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Fact of the Day - TYPOGRAPHY


Did you know... that typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. The arrangement of type involves selecting typefaces, point sizes, line lengths, line-spacing (leading), and letter-spacing (tracking), and adjusting the space between pairs of letters (kerning). (Wikipedia)



Fun Facts about the History of Typography
Lettering Hub  | 10 Aug |  Written By Eva Schafroth

Even though I have a great interest in lettering, I was never hugely interested in the history of typography. I love how type and illustration come together in lettering, and basic type theory is interesting, but I never would have sat down in the library to really dive into the history of type in itself. Until I stumbled over Just my Type” by Simon Garfield. This book makes the history of typography immensely accessible and interesting. It’s broken up into 22 chapters broken up by 11 “Fontbreaks”, detailing a whole heap of stories from how Comic Sans came about to the involvement between Mr Baskerville and Mrs Eaves to a list of “The Worst Fonts in the World” (Comic Sans isn’t one of them!) and more. I’ve pulled out my favourite 7 pieces of fun facts, and a few more online references for you to enjoy (because they’re better enjoyed online than in a book where you have to look them up afterwards!) 


#1 The Comic Sans Story

This one needs to get out there, because everyone seems to hate Comic Sans nowadays without even knowing why. The typeface was created by Vincent Connare in 1994 and was solving a specific problem - namely that the standard Times New Roman didn’t go too well with a dog called “Rover” in Microsoft Bob. Vincent Connare defends himself saying that “there was no intention to include the font in other applications other than those designed for children”. And that is in fact why Comic Sans is one of the most hated fonts today - it has been overused in inappropriate ways. 


#2 The Origin of a few select special characters

The Ampersand

Who would’ve known that the ampersand actually combines two letters? It stems from the Latin word “et”, which turned into a single & when written fast and translates to “and”. Once you know this, you see it! 


The Interrobang

What in the world is an Interrobang?”, you may ask. Well, it’s a single character combining an exclamation and question mark, . It was created in the 1960s by Martin Spekter, in an attempt to make the clumsy combination of “?!” look more appealing. Unfortunately it failed to make its mark, but the story is interesting nonetheless. 


The @

Garfield only touches on this one, but it sparked my curiosity to find out more. It actually is not a product of the digital age, but rather is about as old as the ampersand! There is a theory about it coming along very similarly, by combining two characters, i.e. the Latin word for “toward”—ad—written quickly to combine the  “a” with the back part of the “d” as a tail. I found a more in-depth article here.


#3 The phenomenon of public outrage when big corporations change their typeface

When IKEA changed its typeface in 2009 from Futura to Verdana, there was a similar uproar to when Google changed their logo earlier this year. Garfield diagnoses that suddenly “a lot of people found they cared about something they had never cared about before”, and refers to Online Forum discussions and newspaper articles, as well as a dedicated Wikipedia page titled “Verdanagate”. 


#4 The story of Mrs Eaves’ Love Affair with Mr Baskerville

The book reads 

Mrs Baskerville had been married before, and it was not a happy tale. At the age of sixteen she wed one Richard Eaves, with whom she bore five children, before he deserted her. She was then working as John Baskerville’s live-in housekeeper - and later became his lover. But she was unable to marry Baskerville until Eaves’ death in 1764 and it may be that some of the society disapproval of Baskerville’s work was fired by their unorthodox relationship.  In conjunction with this story Garfield references our very own Aussie artist Gemma O’Brien, who called herself “Mrs Eaves” and broke into the industry drawing letters all over her body. 


#5 There isn’t a lot of money in designing typefaces

Chapter sixteen is called “Pirated and Clones”, where Garfield details how the swiss typographer who created ‘the world’s most familiar fontHelvetica, Max Miedinger, actually didn’t receive any royalties and ‘died virtually penniless’ in 1980. Font foundry Stempel didn’t make a lot of money from it either though, “for the simple reason that if your font is any good, it gets copied.” Garfield describes Arial as “the biggest transgressor in terms of global impact”, and references the “Font Fight” as well as the “Font Conference” videos from College Humor. The point of the chapter being that type designers still have little means to protect their creations under a patent or copyright, and references a few court cases to support this, i.e. how Adobe won a case against Southern Software Inc, or how French government agency HADOPI used a pirated font in its logo


#6 The origin of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”

This sentence is used universally to preview typefaces, because it contains every single letter of the alphabet. There is a video this sentence is said to originate from. 


#7 The worst Fonts in the World

I’m not going to pull out the whole list here because someone else already did that. I just want to share some references for your amusement. How about “Trajan is the movie font”? Alternatively, check out Fontifier where you can design your own fonts to go onto the list, or have a look at collections of wrong font use like Mickey Avenue


Wrapping up
“Just My Type” offers so much more, like stories about early discussions in Germany about the clarity of typefaces, why Barack Obama chose Gotham for his “Yes You Can” campaign and a dive into the music scene (think iconic logos like “The Beatles” and “Rolling Stone” magazine) - you really need to read it for yourself. I can promise that after reading this book, you will never look at type the same way - I can only highly recommend it! 


Source: Wikipedia - Typography  |  Fun Facts About the History of Typography



Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - MOUSTACHE (MUSTACHE)


Did you know.... that while the full beard lost popularity, mustaches became widely adopted by civilian men in the 1880s and 90s. Young men took to wearing the style to look older, fashionable, and inspire confidence and to add a "dashing" air. The mustache had its attraction for the ladies. They were pampered, brushed combed,and trained to curl up at the ends.  While researching men's fashions for, A Bride For David, I found myself fascinated by the many photos of men with a mustache. Love 'em or hate 'em, they were considered fashionable in the late 19th century. I was inspired by this photo to be the groom of our heroine. Kimberly Grist




The Mustache Is Thriving. But What Does It Mean?
Throughout its history, the 'stache has tended to stand for something more than itself—but that just might be changing.
By John Ortved  |  Jul 9, 2020


As a kid raised in Canada in the 1980s, all my heroes had mustaches. Lanny McDonald, Wendel Clark, Jamie Macoun—the mustache was as prevalent as the maple leaf on their (yes, ice hockey) jerseys. And there was Larry Bird. And Magnum P.I. My uncle had one. Lots of dads had them. But then—aside from an aughts hipster blip—they became a rarity. What happened?


Like all facial hair, the mustache is cyclical,” says Dr. Allan Peterkin, author of One Thousand Mustaches: a Cultural History of the Mo. During periods of unpopularity, Dr. Peterkin says, the mustache has been associated with three Fs: fiends, fops and foreigners. This is among white Westerners, mind you; he stresses that the same mustache fads and standards have not often applied in Black communities.



Duke of the Abruzzi, Italian mountaineer and explorer,

late 19th-early 20th century.


Throughout their history, men and their mustaches have often met over masculinity, or the loss thereof. It’s why mustaches raged in with the modern age: Industrialization, it seems, struck some as quite emasculating. “For Victorian men, their role is out among nature, master of their domains,” says Dr. Alun Whitey, another facial hair expert and lecturer in history at the University of Exeter. “Suddenly, they’re working under bosses in offices and factories.” At the same time, soldiers were coming back from the Crimean war sporting mustaches, which were associated with particular regiments, and it became a popular expression of extreme masculinity (alongside many bogus health claims, like that they’d keep disease from getting up your nose).


This goes on. Presidents from Grant (elected in 1869) to Taft (who departed in 1914) sported the ‘stache, including Grover Cleveland (both times). At the outbreak of World War I, to enlist in the British Army you had to have a mustache, says Dr. Whitey. And if you couldn’t grow a mustache, they’d give you one (made of goat hair). There’s some back-and-forth in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Leading men like Clark Gable sported well-kept little numbers. Meanwhile, you couldn’t work for Disney if you had a ‘stache, even though Walt himself famously had one. And then a very famous mustachioed German made the whole enterprise rather unattractive for a good while. Then came the ‘60s.



Clark Gable


Suddenly, hair was political anew. And as cool took over and the counterculture became mainstream, those politics got complex. Rock became pop, uptown started to meet downtown, and as the free-love ‘60s gave way to the key-party ‘70s, former hippies graduated law school and moved to the suburbs. The hair heads got trimmed, or simply said adieu. A mustache became a way to assert one’s free past, but also to fit in. It became both a symbol of an older-school, tough-guy virility (see Burt Reynolds and Charles Bronson) as well as refined way to express new sensitivities and creative personas (Sonny Bono and Stan Lee). At the same time, it became the aesthetic of the average Joe, mutating from the look of a “foreigner” who back in the day might have pushed bolshevism in imagined bars and back alleys to one of the American working man. (This stuck around. Think of the only working-class person we ever met on Friends; it was their mustachioed super).



The Beatles, (mostly) mustached during the Sgt. Pepper era.


In the latter third of the 20th century, that coding got ever more nuanced as we looked west, to the Castro in San Francisco. As gay identity and politics began to penetrate pop culture, we saw the emergence of the Castro Clone, often wearing a heavy mustache: a reference to the working Joe. The aesthetic spread throughout the country. Simultaneously, the adult film industry added to the notion of the hypersexuality of the hairy-lipped man (yep, we’re talking about the fabled “porn ‘stache”).



A group of men relax on the street during the Gay Pride parade in

New York City, June 1982.


So on one hand the mustache was aligned with the status quo (think firemen and cops), while on the other it became shorthand (and occasionally handlebar) for the sexual outsider: the swinger, the porn star, the gay man. In both cases, it can be seen as a unifier: “There’s always been a fireman mustache, policeman mustache,” says Dr. Peterkin.“That’s an expression of solidarity, of male bonding, an identifier of what you do.”



A mustachioed fire fighting crew in Los Angeles Padres National Forest, California, in 2002.


It also became the provenance of certain class of high-flying heroes, from Larry Bird to Lando Calrissian, who exists at an interesting place at the intersection of alien and (by Billy Dee Williams' own declaration) Armenian. Depending on when George Lucas’s camera catches him, he’s at once a fiend, fop (that cape!), and a foreigner. But generally speaking, in modern American history, the mustache has been a consistency, not a telegraph of any mode of temporal identity, for Black men.



Billy Dee Williams, sans cape but still with his mustache, in 1981.


Click the link below ⬇️ to read what more John Ortved has to say about Mustaches.


Source: Mustache Trend History  |  Wikipedia - Moustache

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Fact of the Day - ODDITIES OF NATURE


Did you know... that Even the most methodical scientists and jaded skeptics can't help but be impressed by the awesomeness of nature. Whether it's the majesty of the Grand Canyon, the intensity of a hurricane, or the intricate beauty of a colorful butterfly, the world around us really is incredible. But the craziest thing about nature is perhaps that there is always new information to learn and new sights to see.


Miracle Mice


Weird Fact: During the summer months, mice will generally live outside and remain contended there. But as soon as the weather begins to cool, they seek the warmth of our homes. Because of their soft skulls and gnawing ability, a hole the size of a ballpoint pen (6mm – 1/4 inch) is large enough for them to enter en masse. Once inside, they will constantly gnaw at virtually anything – including concrete, lead, and plastic. This is to keep their ever-growing teeth at a convenient length. Contrary to popular belief, mice don’t generally like cheese – but will eat it on occasion. (They do love peanut butter!) Mice can jump up to 46cm (18 inches), swim, and travel vertically or upside-down. To mouse proof your house, check all small openings with a ballpoint pen – if it fits the hole, it will let mice in.


Acacia Trees


Wonders Fact:  Arcadia trees, which grow all over the African savannah, have a unique defense system. When animals like antelopes start to gobble up its leaves, the tree increases tannin production to levels that are toxic to animals. But that's not all. The tree then emits a cloud of ethylene gas that travels through the air, reaching other trees so they too can begin producing more tannins.


Square Eyes


Weird Fact: We all imagine pupils to be round – as they are the type we see most often (on humans) – but goats (and most other animals with hooves) have horizontal slits which are nearly rectangular when dilated. This gives goats vision covering 320 – 340 degrees; this means they can see virtually all around them without having to move (humans have vision covering 160 – 210 degrees). Consequently, animals with rectangular eyes can see better at night due to having larger pupils that can be closed more tightly during the day to restrict light. Interestingly, octopuses also have rectangular pupils.


Owls don't have eyeballs.


Wonders Fact: What they have instead are better described as eye tubes. Since they can't move these tubes back and forth, owls have developed incredible neck flexibility to be able to see the world around them. They can turn their heads a whopping 270 degrees, whereas humans can only manage about 180.


Blind Horses


Weird Fact: Horses can’t see directly in front of themselves. A horse has considerably wide vision (and the largest eyes of any land mammal) – being able to see a total field of up to 350 degrees. Horses have two blind spots – the first is directly in front of them and the other is directly behind their head. As far as seeing details, horses are red color blind and have vision of 20/33 (compared to a perfect human vision of 20/20)


In space, metal can weld on its own.


Wonders Fact: On Earth, you need heat to fuse metal, but in space, two pieces of the same kind of metal will fuse together with only a little pressure. The process is called cold welding, and it happens because of the lack of atmosphere.


Sick Rats


Weird Fact: Rats can’t vomit or burp because of a limiting wall between their two stomachs and their inability to control the diaphragm muscles needed for the action. Neither rabbits nor guinea pigs can vomit either. This makes rats particularly susceptible to poisoning (hence its popularity in controlling rat infestations). Because of this inability, rats will nibble at food to see if it makes them feel sick (they can’t vomit, but they can feel like they sure as hell want to!) If they don’t feel nausea they will scoff the lot.


There are 28 kinds of "corpse flowers."


Wonders Facts: You might not know about the plant genus Rafflesia, but you may have heard about the "corpse flower," a rare type of jungle plant that attracts pollinating insects to its huge flowers by smelling like death and rot.  In fact, there are 28 distinct species of this rootless, leafless plant, with flowers varying in size from about 5 inches to 40 inches. Most of these flowers take six to nine months to grow and will begin to decay within a few days.


Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla


Weird Fact: The scientific name for a gorilla is “Gorilla Gorilla Gorilla”.  First off, let us just be clear: this is the scientific name for a particular type of Gorilla – the Western Lowland Gorilla (this is the type you are most likely to see in a zoo – and the most common). For some reason the poor gorillas got stuck with the weird names – if you aren’t a Gorilla gorilla gorilla, you are a Gorilla gorilla diehli, Gorilla beringei beringei, Gorilla beringei graueri. The Bwindi Gorilla (a type of Gorilla beringei) has not yet been given a trinomen – for the sake of fun and to be a little different, I propose it be named Gorilla beringei ChuckNorris. If you didn’t understand this item, don’t worry – I didn’t either!


Baby giraffes use their butts as pillows.


Wonders Fact: While adult giraffes usually sleep standing up, baby giraffes will get a bit more comfortable. They hunker down on the ground and take advantage of their extra-flexible necks, twisting around to plop their noggins on their own behinds. It doesn't look especially comfortable, but it sure does look cute!


Killer Swans


Weird Fact: A swan can break a man’s arm. Next time you are feeding the beautiful swans and want to give one a nice pat on the back – don’t do it! Swans are very protective of their young and will use their incredibly powerful wings to fend off dogs (and sometimes humans). They have a wing span of around 2.75 meters (9 feet). In 2001, a young man in Ireland had his leg broken by a swan when he was trying to provoke it. The following year another person had their arm broken.


Heat is the deadliest weather condition.


Wonders Fact: Tornadoes, hurricanes, and flooding can devastate entire towns at once, but the weather condition that proves deadliest to humans is actually heat. Looking at the numbers from the past 30 years, tornadoes caused an average of 70 deaths a year and flooding an average of 81, but heat caused an average of 130 deaths a year. If you don't have access to air conditioning or sufficient water, excessive heat can be deadly.


Click the links below ⬇️ to know more on these Weird and Wonders facts.



Source: Weird and Wonderful Oddities  |  Facts About Nature's Wonders





Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - CATCHPHRASE


Did you know... that a catchphrase is a short phrase or expression that has gained usage beyond its initial scope. These are not merely catchy sayings. Even though some sources may identify a phrase as a catchphrase, this list is for those that meet the definition given in the lead section of the catchphrase article and are notable for their widespread use within the culture. A catchphrase (alternatively spelled catch phrase) is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and in the arts, and typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass media (such as films, internet, literature and publishing, television and radio). Some become the de facto or literal "trademark" or "signature" of the person or character with whom they originated, and can be instrumental in the typecasting of a particular actor.


There are many things that make a TV show memorable. Some shows have iconic characters. Others have theme songs that get stuck in our heads for years. Then there are the shows that spawned memorable catchphrases. Many shows over the years have featured characters who become famous for one thing they always said, and those phrases often entered the lexicon.


Here are some of the most famous TV catchphrases from the airwaves over the years.



Jimmy Walker

When “Good Times” started, it was a somewhat serious show about an inner-city black family trying to make it while dealing with racial bias in America. Then the character of J.J. Walker dropped one word with gusto, and the entire world of the show was turned on its head. The first thing people remember from “Good Times” is J.J. exclaiming “dy-no-mite!” — for a lot of people it’s the only thing they remember. That’s the power of the catchphrase.




Homer Simpson

We could do an article just of catchphrases from “The Simpsons.” There have been dozens. However, if we are holding ourselves to only one, we have to go with “D’oh!” After all, Homer’s iconic annoyed grunt even made it into the dictionary.



Jim Parsons as Sheldon Cooper

The Big Bang Theory” seems primed to go down in the books as the last highly watched, long-running, multicam sitcom like those in the days of yore. It was a throwback, right down to the wacky character spouting a catchphrase. Sheldon Cooper would often punctuate moments by saying, “bazinga!” It doesn’t mean anything, but it caught on to be sure.


That's what she said


Steve Carell as Michael Scott

Michael Scott didn’t invent the phrase, “that’s what she said.” He did help popularize the double entendre punchline on “The Office.” If there is one phrase from modern sitcoms that has entered popular culture, it’s this one. We thought new catchphrases were difficult to make successful, but maybe it’s not so hard. That’s what she said.


What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?


Gary Coleman as Arnold Jackson

Apparently “Diff'rent Strokes” loved its apostrophes, not just in its name, but in its iconic catchphrase. Many of us never saw the show. Even so, we all are at least familiar with Gary Coleman’s catchphrase, which he delivered to his brother, Willis, played by Todd Bridges. It overtook the show, and in a way it overtook Coleman’s life.



Henry Winkler as The Fonzie

It wasn’t even a word, much less a phrase, but everybody remembers The Fonz and his famous utterance. And his jacket is in the Smithsonian! Arthur Fonzarelli was the coolest guy in the world of “Happy Days,” so he was able to get away with simply delivering an “ayyyyy,” usually with a pair of thumbs ups. If you aren’t a fan of this catchphrase, we have another "Happy Days" line for you: Sit on it!


Book 'em, Danno


Jack Lord as Steve McGarrett and James MacArthur as Danny "Danno" Williams (1968 TV Series)

Usually catchphrases come from comedies. They get a laugh, so the show goes to the well repeatedly to try and keep getting that laugh. On occasion, though, dramas have catchphrases as well. At the end of most episodes of the original “Hawaii Five-0,” Steve McGarrett would tell Danny Williams, aka Danno, to book the perp he had just caught.


Danger, Will Robinson!

1960 TV Show

Hey, robots can have catchphrases too! That was certainly the case on “Lost in Space,” where the Robinson family robot would frequently warn the youngest member of the family of impending danger. Why the rest of the family couldn’t get a warning, we don’t know.


Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose

Kyle Chandler as Coach Taylor

Even people who didn’t like football found something to enjoy about the drama “Friday Night Lights.” There was a lot to find inspiring about Coach Taylor, played by Kyle Chandler in an Emmy-winning role. Of course, when he needed to inspire his players, there was one line he would deliver over and over. Even if you don’t play sports, “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose” can inspire you.


Hey now!

Larry Sanders

With both Garry Shandling and Rip Torn now deceased, the legacy of the showbiz satire “The Larry Sanders Show” has been on the minds of comedy fans more often recently. It was a brilliant show at its best, a pitch-perfect look at the world of late night talk shows when they were still in their glory days. Catchphrases weren’t spared in the parody, as Larry’s sidekick, Hank Kingsley, would often deploy his, exclaiming “Hey now!” quite often. In fact, in one of the first episodes Larry confronts Hank on the meaninglessness of his catchphrase.


CLick the link below ⬇️ to read more on Memorable TV Show Catchphrases.


Source: The Most memorable TV Show Catchphrases







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Fact of the Day - DIME NOVEL


Cover of Seth Jones; or, The Captives of the Frontier

by Edward S. Ellis (1860).


Did you know... that the dime novel is a form of late 19th-century and early 20th-century U.S. popular fiction issued in series of inexpensive paperbound editions. The term dime novel has been used as a catchall term for several different but related forms, referring to story papers, five- and ten-cent weeklies, "thick book" reprints, and sometimes early pulp magazines. The term was used as a title as late as 1940, in the short-lived pulp magazine Western Dime Novels. In the modern age, the term dime novel has been used to refer to quickly written, lurid potboilers, usually as a pejorative to describe a sensationalized but superficial literary work. (Wikipedia)


History of the Book

Dime novels were a publishing phenomenon that occurred in the United States starting in 1860 and lasted until the early 20th century.  They were short works of fiction that were printed on cheap newsprint, bound in paper, and usually sold for a dime. The dime novel made its debut in 1860 when Erastus Beadle republished a previously serial published work, Malaeska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter by Ann S. Stephens (1810-1886).



Front cover of Malaeska, 1860


Erastus Beadle published the first dime novel in 1860, and his quick success prompted many other firms to enter the market. Dime novels were short works of fiction, usually focused on the dramatic exploits of a single heroic character. As evidenced by their name, dime novels were sold for a dime (sometimes a nickel), and featured colorful cover illustrations. They were bound in paper, making them light, portable, and somewhat ephemeral. Publishers issued dime novels in series, numbering each novel individually (Newberry, n.d.).

The first dime novels published by Beadle were covered in  simple gold paper wrappers.  As additional dime novels entered the marketplace, the covers began to have illustrations and then soon incorporated color illustrations in order to attract buyers.



Black Bess; Or the Knight

of the Road | Penny Dreadful.


Malaeska: Indian Wife of the White Hunter, the first dime novel,  is available in full-text on Archive.org. You can read the first dime novel by using the following link: https://archive.org/details/04278299.1604.emory.edu


Although Beadle is credited with publishing the first dime novel, there were many other publishers that also participated in distributing the dime novel.  Other successful dime novel publishers include George Muro, Frank Tousey, and Ormond Smith (Lamb, 2015).



A listing of the James Boys' Series from

Tousey's "Wide Awake Library"


The first profitable mass literature in America was the dime novel, which emerged in 1860. The dime novel focused on the West because of America’s increasing fascination and curiosity with expansion, Native Americans, and pioneers. This curiosity, combined with new technologies in publishing and distribution, made the western dime novel increasingly popular reading material until 1900. Dime novels were written on pulp paper and featured black and white and/or color pictures. Some of the most popular dime novelists between 1860 and 1900 were Ned Buntline, Edward Ellis, Prentiss Ingraham, and Edward Wheeler. Dime novelists began writing as part of a greater push for profits and mass production. The novelists had a low level of autonomy in publishing houses and felt an urgent pressure to publish fast. The dime novel was introduced by Irwin and Erastus Beadle, and was a cheaper form of reading than the previous fifteen- or twenty-cent readings seen in the 1830s and 1840s. From 1860-1898, the Beadles operated the first dime novel publishing house. The first successful Beadle dime novels published were Seth Jones and The Captives of the Frontier. Beadle dime novels focused on adventures in the Wild West, and targeted their novels successfully toward young boys. While young boys were statistically the largest demographic of dime novel western readers, the stories reached a nationwide audience.



Author, Prentiss Ingraham


During the 1830s America was approaching 20 million people, most of whom were literate. Western dime novels provided a cheap, tangible form of literature that the common person could understand and enjoy. The first Beadles-Adams dime novel, Malaeska: The Indian Wife of the White Hunter, was based on white hunters and native "savages". This dime novel sold 65,000 copies in just a few months. A dime novel was intended to be read for pleasure. In the later half of the nineteenth century, men and women worked tirelessly caring for children and livestock or working in industry. Dime novel western readers read to escape daily urban life in exchange for some Wild West action and adventure. Dime novels provided colorful scenes of cowboys, Indians, horses, and gunpowder and were originally intended for middle class audiences, but upper and lower classes alike purchased and read the stories. Bootblacks, scholars, and businessmen found excitement in western fiction.




After the American Civil War there was a growing fear of American men becoming overly feminine from industry and shifting away from agriculture. Literary scholars have theorized that reading western dime novels was a way to rekindle the manly spirit of the Frontier. By the late nineteenth century—the heyday of dime novel publication—the western frontier was coming to a close as white settlers blanketed the region. Dime novels played an initial role in mythologizing the West. Relatively few dime novels have survived to the present, and the ones that do are often difficult to access in private collections. For decades historians and scholars dismissed dime novels as a valid source of research for the American West because of their fictional plots and cartoony characters. But since the 1960s, cultural historians have mined them for material on popular representations of the West and the mythology of the frontier.


By the end of the war, numerous competitors, such as George Munro and Robert DeWitt, were crowding the field, distinguishing their product only by title and the color of the paper wrappers. Beadle & Adams had their own alternate "brands", such as the Frank Starr line. As a whole, the quality of the fiction was derided by highbrow critics, and the term dime novel came to refer to any form of cheap, sensational fiction, rather than the specific format.



Dime novel publishing team, Erastus Beadle, David Adams,

and (possibly) Irwin Beadle.


Nonetheless, the pocket-sized sea, Western, railway, circus, gold-digger, and other adventures were an instant success. Author Armin Jaemmrich observes that Alexis de Tocqueville's thesis in Democracy in America (1835) says that in democratic and socially permeable societies, like that of the U.S., the lower classes were not "naturally indifferent to science, literature, and the arts: only it must be acknowledged that they cultivate them after their own fashion, and bring to the task their own peculiar qualifications and deficiencies." He found that in aristocratic societies education and interest in literature were confined to a small upper class, and that the literary class would arrive at a "sort of aristocratic jargon, ... hardly less remote from pure language than was the coarse dialect of the people." According to Tocqueville, due to the heterogeneity of its population, the situation in the U.S. was different, and people were asking for reading matter. Since, in his view, practically every American was busy earning a living with no time for obtaining a higher education let alone for time consuming distractions, they preferred books which "may be easily procured, quickly read, and which require no learned researches to be understood ... they require rapid emotions, startling passages .... Small productions will be more common than bulky books ... The object of authors will be to astonish rather than to please, and to stir the passions more than to charm the taste." Written twenty-five years prior to the emergence of the dimes, his words read like an exact anticipation of their main characteristics.



Adding to the general confusion as to what is or is not a dime novel, many of the series, though similar in design and subject, cost ten to fifteen cents. Beadle & Adams complicated the matter by issuing some titles in the same salmon-colored covers at different prices. Also, there were a number of ten-cent, paper-covered books of the period that featured medieval romance stories and melodramatic tales. This makes it hard to define what falls in the category of the dime novel, with classification depending on format, price, or style of material. Examples of dime novel series that illustrate the diversity of the form include Bunce's Ten Cent Novels, Brady's Mercury Stories, Beadle's Dime Novels, Irwin P. Beadle's Ten Cent Stories, Munro's Ten Cent Novels, Dawley's Ten Penny Novels, Fireside Series, Chaney's Union Novels, DeWitt's Ten Cent Romances, Champion Novels, Frank Starr's American Novels, Ten Cent Novelettes, Richmond's Sensation Novels, and Ten Cent Irish Novels.



The New Dime Novel 

Series introduced color 

covers but reprinted 

stories from the original 



In 1874, Beadle & Adams added the novelty of color to the covers when their New Dime Novels series replaced the flagship title. The New Dime Novels were issued with a dual numbering system on the cover, one continuing the numbering from the first series and the second and more prominent one indicating the number in the current series; for example, the first issue was numbered 1 (322). The stories were mostly reprints from the first series. Like its predecessor, Beadle's New Dime Novels ran for 321 issues, until 1885.



Follow the links below ⬇️ to learn more on Dime Novels.


Source: Wikipedia - Dime Novels  |  Wikipedia - Dime Western  |  Dime Novel History

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People playing a video game at the

Capybara Games booth at Fan Expo Canada


Did you know... that Canada has the third largest video game industry in terms of employment numbers following those in the US and in Japan, with 20,400 employees, 472 companies, and a direct annual economic impact of nearly $3 billion added to Canada's GDP in 2015. Video game development is beginning to rival the film and television production industry as a major contributor to the economy. (Wikipedia)


Has Canada ever made any video games? Canada has become a major leader in the emerging video game industry. The first documented commercial Canadian video game is Les Têtards published by Logidisque in 1982. However, Evolution and BC's Quest for Tires, both released in 1983, were the first video games developed in Canada that gained substantial commercial success. Chris Gray and Peter Liepa, from Toronto and Ottawa respectively, together created Boulder Dash in 1983 which was later acquired and published by First Star Software.


Logidisque was created by Louis-Philippe Hébert with the specific aim of developing, in French and in Quebec, software running on microcomputers. It is the first publisher of original software in French in Canada and one of the very first in the whole world. Its software has subsequently been adapted and distributed all over the world: England, Japan, United States, France, etc.


In the past decade more companies have been moving from the West coast East, to Ontario and Quebec where there is more government support for studios and the cost of living is lower. For example, Ubisoft opened Ubisoft Montreal in 1997 with government incentives. The studio has since grown to be one of the largest single-location studios by employee count, and led other video game developers to establish studios in Montreal, including Electronic Arts and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. Montreal itself saw a growth in younger professions coming to the city, not only in video game programming but other technology fields. Ubisoft has since expanded out to other Canadian cities, including Ubisoft's Montreal sister studios Ubisoft Quebec and Ubisoft Saguenay. However, this draw to the eastern side of Canada has left Vancouver in British Columbia, also once similarly thriving with video game developers, seeing its impact on the industry wane.



Ubisoft's administrative headquarters in Montreuil.


In 2015, approximately 19 million Canadians identified as gamers (54% of the Canadian population). The average age of the Canadian gamer was 33 years. By gender, 52% were male and 48% were female. Console game revenue fell 32% from 2013 to 2015 but still accounts for 35% of the overall revenue. Consoles are preferred to portable gaming compared to other countries. Mobile games saw an increase of 20% from 2013 to 2015 and account for 31% of total revenue earned. Computer game sales fell marginally (3%) and compose 25% of the revenue. The most popular game genres in Canada are, in order of popularity, action-adventures, family games, and shooters.


There has recently been a substantial amount of interest in the emergence of video game development as an industry in Canada and its impact on the economy, the creative industries, the role studios play in specific city ecosystems and how video games affect physically and mentally. A recent study was done at McMaster University studying how playing video games improves the eyesight of those who suffer from vision problems. Montreal, Quebec is a particularly popular subject of study due to the maturity of the gaming industry and its overall urban ecology.


80% of all Canadian game studios are located in Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario. Quebec is the largest producer of video games in Canada, housing 29.4% of all game studios (14 of which are large companies) and has annual expenditures of $1.14 billion. British Columbia is the second largest, with 27.1% of companies residing in the province (4 of which are large companies) and spends $576 million annually. The third largest video game producer is Ontario, which has 22.9% of all game studios (3 of which are large companies) and has annual expenditures of $264 million.


Many Canadian post secondary institutions offer industry relevant courses in areas such as computer programming, animation/concept art, and game design. Many of the top programs are offered in either Vancouver, British Columbia or Toronto, Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area. Industry employees earn an average of $72,500 annually and the average age of an employee in this industry is 31 years old. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada in their 2015 report the skills that are most lacking in current recruitment pools are programming, art and animation, game design and data analysis. As of 2016 it is anticipated that approximately 1,377 new jobs will be filled in the next 12–24 months, with approximately 40% being intermediate or senior level creative positions and approximately 60% being intermediate or senior level technical jobs.



Canada is home to some of the biggest studios in the industry. Edmonton, Alberta hosts BioWare and Prince Edward Island is home to Other Ocean Interactive. EA Canada, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, is a major contributor to the industry with popular, global franchises such as FIFA and Need for Speed and has 4 other studios in Canada (Charlottetown, Edmonton, Kitchener and Montreal). Rockstar Vancouver was a sizeable contributor to the Vancouver gaming scene, as well as another Rockstar studio in Toronto. Montreal's Ubisoft studio is getting a large amount of attention worldwide as the lead studio for the Far Cry series and for their contributions to the Assassin's Creed franchise. As a major studio they are attracting other video game developers and studios to Montreal further defining it as the gaming capital of Canada, as well as the other major game studio, Warner Brothers InteractiveUbisoft Toronto is also a large contributor to the global success of the Far Cry franchises as well as Splinter Cell Blacklist.



Max Payne 3 by Rockstar Vancouver


As of 2015, the entertainment software industry is growing at unprecedented rates and shows no signs of slowing down. More opportunities are being created to learn the skills relevant to the industry and as more job opportunities are being created allowing this industry to experience a healthy boom. Many strong game development studios choosing to locate to Canada help to not only strengthen the industry but promote its longevity. Large scale gaming events such as the Canadian Videogame Awards, Fan Expo Canada and ComiCon help to promote the industry and encourage its growth.



Mass Effect is a military science fiction media franchise created by Preston Watamaniuk, Drew Karpyshyn and Casey Hudson and owned by Electronic Arts. It is based on the third-person role-playing shooter video game series developed by BioWare (which EA acquired shortly after the release of the first game) and released for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Microsoft Windows, with the third installment also released on the Wii U. The fourth game was released on Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in March 2017.


Source: WIkipedia - Video Games in Canada

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Did you know... that influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placement from influencers, people and organizations who have a purported expert level of knowledge or social influence in their field. Influencer content may be framed as testimonial advertising; influencers play the role of a potential buyer, or may be involved as third parties. (Wikipedia)


Five unbelievable, yet true, facts about influencer marketing
Written by Emma Sharp | Jul 10th 2019.


Not all businesses have a huge marketing budget. Yet for digital marketers these days, it’s not just about the size of the purse but what you do with it.




Finding methods that have the potential to create outstanding results without breaking the bank is key to marketing success. Influencer marketing not only fits this criteria but outshines many other forms of marketing in terms of ROI.


Influencer marketing is linked to the growth of social media, which has opened up new advertising channels to all types of businesses. With millions of people using the many social media platforms on offer, the potential audience is becoming one of the largest pools of lead generation.


Influencers have built up strong followings on social media, and are considered more instrumental and easy to relate to than the celebrities who endorse products across traditional media sources, such as TV, radio and magazines. Comparably, influencers are normal people who have built their businesses or social media presence by providing interesting and engaging content. As social media has developed, companies have been utilizing the influencer marketing model more to promote their own brands.  


The proof of just how powerful influencer marketing has become is demonstrated by some compelling statistics and facts that are becoming more commonplace.




70% of teens trust social influencers more than celebrities

Young people have always listened to their peers and consider influencers to be a part of their peer group. Although they may idolize sporting and TV celebrities from afar, they understand that famous personalities are not a part of their own lives. They may aspire to be like them, but they appreciate them more as fantasy figures.




The way they perceive influencers, however, is different. They connect and engage with influencers on social media as if they were friends, particularly those who come from similar backgrounds. Influencers talk about subjects that are close to teenagers’ hearts and teens can identify with them directly in a way they cannot with celebrities.


Teenagers feel they know the influencers and because of this, they trust them and their opinions. When an influencer gives them advice they follow it. Consider that 70% of YouTube subscribers are more in tune with influencers than celebrities, and 40% go as far as to say that their favorite YouTube creators ‘understand them better than their friends’ and you will start to appreciate the bond that teenagers have with social media influencers.


This comes down to the strong ties the influencers forge with their fan base compared to the relationship these same viewers have with YouTube videos of celebrities. Influencer videos are watched more and get twice as much direct action (be it interaction, or product purchases etc) as a result of the video than those of traditional celebrities. Sixty percent of subscribers would happily act on the advice of these trendsetters rather than the advice of TV or film celebrities. These are powerful statistics that demonstrate the strength of influencer marketing, particularly when considering the impact on the upcoming generation of online shoppers.


Influencer marketing is more profitable than print marketing

Newspapers and magazines are now widely available online and are read more frequently on tablets and phones than ever before. This, in turn, has led to the slow decline of print marketing over the last few years. Marketers have naturally looked to other forms of promotion, in particular focusing on different methods of advertising online. However, the internet is a crowded marketplace and to be seen across the world wide web, brands have, by necessity, narrowed their target audience down in order to reach out and connect with better, more qualified potential leads.




This has led them to approach influencers who are already in front of their target audience, which resulted in influencer marketing overtaking print marketing for the first time in 2016. Consumers have gradually changed their own methods of purchasing and now seek out recommendations and reviews, trusting those from family, friends and social media influencers over traditional print ads. Purchasers are no longer simply convinced by companies extolling the virtues of their products; instead, they want social proof from people they have relationships with, including the authorities they follow online. With research showing that product reviews are 12x more trusted than sales pitches written directly by the brand, it’s clear to see why influencer marketing has become more profitable than print marketing.


Businesses make a 650% return for every $1 spent on influencer marketing

The return on investment for influencer marketing is estimated at $6.50 for every $1 spent, and in some cases, it has been reported to be as high as $20 or more. Not only is the return high but over 50% of marketers feel that customers gained through influencer marketing are better for their long term business. They spend more money leading to higher average order values and are happy to share their experiences about the product or service as well, leading to second-tier customers gained indirectly as a result of the initial marketing campaign.


With influencer marketing perceived as the fastest-growing method of obtaining new customers, 59% of businesses intend to increase the budget on influencer marketing. It now beats paid search, email marketing and organic search, and is considered the most cost-effective method of marketing by 22% of marketers for acquiring new customers, tying with email marketing for the top spot.


When looking at the most successful platform to use for influencer marketing, blogs take the lead, with 37% leveraging this method for promotional means. Consumers like to read content about a subject before committing to the purchase, so turn to blogs and articles to help them get a better understanding first. Regarding social media, 25% of marketers said they preferred Facebook, outstripping the collective preference for YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and other networks.


The influencer marketing industry will be worth $7.5billion in 2020

Although influencer marketing has been around for several years now, it is only in the last couple of years that it has experienced a major growth spurt. Thanks to the popularity of social media, influencers have a greater reach and their voice is heard more. Established companies and newcomers are looking to leverage the power of the social media reach through various platforms and devices; compare the search term volumes for influencer marketing today to three years ago and you will discover a three-fold increase, while the end of 2017 and into 2018 saw a five-fold growth rate.


With such a strong growth rate, it’s no wonder that the industry is predicted to be worth $7.5billion in 2020. Ad-blocking is becoming an increasing issue for pop-up ads and traditional display advertising and a large percentage of the population is spending more time scrolling social media on mobile devices rather than watching TV or reading magazines, meaning companies are continually looking for new advertising channels to explore.




86% of women use social media for purchasing advice

According to research, women like to find out more about potential purchases by speaking to others regarding their experiences first. Many turn to friends and family for their advice and a massive 86% use social media to help them with their decisions. As social media has become easier than ever to access, many women are now more active on social media, aided by the rise of smartphone users with 83% stating the mobile helps them get more done.


However, the women surveyed commented that they also have confidence in their own ability to make decisions and the majority said that they felt able to determine which information they read was trustworthy or not. So although they use social networks widely for social proof, they need to feel trust in the authority they are responding to. Instead of being susceptible to opinions from unknown people, they are more likely to listen to influencers they have built relationships with.


Although not restricted to the female audience, the fashion and beauty industry is a niche that relies deeply on influencer marketing, with 57% of companies using it as part of their marketing strategy. Traditionally, its an area frequented by women looking for tips and advice. Instead of asking for a friend’s recommendation, women are now seeking help from their favorite influencers online to discover the perfect product for them.




A final word

The growth of the internet has led to brands seeking new ways to promote their products or services, leading to adaptations across their advertising campaigns. Consumers have become more aware of the sales process, as well as having more choice. As a result, businesses have had to work hard to build relationships with potential consumers through content marketing, email marketing and, lastly, by developing an influencer marketing strategy.


If you are still considering your options regarding working with influencers, get in touch with our publisher management team. As a form of digital marketing, influencer marketing builds consumers trust better than any other method. Incorporating it as part of your marketing strategy can aid your lead generating techniques, exposing you to a brand new group of potential customers.


Source: Wikipedia - Influencer Marketing  |  Facts about Influencer Marketing

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Fact of the Day - SLOT MACHINE


1899 "Liberty Bell" machine, manufactured by Charles Fey.


Did you know... that a slot machine (American English), known variously as a fruit machine (British English), puggy (Scottish English), the slots (Canadian English and American English), poker machine/pokies (Australian English and New Zealand English), fruities (British English) or slots (American English), is a gambling machine that creates a game of chance for its customers. Slot machines are also known pejoratively as one-armed bandits because of the large mechanical levers affixed to the sides of early mechanical machines and the games' ability to empty players' pockets and wallets as thieves would. (Wikipedia)


Love Them or Hate Them: 9 Interesting Facts About Slot Machines
By Bradley Retter  |  October 18, 2019




There’s no avoiding the slot machine. Loved by many, reviled by some, they’re undeniably part of the Las Vegas landscape. They’re available in all casinos (in person and online), beckoning the passersby with the siren’s song of coins hitting a bucket. Plus, there’s usually fairly loud music and some flashing lights.


Slot machines form the backbone of the casino, accounting for 80% of its revenue in some cases. Because of this, casinos are always trying to make new and innovative way for casino slots games to bring in gamers and gamblers looking for fun. Given their importance to the casino, whether you would play them or not, let’s look at nine facts about the slot machine that even the most ardent slot-hater might find interesting.


Slot Machines Have an Interesting History
According to Wikipedia, the precursor to the slot machine was developed in 1891 in Brooklyn. This machine used 50 of the 52 cards of a poker deck and allowed players to try to make a poker hand for a nickel a game.




While they quickly grew in popularity, engineering in the early 1890s had no good way to standardize the payouts for all of the possible combinations of wins. Therefore, your prize for winning at this machine varied from bar to bar.  All of this changed by 1895 when Charles Fey of San Francisco, California devised a much simpler automatic mechanism with three spinning reels containing a total of five symbols: horseshoes, diamonds, spades, hearts and a Liberty Bell; the bell gave the machine its name. By replacing ten cards with five symbols and using three reels instead of five drums, the complexity of reading a win was considerably reduced, allowing Fey to design an effective automatic payout mechanism. Three bells in a row produced the biggest payoff, ten nickels (50¢). Liberty Bell was a huge success and spawned a thriving mechanical gaming device industry. After a few years, the devices were banned in California, but Fey still could not keep up with demand for them from elsewhere. The Liberty Bell machine was so popular that it was copied by many slot-machine manufacturers. The first of these, also called the "Liberty Bell", was produced by the manufacturer Herbert Mills in 1907. By 1908, many "bell" machines had been installed in most cigar stores, saloons, bowling alleys, brothels and barber shops. Early machines, including an 1899 Liberty Bell, are now part of the Nevada State Museum's Fey Collection.




The First Video Slot Machine Was Developed in 1976
The first electronic slot machine was invented in 1963, but it wasn’t until the grand year of 1976 that the first video slot machine was created on a 19-inch color screen and Sony logic boards. According to Wikipedia, the first video slot machines were installed in the Las Vegas Hilton before gaining immense popularity that has continued to this day.




Most, if not all, slot machines operating in the US are video slot machines. The computers inside the machine are less open to fraud, more reliable than mechanical parts, and generally cheaper to produce.


There Are $100 Slot Machines



Typically, a slot machine will “spin” for a single credit, though betting more credits leads to a higher payout. The cheapest credit possible is a single penny and is actually fairly common, especially in more established casinos. On the other hand, the sky’s the limit on how much a credit might cost to purchase.  There are even reports that some machines may cost as much as $100 per play just to spin the wheels once. That’s a fairly high-risk scenario that should be backed up by a serious bankroll.  If that’s your thing, go for it, but for most people, a slot machine that costs around a quarter to a dollar per credit is much closer to the norm.


Penny Slots Are a Great Way to Stretch a Bankroll

If you’re at the casino and don’t have a lot of money (either because you started off with a small casino bankroll or because you hit a bad run of luck), play the penny slots or the closest thing you can find to them. Modern day video slots have a lot more in common with game apps on your phone than hardcore gambling. This allows slot machine designers to have their slot machines run for a while on each play.  Because it takes a while to watch the animation, make a few choices, or perform some other action, playing slot machines can be a much more drawn-out experience.


If this sounds dreary, it’s not. Modern slot machines are just as addictive as the apps they resemble, meaning you can get a lot of play for not much money and still have a good time.




Slot Machines Don’t Run Hot and Cold

If said to the right person, this “interesting fact” might start a riot. Some slot machine aficionados swear they can detect when a slot machine is about to payout big and when a machine has gone cold. Sadly, there’s no such thing as a streaky slot machine, especially not in the age of electronic slot machines.




Everything inside that machine is controlled by a computerized random number generator. Each time you play, it generates a complex series of numbers according to its own perfected algorithm. Those numbers get turned into whether you win or lose. Any win or loss streaks that the slot machine features is only the luck of the draw. Anything else would be too difficult to program into the algorithm and still keep things fair.


Slot Machines May Return Over 90% of the Money
Even though slot machines account for a significant amount of casino revenue, they still payout over 90% of the money they take in (sometimes as high as 94% percent). This is good news for the slot player.  Even though it’s fun to play video games at a casino, it’s even better when those video games pay off. Of course, just because the slot machine pays out at 90%, that doesn’t mean it pays that money out to you or at one time. A lot of that money is doled out in small amounts or put into a jackpot.


Slot Machines Owe Their Popularity to the Unlikeliest of Sources



Slot machines, which are now legal in all but a handful of states, owe their popularity to two men—Ronald Reagan and George Bush. Both men increased taxes and forced businesses to find ways to generate additional revenue. While flat-out gambling like poker was definitely illegal, video slot machines could be reclassified as game rather than gambling. As it became acceptable to install video slot machines outside of casinos, their popularity continued to grow.


Slot Machines Are More Addictive Than Meth
Actually, we made that up. However, video slot machines are becoming increasingly more addictive (as are video game apps). In fact, since the 1990s, more people attend Gamblers Anonymous for slot machines than for playing poker.  Not to be too much of a downer, but slot machine players who suffer gambling addiction are more likely to commit suicide than others with a gambling addiction. Therefore, be careful when you start to play, as the effects of playing can be incredibly severe if you can’t control your habits.


There’s Such a Thing as Slot Machine Pros



In case you are wondering, there are slot machine professionals. We find this to be an interesting career choice as much of playing slots still boils down to the little random number generator inside the machine. The generator is what decides if you’re going to win or not.


With that said, it is nice to know there are slot machine professionals out there to rate existing slot machines, discuss strategies for machines that offer a strategic component, and talk us through the odds of winning.  On the other hand, the general consensus on this is fairly strong: There really is no system to how you play your slots.  They just don’t work like that.  Instead, be happy that you have a game to play, earn a little money on its payout, and have fun doing it. But if you’re spending $100 a pull, then you better hope you have luck on your side!


Slot machines are a lot more interesting than most people give them credit for. Next time you pass by the slots, even if they’re absolutely not your thing, keep in mind that those machines are paying for the casino. In fact, they’re probably paying out just enough to give someone a good winning story.



Source: Wikipedia - Slot Machine  |  Interesting Slot Machine Facts



Edited by DarkRavie

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Fact of the Day - ICE RESURFACER


An ice resurfacer lays down a layer of clean

water, which will freeze to form a smooth

ice surface.


Did you know... that an ice resurfacer is a vehicle or hand-pushed device used to clean and smooth the surface of a sheet of ice, usually in an ice rink. The first ice resurfacer was developed by American inventor and engineer Frank Zamboni in 1949 in the city of Paramount, California. As such, an ice resurfacer is often referred to as a "Zamboni" regardless of brand or manufacturer. (Wikipedia)


5 things about the Zamboni -- history, facts, more (photos)

By Marc Bona, cleveland.com  |  Jan 11, 2019





It's American!

The logical assumption is that the Zamboni is a Canadian invention. But its roots are in Southern California. Utah native Frank Zamboni, born in 1901, moved to Southern California at age 21. Like many inventions, his machine came about as necessity for his job. What started as an auto-repair business morphed into electrical service and refrigeration. The family eventually expanded into recreational ice rinks. Zamboni needed to find a way to refurbish the surface, which meant scraping, collecting and spraying the ice with a new layer. And it had to be done quickly.


Early uses

Zamboni's trial and error involved an early model of a tractor. He patented his machine in 1949. The Boston Bruins were the first NHL team to use a Zamboni, in 1954. The first time the machine was used in the Olympics was in 1960 in Squaw Valley, California.



Prior to the invention of ice resurfacers, this device was used to evenly coat an ice

surface with water. This one was used by Kingston, Ontario. It is now in the collection

of the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.


Incredibly efficient

According to nhl.com, Zamboni's invention "turned a three-man, 90-minute endeavor into a one-man, 10-minute job." Zambonis can be powered through different fuel sources; the ones at the Q in Cleveland are propane-driven and are the most popular models used.



Zamboni's vision clearly was meant for recreational rink surfaces. In 1949, the year he earned his patent for an ice resurfacer, only the Original Six NHL teams were competing. Today there are 30 teams, including seven in Canada and three in California, where Zamboni worked on his early prototypes. The company produces 200-250 machines annually.



Model A (1949)

The first Zamboni ice-resurfacing machine had 4-wheel drive and four-wheel

steering on a hand-built chassis using war surplus axles and engine parts.


Can you get a DUI driving a Zamboni?

Yes. Click here to read an incident of a Zamboni driver driving drunk.


Zamboni ice resurfacers are used in arenas across Canada and around the world. Although Zamboni is a registered trademark, many Canadians use the term to refer to all ice resurfacers, including those produced by other companies. American Frank J. Zamboni invented the original Zamboni ice resurfacer in 1949. His namesake company is based in Paramount, California, but also has a large manufacturing facility in Brantford, Ontario. The Zamboni Company’s major competitor, Resurfice Corporation (based in Elmira, Ontario), produces the Olympia line of ice resurfacers that are used in arenas across Canada and around the world. In 2016, ICETECH Machines began producing the Okay Elektra, an electronic ice resurfacer, in Terrebonne, Québec.


In 1949, American Frank J. Zamboni invented the first successful ice resurfacer, the Model A, which he constructed from war surplus parts. His invention revolutionized ice resurfacing, until then a time-consuming and labour-intensive process that involved a scraper shaving the surface of the ice, followed by several workers who picked up the shavings and then sprayed the ice to clean it, removing the dirty water with squeegees. After that, more water was sprayed onto the ice and allowed to freeze. With the invention of Zamboni’s machine, the process became much faster, allowing skaters to return to the ice within a relatively short period of time.



Model B (1950)
A total of four Model B machines were built. \u00a9Zamboni Company.


The Model A (1949) soon earned an important fan. In 1950, Olympic figure skater Sonja Henie asked Zamboni to build her a machine in time for a performance in Chicago. She eventually bought two Model Bs, while the Ice Capades and the Winter Garden in Pasadena, California, also bought one apiece. Zamboni received a patent for his design in 1953, and continued to make improvements. In 1954, the Boston Bruins ordered the Model E, the first NHL team to use one of Zamboni’s machines. Zamboni ice resurfacers are now used at most NHL arenas.



Model E (1954)
The Model E was the first standardized design of the Zamboni ice resurfacer. © Zamboni Company.

Although the Zamboni Company is based in Paramount, California, it also has a large manufacturing facility in Brantford, Ontario — birthplace of Wayne Gretzky.


Canadian Manufacturers of Ice Resurfacers
While Canadians generally refer to all ice resurfacers as “Zambonis,” a significant number of the machines used on Canadian ice have been manufactured by its competitor, Resurfice Corporation, which is based in Elmira, Ontario. Founded in 1967 by welder Andrew Schlupp, the company supplies its Olympia brand of ice resurfacers across Canada, the United States and around the world, with dealers in 12 countries. Although the Zamboni Company supplies machines for most of the NHL, several teams (including the Vancouver Canucks) have used Olympia ice resurfacers instead. Resurfice was also the official supplier for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.



Olympia Ice-resurfacing Machine
Olympia Ice-resurfacer at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games

in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Fun Facts About Zamboni Ice Resurfacers in Canada
Canada can proudly claim the 1999 “Zamboni Driver of the Year,” an online contest organized by the Zamboni Company in honour of its 50th anniversary. Over a million votes were cast online, with the majority going to Jimmy “Iceman” MacNeil of Brantford, Ontario. MacNeil was later chosen as the lead driver of a cross-Canada tour in support of Canadian Hockey Association development programs. In 2001, he and his brother drove a Zamboni ice resurfacer through 69 cities in 10 provinces, starting in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and finishing in Calgary, Alberta (in between cities, the crew and Zamboni machine were transported via trailers — Zamboni machines have a maximum speed of about 5 km/h).


The 2001 tour wasn’t the only time Zamboni ice resurfacers have been used on Canadian roads. In February 2017, farmer Marko Kardum tried to use a Zamboni machine to clear snow in Central Saanich, near Victoria, British Columbia. He was let off with a warning from police, who informed him that insurance didn’t cover the use of Zamboni ice resurfacers on the road (Kardum bought the machine for $300, originally to move manure). In what is arguably the most Canadian use of a Zamboni machine, Alberta man Jesse Myshak drove his ice resurfacer through a Tim Hortons drive-thru in Stony Plain. Myshak had purchased the machine to flood his backyard rink, but it needed repairs, so he brought it in to a nearby shop. When it was ready for use, he decided to simply drive it home, stopping for a hot chocolate on his way.



Source: Wikipedia - Ice Resurfacer  | About the Zamboni  |  Ice Resurfacers


Edited by DarkRavie
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Did you know.... that technology runs our lives these days. Smartphones, tablets and computers – we really can’t seem to function without them. In a very short amount of time, technology has exploded in the market and now, many people cannot imagine a life without it.  To understand how we left the dark ages (which really wasn’t all that long ago) to where we are today, it is important to understand how technology evolves and why it matters.



by Donny Lamey  | January 05, 2018


All technologies are born out of purpose. For example, search engines were created to sort through the massive amounts of data online. With each new upgrade technology compounds existing technologies to create something better than what was previously used before. And on and on it goes.


With the lightning speed of technological evolution, it is no wonder many people have struggled to keep up. To be fair, the scope of technology’s expanse is so great, wrapping everything up into a single blog post is practically impossible.  Here is just a brief glimpse into how rapidly the Internet and technology as a whole have evolved in recent years.


Looking back to the 1990’s, the Internet was a new commodity many, but not all, households and businesses began to gain access. For people living during that time, the sound of the painfully slow dial up signal connecting to the Internet is a not-so-fond memory (EEEE-AAAAAHH!!!!).



Active Modem


Thankfully, as more people found value in the Internet, technology took off to eliminate having to use a phone line to go online and instead delivered faster connections to the World Wide Web.




Websites advanced along with the internet. Suddenly, everyone had a Geocities or Tripod website dedicated to themselves. Just in infancy, websites were basic in both function and design. This is also the time when the blogging craze started to set in on the consumer level with the introduction of “weblogs” (later condensed to “blogs”). Remember Xanga? If only we knew then what we know now.




A few years later, sharing information gradually started to become easier. Instead of handing over a floppy disk or CD-ROM, people began emailing documents or storing large files on USB sticks or flash drives. As new technologies started to pop-up, each technology would compound and build to form a better, faster and stronger piece of technology. With this speedy development, the Internet changed the way people live, work and operate today.


Fast-forward a short decade later (side note: remember VHS tapes!? The OG fast-forward? OK, moving on…).


Since the days of dial-up, access to the Internet is available almost everywhere. It is rare these days for consumers to go into a coffee shop, library or any place of business and not be able to access a Wifi signal. If there isn’t a WiFi signal in close range, most people still have access to the Internet via their cellular data connection on their smartphones and personal hotspots, no problem.


With this anywhere/anytime access to the Internet, businesses created web applications to answer common needs of consumers. These applications can do everything from tracking food portions to sending massive amounts of information in a click of a button.




How we communicate continued to evolve as well. Remember face-to-face conversations? Hand-written letters? Waiting by the phone – the kind with the cord? Technology perpetually reshapes our communication. Perhaps the most noticeable difference in the Internet today is the ability to be personable in such an impersonal setting. Constant connection seems to be the name of the game. And along with connection, we see instant availability. Bluetooth connections, talk-to-text, every form of messaging apps – while you’re driving, in meetings, at home. Connection. Everywhere.


We’ve watched texting evolve from sending text-only messages (literally texting) to the addition of imagery, thanks to the viral spread of gifs, memes, emojis and bitmojis. In fact, with the spike in video-sharing, actual text is shrinking (meet SnapChat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Periscope, Vine, etc. and shorthand abbreviations). SMH.





Social networks continue to change the way people engage with one another. Ironically, the constant connection and way people interact with one another seems to morph to a more superficial setting online. Although superficial at times, this form of communication helps people stay closer to each other when they would have otherwise lost contact.


Face-to-face conversations via technology are resurfacing, though, and even strengthening, thanks to higher-quality video and streaming capabilities (enter: Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, FaceTime, live streaming, etc.). With more people engaging in web/video conferencing online, geographic barriers that once hindered communication were torn down. Instead, companies can engage with consumers in a more human manner, people can talk to people face-to-face without the need for costly travel and reaching out to people all over the world is faster and easier.




Remember when Netflix was a primarily a DVD delivery company, bringing your favorite movie via mail? Back when binge-watching wasn’t a thing?


Today, people are cutting the cord when it comes to cable, opting for digital streaming and video services like Netflix, YouTube and Hulu. Big brands are trying to keep up and compete, doing their best to one-up each other with original content, availability and delivery channels (e.g. Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, etc.). User-generated content is a force to acknowledge as well. Thanks to streaming options like Facebook Live, Instagram Live and Periscope, individuals and business are able to broadcast their own videos and content.


In a nutshell, videos are popping up everywhere and trending big time. And they thought talking pictures would never last…




More people and companies are using cloud-based services for their business and store everything online instead of on a single device. This change will continue to have an enormous impact on the way business is done, transforming our once-traditional office environments and how people interact with companies on a regular basis. Flash drives are almost extinct with the prevalence of cloud storage, like iCloud, Google Drive, Dropbox and FTP sites. With so many new technologies permeating the way people access information and access each other, the forward momentum looks promising for future technological developments.


As more existing technologies are stacked onto each other and developed into something greater, consumers and businesses alike can expect to see more opportunity with future technology. Technology will be faster, have the ability to accomplish more and everything will become more streamlined to make getting work done, easier.


While we don’t have the ability to predict the future, we can offer speculations on technology’s evolution. We are constantly seeing emerging media and new trends in technology to follow. Here are a few trends to watch for in the coming years.


And by “smart” we mean the continued evolution of smart devices and rise of artificial intelligence (AI) technology.  Smart devices will continue to evolve to work better together. These machines will share data automatically limiting the need for human involvement. Of course, it’s not just smartphones, watches, TVs or tablets anymore.


You’ll hear more and more about the “Internet of Things” (IoT) now and in the future. The deeper we dive into technology, the more it seems we try to blend the physical and virtual worlds together. Smart speakers, smart homes and even smart cars are the tech wave to ride in the future, but it’s just the beginning.



Amazon Alexa


Think of the Internet of Things as a network of physical devices – like handheld gadgets, vehicles, home appliances or any kind of electronic item with embedded software or technology – connected together and able to exchange data.


Gartner, an analyst firm, speculates there will be more than 26 billion connected devices by 2020. Imagine a future where your car warns you of heavy traffic or your alarm clock notifies you about your coffee brewing itself in the kitchen. Imagine living in a smart home in a smart city.


In other words, the future happening is now. Or at least, it’ll be here sooner than you may think.


It’s a fair question. Technology is constantly changing and it sometimes feels like way too much effort to keep up with a moving target. Just remember - keeping up with technology adds value to your business.  Staying up-to-date helps ensure you don’t miss opportunities, become irrelevant or fall behind your competitors. Remember Kodak? They taught us all an invaluable lesson: don’t be afraid to embrace change.


Here are a few ways to keep up and stay informed:

  • Follow industry blogs (like ours!) Link is below ⬇️
  • Listen to industry leaders
  • Follow topics on social media
  • Join groups (online and in-person)
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Engage in tech forums
  • Subscribe to relevant eNewsletters
  • Set up Google alerts


Source: DiscoverTec - Evolution of Technology

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - WOMEN IN AVIATION


Women pilots who escorted the landing of Amy Johnson in Sydney on 4 June 1930,

at the end of the first England to Australia flight by a woman. Photo presented to

the National Library of Australia by Miss Meg Skelton (on left).


DId you know... that women have been involved in aviation from the beginnings of both lighter-than air travel and as airplanes, helicopters and space travel were developed. Women pilots were also called "aviatrices or aviatrixes". Women have been flying powered aircraft since 1908; prior to 1970, however, most were restricted to working privately or in support roles in the aviation industry. Aviation also allowed women to "travel alone on unprecedented journeys." Women who have been successful in various aviation fields have served as mentors to younger women, helping them along in their careers.


Within the first two decades of powered flight, women on every continent except Antarctica had begun to fly, perform in aerial shows, parachute, and even transport passengers. During World War II, women from every continent helped with war efforts and though mostly restricted from military flight many of the female pilots flew in auxiliary services. In the 1950s and 1960s, women were primarily restricted to serving in support fields such as flight simulation training, air traffic control, and as flight attendants. Since the 1970s, women have been allowed to participate in military service in most countries.


Women's participation in the field of aviation has increased over the years. In the United States, in 1930, there were around 200 women pilots but in five years there were more than 700. Women of Aviation Worldwide Week has reported that after 1980, the increase in gender parity for women pilots in the United States has been stagnant. Women flying commercial airlines in India make up 11.6% of all pilots. The global number of women airline pilots is 3%. (Wikipedia)



BY_ NEUS (@ VUELING) |  25 February, 2019


Thérèse Peltier, Raymonde de Laroche, Ruth Law, Amelia Earhart,

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock, Hélène DutrieuQuite a few female pilots

have not only broken through those metaphorical "glass ceilings"

but have reached the sky!


Thérèse Peltier, the first woman to pilot a plane.


Thérèse Peltier (1873-1926) | French | Sculpture and Pilot

In other words, it's to her that we owe the term "aviatrix", because she was the first woman to pilot a heavier-than-air craft (ruling out hot air balloons, in which case it is Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse who is credited with being the first woman to "pilot" one in 1799). Thérèse Peltier made her first flight in Turin in 1908, and although she only flew 200 metres at a height of 2.5 metres, it was considered quite a feat for a Parisian otherwise known as a prominent sculptor.


Raymonde de Laroche, first woman in the world to receive a pilot's licence.


Raymonde de Laroche (1882-1919) | French |  Actor and Pilot


(Yes, Thérèse Peltier flew without a licence, but let's keep that quiet!) In fact, it was precisely one 8 March in Mourmelon (France) that Raymonde de Laroche received her pilot's licence from the Aéro-Club of France. It would have been a fitting way of commemorating International Women's Day were it not for the fact that she achieved this feat in 1910, and it was not until 1911 that the date for claiming women's rights was established.


Ruth Law, the woman who campaigned for more female pilots.


Ruth Lawe (1887-1970) | American | Aviation Pioneer, Mechanic and Pilot


Passionate about aviation from a very early age, Ruth Law was just 21 when she bought her first plane. Legend has it that during the First World War she donned a man's military uniform and presented herself to President Wilson to ask for permission to join the nation's air force. Although that permission was denied, she continued to campaign for women to be allowed to pilot military planes, and she even wrote an article entitled “Let Women Fly!” for Air Travel Magazine.


Amelia Earhart, the most high-profile aviatrix.


Amelia Earhart (1897-1939) | American | Secretary and Pilot


Most people are probably familiar with this name, not least because of the 2009 film “Amelia” that tells the story of her incredible mission to make a round-the-world flight in 1937, which unfortunately culminated in her disappearance over the Pacific Ocean. Before that though, in 1928 Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic—after three women had died trying to achieve the same feat—and in 1935 she became the first person to make a solo flight from Honolulu (Hawaii) to Oakland (California, USA), not to mention numerous other adventures that bear witness to her passion for defying limits and embracing danger.


Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world.


Geraldine "Jerrie" Mock (1925-2024) | American | Writer and Aviator

She achieved what Amelia Earhart couldn't: in 1964 she completed a round-the-world flight alone on board the "Spirit of Columbus". It took her 29 days and 21 stopovers to travel 36,800 kilometres. Interestingly, the thing that most motivated Jerrie Mock to embark on this adventure was boredom! Having been a housewife for 20 years, and having given up her aeronautical engineering studies at the University of Ohio, she decided to break with the conventional life that was not for her. And what a way to do it!


Hélène Dutrieu, the most multifaceted aviatrix.

Hélène Dutrieu (1877-1961) | FrenchCycle Racer, Stunt Driver and Aviator


You may know this Belgian woman better as “The Human Arrow”, a nickname she earned because of all her hobbies related to "driving" in one form or another. As well as learning to fly, she was a stunt cyclist, motorcyclist and automobile racer, and during the First World War she was an ambulance driver. She was also the first woman to pilot a seaplane and the first female pilot to fly with a passenger. And since she wanted other women to follow her example, she created the Hélène Dutrieu-Mortier cup for French and Belgian female pilots, with a prize of 200,000 francs.


Amy Johnson


Amy Johnson (1903-1941) | British | Engineer and Aviator


The first woman to obtain a C license as an engineer for the control of aircraft on the ground, she is known to have made the longest solo flight from England to Australia on a second hand 600 pound stirling aircraft. She unfortunately lost her life during World War II.


Who knows, maybe one day an airport will be named after one these pioneers. No harm in dreaming... In the meantime, the number of airports around the globe that are named after a woman are very few and far between: Istanbul (Sabiha Gökçen), Delhi (Indira Gandhi) - interestingly, India is the country with the highest number of female pilots - Pakistan (Benazir Bhutto) and Rio de Janeiro (Maria da Penha).


Other women in aviation are:

Emma Lilian Todd (1865-1937)

Katherine Wright (Haskell) (1874-1929)

Grace Marguerite (1895-1946)

Phoebe Fairgrave Omlie (1902-1975)

Sabiha Gökçen (1913-2001)

Valentina Tereshkova (1937- )


Source: Wikipedia - Women in Aviation  | Female Revolutionary Pilots


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Fact of the Day - DISNEY PRINCESS



Did you know... that Disney Princess, also called the Princess Line, is a media franchise and toy-line owned by The Walt Disney Company. Created by Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney, the franchise features a line-up of fictional female protagonists who have appeared in various Disney franchises. (Wikipedia)


12 Unpleasant Facts About Your Favorite Disney Princesses




Thanks to the internet's obsession with Disney princesses, you probably know everything there is to know about them, from weird trivia to dark origin stories. But there's still more to Ariel, Belle, and Jasmine than you might think, and when you dig into their stories or analyze parts of their films, you'll really start to notice. Below, a few facts about your Disney faves that might make you see their films in a different light.


1. They're all teenagers.



All the Disney princesses might look like they're in their early 20s, but they're actually all shockingly young. Snow White? 14. Princess Jasmine and Ariel? 15 and 16, respectively. In fact, the oldest Disney princess is Frozen's Elsa who's the ripe old age of 21. With their real ages known, their stories seem extra creepy. Snow White was way too young to be living in a house with seven old men, and Ariel clearly had no business running off with some guy she barely knew when she was still just a teenager. 


As for Disney animators, they intentionally designed princesses to look older to avoid revealing their true ages. For example, Walt Disney once famously instructed his animators to make Snow White look "old enough to marry." As for the Disney princes, they're all much older. Snow White's prince was 20! And now I'm going to be sick.


2. And speaking of Snow White, the voice actress was completely mistreated by Disney.


Adriana Caselotti was only 18 when she was employed by Disney to voice Snow White. She was only paid $20 a day and only made $970 in total for her role. That might seem like a lot for the 1930s, but Adriana wasn't entirely sure what she signed up for. Not only did she not know she was voicing a full-length film, she also signed a contract with the studio forbidding her from taking other voice work. The reason Walt did this was because he wanted to "own" the voice of Snow White. Although she later dabbled in opera and real estate, Disney pretty much killed her voice-acting career before it really began.


3. Oh yeah, and one more thing about Snow White — she was Hitler's favorite Disney princess.


And if I didn't ruin Snow White enough for you, the film was the dictator's favorite movie of all time. He considered it an animation marvel and loved that the story harkened back to the old days of simple "Aryan folk." Some watercolors he painted of the seven dwarfs were even found in his home after the war. Eww.


4. Cinderella's actual shoe size is legit insane.



Everyone knows Cinderella has the "tiniest feet in the land," but did you know her foot size is kind of impossible for a woman of her age and height? Her shoe size is a tiny 4 1/2, and considering the average woman has a shoe size of 7, it makes Cinderella look like a freakish oddity. How does she stand up and balance on those tiny feet? Considering there are women cosmetically hacking up their feet to fit into tiny designer shoes, a phenomenon called "Cinderella surgery," the whole thing is a tad disturbing, to say the least.


5. Belle preferred Beast in his animal form instead of his human one.



Although the magic of Belle's love got Beast his human form back, according to animator Glen Keane, Belle actually preferred him in his animalistic state. "I wish he could have stayed the Beast," he revealed in 2010. "In fact, I did have us record a line at the end of the movie where Beast and Belle, the prince – who knows what his name is, I mean you know his name was Beast – were dancing. And I knew that the audience was going to be disappointed that here was – what happened to our Beast? So I had them record Belle saying, 'Do you think you could grow a beard?' [Laughter] See? You're laughing. It was a good idea. It's not in the movie. We should have put it in there."


Another weird fact? Beast has a "rainbow bum," but "nobody knows that but Belle." 


6. Mulan was originally supposed to be a movie called 'China Doll.'



Before Mulan became the movie you know today, it was initially drafted as a straight-to-video film called China Doll about a poor, oppressed Chinese girl who is whisked away by a white guy to a live a happier life in the West. Fortunately, when a writer came across the Chinese poem "The Song of Fa Mu Lan," the studio decided to combine both projects and create Mulan. However, knowing the film's slightly racist, tone-deaf origins kind of casts the movie in a whole new light.



7. And speaking of Mulan, she killed an insane amount of people.



Despite being a princess, Mulan has a savage confirmed kill count of 1,995 people, which was mostly caused by an avalanche she triggered with a rocket during a battle. I guess you don't realize the gravity of death when you're just a dumb kid who's being distracted by a talking dragon.


Click below ⬇️ to keep reading disturbing Disney Princess facts.


Source: Disturbing Disney Princess Facts  | Wikipedia - Disney Princess



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Fact of the Day - RODENTS


Did you know... that rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents; they are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica. They are the most diversified mammalian order and live in a variety of terrestrial habitats, including human-made environments. (Wikipedia)


When you think of rodents, you probably think of small animals like mice that your mom doesn’t want in the house. But there are over 1,500 types of rodents, including woodchucks (groundhog), porcupines, muskrats, chipmunks and squirrels. There are more rodents than any other mammal. Rabbits aren’t rodents. Hamsters, gerbils, mice and rats are sometimes kept as pets.



Members of the Rodent Family.


All rodents have two front teeth that keep growing every day. Rodents gnaw on wood, paper and wire to keep their teeth sharp. Most rodents are small, but the capybara, which lives in South America, can weigh up to 115 pounds. That’s the size of a big, big dog!



All rodents have two front teeth that

keep growing every day.


  • Most rodents are herbivores. That means they eat plants, nuts and seeds. Some rodents are omnivores. They eat plants and other animals like insects, frogs and birds.
  • Rodents usually only live 3 to 4 years. They have many babies.
  • Rodents are smart. Rats, for example, can learn tricks.
  • Some rodents dig underground tunnels. Others live in trees.
  • Porcupines look a little like hedgehogs, but they are not related.
  • Rodents generally have well-developed senses of smell, hearing, and vision. Nocturnal species often have enlarged eyes and some are sensitive to ultraviolet light.
  • Many species have long, sensitive whiskers or vibrissae for touch or “whisking”.
  • Some rodents have cheek pouches – a specific morphological feature used for storing food and is evident in particular subgroups of rodents like kangaroo rats, hamsters, chipmunks and gophers which have two bags that may range from the mouth to the front of the shoulders.
  • Rodents may be diurnal, nocturnal, or sometimes active part of the day and night.




  • A wide variety of shelters are used or constructed; these range from tree holes, rock crevices, or simple burrows to hidden nests on the forest floor, leaf and stick structures in tree crowns, mounds of cut vegetation built in aquatic environments, or complex networks of tunnels and galleries.
  • Most rodents are herbivorous, feeding exclusively on plant material such as seeds, stems, leaves, flowers, and roots. Some are omnivorous and a few are predators.
  • Many rodents are food hoarders. That means they’ll take more food than they can eat so they can hold on to it for later. Many will eat some of what they find, then bring the rest along so they can hide it near where they live.




  • They tend to be social animals and many species live in societies with complex ways of communicating with each other.
  • Rodents may be active all year or enter periods of dormancy or deep hibernation.
  • Breeding time and frequency, length of gestation, and litter size vary widely, but two of the most prolific are both associated with humans. The brown rat can give birth to litters of up to 22 offspring, and the house mouse can produce up to 14 litters annually. Population size may remain stable or fluctuate, and some species, most notably lemmings, migrate when populations become excessively large.




  • The word “rodent” comes from the Latin word rodere, meaning “to gnaw.”
  • The fur of some rodents is an important product. The trapping of beavers for their fur played an important part in the history of North America. Some other rodents are also trapped for fur in the wild, while the chinchilla of South America is raised for its fur.
  • Chinchilla has very valuable fur. In fact, when its size and weight are considered, the fur is the most valuable in the world. Coats made of wild chinchilla pelts have sold for up to $100,000. It may take up to 400 pelts to make such a coat.




  • After humans, mice are the best-studied mammalian species in terms of their biology and genetics.
  • Squirrels help maintain and spread forests – they don’t dig up all of their buried nuts, which results in more trees!
  • Some rodent species have very high metabolisms, so they need to eat around 20 times a day!
  • An adult mouse has a heart rate of 632 beats per minute (plus or minus 51 bpm). A human heart only beats 60 to 100 beats per minute.
  • Few strictly arboreal species glide from tree to tree supported by fur-covered membranes between appendages.




  • Flying squirrels can glide up to 90 meters (300 feet), steering with their tail, and landing on tree trunks, gripping it with all four feet. They can make 180-degree turns while gliding.
  • Some species of rodents are expert at navigating the world in the dark using their sense of touch. They rhythmically brush and tap vibrissae (whiskers) against objects to determine object size, shape, orientation, and texture. This behavior is called “whisking.”
  • The prairie dog are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog‘s bark. The name was in use at least as early as 1774.




  • As documented by fossils, the evolutionary history of rodents extends back 56 million years to the Late Paleocene Epoch in North America.
  • The largest rodent ever recorded, Josephoartigasia monesi, lived some two to four million years ago, during the Pleistocene and Pliocene epochs; by some estimates it grew to a length of about 3 metres (10 feet) and weighed nearly 1,000 kg (2,200 pounds).
  • From earliest times, rodents have been eaten by humans. Although the flesh of all species is edible, rodents are not an important food source in the world today.


Source: Wikipedia - Rodents  |  Rodent Fun Facts  |  Facts About Rodents



Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - WINDMILLS


James Corwith Windmill, Watermill, New York


Did you know... that A windmill is a structure that converts wind power into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades, specifically to mill grain (gristmills), but the term is also extended to windpumps, wind turbines and other applications. Windmills were used throughout the high medieval and early modern periods; the horizontal or panemone windmill first appeared in Greater Iran during the 9th century, the vertical windmill in northwestern Europe in the 12th century (Wikipedia)


Windmill Background
A windmill is a structure or machine that converts wind into usable energy through the rotation of a wheel made up of adjustable blades. Traditionally, the energy generated by a windmill has been used to grind grain into flour. Windmills are designed by skilled craftsmen and can be constructed on site using hand tools. Windmills developed steadily over the centuries and achieved their most prominence in Europe during the eighteenth century. They were largely replaced as a power generating structure when steam power was harnessed during the nineteenth century. Today, windmill technology is experiencing a renaissance and the wind turbine promises to be an important alternative to fossil fuels in the future.



18th century windmill from The Netherlands,

Windmill Island Gardens


Man has used wind to power machines for centuries. The earliest use was most likely as a power source for sailboats, propelling them across the water. The exact date that people constructed windmills specifically for doing work is unknown, but the first recorded windmill design originated in Persia around a.d. 500-900. This machine was originally used for pumping water then it was adapted for grinding grain. It had vertical sails made from bundles of lightweight wood attached to a vertical shaft by horizontal struts. The design, known as the panemone, is one of the least efficient windmill structures invented. It should be noted that windmills may have been used in China over 2,000 years ago making it the actual birthplace for vertical-axis windmills. However, the earliest recorded use found by archeologists in China is a.d. 1219.



The Ancient Windmill of Nashtifan.


The concept of the windmill spread to Europe after the Crusades. The earliest European designs, documented in a.d. 1270, had horizontal axes instead of vertical ones. The reason for this discrepancy is unknown, but it is likely a result of two factors. First, the European windmills may have been patterned after water wheels that had a horizontal axis. The water wheel had been known in Europe for long before this. Second, the horizontal axis design was more efficient and worked better. In general, these mills had four blades mounted on a central post. They had a cog and ring gear that translated the horizontal motion of the central shaft into vertical motion for the grindstone or wheel which would then be used for pumping water or grinding grain.




The European millwrights improved windmill technology immensely over the centuries. Most of the innovation came from the Dutch and the English. One of the most important improvements was the introduction of the tower mill. This design allowed for the mill's blades to be moved into the wind as required and the main body to be permanently fixed in place. The Dutch created multi-story towers where mill operators could work and also live. The English introduced a number of automatic controls that made windmills more efficient.



Tower Mill


During the pre-industrial world, windmills were the electric motors of Europe. In addition to water pumping and grain grinding, they were used for powering saw mills and processing spices, dyes, and tobacco. However, the development of steam power during the nineteenth century, and the uncertain nature of windmill power resulted in a steady decline of the use of large windmill structures. Today, only a small fraction of the windmills that used to power the world are still standing.



"De Salamander" a wind driven sawmill in

Leidschendam, The Netherlands. Built in 1792,

it was used until 1953, when it fell into disrepair.

It was fully restored in 1989.


Even as larger windmills were abandoned, smaller fan-type windmills were thriving. These windmills were used primarily for pumping water on farms. In America, these designs were perfected during the nineteenth century. The Halladay windmill was introduced in 1854 followed by the Aermotor and Dempster designs. The later two designs are still in use today. In fact, between 1850 and 1970 in the United States over six million were constructed.




There are two classes of windmill, horizontal axis and vertical axis. The vertical axis design was popular during the early development of the windmill. However, its inefficiency of operation led to the development of the numerous horizontal axis designs.


Of the horizontal axes versions, there are a variety of these including the post mill, smock mill, tower mill, and the fan mill. The earliest design is the post mill. It is named for the large, upright post to which the body of the mill is balanced. This design gives flexibility to the mill operator because the windmill can be turned to catch the most wind depending on the direction it is blowing. To keep the post stable a support structure is built around it. Typically, this structure is elevated off the ground with brick or stone to prevent rotting.

The post mill has four blades mounted on a central post. The horizontal shaft of the blades is connected to a large break wheel. The break wheel interacts with a gear system, called the wallower, which rotates a central, vertical shaft. This motion can then be used to power water pumping or grain grinding activities.



Brill windmill, a 17th century post mill

in Buckinghamshire


The smock mill is similar to the post mill but has included some significant improvements. The name is derived from the fact that the body looks vaguely like a dress or smock as they were called. One advantage is the fact that only the top of the mill is moveable. This allows the main body structure to be more permanent while the rest could be adjusted to collect wind no matter what direction it is blowing. Since it does not move, the main body can be made larger and taller. This means that more equipment can be housed in the mill, and that taller sails can be used to collect even more wind. Most smock mills are eight sided although this can vary from six to 12.



Smock Mill in Amsterdam

Tower mills are further improvements on smock mills. They have a rotating cap and permanent body, but this body is made of brick or stone. This fact makes it possible for the towers to be rounded. A round structure allows for even larger and taller towers. Additionally, brick and stone make the tower windmills the most weather resistant design.



Haigh Windmill


While the previous windmill designs are for larger structures that could service entire towns, the fan-type windmill is made specifically for individuals. It is much smaller and used primarily for pumping water. It consists of a fixed tower (mast), a wheel and tail assembly (fan), a head assembly, and a pump. The masts can be 10-15 ft (3-15 m) high. The number of blades can range from four to 20 and have a diameter between 6 and 16 ft (1.8-4.9 m).



Water Pumping Windmills | Iron Man Windmill Co Ltd

Raw Materials
Windmills can be made with a variety of materials. Post mills are made almost entirely of wood. A lightweight wood, like balsa wood, is used for the fan blades and a stronger, heavier wood is used for the rest of the structure. The wood is coated with paint or a resin to protect it from the outside environment. The smock and tower mills, built by the Dutch and British prior to the twentieth century, use many of the same materials used for the construction of houses including wood, bricks and stones.


The main body of the fan-type mills is made with galvanized steel. This process of treating steel makes it weather resistant and strong. The blades of the fan are made with a lightweight, galvanized steel or aluminum. The pump is made of bronze and brass that inhibits freezing. Leather or synthetic polymers are used for washers and o-rings.


The Manufacturing Process
Windmills are always erected on site using pre-made parts. The following description relates to the fan-type windmill. The basic steps include making the parts and then assembling the structure.


Making the tower parts


An example of a windmill built in 1797.


1. The tower parts are made from galvanized steel. This process begins with a roll of coiled sheet metal. The coils are put on a de-spooling device and fed to the production line. They are run under a straightener to remove any kinks or twists. The pieces are cut to the appropriate size and shape. In some cases, pieces may be put on a machine that rolls them and welds the seam. The ends are passed under a crimping machine and the pieces are moved to the finishing station.


2. At the finishing station, holes are drilled in the metal parts at specific places as required by the windmill design. The parts may also be painted or coated before being arranged in the final windmill kit.

Making the gearbox


3. The gearbox is an intricate assembly made up of various gears, axles, rotors, and wheels. The parts are die cast and assembled by hand. The are placed in an weather resistant housing that is designed to accommodate the gearbox parts and the attached wheel and tail assembly.


Making the fan
4. The fan is made up of a metal rim with slightly curved blades attached. The rim is produced on a machine that rolls steel strips into circular hoops. A hole is drilled in both ends, and they are connected with a small clamp and screw after the fan blades are attached. A center axle is then connected to the rim and attached with small steel spokes. A typical design will have five pairs of spokes attached a evenly spaced intervals along the rim.


5. The fan blades and tail are cut from pieces of sheet metal. The blades are then run through a machine that gives them a slight curve. They are attached to the metal rim with small bolts and metal clamps. They are attached in such a way that they can be raised or lowered depending on the wind conditions.

Preparing the site
6. Finding and preparing the construction site is a crucial step in creating a functional windmill. First, an area with a prevailing wind of at least 15 mph (24 km/hr) is needed. Then the area needs to be cleared of trees and other structures that may block wind. In some cases, a dirt mound or concrete base is erected to raise the windmill off the surface to catch more wind.


Final assembly

7. The parts of the main body are connected first. They are bolted together on the ground and then raised up vertically. The outer poles are joined with the connecting rods. Clamps are bolted at each joint for stability. After the tower is raised it is loosely bolted to the solid base. Next stay wires are strung from the frame down to the ground and attached to tensioners and ground anchors. When the structure is level, the bolts are tightened and the structure integrity is tested. In some cases a ladder is built into the frame design to allow access to the fan on top which makes cleaning and maintenance easier.

8. The fan wheel, gearbox, and main shaft are next attached. The gearbox is first clamped and bolted to the top of the tower. The main shaft is then inserted into the bottom of the gearbox. Next, the fan and its attached axle are connected to the gearbox. Finally, the tail section is attached to the gearbox. The pump is then hooked up to the main shaft and the windmill is operational.



A modern steel windmill.

Quality Control
Various tests may be done to ensure that each part of the windmill meets the specifications laid out in the design phase. The most basic of these are simple visual inspections. These will catch most of the obvious production flaws. Since windmills are erected by hand, the quality of each part goes through an additional visual inspection. The quality of workmanship that goes into construction of the windmill will be primarily responsible for the quality of the finished product. To ensure that it remains efficient during operation, regular maintenance checks are necessary.


The Future


"Currie" windmill pumping water for

livestock in Lincoln County, Colorado

Windmills have changed little over the last hundred years. In fact, one basic design conceived in the 1870s is still sold today. The major improvements have come in the types of materials used in construction. This trend will likely continue in future windmill products. However, the future of harnessing wind power is not in traditional windmills at all. The United States government has spent millions of dollars researching and developing wind turbines for electricity generation. In California, numerous wind farms are already in operation. Various other states and cities have plans for creating similar wind farms. In the future, wind power promises to be an environmentally friendly substitute for fossil fuels.


Source: Wikipedia - Windmill  |  Encyclopedia - Windmill

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Fact of the Day - YETI


Yeti reconstruction at the

International Mountain Museum,

Pokhara, Nepal.


Did you know.... that in Himalayan folklore, the Yeti is a monstrous creature. The entity would later come to be referred to as the Abominable Snowman in western popular culture. The names Yeti and Meh-Teh are commonly used by the people indigenous to the region, and are part of their folk beliefs. (Wikipedia)


The Yeti (also called the abominable snowman) is an animal said to live in the Himalayan mountain range made of ice. People say they have seen it, but none have ever been caught. It is supposed to look like an ape that walks upright. Some body parts, said to be of a yeti, are kept in a few monasteries in the area. There's no real evidence that it exists, but there have been reports of footprints in the snow which could have been made by a yeti.



Alleged Yeti footprint found by Michael Ward and photographed by

Eric Shipton taken at Menlung Glacier on the 1951 Everest Expedition

with Edmund Hillary in Nepal.


The yeti has been described as having white shaggy fur and a lean muscular body like an ape. This "creature" could also live in the Asian mountains near the Himalayan snow line. Stories about the Yeti and another similar creature, Bigfoot, suggest that if they are real, they could be the same, or similar species. The yeti can stand at least 6 – 10 foot tall, not as tall as the Bigfoot. It has also been said the Yeti can weigh at least 200 - 400 pounds. The yeti is shy, which is why it has never been found. In 2010 an unsuccessful exhibition, some hunters found a hairless four legged creature, they said was a Yeti. It was a small hairless cat that lost it's hair from a disease.


Popular culture
The yeti has been shown in couple of movies including Monsters, Inc. The Yeti has also been a WWE wrestler name. Toys and games using creatures like yetis have been made including Lego Cards (Lego).




Now for some Yeti trivia!


The Nepalese and U.S. Governments Have Regulated Yeti Hunting

You’ve got three basic ground rules. A 1959 U.S. embassy memo states that American citizens need special permits before they can legally start tracking yetis inside Nepal. Also, while photographs and live captures are A-Okay, killing them is a big no-no, “except in an emergency arising out of self-defense.” Finally, any evidence that turns up (including live specimens) must be immediately handed over to the Nepalese authorities. Happy hunting!


Fossils Show That Giant Prehistoric Apes Once Did, In Fact, Roam Asia

Gigantopithecus is a genus of massive simians whose fossils have been found throughout China, India, and Vietnam. In their heyday, these guys would’ve made a silverback gorilla wet himself—certain species weighed an estimated 1,100 pounds and could stand over nine feet tall! Gigantopithecus likely died out around 300,000 years ago.


Yetis Are Usually Cited as Having Dark Hair


Yeti movies—yes, that’s a genre—almost always throw shaggy white primates at us. This contradicts the lion’s share of accounts provided by most so-called “eyewitnesses,” who overwhelmingly describe them as “brown or reddish-brown.”


A Newspaper Columnist Coined the Term “Abominable Snowman”


While trekking around Mt. Everest in 1921, British Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Howard-Bury spotted huge footprints that were roughly “three times” the size of a normal human’s. These, his guides announced, had been left by something called a “met-teh kangmi,” or “man-sized wild creature.” Soon his story was picked up by Henry Newman of the Calcutta Statesman, who made a fateful gaffe. Instead of “met-teh kangmi,” Newman printed “metch kangmi,” which he mistranslated as meaning “abominable snowman.” The rest is history…


Yeti-Sightings Have Been Reported in Several Different Countries


China, India, Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan, and Russia are all members of the international “we-might-have-yetis” club (t-shirts pending).


Jimmy Stewart’s Wife Smuggled a “Yeti Finger”


You read that correctly. She was married to the Jimmy Stewart—as in the star of It’s a Wonderful Life (1946). Here’s what went down: In 1959, adventurer Peter Byrne visited the Himalayan Pangboche Temple, where a severed yeti’s hand was said to reside. Carefully, he removed one of its fingers and replaced it with a human double he’d been given by British primatologist William Osman Hill for this precise purpose. After making a clean getaway, Byrne’s team sent their digit back to the U.K. with some help from an unlikely partner. It turned out that Jimmy and Gloria Stewart were hunting in India at the time and would be stopping in London before heading home. Once Byrne paid them a visit, he convinced Gloria to slip the finger into her lingerie case, which no customs official would dare open. Thanks to the Stewarts, the finger safely made its way to Hill, and it’s been stored at the Royal College of Surgeons ever since. Ultimately, however, Byrne’s work was in vain: Geneticists recently concluded that his prized steal was human after all.


The Cold War Raised the Stakes For Yeti Researchers


1958 saw American and Soviet teams both embarking on organized hunts for these beasts. “It is now an international race for the yeti” said cryptozoologist Gerald Russell, who led the U.S. campaign.


Click the link below to read more on The Yeti.


Source: Yeti Trivia  |  Wikipedia - Yeti  | Yeti Facts for Kids


Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - WAGON TRAIN


1912 Pioneer Day re-enactment of a wagon train in Utah.


Did you know... that a wagon train is a group of wagons traveling together. Before the extensive use of military vehicles, baggage trains followed an army with supplies and ammunition. In the American West, settlers traveling across the plains and mountain passes in covered wagons banded together for mutual assistance. Although wagon trains are associated with the Old West, the Trekboers of South Africa also traveled in caravans of covered wagons. (Wikipedia)



The Oregon Trail Wagon Train


The Oregon Trail has been immortalized in pop culture through Western films and the incredibly popular computer game that you probably played in elementary school in the ‘90s. But who were the 400,000 American settlers who made the journey from Independence, Missouri, out West? Was it safer for them to caulk the wagon or to ford the river? And just how many died of dysentery? Let’s find out.



Though some American settlers had traveled to Oregon and California in the 1830s, West-bound wagon trains really started heading out in great numbers in 1843, when Oregon’s Provisional Government began promising 640-acre tracts of land to each white family that settled in the territory. Missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman led a train of 1000 pioneers out West in what's now known as The Great Emigration—and the Oregon Trail was born.  The trail only expanded in future years. In 1846, the U.S. officially acquired Oregon through negotiations with Great Britain, and, in the following years, was ceded California after defeating Mexico in the Mexican-American War. Use of the overland route—which started in Independence, Missouri, and ended in Oregon City, Oregon—swelled to its peak in the early 1850s, led by fortune-seekers using it to reach California, where gold had been discovered in 1848.



“You Have Died of Dysentery” was a phrase you'd commonly encounter in the Oregon Trail computer game, and indeed, Oregon Trail emigrants struggled with that and other gastrointestinal maladies, some very deadly. Cholera—whose symptoms include severe dehydration that could kill within a day—was caused by a water-borne bacteria that spread through the rivers, ponds, and streams that the Oregon Trail travelers used as their water supply and public toilet. The most common treatment was opium, which reduced pain from cramping but didn’t cure the disease [PDF].


Historian John Unruh estimates that about 4 percent of the settlers that traveled along the Oregon Trail died along the way, and that nine out of 10 of these deaths were caused by disease. With little time and few resources, wagon parties usually wrapped their deceased in blankets and left them in unmarked graves along the side of the trail.  At the same time, cholera also spread to the Native nations of the Great Plains, where, combined with malnourishment and outbreaks of smallpox and measles—which were also brought to the region by white settlers—it proved to be an even more potent killer.



320px-Smithsonian_National_Museum_of_Ame 1x1jP-kiZ8iZUvoTACwwSUf_lUzFzxeZ5VdZbRxQ

Conestoga Wagon                                               Prairie Schooner
Conestoga wagons were used to transport goods in the East—but they were much too heavy to be hauled over the long distance of the trail. Instead, pioneers used smaller, lighter prairie schooners, so named because the white bonnet of the wagon resembled schooner sails from afar.



Most Oregon Trail emigrants learned what routes to take, what supplies to bring, and how to survive on the trail through printed guidebooks. Unfortunately, many of those guidebooks were pretty unreliable, giving rosy descriptions of the trail—which was, in reality, incredibly challenging. Take, for example, what Lansford Hastings, wrote in his guidebook, The Emigrant’s Guide To Oregon and California in 1845. He recommended a shortcut: “The most direct route, for the California emigrants, would be to leave the Oregon route, about two hundred miles east from Fort Hall, thence bearing west southwest, to the Salt Lake,” he wrote, “and thence continuing down to the bay of St. Francisco.” On this route, he said, "Wagons can be as readily taken from Ft. Hall to the bay of St. Francisco, as they can, from the States to Fort Hall; and, in fact, the latter part of the route, is found much more eligible for a wagon way, than the former.”


But when a group called the Donner Party attempted to take Hastings’s proposed route—which, by the way, he had never actually traveled himself—they found a steep, rugged, and largely unmarked trail. Almost half of the party perished, with some resorting to cannibalism to survive. “Thay was 10 days without anything to eat but the Dead,” Donner Party survivor Virginia Reed wrote of her experience, warning her cousin to “never take no cutoffs and hurry along as fast as you can.”  The guidebooks were so infamously awful that, around 1851, Boston publisher John B. Hall released a satirical guide called An Account of An Overland Journey to California [PDF], which included an older article warning the trail would be full of rattlesnakes and that travelers would be hungry, wet, and sick. The article even contains the trail’s first recorded dysentery joke: “As wild meat is of a running breed, and you of a tame one, you needn't be surprised to find yourself running the day after eating it.”




The Handcart Pioneer Monument, by

Torleif S. Knaphus, located on Temple Square

in Salt Lake City, Utah

While the Oregon Trail led people to Oregon, parts of the trail were also used by people traveling to other locales out west. Some of the settlers that made the overland journey west were European members of the Latter-Day Saints (commonly referred to as Mormons), who were seeking to settle with the church’s American members in Salt Lake Valley in modern Utah. But because of a series of bad harvests and poor financial investments, the church was strapped for cash. Rather than using covered wagons pulled by oxen, church leader Brigham Young ordered the Mormon settlers to haul their belongings themselves using rickshaw-style handcarts. Pulling the handcarts over the Rocky Mountains was a grueling task; one Mormon emigrant called them “two-wheeled torture devices.” Some handcart companies experienced high death rates. In the winter of 1856, the Willie and Martin handcart companies lost at least 250 of their 1000 members when they were caught in a blizzard in modern-day Wyoming.



Much like in the Oregon Trail computer game, river crossings could be perilous for parties of covered wagons—but luckily, they had options. Settlers crossed a number of rivers over the course of the trail, though many were shallow enough to ford, meaning settlers could wade across on foot. At the most famous river crossing, on the North Platte River near Casper, Wyoming, emigrants often loaded their belongings onto crude wooden rafts or sealed their wagons with caulk before floating them across. In 1847, an enterprising group of Mormons built a sturdy raft and began charging other wagon parties to ferry them across. Then, in 1860, a Frenchman named Louis Guinard built a wooden bridge over the river, ending the era of perilous crossings over the North Platte.



Taking a family of settlers across the Plains required a lot of labor, particularly on the part of female settlers. Women were generally expected to complete their traditional tasks, including washing and mending clothes and preparing meals. But the demands of the trail meant that women sometimes did “men’s” work as well: shoeing and driving animals, repairing wagons, even taking up arms in self-defense. Many women left detailed records of their experiences in journals—like this one from Lucia Eugenia Lamb Everett, who crossed the California trail in 1862—which has allowed historians a rich source of material for understanding daily life on the overland trails.



The grueling Oregon Trail journey usually took four to six months. In 1853, inventor Rufus Porter presented a new form of transportation that would allow settlers to go from New York to California in three days. His “Aero-Locomotive” was a zeppelin-style airship filled with hydrogen gas that could travel 100mph and carry 100 passengers. Sadly, Porter was unable to attract investors for his airship, which he never completed. Porter wasn’t the only innovator to take on the Oregon Trail. In 1860, a man named Samuel Peppard attached a canvas sail to a wagon and sailed across the breezy plains of Nebraska, reaching speeds of up to 40mph. Unfortunately, Peppard’s wind wagon met its demise when he ran into a small tornado outside Denver.



The Oregon Trail was part of the larger process by which white settlers conquered and displaced North America’s Native peoples. While Native Americans are largely absent from the iconic Oregon Trail computer game, a team of Native American game designers, led by Dr. Elizabeth LaPensée, recently created When Rivers Were Trails, an Oregon Trail-style adventure game told from the perspective of Native peoples. The game follows the journey of an Anishinaabeg who travels from Minnesota to California in response to colonization in the 1890s. It has been calleda monumental achievement for Indigenous gaming.”



While travel on the Oregon Trail largely stopped after the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869, you can still see wagon ruts and replica covered wagons along the 2170-mile-long Oregon National Historic Trail, passing through the states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon. Every year, thousands of tourists make their way to iconic trail landmarks such as Chimney Rock and Fort Laramie, as well as museums like the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center and the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute. Oregon Trail re-enactors in covered wagons still travel portions of the trail, which are marked and maintained by the Oregon-California Trails Association. In 2011, author Rinker Buck traveled the entire trail in a covered wagon, as detailed in the book The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey.


Source: Wikipedia - Wagon Train  |  Oregon Trail Facts


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Fact of the Day - SEAN CONNERY (1930-2020)


Did you know... that Sir Thomas Sean Connery was a Scottish actor. He gained recognition as the first actor to portray fictional British secret agent James Bond in film, starring in seven Bond films between 1962 and 1983. Originating the role in Dr. No, Connery played Bond in six Eon Productions' entries and made his final appearance in the Jack Schwartzman-produced Never Say Never Again. (Wikipedia)


  • He appeared in 94 movies. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Jimmy Malone in The Untouchables (1987).
  • His first job was as a milkman in Edinburgh. Oddly enough, he delivered milk to Fettes School - the same school that James Bond attended in the books.
  • He also worked as a bricklayer and coffin polisher before becoming an actor.
  • In his younger years he used to be a bodybuilder and even placed third in the Mr. Universe contest in 1953.
  • He was also good at football, and was offered a contract from Manchester United but turned it down, claiming that any sports career is short, but actor's career can be very long.
  • Sean attended Scottish dancing classes for 11 years.
  • From Russia with Love (1963) was his favorite Bond movie.
  • Connery was offered the role of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings series but turned down the role because he didn't understand the script. Connery also turned down the opportunity to appear as the Architect in The Matrix trilogy for similar reasons.
  • Sean was once stopped for speeding. The cop's name turned out to be James Bond.



Connery during filming for

Diamonds Are Forever (1971)


Top 10 Fascinating Facts About The Late Sean Connery 2020



On October 31st, 2020, the world awoke to the sad news of Sir Sean Connery’s death. Connery was one of the most celebrated actors of his time, but there’s far more to his gilded legend than his film career.Whether you know him from his time as 007 or from any of the dozens of movies he headlined, it’s a fair bet that you know a bit about the man. Still, there are some fascinating facts about the life of Sir Sean, and these ten are just the tip of the iceberg.


He Was Knighted By Queen Elizabeth II



Becoming a Knight or a Dame in the 21st century is significantly different than it was in ages past. Instead of becoming a commander for the King or Queen, people are knighted for their contributions to the United Kingdom. In the case of Sir Sean Connery, he was honored by the Queen for his services to film and drama. Connery was knighted in July 2000 at the age of 69. There was talk of knighting him a couple of years earlier, but his support of the Scottish National Party, which became the official opposition to the Scottish Parliament, likely put his knighthood on the back burner. Connery was a supporter of Scottish Independence. Despite his unwillingness to back down from that position, he was knighted by the Queen of England. His knighting ceremony commenced with the actor wearing full Highland dress, consisting of a dark green MacLeod tartan. At the event, an incredibly proud Connery described his knighthood as “One of the proudest days of my life. It means a great deal for it to happen in Scotland.” Though it took a bit of time for Connery to receive the recognition, he remained a proud Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for the remainder of his life.


He Served In The Royal Navy Of The United Kingdom



When he was only 16 years old, Connery joined the Royal Navy. He served in the armed forces for three years, having been discharged for medical reasons related to a duodenal ulcer. The condition was hereditary and affected most of the men in earlier generations of his family. While serving in the Navy, he trained in Portsmouth at the Naval Gunnery School to serve in an anti-aircraft crew. Later in his naval career, he was assigned as an Able Seaman on the HMS Formidable, an illustrious-class aircraft carrier. Connery’s naval career saw him take part in a tradition common to all navies around the world; he got some tattoos. While serving, he was inked twice, though, “unlike many tattoos, his were not frivolous—his tattoos reflect two of his lifelong commitments: his family and Scotland … One tattoo is a tribute to his parents and reads ‘Mum and Dad,’ and the other is self-explanatory, ‘Scotland Forever.’” After leaving the Royal Navy, he spent some time driving a truck and working various labor jobs. He was a coffin polisher, and he modeled for artists at the Edinburgh College of Art.  


He Was Fully Retired



Actors tend to retire in some sort of public statement, every so often. Still, they eventually come back to the world of acting when an interesting project comes along. Several actors have retired multiple times, but for Sir Sean Connery, when he called it quits, he really meant it. Connery retired from acting in 2003 after working on the live-action adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. The movie was a complete and total failure at the box office, but that’s not why he retired. Connery was fed up with the process, and he only signed on to the picture to try and make it better through editing. Unfortunately, he failed in his attempt, and it frustrated him to no end. He was vocally unsupportive of director Stephen Norrington, even going so far as to say that he should be “locked up for insanity.” He did record some voice-over work in 2013, but that was his only work in the arts since his retirement. He considered coming back to reprise his role as Henry Jones in a new Indiana Jones movie, but he ultimately declined, saying, “If anything could have pulled me out of retirement, it would have been an Indiana Jones film. But in the end, retirement is just too much fun.”


He Truly Was The Best James Bond



While it’s certainly a subjective opinion as to determining which actor handled the role of James Bond the best, poll after poll continues to place Sir Sean Connery at the top. RadioTimes.com conducted a poll published on the day he died, and after 14,000 votes were cast, Connery took the lead in a tournament-style round-robin. In the first round, Connery came in first above Daniel Craig, who managed to score 43% of the vote (compared to Connery’s 56%). Underneath Craig came Pierce Brosnan beating out George Lazenby at 76% to 24% in the second round. The third round ended with Roger Moore being fully kicked out of the competition, having lost to his successor, Timothy Dalton, who managed to pull in 59% of the vote. This left Dalton and Brosnan going up against the original Bond, and he came out on top. By the end of the tournament, Sean Connery was awarded 44% of the vote to Dalton’s 32% and Brosnan’s 23%. Connery played the character six times in the film series, beginning with Dr. No in 1962, and ending his run in 1971’s Diamonds are Forever. He did reprise the role in 1983’s Never Say Never Again, though that fell outside the film series’ canon.


He Fell Into Acting In A Roundabout Way



While there are plenty of people who study and prepare to become professional actors early in life, Sir Sean Connery was not one of them. He developed an interest at the age of 21 while supplementing his income. He took a job to help out backstage at the King’s Theater in 1951 and found that he developed an interest in the theater. While helping out during a bodybuilding competition, he learned of open auditions for a production of South Pacific, so he gave it a shot. Connery managed to land the part of one of the Seabees chorus boys, and his career was launched. By the time the production made its way to Edinburgh, he had advanced to play the part of Marine Corporal Hamilton Steeves while simultaneously understudying for two of the leads.The following year, South Pacific was back by popular demand, and Connery was working as the featured role, Lieutenant Buzz Addams. His time in the theater helped solidify his interest in becoming a professional actor, so he devoted his time to study and practice.


He Was Sexy As Hell!



Sir Sean Connery may have been a talented actor and a Knight of the British Empire, but he was another thing: the man was sexy (and suave) as hell! Sure, that’s generally a subjective statement, but in Connery’s case, he has the creds to back it up. Connery worked as a model early in his life, and his good looks and charismatic demeanor only served to attract others’ attention. That definitely helped him throughout his career, which was filled with numerous accolades describing him as one of the most attractive men in the world.In 1989, People Magazine awarded him the coveted “Sexiest Man Alive", and a decade later, he took home a prize that nobody had ever received: he was determined to be the “Sexiest Man of the Century” by New Woman Magazine. Sure it’s just a magazine, and yes, it’s based on reader’s votes, but when you get right down to it, he’s the only person who could literally claim to be the Sexiest Man of the 20th Century because there’s a magazine cover to prove it. The vote was determined from 16,000 votes, but in the end, Connery beat Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson, and Paul Newman, among many others.


He Became Bond, Thanks To The Producer’s Wife



It’s difficult to look back and think of another actor playing James Bond at the beginning of the franchise, but a lot of men were up for the role in the early ’60s. Names like Cary Grant, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison, and Lord Lucan were being thrown around, but it was producer Cubby Broccoli’s wife, Dana, who pointed her finger at Connery. She described him as a man with the magnetism and sexual chemistry to make the part work, and her advice went a long way in landing him the role. Of course, writer Ian Fleming had to be convinced, and when he was approached with Connery’s name, he said, “I’m looking for Commander Bond and not an overgrown stuntman.” It took a little convincing, but when Fleming finally saw Connery on screen, he rewrote Bond’s backstory to make him half-Scottish — that’s how much Connery looked and acted the part. Granted, he did make the character his own, managing to blend his mannerisms and wit into the character who blew everyone away at the box office. Dr. No was an incredible success, having made just over $16 million at the box office off a $1 million budget. While $16 million may not seem like a lot of money, it amounts to more than $136 million in 2020. Dr. No’s success launched a franchise that has since released 25 movies — and counting.


His Career Was Filled With Accolades




While Sir Sean Connery is best known for playing James Bond, it’s hardly the only role he had throughout his life. Connery acted in nearly 70 movies, and he appeared in 20 television series and TV movies. He may have retired in 2003, but when he was working, he was working hard. His numerous roles earned him a ton of awards during his life, including an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the British Academy Film Award for Best Actor, multiple Golden Globes for Best Supporting Actor, and the Cecil B. DeMille Award. He was awarded the Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters from France in 1987. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and his knighthood the following year. In 2006, he was honored by the American Film Institute with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Connery worked across so many genres; he’s remembered by people for vastly different roles. Many know him as Bond, but others know him best as Professor Henry Jones. His work in The Untouchables is as well remembered as his time on screen in Highlander and The Hunt for Red October.


He Never Overcame His Accent — And Nobody Cared



Despite taking elocution lessons as he was getting into the arts, Sir Sean Connery never managed to adjust his rather thick Scottish accent. While this might have been an impediment to other actors, it wasn’t for him, and it’s the reason James Bond was retooled as being half-Scottish. Throughout his career, he played characters who were about as far from being Scottish as anyone could be, but it didn’t matter. In Highlander, he played an Egyptian who spent time in Japan before coming to Scotland (where he sounded more like a Scott than the actual Highlander). In The Hunt for Red October, he played a Russian submarine captain, and he didn’t alter his accent one bit. Did anyone care that a Russian man who had never been to Scotland somehow sounded like a Scott? Sure, people mentioned it over the years, but it didn’t detract from his performance in any way. It says a lot about an actor’s skills that he can perform as any character in any setting while keeping his accent the same, and it doesn’t detract from the performance or receive criticism. In the end, it was far better to hear Sean Connery sounding like Sean Connery than to hear him attempt an accent poorly.


His Passing Was Peaceful



Though it wasn’t common knowledge leading up to his death, Sir Sean Connery was ailing for an undisclosed period of time before his passing at the age of 90. He passed away in his sleep while at his home in the Bahamas. His son, Jason, released a statement, saying, “We are all working at understanding this huge event as it only happened so recently, even though my dad has been unwell for some time. A sad day for all who knew and loved my dad and a sad loss for all people around the world who enjoyed the wonderful gift he had as an actor.” Connery was among his family at the time of his death. He is remembered for his numerous contributions to the arts. When news of his passing broke, countless statements of love and appreciation flooded the Internet; many coming from noteworthy celebrities while others came from the fans who appreciated his performances throughout his life. This article was written in honor of Sir Sean Connery, who will be missed by hundreds of millions of people across the world. He gave us James Bond, but he gave so much more, and he will, most certainly, be missed.


Requiescat in pace.


Source:  Wikipedia - Sean Connery   |  Sean Connery Facts  |  Top Fascinating Facts about Sean Connery


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Fact of the Day - BANK OF MONTREAL (BMO)


Bank of Montreal Head Office


Did you know... that The Bank of Montreal is a Canadian multinational investment bank and financial services company. Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1817 as Montreal Bank, its head office remains in Montreal, with its operational headquarters and executive offices in Toronto, Ontario, since 1977. One of the Big Five banks in Canada, it is the fourth-largest bank in Canada by market capitalization and assets, as well as one of the ten largest banks in North America. It is commonly known by its acronym BMO (pronounced /ˈbiːmoʊ/), which is also its stock symbol on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange. (Wikipedia)


Bank of Montreal (BMO)

Article by  |  Mark S. Bonham
Published Online  |  October 15, 2008
Last Edited  |  September 18, 2020


The Bank of Montreal was founded in 1817, making it Canada’s oldest incorporated bank. From its founding to the creation of the Bank of Canada in 1935, the Bank of Montreal served as Canada’s central bank. Today, the various components of the Bank of Montreal are collectively known as BMO Financial Group. BMO is Canada’s fourth largest bank by assets, and the eighth largest in North America. It offers services in three distinct areas — personal and commercial banking, wealth management, and investment banking. BMO is a public company that trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BMO. In 2019, BMO registered $25.5 billion in revenue and $5.8 billion in profit and held $852.2 billion in assets. BMO employs more than 45,000 people who serve more than 12 million customers.



Bank of Montreal, head office,

Montreal, QC, 1891


History of the Bank of Montreal (BMO)
Founding and Early History: 1817–67


BMO Financial Group, commonly known for its Bank of Montreal operations, is Canada’s oldest incorporated bank. Founded in Montreal in 1817 by a group of nine of the city’s most prominent figures, its original name was Montreal Bank. The bank was established primarily for business customers, helping them conduct their trades both in the city and beyond. Its purposes were to provide a form of paper money for its customers, a place where they could deposit their savings for safekeeping, a source of loans to borrow money, and a foreign exchange (see Banking in Canada).


As the country grew quickly, so too did the Montreal Bank. Almost immediately, it was the official banker for the Government of Lower Canada (Quebec). In 1818, the bank began operating outside of this region through business associations with other banks located in London, New York and Boston. At the same time, it opened offices in Quebec City and Kingston based on demand for its services by business clients.



Bank of Montreal, Yonge and Front streets, Toronto, Ontario, c. 1890.


In 1822, the bank converted from a private company owned by a few people into a public company owned by 144 shareholders. At this time, it became officially known as the Bank of Montreal. In 1842, it obtained its first Toronto branch (then the town of York) when it took over that city’s Bank of the People. In 1864, the Bank of Montreal became the official banker for the government of the Province of Canada, making it responsible for financing government operations. In 1867, the year of Confederation, the bank expanded to the Maritime provinces for the first time, opening branches in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.


As Canada continued to grow after Confederation, the Bank of Montreal focused its business lending on the rapidly growing lumber, railway and industrial companies. The boom in Canada’s foreign trade at the time benefited the bank greatly. This encouraged it to open its first permanent branch in New York in 1859 and in London, England, in 1870.


This international growth allowed the Bank of Montreal to enter the investment banking industry, when, in 1874, it issued a bond to England for Quebec. This new part of the business began to grow rapidly, fuelled in part by the bank’s role as the main source of financing activity for the Canadian Pacific Railway, being built in the 1880s. The Bank of Montreal was responsible for selling the railway bonds, issued by the federal government. Once built, the railway provided the opportunity for the bank to open a branch in Winnipeg in 1877, in Calgary in 1886 and in Vancouver in 1887. By 1890, Bank of Montreal’s investment banking operation began issuing bonds for corporations in addition to governments.


As the banking industry grew in size and importance within Canada, the Bank of Montreal joined with all other banks to create the Canadian Bankers Association in 1891. This organization became the country’s clearing centre for business conducted between banks. In 1892, the bank became the official fiscal agent responsible for selling the federal government’s bonds in London, England, taking over from several English firms. This solidified the Bank of Montreal as the principal banker for Canada, now both within and outside the country.


Early 20th Century and the First World War


Interior of the Bank of Montreal headquarters, Montréal, Québec, 1905.


By the turn of the century, the Bank of Montreal had 52 branches and 562 employees. This growth required the expansion of a new head office in Montreal. It was completed in 1905 and remained its head office until 1960.  The bank continued to grow by acquiring the Exchange Bank of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in 1903, the People’s Bank of Halifax in 1905, and the People’s Bank of New Brunswick in 1906. That same year, the Bank of Montreal rescued the Ontario Bank from financial difficulty when it absorbed its operations. Internationally, the bank opened its first office in Mexico City in 1906.



First World War victory bonds poster by artist Frank Nicolet.


As financial agent for the government, the Bank of Montreal was called on to play a leading role in financing the war effort during the First World War — for example, remitting payments from the federal government to troops and officers. With the weakened London financial market closed to Canada in 1914 because of the war, the bank led the first federal government bond issue in New York in 1915 to help it raise money for the war effort. Through its extensive branch system across Canada, the bank also participated actively with other banks in issuing Victory Bonds to the Canadian public beginning in 1915.


Interwar Years and the Great Depression
Immediately post-war, in 1918, the Bank of Montreal acquired the Bank of British North America and its 79 branches. This strategic purchase of a prestigious competitor significantly increased the bank’s presence in Western Canada. Around this time, competition for deposits was growing among banks. The Bank of Montreal expanded its operations outside of business services and began adding retail customer deposits as a matter of normal business.



Bank of British North America, Toronto,

in 1856 at NE corner of Yonge and Wellington


At the same time, the bank’s international presence grew when it opened its first branch in Paris, France, also in 1918. The bank then purchased the Colonial Bank in 1920, which operated primarily in the West Indies and West Africa, a transaction that encouraged it to officially create a foreign department. Within Canada, it purchased the struggling Merchants Bank of Canada in 1921, a move that added more than 400 branches across the country. A merger with the Molson Bank followed in 1924, along with its 125 branches. Each of these acquisitions aided the conversion of the Bank of Montreal to a bank with a strong retail deposit base in addition to its historical business focus.


As was the case for many businesses in Canada, the Great Depression challenged the Bank of Montreal. The number of bank branches shrunk from 669 in 1929, to 567 in 1934, and the Mexican branch was closed in 1931. As the number of banks in the country declined due to a combination of bank failures and mergers, popular discontent led by farmers encouraged the federal government in 1934, on the recommendation of the federal Macmillan Commission, to create a new central bank for the country, the Bank of Canada. After 117 years in the role, the Bank of Montreal was forced to relinquish its position as official banker to Canadian governments. This shift meant the Bank of Montreal lost its largest business customer. Nevertheless, the bank quickly recovered and its assets exceeded $1 billion for the first time in 1939.


Second World War and Late 20th Century
During the Second World War, all activity of the bank was focused on maintaining its business and aiding in the war effort. In March 1942, George Spinney, general manager of the bank, was assigned to head the federal government’s National War Finance Committee. The combination of the depression followed by the war led to a reduction in the number of bank branches, dropping from a high of 672 in 1930 to a low of 468 in 1943.


Post-war, Canadian banks resumed their growth. As a notable change, all banks were at last authorized by the government to lend money to their customers to purchase real estate such as homes and small businesses (see Mortgage). In 1954, the Bank of Montreal became the first chartered bank to do so.


This change in policy marked a significant shift not only for the Bank of Montreal, but for all Canadian banks. As a result, a bank’s portion of consumer assets such as loans and mortgages grew remarkably, and its investment in government bond assets decreased, resulting in a riskier asset profile for the bank. In addition, competition between banks for retail deposit customers increased. To manage this growth in retail business, the Bank of Montreal opened its first data-processing department in 1963. The competition between banks increased further when the federal government removed the maximum interest rate a bank can charge on loans in 1968.


In 1963, American-owned Citibank took over the Mercantile Bank of Canada, raising fears that foreign ownership of Canadian banks was set to increase. In response, the federal government amended the Bank Act in 1967, limiting foreign ownership of banks to 25 percent of total shares. As the world economy grew and became more interconnected, Canada’s banks saw this rule as a limit to their ability to grow and compete internationally. The Bank of Montreal responded to this regulatory limitation by purchasing Chicago-based bank Harris Bancorp in 1984. This purchase was a bold move for a Canadian bank, based on a strategy to build a significant presence for the Bank of Montreal in the Midwestern American marketplace. The transaction made the Bank of Montreal the first bank in North America to have full operations in both Canada and the United States. Ten years later, in 1994, the Bank of Montreal became the first Canadian bank to list its shares for trading on the New York Stock Exchange.



Harris Trust Building in Chicago


To add further growth, banks began buying independent stock brokerage firms in Canada (see Stock and Bond Markets). The purchases were meant to expand their presence in investment banking in order to diversify their business outside of traditional banking. In 1987, the Bank of Montreal participated in this strategy by buying a 75 per cent ownership stake in brokerage firm Nesbitt Thomson, Inc. It expanded this area of business when it merged Nesbitt Thomson with the oldest remaining independent brokerage firm Burns Fry in 1994. It renamed the now wholly owned subsidiary BMO Nesbitt Burns. Now called BMO Capital Markets, this arm of the bank contributes approximately 19 percent to the organization’s total reported earnings (2018).


More significantly, Bank of Montreal and Royal Bank of Canada, the country’s two largest banks, shocked everyone when they announced their intention to merge in 1998 ( see Royal-Montreal Bank Merger). Their logic was to create a larger, single Canadian bank that would be better able to compete internationally. However, the federal government prohibited this merger on the grounds that it believed the country would be ill-served by fewer, larger banks. About the same time, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Toronto-Dominion Bank were also contemplating a merger (see CIBC-TD Merger).


21st Century
As an alternative to the merger, and to maintain a competitive growth rate, the Bank of Montreal implemented several strategies. First, it augmented the bank’s international operations when it purchased another Midwestern American bank, Marshall & Ilsley (M&I) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for US$4.1 billion in 2010. This transaction added US$63.5 billion in deposits and 250 branches. Later, M&I was merged into the operations of BMO Harris Bank. Several other small American bank acquisitions were also concluded at the time. Today, US banking contributes 23 per cent to the Bank of Montreal’s total reported earnings (2018).


The Bank of Montreal also expanded its wealth management operations. To do this, it purchased and merged several domestic and international investment management firms. In 2001, they purchased Toronto’s Guardian Group of Funds Ltd., in 2011 Lloyd George Management of Hong Kong, and in 2014 the Foreign & Colonial Asset Management of the United Kingdom. These firms were all in addition to Montréal-based Jones Heward Investment Management, which the bank had acquired in 1994 with the purchase of Burns Fry. In 2018, the wealth management component of Bank of Montreal contributed approximately 17 percent of its total reported earnings.



Exchange Square (Hong Kong) houses many

international banking and law firms including

Bank of Montreal,  Lloyd George Management.


The Bank of Montreal has also added to other segments of its operations through acquisition. For example, it expanded into life insurance with the purchase of the troubled US-based AIG Life Insurance Company of Canada in 2009. That same year, the bank acquired the Canadian credit card franchise operations of Diners Club North America. In 2015, the bank purchased General Electric’s transportation finance unit, the largest financier to the commercial truck industry in North America, for US$13 billion.


The investment banking business of BMO Capital Markets has continued to grow in the United States. In 2016, the bank acquired merger and acquisition advisory firm Greene Holcomb Fisher of Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2018, it acquired New York-based fixed income broker-dealer KGS-Alpha Capital Markets.


Source: Wikipedia - Bank of Montreal  |  Canadian Encyclopedia - Bank of Montreal


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Fact of the Day - THEREMIN


A Moog Etherwave, assembled from a

theremin kit: the loop antenna on the

left controls the volume while the upright

antenna controls the pitch.


Did you know.... that the theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the thereminist. It is named after its inventor, Leon Theremin, who patented the device in 1928. (Wikipedia)


The Theremin, (also thereminvox or aetherphone) is one of the first fully electronic musical instruments. It was invented by Russian inventor Léon Theremin in October 1920 after the outbreak of the Russian civil war. Its invention grew out of a search for ways to detect movement. It was the first musical instrument to be played without being touched. The control section has two metal antennae to sense the positions of the player's hands. One hand controls the pitch. The other hand controls the volume. To play the theremin, the player moves his hands around the two metal antennas. The electric signals from the theremin are amplified and sent to a loudspeaker.


The sound of the theremin is associated with "alien," surreal, and eerie-sounding portamento, glissando, tremolo, and vibrato sounds. It has been used in film soundtracks such as Spellbound, The Lost Weekend, Ed Wood, Mars Attacks! and The Day the Earth Stood Still. The BBC Radiophonic Workshop used the theremin to provide the electronic sounds in demand in the mid-century. Theremins are also used in art music (especially avant-garde and 20th century "new music") and in popular music genres such as rock and pop. The Russian Dmitri Shostakovich was one of the first to include parts for the theremin in orchestral pieces, including a use in his score for the 1931 film Odna.



Alexandra Stepanoff playing the theremin on

NBC Radio, 1930.


Below are 10 fun facts about the Theremin

by Ariana Milligan


Have you ever wanted to control sound waves? Or spook your friends with an eerie melody? Are you a hip electronic music producer, who wants to embrace the ghoulish spirit of vintage electronica? If you answered yes, you might want to invest in a theremin. This instrument is controlled by slight hand movements. The hand always lingers and it never makes contact with the instrument itself. The sound is controlled by movements in space, producing a visual performance and auditory experience sure to send chills up your spine. Here are ten fun facts about the theremin, OUP’s eerie instrument of the month:



Lev Termen playing his instrument, US public domain

via Wikimedia Commons


  1. The theremin is a ‘space-controlled’ electronic instrument that was invented by Lev Sergeyevich Termen in the early 20th century, which makes it one of the earliest electronic instruments and the first successful one. If you’re into vintage electronica, we suggest looking into Lev’s orchestral demos.  
  2. The theremin is monophonic, meaning it only uses one channel of transmission to create sound.
  3. The theremin is similar to a radio receiver. It has two antennae: one on the right that is vertical and one to the left that is loop-shaped.
  4. To play the theremin, you cannot touch it. The single pitch comes from its loudspeaker and depends on how far away the performer keeps their right hand from the instrument’s vertical antenna.
  5. The volume is controlled by a similar process. As the left-hand pulls away from the horizontal  loop antenna, the amplitude of sound increases.  
  6. The first orchestral work with a solo electronic instrument was Andrey Pashchenko’s Simfonicheskaya misteriya (‘Symphonic Mystery’) for theremin and orchestra, which received its first performance in Leningrad on 2 May 1924. Lev Termen was a soloist.
  7. The theremin was popular in science-fiction films. The first film the instrument appeared in was a Soviet science fiction called Aelita: Queen of Mars (1924).
  8. The theremin was quickly picked up by Hollywood film composers, appearing in Max Steiner’s score for King Kong (1933), Franz Waxman’s score for Bride of Frankenstein (1935) and in Bernard Herrmann’s score for The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951).
  9. The theremin’s pop culture stardom was not limited to science fiction movies. An instrument with a similar sound,  an “electro-theremin” or tannerin, was used in the Beach Boys’ song Good Vibrations (1966).
  10. The theremin is a close instrumental relative to the terpsitone, which is a dancefloor that responds to dance movement with electronic sound.



 King Kong French Movie Poster, 1933, RKO Radio Pictures;

Roland Coudon, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons


Source: Wikipedia - Theremin  |  Theremin Facts  |  Fun Facts about Theremin

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A Polikarpov Po-2, the aircraft type used

by the regiment.


Did you know... that "Night Witches"  was a World War II German nickname for the all female military aviators of the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, known later as the 46th "Taman" Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, of the Soviet Air Forces. Though women were initially barred from combat, Major Marina Raskova used her position and personal contacts with the Chairman of the Council of People's Commissars, Joseph Stalin, to obtain permission to form female combat units. On October 8, 1941, an order was issued to deploy three women's air-force units, including the 588th Regiment. The regiment, formed by Major Marina Raskova and led by Major Yevdokiya Bershanskaya, was composed of primarily female volunteers in their late teens and early twenties. (Wikipedia)


Meet the Night Witches, the Daring Female Pilots Who Bombed Nazis By Night
They were a crucial Soviet asset to winning World War II.




They flew under the cover of darkness in bare-bones plywood biplanes. They braved bullets and frostbite in the air, while battling skepticism and sexual harassment on the ground. They were feared and hated so much by the Nazis that any German airman who downed one was automatically awarded the prestigious Iron Cross medal.


All told, the pioneering all-female 588th Night Bomber Regiment dropped more than 23,000 tons of bombs on Nazi targets. And in doing so, they became a crucial Soviet asset in winning World War II.


The Germans nicknamed them the Nachthexen, or “night witches,” because the whooshing noise their wooden planes made resembled that of a sweeping broom. “This sound was the only warning the Germans had. The planes were too small to show up on radar… [or] on infrared locators,” said Steve Prowse, author of the screenplay The Night Witches, a nonfiction account of the little-known female squadron. “They never used radios, so radio locators couldn’t pick them up either. They were basically ghosts.”



Women pilots of the “Night Witches” receiving orders for an upcoming raid. 


Using female bombardiers wasn’t a first choice. While women had been previously barred from combat, the pressure of an encroaching enemy gave Soviet leaders a reason to rethink the policy. Adolf Hitler had launched Operation Barbarossa, his massive invasion of the Soviet Union, in June 1941. By the fall the Germans were pressing on Moscow, Leningrad was under siege and the Red Army was struggling. The Soviets were desperate. The 588th’s first mission, on June 28, 1942, took aim—successfully—at the headquarters of the invading Nazi forces.


A Woman Leads the Charge
The squadron was the brainchild of Marina Raskova, known as the “Soviet Amelia Earhart”—famous not only as the first female navigator in the Soviet Air Force but also for her many long-distance flight records. She had been receiving letters from women all across the Soviet Union wanting to join the World War II war effort. While they had been allowed to participate in support roles, there were many who wanted to be gunners and pilots, flying on their own. Many had lost brothers or sweethearts, or had seen their homes and villages ravaged. Seeing an opportunity, Raskova petitioned Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin to let her form an all-female fighting squadron.



Marina Raskova, Moscow, 1938.


On October 8, 1941, Stalin gave orders to deploy three all-female air force units. The women would not only fly missions and drop bombs, they would return fire—making the Soviet Union the first nation to officially allow women to engage in combat. Previously, women could help transfer planes and ammunition, after which the men took over.


Raskova quickly started to fill out her teams. From more than 2,000 applications, she selected around 400 women for each of the three units. Most were students, ranging in age from 17 to 26. Those selected moved to Engels, a small town north of Stalingrad, to begin training at the Engels School of Aviation. They underwent a highly compressed education—expected to learn in a few months what it took most soldiers several years to grasp. Each recruit had to train and perform as pilots, navigators, maintenance and ground crew.




Beyond their steep learning curve, the women faced skepticism from some of the male military personnel who believed they added no value to the combat effort. Raskova did her best to prepare her women for these attitudes, but they still faced sexual harassment, long nights and grueling conditions. “The men didn’t like the ‘little girls’ going to the front line. It was a man’s thing.” Prowse told HISTORY.


Making Do With Hand-Me-Downs and Relics
The military, unprepared for women pilots, offered them meager resources. Flyers received hand-me-down uniforms (from male soldiers), including oversized boots. “They had to tear up their bedding and stuff them in their boots to get them to fit,” said Prowse.



A partisan airplane, the Polikarpov Po-2, during

World War II.


Their equipment wasn’t much better. The military provided them with outdated Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, 1920s crop-dusters that had been used as training vehicles. These light two-seater, open-cockpit planes were never meant for combat. “It was like a coffin with wings,” said Prowse. Made out of plywood with canvas pulled over, the aircraft offered virtually no protection from the elements. Flying at night, pilots endured freezing temperatures, wind and frostbite. In the harsh Soviet winters, the planes became so cold, just touching them would rip off bare skin.


Due to both the planes’ limited weight capacity and the military’s limited funds, the pilots also lacked other “luxury” items their male counterparts enjoyed. Instead of parachutes (which were too heavy to carry), radar, guns and radios, they were forced to use more rudimentary tools such as rulers, stopwatches, flashlights, pencils, maps and compasses.




There was some upside to the older aircraft. Their maximum speed was slower than the stall speed of the Nazi planes, which meant these wooden planes, ironically, could maneuver faster than the enemy, making them hard to target. They also could easily take off and land from most locations. The downside? When coming under enemy fire, pilots had to duck by sending their planes into dives (almost none of the planes carried defense ammunition). If they happened to be hit by tracer bullets, which carry a pyrotechnic charge, their wooden planes would burst into flames.


Long Nights, Stealth Tactics
The Polikarpovs could only carry two bombs at a time, one under each wing. In order to make meaningful dents in the German front lines, the regiment sent out up to 40 two-person crews a night. Each would execute between eight and 18 missions a night, flying back to re-arm between runs. The weight of the bombs forced them to fly at lower altitudes, making them a much easier target—hence their night-only missions.



Captain Polina Osipenko (Co-Pilot and Commander of the plane), Deputy to the Supreme

Soviet of the USSR Valentina Grizodubova (Navigator), and Senior Lieutenant Marina Raskova

right before taking flight.


The planes, each with a pilot upfront and a navigator in back, traveled in packs: The first planes would go in as bait, attracting German spotlights, which provided much needed illumination. These planes, which rarely had ammunition to defend themselves, would release a flare to light up the intended target. The last plane would idle its engines and glide in darkness to the bombing area. It was this “stealth mode” that created their signature witch’s broom sound.


There were 12 commandments the Night Witches followed. The first was “be proud you are a woman.” Killing Germans was their job, but in their downtime the heroic flyers still did needlework, patchwork, decorated their planes and danced. They even put the pencils they used for navigation into double duty as eyeliner.


Disbanded and Overlooked
Their last flight took place on May 4, 1945—when the Night Witches flew within 60 kilometers (approx. 37 miles) of Berlin. Three days later, Germany officially surrendered.


According to Prowse, the Germans had two theories about why these women were so successful: They were all criminals who were masters at stealing and had been sent to the front line as punishment—or they had been given special injections that allowed them to see in the night.




Altogether these daredevil heroines flew more than 30,000 missions in total, or about 800 per pilot and navigator. They lost a total of 30 pilots, and 24 of the flyers were awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union. Raskova, the mother of the movement, died on January 4, 1943, when she was finally sent to the front line—her plane never made it. She was given the very first state funeral of World War II and her ashes were buried in the Kremlin.


Despite being the most highly decorated unit in the Soviet Air Force during the war, the Night Witches regiment was disbanded six months after the end of World War II. And when it came to the big victory-day parade in Moscow, they weren’t included—because, it was decided, their planes were too slow.


Source: Wikipedia - Night Witches  | History - Facts about the Night Witches



Edited by DarkRavie
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