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Fact of the Day - PHOTOGRAPHY



Did you know.... that the history of photography began in remote antiquity with the discovery of two critical principles: camera obscura image projection and the observation that some substances are visibly altered by exposure to light. There are no artifacts or descriptions that indicate any attempt to capture images with light sensitive materials prior to the 18th century. (Wikipedia)


Photography Facts We Bet You Didn’t Know!
 by ExpertPhotography


Looking for some fun facts about photography? Look no further. We have 25 weird and wonderful photography facts crammed into one article. Find out why people didn’t smile in old photographs and discover how much photographers love capturing their cats. We also have photography facts about the first digital camera. Read on to uncover intriguing facts about photographers and photography!


The Largest Camera Collection Consists of 4,425 Cameras


Dilish Parekh, a photojournalist from Mumbai, has the largest camera collection. He owns 4,425 antique cameras.


The First Photo of a Person Was Accidental


In 1828, Louis Daguerre took the first photo that captured a human being. His intention was to take a photo of the Boulevard du Temple in Paris. The man in his photo was standing in the street, getting his shoes polished. Since the exposure lasted for seven minutes, the man also got captured.


The First Digital Camera was Invented in 1975


In 1975, Steven Sasson invented the world’s first digital camera. He was working at Eastman Kodak at the time.


The First Digital Camera Weighed 4x More Than a Modern DSLR


Steven’s camera weighed around 8 pounds (3.6kg) and shot only 0.01MP. The average weight of a modern DSLR is around 2 pounds.


How Many Photographs are Taken Every Day?


There is no number for how many photos are taken a day. But, estimates suggest that more than 1 trillion photos are taken in a year. On average, 95 million photos are uploaded daily on Instagram. Over 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day.


The First Color Photograph Was Taken in 1861


In 1861, Thomas Sutton suggested the process to create the world’s first color image. The result of layering three separate images of red, green, and blue filters. These were then projected onto a photosensitive plate with the corresponding filters. Sutton was a great photographer and inventor. Around the same time as the color photograph, he also created the first SLR camera. He was also the one who developed the earliest panoramic camera with a wide-angle lens in 1859. The photography world owes a lot to him.


The First Projected Image Was Through a Camera Obscura


When we think of an image, we think of a photo or landscape on a screen. We forget that tiny holes are enough to allow a projection of any given scene. Glass isn’t even needed. The first projected image was through a Camera Obscura. It is a literal translation from Latin, meaning Dark Room. The principle was first recorded by Mozi, a Chinese philosopher, between 470 to 391 BCE. This was a dark box with a tiny hole that let in light. The light replicated the outside scene on a screen or wall opposite the hole. One of the interesting camera obscura facts is that the reflected image was upside down. This is the idea behind the pinhole camera.


Potassium Chloride and Aluminum Made the First Flashes


One of the most dangerous photography facts is about flashes. Photographers mixed potassium chloride and aluminium. This mixture would create a bright light when introduced to a spark. These connections often led to violent explosions if they were not properly mixed. If you have a Speedlite, you have it easy.


The World’s Most Expensive Photograph Sold for $4.3 Million


In 1999, Andreas Gursky captured the world’s most expensive photo, Rhein II. In 2011, 12 years later, it sold for an incredible $4,338,500 at auction. It is still the most expensive photo. Peter Lik boasts of having sold a picture for over $7 Million, but there is no proof, as the buyer wanted to remain anonymous.


The Daguerreotype Was the First Camera Capable of Recording an Image


The daguerreotype was a photographic process created by Louis-Jacques-Mande Daguerre. The entire process from start to finish was very complicated. But without it, we wouldn’t be where we are today. It was the first image capturing device. A camera made by French manufacturers Susse Frères (Susse Brothers) in 1839 sold in 2007 for almost $800,000.


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Source: Awesome Photography Facts  |  Wikipedia - History of Photography

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Fact of the Day - HOODOO


Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah


Did you know.... that a hoodoo is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations. Hoodoos are found mainly in the desert in dry, hot areas. In common usage, the difference between hoodoos and pinnacles (or spires) is that hoodoos have a variable thickness often described as having a "totem pole-shaped body". A spire, however, has a smoother profile or uniform thickness that tapers from the ground upward. Hoodoos range in size from the height of an average human to heights exceeding a 10-story building. Hoodoo shapes are affected by the erosional patterns of alternating hard and softer rock layers. Minerals deposited within different rock types cause hoodoos to have different colors throughout their height. (Wikipedia)


Hoodoos: The Silent Giants of the Badlands



In a great big world that seems to move faster every day, a trip to Alberta’s southern Badlands is the perfect vacation to discover a little something about yourself. It’s not just the massive and famous Royal Tyrell Museum where you can get up close and personal with the creatures that roamed the earth millions of years ago – the Badlands provide a snapshot of our world that is frozen in time, and helps us to understand our place in it. There are many historic sites to visit in Drumheller, but you’d be remiss if you skip one of the most popular attractions: the hoodoos.




What is a Hoodoo?
A hoodoo forms when sandstone erodes under a flat stone top, or cap. The erosion, protected by the stone cap, forms a pillar. The protected hoodoos in Drumheller rise up to 20 feet, but in other places around the world, hoodoos have been recorded as high as 150 feet. While hoodoos seem to last for eons – they take millions of years to form – these stunning rock formations are not eternal. In fact, they are surprisingly fragile. If the cap is dislodged, the pillar deteriorates quickly. Eventually, cap or not, the erosion on the sides of the pillar simply becomes too much and the hoodoo falls.




What is Special About Drumheller’s Hoodoos?
While you can see numerous small hoodoos forming along the Hoodoo Trail on Highway 10 South near Drumheller, it’s worth the short drive to see the protected hoodoos. They’ve stood like gentle giants in the Badlands for millions of years. According to Blackfoot and Cree tradition, the hoodoos come alive at night to protect the land by throwing stones at intruders. It’s easy to imagine these imposing figures protecting the rocky landscape! Drumheller’s hoodoos are one of Alberta’s most distinctive natural attractions. The stone caps contain nearly 40 per cent calcite cement, making them exceptional slow to erode. The hoodoos also have unique banding that shows the different stages of the earth’s formation. Their history is, quite literally, written in stone. Despite their age and strong cap stones, the hoodoos are eroding at around one centimeter per year.




Vandalism of the Hoodoos
When you visit the hoodoos, signs designate where you can stand and take photos. It’s important not to leave the trails or safe areas, and it’s very important, for your own safety and for the safety of the structures, not to touch the hoodoos. Sadly, this has not stopped some people from damaging the artifacts. Ignoring the fines that can range up to $50,000 and the possible year in jail, a Calgary man carved his name, his daughter’s name, and the word “Columbia” into one of the hoodoos in 2011. He was lucky to get just a $1,000 fine (he had a previous clean record and did not read English; therefore, did not understand the signs).  Vandals struck again in 2016 when a coloured smoke can was left on site, spraying blue paint onto one of the hoodoos. Until 2011, only signs warned tourists to stay off the hoodoos, but that didn’t stop visitors from touching them, sitting on them, and hugging them for photo ops. This increased the rate of erosion, so fences and pathways were constructed. Now the hoodoos are much harder to touch, but you can still admire their beauty with ease.




A Measure of Time
The ancient yet fragile hoodoos are a real wonder. They started forming when the earth was young and they will be around long after our bones have turned to dust – yet they are fragile and extremely susceptible to human interference. It’s a very interesting juxtaposition and one that you can enjoy by gazing on the gentle giants that have reigned over the Badlands for millions of years.





Source: Wikipedia - Hoodoo (geology)  |  Hoodoo Brief Facts

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Fact of the Day - Bridges


The 13th century Wetherby Bridge spans the River Wharfe.


Did you know.... that a bridge is a structure built to span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road, without closing the way underneath. It is constructed for the purpose of providing passage over the obstacle, usually something that is otherwise difficult or impossible to cross. (Wikipedia)


Most Impressive Bridges in the World

From old stone spans to sweeping modern suspensions, bridges have a way of wowing us.

BY TIM NEWCOMB  |  JAN 25, 2021


Between the Bering Strait land bridge theory—the idea that humans came to North America by crossing an ancient strip of land between Russia and Alaska—and archaeological evidence of arches that date back to 1600 B.C., it's clear that our obsession with crossings began as early as we could build them.


Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco, California)


The four-year project to span the Golden Gate strait and connect San Francisco to Marin County culminated in what was the world's longest (4,200 feet) and tallest suspension bridge when this Bay Area landmark opened in 1937. The Golden Gate would keep those records until the 1960s. The Joseph Strauss Art Deco suspension bridge design is famous today in large part because of something a bit out of the norm in the bridge world: color. Golden Gate was painted "International Orange" partly to match the warm coastal surroundings and also to stand out against the horizon for boaters.


Ponte Vecchio (Florence, Italy)


You don't walk over the Golden Gate Bridge expecting to find a market or a shopping mall up there. But centuries ago, it was common for shops and even houses to stand on the second story of a bridge. The most prominent example that still exists is probably Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Rebuilt after a flood in 1345, a 1565 upgrade added a second story to the stone segmental arch bridge spanning the Arno River. It was in the second story that workshops and houses filled the extra space, stretching sometimes wider than the original bridge. Ponte Vecchio is the only one of its kind in Florence that survived World War II.


Magdeburg Water Bridge (Magdeburg, Germany)


The water bridge that crosses the Elbe River to connect the Elbe-Havel Canal to the Mittelland Canal becomes the longest navigable aqueduct in the world, at more than 3,000 feet long. Previously, connecting the two canals required a 7.4-mile detour and boat lift into the river. But in 2003, the new concrete water bridge near Berlin changed all that and gave ships a water-filled crossing.


Sydney Harbour Bridge (Sydney, Australia)


The "Coathanger" of steel that crosses the Sydney Harbour has a longer history than it appears. Opened in 1932 after eight years of construction, the steel bridge features six million hand-driven rivets. The extreme sun in Sydney required hinges that could handle the steel expanding and contracting in the extreme temperatures. At 160 feet wide, the bridge was the widest long-span bridge in the world until 2012, and crosses over 3,700 feet with the steel arch 440 feet above the water.


Scale Lane Footbridge (Hull, England)


Pedestrians can have some fun in Hull, England, with a swinging pedestrian bridge in what some call the shape of an apostrophe. Designed by McDowell+Benedetti and opened in 2013, the black steel bridge serves as a crossing of the River Hull, but opens to river traffic in an impressive swinging motion.


Millau Viaduct (Millau, France)


At 1,125 feet, the tallest bridge in the world opened in 2004 and can, at times, soar above the clouds. At over 8,000 feet long, Millau Viaduct spans the Tarn River Valley with seven pillars designed by Lord Norman Foster. To build the bridge in just three years, crews built the towers and then the roadway, which was slid into place atop the towers.


Brooklyn Bridge (New York City)


It may have taken 14 years to build, but when the Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883 to connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, the single span of 1,595 feet suspended by four cables was a sight to behold. It still is. Designed by John A. Roebling and with the construction led by son Washington Roebling and his wife, Emily, the project stands as an enduring symbol for bridge construction the world over. It may have been the 1884 P.T. Barnum spectacle of leading a herd of 21 elephants across the bridge that originally cemented the bridge's popularity. But today, from the 15.5-inch diameter cables comprised of 5,434 parallel steel wires, to the towers built of limestone, granite and cement, everything about the Brooklyn Bridge is iconic.


Akashi-Kaikyo Bridge (Kobe, Japan)


The longest suspension bridge in the world measures 12,800 feet across. It opened in 1998 after 12 years of construction. The three-span bridge crosses the Akashi Strait with 190,000 miles of wire cabling the roadways from the two towers. Bridge design had to account for earthquakes, high winds, and harsh sea currents crashing against the towers.


Rialto Bridge (Venice, Italy)


The first bridge to span the Grand Canals of Venice, this 15th-century structure by Antonio da Ponte defied the critics of the time and topped some steeped competition—even Michelangelo offered a design for the planned crossing. The peaked Venetian architecture allows for ship passage underneath. The design, which took three years to build, was created 24 feet high and 75 feet wide to allow space for shops along the sides.


Bay Bridge (Oakland, California)


The San Francisco Bay Area is lucky enough to have two internationally renowned bridges. The new Bay Bridge East Span, a $6.4 billion project, replaced a seismically unstable bridge. It has the world's largest self-anchored suspension span, a 2,047-foot span anchored by a single 525-foot-tall tower that holds a single mile-long main cable containing 17,399 steel wire strands. Phew.


State Route 520 Floating Bridge (Seattle, Washington)


The world's longest floating bridge was upstaged in April 2016 when the brand-new State Route 520 Floating Bridge replaced it. The new span, which runs just a few feet to the north of the old Seattle bridge, spans 7,710 feet across Lake Washington and five vehicle lanes wide. The new bridge uses 77 concrete pontoons as the foundation; the weight of the water displaced by the pontoons equals the weight of the structure, allowing it to float. The roadway is elevated 20 feet above the water. A total of 58 anchors secure the bridge.





Click the link below ⬇️ to learn more about Bridges.


Source: Impressive Bridges in the World  |  Wikipedia - Bridges

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Fact of the Day - TURTLES


Florida Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina bauri). Taken in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.


Did you know.... that turtles are reptiles of the order Chelonia or Testudines. They are characterized by a bony or cartilaginous shell or carapace, developed from their ribs, that acts as a shield. Testudines include both extant and extinct species. Its earliest known members date from the Middle Jurassic. They are one of the oldest reptile groups, more ancient than snakes or crocodilians. (Wikipedia)


World Turtle Day: cool facts about turtles
They're one of the oldest species on our planet and come in all shapes and sizes. To mark World Turtle Day, here are a few things you might not know about these amazing creatures.

by Ineke Mules  |  May 2020


They've been around for a really, really long time


There's a reason why turtles look a little prehistoric. The first ever specimens evolved around 260 million years ago in the late-Triassic period. Shortly after their arrival, the Earth experienced a mass extinction event that wiped out about 90% of all life on land. Luckily for the turtles, their burrowing and water-dwelling habits set them up for long-term survival in this strange new world.


They have one of the longest lifespans in the animal kingdom


While a turtle's lifespan largely depends on the species, almost all of them have the potential to live to a ripe old age. A typical pet turtle can make it to anywhere between 10 and 80 years, while larger species often keep going for more than 100 years. Because it's so difficult to accurately measure age over a century, researchers think some turtles could even be hundreds of years old.


They come in all shapes and sizes


There are currently 356 known species of turtles. As a rule, they are all reptiles with a hard cartilage shell. But that's about where the similarities end. There are sea turtles, leatherback turtles, snapping turtles, pond turtles, soft-shelled turtles (pictured)– and of course, tortoises


Not all turtles are tortoises…but all tortoises are turtles


Yes, technically all tortoises are in fact turtles. They belong to the Testudines family which includes reptiles whose bodies are protected by a bony outer shell. But the main difference between turtles and tortoises is that tortoises live exclusively on land, while most turtles live in or near water.


Some turtles are vegetarians, while others are carnivorous


Most turtles are actually omnivores, but a few species are more picky when it comes to their diet. Most tortoises are happy to munch on leafy greens or fruit. Not so the fearsome-looking alligator turtle, which is almost entirely carnivorous and feeds on anything from fish to small mammals that venture too close to the water's edge…


All species lay their eggs on land


When they're ready to lay their eggs, even water-dwelling turtles will dig their nests in the sand or the earth near their habitat. But they're not the nurturing type. No species of turtle sticks around to raise their young. When the babies hatch, they're on their own.


A turtle's gender is determined by temperature


Like crocodiles and alligators, a turtle's gender is determined after fertilization. If a turtle's eggs incubate below 27.7 degrees Celsius, the hatchlings will be male. But if the eggs incubate above 31 degrees, they will be female. If the temperature is somewhere in-between, or fluctuates, a mix of male and female babies will hatch. As oceans warm, turtles tend to give birth to more females.


They have an amazing sense of direction


Sea turtles are known for their amazing ability to return to the exact beach where they were born years later. Like many animals, turtles can navigate their way at sea by sensing the individual lines of the magnetic field. But they can also remember the magnetic signature of coastlines and sense tiny variations in magnetic fields, allowing them to guide themselves home.

And excellent vision, too

Turtles have strong underwater eyesight. Researchers have discovered that they can see a range of different colors – and even prefer some colors to others. Although sea turtles are famous for their internal GPS, there is evidence to suggest they do not see very well on land.

Many species are endangered


Having survived for millions of years, six out of seven turtle species are classified as threatened or endangered as a result of human activity. Every year, thousands become trapped in commercial trawl nets, while in some parts of the world they are killed for their eggs, meat and shells.

Source: Wikipedia - Turtles  |  World Turtle Day: Facts About Turtles

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Fact of the Day - 1950s IN MUSIC


Frankie Laine (at piano) and Patti Page, circa 1950.


Did you know... that many musical styles flourished and combined in the 1940s and 1950s, most likely because of the influence of radio had in creating a mass market for music. World War II caused great social upheaval, and the music of this period shows the effects of that upheaval. (Wikipedia)


Music Played in the 1950's

by The Peoples History




The 1950's were a time of changes and the music of the decade both reflected the cultural changes that were happening while still holding on to the societal norms of the past. Following the detrimental effects of World War II, the United States was about to embark on a musical journey that would change the face of music for decades to come. Racial tensions were being strained with the beginning of the civil rights movement and music reflected many of those tensions. Rhythm & Blues (R&B) and Rock 'n' Roll popularized "black" music and many African-American musicians rose to prominence and enjoyed success, but while some were able to reap the benefits of their work, many others were forgotten or denied access to audiences through segregation. A lot of people believe that during the fifties many of the white artists stole music from African-Americans and capitalized on it for their own benefit in a way that the original artists could not. A perfect example of this happening is when Pat Boone was made to cover Little Richard's song "Tutti Frutti" and Boone's version topped higher on the charts, while considered by many to be the inferior version of the song. Others believe that the popularization of R&B and Rock 'n' Roll only helped to bridge the gap between blacks and whites and further the civil rights movement. While those genres paved the way for future music, traditional pop and country music clung to the past with old standards remaining popular and a multitude of covers topping the charts. Either way, this decade was a time of innovation that helped to influence everything that we listen to on the radio today.




Styles of Music Popular in the Fifties
Rock 'n' Roll


The 1950's saw the emergence and rise of Rock 'n' Roll and Rockabilly. Carl Perkins was one of the pioneers in the creation of rock music and his style is often referred to as "Rockabilly" because it sounds like a combination of country and R&B music with rock influences. Some other artists that were popular in the rockabilly genre were Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent. Perkins wrote and recorded his chart-topping hit "Blue Suede Shoes" in 1955 and the song was then covered by Elvis Presley and enjoyed even more success. Elvis Presley is thought to be the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" by many and rose to fame after beginning a professional relationship with Sam Phillips - a studio owner who wanted to market "black music" to white audiences. Elvis was more successful in this endeavor than any other artist of the time and he epitomized the Rock 'n' Roll style and teenage rebellion of the 1950's. One incident that best exemplifies these qualities in Elvis was his controversial performance with hip gyrations on the Milton Berle Show in 1956, a performance that shocked the conservative sensibilities of adults during the time but drew in the youth as his performance on The Ed Sullivan Show only a few weeks later drew in nearly eighty-percent of the television viewing audience. While Elvis is largely responsible for the popularization of rock music, it is important to remember the original African-American artists who created the genre and were pushed out of the rock scene like Little Richard, Chuck Berry, The Coasters, Chubby Checker, Fats Domino and the many others who were not afforded the opportunity to even record their music.




Traditional Pop and Standards

Traditional Pop music of the 1950's refers to the music that was popular before rock music came into the mainstream in the middle of the fifties, it also refers to music that was popular at the same time as the beginning of rock music during the rest of the decade but remained largely free of rock influences. Some examples of traditional pop artists who were popular during the decade were Perry Como, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Patti Page and Dean Martin. Often the most popular musicians in this genre translated well onto television as they would sometimes have their own television variety shows or music specials. They sang a lot of original material, but a lot of their most popular hits were American standards, or songs that had been released many years previously but were already well known by the public. Most songs in this genre could be classified as being simple and melodic with catchy lyrics. Many of the traditional pop artists of the 1950's were interpreters of pop standards who would take the old well-known songs and put their own individual style into it. Some of the most popular interpreters were Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, and Doris Day. This genre was greatly influenced by jazz, swing and big band.





Johnny Cash and Hank Williams defined the Country and Western style of music during this decade. Cash’s music was more of a country sound with a rockabilly influence and his songs often centered around a certain theme, including life, sorrow, and relationships. He also strived to integrate humor into his lyrics to make his collection well-rounded and respected by a variety of audiences. Because of his compassion for his fellow human being, he performed many times for inmates in several prisons across the country and his most famous performances resulted from Folsom Prison. In similar musical style, Hank Williams was a prominent singer and songwriter of the decade. He continues to be a country music icon and helped to popularize the Honky-Tonk style of country music, characterized by the piano and ragtime sound combined with country and rockabilly harmonies. His most popular songs, including “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” have come to define the country style of the 1950s. He also helped to create the Outlaw Country genre – a style which included songs about spirituality and rowdy times. Other country artists also began their careers in the 1950s but did not reach the height of their success until the next decade, like Patsy Cline and Conway Twitty. Country music also served as catch-all genre where many artists, like Connie Francis, Frankie Laine, and Pat Boone, might record one or two singles with a country influence but would remain largely producers of traditional pop music during the decade.




Rhythm and Blues

Rhythm and Blues emerged from the jazz music of the 1940's and it came to be a term for blues music that was slightly more upbeat. Rhythm and Blues of the fifties combined jazz, doo-wop, blues, and gospel to create a unique sound during the decade. It also spurred the creation of such genres as Rock 'n' Roll, soul, Motown, and funk music. Many R&B artists of the decade were originators of rock music and a lot of the songs that came out of the fifties in the rhythm and blues genre are one in the same with the rock 'n' roll genre. A lot of the most popular songs of rock music enjoyed time on the R&B charts during the decade. Many African-American musicians who pioneered rock music were somewhat pushed into the category of R&B artists by music producers who were trying to make way for white rock 'n' rollers to capitalize on the new genre. This genre is largely populated by African-American musicians with many white artists and musical groups covering the original material and turning R&B songs into traditional pop songs with a more mainstream sound (like The Chordettes and The Crew-Cuts). Some of the most notable R&B artists of the decade include Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Sam Cooke, The Drifters, The Platters, Ray Charles and Lloyd Price.




Popular Songs from the 1950's
1950 - Sentimental Me - Ames Brothers (-) Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole (-) All My Love - Patti Page (-) I Wanna Be Loved - The Andrews Sisters (-) Music! Music! Music! - Teresa Brewer,

1951 - If - Perry Como (-) How High the Moon - Les Paul (-) Unforgettable - Nat King Cole (-) Because of You - Tony Bennett (-) Be My Love - Mario Lanza,

1952 - You Belong to Me - Jo Stafford (-) Here in My Heart - Al Martino (-) Heart and Soul - The Four Aces (-) A Guy is a Guy - Doris Day (-) Delicado - Percy Faith,

1953 - Your Cheatin’ Heart - Hank Williams (-) That’s Amore - Dean Martin (-) Vaya Con Dios - Les Paul & Mary Ford (-) I’m Walking Behind You - Eddie Fisher (-) Crying in the Chapel - The Orioles,

1954 - Secret Love - Doris Day (-) Mr. Sandman - The Chordettes (-) I Need You Now - Eddie Fisher (-) Sh-Boom - The Crew-Cuts (-) Hey There - Rosemary Clooney,

1955 - Rock Around the Clock - Bill Haley (-) Earth Angel - The Penguins (-) Tutti Frutti - Little Richard (-) Love & Marriage - Frank Sinatra (-) Maybellene - Chuck Berry,

1956 - I Walk the Line - Johnny Cash (-) Blue Suede Shoes - Carl Perkins (-) Hound Dog - Elvis Presley (-) The Great Pretender - The Platters (-) Blueberry Hill - Fats Domino,

1957 - You Send Me - Sam Cooke (-) Great Balls of Fire - Jerry Lee Lewis (-) All Shook Up - Elvis Presley (-) That’ll Be the Day - Buddy Holly (-) Banana Boat Song - Harry Belafonte,

1958 - Fever - Peggy Lee (-) Tequila - The Champs (-) Johnny B. Goode - Chuck Berry (-) Who’s Sorry Now?- Connie Francis (-) La Bamba - Ritchie Valens,

1959 - Mack the Knife - Bobby Darin (-) Venus - Frankie Avalon (-) Personality - Lloyd Price (-) What’d I Say - Ray Charles (-) Lonely Boy - Paul Anka



Source: Wikipedia - 1950s in Music  |  The Peoples History: 50s Music

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - SILENT FILMS


Scene from the 1921

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,

one of the highest-grossing silent films.


Did you know.... that a silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound (and in particular, no audible dialogue). Though silent films convey narrative and emotion visually, various plot elements or key lines of dialogue may, when necessary, be conveyed by the use of title cards. (Wikipedia)


Hollywood as History

American Film in the Silent Era


by Digital History


Some film historians, like Lewis Jacobs and David Robinson, have argued that early silent films revolved around "characteristically working class settings," and expressed the interests of the poor in their struggles with the rich and powerful. Other scholars maintain that early movies drew largely upon conventions, stock characters, and routines derived from vaudeville, popular melodrama, Wild West shows, comic strips, and other forms of late nineteenth century popular entertainment. Given the fact thousands of films were released during the silent era and relatively few have survived, it is dangerous to generalize about movie content. Nevertheless, certain statements about these films do seem warranted.


American films were born in an age of reform, and many early silent movies took as their subject matter the major social and moral issues of the Progressive era: birth control, child labor, divorce, immigration, political corruption, poverty, prisons, prostitution, and women's suffrage. The tone of these films varied widely - some were realistic and straightforward; others treated their subjects with sentimentality or humor; and many transformed complex social issues into personal melodramas. Yet there can be no doubt that many silent films dealt at least obliquely with the dominant issues of the time.


Although many Americans today think of the films of the silent era as relics of a simpler, more innocent age, in fact more serious social and political themes lurked "behind the mask of innocence." As Kevin Brownlow has demonstrated, despite their well-dressed tramps and child-like waifs, many early silent films were preoccupied with such broad issues as the the sources of crime, the nature of political corruption, shifting sexual norms, and the changing role of women. The silent screen offered vivid glimpses of urban tenements and ethnic ghettoes; the screen was filled with gangsters, loan sharks, drug addicts, and panderers and provided a graphic record of "how the other half lives."



The Wizard of Oz (1925)


In addition, many early films were laced with anti-authority themes, poking fun at bumbling cops, corrupt politicians, and intrusive upper-class reformers. Highly physical slapstick comedy offered a particularly potent vehicle of social criticism, spoofing the pretensions of the wealthy and presenting sympathetic portraits of the poor. Mack Sennett, one of the most influential directors of silent comedy, later recalled the themes of his films: "I especially liked the reduction of authority to absurdity, the notion that sex could be funny, and the bold insults hurled at Pretension."


Many films of the early silent era dealt with gender relations. Before 1905, as Kathy Peiss has argued, movie screens were filled with salacious sexual imagery and risqué humor, drawn from burlesque halls and vaudeville theaters. Early films offered many glimpses of women disrobing or of passionate kisses. As the movies' female audience grew, sexual titillation and voyeurism persisted. But an ever increasing number of film dealt with the changing work and sexual roles of women in a more sophisticated manner. While D.W. Griffith's films presented an idealized picture of the frail Victorian child-woman, and showed an almost obsessive preoccupation with female honor and chastity, other silent movies presented quite different images of femininity. These ranged from the exotic, sexually aggressive vamp to the athletic, energetic "serial queen"; the street smart urban working gal, who repels the sexual advances of her lascivious boss; and cigarette-smoking, alcohol drinking chorus girls or burlesque queens.




In the late teens and '20s, as Lary May has demonstrated, the movies began to shed their Victorian moralism, sentimentality, and reformism and increasingly expressed new themes: glamour, sophistication, exoticism, urbanity, and sex appeal. New kinds of movie stars appeared: the mysterious sex goddess, personified by Greta Garbo; the passionate, hot-blooded Latin lover, epitomized by Rudolph Valentino; and the flapper, first brought to the screen by Colleen Moore, with her bobbed hair, skimpy skirts, and incandescent vivacity. New genres also appeared: swashbuckling adventures; sophisticated sex comedies revolving around the issue of marital fidelity; romantic dramas examining the manners and morals of the well-bred and well-to-do; and tales of "flaming youth" and the new sexual freedom.


During the 1920s, a sociologist named Herbert Blumer, interviewed students and young workers to assess the impact of movies on their lives, and concluded that the effect was to reorient their lives away from ethnic and working class communities toward a broader consumer culture. Observed one high school student: "The day-dreams instigated by the movies consist of clothes, ideas on furnishings and manners." Said an African- American student: "The movies have often made me dissatisfied with my neighborhood because when I see a movie, the beautiful castle, palace,...and beautiful house, I wish my home was something like these." Hollywood not only expressed popular values, aspirations, and fantasies, it also promoted cultural change.


The Movies as a Cultural Battleground


Reformers of the Progressive era took a highly ambivalent view of the movies. Some praised movies as a benign alternative to the saloon. Others viewed nickelodeons and movie theaters as breeding grounds of crime and sexual promiscuity. In 1907, the Chicago Tribune threw its editorial weight against the movies, declaring that they were "without a redeeming feature to warrant their existence...ministering to the lowest passions of childhood."


That year, Chicago established the nation's first censorship board, to protect its population "against the evil influence of obscene and immoral representations." Also in 1907, and again in 1908, New York's mayor, under pressure from various religious and reform groups, temporarily closed down all of the city's nickelodeons and movie theaters.


Many middle-class vice crusaders regarded the movies were horror and struggled to regulate the new medium. A presidential study concluded that films encouraged "illicit lovemaking and iniquity." A Worcester, Massachusetts newspaper described the city's movie theaters as centers of delinquent activity, and reported that female gang members "confessed that their early tendencies toward evil came from seeing moving pictures." Several bills were introduced in Congress calling for movie censorship.


The drive to censor films spread from Chicago to other municipalities and states, especially after a 1915 Supreme Court ruling that movies were not protected by the First Amendment because they "were a business pure and simple...not to be regarded as part of the press of the country or as organs of public opinion." Eager to combat the trend toward local censorship, movie manufacturers worked with moral reformers in New York to establish the voluntary Board of Censorship of Motion Pictures in 1909, to review the movies' treatment of violence, drugs, prostitution, and, above all, sexual immorality (such as "over-passionate love scenes; stimulating close dancing; unnecessary bedroom scenes in negligee; excessively low-cut gowns; [and] undue or suggestive display of the person").


After World War I, a series of sex scandals raised renewed threats of censorship or boycotts. William Desmond Taylor, a director, was found murdered under suspicious circumstances; actor Wallace Reid committed suicide amid allegations of drug addiction; and comedian Fatty Arbuckle was acquitted of rape and complicity in murder. To clean up Hollywood's image, the industry banned Arbuckle and a number of other individuals implicated in scandals, and appointed Will Hays, President Warren Harding's Postmaster General, to head their trade organization. Hays introduced a voluntary code of standards.

The Rise of Hollywood and the Arrival of Sound


In cinema's earliest days, the film industry was based in the nation's theatrical center, New York, and most films were made in New York or New Jersey, although a few were shot in Chicago, Florida, and elsewhere. Beginning in 1908, however, a growing number of filmmakers located in southern California, drawn by cheap land and labor, the ready accessibility of varied scenery, and a climate ideal for year-round outdoor filming. Contrary to popular mythology, moviemakers did not move to Hollywood to escape the film trust; the first studio to move to Hollywood, Selig, was actually a trust member.


By the early 1920s, Hollywood had become the world's film capital. It produced virtually all films show in the United States and received 80 percent of the revenue from films shown abroad. During the '20s, Hollywood bolstered its position as world leader by recruiting many of Europe's most talented actors and actresses, like Greta Garbo and Hedy Lamarr, directors like Ernst Lubitsch and Josef von Sternberg, as well as camera operators, lighting technicians, and set designers. By the end of the decade, Hollywood claimed to be the nation's fifth largest industry, attracting 83 cents out of every dollar Americans spent on amusement.


Hollywood had also come to symbolize "the new morality" of the 1920s--a mixture of extravagance, glamour, hedonism, and fun. Where else but Hollywood would an actress like Gloria Swanson bath in a solid gold bathtub or a screen cowboy like Tom Mix have his named raised atop his house in six foot high letters.


During the 1920s, movie attendance soared. By the middle of the decade, 50 million people a week went to the movies - the equivalent of half the nation's population. In Chicago, in 1929, theaters had enough seats for half the city's population to attend a movie each day.


As attendance rose, the movie-going experience underwent a profound change. During the twentieth century's first two decades, movie going tended to conform to class and ethnic divisions. Urban workers attended movie houses located in their own working class and ethnic neighborhoods, where admission was extremely inexpensive (averaging just 7 cents in the during the teens), and a movie was often accompanied by an amateur talent show or a performance by a local ethnic troupe. These working class theaters were rowdy, high-spirited centers of neighborhood sociability, where mothers brought their babies and audiences cheered, jeered, shouted, whistled, and stamped their feet.


The theaters patronized by the middle class were quite different. Late in the new century's first decade, theaters in downtown or middle class neighborhoods became increasingly luxurious. At first many of these theaters were designed in the same styles as many other public buildings, but by the mid-teens movie houses began feature French Renaissance, Egyptian, Moorish, and other exotic decors. Worcester, Massachusetts's Strand Theater boasted have "red plush seats," "luxurious carpets," "rich velour curtains," "finely appointed toilet rooms," and a $15,000 organ. Unlike the working class movie houses, which showed films continuously, these high class theaters had specific show times and well-groomed, uniformed ushers to enforce standards of decorum.




During the late-'20s, independent neighborhood theaters catering to a distinct working class audience were bought up by regional and national chains. As a result, the movie-going experience became more uniform, with working class and middle class theaters offering the same programs. Especially after the introduction of the "talkies," many working-class movie houses shut down, unable to meet the cost of converting to sound.


For decades, engineers had searched for a practical technology to add synchronized recorded sound to the movies. In the 1890s, Thomas Edison tried unsuccessfully to popularize the "kinetophone--which combined a kinetoscope with a phonograph. In 1923, Lee De Forest, an American inventor, demonstrated the practicality of placing a soundtrack directly on a film strip, presenting a newsreel interview with President Calvin Coolidge and musical accompaniments to several films. But the film industry showed remarkably little interest in sound, despite the growing popularity of radio. Hollywood feared the high cost of converting its production and exhibition to sound technology.


Warner Brothers, a struggling industry newcomer, turned to sound as a way to compete with its larger rivals. A prerecorded musical sound track eliminated the expense of live entertainment. In 1926, Warner Brothers released the film Don Juan--the first film with a synchronized film score--along with a program of talking shorts. The popularity of The Jazz Singer, which was released in 1927, erased any doubts about the popular appeal of sound, and within a year, 300 theaters were wired for sound.


The arrival of sound produced a sharp upsurge in movie attendance, which jumped from 50 million a week in the mid-20s to 110 million in 1929. But it also produced a number of fundamental transformations in the movies themselves. As Robert Ray has shown, sound made the movies more American. The words that Al Jolson used in The Jazz Singer to herald the arrival of sound in the movies - "You ain't heard nothing yet" - embodied the new slangy, vernacular tone of the talkies. Distinctive American accents and inflections quickly appeared on the screen, like James Cagney's New Yorkese or Gary Cooper's Western drawl. The introduction of sound also encouraged new film genres - like the musical, the gangster film, and comedies that relied on wit rather than slapstick.


In addition, the talkies dramatically changed the movie-going experience, especially for the working class. Where many working class audiences had provided silent films with a spoken dialogue, movie-goers were now expected to remain quiet. As one film historian has observed: "The talking audience for silent pictures became a silent audience for talking pictures." Moreover, the stage shows and other forms of live entertainment that had appeared in silent movie houses increasingly disappeared, replaced by newsreels and animated shorts.


The Movies Meet the Great Depression


In 1934, Will Hays, head of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association, said that "No medium has contributed more greatly than the film to the maintenance of the national morale during a period featured by revolution, riot and political turmoil in other countries." During the Great Depression, Hollywood played a valuable psychological and ideological role, providing reassurance and hope to a demoralized nation. Even at the Depression's depths 60 to 80 million Americans attended the movies each week, and, in the face of doubt and despair, films helped sustain national morale.


Although the movie industry considered itself Depression- proof, Hollywood was no more immune from the Depression's effects than any other industry. To finance the purchase of movie theaters and the conversion to sound, the studios had tripled their debts during the mid- and late-'20s to $410 million. As a result, the industry's very viability seemed in question. By 1933, movie attendance and industry revenues had fallen by forty percent. To survive, the industry trimmed salaries and production costs, and closed the doors of a third of the nation's theaters. To boost attendance, theaters resorted to such gimmicks as lower admission prices (cut by as much as 25 cents), double bills, give-aways of free dishes, and Bank Night--in which customer who received a lucky number won a cash prize.

Why did Depression America go to the movies- Escapism is what most people assume. At the movies they could forget their troubles for a couple of hours. Depression films, one left-wing critic maintained, were a modern form of bread and circuses, distracting Americans from their problems, reinforcing older values, and dampening political radicalism.


Yet movies were more than mere escapism. Most films of the depression years were grounded in the social realities of the time. The most realistic films were social problem films--like I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang - "torn from the headlines," usually by Warner Brothers or Columbia Pictures. Yet even the most outrageously extravagant Busby Berkeley musicals - portraying chorus girls as flowers or mechanical windup dolls - were generally set against recognizable depression backdrops.


The kinds of movies that Hollywood produced during the depression underwent sharp changes as the public mood shifted. During the depression's earliest years, a profound sense of despair was reflected in the kinds of characters Americans watched on the screen: a succession of Tommy Gun-toting gangsters, haggard prostitutes, sleazy backroom politicians, cynical journalists, and shyster lawyers. The screen comedies released at the depression's depths expressed an almost anarchistic disdain for traditional institutions and conventions. In the greatest comedies of the early depression, the Marx Brothers spoofed everything from patriotism (in Duck Soup) to universities (in Horse Feathers); W.C. Fields ridiculed families and children; and Mae West used sexual innuendo and double entendres to make fun of the middle class code of sexual propriety, with lines like "When a girl goes wrong, men go right after her."




The gangster pictures and sexually suggestive comedies of the early '30s provoked outrage--and threats of boycotts--from many Protestant and Catholic religious groups. In 1934, Hollywood's producers' association responded by setting up a bureau (later known as the "Breen Office") to review every script that the major studios proposed to shoot and to screen every film before it was released to ensure that the picture did not violate the organization's "Code to Govern the Making of Talking, Synchronized and Silent Motion Pictures." The Production Code, drafted by a Jesuit priest, the Father Daniel Lord, had been originally adopted in 1930, but the producers had regarded it as a public relations device, not as a code of censorship.


But in 1933, the newly appointed apostolic delegate to the U.S. Catholic Church, the Most Reverend Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, called on Catholics to launch "a united and vigorous campaign for the purification of the cinema, which has become a deadly menace to morals." Many Catholics responded by forming the Legion of Decency, which soon had 9 million members pledged to boycott films that the Legion's rating board condemned.


Threatened by a realistic threat of boycotts, the producers decided to enforce the production code and placed one of their employees, Joseph I. Breen, in charge. The code prohibited nudity, profanity, white slavery, miscegenation, "excessive and lustful kissing," and "scenes of passion" that "stimulate the lower and baser element." It also forbade Hollywood from glorifying crime or adultery. To enforce the code, the Breen Office was empowered to grant or withhold a seal of approval, and without a seal, a movie could not be played in the major theater chains.


The Breen Office dramatically altered the character of films in the later 1930s. It had at least one positive effect: It led Hollywood to cast more actresses in roles as independent career women, instead of as mere sex objects. More negatively, it encouraged moviemakers to evade the harsher realities of Depression-era life and to shun controversial political and moral issues. It also contributed to what Maury Klein has called a "stylization of technique" as directors and screenwriters searched for subtle, creative, and often witty ways to treat sexuality and violence while avoiding censorship.


A renewed sense of optimism generated by the New Deal combined with Breen Office censorship to produce new kinds of films in the second half of the Depression decade. G-men, detectives, western heroes and other defenders of law increasingly replaced gangsters. Realistic Warner Brothers exposes rapidly declined in number. Instead audiences enjoyed Frank Capra's comedies and dramas in which a "little man" stands up against corruption. The complex word-play of the Marx Brothers and Mae West increasingly gave way to a new comic genre--the screwball comedy. Movies like It Happened One Night or My Man Godfrey, which traced the antics of zany eccentrics, presented, in Pauline Kael's words, "Americans' idealized view of themselves--breezy, likable, sexy, gallant, and maybe just a little harebrained."




As Andrew Bergman has shown, the fantasy world of the movies played a critical social and psychological function for Depression era Americans: In the face of economic disaster, it kept alive a belief in the possibility of individual success, portrayed a government capable of protecting its citizens from external threats, and sustained a vision of America as a classless society. Again and again, Hollywood repeated the same formulas: A poor boy from the slums uses crime as a perverted ladder of success. A back row chorus girl rises to the lead through luck and pluck. A G-man restores law and order. A poor boy and a rich girl meet, go through wacky adventures, and fall in love. Out of these simple plots, Hollywood restored faith in individual initiative, in the efficacy of government, and in a common American identity transcending social class.


It is the quintessential Depression-era musical. Directed by Mervyn LeRoy (who later produced The Wizard of Oz), with songs by Harry Warren and Al Dubin (lyrics) and choreography by Busby Berkeley, Gold Diggers of 1933 starred three of the 1930s leading actresses—Joan Blondell, Ruby Keeler, and Ginger Rogers—who play gold diggers, a pejorative term for women who use their charms to extract money or gifts from a wealthy man. 


Made at the Depression’s depths, the film begins with a rousing rendition of the song “We’re in the Money”—“We never see a headline, ‘bout a breadline today...”—only to have the sheriff shut the show down for failing to pay its creditors.


See Ginger Rogers perform "We're in the Money":  



Source: Wikipedia - Silent Film Hollywood as History

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - ELECTION


Did you know.... that an election is a formal group decision-making process by which a population chooses an individual or multiple individuals to hold public office. Elections have been the usual mechanism by which modern representative democracy has operated since the 17th century. (Wikipedia)


Elections Around the World

by Mental Floss




Democracy is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor—and neither is its essential mechanism, the election. Read on to learn more about how people around the world—and how some people who are currently out of this world—perform their essential civic duty when Election Day rolls around.



Voters in the U.S. may head to the polls on Tuesdays, but the rest of the world prefers to save its votes for Sunday. Interestingly, countries in which English is the primary language tend to be the exception to this rule; in Canada, citizens vote on Mondays, while Brits vote on Thursdays, and Australians and New Zealanders on Saturdays. The American vote wasn't always limited to Tuesdays by law; instead, it’s a holdover from the 19th century, when farmers were often forced to travel long distances to their polling stations, and needed enough time to make it back home in time for market day on Wednesday.



India is home to more than 800 million eligible voters, which makes it the world’s largest democracy. In order to accommodate an electorate of that size, the government holds elections over the course of weeks, or even months. The last major general election in 2014, in which Indians voted for the 543 members of parliament, took place on nine separate days over five weeks.



People in France and Sweden don’t need to worry about making time to register ahead of Election Day. The government automatically registers voters when they’re eligible—in France, that’s as soon as people turn 18. Sweden relies on tax registries to create lists of eligible citizens.



Every Australian over 18 is required by law to register to vote and to participate in federal elections. Anyone who doesn’t show up on Election Day is fined AU$20 (around $15). Failure to pay that fine results in even steeper penalties—up to AU$180—and can result in a criminal charge.



Since 1988, Brazilian citizens have had the right to vote at age 16. (Voting is required for almost everyone between the ages of 18 and 69, and anyone who doesn't vote is subject to a fine.) Sixteen and 17-year-olds are also eligible to vote in Austria, Nicaragua, and Argentina, and 17-year-olds can cast votes in Indonesia and Sudan. Select states in Germany have given 16-year-olds the vote in local elections, and in 2014, for the first time ever, Scottish teens aged 16 and 17 were allowed to vote on a referendum.

Studies of elections in which 16- and 17-year-olds can participate have shown that giving young people the ability to vote may translate into a more engaged citizenry as those voters grow older. What’s more, teens who choose to participate in elections are often as well informed about the candidates and the issues as their older counterparts.



Since 2005, Estonians have had the ability to vote online instead of waiting in line at their local polling stations. Although in-person voting is still more popular, in 2015, more than 30 percent of Estonian voters took advantage of the online voting system. The Estonian system is workable because every citizen receives a scannable ID card and PIN, which he or she can use to fulfill a number of civic responsibilities, from filing taxes to paying library fines. (Although an Estonian’s ID card and PIN are used to confirm his or her identity on Election Day, the vote itself is encrypted, rendering it anonymous.)



According to a 2016 report about voter turnout in developed countries, just 53.6 percent of Americans performed their civic duty during the 2012 election cycle, which places the U.S. 31st out of 35 OECD nations. By contrast, Belgium saw the highest percentage of eligible voters turn out for its 2014 election; approximately 87.2 percent of Belgian citizens cast their votes.



Beginning in 1930—when women were first given the right to vote in local elections in Chile—men and women headed to separate polling locations. That year, a separate registry was created to accommodate newly-registered female voters, who were still prohibited from voting in national elections. The custom of separating men and women on election day persisted even after suffrage was granted in nationwide elections (and the country’s voting registries were combined) in 1949. Sixty-three years later, the government decided that voting doesn't have to be segregated by gender; however, separate voting is still widely practiced.



But they’re far from democratic. Although a whopping 99.7 percent of the electorate participated in the 2015 local elections, citizens didn’t have much of a choice when it came to choosing who they wanted to endorse. Everyone on the ballot was selected ahead of time by North Korea’s ruling party; to vote, North Koreans simply had to drop a printout of the names in a box to indicate their support. A separate box was present at polling locations, which voters could use to register their rejection of the given candidates. However, all of the candidates chosen received 100 percent of the vote—which means either no one opted to dissent, or if they did, their votes weren’t counted.



There’s no law in the United Kingdom barring Queen Elizabeth II from participating in elections. But in order to appear as objective as possible, she generally does not. Ahead of Britain’s June referendum regarding its E.U. membership, a Buckingham Palace spokesman told reporters that, “It’s very clearly the convention here, that the queen is above politics … it’s a convention that the royal family do not vote in general elections, and this is very much an extension of that convention.”



In Gambia, citizens cast their votes by dropping marbles into color-coded metal drums with pictures of the candidates. Each drum is rigged with a bell, which the marble, after it’s dropped in, dings. (If the bell rings more than once, poll workers know someone has broken the rules.)


That’s because media (or social media) coverage of anything that could influence the outcome is illegal before 7 p.m. on Election Day. According to one report, “Talking heads on television can’t mention something as mundane as a candidate’s attire, much less who might win. Political parties are even directed by authorities to ‘unpublish their [social media] pages.’” Anyone in violation of the restriction on Election Day chatter faces a fine of up to NZ$20,000 (around $14,000).



Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have had the ability to vote since 1997, when Texas lawmakers passed a measure that allowed secure ballots to be sent to space by Mission Control in Houston, Texas. Once astronauts make their selections, their ballots—PDFs of the paper ballots they’d receive in the mail—are beamed back down to Earth, where clerks open the encoded documents and submit a hard copy of the astronaut's ballot to be counted.



In the tiny European country of Liechtenstein (population: 37,000) citizens vote for politicians, referendums—and whether or not to grant citizenship to those who have applied after residing in the principality for 10 years or more.



The victor in a 1967 mayoral election in Ecuador: a popular brand of foot powder. In the days leading up to the election, the company ran election-themed ads, suggesting consumers vote for the powder “if they want well-being and hygiene.” Spoiler alert: The foot powder won, thanks to the large volume of write-in votes it received.


Source: Wikipedia - Election  |  Facts About Elections Around the World

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - GLIDER 


Did you know... that a glider or sailplane is a type of glider aircraft used in the leisure activity and sport of gliding. This unpowered aircraft can use naturally occurring currents of rising air in the atmosphere to gain altitude. Sailplanes are aerodynamically streamlined and so can fly a significant distance forward for a small decrease in altitude. In North America the term 'sailplane' is also used to describe this type of aircraft. In other parts of the English-speaking world, the word 'glider' is more common. (Wikipedia)


Gliding facts

by Kids Encyclopedia Facts


Gliding is when an object or animal goes through the air without active flight. All gliders use an aerofoil to slow their rate of descent. Glider planes have wings, and gliding animals have membranes which they stretch out. By using rising air they can prolong their stay in the air. The word 'soaring' describes this, and is also used for the sport of gliding. Air will rise if it is heated by the ground or if it is deflected by mountains. Improvements in aerodynamics, in instruments and in the understanding of the weather have allowed flights over great distances at high speeds. The world record distance is now over 3000 km.


Sport Gliding
Good gliding weather: Well-formed

cumulus humilis, with darker bases,

suggests active thermals and light winds.

Glider pilots can stay airborne for hours by flying through air that is ascending as fast or faster than the glider itself is descending, thus gaining potential energy. The most commonly used sources of rising air are

  • thermals (updrafts of warm air);
  • ridge lift (found where the wind blows against the face of a hill and is forced to rise); and
  • wave lift (standing waves in the atmosphere, analogous to the ripples on the surface of a stream).

Ridge lift rarely allows pilots to climb much higher than about 600 m (2,000 ft) above the terrain; thermals, depending on the climate and terrain, can allow climbs in excess of 3,000 m (10,000 ft) in flat country and much higher above mountains; wave lift has allowed a glider to reach an altitude of 15,447 m (50,671 ft). In a few countries, gliders may continue to climb into the clouds in uncontrolled airspace, but in many countries the pilot must stop climbing before reaching the cloud base.


Thermals are streams of rising air that are formed on the ground through the warming of the surface by sunlight. If the air contains enough moisture, the water will condense from the rising air and form cumulus clouds. Once a thermal is encountered, the pilot usually flies in circles to keep the glider within the thermal, so gaining altitude before flying off to the next thermal and towards the destination. This is known as "thermalling". Climb rates depend on conditions, but rates of several meters per second are common. Thermals can also be formed in a line usually because of the wind or the terrain, creating cloud streets. These can allow the pilot to fly straight while climbing in continuous lift.

When the air has little moisture or when an inversion stops the warm air from rising high enough for the moisture to condense, thermals do not create cumulus clouds. Without clouds or dust devils to mark the thermals, the pilot must use his skill and luck to find them using a sensitive vertical speed indicator called a variometer that quickly indicates climbs or descents. Typical locations to find thermals are over towns, freshly ploughed fields and asphalt roads, but thermals are often hard to associate with any feature on the ground. Occasionally thermals are caused by the exhaust gases from power stations or by fires.


As it requires rising heated air, thermalling is only effective in mid-latitudes from spring through into late summer. During winter the solar heat can only create weak thermals, but ridge and wave lift can still be used during this period.


Ridge lift


A Scimitar glider ridge soaring in

Lock Haven, Pennsylvania USA

A ridge soaring pilot uses air lifted up the sides of hills. It can also be augmented by thermals when the slopes also face the sun. In places where a steady wind blows, a ridge may allow virtually unlimited time aloft, though records for duration are no longer recognized because of the danger of exhaustion.


Wave lift


A lenticular cloud produced by a mountain wave.

The powerfully rising and sinking air in mountain waves was discovered by a glider pilot, Wolf Hirth, in 1933. Gliders can sometimes climb in these waves to great altitudes, though pilots must use supplementary oxygen to avoid hypoxia. This lift is often marked by long, stationary lenticular (lens-shaped) clouds lying perpendicular to the wind. Mountain wave was used to set the current altitude record of 50,699 feet (15,453 m) on August 29, 2006 over El Calafate, Argentina. The pilots were Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson, who were wearing pressure suits. The current world distance record of 3,008 km (1,869 statute miles) by Klaus Ohlmann (set on 21 January 2003) was also flown using mountain waves in South America. A rare wave phenomenon is known as Morning Glory, a roll cloud producing strong lift. Pilots near Australia's Gulf of Carpentaria make use of it in springtime.


Other sources of lift


Schematic cross section through a sea

breeze front. If the air inland is moist,

cumulus often marks the front.

The boundaries where two air masses meet are known as convergence zones. These can occur in sea breezes or in desert regions. In a sea-breeze front, cold air from the sea meets the warmer air from the land and creates a boundary like a shallow cold front. Glider pilots can gain altitude by flying along the intersection as if it were a ridge of land. Convergence may occur over considerable distances and so may permit virtually straight flight while climbing. Glider pilots have been able to use a technique called "dynamic soaring", where a glider can gain kinetic energy by repeatedly crossing the boundary between air masses of different horizontal velocity. However, such zones of high "wind gradient" are usually too close to the ground to be used safely by gliders.


Launch methods
Gliders, not having engines, use various methods to take off. Glider pilots who want to use the different types of launch methods must be in current practice in each. Licensing rules in some countries differentiate between aerotows and ground launch methods, due to the widely different techniques.




Aerotowing of a Grob G103 Twin Astir II glider by

a Robin DR400-180R


Aerotows normally use single-engine light aircrafts, although motor gliders have also been permitted to tow gliders. The tow-plane takes the glider to the desired height and place where the glider pilot releases the rope. A weak link is often fitted to the rope to ensure that any sudden loads do not damage the airframe of the tow-plane. During the aerotow, the glider pilot keeps the glider in one of two positions behind the tow-plane. This position can either be the "low tow" position, just below the wake from the tow-plane, or the "high tow" position just above the wake. In Australia the convention is to fly in low tow, whereas in the United States and Europe the high tow prevails. One aerotow variation is to attach two gliders to one tow-plane, using a short rope for the high towed glider and the long rope for the low tow.




Gliders are often launched using a stationary ground-based winch mounted on a heavy vehicle. This method is widely used at many European clubs, often in addition to aerotowing. The engine is usually a large diesel, though hydraulic fluid engines and electrical motors are also used. The winch pulls in a 1,000 to 1,600 m (3,000 to 5,500-foot) cable, made of steel wire or a synthetic fiber, attached to the glider. The cable is released at a height of about 400 to 700 m (1,300 to 2,200 feet) after a short and steep ride. The main advantage of a winch launch is its lower cost, but the launch height is usually lower than an aerotow, so flights are shorter unless the pilot can quickly make contact with a source of lift within a few minutes of releasing the cable. Although there is a risk of the cable breaking during this type of launch, pilots are trained to deal with this.




Another launch method, the "autotow", is rarer nowadays. The direct towing method requires a hard surface, a powerful vehicle and a long steel cable. After gently taking up slack in the cable, the driver accelerates hard and the glider rises like a kite to as much as 400 m (1300 ft) if there is a good headwind and a runway of 1.5 km (1 mile) or more. This method has also been used on desert dry lakes. A variation on this is the "reverse pulley" method in which the truck drives towards the glider that it is launching with the cable passing around a pulley at the far end of the airfield, with an effect similar to a winch launch.


Bungee launch


A bungee launch


Bungee launching was widely used in the early days of gliding, and occasionally gliders are still launched from the top of a gently sloping hill into a strong breeze using a substantial multi-stranded rubber band, or "bungee". For this launch method, the glider's main wheel rests in a small concrete trough. The hook normally used for winch-launching is instead attached to the middle of the bungee. Each end is then pulled by three or four people. One group runs slightly to the left, the other to the right. Once the tension in the bungee is high enough, the pilot releases the wheel brake and the glider's wheel pops out of the trough. The glider gains just enough energy to leave the ground and fly away from the hill.


Source: Wikipedia - Glider (sailplane)  |  Gliding Facts

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Fact of the Day - ROMANCE NOVELS


"Oh Edward! How can you?", a late-19th-century illustration

from Sense and Sensibility (1811) by Jane Austen, a pioneer

of the genre.

Did you know.... that a romance novel or romantic novel is a type of genre fiction novel which places its primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and usually has an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending." (Wikipedia)


Surprising Facts About Romance Novels

By Laurie Kahn, Contributor  |  04/22/2015  |  Updated June 22, 2015
Founder, Producer, Director and Writer at Blueberry Hill Productions


Four years ago, when I began making my documentary film Love Between the Covers, I stepped into a community I knew nothing about: the global network of women who write, read, and love romance novels. What I found surprised me. Here are ten things I learned:




1. Romance fiction is a billion-dollar industry

Romance novel sales total more than a billion dollars a year. They sell as much as sci-fi, mystery, and fantasy combined.


2. The romance readership is HUGE and global


More than 70 million people in the USA alone read at least one romance novel per year, and most of them read many more. The work of popular American romance writer Nora Roberts is translated into 33 languages and distributed on 6 continents.


3. There is a surprisingly wide range of romance novels

Like romance blogger Sarah Wendell says, "Whatever your cup of tea is, someone's pouring it."


Romance novels are often equated with "bodice-rippers," but the steamy historicals with Fabio on the cover were published back in the 1970s and 1980s. Since that time, the spectrum of romance novels has exploded. On one end of that spectrum, there are chaste evangelical romances. On the other end, there are BDSM romances (yes, like that one).


In between, you'll find paranormal romance with vampires and shapeshifters, time-travel romance, historical romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense. There are growing romance subgenres for LGBT love stories, a large community of writers who specialize in African-American romance, and there's even a popular Amish romance subgenre.


4. Everybody's writing romance


Women of every description (and a small number of men) are the engine of this industry. Contrary to expectations, romance authors come from every economic class, every racial group, every sexual preference, and every level of education.


When I asked the pioneering African-American romance author Beverly Jenkins about her peers, she told me, "Women from all walks of life do this. We're not sitting in the proverbial trailer park in ratty nightgowns, eating jelly beans and watching soap operas. There are some pretty powerful women doing this! Geneticists, astrophysicists, lawyers, doctors..." The list goes on.


Len Barot (pen name Radclyffe), one of the main characters in Love Between the Covers, began writing lesbian romances during her surgical residency. Mary Bly (pen name Eloisa James), another main character in the film, is a Shakespeare scholar by day and an author of historical romances by night.


I interviewed PhDs, lawyers, and insurance executives. I also interviewed romance authors who worked in factories. There's an open door for anyone who wants to give it a try. Nora Roberts, the rock star of the romance industry, never went to college.


5. Women in the romance community are more likely than the general population to be currently married or living with a partner

We've all seen depictions of the lonely, lovesick romance writer, who pens titillating novels while eating bonbons and sobbing over her keyboard. Don't believe the stereotype. While romance does offer women a place to escape daily life and live out their fantasies, this community of readers and writers are statistically more likely than most to be in happy relationships.


6. Romance authors become personal friends with their readers, and readers find one another


In the romance community friendships that begin online - based on a shared love of books-- often become real and enduring friendships.


Beverly Jenkins and her readers are in constant contact at Beverly's Facebook page, talking about books, football, music, and the ups and downs of their everyday lives. Every other year, Beverly takes a trip with her readers to places where her novels are set.


Radclyffe invites beginning authors to her farm in upstate New York, where she leads workshops on romance writing, and several of Eloisa James's loyal readers told us they found their closest friends, with whom they communicate every day, through Eloisa's blog.


7. Romance writers get tremendous support from one another

Why are these women so happy to pull a less experienced writer up the ranks? I asked many authors this question, and almost all of them told me stories of their early romance mentors--and their desire to pay it forward.


At a Romance Writers of America (RWA) national conference, unpublished writers are always welcome (something that does not happen at other writer conferences), and there are dozens of workshops taught by established writers about everything from plot structure and writing knife-fights, to social networking and negotiating contracts. You will see bestselling novelists sitting down for coffee with unpublished newbies, critiquing their work and giving them business advice.


8. Romance authors are on the cutting edge, pioneering new technologies


Romance writers and readers were the first to enthusiastically adopt e-books, a service which works well for anyone who buys hundreds of books, and romance writers have always been mavericks of social media, using it effectively to build fan communities.


Romance has been at the forefront of the biggest change to take place in publishing in the last 200 years: self publishing. Together, romance authors have figured out how to succeed in self-publishing. Instead of being secretive, these one-person indie publishing houses share their knowhow and numbers (not a common practice in publishing).


9. You can take courses about romance fiction at Princeton, Harvard, DePaul and dozens of other universities

Literature scholars, cultural historians, and popular culture studies professors founded the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance five years ago. They hold annual conferences, and they've also started the peer-reviewed online Journal for Popular Culture Studies. It's a growing interdisciplinary field.


10. Romance writing isn't an easy gig


You might think writing romance novels is more of a breezy pastime than a professional venture, but the deadlines that romance novelists face are incredibly rigorous. Susan Donovan described the feeling of being on-deadline saying, "There's always a flame behind your ass." Some women publish three or four books a year. On top of this, most novelists handle their own promotion, and self-published authors also handle their novels' distribution. When you're a romance novelist, you are a one-woman business.


I had a blast exploring the romance community over the last four years. In creating Love Between the Covers, I discovered one of the few places where women are always center stage, where female characters always win, where justice prevails in every book, and where the broad spectrum of desires of women from all backgrounds are not feared, but explored unapologetically.



Source: Wikipedia - Romance Novel  |  Romance Novel Facts


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Fact of the Day - STREET DANCE


Two street dancers performing in the

URBANOS Dance Contest in Brazil.


Did you know.... that a street dance is a dance style that evolved outside dance studios in any available open space. This includes streets, dance parties, block parties, parks, school yards, raves, and nightclubs due to the fact that the African American and Latino people who created the style in the 1970s were not accepted into dance studios because of their race. A street dance is a vernacular dance in an urban context. Vernacular dances are often improvisational and social in nature, encouraging interaction and contact with spectators and other dancers. These dances are a part of the vernacular culture of the geographical area that they come from. Examples of street dance include b-boying (or breakdancing), which originated in New York City. Street dance is an umbrella term for a large number of social dance styles. Social dance styles have many accompanying steps and foundations, created organically from a culture, a moment in time, a way of life, influenced by natural social interaction. Clogging, which evolved in the streets and factories of Northern England in the mid-19th century, is an early form of street dance. (Wikipedia)


Street Dancing
By Benna Crawford



Street dancing is any style of dance that got its start outside the dance studio, typically in urban streets, schoolyards and clubs. From its roots in the late 1960s African American street culture of New York, the edgy, syncopated moves have earned global acceptance as a vibrant contemporary dance discipline.


Street Dance Background

What is called street dancing today developed in a rec room party in the Bronx in 1973 when DJ Kool Herc mixed records, 'breaking' and scratching them to prolong the instrumental sections so the dancers could show their moves longer. The extended dance was called breaking, and the emcee patter that covered the breaks became rap. Competition heated up over fancy moves as b-boys and b-girls worked out their styles to funk, soul, rock and percussion riffs in the streets and schoolyards. The West Coast created some signature moves to rock and funk as well. Waacking came from the gay dance clubs that featured 1970s disco music in L.A. Locking and popping also developed in L.A. in the 1970s and crossed over into an umbrella hip hop category that expanded to include a fight style called krumping in the 1980s.


Street Styles

Hip hop in all its forms can be found everywhere from the hit Broadway musical Hamilton to TV reality shows like So You Think You Can Dance. As an art form, street dancing requires real mastery, but an amateur enthusiast can pick up a few smooth moves in a dance studio or by watching videos online.



Breaking, b-boying or b-girling is often referred to as "breakdancing," a generic term coined by the media that the dancers don't use. Breaking features close-to-the-ground improv and acrobatic head, shoulder, back and hand spins choreographed to hip hop, funk and solo percussion riffs, or "breakbeat" music. The gravity-defying spins and footwork came straight out of those original parties and clubs in 1970's Harlem and the Bronx.




Locking and Popping
Locking and popping look similar but they are really two distinct styles. Locking is a kind of funk that involves freezing a move and then resuming it at a fast pace, a series of rapid contractions that focus on exaggerated arm and hand movements. Lockers use splits and drops to their knees as well as interaction with the audience. Their routines frequently combine locking moves with popping. Popping features jerky, explosive moves that thrust outward from a quick contraction. Advanced poppers work their upper and lower bodies at the same time.




Finger Tutting
Tutting looks like a flip book of Egyptian frieze paintings. It's a series of angular moves, primarily for the arms, shoulders and hands. The style was named for King Tut and tutters create intricate and improbably perpendicular angles with their hands and arms, syncopated to the music. Finger tutting is an elaborate specialty, a product of the 1990s Big Apple rave scene. Fingers form a series of shapes made from 90-degree angles and continuous moves in which the fingers always remain touching.




Animation is twitchy, glitchy and weird - waves and zigzags that sweep through the body, interrupted by constant tics and sudden freezes into poses derived from cartoon characters. The Guardian describes animation as a "jerky, freeze-frame style" in which a dancer seems to have no bones and to be electronically controlled. Animation dancers such as tWitch and Spencer have popularized the form on shows like So You Think You Can Dance and show their new moves in performances and master classes at dance conventions.




Krumping is very fast and aggressive hip hop dance that incorporates locking, popping, improvisational or freestyle moves and upright posture. It's a bi-coastal mash-up of gang culture and clowning. Rhythmic bobbing and jerking, spine flexing and chest popping are staged in mock battles between two or more dancers. Krumping started as a nonviolent alternative to street violence and has been picked up by artists from Missy Elliott to Madonna in music videos.




Waacking often incorporates 1960s East Coast voguing, and mimics signature poses of old-time movie stars such as Bette Davis and Lauren Bacall. It's a '70s West Coast punk style that started in the LGBT clubs of Los Angeles and was popularized on the TV show Soul Train. The freestyle diva-ish choreography is danced to 1970s disco and music by artists such as Diana Ross and James Brown. Dancers show off their musicality, sense of rhythm and emotional interpretation with fluid arm-over-and-behind-the-shoulder moves, fancy footwork and voguish runway poses.




Learn to Street Dance
A beginner hip hop class is your best bet to learn street dancing. Many dance studios offer introductory to advanced hip hop classes and encourage novice dancers and non-professionals to try out the footwork, arm movements and "attitude" that give hip-hop its gritty urban flavor.


Check local dance studio websites for schedules and sign-up information, and call or email to be certain of the level and find out what to wear. Expect a very different experience from a ballet, tap or jazz class. An instructor will demonstrate and break down basic moves and simple combinations for you to follow, gradually adding more movements and correcting your form as you progress.


If there are no street dance classes in your area, there are plenty of instructional videos online that you can learn with at your own pace. From dance routines for beginners to learning specific moves, you can pick up just about any style of street dance with the aid of your computer.


Try a Body Wave
If you'd like to get started learning the basics, here's a basic move that's easy to master.

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, your knees slightly soft and your arms relaxed.
  • Tilt your head back as you open your shoulders wide and move them back.
  • Push your chest forward and let your ribs follow naturally.
  • Contract your abs, rounding your shoulders and pulling your ribs back.
  • Tighten your glutes as you push your hips forward.
  • To complete the illusion of a wave, let your head fall forward and look down.
  • Practice until you can do the moves smoothly to the beat of the music - it helps to work in front of a mirror.




It's Everywhere
Street dancing is an urban phenomenon gone mainstream. After you learn a few moves, you can pick out the epic dancers in a music video or add a few show-off moonwalks or helicopters to your footwork at a club. The fun of hip-hop and its many styles is that those styles are constantly evolving. Once you try it you may get hooked -- and then you can invent a few innovative killer moves of your own.


Source: Wikipedia - Street Dance  |  History of Hip-Hop Dance

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Fact of the Day - JOUSTING


Did you know... that jousting is a martial game or hastilude between two horseriders wielding lances with blunted tips, often as part of a tournament. The primary aim was to replicate a clash of heavy cavalry, with each participant trying hard to strike the opponent while riding towards him at high speed, breaking the lance on the opponent's shield or jousting armour if possible, or unhorsing him. The joust became an iconic characteristic of the knight in Romantic medievalism. The participants experience close to three and a quarter times their body weight in G-forces when the lances collide with their armour. (Wikipedia)


Jousting Facts

by: Kara ter Morsche  |  July 2018

Spectacular Jousting is charging into Caerlaverock Castle this weekend, so we thought we’d take a look at the who, how, why and where of this fascinating sport!




When you hear the word jousting, what do you think of?

For a lot of people the word conjures up exciting images of chivalric knights in armour, competing for glory.  You might associate the sport with legends of Arthurian England more than with Scotland – but we have a long history of chivalry too!


What was jousting?
Jousting was a kind of sporting contest where two knights on horseback, armed with blunted lances, tilted at each other. Jousting tournaments were very popular in Scotland during the Middle Ages.




Why did people start doing it?

It began in the British Isles as early as 1066 with the mêlée – part sporting contest; part training for the real challenges of medieval combat. During the high medieval era, the mêlée evolved into the joust and later, when guns began to be used for warfare, jousting became more of an entertainment for the king and his court. There were special rules and a scoring system. The event often included other kinds of spectacle and entertainment.


What did jousters do?

There were different forms of jousting, all of which allowed competitors to show how good they were at fighting. But the most famous contest involved two knights on horseback charging towards each other with lances.




Wasn’t it dangerous?
Yes it was! King James III’s younger brother was killed while jousting. So was King Henry II of France. But jousters use blunted weapons and special armour to make injuries less likely.


What did jousters wear?
A knight would wear a metal helmet and a heavy suit of armour, which could take an hour to put on. Over that, he wore a brightly coloured surcoat displaying his coat of arms. Each knight had a different coat of arms, so he could be recognised while wearing a helmet.




Why did people hold jousting tournaments?
They were often held as celebrations – to mark a victory in battle, or the signing of a peace treaty, or a royal wedding. Sometimes they were held during wars, to keep soldiers busy and to train them.


Who hosted jousting?
Tournaments were usually organized by kings. In Scotland, David II, James IV and James V were very keen on jousting – both as hosts and as participants. They sometimes competed in disguise.


Where in Scotland were they held?
Between 1350 and 1603 (when James VI became James I of England) jousting tournaments were held in Edinburgh, St Andrews, Perth, Stirling and Leith. At one Leith tournament, the knights fought in boats!


Did knights ever cheat?
All knights were supposed to believe in chivalry – a code of honour, bravery and loyalty. But some did cheat by having their armour bolted to their horses. Others used jousting tournaments as a cover for murder!




Are suits of armour used nowadays?
Modern soldiers (and motorcyclists) use flexible synthetic armour such as Kevlar. And in 1962, some NASA scientists who were designing space suits visited the Tower of London. They wanted to study the jousting armour of King Henry VIII.



Source: Wikipedia - Jousting  |  Brief Facts About Jousting

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Fact of the Day - WORLD FACTS


Did you know... that In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that was, is and will be. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the world as unique while others talk of a "plurality of worlds". (Wikipedia)


Interesting World Facts You'll Ever Hear





With around 200 countries and more than 7.8 billion people (plus plants, animals, and other organisms), the world is full of interesting, fun, and fascinating facts. In the land of the Kiwis, for instance, you'll find the highest concentration of pet owners on the planet. And over in Nicaragua, you'll find one of the only two flags in the world to feature the color purple. Hungry for more facts about the world and its ever-growing population? Read on to learn some interesting trivia about the Earth's past, present, and future.


Glaciers and ice sheets hold about 69 percent of the world's freshwater.


Just over 96% of the total amount of the world's water is held in its oceans, according to Water in Crisis: A Guide to the World's Fresh Water Resources via the United States Geological Survey (USGS). However, that's primarily saltwater. To find the bulk of the world's freshwater you need to trek to the poles, as 68.7% of it is encased in ice caps, permanent snow, and glaciers. For more facts sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.


The fastest gust of wind ever recorded on Earth was 253 miles per hour.


Hang on to your hats because this isn't your average wind storm. In 1996, a tropical cyclone named Olivia hit off the coast of Barrow Island, Australia with such a force that it broke an incredible record. According to The Weather Channel, "Olivia's eyewall produced five extreme three-second wind gusts, the peak of which was a 253 mph gust," which blew past the previous wind record of 231 mph set in Mount Washington, New Hampshire back in 1934.


Recent droughts in Europe were the worst in 2,100 years.


Europe has been experiencing serious dry spells and extreme heat since 2015, which has caused major droughts. Research done led by the University of Cambridge (and published on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration website) looked at isotopes in the rings of old European Oak trees in Central Europe which formed over thousands of years to try to pin down the cause. They discovered that the dry spells are a "result of human-caused climate change and associated shifts in the jet stream," according to EurekAlert!


The best place in the world to see rainbows is in Hawaii.


If you're an avid rainbow gazer and want to get your fill of the beautiful phenomenon, look no further than the state of Hawaii. A study published by the American Meteorological Society in 2021 noted that the area's "mountains produce sharp gradients in clouds and rainfall, which are key to abundant rainbow sightings." Air pollution, pollen, and a large amount of cresting waves also help to put Hawaii at the top of the list when it comes to rainbow quantity and quality.


There are fossilized plants in Greenland under 1.4 km of ice.


Around 80 percent of Greenland is covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, which Britannica explains is the "largest and possibly the only relic of the Pleistocene glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere." But has it always been so icy? Well, at the bottom of a 1.4 km core sample, which was taken in 1966 at Camp Century during the Cold War, researchers found "well-preserved fossil plants and biomolecules," which means that the massive sheet melted and reformed at least once in the last million years. Brrrrr!


Whale songs can be used to map out the ocean floor.


Fin whales are basically the Barry White of the ocean. The deep, bellowing songs that males use to attract mates are considered to be the loudest of all marine life and can be "heard up to 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) away," according to Scientific American. They can also be used to sonically map out the ocean floor thanks to the fact that the sound can reach depths of 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles) under the water, which bounces back and provides researchers with accurate measurements. Beyond that, a 2021 study in Science showed how using a fin whale's song can be far more useful and have less of a negative impact on sea life than using a large air gun, which is the typical tool researchers rely on.


New creatures have been found in deep-sea volcanoes.


Finding previously undiscovered organisms in the depths of the ocean may sound like something straight out of a sci-fi horror film, but a 2020 study of a deep-sea volcano near New Zealand, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, uncovered "over 90 putative bacterial and archaeal genomic families and nearly 300 previously unknown genera." Some research has linked hydrothermal vents, like deep-sea volcanoes, to the "origin of life." So are we looking at the early signs of future land-dwellers? We'll have to wait and see.


Mount Everest is bigger now than the last time it was measured.


Mount Everest may not have physically grown, having reached maturity a long time ago, however, the most recent measurement performed by surveyors representing China and Nepal has the mountain peak standing taller than we'd thought in the past. Previous readings have ranged from 29,002 feet above sea level in 1856 down to 20,029 in 1955, according to NPR. But after the long process of measuring the mountain with GPS devices, experts have now stated that Mount Everest stands at a whopping 29,031.69 feet, due to plate tectonics.


Climate change is causing flowers to change color.


Don't worry, your prized red roses aren't going to turn turquoise overnight, but an increase in UV radiation due to the ozone layer deteriorating over the past decades has caused flowers all over the globe to change. A 2020 study led by Clemson University scientists determined that the UV pigmentation in flowers has increased over time which has led to the degradation of their pollen. Although we can't see the color change with our eyes, it is a big problem for pollinators like bees who are attracted to the bright colors that flowers produce.


Dentistry is the oldest profession in the world.


Dentistry goes all way back to when humans first had teeth…well not quite that long. However, one study found evidence of teeth being drilled in skulls that dates from 7,500 to 9,000 years ago. The holes were likely made using a prehistoric bow-drill. Could that be the work of the first dentist? Other biting research conducted by the University of Bologna, Italy on a 14,000-year-old skull found that "one rotten tooth in the jaw had been deliberately scoured and scraped with a tool," according to the BBC. That makes dentistry one of the oldest recorded professions and is definitely a reason to smile.

Click the link below ⬇️ to read more random facts from around the world.

Source: World Facts  |  Wikipedia - World



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Fact of the Day - SENSE OF SMELL


Did you know..... that the sense of smell, or olfaction, is the special sense through which smells are perceived. The sense of smell has many functions, including detecting hazards, and pheromones, and plays a role in taste. (Wikipedia)



Facts About Your Sense of Smell
The sense is more powerful than you could have ever imagined.

By Nancie George  |  Last Updated: October 2014



Your sense of smell is the only sense that has a direct connection to the brain.


Olfaction, the sense of smell, might be the Rodney Dangerfield of the five senses: It gets no respect — or at least not as much as it should. From how many different scents the nose can pick up to the link between smell and overall health, there are a lot of things about this sense that may surprise you.


Here are 10 strange but true facts about our sense of smell:


1. People can detect at least one trillion distinct scents.


Scientists thought that the human nose could only detect about 10,000 different smells, but that information was based on a study from 1927 and very outdated. This year, researchers from Rockefeller University tested people’s sense of smell by using different mixtures of odor molecules. The results, published in the journal Science, showed that the nose can smell at least one trillion distinct scents.  So how exactly does humans’ sense of smell work? When odors enter the nose, they travel to the top of the nasal cavity to the olfactory cleft where the nerves for smell are located, explains Amber Luong, MD, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. “There, the odorant is detected by various receptors located on the nerve cells and the combination of activated nerves travel to the brain. The combination of activated nerves generates all the unique smells that we as humans can detect,” says Dr. Luong. Some of the most pleasant or pleasurable scents include vanilla, some forms of orange scents, cinnamon, crayons, and cookies, according to Luong and Dolores Malaspina, MD, MSPH, professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University in New York. 


2. Scent cells are renewed every 30 to 60 days.


The sense of smell is the only cranial nervenerves that emerge from the brain and control bodily functions including eye movement, hearing, taste, and vision — that can regenerate, says Luong. 


3. You can smell fear and disgust.


You can smell feelings of fear and disgust through sweat, and then you can experience the same emotions, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Psychological Science. Researchers collected sweat from men as they watched movies that caused these feelings. To remain odor-neutral for the sweat test, the men used scent-free products, and quit smoking and using alcohol. Women participants then completed visual search tests, while unknowingly smelling the sweaty samples. The women’s eye movements and facial expressions were recorded during this time.  The researchers found that women who smelled the “fear sweat” opened their eyes widely in a fearful expression, and women who smelled the “disgust sweat” also displayed facial expressions of disgust. 


4. Smell is the oldest sense.


Chemodetection — detecting chemicals related to smell or taste — is the most ancient sense, says Malaspina. “Even a single cell animal has ways to detect the chemical composition of the environment,” she adds. 


5. Women have a better sense of smell than men.


Women always are better at odor and smell identification than men, and every study finds that,” says Malaspina. She says one of the reasons for this may be that women have a more developed orbital prefrontal region of the brain. It may have also evolved from an ability to discern the best possible mates, or to help women better bond with and understand newborns.


6. Age-related loss of smell is linked to race.


African-Americans and Hispanics experience loss of smelling related to age earlier than Caucasians, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Researchers asked more than 3,000 adults aged 57 to 85 years to identify five common odors. Although age-related loss of smell is common, this is the first study to examine racial differences. Results showed non-Caucasian individuals consistently scored 47 percent lower than Caucasians, and were equivalent to being nine years older. Women from all races performed the smell test better than men, and were equivalent to being five years younger. The exact cause for this difference is unknown, but researchers believe genetics and environment (such as exposure to nerve-damaging substances) could be factors. 


7. Dogs have nearly 44 times more scent cells than humans.


Humans have five to six million odor-detecting cells as compared to dogs that have 220 million cells,” says Luong. ”We have evolved to rely less on our sense of smell, while most animals have retained this sense.” Another fun fact about canines and smell: "Dogs can distinguish non-identical twins but not identical twins based on odors," says Malaspina.


8. Loss of smell may signal future illnesses.


Decreased sense of smell may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease,” says Luong. Two studies presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2014 found that a reduced ability to identify scents was associated with brain cell function loss and advancement to Alzheimer’s disease. A study published in the Annals of Neurology also found that a diminished sense of smell can precede the development of Parkinson’s disease


9. Each human has their own distinct odor.


Like fingerprints, every person has their own distinct odor. The distinct odor you have comes from the same genes that determine tissue type, says Malaspina. 


10. Decline in smell may predict death within five years.


A recent study published in the journal PLOS ONE found that a decreased ability to identify scents may predict death within five years. The study looked at more than 3,000 Americans aged 57 to 85, and found that people unable to identify scents like rose, orange, and peppermint were more than three times as likely to die in the next five years. Still, having a diminished sense of smell isn’t necessarily something to panic about. Most of the things that interfere with olfactory senses are allergies and head injuries, and not factors that suggest an increased risk of death. “We know that new brain cells are produced throughout life in a few different olfactory areas, and the earlier death may relate to the decline of cell regeneration that is occurring in other body regions as well,” says Malaspina.



Source: Wikipedia - Sense of Smell  |  Facts about Sense of Smell

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Facts of the Day - HATS


Did you know... that a hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, hats may denote nationality, branch of service, rank or regiment. Police typically wear distinctive hats such as peaked caps or brimmed hats, such as those worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Some hats have a protective function. As examples, the hard hat protects construction workers' heads from injury by falling objects, a British police Custodian helmet protects the officer's head, a sun hat shades the face and shoulders from the sun, a cowboy hat protects against sun and rain and an ushanka fur hat with fold-down earflaps keeps the head and ears warm. Some hats are worn for ceremonial purposes, such as the mortarboard, which is worn (or carried) during university graduation ceremonies. Some hats are worn by members of a certain profession, such as the Toque worn by chefs. Some hats have religious functions, such as the mitres worn by Bishops and the turban worn by Sikhs. (Wikipedia)


Traditional Hats From Around the World


WHAT WE WEAR can say a lot about us, including where we’re from. Hats have been integral to traditional dress throughout history, signifying everything from social or political status to local weather patterns. Numerous hats have even become icons of their countries of origin. From fur caps designed to combat brutal winter to military headdresses turned fashion statements, here are 11 intriguing hats with equally fascinating backstories from around the world.


1. The sombrero


Some hats have purely aesthetic value. Others, like the sombrero, have more utilitarian origins. Mexico’s signature wide-brimmed hat was designed to protect wearers from the sun, taking its name from the Spanish word for “shadow” or “shade.” Technically, a sombrero can be any brimmed hat to Spanish speakers, but the word typically conjures images of Cinco de Mayo celebrants and mariachi bands. Although the hat’s exact origin is unknown — one popular theory traces it back to the Mestizo cowboys of Central Mexico — it has historically been linked to socioeconomic status. Wider brims, decorative elements, and more expensive materials like felt as opposed to straw were all indicators of wealth.


2. The fez


Often identified with Moroccan and Middle Eastern men’s dress, variations of the fez have been found everywhere from Cyprus to Serbia. The brimless, flat-topped felt cap was popularized during the Ottoman Empire when Sultan Mahmud II banned turbans and made the fez standard military garb as part of a modernization effort. The campaign was so successful that Mustafa Kemal Atatürk later banned the fez in order to distinguish the Republic of Turkey from its former Ottoman rule. Dye made from crimson berries native to Fez, Morocco originally gave the hat its characteristic hue, which also explains its name in English. Funnily enough, the fez is actually known as a tarboosh in Morocco.


3. The Aussie bush hat


First used by military personnel in 1885, the Aussie bush hat has been a staple of the Australian Army uniform since 1903. It isn’t just for soldiers, however; generations-old hat manufacturer Akubra and others have sold Aussie bush hats as fashion pieces since the early 1900s. The classic Akubra hat is wide-brimmed and made with rabbit fur felt — picture Crocodile Dundee’s signature headwear minus the crocodile teeth — though Akubra has become a proprietary eponym for generic Aussie bush hats, much like Kleenex is a catch-all for tissues and Band-Aid is for adhesive bandages.


4. The tam o’ shanter


Scottish men have worn bonnets since the 16th century, but the tam o’ shanter was not known as such until Robert Burns published a poem by the same name in 1790. It’s a close relative of the Glengarry bonnet and Balmoral hat, both of which preceded the tam o’ shanter as infantry gear. The floppy Scottish hat was worn exclusively by men until the 1920s when derivative hats called tams were introduced as women’s fashion in Europe and America. It’s also loosely associated with the traditional Rastafarian beanie, which goes by the name “tam” as well.


5. The Tyrolean hat


Also known as the Alpine or Bavarian hat, the Tyrolean hat comes from Central European countries such as Austria, Germany, and Switzerland. It originated in Tyrol, a region located between present-day Italy and Austria, and remained a fashion staple throughout the 20th century. The Tyrolean hat was commonly made from green felt and featured feathers, flowers, or other ornaments in the hatband. It’s no longer worn day to day, but the traditional headdress remains a proud emblem of Tyrolean and Bavarian culture to this day, especially when Oktoberfest rolls around.


6. The ushanka


It makes sense that the hat most associated with Russia, land of notoriously frigid winters, is made entirely of fur and almost completely surrounds the face. The ushanka is known for its characteristic earflaps and derives its name from the Russian word for “ears” (ushi). Warm headgear offering near-total coverage was crucial for soldiers in Russia and Eastern Europe over the years, and the modern-day ushanka was created as part of a winter-uniform redesign for the Red Army. No longer a cultural and political symbol of the Soviet Union, this insanely cozy hat is now worn casually and is mainly manufactured out of artificial fur known as “fish fur.”


7. The Greek fisherman’s hat


Everyone from John Lennon to Vladimir Lenin has rocked the Greek fisherman’s hat. The traditional wool, visored cap has humble origins as a mariner’s accessory, dating as far back as the early-19th century. It was quickly adopted by merchant navy sailors and was ubiquitous in coastal Mediterranean villages by the turn of the 20th century. Still, the Greek fisherman’s hat did not reach peak popularity until after John Lennon was seen wearing one, as well as American musicians such as Bob Dylan.


8. The conical Asian hat


The conical Asian hat is not specific to one country or even region in Asia. Rather, hats of similar design have cropped up in several countries between East and South Asia. It’s a practical hat that was designed to shield wearers from both sun and rain, making it an excellent choice for farmers everywhere from Vietnam to Japan. In the past, bejeweled or otherwise ornamented conical Asian hats were also worn by nobility.


9. The kufi hat


The kufi hat is a brimless, close-fitting cap worn throughout North, East, and West Africa, as well as parts of South Asia. It’s part of the national costume for many West African men and is often associated with religious dress elsewhere. Crocheted kufi hats are popular throughout the Muslim world while patterned hats are preferred by African Christians and Jews. In the US, wearers also represent a variety of faiths. Although the kufi hat is more commonly seen on men, it is considered a unisex accessory in a handful of traditions.


10. The beret


Similar floppy hats first appeared in Europe as far back as the Bronze Age, though the actual beret was not mass-produced until the 19th century. It was massively trendy in both France and Spain, and the military beret was even adopted by several European armies after WWI. Despite the fact that American jazz greats like Thelonious Monk and historic figures like Che Guevara have all famously sported berets, this simple yet stylish cap will always be a French icon in the eyes of the world.


11. The bowler hat


Thomas and William Bowler designed this quintessentially British hat in the mid-19th century. It’s believed to have been created as an alternative to the top hat, which was particularly problematic for groundskeepers who rode horseback past low-hanging branches. The bowler hat took off among working-class men across the UK and later America, soon spreading to the upper class. Bowler hats have also been a major part of Bolivian women’s dress since their introduction to South America in the 1920s. As the story goes, bowler hats were shipped across the pond for male railway workers but ended up being too small, thus creating a trend among local Quechua and Aymara women that is still relevant today. 

Source: Wikipedia - Hat  |  Hats From Around the World

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Fact of the Day - DANCE


Did you know... that dance is a performing art form consisting of sequences of movement, either improvised or purposefully selected. This movement has aesthetic and often symbolic value. Dance can be categorized and described by its choreography, by its repertoire of movements, or by its historical period or place of origin. (Wikipedia)



Unique Ways People Dance All Over the World
by Shoshi Parks  |  May 25, 2020



One of the best ways to get to know a country is not just through its music, but through the movement it inspires. Around the world, dance has served for centuries as a form of artistic expression, religious enlightenment, and storytelling. The currents of history, too, roll through many dances whose intricate steps and syncopated beats are a product of clashing civilizations, slavery, and immigration. From Ethiopia’s shoulder-bouncing eskista to the whirling dervishes of Turkey, journey around the world with these 16 dance-crazes.


Pow Wow - WHERE: United States


A pow wow isn’t a dance, per say, but rather a dance competition where performers from a variety of Native American traditions prance, leap, and promenade. Dressed in the regalia of their people, elaborate outfits that incorporate headdresses, feather bustles, and long fringe, many of the dances tell stories of or pay tribute to the natural world. As they spin across the arena, the stylized steps of the dancers move to the beat of rhythmic drumming and melodic singing that combines lyrics in native languages with syllables like “hey,” “loi,” and “ya.” Among the most mesmerizing dances performed at pow wows are the Southwestern hoop dance, in which the dancer juggles, balances, and jumps through more than a dozen hoops, and the jingle dance, an Ojibwa-originated healing dance performed by women in dresses strung with tiny tinkling tin cones. (Insider tip: Pow wows take place throughout the year from California to New England but the largest, the Gathering of Nations, is held annually on the fourth weekend in April in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The three-day event brings together close to 800 North American Indigenous communities to compete in dancing, singing, and drumming.)


Breaking (Breakdancing) - WHERE: United States


Breaking, or breakdancing, emerged out of New York City in the early 1970s against a backdrop of increasing crime, unemployment, and social unrest. The first b-boys were almost entirely African American youth, whose gymnastic improvisation included moves like head spinning, hand hops, windmills, and complex footwork performed to looped and remixed beats. Fifty years on, breaking has spread to a number of countries around the world and both b-boys and b-girls in the US hail from every ethnic community. Like they did in the beginning, informal battles between solo artists and crews still rock city streets and onlookers gather in a “cypher” (a circle) around the competitors to watch the dancers show off their best tricks and power-moves. (Insider tip: To see the best of the best b-boys and b-girls, check out an international breaking competition live or in the 2007 documentary ‘Planet B-Boy.’)


Haka - WHERE: New Zealand


In Maori mythology, the haka is a celebration of life. Most often, though, the only one facet of the haka is performed, the peruperu, or war dance that draws out the movements of the body in a symphony of stomping, grunting, and tongue lolling performed to rhythmic chanting or shouting. Even New Zealand’s national rugby union team, the All Blacks, perform a version of a war haka before matches. For the Indigenous community of New Zealand, though the dance takes a variety of essential forms,  including the tūtū ngārahu, in which the dancers jump from side-to-side, and the more subdued manawa wera which is typically performed at funerals.


Kabuki - WHERE: Japan


Japan’s kabuki is part dance, part drama—a theatrical art whose origins can be traced back to Kyoto at the turn of the 17th century. In its earliest form, women filled the roles of both male and female characters in short comedic plays with bawdy and sexually suggestive undertones. Later it was men who took over both male and female roles. Over the centuries, as kabuki evolved, it became a five-act performance that fell into one of three categories: Japanese history, domestic drama, and dance pieces. Stylized movements and poses, faces painted in white rice powder and lined with colored kumadori, and colorful costumes all express the emotions of the characters. Meanwhile, theater tricks like trap doors and a revolving stage help to draw the audience into an event meant to keep them entertained for an entire day. (Insider tip: Kabuki is regularly performed in Japan including at Tokyo’s Shinbashi Enbujo Theatre, Osaka’s Shochikuza Theatre and the historic Minamiza Theatre in Kyoto.)


Royal Ballet of Cambodia (Khmer Classical Dance) - WHERE: Cambodia


There are no pointe shoes or tutus in the Royal ballet of Cambodia but the dance requires just as much skill as its European counterpart. An ancient art form that was first recorded in the royal courts of the 7th century, Khmer classical dance combines elaborate hand gestures and precise foot and leg positions to convey meaning and express emotion. There are only four basic characters in the ballet—male, female, ogre or aspara, and monkey—and their performances revolve around mythologies, traditional stories and romantic damsel-in-distress-type dramas. Each of the approximately 100 dances and dramas in the repertoire of the Royal Ballet is performed to the music of a “pinpeat” ensemble, xylophones, oboes, drums, and other instruments that accompany lyrical poetry sung in a chorus. (Insider Tip: Though Khmer classical dance was almost lost during the brutal regime of the Khmer Rouge, a new generation of dancers have brought it back to life. Catch regular evening performances at the National Museum in Phnom Penh.)


Barong - WHERE: Indonesia


A barong, a traditional protective spirit, watches over each region of the Indonesian island of Bali. There are several on duty, including an old pig, a tiger, an elephant, and a dog-like creature. But it is the lion, the barong ket, who is most commonly seen, the protagonist of an epic dance battle between good and evil in which it confronts the Queen of Demons and her army of evil witches. The barong is played by two people hidden within a complex costume covered in thick fur, gold jewelry, and tiny mirrors. In the performance, they dance in synchronization until finally convincing the evil witches to turn their daggers on themselves and restore the balance of nature. (Insider Tip: The Barong Ket is performed several times a week in Ubud, including at the Ubud Palace on Wednesday and Friday evenings.)


Bhangra - WHERE: India

It used to be that bhangra dancing took place primarily in the fields of Punjab, India, the improvised moves of farmers busted out during the harvest season to make their chores just a little less boring. Away from the fields, farmers brought their dance to harvest-honoring cultural festivals where they’d form circles and execute a series of kicks, leaps, and bends to rhythmic music with a syncopated beat made by a dhol or double-headed drum. But even though bhangra was originally associated with the masculine values of a patriarchal society, today women also bust a move, especially in the Punjabi diaspora and on the Bollywood scene.


Eskista - WHERE: Ethiopia

Eskista, a vigorous bouncing shoulder dance, hails from Ethiopia. Based on the movements of a snake’s “neck” (or so legend has it), the eskista is a highly technical dance that involves rolling the shoulder blades, thrusting the chest and popping the shoulders while the rest of the body stays relatively still. Though the eskista can be performed to pop music and sometimes shows up in music videos, it’s traditionally danced to upbeat Ethiopian folk music played on chordophones (stringed instruments), aerophones (wind instruments), rattles, and drums. (Insider tip: Check out an eskista performance in Addis Ababa at one of two traditional Ethiopian restaurants, Yod Abyssinia or Habesha 2000.)


Adumu - WHERE: Kenya & Tanzania

Traditionally it’s young Maasai warriors who perform the athletic coming-of-age ceremonial dance, the adumu, in Kenya and Tanzania. The dancers stand in a circle, bouncing and chanting in a deep, droning bass as one by one or two at a time the men move into the center to jump as high as they can over and over. The warrior that jumps the highest earns bragging rights for his impressive display of masculinity. Though women and children don’t dance the adumu, they chant along with the men as they watch the performance, raising the pitch of their voices along with the jumps.


Kpanlogo - WHERE: Ghana


While many of the dances from Africa are rooted in long-standing traditions, the kpanlogo developed out of the wave of American rock-and-roll that hit Ghana in the early 1960s. Like youth in other parts of the world, young people of the Ga ethnic group in the capital city of Accra were inspired by the never-before-heard new music to shake and shimmy in ways that were wholly unique. The dance they created was salacious for its time, performed close to the ground with deeply bended knees, a bended back and sexually suggestive motions. Kpanlogo music, too, developed locally to combine a sort of rhythm-and-blues beat with traditional Ga instruments like metal bells, gourd rattles, and drums.


Click the link below ⬇️ to read more about dances from around the world.


Source: Unique Dances Around the World  |  Wikipedia - Dance  

Edited by DarkRavie
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Did you know.... that technological evolution is a theory of radical transformation of society through technological development. This theory originated with Czech philosopher Radovan Richta. (Wikipedia)



Little Known Facts About Technology
by Lokajit Tikayatray  |  December 2020 



Human being has done wonders with the progress of technology in the last century. Technology has put spectacular tools and resources in our hands to make our lives ever so convenient. New findings in the technical field are so frequent that it has become hard for many to catch up with the pace of inventions. As fascinating as these technical wonders seem today, the stories behind them are even more interesting. Here are ten such amazing little known facts about the technology we all use almost every day.


1. QWERTY keyboard was designed to slow down the typing speed


People boast about their writing speed on a typewriter or keyboard. It is even a competitive advantage for some jobs to have faster and accurate typing skills. But do you know the current layout of the QWERTY keyboards is the outcome of a solution designed to slow down the typing speed? The initial versions of typewriters made in the 1870s had few technical issues. The metal arms, which hold the characters, used to clash and jam if the keys were pressed in rapid succession or if a typist pressed the adjacent keys simultaneously. To avoid the problem and have a better typing experience, Christopher Latham Sholes made many design alterations to the keyboard layout. The current layout of the QWERTY keyboards was finally designed by E. Remington and Sons, which solved the problem of jammed type bars.


2. Water Integrator — a computer that ran on water


Vladimir Sergeevich Lukyanov built the world’s first computer in 1936 that solved differential equations in partial derivatives. The amazing fact is that the machine was driven by water. The construction company that Lukyanov worked with was unable to find a solution for the cracks that used to happen in concretes during winter’s sub-zero temperature. To understand the thermal process better, Lukyanov researched the temperature conditions in concrete masonry. Finally, he built the water integrator machine that could plot graphs and help visualize the thermal process. Manufacturing plants, research organizations, and educational institutes used the water computers well into the 1970s. The use of these hydraulic integrators diminished once the digital computers became more powerful and convenient to use.


3. The first computer mouse was called ‘X-Y Position Indicator for Display Systems’


The world’s first computer mouse was invented at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in the 1960s. The equipment was called “X-Y position indicator for displays”. Douglas Engelbart and Bill English are credited with the invention of the mouse. The story that Xerox APAC invented the mouse is a myth. Engelbart demoed the mouse first time in 1968 using the Xerox Alto computer. He termed the demo as ‘Mother of all demos”. The name ‘Mouse' was coined for the instrument as the cable sticking out of it reminded Engelbart of a rodent’s tail.


4. Wikipedia is maintained by thousands of bots


Most of today’s internet users are aware of what Wikipedia is. It is a vast collection of crowd-sourced information available online. It is common knowledge that the online encyclopedia is created and edited by volunteers. But do you know that there are thousands of bots (automated programs) that currently maintain the Wikipedia pages? Today, there are 2468 bot tasks approved to carry out maintenance jobs on more than 52 million English Wikipedia pages. Wikipedia bots perform operations such as new page creation, spelling correction, style correction, etc. Bots can also revert the pages to the original version when edits are made due to vandalism. Anyone with programming knowledge can easily create bots for Wikipedia. However, these programs need to be approved by the Bot Approval Group before they can maintain Wikipedia pages.


5. You can visit the world’s first webpage even today


Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, working at CERN, invented the World Wide Web in 1989. It took another two years for the world’s first website to make its appearance. The first webpage went live in 1991 and was hosted on a NeXT system at CERN. The amazing fact is that the first web site is still available for you to visit. It serves as a historical archive for everything available online about the World Wide Web. Click here to check it out.


6. Apple once forayed into the apparel business


Today Apple has made its own distinguished name in everything they do. Take it the Mac OS, MacBook, iPod, or iPhone. The company always wants to create an isolated echo system for its own and has successfully maintained it that way. However, do you know Apple also had a clothing line in 1986? The collection was called ‘The Apple Collection’. It is unimaginable today that Apple was once into the apparel business. The company launched its catalog one year after Steve Jobs had left the company.


7. Google was up for sale in 1999


Larry Page wanted to sell Google to Excite in 1999. The deal was stuck around $750,000 and 1% of Excite. But then the deal fell apart. Today Google’s Market cap is over $700 billion. There are two versions of the story around why Excite did not buy Google at that time. As per the then Excite CEO George Bell, he rejected the deal because Larry Page insisted that Excite should replace all its search technology with Google’s search technology. However, as per the details given by Steven Levy in his book ‘In The Plex’ George Bell was not very happy with Google’s search algorithm’s excellent performance. Bell thought Google’s relevant search results might take the users away to other websites, which means it will be harder to retain the users on their own Excite webpages.

If Excite were to host a search engine that instantly gave people information they sought, he explained, the users would leave the site instantly. Since his ad revenue came from people staying on the site — “stickiness” was the most desired metric in websites at the time — using BackRub’s technology would be counterproductive. —Steven Levy


8. Amazon.com is not the original name of the website


Jeff Bezos tried several different names for his business before he finalized on Amazon. The very first name he registered was Cadabra Inc. After some feedback about the name being too obscure; the entrepreneur decided to change the name to something different. Bezos registered his website with many other names before arriving at the current version — amazon.com — that is recognized worldwide. Some of the earlier domain names were aard.com, awake.com, browse.com, bookmall.com, and relentless.com. Among all these names, he still owns the name relentless.com. The site relentless.com however, redirects to amazon.com today.


9. Smoking can void your Apple product warranties


Do you know your Apple product can lose its warranty if you smoke near them? Apple has the policy to safeguard their technicians from any toxic work environment. Tobacco tars settled on the systems are considered harmful. Hence, Apple can deny servicing your product even if they are in warranty if they believe that the product has come in contact with tobacco smoke. There is no warranty void clause written in the product documents. But there are numerous instances where the company has refused to honor the warranty on a product that has been exposed to smoke. People have detailed their experiences with not be able to claim warranty repair on their Apple products due to findings of tobacco tars settled on the parts. If you want to stay safe and have a valid warranty on your Apple products, don’t let people smoke near any of them.


10. You can code programs using just whitespaces


Do you know that you can code using just whitespaces? The programming language that makes it possible is called ‘Whitespace’. All it takes to write a program in this language is to use the spaces, tabs, and linefeeds. The interpreter ignores any non-whitespace characters. Copy the whole code from my gist file and execute it to check for yourself. It is as easy as copy the lines from #3 to #70, go to this site, paste it in the ‘code’ block, and hit Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Cmd +Enter (Mac) on your keyboard to find the output. It is super cool, right! You can use this to write programs that no one can read or understand unless they know that there is something written on a seemingly blank notepad.

Source: Wikipedia - Technological Evolution  |  Technological Evolution Facts

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Fact of the Day - HUMOUR / LAUGHTER


Did you know... that humour or humor is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours, controlled human health and emotion. (Wikipedia)


Facts About Laughing That Are Sure to Make You Smile
By Beth Dreher, RD.com  |  Updated: Mar. 11, 2020

You’ll get a chuckle from this trivia about one of our most ancient forms of expression and communication.


Humans laughed before they spoke


Some scientists believe that laughter was used as a way for humans to relate to one another millions of years before they developed the lung strength for language. The mechanism of laughter is so ingrained in our brains that babies as young as 17 days old have been observed doing it. In fact, children born blind and deaf still have the ability to laugh.


Laughter is actually rarely tied to humour


In his book, Laughing: A Scientific Investigation, Robert R. Provine, professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, describes an intriguing study about laughter—and it didn’t take place at a comedy club. Provine and some graduate students listened in on normal conversations at local malls. They found that out of 1,200 “laugh episodes,” only about 10 per cent were generated by a joke. “Laughter really has a bonding function between individuals in a group,” says Provine.


Speaking of bonding, these jokes about marriage are perfect for a wedding!


Rats and monkeys laugh


It may sound strange, but several scientists have elicited “tickle-induced vocalizations” from primates. Penny Patterson, president of the Gorilla Foundation says that Koko, the gorilla famous for her sign language abilities, even had a special “ho, ho,” for visitors she liked. And rats apparently have very ticklish necks. When Bowling Green State University scientist Jaak Panksepp and his graduate students tickled baby rats’ napes, the rodents emitted high-frequency chirps that Panksepp interpreted as laughter.


Surprise—you’ve got these animal “facts” all wrong.


Couples who laugh together, stay together


Robert Levenson, psychology professor at the University of California Berkeley, invited couples into his lab and asked each partner to discuss something that irritated him or her about the other partner. The couples who tackled the stressful situation with laughter not only felt better in the moment, but had higher levels of relationship satisfaction and stayed together longer than couples who didn’t crack a smile.


Here’s what you should tell you spouse every day for a happier marriage.


Laughter controls our brains


When you see people laughing, you just can’t help but smile, right? That’s because your brain makes it nearly impossible not it. This fact about laughing is the result of research from the lab of Sophie Scott, a neuroscientist at University College London. When she monitored subjects’ brains while she played laughing sounds, she found that the premotor cortical region of the brain, which prepares the muscles in the face to move, was activated.


Need a good laugh? Check out the best Reader’s Digest jokes of all time.


Laughing burns more calories than you may think


This funny fact about laughing is no joke! Just 10 to 15 minutes of laughing a day can burn up to 40 calories, according to a Vanderbilt University study. Researchers determined that the increase in heart rate and oxygen consumption during these funny moments boosted the burn.


Nashville is a really funny place


At 8:04 p.m. on April 15, 2015, a crew of comedians put Nashville in the record books. Funny folks including Hannibal Buress, Rory Shovel, and Ahmed Ahmed riffed on stage to help set a new record for the longest continuous stand-up comedy show by multiple comedians: 208 hours, 16 minutes.


Looking for some homegrown humour? Check out 50 up-and-coming Canadian comedians—and their best jokes!


Laughter really is the best medicine


Study after study has pointed to the health benefits of laughter: Research from Loma Linda University showed that laughing improved the memory of adults in their 60s and 70s; University of Maryland School of Medicine researchers found that hilarious movies improved the function of blood vessels and increased blood flow in a group of 20 thirty-somethings. And other research has shown that laughing can improve immunity, help regulate blood sugar levels, and improve sleep.


Want to hone your talent for humour? Check out these pro tips on how to be funny.


Your sense of humour might be genetic


In a Northwestern University study of more than 300 people, those with the short version, or allele, of gene 5-HTTLPR are quicker to laugh at cartoons or funny movie clips than those with the long version of the gene. That particular gene has long been associated with the study of depression, but this is the first study to look at its connection to positive emotions. “People with short alleles may flourish in a positive environment and suffer in a negative one,” said study co-auothor Claudia M. Haase. “While people with long alleles are less sensitive to environmental conditions.”


Now that you’ve learned these funny facts about laughing, find out the fascinating origins of some of your favourite jokes.

Source: Wikipedia - Humour  |  Facts About Laughing


Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - STARFISH


Did you know.... that starfish or sea stars are star-shaped echinoderms belonging to the class Asteroidea. Common usage frequently finds these names being also applied to ophiuroids, which are correctly referred to as brittle stars or basket stars. Starfish are also known as Asteroids due to being in the class Asteroidea. About 1,500 species of starfish occur on the seabed in all the world's oceans, from the tropics to frigid polar waters. They are found from the intertidal zone down to abyssal depths, 6,000 m (20,000 ft) below the surface. Starfish are marine invertebrates. They typically have a central disc and usually five arms, though some species have a larger number of arms. The aboral or upper surface may be smooth, granular or spiny, and is covered with overlapping plates. Many species are brightly coloured in various shades of red or orange, while others are blue, grey or brown. Starfish have tube feet operated by a hydraulic system and a mouth at the centre of the oral or lower surface. They are opportunistic feeders and are mostly predators on benthic invertebrates. Several species have specialized feeding behaviours including eversion of their stomachs and suspension feeding. They have complex life cycles and can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Most can regenerate damaged parts or lost arms and they can shed arms as a means of defense. The Asteroidea occupy several significant ecological roles. Starfish, such as the ochre sea star (Pisaster ochraceus) and the reef sea star (Stichaster australis), have become widely known as examples of the keystone species concept in ecology. The tropical crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) is a voracious predator of coral throughout the Indo-Pacific region, and the northern Pacific sea star is considered to be one of the world's 100 worst invasive species. (Wikipedia)


Facts About Sea Stars That Are Out of This World

How much do you know about the stars of the sea?

by Katie Hogge  |  JANUARY 2019



Sea stars are possibly one of the most recognizable and iconic of all marine wildlife species, and a coastal classic when it comes to shoreline visits. Yet, there’s so much more than meets the eye when it comes to these seemingly simple creatures. From thousands of hidden feet to the ability to grow back lost limbs, these seven facts about sea stars just might make your jaw drop in disbelief!


They aren’t fish


Sea stars lack a number of fishy anatomical features, including gills, scales or fins. Categorized in the phylum Echinodermata, they’re invertebrates, and are related to sand dollars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers and sea lilies. Since they aren’t fish, scientists tend to get a little irked when people call them “starfish,” so “sea stars” is a more appropriate term. The biggest fact to illuminate this difference? They don’t have fins, so they can’t swim around like fish can! However, that doesn’t mean they can’t move around.


These stars were made for walkin’


If you thought sea stars remained stagnant their entire lives, staying motionless in one place or floating with the tides, think again. On each of a sea star’s five arms, the bottom side of the limb presents a peculiar yet extraordinary feature. Each arm contains up to 15,000 tiny little ‘tube feet,’ which are able to orchestrate movements that ‘walk’ the sea star along…often quite efficiently! Recent research has discovered something even more astounding about these little feet, too: apparently, they contain a potent glue-like substance, which can secure the sea star to objects like rocks so that they don’t fall off or get washed away with the tide. Their feet will even secrete a solvent once the sea star needs to move somewhere else, dissolving the gluey-substance when the creature is ready.


They have two stomachs…and the way they eat might make your skin crawl


The anatomy of a sea star’s digestive system is quite alarming, and has an incredibly unique two-part stomach system. Here’s what happens during the digestive process: first, a sea star moves its entire body on top of its prey, so that its mouth is centered on the organism of choice. It will then use its sac-like cardiac stomach to ooze digestive enzymes onto their prey. Once the flesh of the prey is broken down enough, the second stomach portion (known as the pyloric stomach) engulfs the prey to complete digestion internally. Yes, you read that correctly: the first part of digestion occurs outside of the sea star’s body, where the animal essentially ‘throws up’ one of its organs, eventually completing the process by sucking everything back into itself. Nature is wild, and sometimes, a bit graphic. But hey, we’re not judging.


They’re extremely aggressive predators, and can sometimes be cannibalistic


While your first instinct may be to consider sea stars as harmlessly docile grazers, most are actually insatiable carnivores. While they normally feed on organisms like coral, sponges, shellfish and algae, some will eat whatever they can manage to get their stomachs onto, and that includes—you guessed it—other sea stars, even of the same species. The chocolate chip sea star (Protoreaster nodosus) is just one sea star that has been documented to behave in this manner, but it’s said to be more of a chance mishap than a purposeful act of attacking the same species.


Not all sea stars have five arms


While the characteristic sea star figure that we tend to visualize in our minds has a total of five arms, these organisms refuse to be limited by our assumptions when it comes to their number of limbs. With more than 2,000 species of sea stars in our ocean today, there are individuals that present with 10, 20 or even 50 arms. One excellent example is the sun sea star, a hefty species known to grow many arms and weigh more than 10 pounds, showcasing arms that are configured in more of a solar ray-like arrangement than a classic star shape.


They can regrow their body parts


The ability to regrow body parts might sound like a bit of a fictional superpower, but for sea stars, it’s all just a part of their reality. Don’t let the fact that their arms are all coordinated around a center point fool you; the majority of sea star’s vital organs are actually housed in their arms. While some species require the core of their body to be in one piece in order for limb regeneration to occur, others have been known to grow an entirely new body from just one detached arm! This mechanism allows sea stars to prove themselves awfully resilient, living for up to 35 years in the wild.


They don’t have eyes like ours, but they can still ‘see’


While sea stars don’t exactly see like we do, they definitely aren’t blind. Instead of eyeballs, sea stars have tiny eye ‘spots’ embedded beneath the skin of each arm. While they’re certainly small, these spots are actually visible if you look very closely at the end of each limb. Usually appearing as a dot that is either black or reddish in coloration, these spots are photosensitive, enabling sea stars to recognize shapes as they navigate over the seafloor and around both peers and prey.


Sea stars are iconic creatures and are far more unique than they appear at first sight. And they aren’t the only marine wildlife with little-known astounding features! With our Wildlife Fact Sheets, you can learn new information about all your favorite ocean species. What new ocean trivia will you discover today?

Source: Wikipedia - Starfish  |  Facts About Sea Stars

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Fact of the Day - PUN


Punch cartoon from 1913 whose title "KLEPTOROUMANIA"

is a pun on kleptomania


Did you know.... that the pun, also known as paronomasia, is a form of word play that exploits multiple meanings of a term, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect. These ambiguities can arise from the intentional use of homophonic, homographic, metonymic, or figurative language. A pun differs from a malapropism in that a malapropism is an incorrect variation on a correct expression, while a pun involves expressions with multiple (correct or fairly reasonable) interpretations. Puns may be regarded as in-jokes or idiomatic constructions, especially as their usage and meaning are usually specific to a particular language or its culture. Puns have a long history in human writing. For example, the Roman playwright Plautus was famous for his puns and word games. (Wikipedia)


Pun-derful Facts About Puns




Puns can be divisive: Some find them irresistible, some find them groan-worthy. And while newspaper readers may appreciate clever wordplay in a headline—say, “Big Rig Carrying Fruit Crashes on 210 Freeway, Creates Jam,” or one of The New York Post’s Anthony Weiner puns—most people don’t drop puns in everyday conversation.


But for others, punning is a way of life. Pun competitions challenge wordsmiths to come up with as many great puns as they can on the fly in front of an audience. And they aren’t for the faint of heart, as author Joe Berkowitz found out over the course of writing Away With Words, his book about the world of competitive punning. Here are ten facts we learned from the book about puns and the art of wielding them competitively.



Kauffman, Carrie, 6th Grade / Social Studies
Making puns “crosses all major languages and cultures in history,” John Pollack, an international punning champion and the author of a historical look at the phenomenon, The Pun Also Rises, told Berkowitz. In San Juan Chamula, Mexico, a tradition of verbal duels called k’ehel k’op, which often revolves around puns, dates back to Mayan times. Traditional Palestinian weddings have featured pun-heavy oral poetry duels for centuries.


The largest and most prestigious pun competition is the O. Henry Pun-Off World Championships, held annually in Austin, Texas. You’d think the reference to the famous short story writer would nod to his affinity for puns, but in fact, there’s not a lot of evidence he liked them at all. “Although he did name one of his stories ‘A Midsummer Knight’s Dream,’ the author’s work is largely pun-free,” Berkowitz writes. During the course of writing the book, he visited the O. Henry Museum in Austin, where the Pun-Off is held, and was informed that the connection between puns and the author O. Henry is quite tenuous. “Between you and me, he was not a huge punner,” a tour guide told him. “That connection was made between the museum and the Pun-Off early on because it was held here, and it just stuck.”



There’s the homophonic pun, in which two words sound the same but mean something different. (Czech and check, for instance.) Then there’s the homographic pun, in which two words sound different but are spelled the same. (Like a bass player versus a bass fish.) There are also homonymic puns, in which the words both sound and are spelled the same. (Berkowitz’s example: “I felt unsettled inside so I had an evening out.”) And last, there’s the portmanteau, a combination of two other words. (Like brunch.)


The O. Henry Pun-Off—a competition Berkowitz calls “the Olympics of pun competitions”—has strict rules. Only honest-to-goodness puns are accepted. You can’t just throw in a phrase related to a topic if it doesn’t have the necessary wordplay to qualify as one of the four types of pun. “If the topic is railroads, we will not accept anything like, ‘I hope we stay on track,’” Pun-Off organizer Gary Hallock told Berkowitz by way of explanation. There are two competitions wrapped into the O. Henry Pun-Off: "Punniest of Show" and "Punslingers." In the former, competitors perform their own two-minute routine on any topic they want, cramming in as many puns as possible. These monologues are judged by a panel on originality, performance, and wit. "Punslingers," meanwhile, is a rapid-fire, head-to-head tournament in which punners exchange wordplay on randomly chosen topics as fast as possible. Each competitor gets a maximum of five seconds to think of their next pun, and whoever runs out or gets three strikes (attempted puns the judges deem invalid) first loses. The longest this particular event has ever lasted was a grueling 48 minutes of puns relating to numerical phrases like “three’s a crowd.”



English speakers already have a leg up when it comes to puns. For one thing, it’s got a whole lot of words. The Oxford English Dictionary estimates that there are around a quarter of a million distinct words in the English language. English has borrowed words from so many languages that there are a wide variety of potential puns that wouldn’t otherwise be available, like “soirees” and “sore eyes.” English also doesn’t have declensions, so the endings of words don’t change based on what part of the sentence they’re in. “The apple” stays the same whether it’s a direct object or the subject of a sentence, in other words, which is not the case for languages like German or Russian. (English uses word order to convey the difference instead.) So saw can be both a verb or a noun, no matter where in the sentence it falls. As in, “The blind carpenter picked up his hammer and saw.”


If anyone knew how great English can be for puns, it was Shakespeare. “Never mistake the Bard for someone above poop and fart jokes,” Berkowitz writes. “When Thersites of Troilus and Cressida says, ‘But yet you look not well upon him; for, whomsoever you take him to be, he is Ajax,’ it’s not just because a character is named ‘Ajax,’ but because ‘a jakes’ meant a public toilet back then.” The greatest writer in the English language, indeed.



The writers of the animated series Bob’s Burgers regularly go through their own kind of mini pun competition in order to craft a series that’s unusually dedicated to puns. That's because there are at least three points in each episode that involve puns. In the title sequence, there is always a rotating series of stores located next to the show’s titular family restaurant. These plausible companies always have punny names like I’d Hit That (a boxing gym) or That’s Improv-able Improv Theater. Later in the credits, an exterminator van always pulls up in front of the restaurant bearing a punny name like Last of the Mousehicans. And then there’s the ever-popular Burger of the Day feature, which has spawned an entire cookbook full of recipes for burgers with pun names like “Shoot-Out at the OK-ra Corral Burger (comes with Fried Okra).” To populate each episode with these running gags, the show’s writers have to include three or four pun options for each when putting together a script. Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard then hand-picks his favorites for each episode.


All of the winners of the O. Henry Pun-Off in the past decade have had one thing in common: a background in improv. Improv performers are used to coming up with ideas on the fly in front of an audience, and in the training process, they get extremely comfortable failing spectacularly. They’re comfortable opening their mouths without having a good idea of what’s going to come out. As one improv-trained punster told Berkowitz, “if you get an improviser up there, they’ll be, like, ‘Well, I can just start talking and I don’t know what I’m gonna say but I’ll get there.’”



What’s going on in your head when you’re thinking up a pun? Salvatore Attardo, an expert on the linguistics of humor, described it this way: "A good way of representing what’s in the brain is to think of it as strings of lights on a Christmas tree. So you have one string that’s white, and those lights are all the associations of meaning. If you have ‘dog,’ you have ‘puppy’ and ‘b**ch’ and all the words that are related to dogs. So that’s one string, but then you’re going to have another string that’s red and it’s ‘fog,’ ‘bog,’ ‘log’—all the associations on the sound and all the sounds that begin the same way. What is happening when you make a pun is that you’re kind of crossing the strings of lights." So even if a certain pun feels like low-hanging conversational fruit, it's actually a pretty complicated neurological process.


A computer won’t be entering the O. Henry anytime soon. Software engineer Max Parke attempted to overcome this challenge by building the Punerator, a computer program designed to replicate the very human act of punning. Parke fed the program a rhyming dictionary and a data set of synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, and phrases, hoping to one day be able to get the machine to reverse engineer the pun “Iran so far away.” The process of combining words to make longer words, to turn verbs into nouns, to use words in ways that are counter to their intended meaning, was just too complicated for the algorithm. Even the best artificial intelligence is no match for a competitive punner, or even a totally average one. It’s a skill that—for now—is uniquely human.



Source: Wikipedia - Pun  |  Facts About Puns

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - OTTER


Did you know.... that otters are carnivorous mammals in the subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic or marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of the Mustelidae family, which also includes weasels, badgers, mink, and wolverines, among other animals. (Wikipedia)


Playful Facts About Otters






Only one otter species seems to be thriving, and that's the North American River Otter. The other 12 otter species were recently identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as having decreasing populations, and five otter species are already on the endangered list. Among the endangered are the sea otters along the Californian to Alaskan coasts, which are threatened by "environmental pollutants and disease agents." Others, like the Marine Otters of South America, have had their numbers reduced because of poaching, as well as environmental concerns.




This ancient religion considered otters to be the dogs of the river or sea and had strict rules forbidding the killing of otters. It was thought that otters helped keep water purified by eating already dead creatures that might contaminate the water source if they were allowed to rot. Zoroastrians would also hold ceremonies for otters found dead in the wild.




Otters use their dung—known as spraint—to communicate with other otters. The mammals like to keep things organized within their communities and will designate certain areas to be used as latrines. Spraint scents can vary, but often are (relatively) pleasant—one expert described them as not "dissimilar to jasmine tea." Spraint composition is unique to each otter, and the creatures can identify each other by the smells. Scientists suspect otters may even be able to determine the sex, age, and reproductive status of the spraint dropper just from a quick whiff. And since otters have superb metabolisms and can easily eat up to 15 percent of their body weight each day, there's a lot of spraint to go around.




In 2001, a female otter at the Monterey Bay Aquarium gave birth to a stillborn pup on the same day a stranded pup was discovered in the wild nearby. The aquarium staff had previously tried raising pups themselves but found that hand-raised otters became too attached to humans to be released back into the wild. So instead, they dropped the pup in with the female otter, and she immediately went into mom mode. The aquarium has since devised a system of hand-rearing pups for the first six to eight weeks—mostly for bottle feeding purposes—before handing the pups off to female otters for raising. At six months, the pups are released back into the wild with generally strong results.




Otters can have up to one million hairs per square inch. There are two layers of fur—an undercoat and then longer hairs that we can see. The layers manage to trap air next to the otter's skin, which keeps the otters dry and warm and also helps with buoyancy. Otter pups have so much air trapped in there, they actually can’t dive under water, even if they want to.




Otters love to eat shelled animals, like clams, but they aren't equipped with the strength to open their food without some help. Therefore, they are big on tools and will often use rocks to help crack into dinner. While they hunt for food underwater, they’ll often store a rock in the skin under their arms for later use.




Some tribes consider the otter to be a lucky animal and a symbol of "loyalty and honesty." But some, particularly in present-day Canada and Alaska, viewed the river otter "with awe and dread" and associated the creatures with the undead and drowning. Some cultures even forbid eating the creatures and were offended when colonial Europeans began hunting the river otters and selling their furs.




In 2014, a study of giant otters found that the river-dwellers have 22 distinct noises they make for different situations. On top of that, pups have 11 of their own calls that they intersperse with "infant babbling." Among the most notable calls: a "hum gradation" used to tell otters to change directions and a "Hah!" shout when a threat is nearby.




In Bangladesh, otters help fisherman maximize their haul. For centuries, fisherman have been training otters to act as herders and chase large schools of fish into the nets.




Keeping an eye on otters in the wild is a tricky task. In the past, observers have usually set up telescopes on shore to try and monitor otters at sea. Otters won't act naturally with humans nearby, and using a telescope on a boat can get tricky in the rollicking ocean. But now, scientists are using unmanned drones with cameras to get an aerial look at otters in their element, making it easier to monitor the creatures as they dive for food and go about their day.

Click the link below ⬇️ to read the last 6 facts about Otters.


Source: Facts About Otters  |  Wikipedia - Otter

Edited by DarkRavie
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