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Fact of the Day - SILENT GENERATION

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Did you know.... that the Silent Generation is the demographic cohort following the Greatest Generation and preceding the Baby Boomers. The Silent Generation is generally defined as people born from 1928 to 1945. By this definition and U.S. Census data, there were 23 million Silents in the United States as of 2019. In the United States, the generation was comparatively small because the Great Depression of the 1930s and World War II in the early to mid 1940s caused people to have fewer children. It includes most of those who fought during the Korean War. Upon becoming of age in the 1950s, they are noted as forming the leadership of the Civil rights movement as well as comprising the "silent majority" and creating the rock and roll music of the 1950s and 1960s. (Wikipedia)

 

The Silent Generation: Characteristics and History
by  Robert Smith  |  December 2, 2020

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The term “Silent Generation” was first documented in a 1951 Time magazine article, which claimed that the most startling fact about this generation was its silence: “By comparison with the Flaming Youth of their fathers and mothers, today’s younger generation is a still, small flame.” The generation’s “silent” behavior has been attributed to the difficult times in which they were born, as well as their coming of age during McCarthyism. Though the Silent Generation is known for traditionalist behavior and a desire to work within the system rather than to change it, many not-so-silent and untraditional members of this generation shaped the world in significant ways.

 

The Birth Years of the Silent Generation

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As with all generations, the birth years given for the Silent Generation vary depending on who creates the evaluation or defines the term. An often-used range, however, is 1928–1945. These years span from the beginning of the Great Depression to the end of World War II. People born during this time are also sometimes calledRadio Babies” or “Traditionalists.” The term “Silent Generation” mainly refers to people living in the United States, but in some other parts of the world, war and economic trouble led to similar characteristics and behaviors in people born during this time.

 

Who Are the Silent Generation?
The oldest members of this generation were born at or near the beginning of the Great Depression. They were children during World War II and came of age during the 1950s and 60s. This generation is significantly smaller than their predecessors, those of the Greatest Generation, and smaller than the next generation, the Baby Boomers. Many scholars believe that the Silent Generation’s low birth rate was due to the uncertainty and difficult conditions of the time, which meant that fewer people felt secure in starting families and raising children. The Silent Generation, as well as the Greatest Generation, were the parents of the Baby Boomers.

 

Characteristics of the Silent Generation
The Silent Generation began life in some of the most difficult conditions, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and economic and political uncertainty. The circumstances surrounding their upbringing led many of this generation to adopt cautious, conscientious behavior. The members of this generation also often have the characteristics described below.

 

  • The Silent Generation is thrifty.

Members of this generation were born at a time when, because of war rationing and economic uncertainty, some of their parents could barely afford to feed them. This tragic situation led to a new way of thinking about resources, and these children found themselves raised with thriftiness in mind.

  • The Silent Generation is respectful.

Members of this generation typically have a deep respect for authority. They often worked in the same job or company for the majority of their careers.

  • The Silent Generation is loyal.

Members of this generation are not only loyal to their careers but also to their religious beliefs, their relationships, and their families. They value stability and likewise are stable and dependable.

  • The Silent Generation is determined.

This generation experienced many difficult times and challenges. Survival required grit and strength and a strong sense of determination.

 

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Their Slice of History

Korean War
The soldiers sent to Korea during the Korean War were primarily from the Silent Generation. While this conflict is sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten War,” it has not been forgotten by this generation. The conflict defined a significant part of their lives and deepened the conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. Many brave soldiers lost their lives.

 

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William Henry Thompson (August 16, 1927 - August 6, 1950) was a United States Army Soldier and recipient of the United States Army's highest honor, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the Korean War .

 

McCarthyism and the Red Scare
The McCarthy era was one of fear and enforced conformity. It got its name from United States Senator Joseph McCarthy but was a widespread phenomenon. During this time, many people in the United States feared communist spies or communist sympathizers. Because of this fear, some government officials began screenings and trials to determine loyalty. Many citizens were accused and lost their careers, and some were imprisoned. Joseph McCarthy is most remembered for his investigations, which are often compared to witch hunts. Due to this social turmoil in their early adulthood, those of the Silent Generation would try keep their heads down.

 

Civil Rights Movement
While the generation may be called silent, many of the most influential voices in the civil rights movement were a part of this generation. These civil rights activists were anything but silent, advocating for change and equality. Nearly all the great leaders of the civil rights movement were a part of the Silent Generation. Martin Luther King Jr., born in 1929, was one of the most influential leaders at that time. The Little Rock Nine Students, born during the years 1940–1942, were among the first to integrate schools. These members of the Silent Generation, along with other members of the Silent Generation who were involved in this historic movement, were incredibly influential and inspiring.

 

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The Silent Generation in Your Family
Who in your family tree is a part of the Silent Generation? What were their experiences during their lives? Learn more about your family’s story by exploring your family tree and recording their memories and experiences.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Silent Generation  |  Facts About the Silent Generation

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Fact of the Day - JAPANESE ROCK GARDEN

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Ryōan-ji (late 16th century) in Kyoto, Japan, a famous example of a zen garden

 

Did you know.... that the Japanese rock garden or "dry landscape" garden, often called a zen garden, creates a miniature stylized landscape through carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, moss, pruned trees and bushes, and uses gravel or sand that is raked to represent ripples in water. A zen garden is usually relatively small, surrounded by a wall, and is usually meant to be seen while seated from a single viewpoint outside the garden, such as the porch of the hojo, the residence of the chief monk of the temple or monastery. Classical zen gardens were created at temples of Zen Buddhism in Kyoto during the Muromachi period. They were intended to imitate the essence of nature, not its actual appearance, and to serve as an aid to meditation about the true meaning of existence. (Wikipedia)

 

What makes a Japanese Garden a Japanese Garden?
by Ruth MacRae  |  August 30, 2018

 

Japanese gardens are full of rich history, culture, beauty, and tradition. For over 1000 years, gardens in Japan have refined and evolved into many distinct styles and each style brings a diverse purpose or perspective from strolling gardens to oasis of meditation. But what makes a Japanese garden uniquely Japanese? It’s impossible to describe Japanese gardens in detail but here are some quick facts to help you understand Japanese gardens and their origins better. And to augment our tour, Garden and Art Tour of Japan.

 

Quick Facts

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  • Japanese gardens express the beauty of nature, avoiding artificial, man-made components wherever possible.
  • Garden design is an art form in Japan whose purpose is create a scenic arrangement similar to the way an artist composes a landscape in a painting.
  • Lack of space means gardens are viewed as miniaturized landscapes in a small yard, balcony or window box. The intent is to mimic a larger scene.
  • Bonsai is a response to the lack of garden space. When outdoor space is unavailable, bonsai can be brought indoors.
  • Temples or shrines incorporate gardens into their design. Gardens historically belong to upper- class dwellings and warrior class houses. Today small gardens grace inner courtyards of a home.
  • Japanese gardens were often built to be viewed from a mediation room, a study room or a wide veranda.
  • In 2001 Tokyo passed a law that all buildings of a certain size are required to have a rooftop garden to combat urban heat. Today there are over 1000 rooftop gardens in Tokyo.
  • One of modern trends in Japanese home gardens is the move away from traditional gardening to English-style gardens or a combination of these styles. . (On a personal note: we saw a change in gardens from our visit in 2007 to our second visit in 2015. It will be interesting to see if this trend continues when we visit Japan again this November).
  • Garden maintenance is very important in Japan. For instance some gardens have “river washers” who sweep garden ponds and waters. Climate sensitive trees and delicate shrubs are shrouded with straw jackets to protect them from cool winter weather.

 

Quick History Facts

  • Japan’s first gardens (538-710) were based on Chinese building methods and Buddhist beliefs. None of these gardens exist today.
  • Over the years many of the gardens have lost their religious importance and have attempted to imitate scenic beauty in miniature or reinterpret a garden from literary texts.
  • Zen gardens with the focus on contemplation and meditation appeared from 1185-1336.
  • Each historical period influenced garden design and reflected the society of that time. For example, during the Edo period gardens were made popular for strolling by the nobility who were patrons of the arts.
  • The oldest Japanese text on garden-making is Sakuteiki (Records of Garden Making). The work was based on oral traditions which were published for the first time in the 11th century.

 

Quick Facts on the Elements of a Japanese Garden

  • The key elements of Japanese gardens are rocks, trees, ponds and running water. All elements are placed to harmonize with nature and each element has a different meaning. Even in gardens of a limited size.
  • Other elements may include islands, hills, bridges, teahouses, koi, stone lanterns, gates and fences. Again each element has its own significance.
  • Many Japanese gardens adopt six key attributes: spaciousness, seclusion, artifice, antiquity, waterways and panorama.

 

Japanese Garden Types

  • There are many types of Japanese gardens but some examples are:
  • Shūyū Garden: This strolling garden is a series of paths that you follow and that can be enjoyed from a variety of viewpoints. Strolling gardens include ponds, islands, hills, streams, stepping stones, koi, and often tea gardens. An example of a stroll garden you will see on our tour is Korakuen Garden in Okayama.

 

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  • Tsukiyama: This garden is an artificial or man-made hill and pond garden. It represents nature in miniature and includes ponds, hills, stones, trees, streams, bridges, koi, moss, and paths. Many cherry, maple and ginkgo trees can be found in this type of garden. This type of garden is very popular for cherry blossom viewing in the spring and maple tree viewing in the fall. An example of a tsukiyama garden on our tour is Ginkaku-ji or Silver Pavilion in Kyoto
  • Japanese Pond Garden: This type of garden is very similar to strolling gardens and hill and pond gardens. But in these gardens, water is central, associated with tranquility, renewal and the flow of life in the afterlife. An example of this type of garden on our tour is Daikakuji Temple in Kyoto.
  • Kanshō Garden: This garden is designed to be enjoyed and contemplated from one specific place such as a verandah. An example of a kanshō garden that you will see on our tour is the rock and raked gravel garden, Ryōan-ji in Kyoto.

 

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  • Tsubo-niwa Gardens: These are small courtyard gardens located under overhanging roofs, between buildings or where buildings form a junction. Because there is very little natural light, many tsubo-niwa gardens feature sand and small rocks. It has been suggested that this type of garden opens up the home’s interior while still providing privacy and provides an architectural focus for the building. You will see several of these small courtyard gardens in temples and shrines on our tour.
     

Be sure to check out our other Japan tours…

  • There are so many different things to see and do in Japan, so I know that Japanese gardens may not rank at the top of every traveler's list to Japan. However it will be hard to ignore them because the Japanese are devoted to nature and gardens are fundamental to their culture and history. Many gardens are associated with historically significant temples and shrines and I would recommend that you include a few in your trip to Japan. These can easily be incorporated into one of our other Japan tours or we can customize the tour you want. It is almost impossible to mention just a few gardens; but if gardens aren’t your thing then here are my top five garden recommendations:
  • Adachi Museum of Art in Yasugi (near Matsue😞 This garden surrounds the museum and often is awarded the best Japanese garden in many prestigious garden magazines.

 

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  • Kenroku-en in Kanazawa: It is considered one of the top three gardens in Japan. Founded in the 1620’s it features the oldest fountain in Japan, a tea house, pagoda and stone bridges and incorporates the six characteristics of an ideal garden: spaciousness, serenity, venerability, scenic views, subtle design, and coolness.
  • Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto: The most famous Zen garden, which is made of 15 stones placed on the pebbles. Purpose: Meditate on the meaning of life.
  • Saihō-ji Temple or Kokedera in Kyoto: This temple is considered by many to be Kyoto’s most beautiful garden and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is named the Moss Temple as it houses 120 different kinds of moss. To enter the garden visitors must participate in the Buddhist practice of copying sutras called shakyo. This isn’t as difficult as it sounds!

 

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  • Ginkaku-ji in Kyoto: Ginkakuji consists of the Silver Pavilion, half a dozen other temple buildings, a beautiful moss garden and a unique dry sand garden. For the best views of the gardens and buildings walk along the circular route to see the grounds from different perspectives.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Japanese Rock Garden  |  Facts About Japanese Rock Gardens

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Fact of the Day - SMALLEST THINGS

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The world’s smallest artificial heart

Did you know.... that from a human’s perspective, small can be anything from a single cell organism to miniature replicas of much larger things. We once thought that atoms were the building blocks of everything around us. But then, the protons, electrons, and neutrons opened a whole new world on the smallest scale. And just as we started to entertain the thought that these are fundamental particles, researchers showed that neutrons and protons themselves are made of multiple quarks. So, as far as we know, quarks and leptons (a family of elementary particles that include electrons) are the smallest, most fundamental matter in the universe. Below is a list of the smallest things.

 

Smallest Things In The World
by Bipro Das  |  February 7, 2020

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Smallest Cannon
According to the Guinness World Records, the world’s smallest working cannon (15 µm x 5 µm x 5 µm) was designed by a group of researchers, including Stuart Ibsen, Joseph Wang, and Sadik Esener, among others. It was developed as part of a study to create futuristic microscopic cannons that can be used to inject targeted medicine directly to patients’ skin tissue.

 

Smallest Gun

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The record for the world’s smallest (functional) revolver goes to Miniature Revolver C1ST. It was designed by SwissMiniGun, a Switzerland based company. The gun, according to the company, operates the same way as a standard firearm would do. It is no bigger than 5.5 cm in length, fire 2.34 mm caliber rounds, and has a muzzle velocity of about 121 m/s. The bullet (muzzle) energy it produces is 0.97 J or about 0.71 foot-pounds. Since only a limited number of C1ST’s are ever produced, a vast majority of them remain in collector’s possession.

 

Smallest Surviving Infant
Weighing at just 245 grams at the time of the birth, Akel or Saybie, as the doctors and nurses nicknamed her, is the world’s smallest surviving infant. The baby was born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego, California. According to the University of Iowa’s Tiniest Babies Registry, Akel was seven grams less than the previous title holder at the time of her birth. The infant was delivered after a gestation period of mere 23 weeks and three days in the mother’s womb. A pregnancy usually lasts for 40 weeks or 9 months.

 

Smallest Production Car

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The world’s smallest car, the Peel P50 is a three-wheeled, single-seater microcar, which was initially manufactured by the Peel Engineering Company in the 1960s for commercial purposes. It only has one door to its left, one central headlight, and a windscreen viper. The Peel P50 entered into the Guinness World Records in 2010, when Peel Engineering Ltd. (rebranded) restarted its production. Specific changes have been made to the car’s mechanical components to make it road legal. It includes the suspension, drive-train, and functional reverse gear, which was not present in the original version. The car is available in petrol as well as an electric model. The max. speed of both variants is 45 km/h. Back in 2016, a Peel P50 (initial production) was sold for US$ 176,000 in an auction.

 

Read: 12 Smallest Stars in the Universe

 

Smallest Fish
A mature male specimen of the Photocorynus spiniceps, an anglerfish species, can measure anywhere between 6.2 to 7.3 millimeters in length. It is the smallest known of all mature fish species and vertebrates. The female individuals, however, can grow up to 50 millimeters. Anglerfish species, including the P. spiniceps, exhibit a unique behavior known as parasitism, in which smaller males depend on much larger females for their overall survival. While the males only provide sperm for reproduction.

 

Smallest Horse

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Standing at just 56.7 cm, Bombel (“Bubble”) is the current smallest male horse in the world. It is a miniature Appaloosa (a North American horse breed with black spots) born and raised in Poland. At a young age, when Bombel was just two months old, he looked smaller even for a miniature horse. Both of its parents were normal-sized (miniature). The smallest horse ever was Thumbelina (43 centimeters), who died back in 2018.

 

Smallest Computer
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In 2015, the University of Michigan unveiled the world’s smallest computer, Michigan Micro Mote (M3), measuring at just half a centimeter. The M3 carries a solar cell that produces 20nW (nanowatt), enough for the device to run uninterrupted under suitable conditions. While on standby, the device consumes as little as 2 nA. Each M3 computer features as much as eight layers that carry out different functions. These layers can be interchanged or tweaked to achieve a new sensing system. The Michigan Micro Mote can be used as motion detectors, pressure, and temperature sensor. Currently, the device has a small effective range of about 2 meters. If you’re wondering about small personal computers that you can actually buy, then there are a couple of options. The FXI Cotton Candy has a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor and 1 GB DRAM, all inside a USB shaped stick. There are Android mini PC’s for you to choose from.

 

Read: The Smallest Spectrometer Ever Built | Made Of Single Nanowire

 

Smallest Primate

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Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur at Kirindy Forest Reserve (Madagascar)

With an average body length of 9.5 centimeters, Madame Berthe’s mouse lemur, or simply Berthe’s mouse lemur, is the world’s smallest primate. The species is found exclusively on the island country of Madagascar. At the time of its discovery, Berthe’s mouse lemur was misidentified as Pygmy mouse lemur, an identical but slightly larger species of mouse lemurs. It is now believed that Microcebus berthae has gone through extensive speciation. The species is listed as endangered in the Red List of threatened species due to large-scale deforestation in and near its habitat.

 

Read: World’s Smallest House | About 20 Micrometer Long

 

Smallest Radio
In 2007, a team of researchers from the University of California, Berkeley designed one of a kind radio receiver out of a carbon nanotube measuring just 100 micrometers in length and 10 micrometers in diameter. It remains the world’s smallest radio to date. Being the tiniest, the nanotube radio certainly works in a much different manner than conventional radio. Here, all the functions are carried out by a single nanotube together with two electrodes, between which it is placed. It can not only tune into a radio signal but also demodulate and amplify it. An external speaker is used to play the audio.

 

Read: World’s Smallest, Single Atom Transistor That Works At Room Temperature

 

Smallest Camera (Image Sensor)

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World’s smallest camera 

The record for the world’s smallest camera goes to OmniVision OV6948, developed by OmniVision Technologies Inc, a California based digital imaging products. The camera measures  0.65 x 0.65 x 1.158mm, while its tiny sensor is just 0.575 x 0.575 x 0.232mm. It has a resolution of 200 x 200, with each pixel size just 1.75 µm across and generates color images using an RBG Bayer filter. The OmniVision OV6948 is designed to operate inside the smallest of places and something as intricate as human veins. The camera’s minimal power usage and heat output mean surgeons can carry operations for longer duration without any discomfort to the patients.

 

Smallest Atom
Once thought the smallest thing in the universe, atoms were created shortly (on a cosmic scale) after the Big Bang. Atoms are made up of three particles; protons and neutrons, which are composed of much smaller quarks, and electrons. In terms of mass, the smallest atom known to us is a hydrogen atom, which has one electron and one proton. It has an atomic weight of 1.008 and is the lightest element in the universe.

 

Smallest Particle

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The standard model of Elementary particles

We have already established that quarks and electrons are the smallest known particles in the universe.  So far, researchers have been able to identify six types or flavors of quarks, namely, up (u), down (d), charm (c), strange (s), top (t), and bottom (b). Multiple quarks bond together to form a subatomic composite particle known as hadron. Protons and neutrons are the two most common types of hadrons that have an odd number of quarks (three), also known as baryons. For instance, a proton carries one down quark and two up quarks. Out of all six quarks, up and down quarks have the lowest masses. The quark model was initially suggested (independently) by American physicists George Zweig and Murray Gell-Mann in 1964.

 

Read: Scientists Gain Control Of Smallest Unit Of Sound: Phonon

Electrons, unlike protons and neutrons, are elementary are part of a broader group of fundamental particles known as leptons. Electrons are about 1900 times less massive than protons.

 

Source: Smallest Things in the World

 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - HAPPINESS

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A smiling 95-year-old man from Pichilemu, Chile

 

Did you know.... that the term happiness is used in the context of mental or emotional states, including positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. It is also used in the context of life satisfaction, subjective well-being, eudaimonia, flourishing and well-being. (Wikipedia)

 

Fun Facts to Make You Smile
These will brighten your day and make you happy.
by ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN  |  Jan 11, 2020

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It is so much easier today to stay informed. People can connect to news on the internet, Facebook, Twitter, or on cable TV. This really is the information age.  But, sometimes when you turn on the TV or open Facebook, it seems like all you see is bad news, making it difficult to see the silver lining behind every cloud. While it’s good to stay informed, we should also remember the big picture and notice the good things happening all around you. So brighten up your day with these 9 fun facts to make you smile.

 

1. Trees can make friends and talk to each other

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If you ever thought you heard whispering in the willows, you may be right! Ecologists released surprising research indicating that trees communicate through their closely connected root systems by sending messages via soil fungi. So what do trees “talk” about? Everything from sharing sunlight with their neighbors or to warn about environmental changes, according to Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate.

 

2. The oldest “Your Momma” joke dates back 3,500 years

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If you were around in the 90s, chances are you heard a few “your mama” jokes. As it turns out, people have had the same comedy routine for centuries. The New York Daily News wrote that scientists discovered a “your mom” joke on a 3,500-year Babylonian tablet in Iraq.

 

3. Humpback whales have recovered 30 percent of their population

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Conservationists rejoice! Humpback whales nearly went extinct after their population dropped to 450 in the 1950s. But a study published in Royal Society Open Science in October 2019 announced the South Atlantic humpback whale population has grown to 25,000 thanks to conservation efforts and a ban on commercial whaling.

 

4. Sea otters hold hands so they don’t drift apart

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Sleepy sea otters hold each other’s hands so that they don’t drift apart while taking a nap in the water so that they can stick together, as reported in The Daily Mail. As if these marine mammals couldn’t get any cuter?

 

5. The actors who played Mickey and Minnie Mouse were married in real life

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Sure, you’ve heard of the most famous mice in history, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, created by Walt Disney. But did you know of the real life romance behind the scenes? Actor, Wayne Allwine, provided the voice of Mickey Mouse for over 30 years. One day at work, he met Minnie, played by actress Russi Taylor. Soon Minnie became Mickey’s leading lady off-screen as well, and the two married until Allwine’s death in 2009.

 

6. We are all made of stars

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It may seem impossible to believe when you look up at the starry night, but according to The National Geographic scientists have discovered that elements found in the human body come from the thousands of stars in our Milky Way. In fact, everything on earth originates from stardust!

 

7. Norway knighted a penguin named Sir Nils Olav III

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If you visit the Edinburgh Zoo in Scotland, you’ll get to see a very special penguin… a knight, in fact. Sir Nils Olav III holds the ranks of mascot, brigadier, and colonel-in-chief of the elite Norwegian King’s Guard. He represents the third in succession after Norway began the tradition in 1972 of knighting a selected king penguin to serve the high distinction. Not bad for a 3-foot tall penguin!

 

8. Happiness is contagious

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They say what goes around, comes around, and according to a study from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego, the same goes for happiness.  According to WebMD, people feel statistically happier spending time around other happy people. Emotional health spreads to the people we come into contact with up to 3 degrees, reaching friends of friends. 

 

9. Octopus make their own gardens at the bottom of the sea

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You may have already heard of The Beatles’ song, but did you know that you can visit a real octopus’ garden? The underwater creatures actually gather sponges and grow other marine plants on the seafloors. They even gather together in groups to lay eggs –  like an octopus party!

 

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Source: Wikipedia - Happiness  |  Fun Facts to Make You Smile

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Fact of the Day - FENDER STRATOCASTER

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Fender Stratocaster

Did you know.... that the Fender Stratocaster, colloquially known as the Strat, is a model of electric guitar designed from 1952 into 1954 by Leo Fender, Bill Carson, George Fullerton and Freddie Tavares. The Fender Musical Instruments Corporation has continuously manufactured the Stratocaster from 1954 to the present. It is a double-cutaway guitar, with an extended top "horn" shape for balance. Along with the Gibson Les Paul, Gibson SG and Fender Telecaster, it is one of the most-often emulated electric guitar shapes. "Stratocaster" and "Strat" are trademark terms belonging to Fender. Guitars that duplicate the Stratocaster by other manufacturers are sometimes called S-Type or ST-type guitars. (Wikipedia)

 

Electrifying Facts About the Fender Stratocaster
BY CHRIS M. JUNIOR  |  JUNE 3, 2015

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More than six decades after its introduction, the Fender Stratocaster is still one of rock 'n' roll’s most iconic electric guitars. Here’s everything you need to know about the beloved Strat. 

 

1. Leo Fender didn’t come up with the name. 
By 1952, legendary instrument maker Leo Fender’s company had already developed the Telecaster guitar and the Precision bass (which was inspired by a mariachi band he once saw). Its next solid-body guitar was already a few years in the making when, in early 1953, Don Randall—Fender’s sales and marketing wizard—christened it the Stratocaster. Randall was a pilot and aviation fan, and it’s believed the name was a tribute to aircraft technology. 

 

2. The Strat made huge advances in player comfort. 

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The Stratocaster, which debuted in 1954, looked and felt different from other guitars on the market. It featured a rounded edge where the guitar meets a player’s ribcage and a flatter, forearm-friendly contour to the guitar body. Country guitarist Rex Gallion reportedly inspired the former feature when he asked Leo Fender, “Why not get away from a body that is always digging into your ribs?” 

 

3. Fender firsts on the Strat included the pickup and bridge setups. 
On top of these design improvements, the new model boasted several key new features that its predecessor, the Telecaster, lacked. The Stratocaster came with three pickups (the Telecaster had two) and featured a bridge with a pitch-changing, string-bending vibrato bar, a key selling point in an early print advertisement

 

4. Buddy Holly boosted the Stratocaster’s profile in 1957—twice. 

 

Early electric guitar rock 'n' rollers such as Chuck Berry and Eddie Cochran preferred Gibson and Gretsch guitars, but Fender had a valuable advocate for the Stratocaster. Crickets leader Buddy Holly was a Fender electric man and one of the first rockers to play a Strat. He held one on the cover of 1957’s The ‘Chirping’ Crickets and played a Stratocaster when the band performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on December 1, 1957. 

 

5. When CBS bought Fender, the Strat changed—and not for the better, in the eyes of certain collectors. 
The 1965 sale of Fender to CBS was followed by alterations to the instruments’ pick guards, contouring, and finishing, presumably to facilitate mass production. (There was also a redesign of the headstock, which was made larger in order to fit a bigger Fender decal.) As a result, pre-1965 Strats are generally held in higher regard (and priced higher) by collectors and enthusiasts than those made during the CBS era, which lasted until 1985. 

 

6. Bob Dylan was armed with a Stratocaster when he “went electric.”

 

On July 25, 1965, five days after releasing “Like a Rolling Stone,” a Stratocaster-strumming Bob Dylan showcased his new electrified sound and his new song at the Newport Folk Festival—to the vocal disapproval of the audience. Dylan’s Newport Strat was auctioned for $965,000 in 2013. 

 

7. Jimi Hendrix upstaged everyone at 1967’s Monterey International Pop Music Festival by setting his "Strat" on fire. 

 

 

The Jimi Hendrix Experience was a relatively unknown act in the United States in mid-1967. But the band’s profile rose after its June 18, 1967, performance as part of California’s star-studded Monterey Pop Festival. Toward the end of the group’s set, Hendrix squirted lighter fluid on his Strat, lit a match, and dropped it on the guitar, which he then smashed on the stage. Nearly 45 years later, the manager of Jimi Hendrix’s record company revealed that Hendrix had switched out his Strat for a cheaper guitar, setting that one on fire and putting it up for auction. Hendrix's undamaged Strat sold at auction for £237,000.

 

8. Hendrix’s Strat-tastic rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” was a defining moment at 1969’s Woodstock Music & Art Fair. 

 

When he closed the Woodstock festival in upstate New York on August 18, 1969, Hendrix used his Strat to put his own spin on “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The musician played around with his guitar’s vibrato bar in order to create noises that highlighted certain lyrics (most notably during “And the rockets’ red glare”). The following month, a humble Hendrix discussed the artistic choice with TV’s Dick Cavett: “I thought it was beautiful.” 

 

9. The Stratocaster that Eric Clapton used to record “Layla” was a second-hand purchase. 
Eric Clapton found the sunburst-finish Stratocaster he nicknamed “Brownie” at a London shop in May 1967. Three years later, Clapton used this 1956 instrument to record the classic “Layla.” The guitar is shown on the back cover of the song’s album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominos

 

10. Clapton’s other famous Strat was a composite. 

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The Clapton guitar known as “Blackie,” which he used into the mid-1980s, was assembled from three Stratocasters. “He bought a bunch of Strats in 1970 … and [from those] he took a ’56 body, a ’57 neck and the pickups from a third guitar, and made Blackie,” Clapton guitar tech Lee Dickson told Vintage Guitar in 2004. “Blackie” was auctioned for $959,500 in 2004, with proceeds going to Clapton’s Crossroads Treatment Center in Antigua. 

 

11. Fender’s Artist line of Stratocasters honors some of the best guitarists of all time. 
This Strat series has models named and styled in honor of such notables as Dick Dale, Buddy Guy, David Gilmour, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Yngwie Malmsteen, just to name a few

 

12. Pete Townshend punctured his right hand onstage with his Stratocaster’s vibrato bar. 

 

Maybe it was karma catching up with The Who’s Townshend for all the guitars he destroyed. Regardless, while windmilling his way through “Won’t Get Fooled Again” during an August 1989 gig, Townshend jammed his right hand into his Stratocaster’s vibrato bar, puncturing his finger webbing. (He promptly left the stage for treatment, leaving the band to play encores without him.)

 

13. Rolling Stone included the Fender Stratocaster in its "American Icons"-themed issue in May 2003.
The Strat, wrote senior editor David Fricke, is rock 'n' roll’s “ultimate guitar … a knockout package of the sex and futurism in the music itself.” Jeff Beck, Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, and The Band’s Robbie Robertson were all quoted praising the instrument. 

 

14. Not all Strats have been made in America.

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Fender’s manufacturing headquarters are in Corona, Calif., but not all Strats come out of the Golden State. A Fender plant opened in Japan in the early 1980s, followed by a Mexican factory in 1990. Some Strats are crafted in China and Indonesia. 

 

15. The sticker price for a brand-new American Vintage ’56 Stratocaster will set you back a cool $2299.99. 
That’s one of the priciest Stratocasters included in Fender’s 2015 U.S. Pricelist. For wannabe Hendrixes on a budget, other Strats in the guide are listed as low as $499.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Fender Stratocaster  |  Facts About the Fender Stratocaster

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - LAPIS LAZULI

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Did you know.... that Lapis lazuli, or lapis for short, is a deep-blue metamorphic rock used as a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color. As early as the 7th millennium BCE, lapis lazuli was mined in the Sar-i Sang mines, in Shortugai, and in other mines in Badakhshan province in northeast Afghanistan. (Wikipedia)

 

Interesting Facts About Lapis Lazuli

By Admin  |  September 2019

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  • Lapis lazuli is a semiprecious stone valued for its deep blue color.
  • The unusual name of this gem is composed of “Lapis,” the Latin word for stone, and “Azula,” which comes from the Arabic and means “blue.”
  • It is formed as a metamorphic rock of the limestone type.
  • Lapis lazuli is semitranslucent to opaque, with a waxy to vitreous luster.
  • It has a hardness of 5 to 5.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness.

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  • Variously described as indigo, royal, midnight, or marine blue, lapis lazuli’s signature hue is slightly greenish blue to violetish blue, medium to dark in tone, and highly saturated. In its most-prized form, lapis lazuli has no visible calcite, although it might have gold-colored pyrite flecks.
  • Lapis lazuli is found in limestone in the Kokcha River valley of Badakhshan province in northeastern Afghanistan, where the Sar-i-Sang mine deposits have been worked for more than 6,000 years.
  • Today, mines in northeast Afghanistan are still the major source of lapis lazuli. Important amounts are also produced from mines west of Lake Baikal in Russia, and in the Andes mountains in Chile. Smaller quantities are mined in Italy, Mongolia, the United States, and Canada.

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  • The gem was treasured by the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, China, Greece, and Rome. They valued it for its vivid, exquisite color, and prized it as much as they prized other blue gems like sapphire and turquoise.
  • Ancient Romans used to call it “sapphires,” which was subsequently applied to the blue variety of corundum we know today as sapphire.
  • Ancient Egyptians regarded lapis lazuli as a heavenly stone and often used it on the statues of their gods and in burial masks, as protection for the next life. The stone has been used in the Mask of Tutankhamun. It was a favorite stone for amulets and ornaments such as scarabs. The stone was also used to create blue cosmetics.

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  • There are many references to sapphires in the Old Testament, but most scholars agree that, since sapphire was not known before the Roman Empire, they most likely are references to lapis lazuli.
  • At the end of the Middle Ages, lapis lazuli began to be exported to Europe, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive pigment available (gold being second).
  • It was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque, including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer, and was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary.
  • Michelangelo used lapis lazuli powder for the blue colors in his frescoes for the Sistine Chapel.

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Sistine Chapel

  • Its usage as a pigment in oil paint largely ended in the early 19th century when a chemically identical synthetic variety became available.
  • Lapis takes an excellent polish and can be made into jewelry, carvings, boxes, mosaics, ornaments, small statues, and vases.
  • Lapis lazuli is the birthstone associated with the month of December.
  • It is one of world’s most popular men’s gems.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Lapis Lazuli  |  Just Fun Facts About Lapis Lazuli

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - GOAT

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Did you know... that the domestic goat or simply goat is a domesticated species of goat-antelope typically kept as livestock. It was domesticated from the wild goat of Southwest Asia and Eastern Europe. The goat is a member of the animal family Bovidae and the subfamily Caprinae, meaning it is closely related to the sheep. There are over 300 distinct breeds of goat. It is one of the oldest domesticated species of animal, according to archaeological evidence that its earliest domestication occurred in Iran at 10,000 calibrated calendar years ago. (Wikipedia)

 

Fun facts about goats!
by BC - SPCA  |  March 30, 2020
Goats are very curious, playful and friendly animals, that are also a common animal found on farms. See what you know about these quirky animals and learn more!

 

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There are over 300 different breeds of goats

  • With so many different breeds, sizes vary greatly. One of the smallest breeds of goat, the Nigerian dwarf goat, reaches weights of only up to 75 pounds, whereas the Nubian goat can reach weights up to 250 pounds.
  • Some goats are fluffy. A specific breed of goat, the Angora goat, is known for its soft, long curly hair, called mohair.
  • Ear size also varies between different goat breeds. Some goats have long floppy ears, like the Nubian or Boer goats, whereas Lamancha goats have very small ears.

 

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From left to right: Angora goat, Nubian goat and a Lamancha goat

 

“Fainting” goats?
“Fainting” goats have become an internet phenomenon. However, this breed of goat (Myotonic), doesn’t actually faint. Due to a genetic mutation, when they are frightened, their muscles freeze up, causing them to fall over. While they remain totally conscious, and their muscles quickly return back to normal, people should avoid purposely frightening goats.

 

Did goats discover coffee?
Legend goes that coffee was discovered after a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed that his goats became energized and wouldn’t sleep at night after they were spotted eating berries from a particular tree. After sharing his discovery, drinks began to be made with these mysterious berries, and the knowledge of these energizing beans spread across the world.

 

Does, bucks, and kids
A female goat is called a doe or nanny, and a male goat is called a buck or billy. Baby goats are called kids and when a female goat gives birth it is called kidding. Within minutes of being born, kids are standing and taking their first steps.

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baby-goats-cuddling

 

Goats are picky eaters
Unlike in fairy tails, real goats won’t eat just any old thing. Goats are not grazers; they are referred to as browsers or foragers. They have a very strong and sensitive upper lip that helps them sort through the vegetation and pick what they like.

 

Goats are social animals
Goats are very social animals and live in groups called herds. They are happiest when provided with social interactions with other goats, animals and humans. Goats can even tell a happy human from an unhappy human, and they prefer to spend time with happy people. They are even able to watch a person solve a problem and copy the person to access a food reward.

 

Goats have rectangular pupils
This shape allows them to have a wider field of vision than humans and other animals that have circular pupils. They can see 320-340 degrees around them, without having to move. The ability to see everything around them, except for what is directly behind them, is very useful in avoiding predators. However, goats have to move their head if they want to look up or down due to the rectangular pupil shape.

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Closeup of a white goat

 

Goats bleat
Goats communicate with each other through vocalizations called bleating. The sound of these calls is what allows goats to identify individuals and recognize emotional states. Each baby goat (kid) has a distinct call, and that helps its mother recognize it.

 

Do only male goats have beards?
Despite popular belief, both male and female goats can have beards! Both male and female goats also sometimes have “wattles” – bits of skin that dangle from their head or neck. No one is sure why they have them, but one thing is for sure – “wattles” is fun to say!

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Tan and white goat with wattles

 

Goats do not have front teeth in their upper jaw
Instead, they have a strong, hard dental pad that helps them breakdown the food.

 

Goats are extremely agile
As all domestic breeds of goats are descended from mountain goats, making them excellent climbers with great balance. Mountain goats can jump up to 12 feet or 3.5 meters in a single bound. Some goats have also been observed climbing trees.

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Mountain goat jumping at top of mountain

 

The Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Goats is being updated for the first time in 16 years. This code serves as law in some provinces, and sets the standard for minimum acceptable care of goats across Canada. Learn more about setting care standards for goats
 
We will need your help when the full update to the code is released for public comment. Sign up for action alerts so you are the first to hear about your next opportunity to improve the lives of goats on Canadian farms.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Goat  |  Goat Facts
 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - MARMOT

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Yellow-bellied marmot

Did you know.... that marmots are relatively large ground squirrels in the genus Marmota, with 15 species living in Asia, Europe, and North America. These herbivores are active during the summer when often found in groups, but are not seen during the winter when they hibernate underground. They are the heaviest members of the squirrel family. (Wikipedia)

 

Facts About Marmots
By: Charlotte Heal  |  February 21, 2017  

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These cute little fluff balls are often talked about and seen as somewhat mystical since they are so hard to spot during the snowy months; craning necks whilst on chair lifts and feverishly following marmot tracks (if you’re lucky enough to spot them). We thought we’d help you out by giving you a few fun and insightful facts to help you understand why they are so rarely spotted during the winter and also to share with your party whilst wiling away the time on that long bubble ride…

 

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Where do you find them?

Marmots can be found throughout North America, Europe and Asia in mountainous regions such as the Rocky Mountains, the Alps, the Himalayas and the Carpathians up to heights of 14,000 feet. Alpine marmots prefer meadows and high-altitude pastures, where colonies live in deep burrow systems up to 20m long and can be as much as 3m deep underground.

 

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What do they eat?

Marmots are mainly herbivores and eat a wide variety of plants, flowers and seeds, as well as grain, insects, spiders and worms. Interestingly they will choose young and tender plants over any other kind, and hold food in their forepaws while eating. They mainly emerge from their burrows to find food during the morning and afternoon. When the weather is suitable, they will cleverly eat large amounts of food in order to create a layer of fat on their body, enabling them to survive their long hibernation period. They are also excellent diggers, able to penetrate soil that even a pickaxe would have difficulty with!

 

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How do they communicate?

They communicate with each other using a variety of visual and audio signals such as whistles, screams and tooth chattering. Scent glands are also used for territorial marking and conflict resolution between males. They’ll give one long whistle for flying predators, and two short bursts for the four-legged, grounded variety. The hoary marmot (found in North America) is sometimes called the ‘whistle pig’. This nickname was the inspiration for renaming the popular ski resort ‘Whistler’!

 

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What’s a day in the life of a Marmot like?

Marmots usually live in self-dug burrows; they hibernate 7-8 months out of the year and can lose two thirds of their body weight during that period. During hibernation the marmot’s heartbeat slows to 3 or 4 beats per minute compared to an average range of 110-200 beats per minute when they are active. Once emerged from hibernation in the spring they often tunnel through several meters of snow. Marmots may be seen "sun bathing", but actually this is often on a flat rock and it is believed they are actually cooling themselves, using the rock as a temperature regulating device! One can often see an alpine marmot "standing" while they keep a look-out for potential predators or other dangers, but this is due to their very defensive nature and need to guard the colony from predators.

 

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Most likely resort for Marmot spotting?

In Zermatt it is the clean air, lack of cars and petrol powered machines and rugged countryside that create an ideal habitat for marmots. In summer the hillsides are filled with them: sunbathing on the rocks or frolicking with their young. There is even an organised Marmot trail coming down from Blauherd to Findeln, with information points along the way, telling you all about these fascinating little creatures. Since the path also happens to wind its way down past the fabulous restaurant Chez Vrony you can celebrate successful marmot spotting on the terrace with a glass of wine and their delicious food.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Marmot  |  Facts About Marmots
 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - ARTILLERY

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Soldiers of the Royal Artillery firing 105mm light howitzers during an exercise

 

Did you know... that artillery is a class of heavy military ranged weapons built to launch munitions far beyond the range and power of infantry firearms. Early artillery development focused on the ability to breach defensive walls and fortifications during sieges, and led to heavy, fairly immobile siege engines. As technology improved, lighter, more mobile field artillery cannons developed for battlefield use. This development continues today; modern self-propelled artillery vehicles are highly mobile weapons of great versatility generally providing the largest share of an army's total firepower. Originally, the word "artillery" referred to any group of soldiers primarily armed with some form of manufactured weapon or armor. (Wikipedia)

 

Artillery
By Dieter Storz  |  December 2014

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French trench mortar

 

Artillery consisted of the military’s heavy firearms. As a branch of the armed forces, its purpose was to fire explosive-filled projectiles across relatively large distances. In contrast to the infantry and the cavalry, the artillery could not enter into combat on its own. By the same token, other weapons required artillery support in order to be effective in battle.

 

The structure of artillery

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15 cm heavy field Howitzer 1902


Artillery is divided, technologically and tactically, into light and heavy artillery. Light artillery was generally referred to as "field artillery" and intended for mobile warfare, which was the norm until 1914. The artillery’s weaponry needed to be transportable. This required that it be able to bear up under long marches and cope with difficult terrain. As result, there were natural weight limits for artillery materiel, which was pulled by horses. This restricted both the caliber and the range, for large distances required powerful charges and hence heavy gun barrels and mounts. The field artillery from 1914, which consisted mainly of cannons with flat trajectories, had calibers of between 7.5 and 8.4 cm.

 

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7.7 cm anti-aircraft gun

 

France devised a groundbreaking innovation in 1897, when it introduced a field gun with long barrel recoil. With conventional guns, the barrel was firmly connected to the mount. They consequently jerked backwards when fired, and had to be both reloaded afterwards, and returned to their initial position and reset. The new type of gun featured a barrel in a cradle which could be slid backwards in the cradle. A brake mechanism elastically absorbed the barrel and returned it to its initial position. The weapon itself remained steady and it was no longer necessary to reset the weapon after each shot. The rate of fire increased exponentially, as a consequence, but so did the required supply of ammunition.

 

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Foot artillery, referred to as Fußartillerie in Germany, was considerably more complex and covered a variety of different weapons. Its proper domain was siege warfare in attack and defense. Mobility was of secondary importance. Of greater importance were the distance and impact of the individual shells. The Russo-Turkish War (1877/1878) had demonstrated that light field guns were not able to destroy improvised field fortifications. In Germany, this led to the buildup of “heavy artillery in the field army” with the newly manufactured large caliber guns that were still sufficiently maneuverable for mobile warfare. In 1914, Germany had an obvious lead in this type of artillery. Heavy artillery also included heavy mortar fire. This encompassed special guns with calibers of over thirty centimeters that were utilized for fighting against modern armoured turret fortifications.

 

Along with caliber and distance, the trajectory of a round was an important criterion for judging the capabilities of guns. Cannons fired with flat trajectories; howitzers and mortars, by contrast, had curved lines of fire. The latter were thus able to shoot over high cover or hit targets behind them, since the shells descended at a steep angle at the end of their flight paths. Their range of fire, however, remained inferior to that of guns of the same caliber.

 

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German 13 cm cannon

 

Artillery in war
In 1914, mobile warfare largely came to a standstill within several weeks and transformed into trench warfare. As a result, siege warfare became the norm. The importance of heavy artillery increased to the degree that field fortifications were driven deeper into the ground vertically and structured with greater complexity horizontally. Thousands of old siege guns from the 19th century, still lacking recoil mechanisms, made their way to the front lines. While their firing rate was low and maneuverability minimal, they could nevertheless shoot high-caliber shells across great distances. Even though every effort was made to push ahead with the manufacture of modern recoil artillery, many of the old heavy guns remained in use through the end of the war and even after. Light artillery was supplemented - not replaced - by heavy artillery. Small guns with rapid rates of fire continued to be indispensable for many artillery-related tasks. In the First World War, the German field artillery is said to have fired 222 million rounds.

 

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19th century siege guns

 

Numerical examples
The German field artillery entered the war with 5,600 light guns. An additional 1,400 guns existed in the home territory among training units or as reserve equipment. In the last year of the war, the field artillery had approximately 11,000 guns. The exact increase of heavy artillery is difficult to estimate due to the large quantity of old guns that were initially stored at fortifications. In addition to the 1,397 modern recoil guns, there were still 2,197 heavy guns of the old type. By the end of the war, there were approximately 5,000 heavy guns on the fronts, most of which were modern. The 15 centimeter heavy field howitzer became the German artillery’s main battle weapon on the Western Front.

 

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German 150 mm sFH18 howitzer

 

At the beginning of the war, the French artillery possessed 3,960 light guns and 688 heavy guns for mobile operations. 380 of these, however, were old models without a recoil mechanism. In the fortifications, there were 7,000 old guns, which included 3,688 powerful 120- and 155 millimeter cannons. By the end of the war, there were 5,580 light and 5,749 heavy guns in use. In addition to light and heavy artillery, new types of special anti-aircraft artillery were developed during the war and used for the direct support of the infantry. Artillery related tasks were also fulfilled by small mortar-type weapons with short firing ranges called “trench mortars” (German: Minenwerfer). Originally constructed for siege warfare, their number increased during the war in Germany from 186 to 16,000 and they were used primarily by the infantry. In France, the special artillery was referred to as artillerie de tranchée (trench artillery).

 

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British troops loading a Vickers 2 inch Medium Mortar 

 

In order for these instruments of violence to carry out their destruction efficiently, information was required on their targets. For this reason, a comprehensive and highly sensitive surveillance and fire control organization emerged during the war which, along with conventional methods like visual spotting from the ground, also employed innovative methods of determining the location of targets by means of acoustics and light. The collaboration between the infantry and the artillery was already one of the primary topics of tactical discussions before the war. A wholly reliable solution, however, was not discovered by the end of the war, for it proved impossible to guarantee continual and uninterrupted communication between infantry and artillery. Classical modes of firing such as curtain fire and rolling barrages were mechanistic firing procedures determined in advance. These could hardly be altered in their operational sequence or adapted to the infantry’s course of fighting. In Germany, it was still discussed in the final year of the war whether curtain fire, which had been a routine practice for years, even made sense!

 

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German artillery barrage falling on Allied trenches at Ypres

 

Artillery was able to destroy all field fortifications with a commensurate increase in the intensity of the effort. Just the same, the required expenditure of materials and time actually limited the success that could be achieved, not least because the inflicted damage created an artificial obstacle in the terrain for the attacking force. As a result of artillery fire, the infantry was forced to abandon its continuously occupied positions and assume an outpost-like occupation of the frontline. The need to destroy even small, difficult-to-detect targets intensified the artillery expenditure even further, which reached its peak in 1917. The accuracy of the weapons largely depended on their condition (barrel wear) and day-to-day variables such as wind, temperature and air density. By the last year of the war, it was possible to effectively exclude such errors of the day through calculations. This made it possible to use precision artillery fire in surprise attacks. As a result of the inevitable time-consuming preparations, however, this did nothing to change the fundamental inflexibility of the artillery apparatus.

 

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British Army on the Western Front (August 1917)

 

Conclusion
Besides the actions of small, raiding patrols, every military operation in the First World War required massive artillery support if there was to be any hope of success. In mobile warfare, most soldiers were killed or wounded by infantry fire. By contrast, in trench warfare, the artillery was responsible for 75 percent of the known casualties. During the war, the artillery not only experienced considerable growth in absolute numbers, but also in terms of its relative share of the entire army. This is demonstrated by the example of the French military: In 1914, artillery-men made up 20 percent of the army; in 1918, it was 38 percent.


Dieter Storz, Bayerisches Armeemuseum

 

Source: Wikipedia - Artillery
 

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Fact of the Day - AMPHITHEATRE

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Arles Amphitheatre, France: a Roman arena still

used for bullfighting, plays and summer concerts.

 

Did you know.... that  an amphitheatre (British English) or amphitheater (American English) is an open-air venue used for entertainment, performances, and sports. The term derives from the ancient Greek ἀμφιθέατρον (amphitheatron), from ἀμφί (amphi), meaning "on both sides" or "around" and θέατρον (théātron), meaning "place for viewing". (Wikipedia)

 

Flavian Amphitheater facts that you should know

by Rome Private Guides

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The magnificent worldwide famous Flavian amphitheater, best known as Colosseum, is the biggest amphitheater in the world, the most important roman one and the most impressive monument survived from Ancient Rome. It was inaugurated in AD 80 by emperor Titus with 100 days of plays and after almost 2000 years it is still the undisputed emblem of the city of Rome. As you learned from book schools or from the movie ‘The Gladiator’ the great amphitheater was used for gladiator fights and public spectacles, animal hunts, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. Do you want to know a bit more about it? Are you sure you know everything? Discover 11 facts that all of us should know.

 

The story of its name

  • We cannot say exactly why it is called Colosseum. But there are three different thoughts. 
  • It has been believed that the name is related to a colossal bronze statue of Nero that was nearby.
  • Another thought is that the name is due to its huge dimension. In fact in Italian the word ‘colossal’ means very big.
  • Other people linked the name of the amphitheater to some pagan ceremonies. It was recounted that the Colosseum was the main pagan place of the known world. Home to sects of wizards and devil worshipers, it is believed that the ministers after each ceremony used to ask to the public: “Colis Eum?” that means “Do you venerate him?” meaning the devil.
  • And you, where do you think its name comes from?

 

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Record dimension
Colosseum is an elliptical building measuring 189 meters long and 156 meters wide with a base area of 24,000 m² with a height of more than 48 meters; has over 80 entrances and can accommodate about 50,000 spectators.

 

No Colosseum no buildings around
This is because fallen in abandonment, it became a source of building materials and its marble has been used to construct many buildings like St. Peter’s Basilica and Barberini Palace. What is left of Colosseum now it is approximately one-third of the original one.  

 

The riddle of the jungle
Would you ever imagined you can find about 350 species of different plants, also plants of exotic origin, growing spontaneously between the ruins of this beautiful piece of history? Experts are studying on it for centuries. 

 

A kind of a swimming pool
Some historians recount that thanks to a complex canalization system, the Colosseum had been transformed into a huge outdoor pool to host the “Nauromachie” shows or naval battles. This was possible thanks to the particular position of the monument, where the rainwater and water from Labicano River converged. It seems that it took about seven hours to fill the Arena of the Colosseum. 

 

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A little party for its launch
It was built in just 8 years and 9 months and inaugurated with a hundred days of shows. During the opening ceremony over 5000 beasts were killed in one day.

 

One of the 7 wonders of the modern world
In addition to being the undisputed symbol of Rome and UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Colosseum was added in 2007 to the new 7 wonders of the world

 

A sign against the death penalty
For the past 15 years its lighting changes from white to golden, every time a death sentence is commuted or canceled anywhere in the world. 

 

Record of sacrifices
During the shows, there were fights between animals and between people and animals. Estimations tell that about 500 thousand men and at least one million animals died in it.

 

The first lifts of history
To lead the animals from the basement to the Arena, the Romans devised an ingenious system of hoists, capable of transferring even more than ten animals at a time. The same machines were used to change quickly the sand and the scenery.

 

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The Roman engine
The Colosseum is – like all amphitheater – an open-air theater. How did the people when it was hot to go there to see the battles? Well, Romans were very clever. There was a Velarium that was opened to cover the Colosseum if it was needed. And you, how many things of the above didn’t know? Come to discover and experience the Colosseum like a real Gladiator with our Colosseum Tour with Arena entrance!

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Amphitheatre  |  Flavian Amphitheatre Facts

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

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Did you know.... that computer programming is the process of designing and building an executable computer program to accomplish a specific computing result or to perform a specific task. Programming involves tasks such as: analysis, generating algorithms, profiling algorithms' accuracy and resource consumption, and the implementation of algorithms in a chosen programming language (commonly referred to as coding). The source code of a program is written in one or more languages that are intelligible to programmers, rather than machine code, which is directly executed by the central processing unit. The purpose of programming is to find a sequence of instructions that will automate the performance of a task (which can be as complex as an operating system) on a computer, often for solving a given problem. Proficient programming thus often requires expertise in several different subjects, including knowledge of the application domain, specialized algorithms, and formal logic. (Wikipedia)

 

Astonishing Coding Facts You Didn’t Know About
BY ARIE ELBELMAN R.  |  September 30, 2020

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Coding is much more than just coding. As we have said in the past, coding is a way of thinking. Those who know how to program look at the world’s problems from a different perspective, they stare at issues and, like some kind of magic, start thinking almost immediately about the potential solutions they have, and the pathways they can walk to reach those solutions. Coding gives its learners a wide variety of tools they can use to either change and improve our entire society, or at least, to have a better chance to succeed in tomorrow’s world, a world in which abilities like critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving will be a must in every single field, technology-related or not. But, there are several facts about the world of computer science and coding not many people know. You’re probably wondering how useful these facts are, and actually, besides feeding your curiosity to learn more, they are not going to strengthen the 21st-century skills you and your kids need. What is true, is that it is always great to learn new things… it opens our minds to realities we had no idea about, and it might explain to us why things are the way they are nowadays. In this short but super interesting article, we are going to share with you 11 amazing coding facts you most likely didn’t know a thing about. Are you ready to be surprised? Because here on the other side of the screen, we are ready to surprise you!

 

11 FACTS ABOUT CODING
It is, in fact, very surprising to realize that George Washington didn’t know dinosaurs existed since the first fossils were discovered after his death. See? When you hear something you didn’t know about before, your mind starts wondering about more things on the same subject, and instantly, you want to expand your knowledge in that specific subject. That is exactly what we want to do in this article. We will give you 11 breathtaking facts about coding, in order to feed your curiosity, and to make you want to research more. Or at least, to install the desire for you to share these cool facts about programming with your friends, colleagues and family members. Let’s cut to the chase! Here we go… 11 facts about coding you have to know!

 

1. The first programmer in the entire world was a woman. Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer, chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She was the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculation, and to have published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result, she is often regarded as the first computer programmer.

 

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2. The first high-level language to have an associated compiler was created by Corrado Böhm in 1951, for his PhD thesis. The first commercially available language was FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), developed in 1956 (first manual appeared in 1956, but first developed in 1954) by a team led by John Backus at IBM.

 

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3. Over 70% of all programming jobs are in fields and industries outside of technology. People who learn how to code can strengthen numerous 21st-century skills that will assist them when doing an exceptional job in almost every industry.

 

4. The first “computer bug” was named that due to an actual bug. This bug was found by Grace Hopper. The computer she was building started to fail, that’s when she discovered an actual moth in the system. Since then, when something fails in either software or hardware, we call it a “bug”. If you want to read more about Grace Hopper’s history and legacy, take a look at this blog post we wrote a few weeks ago.

 

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5. Nowadays, there are over 700 programming languages in the world! Kids can begin to learn how to code by using friendly and colorful systems like Scratch, to then progress to more advanced and complex programming languages like Java or Python.

 

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6. It took less code to send a man to the moon than to run a smartphone.

 

7. Talking about the moon… Margaret Hamilton, an American computer scientist and systems engineer, wrote the computer code that helped save the Apollo moon landing mission.

 

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8. The first computer game didn’t make any profit. Today the gaming industry is worth $30 million (USD) more than the movie industry.

 

9. The first computer virus ever was not designed to be harmful. What happened along the way? We have no idea!

 

10. It is a requirement for astronomers to know how to code. They actually use a variety of programming languages to process the measurements that they make, and also to develop simulations of astrophysical phenomena.

 

11. Your kids can learn how to program in an easy, friendly, safe, accessible way! Through the live and online courses offered by Tekkie Uni, your children can have classes with the best instructors available and strengthen extraordinary skills while learning how to program their very own apps, games and software. Programming is for everyone and it is just around the corner. Which one of these facts surprised you the most?

 

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YOUR KIDS CAN CODE. GIVE THEM THE TOOLS THEY NEED!
You already know this: Coding is a way of thinking. As you just read in these amusing facts, lots of extraordinary things have happened throughout the history of programming. Would you like your children to be part of this? Do you want them to maybe create spectacular things with their own hands? Maybe you just want to show them that everything is possible and that they can turn their dreams into reality? Give your kids the tools they need. Enable them to find their true passion and to strengthen all the 21st-century skills they must have in the near future. Coding can help you with that. Promise.

Source: Wikipedia - Computer Programming  |  Facts You Didn't Know About Coding  |  Facts You Should Know About Computer Programming

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Fact of the Day - WRITING

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The Rosetta Stone, with writing

in three different scripts, was

instrumental in deciphering

Ancient Egyptian.

 

Did you know.... that writing is a medium of human communication that involves the representation of a language with written symbols. Writing systems are not themselves human languages; they are means of rendering a language into a form that can be reconstructed by other humans separated by time and/or space. While not all languages use a writing system, those with systems of inscriptions can complement and extend capacities of spoken language by enabling the creation of durable forms of speech that can be transmitted across space (e.g., correspondence) and stored over time (e.g., libraries or other public records). It has also been observed that the activity of writing itself can have knowledge-transforming effects, since it allows humans to externalize their thinking in forms that are easier to reflect on, elaborate, reconsider, and revise. Writing relies on many of the same semantic structures as the speech it represents, such as lexicon and syntax, with the added dependency of a system of symbols to represent that language's phonology and morphology. The result of the activity of writing is called a text, and the interpreter or activator of this text is called a reader. (Wikipedia)

 

Interesting Facts About Writing
By RUCHI BINOD   |  Updated SEPTEMBER, 2021

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Writing is one of the most valued skills in the modern world, but also one of the skills that is most difficult to master. Even writers who have experienced exceptional success will spend a lifetime studying the art of writing in order to forever improve. Written communication skills are currently among the most sought-after skills for new hires, and writing is also an art form that can help us to explore self-expression. Writing has become a standard practice to express and exchange thoughts and valuable information centuries ago, and now we are happy to collect some fascinating facts about writing and writers.

 

Top Jaw-Dropping Facts about Writing
Are you procrastinating instead of writing? We all do it sometimes, and it often seems like there is no remedy for this. Fortunately, there is. Here are some inspiring facts about writing that may get you going right away.

 

The earliest writing is 5,500 years old.

While humans have drawn symbols and images since the Stone Age, the first true writing is generally believed to be Sumerian cuneiform, which developed around 3500 BCE from pictographs. The cuneiform writing system was initially used to record business transactions—including several complaints and demands for refunds!—before expanding to include what we would recognize today as literature. The most important early work written in cuneiform is the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest written epic in the world. The Gilgamesh epic was created by compiling earlier shorter poems together to make a book-length story about a hero’s quest for immortality.

 

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Neo-Assyrian clay tablet.

Epic of Gilgamesh,

Tablet 11: Story of the Flood.

Known as the "Flood Tablet"

From the Library of Ashurbanipal,

7th century BC.
 

Agatha Christie couldn’t actually write easily.

Agatha Christie was one of the world’s most famous writers, and her mystery novels are some of the most famous in the world. However, she suffered from a condition called dysgraphia, which makes it difficult for a person to write, so Christie dictated her novels to another person. This also had the benefit of making them more conversational and thus more popular with her readers.

 

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John Steinbeck used up to 60 pencils per day.

In the days before computers, it wasn’t uncommon for authors to write their books by hand. John Steinbeck could use up to 60 pencils per day when writing and reportedly used 300 pencils to complete his masterpiece, East of Eden (1952). Each pencil could write up to 35 miles of writing.

 

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Creative writers don’t have a dominant brain hemisphere.

It’s often said that the left hemisphere of the brain controls analytical and reasoning skills while the right hemisphere controls artistic and creative thought. Because of this, many believe that creative writers are right-brain dominant. However, studies have found that this isn’t the case and that many creative writers actually don’t have a dominant hemisphere but are more or less equally balanced between the two. Indeed, there is very little evidence that there are truly dominant brain hemispheres at all since both sides of the brain are always working together.

 

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The human brain is divided into

two hemispheres–left and right.
 

Creative writing is similar to professional athletics.

A German researcher, Martin Lotze, studied the brains of both professional athletes and professional writers and found that their brain activity was very similar during athletic competition and the writing process. Interestingly, Lotze found that professional writers and amateur writers had a key difference: Professional writers used their speech-processing center of the brain to develop their stories, while amateur writers relied on their vision centers to imagine the story first.

 

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Introverts make the best writers.

There is a stereotype that writers are lonely, maladjusted introverts who don’t enjoy interacting with other people. While this stereotype isn’t completely true, studies have found that introverts are more creative and thus better creative writers. One of the reasons for this is likely that introversion gives someone more time to think alone, and thinking alone helps to spark creativity. 

 

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Writer’s block is normal.

Unlike athletics, where you can build skills regularly, creativity isn’t something that can be turned on at will. Because creativity doesn’t always turn on when you want it to, there are going to be times when you will face writer’s block. This is completely normal. Usually, giving your brain a little rest and distracting yourself with a different activity can help to get the creative juices flowing again. 

 

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A representation of writer's block

by Leonid Pasternak (1862 – 1945)
 

Student writers can benefit from an outside perspective.

If you are facing a challenge with your writing, writer’s block, or aren’t sure of your writing skills, you can benefit from getting help from a professional writer at an online academic writing company. When you have professional writers showing you how to write papers by creating a fast and effective model essay on the topic of your choice, you’ll have access to the kind of essay writing that will show you the best way to approach any topic. A company like Smart Writing Service uses highly trained professional writers to deliver the kind of high-quality writing help that can make all the difference in your next academic essay. 

 

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Our language is constantly changing.

The English language changes at an astonishing rate. By one estimate, a new word is added to the dictionary every two hours. The conventions for how to use words also change at regular intervals. For example, some of the leading style guides, such as Chicago, APA, MLA, and AP change their rules for how to use punctuation, pronouns, and specific words and phrases at regular intervals. Writers need to keep up with the latest style changes to ensure their writing meets the mark.

 

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Cover of 2004 edition of AP Stylebook
 

Writers can have odd habits.

Vladimir Nabokov and Gertrude Stein preferred to write in parked cars. Anthony Trollope used a watch to ensure he wrote 250 words every 15 minutes. Find what works for you.

 

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Facts Are not Enough: Start Writing Right Away
Writing is the way to express yourself, to share information, we write thousands of words every day just messaging with our friends, colleagues, peers, family. Still, there are people for whom writing is not a pleasant routine but an annoying challenge — students. Students need to write essays and research papers, and they often don’t have enough time to deal with everything at the same level of quality. What can we offer? We won’t give you many tips you will forget the next day. Our only advice is this — start writing. Even if you are in a bad mood, even if you don’t know the topic well enough or hate the discipline — just start writing and soon you will see that you have done half the work. Pablo Picasso always said that he believes in inspiration, but it only comes, when he is already working

 

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Essays of Michel de Montaigne

 

Source: Wikipedia - Writing  |  Writing Facts
 

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Fact of the Day - SOCIABLE WEAVER

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Sociable weaver (Philetairus socius), Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

 

Did you know..... that the sociable weaver is a species of bird in the weaver family that is endemic to southern Africa. It is the only species in the monotypic genus Philetairus. It is found in South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. but their range is centered within the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. They build large compound community nests, a rarity among birds. These nests are perhaps the most spectacular structure built by any bird. (Wikipedia)

 

Interesting Facts about Sociable Weavers
by Christian Boix  |  July 9, 2013

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1. There are four subspecies of sociable weavers:

Philetairus socius eremnus, living in the Orange River Valley;
Philetairus socius socius, inhabiting the S. Kalahari in NW Northern Cape and S. Namibia;
Philetairus socius xericus, roughing it in the Namibian escarpments;
Philetairus socius geminus, isolated from all other sub-species and thriving in Etosha and S. Owambo areas in N. Namibia.

 

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2. Unlike other weavers who build their nests in the breeding season, Sociable Weavers use and maintain the nests throughout the year. They nest in colonies as small as 10 individuals and up to 400-500 birds. Their nests are instantly recognizable, massive and resembling huge apartment blocks. The nest structures can reach heights of up to 4 m. From a distance the nest may typically look like a haystack stuck up on a large tree or telephone pole.

 

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3. Preferred nesting sites are generally long, smooth, poles or sparsely-branched trees to deter predators such as Cape Cobras, Black Mambas, Boomslangs, baboons, rats or genets are always after weaver chicks and so preferred nesting sites are generally long, smooth, poles or sparsely-branched trees.

 

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4. Different materials are utilized for different sections of the nest, each material choice being purposefully selected. Large twigs and stems, placed at an angle and pointing downwards, cover the roof of the nest. Grasses are shoved into the structure until firmly secured. It is believed that the crown of sharp grass spikes picket-fencing the tunnel entrances may be designed as protection from predators.

 

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5. Telephonic and Electrical Power companies have battled for years with the design of telephonic poles and power line structures able to cope with the weight of these nests, especially during the rainy season when they become somewhat waterlogged and become so heavy (several tons) that they drag down the supporting poles.

 

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6. Photographic evidence has proven that some of these nest structures are over 100 years old.

 

7. Access to the nest core is via a smattering of galleries that lead to the breeding chambers, the tunnels leading to such chambers average 25 cm long and 7 cm wide, and the breeding chambers themselves are often 10 to 15 cm in diameter. The nesting chambers are lined with soft materials, such as feathers, fluff, wool, or hair.

 

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8. Protection in numbers seems the favoured strategy, hence why colonies often resemble multispeciesghettos”- often allowing other “guests” to breed and roost in the nest – including African Pygmy Falcons, Pied Barbets, Rosy-faced Lovebirds, Familiar Chats, finches, sparrows, tits, and opportunistic White-backed and Lappet-faced Vultures, Verreaux’s and Spotted Eagle Owl, as well as several Eagle species roosting and nesting on the top of the nest.

 

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Spotted eagle owl (bubo africanus) at night in the Kalahari desert, South Africa

 

9. The nest has proven itself to be an effective temperature buffer, against the cold temperatures at night (especially in winter), and high temperatures during the day, reducing temperature variability in nest chambers. The extent of this buffering effect depends significantly on the position of nest chambers within the communal structure, and on the depth to which chambers are embedded within the nest mass. Not, surprisingly older and more veteran pairs tend to occupy chambers with the highest thermoregulatory benefits.

 

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10. In winter this temperature insulation translates into significant energetic savings for its inhabitants, reducing their food intake demand and enhancing their ability to survive in the leanest months of southern Africa’s harshest semi-arid environments. In the heat of the day, or the chill of winter nights individuals ride the thermal challenge by roosting alone when hot, or together when cold.

 

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11. Energetically rested and physiologically unstressed, Sociable Weavers live a poised existence ready to react to any unpredictable rainfall event. A mere 20mm downpour, even if out of season, may trigger the entire colony into breeding mode, and depending on how the environment reacts to the rain, breeding pairs may be able to churn out up to four broods (4-5 chicks each), with the offspring of the first brood helping their parents raise subsequent broods, and even attracting totally unrelated “helpers” eager to ensure that enough food is found for the last broods as resources wane and dwindle away.

 

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Source: Wikipedia - Sociable Weaver  |  Facts About Sociable Weaver

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Fact of the Day - THE PRILGRIM'S PROGRESS

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Did you know.... that The Pilgrim's Progress from This World, to That Which Is to Come is a 1678 Christian allegory written by John Bunyan. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of religious, theological fiction in English literature. It has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print. It appeared in Dutch in 1681, in German in 1703 and in Swedish in 1727. The first North American edition was issued in 1681. It has also been cited as the first novel written in English. (Wikipedia)

 

Things You Should Know about The Pilgrim’s Progress
by Leland Ryken  |  October 01, 2019

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1. The Pilgrim’s Progress is one of the most famous books ever published.
For more than two centuries after its publication, The Pilgrim’s Progress ranked just behind the King James Bible as the most common and important book in evangelical Protestant households. It has been translated into more than two hundred languages, including eighty in Africa alone.

 

2. The book’s title poses a small problem.
Whenever we name this book by its title, we are actually making a choice from existing options. The title by which most people know the book is Pilgrim’s Progress. But the author, John Bunyan, called it The Pilgrim’s Progress. That makes a difference, changing the focus from a specific person (with the word pilgrim assuming the quality of a personal name, as with such a character as Evangelist from the story) to every pilgrim (comparable to the phrase “the Christian”). In a further twist, the complete title of the published book was The Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come, Delivered Under the Similitude of a Dream.

 

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The Pilgrim's Progress

John BunyanC. J. Lovik

With updated language and 30 original illustrations, John Bunyan’s classic work is made accessible to modern readers—helping them dig into this classic tale illustrating key facets of the Christian life.

 

3. The complete book consists of two separate stories.
Most people know only the story of Christian’s journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. That book was first published in 1678. Book 2 was published six years later. It tells the story of the same journey, but this time undertaken by Christian’s wife Christiana and her four sons. The two books were published separately until 1728, being published as a combined book forty-four years after the first appearance of Book 2.

 

4. The Pilgrim’s Progress was written while the author was in prison.
The scholarly consensus is that Book 1 (which is what most people have in mind when they think of The Pilgrim’s Progress) was conceptualized and mainly written while Bunyan was imprisoned in his home town of Bedford, England. Bunyan was a Baptist preacher in an era of English history when the Anglican Church was the only legally allowed church. Because Bunyan was a nonconformist preacher (meaning not licensed by the state church), he was imprisoned for twelve years, eking out a living for his family by making shoelaces. While in prison, he also secretly carved a flute from a table leg.

 

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5. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a paradoxical book.
On the one hand, The Pilgrim’s Progress is a work of the folk imagination. Through the years, it has been read primarily by common people. Through the centuries, it has been standard practice for parents to read the story to their children. The Pilgrim’s Progress was written for edification first of all, not as literary entertainment. Despite all this, The Pilgrim’s Progress is a work of literary sophistication, eliciting the best efforts of literary scholars. It incorporates as many different genres as any literary masterpiece, and no literary classic invites more different approaches than this one.

 

6. The Pilgrim’s Progress is a triumph of storytelling technique.
The first level at which The Pilgrim’s Progress invites our participation is the literal level of the story. Bunyan excelled at all three of the ingredients of a story. The settings come alive by means of Bunyan’s descriptive ability. Some of these settings are based on real-life places around Bunyan’s hometown. Examples are the famous Slough of Despond, based on an actual bog or swamp located near Bunyan’s cottage, and nearby Hill Difficulty (which a former colleague of mine zoomed up at seventy miles per hour in a car). Bunyan’s skill with characterization is unsurpassed by any fiction writer, as attested by the fact that many readers remember The Pilgrim’s Progress as a gallery of memorable characters.

 

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A map of the places Pilgrim travels through on his progress

 

7. The plot of Pilgrim’s Progress has something for everyone.
Bunyan’s settings and characters are so well executed that we might think that his handling of the action cannot possibly match them, but it does. At the level of plot, The Pilgrim’s Progress gives us three for the price of one. It is a travel story, a perennially favorite choice of the human race. In turn, this travel story is a quest story in which the protagonist leaves his hometown, the City of Destruction, in search of the Celestial City, which is heaven. But this quest journey is so continuously exciting and suspenseful that the plot is also an adventure story of the highest order.

 

8. The Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory.
As already noted, Bunyan’s masterpiece needs to be read with full appreciation of its story qualities. But it offers a whole further level beyond that. The Pilgrim’s Progress is the world’s most famous allegory. This means that the central action, as well as the places and characters, refers to spiritual realities. This additional level is not a substitute for the literal narrative level. It is an added layer. The allegorical level has something of the quality of a riddle in the sense that we need to figure out what various details stand for. The allegory is what chiefly carries the edification of the book, making it more than a top-rate story.

 

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9. The Pilgrim’s Progress has nearly always been printed as an illustrated book.
It is a tribute to the power of Bunyan’s book on readers’ imaginations that although it was not intended to be an illustrated book, it is nearly always printed with illustrations. The edition that I knew as a boy was my mother’s book, and to this day the illustrations are an essential part of my experience of the book.

 

10. The Bible is a continuous presence in The Pilgrim’s Progress.
One reason for the popularity of The Pilgrim’s Progress with evangelical readers through the ages is its rootedness in the Bible. But this trait makes it equally attractive to literary scholars. Victorian preacher Charles Spurgeon famously said that Bunyan “is a living Bible! Prick him anywhere; his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him.” Such is the testimony of the believing soul.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - The Pilgrim's Progress  |  What You Should Know About The Pilgrim's Progress
 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM

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Coral reefs form complex marine ecosystems

with tremendous biodiversity

 

Did you know.... that an aquatic ecosystem is an ecosystem in a body of water. They are contrasted with terrestrial ecosystems which are those found on land. Communities of organisms that are dependent on each other and on their environment live in aquatic ecosystems. The two main types of aquatic ecosystems are marine ecosystems and freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater ecosystems may be Lentic (slow moving water, including pools, ponds, and lakes); lotic (faster moving water, for example streams and rivers); and wetlands (areas where the soil is saturated or inundated for at least part of the time). (Wikipedia)

 

Unbelievable Facts About the Ocean
by Sustainability  |  April 2020

 

The climate crisis has given us all a renewed appreciation for our planet’s oceans and the marine life that lives beneath the water’s surface, as well as ocean conservation projects led by initiatives like the TreadRight Foundation. These 10 unbelievable ocean facts illustrate just how important these initiatives are.

 

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1. Our oceans cover more than 70 per cent of the Earth’s surface.
With so much of the Earth’s surface taken up by ocean, it’s evident how vital these marine environments are to the planet, and how much there still is to be explored. It's hard to imagine, but about 97 percent of the Earth's water can be found in our ocean. Of the tiny percentage that's not in the ocean, about two percent is frozen up in glaciers and ice caps. Less than one percent of all the water on Earth is fresh. A tiny fraction of water exists as water vapor in our atmosphere. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, there are over 332,519,000 cubic miles of water on the planet. A cubic mile is the volume of a cube measuring one mile on each side. Of this vast volume of water, NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center estimates that 321,003,271 cubic miles is in the ocean. That's enough water to fill about 352,670,000,000,000,000,000 gallon-sized milk containers! (Read More Here)

 

2. The majority of life on Earth is aquatic.
As so much of the Earth’s surface is underwater, it comes as no surprise that marine species outnumber those on land. But, it’s an incredible 94 per cent of the Earth’s living species that exist within the oceans. Ocean life is composed of animals, plants and other organisms living in salt waters and they affect the Earth’s ecosystem tremendously. The ocean is our greatest source of oxygen. Marine microorganisms produce as much as 70 percent of the world's oxygen, according to National Geographic. Due to the immense size of the ocean, there are still many areas to be discovered and therefore it’s impossible to know as a fact the number of species that inhabit them. Most of our planet is covered by oceans so when it comes to underwater life, we have barely scraped the surface. Since so little of the oceans has been explored, a lot of the species living under the sea have yet to be discovered. The majority of this undiscovered sea life is probably composed of sea sponges, mollusks or crustaceans. (Read More Here)

 

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3. Less than five per cent of the planet’s oceans have been explored.
According to the Ocean Service, man has explored less than five per cent of Earth’s oceans. As researchers strive to discover more, we’re continually getting to know our oceans better. (Read More Here)

 

4. The world’s longest mountain chain is underwater.
Earth’s longest chain of mountains, the Mid-Ocean Ridge, is almost entirely beneath the ocean, stretching across a distance of 65,000 kilometres. It’s said that this mountain chain is less explored than the surface of Venus or Mars. About 90 percent of the mid-ocean ridge system is under the ocean. This system of mountains and valleys criss-crosses the globe, resembling the stitches in a baseball. It's formed by the movement of the Earth's tectonic plates. As the great plates push apart, mountains and valleys form along the seafloor as magma rises up to fill the gaps. As the Earth's crust spreads, new ocean floor is created. This process literally renews the surface of our planet. If you look at a map of the world's volcanoes, you'll find that most of them form along the boundaries of this great system. In fact, the global mid-ocean ridge system forms the largest single volcanic feature on the Earth. The mid-ocean ridge consists of thousands of individual volcanoes or volcanic ridge segments which periodically erupt. (Read More Here)

 

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5. There are more historic artefacts under the sea than in all of the world’s museums.

Around 1,000 shipwrecks lie off the Florida Keys alone, some of which are within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Other underwater museums have been created in recent years, including the Mediterranean’s submerged bronze statue, Christ of the Abyss. You might also like – Why our oceans and beaches need us now. Beneath the ocean’s surface, there are ruins where people once roamed and shipwrecks loaded with artifacts from another time. Peter Campbell takes us into the huge underwater museum that is our ocean to see what these artifacts can tell us about humanity. (Listen Here)

 

6. We still only know a fraction of the marine species in our oceans.

According to the World Register of Marine Species there are now 240,470 accepted species, but this is believed to be just a small proportion of the species that exist, with new marine life being discovered everyday. "The oceans cover 70% of the surface of our planet, and yet they are still the least explored," says Sir David Attenborough in the opening sequence of the recent BBC documentary series Blue Planet II. "Hidden beneath the waves, there are creatures beyond our imagination." Yet while the programme reveals the wonders of many of these species, an incredible number more have never been encountered by humans at all. In fact, we don't even know how many species exist in the oceans. Most estimates were made before we even had any inventory of how many had been scientifically named – they have ranged from 0.3m to an astounding 100m, reports The Conversation. Numerous new marine species are discovered every year – yet working out how many species there are in total (and so how many more we need to describe) is a much more difficult process. (Read More Here)

 

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7. Over 70 per cent of our planet’s oxygen is produced by the ocean.
It’s thought that between 70 and 80 per cent of the oxygen we breathe is produced by marine plants. The majority of this production is from oceanic plankton — drifting plants, algae, and some bacteria that can photosynthesize. One particular species, Prochlorococcus, is the smallest photosynthetic organism on Earth. But this little bacteria produces up to 20% of the oxygen in our entire biosphere. That’s a higher percentage than all of the tropical rainforests on land combined. (Read More Here)

 

8. It’s possible to find rivers and lakes beneath the ocean.
When salt water and hydrogen sulfide combine, it becomes denser than the rest of the water around it, enabling it to form a lake or river that flows beneath the sea. As the water seeps up, it dissolves the salt layer, causing it to collapse and form depressions, forming a river or lake. These underwater lakes and rivers can be as small as a few feet across or as large as a few miles long.  They're even very similar to lakes and rivers on land, with shorelines, surfaces – even waves! (Read More Here)

 

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9. Around 50 per cent of the US lies beneath the ocean.
Not only does a large part of the planet exist beneath the ocean, so does the United States – around 50 per cent, in fact. There's about 200 nautical miles of underwater land that extends from the United States's coasts. Ballard calls the 200 nautical miles stretching out from U.S. coasts the "unknown America." There's as much sea bottom as there is dry land and it's a surprise to most, he says. "If you ask someone how much of the United States lies beneath the sea, they may say, 'Five percent or 10 percent.' And when you tell them that half of their country lies beneath the sea and is unexplored, they don't believe you," says Ballard. (Read More Here)

 

10. The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest ocean and contains around 25,000 islands.
With 25,000 islands lying within it, the Pacific Ocean has more islands than anywhere else on the planet. Through projects like Shark Savers and Surfrider, the TreadRight Foundation champions the importance of our planet’s oceans, which we at Trafalgar support wholeheartedly through our JoinTrafalgar initiatives. (Read More Here)

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Aquatic Ecosystem
 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - MARY POPPINS

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Did you know... that Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, based on P. L. Travers's book series Mary Poppins. The film, which combines live-action and animation, stars Julie Andrews in her feature film debut as Mary Poppins, who visits a dysfunctional family in London and employs her unique brand of lifestyle to improve the family's dynamic. Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, and Glynis Johns are featured in supporting roles. The film was shot entirely at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, using painted London background scenes. (Wikipedia)

 

Supercalifragilistic Facts About Mary Poppins
BY STACY CONRADT  |  OCTOBER 30, 2015

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More than half a century after it hit theaters, Mary Poppins is still one of the most beloved films ever. Here are some of the most interesting facts about Mary and the people who brought her to the silver screen.

 

1. It took more than 20 years to convince the author of Mary Poppins to sell the movie rights.
It all started in the early 1940s, when Walt Disney told his daughter Diane that he would make her favorite book into a movie. He was probably assuming that any author would be thrilled to hitch her name up to the Disney wagon, but quickly discovered that P.L. Travers was not just any author. For more than 20 years, Travers refused to deal with Disney. It was only in 1961 that she finally relented, mostly because she needed the money.

 

2. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke weren't the only options for the lead roles.
Angela Lansbury and Bette Davis were also considered for the role of Mary. Cary Grant was Walt's favorite for Bert.

 

3. Julie Andrews almost passed on the movie.

 

Because she had originated the role on Broadway, Andrews was hoping to be cast as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, so she didn't accept Disney's offer right away. Warner ultimately decided that Audrey Hepburn was their Eliza. Andrews and Hepburn ended up vying for a Golden Globe for their respective roles. When Andrews won, she took the opportunity to cheekily thank Jack Warner during her acceptance speech (which you can see above).


4. Dick Van Dyke’s Cockney accent has been named one of the worst accent attempts in film history.
Van Dyke has defended himself in recent years, saying that his vocal coach, an Irishman attempting to do a Cockney accent, was just as bad. “I don’t talk to British people because they just make a mess of me,” he told NPR in 2010.

 

5. The Sherman Brothers wrote 30 songs for the movie.
Roughly 20 of them were cut, but some found new homes. “The Beautiful Briny" was later used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and the melody from “Land of Sand” was eventually recycled as “Trust in Me” from Jungle Book.


6. “A Spoonful of Sugar” was inspired by the polio vaccine.

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To help woo Andrews to the part, Walt Disney had the Sherman Brothers write a special tune for her. The duo penned a lovely song called “The Eyes of Love.” Andrews hated it. The rewrite ("something catchier," according to Walt) proved to be a struggle for Robert Sherman—until he went home to see his kids. They had received their polio vaccine that day and informed him that it hadn’t hurt at all; the medicine was simply placed on a sugar cube and they ate it like candy. Voila.

 

7. Walt Disney’s favorite song was “Feed the Birds.”
Not just his favorite song from the movie—his favorite song ever. Richard Sherman has said on several occasions that Walt would stop by the Sherman Brothers office every Friday and request a private performance.


8. P.L. Travers hated the movie with a passion.
Though Travers was given script approval, she wasn’t given final script approval. She wept when she saw the final result at the movie’s premiere. “I said, ‘Oh God, what have they done?’” she later said. Travers hated the animated sequence. She hated the house the Banks family lived in. She hated that they changed the time period. She hated that Mary Poppins was pretty. She hated the songs. And she loathed Dick Van Dyke. Travers vowed that she would never work with Disney again. You can hear her going over her notes with the Sherman Brothers and screenwriter Don DaGradi below:

 

 

 

9. Some of the nannies lined up at the beginning of the movie are actually men.

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I bet you can tell which ones.


10. Disney was sued over “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”
Though the Sherman Brothers claimed they made the word up themselves, a 1949 song called “Supercalafajaistickespeealadojus” would seem to say otherwise. The writers of the song, Barney Young and Gloria Parker, sued for $12 million. They lost because lawyers were able to present evidence showing that the nonsense word had been around, in some form or another, for decades. Indeed, the Sherman Brothers later claimed that their made-up word was a variation on a similar word they had heard at summer camp back in the 1930s: “super-cadja-flawjalistic-espealedojus.”

 

11. David Tomlinson did double duty.
Tomlinson, the actor who portrayed the stodgy Mr. Banks, also provided the voice for the talking parrot on the end of Mary Poppins’ umbrella. Tomlinson also did a couple of voices for the “Jolly Holiday” scenes, including a jockey and a parrot.

 

12. The children were originally nannied by the Bride of Frankenstein.

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The nanny who leaves the Banks family at the beginning of the movie, making way for Mary Poppins, is Elsa Lanchester. Horror movie buffs know her better as the Bride of Frankenstein.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Mary Poppins  |  Facts About Mary Poppins

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - TURTLE

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Did you know.... that turtles are an order of reptiles known as Testudines, characterized by a shell developed mainly from their ribs. Modern turtles are divided into two major groups, the side-necked turtles and hidden neck turtles which differ in the way the head retracts. There are 360 living and recently extinct species of turtles, including tortoises and terrapins. They are found on most continents, some islands and much of the ocean. Like other reptiles, birds, and mammals, they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. Genetic evidence typically places them in close relation to crocodilians and birds. (Wikipedia)

 

Tremendous Turtle Facts
by  Office of Communications  |  June 15, 2020  |  Updated August 2021

Sea turtles are amazing creatures. To celebrate Sea Turtle Week, check out these tremendous turtle facts to learn something new.

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1. Green sea turtles are what they eat!
Green sea turtles are unique among sea turtles in that they are primarily herbivores, eating mostly seagrasses and algae. This diet is what gives their cartilage and fat a greenish color (not their shells), which is where their name comes from.

 

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Swimming green turtle.

 

2. Sea turtles lay their eggs in a nest they dig in the sand with their rear flippers. The group of eggs is called a clutch.
They usually lay 100-125 eggs per nest and will nest multiple times, about two weeks apart, over several months. As soon as the eggs hatch (roughly 2 months later), the hatchlings dig out of their nest. This process generally takes a few days. Once they emerge, the tiny turtles hurry to the sea and make their way offshore into the open ocean. Sea turtles face many threats, but those that survive to become adults are decades old.

 

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New leatherback sea turtle hatchlings.

 

3. Sand temperature is very important.
The sex of sea turtles, like many other turtles, is determined by the temperature in the nest. Cooler incubation temperatures produce male hatchlings and warmer incubation temperatures produce female hatchlings. Temperatures that fluctuate between the two extremes will produce a mix of male and female hatchlings.

 

Watch the video below to learn about research on alarming trends as global temperatures rise, and fewer male turtles are hatching from the nesting beaches.

Sea Turtles: Is the Future Female?

 

 

Are sea turtles destined to turn all female? This video documents cutting edge research that discovers alarming trends as global temperatures rise, and fewer male turtles are hatching from the nesting beaches.

 

4. Hawksbill turtles use their beaks to help extract their favorite prey.
Hawksbill turtles are typically found on coral reefs which are home to their preferred food—sponges. The shape and sharpness of their beak enables them to reach into small holes and crevices in coral reefs to find food. 

 

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Hawksbill turtle. 

 

5. One sea turtle species nests during the day.
Most sea turtles nest at night—Kemp's ridley sea turtle are the only sea turtles that routinely nest during the day.

 

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Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.

 

6. Leatherback sea turtles have existed in their current form since the age of the dinosaurs!
Leatherbacks are highly migratory, some swimming more than 10,000 miles a year between nesting and foraging grounds. They are also accomplished divers with the deepest recorded dive reaching nearly 4,000 feet—deeper than most marine mammals. They have spiny “papillae” lining their mouth and esophagus—these spines help them trap and consume their main prey species, jellyfish.

 

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Leatherback sea turtle.

 

7. Loggerheads spend the first 7 to 15 years (average 12 years) of their lives in the open ocean.
Then they migrate to nearshore coastal areas where they continue to grow and mature. Through satellite tracking, researchers have discovered that loggerheads in the Pacific have a highly migratory life stage. Hatchlings enter the ocean from nesting beaches in Japan and Australia. Some individuals undertake a trans-Pacific developmental migration across the Pacific Ocean to feeding grounds off the coast of Baja California, Mexico, Peru and Chile. That's nearly 8,000 miles!

 

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Loggerhead sea turtle.

 

8. Sea turtles don’t retract into their shells. 
Unlike other turtles, sea turtles cannot retract their flippers and head into their shells. Their streamlined shells and large paddle-shaped flippers make them very agile and graceful swimmers. In the water, their rear flippers are used as rudders, for steering.

 

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Close up of a Hawaiian hawksbill. 

 

9. Some turtles nest in large groups, called "arribadas," Spanish for "arrival." Only the two ridley turtles, Kemp’s ridley and the olive ridley, display this arribada nesting behavior.
During an "arribada," large groups of females gather offshore and come onto the beach to nest in large numbers, generally over a period of several hours. There are many theories on what triggers an arribada, including offshore winds, lunar cycles, and the release of pheromones by females. Many turtles come ashore together and many nests are laid and hatch at the same time. This reduces the numbers of eggs and hatchlings that can be killed by predators.

 

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Olive ridley sea turtles nesting en masse during an "arribada" on Playa Ostional, Costa Rica on September 9, 2004. 

 

10. Sea turtles are deep divers and can stay underwater for long periods of time.
As reptiles, sea turtles breathe air, but they have the ability, under natural conditions, to remain submerged for hours at a time. They even sleep underwater. Most sea turtles spend their entire life at sea, only returning to nesting beaches to lay eggs. However, in the Pacific Islands, green turtles often come ashore to bask on the beach.

 

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Loggerhead sea turtle.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Turtle  |  Facts About Turtles
 

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Fact of the Day - HALLOWEEN

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The word appears as the title of 

Robert Burns' "Halloween" (1785),

a poem traditionally recited by Scots.

 

Did you know..... that Halloween or Hallowe'en, also known as Allhalloween, All Hallows' Eve, or All Saints' Eve, is a celebration observed in many countries on 31 October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows' Day. It begins the observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the departed. (Wikipedia)

 

The History of Halloween Goes Far Beyond Tricks and Treats
The true meaning of Halloween is about so much more than just pumpkins and candy.

BY MARTHA SORREN AND OLIVIA MUENTER  |  Aug 11, 2021

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For the majority of Americans, the widely-celebrated holiday of Halloween is viewed as so harmless that even young children can celebrate without issue. But the history of Halloween is much darker than today's parents would probably want their children to be aware (not that that's any reason for any parent to deny their costume-loving kids some fun-loving Halloween fun). Everything from why we dress up in Halloween costumes to why we go trick-or-treating to why we carve pumpkins has some creepy (and not to mention, interesting!) roots. After all, it's not just some random coincidence that Halloween is littered with images of mummies, vampires, ghosts, and zombies, or that common Halloween decorations and costumes regularly feature skulls, tombstones, and spiders. None of these themes or traditions just spontaneously popped up for a Hallmark card or two, though. The history actually goes much deeper, and much further back than you think. Halloween's origins can be traced back to all the way back to the ancient Celtic days. Knowing more about how the Celts celebrated October 31 and other details behind the beloved holiday can go a long way in finding even more creepy, crawly ways of celebrating it.

 

Why is Halloween celebrated on October 31?
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The Celtic festival Samhain is one of the earliest examples of Halloween-type behavior in history. According to House Beautiful, it functioned as a pagan New Year holiday of sorts, and was also called the Feast of the Dead. Celebrated from October 31 to November 1, Samhain was considered the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead was thinnest, and many believed that due to that thin veil spirits were capable of mingling with the living.  To celebrate, the Celts would eat together, build huge bonfires, and sacrifice animals to honor the dead. They even wore costumes – in those days, animal skins — which is the start of the now-common tradition of dressing up today. Luckily for us, the tradition of dressing up in costumes is a little less spooky now.

 

After Samhain, came All Hallows' Eve.

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Though Samhain is the earliest mention of an October 31 holiday, other iterations of the celebration came later, in the 8th century. The church moved All Saints' Day (a day celebrating all the saints) to November 1, with All Hallows' Eve falling the night before, on October 31. Per the BBC, this was seen by many as an attempt by the powers that be within the Christian faith to replace the pagan holiday of Samhain with a day where people would gather for a vigil, pray, and fast before the feast of All Saints' Day. All Hallows' Eve was eventually shortened to the Halloween moniker that we know today.

 

What are the origins of trick-or-treating?

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According to the Catholic blog Get Fed, Catholic churches would display bones and relics of saints on All Hallows' Eve for people to pay tribute to during the evening vigils. This practice gave way to the popular, spooky decorations of the 21st century. Trick-or-treating also reportedly originated with the Catholics, according to Get Fed. People in England would knock on neighborhood doors to ask for "soul cakes" and, in return, would pray for the homeowners' deceased relatives. English immigrants helped bring that tradition over to America, and Irish immigrants brought the tradition of All Hallows' Eve pranks. Soon, these transplanted traditions morphed into today's modern practice of trick-or-treating, which used to lean much more heavily on the trick part, as Country Living explains. According to the Washington Post, in the 1930s some childish pranks were escalating to the point of becoming deadly. To keep kids better occupied, neighborhoods started throwing collective Halloween parties where children would go door-to-door and collect random trinkets, like costume pieces and candy. Haunted houses also popped up during this period of time, with adults distracting would-be pranksters with pranks of their own, like making them touch peeled grapes disguised as "eyeballs" and having barking dogs jump out from the darkness. World War II quelled trick-or-treating, since sugar had to be rationed. But when the war ended, the tradition picked right back up and has remained popular ever since.

 

There's a dark history behind why we carve pumpkins.

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Irish Central reports that modern Jack-O'-Lanterns have a dark history. Per Irish folklore, there was a greedy man named Jack who tried to trick the Devil. When he died, God wouldn't let him into Heaven, and the Devil wouldn't let him into Hell. Jack was doomed to wander the night forever with only a burning coal in a carved-out turnip to light his way. Jack's crude lantern gave way to a turnip carving tradition in Ireland, which morphed into pumpkin carving after immigrants brought the tradition to America.

 

How is Halloween is celebrated around the world today?

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These days, Halloween celebrations around the world tend to have the same traits as American commemorations, due in no small part to the digital age, which has allowed trends like trick-or-treating and dressing up to become popular worldwide. Still, many countries have found a way to put their own spin on things. In Australia, usually only children dress up, and most costumes are store-bought. And not all houses are into trick-or-treating either, so those who are giving away candy will mark their door with an orange balloon. In Ireland, fireworks are a big part of the celebration, similar to Independence Day celebrations. In the Philippines, people prepare food, candles, and flowers for their camp out in graveyards on November 1 — a way to connect to their deceased loved ones. In Japan, trick-or-treating and traditional pumpkins are rare, but adult women are among those most interested in dressing up for the holiday, whereas people in China hardly celebrate at all.

 

There are a few myths about the origins of Halloween.

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As Country Living explains, though the story of Stingy Jack mentioned above is usually given credit for the popularity of Jack-o'-lanterns today, the story itself is an old wives' tale. There was not really a man named Stingy Jack roaming the hills of Ireland, cursed by the devil. If you thought that candy has always been part of Halloween, think again. Even though Halloween started becoming popular in the United States in the early mid-1800s (thanks to the influx of Irish immigrants), the wide popularity of candy as a Halloween treat didn't become thing until the 1970s.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Halloween  |  Facts About the History of Halloween

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Fact of the Day - STINKING CORPSE LILY

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Did you know... that Rafflesia arnoldii, the giant padma, is a species of flowering plant in the parasitic genus Rafflesia. It is noted for producing the largest individual flower on Earth. It has a strong and unpleasant odor of decaying flesh. It is native to the rainforests of Sumatra and Borneo. Although there are some plants with larger flowering organs like the titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) and talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera), those are technically clusters of many flowers. (Wikipedia)

 

Fascinating Facts About Corpse Flowers
BY KIRSTIN FAWCETT  |  AUGUST 30, 2017

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Big, smelly, rare, phallic—these adjectives all describe Amorphophallus titanum, commonly known as the corpse flower. While native to western Indonesia, the plant is currently taking Washington, D.C. by smelly storm: The last of three—count 'em, three—corpse flowers to bloom this summer began its stinky blossoming this week at the United States Botanic Garden. In honor of the occasion, here's some trivia to celebrate one of nature's stinkiest plants.

 

1. THE CORPSE FLOWER'S LATIN NAME IS NSFW (OR BRITISH TV).

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No, it's not just you: Amorphophallus titanum really does look like a large, lumpy penis. In fact, the plant gets its scientific name from three roots: amorphos (without form), phallos (penis), and titanum (giant). Can't say the plant's Latin name in polite company without blushing? Thanks to David Attenborough, the English naturalist and TV personality, you can also opt to use its common name, Titan arum. While narrating BBC nature documentary series "The Private Life of Plants," Attenborough thought the corpse flower's proper name was too improper to say on TV, so he coined a less-scandalous moniker. Or, you could simply go with its Indonesian name, bunga bangkai.

 

2. A 19TH-CENTURY ITALIAN BOTANIST 'DISCOVERED' THE CORPSE FLOWER.
Western scientists first learned of Amorphophallus titanum in 1878, when Italian botanist Odoardo Beccari came across the enormous plant growing in the rainforests of Sumatra, a large island in western Indonesia. The specimen he recorded had a circumference of around 5 feet, and its height was around 10 feet. Beccari tried to ship the flowering shrub's corms, or giant underground tubers, back to Europe, but French customs ended up holding them under an order designed to prevent the spread of the grapevine pest Phylloxera. Still, a few seeds survived against the odds, and a single seedling was sent to the Kew Botanic Gardens in England, where Beccari had once studied. There, it flowered in 1889. In 1926, when the same corpse flower bloomed again, the crowds were so large that police were brought in to control them.

 

3. THE CORPSE FLOWER GROSSED OUT THE ENGLISH (IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE).
Not surprisingly, the corpse flower quickly gained notoriety in Europe: An English artist hired to illustrate the plant is said to have become ill from the odor, and governesses forbade young ladies from looking at it, for obvious reasons.


4. A CORPSE FLOWER ISN'T REALLY A SINGLE FLOWER.

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Technically, a corpse flower isn't a single flower; it's a flowering plant with clusters of blooms. The plant consists of a thick central spike, known as a spadix, with a base that's encircled by two rings of "male" and "female" flowers. A large, frilly leaf called a spathe envelops these flowers to protect them.

 

5. CORPSE FLOWERS ARE, AS THEIR LATIN NAME SUGGESTS, ENORMOUS.
Aside from its smell, a corpse flower's most noticeable quality is its sheer size. The plant holds the record for the world's largest unbranched inflorescence (a fancy term for describing a floral structure made of many smaller individual flowers), and it can reach heights of up to 12 feet in the wild. Cultivated corpse flowers are smaller, measuring anywhere from 6 to 8 feet.


6. THEY DON'T HAVE AN ANNUAL BLOOMING CYCLE.

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Years, or even decades, can pass before a corpse flower reaches peak bloom. As the big moment finally approaches, the plant's bud grows several inches per day before slowing down its growth. Two protective leaves, called bracts, shrivel and fall off the spathe's base. Then, the spathe unfurls over roughly 24 to 36 hours, giving curious onlookers just a small window to see (and smell) its maroon-colored insides for themselves.


7. THERE'S SCIENCE BEHIND THE CORPSE FLOWER'S TERRIBLE SMELL.

 

 

When a corpse flower blooms, the spadix heats up to temperatures of up to 98°F as the plant unleashes a stench akin to rotting flesh. "Those pulses of heat cause the air to rise, like a chimney effect," Ray Mims, a spokesperson for the U.S. Botanic Garden, explained to Washingtonian magazine. "It gets the stench up in the air" to attract pollinating dung beetles and carrion beetles, who are drawn to the scent of rotting flesh. Experts have identified different molecules responsible for titan arum's stink, including dimethyl trisulfide (like limburger cheese), trimethylamine (rotting fish), and isovaleric acid (sweaty socks).


8. CORPSE FLOWERS GROW FRUIT WHEN THEY'RE POLLINATED.

 

Once a corpse flower finishes blooming, it doesn't die. The spathe withers and collapses after a few days, and if pollinated, the plant soon produces hundreds of small, golden-colored fruits. These berry-like seeds are eaten and dispersed by animals such as birds and the rhinoceros hornbill, or harvested in captivity by garden conservation scientists. (No word on how they taste, as they're reportedly not suitable for human consumption.) Once the seeds ripen from gold to dark orange, and then to dark red—a stage that lasts for five or six months—the corpse flower goes dormant. Then, it sprouts as a tree-like leaf during its next few life cycles as it stores away energy from the sun. Each cycle, the leaf grows bigger and bigger, before dying. Once the plant's corm is fully replenished, it finally blooms again.


9. THE CORPSE FLOWER WAS ONCE THE BRONX'S OFFICIAL FLOWER.
In 1937, the New York Botanical Garden became the proud home of America's first recorded corpse flower bloom. Two years later, yet another flower bloomed in the Bronx garden. Borough president James J. Lyons was so tickled, he designated Amorphophallus titanum as the Bronx's official flower. ''Its tremendous size shall be symbolic of the fastest-growing borough in the City of New York,'' Lyons said, according to The New York Times. Meanwhile, news crews covering the event are said to have nearly fainted from the smell. The Bronx used the corpse flower as a symbol until 2000, when then-borough president Fernando Ferrer, aiming to overhaul the municipality's image, changed its official flower to the day lily. "I hate to think of the corpse flower as the Bronx flower, because people would think the Bronx and think, 'The Bronx stinks,'" Michael Ruggiero, then senior curator for horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden, told the Times. "The Bronx is a people place, and the corpse flower is not a people plant. The day lily is, and therefore is a good fit for the Bronx."


10. THE CORPSE FLOWER IS THREATENED BY HABITAT LOSS.
Corpse flowers aren't just rare—they're also vulnerable to habitat loss and destruction, as vast swaths of Sumatra's rainforests are chopped down for timber and to clear ground for oil palm plantations. According to one estimate provided by the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Indonesia has now lost around 72 percent of its original rainforest cover. This contributes to the flower's demise, and also threatens important pollinators like the rhinoceros hornbill.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Rafflesia Arnoldii  |  Stinky Facts About the Corpse Flower

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - ALBERTA

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Did you know.... that Alberta is one of the thirteen provinces and territories of Canada. It is part of Western Canada and is one of the three prairie provinces. Alberta is bordered by British Columbia to the west, Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories (NWT) to the north, and the U.S. state of Montana to the south. It is one of the only two landlocked provinces in Canada. The eastern part of the province is occupied by the Great Plains, while the western part borders the Rocky Mountains. The province has a predominantly continental climate but experiences quick temperature changes due to air aridity. Seasonal temperature swings are less pronounced in western Alberta due to occasional chinook winds. Alberta is the 6th largest province by area at 661,848 square kilometres, and the 4th most populous, being home to 4,067,175 people. Alberta's capital is Edmonton, while Calgary is its largest city. The two are Alberta's largest census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and both exceed 1 million people. More than half of Albertans live in either Edmonton or Calgary, which contributes to continuing the rivalry between the two cities. English is the official language of the province. In 2016, 76.0% of Albertans were anglophone, 1.8% were francophone and 22.2% were allophone. (Wikipedia)

 

Interesting facts about Alberta

Admin  |  May 2019 
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  • Alberta is one of the 13 provinces and territories of Canada and is located in western Canada.
  • It is bordered by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, and the US state of Montana to the south.
  • As of April 2019, the population of Alberta was estimated to be about 4 million people. It is the 4th most populous province in Canada.
  • Alberta is the 6th largest province in Canada in terms of total area with 661,848 square kilometers (255,541 square miles).
  • Edmonton is the capital and second-largest city of Alberta. The city is a cultural, governmental and educational centre. It hosts a year-round slate of festivals, reflected in the nickname “Canada’s Festival City”. 

 

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  • Alberta is a fertile slice of land, one dominated by the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains of North America. The southern portion of its surface consists chiefly of plains that are almost entirely treeless. As the slopes of the Rocky Mountains to the west are reached, more trees are found until in the foothills of the mountains, bodies of forest timber occur. Trees also become more numerous in the northern part of the province.
  • Countless snow-capped mountains form the Canadian Rockies, with many reaching to 3,350 meters (11,000 feet), or more. Mount Columbia [photo below], the highest point in Alberta, stands at 3,747 meters (12,294 feet) above sea level.

 

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Mount Columbia

 

  • The province has numerous rivers and lakes used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports.
  • Alberta has 5 national parks and 76 provincial parks.
  • Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 11,000 square kilometers (4,200 square miles). The park includes the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, hot springs, lakes, waterfalls and mountains. Jasper was named after Jasper Hawes, who operated a trading post in the region for the North West Company.

 

park_lake_canada_mountains_male_pine_roc

 

  • Banff National Park is Canada’s oldest national park and was established in 1885. Located in the Rocky Mountains, 110–180 kilometres (68–112 miles) west of Calgary in the province of Alberta, Banff encompasses 6,641 square kilometres (2,564 square miles) of mountainous terrain, with many glaciers and ice fields, dense coniferous forest, and alpine landscapes.

 

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Banff National Park

 

  • Lake Louise, the jewel of Banff National Park, is famous for its beautiful turquoise colored water that reflects the surrounding mountains and Victoria Glacier on the far shore. It is one of the most visited and photographed lakes in the world, Lake Louise is home to the world-renowned Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. First called Emerald Lake, the lake’s name was later changed to Lake Louise after Princess Caroline Alberta Louise, daughter of Queen Victoria and wife of Canada’s Governor General.

 

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Lake Louise

 

  • Moraine Lake is a small, spectacular, unique and famous lake. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks in Banff National Park. Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake. It has a surface area of 50 hectares (120 acres) or 0.5 square kilometers (0.19 square miles). The breathtaking sight of the surrounding mountains and their snowy peaks also contributes to its uniqueness and fame.

 

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Moraine Lake

 

  • The Icefields Parkway runs from Lake Louise to Jasper and is one of the most beautiful drives in Canada. This 230-kilometer stretch of highway leads past lakes, mountains, glaciers, and waterfalls, with all kinds of stopping points for visitors to experience the landscape up close. Numerous hiking trails along the way, most of which are day hikes, lead to scenic lookouts over surrounding glaciers or lakes.

 

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Icefields Parkway

 

  • The Athabasca Glacier is one of the six principal ‘toes’ of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies. This 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) glacier, located in Jasper National Park in the Canadian Rockies, is one of the most accessible glaciers in Canada—and the most visited glacier in North America. The leading edge of the glacier is within easy walking distance; however, travel onto the glacier is not recommended unless properly equipped.

 

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Athabasca Glacier

 

  • The area now known as Alberta has been inhabited by various Native American (First Nations) groups for at least 10,000 years.
  • European explorers first appeared in the 1750s as the fur trade expanded across western North America.
  • Alberta was established as a district of the North-West Territories in 1882 and was enlarged to its present boundaries on becoming a province in 1905.
  • Alberta is named after Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was the wife of John Campbell, Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada (1878–83). Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were also named in her honour.
  • The province has a humid continental climate with warm summers and cold winters.
  • The four climatic regions (alpine, boreal forest, parkland, and prairie) of Alberta are home to many different species of animals.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Alberta  |  Facts About Alberta

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