Agility. 

 

Another important task for the newly-formed Kennel Club to undertake was to have a register of dogs so they could be identified properly. In 1880, the first monthly register of dog names was printed in the very first issue of the Kennel Gazette. These registration records ensured that each dog could be uniquely identified and, over the years, have provided the source of pedigree information for every dog on the Kennel Club's breed registers. Nowadays, over 200,000 dogs are registered with the Kennel Club each year. 

 

As well as ensuring that dog shows and other events were properly managed, the Kennel Club was also concerned with the health of dogs. Of the ten rules for running a dog show published in the very first Stud Book, two are concerned with health, stating that a veterinary inspector should be present at shows with over 200 entries and that dogs must be withdrawn from the show if they have any contagious disease. H.R.H The Prince of Wales (later H.M. Edward VII) was the Kennel Club's first patron and was a staunch supporter of the movement to prevent the cropping of dogs' ears. 

 

Since 1949, the Kennel Club has been investing in veterinary and scientific research projects to ensure the improved health and welfare of dogs. Modern health testing began to be developed in conjunction with the BVA in the 1960s and now the Kennel Club manages testing schemes and publishes test results for a whole range of inherited conditions.

 

The Kennel Club Charitable Trust, founded in 1985, gives numerous donations to projects such as canine rescue and dogs for the disabled, and supports research into canine diseases. 

 

In 2004 the Kennel Club created an educational resource at the Animal Health Trust to aid education of breeders and owners on the genetic health of dogs. The Animal Health Trust now hosts the Kennel Club Genetics Centre and the Kennel Club Cancer Centre.

 

As dog showing became more and more popular, the Kennel Club needed to ensure that the number of shows held was kept under control and that high standards could be maintained. So, in 1900 a system of show licences was developed with each show management undertaking a guarantee to hold the show under strict Kennel Club rules

 

In 1939 the Kennel Club acquired the world-famous Crufts dog show (founded 1891) following the death of its founder, Charles Cruft. Since that time, Crufts has been the Kennel Club's flagship event and is the biggest dog show in the world.  Nowadays, the Kennel Club licences over 4,000 dog shows and events every year. 

 

The very first sport recognised by the Kennel Club was the sport of Field Trials which tests the skills of working gundogs. Other working dogs also got to show off their skills and be rewarded at competition with the development of the disciplines of Working Trials (1920s), Obedience (1950s) and Agility (1970s) all of which are governed by the Kennel Club. Since the 1990s, both Flyball and Heelwork to Music have become hugely popular with the British public and the new disciplines of Cani-Cross and Rally are gaining a dedicated following. 

 

Although Kennel Club was originally concerned just with pure-bred dogs, dog shows and trials, the Kennel Club now represents the interests of all responsible dog owners to ensure that dogs are welcome throughout society.  In 1988, the Kennel Club published the Canine Code and in 1992 the Good Citizen Dog Scheme was set up to promote responsible dog ownership, to enhance our relationship with our pets and to make the community aware of the benefits associated with dog ownership.  

 

The Young Kennel Club was established in 1985 to help young dog lovers aged between 6-24 years learn new skills, build confidence and make new friends. Today, the YKC makes sure that our future dog owners, exhibitors, trainers and judges are ready to take on the challenge of making sure that all dogs get to live happy, healthy lives with responsible owners

 

Source: The Kennel Club

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - THE VICTORIAN ERA

 

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(Queen Victoria)

 

Did you know.. that  the Victorians were the people who lived during the reign of Queen Victoria, from the 20 June 1837 until the date of her death on the 22 January 1901? It is remembered as a time of exciting discoveries, inventions and exploration following the Industrial Revolution.

 

During the Victorian era, Britain expanded its territory throughout the world and became the largest, richest and most powerful empire in world history! A quarter of the world’s population lived in the empire. Queen Victoria was even crowned Empress of India! Today, we look back at empire differently to how it was viewed at the time. Native people were often treated unfairly by the invading British and tensions ran high. Over time, the empire broke down and gradually, countries gained independence.

 

New inventions, like the telephone, motorcar, typewriter, bicycle and moving film totally changed the way that people lived, worked and travelled. In 1856, an engineer named Henry Bessemer invented a new method for turning iron into steel making it possible to build ships, bridges and other structures on a scale like never before!

 

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A photograph of the locomotive named the ‘Iron Duke’, with two engineers on board.

 

Expansion of the railways meant that people could travel faster and further than ever before. All of Britain’s major cities, like London, Glasgow and Manchester, were now connected. Before trains, the fastest mode of transport was horses. All aboard!

 

The boom in industry saw lots of people moving to cities to find work. For the first time in world history, more people lived in cities than in the countryside, making city centres very cramped! Poor people lived in crowded slums — houses which were overcrowded, smelly and in bad repair.

 

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London Slums

 

Despite Britain’s political power, many ordinary people lead hard lives. As technology advanced, new machines left lots of people without jobs. Many resorted to workhouses, which provided basic poor relief like food, medical care and shelter in exchange for labour. Conditions were poor and sadly, families were often separated.

 

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A day in the life of the Victorian workhouse: 1881

 

Many charities for the poor, like the Salvation Army and Barnardo’s, were established during the Victorian era. They fed the hungry in soup kitchens, and looked after the poorest children in orphanages.

 

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The Salvation Army 

 

Victorian children were expected to work long hours and for less money than adults. Seems unfair, right?! To make matters worse, the jobs were often dangerous and conditions were hard. Children were favoured because they could fit into tight spaces that adults couldn’t. Therefore, many children worked in factories, coal mines and as chimney sweeps.

 

Children_labour.jpg

 

Before the Victorian era, most of Britain’s population couldn’t read or write and had limited access to education. Queen Victoria believed that education should be for all, and by the end of her reign, going to school became compulsory for all children, rich or poor.

 

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In early workhouse schools, money for basic supplies such as chalk and slate could be limited. Some Guardians even questioned whether pauper

children actually needed to learn to read and write. However this workhouse classroom from early 1900 probably looks much like any other school

at the time.

 

Improvements in education meant that more people could enjoy reading. Children’s books were no longer just for learning, they were fun! New titles such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Treasure Island and The Jungle Book became hugely popular. Victorian children loved an adventure story!

 

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This period was a great time for the arts, too! Some of Britain’s best-known poets, thinkers and authors flourished in the Victorian era, like poet Elizabeth Browning, playwright Oscar Wilde and authors Emily Brontë and Charles Dickens. Dickens’ novels – such as Oliver Twist – often focused on poor people, and his stories helped to highlight their plight.

 

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The Bank Holidays Act of 1871 introduced extra days off throughout the year. Banks and offices would close and people could take time off work. The first travel agent, a businessman named Thomas Cook, ran trips to the seaside, which were very popular amongst Victorian families — those who could afford it, that is!

 

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Thomas Cook brochure- 1901 Holiday brochures became very visual in the early Victorian era

 

Organised sport became popular in the Victorian era. In 1871, the first Rugby Football Union was set up. It is believed that the sport was invented when William Webb Ellis, a pupil at Rugby School in England, picked up the ball during a game of football and ran with it!

 

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Believe it or not, television didn’t exist in Victorian times! Therefore, Victorians entertained themselves by going to the theatre or watching live music. Visiting the music hall was a popular British pastime for poorer people. For a penny, customers were treated to a variety show, showcasing musicians, comedians and plays.

 

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Healthcare saw huge improvements under the Victorians. Medical pioneers like Florence Nightingale worked with the government to improve hospital cleanliness — which hadn’t been considered as important before!

 

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‘Lady of the Lamp’ aka Florence Nightingale!

 

Source:  National Geographic Kids

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Fact of the Day - THOMAS EDISON

 

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Did you know... that Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman who has been described as America's greatest inventor? He developed many devices in fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording, and motion pictures. (Wikipedia)

 

Thomas Edison applied for his first patent in 1868, when he was just 21 years old. The famous inventors' first brainchild was for a device that recorded legislative votes. That was just the start of a career in which he would obtain 1,093 U.S. patents, in addition to another 500 to 600 applications that he either didn’t finish or were rejected. But Edison’s greatest invention may have been developing a new process for coming up with inventions.

 

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(Vote Recorder)

 

“When Edison raised enormous capital, built a laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J., and hired a staff of several dozen, each with distinct talents, he pioneered what became the modern corporate research and development process,” explains Ernest Freeberg, a historian at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and author of The Age of Edison: Electric Light and the Invention of Modern America.

 

“He considered it an invention factory, one that would produce surprising new products at a regular rate.”

 

In many cases, Edison’s genius was taking a new technology that someone else had pioneered and developing a superior way of doing the same thing. “An invention not only has to work fairly well, but it has to be something that the market wants and can afford to buy. Edison understood that as well as anyone in his day,” says Freeberg.

 

Below are some of Edison’s most significant inventions.

 

Automatic Telegraph

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Thomas Edison pictured operating a telegraph machine.

 

While Samuel Morse’s invention of the telegraph in the 1830s and 1840s made it possible for the first time to communicate over long distances, the device had its drawbacks. An operator had to listen to incoming dots and dashes in Morse code, which slowed messages to a speed of 25 to 40 words per minute. A British system for automatically printing code in ink on paper only achieved 120 words tops. 

 

Between 1870 and 1874, Edison developed a vastly superior system, in which a telegraph receiver utilized a metal stylus to mark chemically-treated paper, which then could be run through a typewriter-like device. It was capable of recording up to 1,000 words a minute, which made it possible to send long messages quickly.

 

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(Automatic Telegraphy)

 

Carbon Telephone Transmitter

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Cross-section of Edison's lamp-black button telephone transmitter.

 

It was Alexander Graham Bell who patented the telephone in 1876. But Edison, with his knack for building upon others’ innovations, found a way to improve Bell’s transmitter, which was limited in how far apart phones could be by weak electrical current. Edison got the idea of using a battery to provide current on the phone line and to control its strength by using carbon to vary the resistance. To do that, he designed a transmitter in which a small piece of lampblack (a black carbon made from soot) was placed behind the diaphragm. When someone spoke into the phone, the sound waves moved the diaphragm, and the pressure on the lampblack changed. Edison later replaced the lampblack with granules made from coal—a basic design that was used until the 1980s.

 

The Light Bulb

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Edison's filament lamp, with a glass bulb containing a partial vacuum. 

 

Contrary to popular belief, Edison didn’t actually invent the incandescent light bulb. But he invented and marketed a design that was the first to be long-lasting enough to be practical for widespread use. 

“Edison was one of a half dozen who were putting the elements of a viable lighting system together in those years, and since Edison was late to the race, he benefited from all his predecessors and rivals,” Freeberg explains.

 

In the late 1870s, Edison designed a vacuum bulb, in which a metal filament could be heated to create light. One night, after absentmindedly rolling between his fingers a piece of lampblack, the material he used in his telephone receiver, he got the idea for switching to a carbonized filament. After initially using carbonized cardboard, he began experimenting with other materials, and eventually settled upon bamboo, which possessed long fibers that made it more durable. Eventually, the combination of bamboo filaments and an improved vacuum pump that removed air more effectively enabled Edison to increase the lifetime of bulbs to approximately 1,200 hours.

 

Phonograph

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Thomas Edison pictured with his phonograph.

 

While developing his telephone transmitter, Edison got the idea of creating a machine that could record and playback telephone messages. That notion led him to imagine being able to record not just voices, but music and other sounds, by using sound to vibrate a diaphragm and push a stylus that made indentations on a cylinder covered with wax paper that was being turned by a crank.

 

In late 1877, he got a machinist to build the device, using tin foil instead of wax, and Edison recorded the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The following year, he was granted a patent for the design, which also included a lighter needle to find the groves and transmit vibrations to a second diaphragm, which recreated the person’s voice.

 

Edison’s phonograph created a sensation and helped enhance his reputation as a great inventor. Eventually, he began to market and sell the machines and cylinder records, reverting again to using wax. But by the early 1900s, the Victor Talking Machine Company’s phonographs that played discs surpassed Edison’s cylinder phonographs in popularity. Even though cylinders produced better-quality sound, the early discs had a big advantage in that they could fit four minutes of music, compared to the two minutes that could fit on a cylinder.

 

Movie Camera and Viewer

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A Kinetograph camera, 1912. 

(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

 

In the late 1880s, Edison supervised his lab’s development of a technology “that does for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear.” Most of the work on the Kinetograph, an early movie camera, and the Kinetoscope, a single-person peephole movie viewer, was actually performed by Edison’s employee William Kennedy-Laurie Dickson. Movies became a big industry and Edison’s camera and viewer were quickly replaced by innovations such as the Lumière Cinématographe, a combination camera, printer and projector that allowed audiences to watch a film together. But Edison adjusted and his company became a thriving early movie studio, churning out scores of silent films between the 1890s and 1918, when it shut down production.

 

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Lumière cinématographe (body no 254), c.1895

 

 

Alkaline Storage Battery
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(Edison Battery – 1903)

 

When the automobile was developed in the late 1800s, electric vehicles were more popular than those equipped with gasoline-burning internal combustion engines. But early electric cars had a big drawback—the batteries they used were heavy and tended to leak acid, which corroded the cars’ interiors. 

 

Edison decided to take on the challenge of inventing a lighter, more dependable and more powerful battery. After conducting extensive research and the embarrassing flop of an early design, Edison came up with a reliable alkaline battery, and in 1910 began production of it. His work, however, was soon overshadowed by Henry Ford’s development of the inexpensive Model T car that ran on an internal combustion engine. Nevertheless, Edison’s storage battery was used in mining lamps, trains and submarines and turned into the most successful product of Edison’s later career.

 

Storage Battery

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(Edison's storage battery)

 

During the first decade of the twentieth century, Edison spent much of his time developing a storage battery that he intended for use in electric automobiles. Edison had a long-standing interest in battery design dating back to his time as a telegraph inventor. He was among the first to try to design consumer-friendly primary batteries in connection with his electric pen copying system and his electric phonograph, but he was never able to overcome the problems presented by the need to replenish chemicals and electrodes in wet cells. Edison did make important improvements in primary battery design, notably for the Edison-Lalande cell, which was used for a variety of purposes. Edison also investigated storage batteries in the early 1880s in connection with central stations but decided that they were not efficient for that purpose. However, the advent of automobiles in the late 1890s spurred him to develop a storage battery to power them. Aware of the weight problems with lead acid batteries, Edison decided to experiment with alkaline electrolytes, such as those used in the Edison-Lalande cell in order to develop a lightweight and long-lasting battery. However, it took him a decade to develop a commercially viable iron-nickel battery and by that time automobiles powered by internal combustion engines had become dominant. Edison did find an extensive market for his battery in a variety of industrial uses, and it was the most successful product of his later life.

 

Source: History Stories

 

 

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - CHERRY BLOSSOMS

 

PINK-BLOSSOMS-Spring--Tree-Blossom-Flowe

(PINK BLOSSOMS Spring Tree Blossom Flowers Art" by Baslee Troutman Fine Art Prints) 

 

Did you know.... that A cherry blossom is a flower of many trees of genus Prunus? The most well-known species is the Japanese cherry, Prunus serrulata, which is commonly called sakura. (Wikipedia)

 

1. YOU'LL ONLY FIND CHERRY BLOSSOMS IN A HANDFUL OF COUNTRIES.

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("Cherry Blossom Avenue" in Bonn, Germany)
 

Called sakura in Japan, the cherry blossoms of Yoshino and Kyoto are world-famous. Tourists flock to the country each spring to try their hand at a centuries-old activity called hanami, or “flower viewing.” You don’t have to fly to Japan to see them, though. In the U.S., the cherry blossoms of Washington, D.C., New York City, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Boston are all beautiful in their own way. The flowers can also be viewed in many European and Asian countries, as well as Brazil and Australia in the southern hemisphere.

 

2. THE CHERRY BLOSSOM CAPITAL OF THE WORLD IS IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA.

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Believe it or not, the city of Macon in central Georgia is recognized as the “Cherry Blossom Capital of the World”—at least according to U.S. Congressional records. It’s home to 350,000 Yoshino cherry trees, while Washington, D.C. has fewer than 4000 trees. Those who organize the two cities’ respective cherry blossom festivals have engaged in some playful competition over the years. In 1987, representatives of the Macon festival sent army helmets to TV stations in D.C. “to dramatize the rivalry,” according to an article published at the time in The Record. Representatives in D.C. played it cool, with one spokesperson for the National Park Service stating, “I’m sure they have much more than we have here, but we’re still proud of our celebration.”

 

3. THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF CHERRY TREE VARIETIES.

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(The blossoms of a Kanzan tree)

 

Japan in particular is home to hundreds of types of cherry tree—possibly more than 600, by more liberal estimates. Some types bear fruit, while others don’t. The flowers of many trees change from dark pink to light pink to white throughout the different stages of blossoming, while others progress from greenish yellow to white to pink. One variety, called Kanzan, was bred to have “double blossoms”—or up to 28 petals on each flower, compared to the Yoshino tree’s five petals.


4. THEY DON'T BLOOM FOR LONG.
A cherry tree might only remain in bloom for one to two weeks. However, they only keep up their “peak color” for about three days, so it’s best to time your trip wisely if you’re visiting a cherry blossom destination from out of town. The timing depends on a number of factors, including location, heat, and daylight. In D.C., the florets typically start to appear in March, and peak bloom (when 70 percent of the flowers have blossomed) generally occurs in late March or early April. This year, the National Park Service predicts that peak bloom will occur from April 3 to April 6, 2019.

 

5. CLIMATE CHANGE COULD BE MAKING THEM BLOSSOM EARLIER.
The projected peak bloom dates are right on track for 2019, but that hasn’t always been the case. Some scholars have suggested that the trees are blooming earlier and earlier as the planet gradually gets warmer. Dr. Soo-Hyung Kim, an ecophysiologist at the University of Washington who has studied the phenomenon, says that by 2080 we could expect to see cherry blossoms in D.C. as early as February.

 

6. YOU CAN GET ARRESTED FOR PLUCKING A CHERRY BLOSSOM IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

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(ISTOCK.COM/ROBERTDODGE)

 

Resist the urge to take a cherry blossom home with you as a souvenir. In D.C. at least, breaking off a blossom or branch is viewed as vandalism of federal property. Those who break this rule could receive a citation, or worse, be arrested. (Though usually, law enforcement officers prefer to issue warnings or small fines.) It goes without saying that it’s also illegal to climb the trees. If they sustain damage to their branches, they will never be able to grow new blossoms on that particular bough again.

 

7. THE VERY FIRST CHERRY TREES TO ARRIVE IN AMERICA WERE A COMPLETE DISASTER.
In 1909, Japan offered to send 2000 cherry trees to America as a symbol of friendship between the two countries. After all, just a few years earlier, U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt had helped Japan negotiate an end to the Russo-Japanese War. Despite the good intentions, the execution was disastrous. When the trees arrived in D.C. in January 1910, the trees were weak—due to over-pruning of their roots—and they were also infested with wood-boring insects. Despite attempts to save them, the trees were ultimately thrown in a pile and burned.

 

Everyone was pretty embarrassed about the whole ordeal, but Tokyo mayor Yukio Ozaki made a joke to ease some of the tension. “To be honest about it, it has been an American tradition to destroy cherry trees ever since your first president, George Washington,” he said. “So there’s nothing to worry about. In fact, you should be feeling proud.” (Washington's cherry tree story turned out to be untrue, but we digress.) Another shipment of trees was sent, and by 1912, the healthy trees were successfully planted in D.C. by then-First Lady Helen Taft.

 

8. THE CHERRY TREES IN ONE DUTCH MUNICIPALITY HAVE PROPER NAMES.
Located in the largest park in the Netherlands, all 400 cherry blossom trees have proper names. Half of them have traditional Dutch women’s names, and the other half have Japanese women’s names. The Japan Women’s Club gifted the trees in 2000, and you can now find them at Amsterdamse Bos (Amsterdam Forest) in the Amstelveen municipality.

 

9. BOTH THE BLOSSOMS AND LEAVES ARE EDIBLE.

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(JAPAN CRATE)

 

In Japan, no part of the cherry blossom tree goes to waste. The preserved leaves are used as edible mochi wrappers (a rice cake filled with sweet bean paste), and a number of seasonal snacks feature sakura as a key ingredient. Sakura-infused versions of Pepsi, Coke, tea, and even Starbucks lattes are all popular drinks. You can also find two varieties of Kit Kats—sakura and roasted soy bean, and sakura sake—as well as Pocky snack sticks that taste like sakura and matcha (green tea).

 

So what do cherry blossoms taste like? They have a “light, flowery, slightly cherry flavor,” according to Gabe Perez, social media director at Japan Crate, a subscription box service that ships many of the aforementioned snacks, plus other Japanese products, to customers.

 

10. THEY WERE THE INSPIRATION BEHIND A RECORD-SETTING LEGO SCULPTURE.

 

LEGOLAND Japan, a theme park in Nagoya, set a Guinness World Record in 2018 for the largest LEGO brick cherry blossom tree ever made (although we’re not sure how much competition they had). The tree stood 14 feet tall, weighed over 7000 pounds, and consisted of more than 800,000 LEGO bricks.

 

Source: Emily Petsko

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Fact of the Day - MARY PICKFORD 

mary_pickford_knew_not_to_take_the_first

 

Did you know.... that Gladys Louise Smith, known professionally as Mary Pickford, was a Canadian-born American film actress and producer with a career spanning 50 years? She was a co-founder of the Pickford–Fairbanks Studios with Douglas Fairbanks and the United Artists studio with Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W.  (Wikipedia)

 

Mary Pickford was a legendary silent film actress and was known as "America’s sweetheart." She was a founder of United Artists and helped establish the Academy.
 

Born on April 8, 1892, in Toronto. In 1909, she appeared in 40 movies for D.W. Griffith's American Biograph company. She also worked as a producer and co-founded United Artists, with Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., who would become her second husband. Pickford retired from the screen in 1933 but continued to produce. She died in 1979.

 

Mary Pickford was a legendary film actress during the age of silent pictures. She often appeared on screen in young girl roles, even when she was an adult. Pickford began performing at the age of five on the stage and was known for a time as "Baby Gladys." After touring in different shows and productions for more than nine years, she went to New York to conquer Broadway. Taking the stage name, Mary Pickford, she made her Broadway debut in The Warrens of Virginia.

 

Soon after the show’s run, Mary Pickford got into film, working for D. W. Griffith, a director and head of American Biography Company. At the time, most films were short and she appeared in more than 40 movies in 1909. When Griffith moved his operation to California the following year, Pickford went with him. Over the years, her fame grew as well as her salary. She became an international star, beloved for her beauty and charm.

 

Creation of United Artists
Some of Mary Pickford’s greatest films were a collaborative effort with friend and writer-director Frances Marion. Together they worked on such hits as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917) and Poor Little Rich Girl (1917). Pickford also worked behind the scenes as a producer and founded the United Artists (UA), a film company, in 1919, with D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., who would become her second husband. She had been married to actor Owen Moore and divorced him to be with Fairbanks.

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Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks married in 1920, becoming one of Hollywood’s earliest super couples. Fans adored the pairing, and the couple were known to host fabulous events at their home, called Pickfair, which were attended by many of the leading figures in film.

 

In the 1920s, Mary Pickford continued to score more box-office hits with Pollyanna (1920) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1922). She went on to help establish the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927. Around this time, the film industry was changing and talking pictures were on the rise. In 1929, Pickford starred in her first talkie Coquette, which explored the dark side of a wealthy family. She won an Academy Award for her work on the film. Still she was never quite able to recreate the phenomenal success she had in silent pictures with the sound films. Her last film was 1933’s Secrets.

 

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Later Years
After retiring from the screen, Mary Pickford continued to be involved in filmmaking. She worked as a producer on such films as One Rainy Afternoon (1936), Susie Steps Out (1946) and Sleep, My Love (1948). She also was on the board of directors for UA for many years. She married her third husband, Charles “Buddy” Rogers, in 1937. They adopted two children and stayed together until her death.

 

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In her final years, Mary Pickford became reclusive. She largely stayed home at Pickfair and choosing to only see a select few friends. She died on May 29, 1979, in Santa Monica, California.

 

Source: Biography

 

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Fact of the Day - DIABLO - VIDEO GAME SERIES

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Did you know... that Diablo is an action role-playing hack and slash dungeon crawler video game series developed by Blizzard North and continued by Blizzard Entertainment after the north studio shutdown in 2005? The series is made up of three core games: Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo III. (Wikipedia) (FYI: Diablo IV will be out soon)

 

Diablo is the kind of video game that has tons of crossover appeal, attracting more than just fans of action role-playing games and dungeon crawlers, and the button mashing, monster smashing frenzied melee fighter has evolved quite a bit since the release of the first Diablo game back in 1996.  But if the game designers had gone with some of their original plans for the game, like using claymation graphics for the characters or giving the whole thing a time limit, would Diablo have as many fans as it does today?

 

1) Diablo wouldn’t exist without The Justice League.

A small independent studio by the name of Condor Games was responsible for creating Diablo. Before getting into demon slaying, Condor worked on a few rather forgettable licensed titles, including a lousy DC Comics fighting game for the Genesis called Justice League Task Force.

 

Now, Condor was far from the only company slumming it in the world of licensed games at the time — another small, upcoming company named Blizzard was contracted to work on the SNES port of Condor’s Justice League fighter. It was through this collaboration that the leaders of Condor and Blizzard first became acquainted, which led directly to Condor pitching Diablo to Blizzard. The rest is history, although the Diablo initially presented to Blizzard was quite different from the game that eventually ended up in players’ hands…

 

2) The game was originally going to be turn-based.

Yup, the quintessential mouse-mashing action RPG was initially going to be turn-based. Early versions of Diablo worked like a Roguelike, with you and the monsters in the dungeon taking turns — you take a step, they take a step, you swing a sword, they swing a sword and so on.

 

3) Also, it was going to have claymation graphics.

Okay, so who else now desperately wants to clobber claymation skeletons and goatmen?

 

4) Your character was supposed to have an actual backstory.

The protagonists of Diablo games are always generic ciphers, but apparently that wasn’t always the plan. According to Diablo previews including in WarCraft II, the hero of Diablo was originally supposed to have grown up in Diablo’s hub town of Tristram and was returning to avenge the death of his family. Much of Diablo would have been devoted to solving the mystery of what happened to your kin, as opposed to chasing down random quests given to you by townfolk. There’s a good reason this was changed though…

 

5) For much of development, Diablo only had a single class.

Classes were a relatively late addition to Diablo. Initially the game only had one warrior-like class, with the emphasis instead being on giving the player greater freedom to craft a unique character. This explains why the hero once had a more detailed backstory and why that backstory was dropped later in development when multiple classes were introduced. It also explains why the warrior is the only class shown in a lot of cutscenes, and why the warrior is the one that ends up killing Diablo according to official canon.

 

6) Tons of content was cut from the game.

While classes made it in at the 11th hour, far more stuff was unceremoniously chopped from the final version of Diablo. Well over a hundred spells, monsters and items were removed from the final game, although most of them remained on the disc for hard-working hackers to uncover. Some of these items would eventually show up in later expansions and sequels, but many would never see the light of day.

 

7) Diablo originally had a time limit.

One of the most interesting items cut from the final version of Diablo was the Map of the Stars. The map was a quest item that foretold a moment when the stars and planets would come into alignment, making Diablo even stronger. In gameplay terms, it meant the game originally had a time limit — if you didn’t reach Diablo within a certain timeframe he would become far more difficult. Ultimately the developers removed the Map of the Stars and time limit, since it discouraged exploration, but the removal was far from seamless. Those who have reached the end of Diablo know the final boss is kind of a pushover, likely because the version of Diablo left in the game was the easy version meant as a reward for getting in under the time limit.

 

8) Battle.net wouldn’t have been added if Diablo’s developer had their financial house in order.

Diablo’s most enduring legacy (aside from all the cases of crippling carpal tunnel syndrome it’s caused) was Battle.net. Battle.net was an online service that allowed Diablo players join up and hack their way through dungeons via the Internet. It was a groundbreaking idea at the time, and you can pretty much trace a direct line from multiplayer Diablo to modern MMOs like World of Warcraft.

 

Diablo’s developer Condor had absolutely no plans to include anything like Battle.net in the title, but as they were nearing completion of the game they flat out ran out of money. Blizzard came to Condor’s rescue, purchasing the studio and renaming it Blizzard North. The guys behind Diablo now had more cash and resources to work with and wanted to expand the game. Their new overlords at Blizzard suggested an online multiplayer mode, which seemed like a swell idea to the Diablo guys, so in the last couple months of development they hastily tossed together Battle.net, and history was once again accidentally made. So yeah, if Condor had managed to stay financially solvent, there would have been no Blizzard North, no Battle.net and probably no World of Warcraft. Three cheers for financial irresponsibility!

 

9) All the game’s levels were planned to be playable in multiplayer mode.

Battle.net may have been rushed, but the original plan was to have all the 16-levels of the game playable in multiplayer. Unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time and only four levels were playable, but that was enough back in 1996 to make Battle.net a hit.

 

10) You can still play Diablo online.

By the way, nearly 20-years after it’s release, you can still sign onto Battle.net and play Diablo online, which pretty much has to make Diablo the longest supported online game ever.

 

11) Diablo wants you to eat your vegetables.

At one point you hear Diablo saying something in creepy demon-speak — some sort of evil soul-flaying incantation no doubt! Well, actually, if you play the dialogue backwards he’s really saying, “Eat your vegetables and brush after every meal”. 9-year-old me was right! Broccoli was the work of the devil.

 

 

12) There was once a Game Boy version of Diablo in the works.

Diablo wasn’t the most graphically intense game on PCs, but still, a Game Boy version would have been quite a stretch. That didn’t stop Blizzard from giving it a shot sometime during the 90s though. Hmmm, it may not have worked on the Game Boy, but man, I would absolutely go for some Diablo on the 3DS or Vita.

 

13) There was/is a Diablo movie in the works.

While nobody’s heard much about it recently, Legendary Pictures does own the rights to Diablo and apparently a movie is being worked on. I would guess Diablo won’t go into full production until producers see how the development hell-ridden Warcraft movie does in theaters.

 

14) The makers of Diablo were big Natalie Portman fans.

If you play with your computer’s colors during Diablo’s boot screen, a couple secret messages appear. One is “Buy War II” and the other is the more random “Natalie Portman Rocks”. By the way, Natalie Portman was only 15 when Diablo was released, so that may explain why this particular declaration of adoration was kept on the down low.


15) There is no cow level.

Okay, it’s time to talk about the cow level. There’s totally a cow level, right? I mean, the first thing you think when somebody mentions “Diablo trivia” is, “Oh, wasn’t there a weird cow level in the game?”

 

There wasn’t. The cow level never existed.

 

Perhaps it was a side effect of Diablo being so addictive — people gobbled every scrap of the game’s content and wanted more, so somehow rumors spread that abusing the game’s cows in certain ways, for certain lengths of time would take you to a MAGICAL COW LEVEL. To this day it remains “common knowledge” that the cow level exists. It does exist in Diablo II, but sadly not in the original game, so for the love of god, stop doing that to that poor cow.

Source: Nathan Birch

 

 

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Fact of the Day - BUTTERFLIES

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Did you know... that butterflies are insects in the macrolepidopteran clade Rhopalocera from the order Lepidoptera, which also includes moths. Adult butterflies have large, often brightly coloured wings, and conspicuous, fluttering flight? (Wikipedia)

 

Butterfly Wings Are Transparent

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How can that be? We know butterflies as perhaps the most colorful, vibrant insects around! Well, a butterfly's wings are covered by thousands of tiny scales, and these scales reflect light in different colors. But underneath all of those scales, a butterfly wing is actually formed by layers of chitin—the same protein that makes up an insect's exoskeleton. These layers are so thin you can see right through them. As a butterfly ages, scales fall off the wings, leaving spots of transparency where the chitin layer is exposed.

 

Butterflies Taste With Their Feet

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Butterflies have taste receptors on their feet to help them find their host plants and locate food. A female butterfly lands on different plants, drumming the leaves with her feet until the plant releases its juices. Spines on the back of her legs have chemoreceptors that detect the right match of plant chemicals. When she identifies the right plant, she lays her eggs. A butterfly of any biological sex will also step on its food, using organs that sense dissolved sugars to taste food sources like fermenting fruit.

 

Butterflies Live on an All-Liquid Diet

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Speaking of butterflies eating, adult butterflies can only feed on liquids—usually nectar. Their mouthparts are modified to enable them to drink, but they can't chew solids. A proboscis, which functions as a drinking straw, stays curled up under the butterfly's chin until it finds a source of nectar or other liquid nutrition. The long, tubular structure then unfurls and sips up a meal. A few species of butterflies feed on sap, and some even resort to sipping from carrion. No matter the meal, they suck it up a straw.

 

A Butterfly Must Assemble Its Own Proboscis—Quickly

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A butterfly that can't drink nectar is doomed. One of its first jobs as an adult butterfly is to assemble its mouthparts. When a new adult emerges from the pupal case or chrysalis, its mouth is in two pieces. Using palpi located adjacent to the proboscis, the butterfly begins working the two parts together to form a single, tubular proboscis. You may see a newly emerged butterfly curling and uncurling the proboscis over and over, testing it out.

 

Butterflies Drink From Mud Puddles

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A butterfly cannot live on sugar alone; it needs minerals, too. To supplement its diet of nectar, a butterfly will occasionally sip from mud puddles, which are rich in minerals and salts. This behavior, called puddling, occurs more often in male butterflies, which incorporate the minerals into their sperm. These nutrients are then transferred to the female during mating and help improve the viability of her eggs.


Butterflies Can't Fly If They're Cold

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Butterflies need an ideal body temperature of about 85 degrees Fahrenheit to fly.1 Since they're cold-blooded animals, they can't regulate their own body temperatures. As a result, the surrounding air temperature has a big impact on their ability to function. If the air temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, butterflies are rendered immobile—unable to flee from predators or feed.2

When air temperatures range between 82 and 100 degrees Fahrenheit, butterflies can fly with ease.3 Cooler days require a butterfly to warm up its flight muscles, either by shivering or basking in the sun.

 

A Newly Emerged Butterfly Can't Fly

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Inside the chrysalis, a developing butterfly waits to emerge with its wings collapsed around its body. When it finally breaks free of the pupal case, it greets the world with tiny, shriveled wings. The butterfly must immediately pump body fluid through its wing veins to expand them. Once its wings reach their full size, the butterfly must rest for a few hours to allow its body to dry and harden before it can take its first flight.

 

Butterflies Often Live Just a Few Weeks

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Once it emerges from its chrysalis as an adult, a butterfly has only two to four short weeks to live, in most cases. During that time, it focuses all its energy on two tasks: eating and mating. Some of the smallest butterflies, the blues, may only survive a few days. However, butterflies that overwinter as adults, like monarchs and mourning cloaks, can live as long as nine months.

 

Butterflies Are Nearsighted but Can See Colors

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Within about 10–12 feet, butterfly eyesight is quite good.4 Anything beyond that distance gets a little blurry, though.

Despite that, butterflies can see not just some of the colors that we can see, but also a range of ultraviolet colors that are invisible to the human eye. The butterflies themselves may even have ultraviolet markings on their wings to help them identify one another and locate potential mates. Flowers, too, display ultraviolet markings that act as traffic signals to incoming pollinators like butterflies.

 

Butterflies Employ Tricks to Avoid Being Eaten

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Butterflies rank pretty low on the food chain, with lots of hungry predators happy to make a meal of them. Therefore, they need some defense mechanisms. Some butterflies fold their wings to blend into the background, using camouflage to render themselves all but invisible to predators. Others try the opposite strategy, wearing vibrant colors and patterns that boldly announce their presence. Bright colored insects often pack a toxic punch if eaten, so predators learn to avoid them.

 

Watch Now: Sodium-Addicted Butterflies Drink the Tears of Turtles

 

 

Source: Debbie Hadley ThoughtCo

Butterflies Drinking Tears

 

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