Fun Stuff

quidnunc

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 22, 2015 is:

quidnunc • \KWID-nunk\  • noun
: a person who seeks to know all the latest news or gossip : busybody

Examples:
We were naturally curious when the moving van appeared in the Michaelsons' driveway, but the neighborhood quidnunc, Mrs. Dyer, had already heard that Mr. Michaelson was being transferred to a new job out of town.

"To spend time with a book in order to read scandalous revelations about real-life people is not an elevated or honourable thing to do, but it appeals to the gossip-sharing quidnunc in all of us." — John Walsh, The Independent (London), July 22, 2003

Did you know?
"What's new?" That's a question every busybody wants answered. Latin-speaking Nosey Parkers might have used some version of the expression quid nunc, literally "what now," to ask the same question. Appropriately, the earliest documented English use of quidnunc to refer to a gossiper appeared in 1709 in Sir Richard Steele's famous periodical, The Tatler. Steele is far from the only writer to ply quidnunc in his prose, however. You can also find the word among the pages of works by such writers as Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne. But don't think the term is old news—it sees some use in current publications, too.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 22, 1970: The first Earth Day

This Day in History - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 11:00pm

Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs.

Earth Day was the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, a staunch environmentalist who hoped to provide unity to the grassroots environmental movement and increase ecological awareness. “The objective was to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it would shake the political establishment out of its lethargy,” Senator Nelson said, “and, finally, force this issue permanently onto the national political agenda.” Earth Day indeed increased environmental awareness in America, and in July of that year the Environmental Protection Agency was established by special executive order to regulate and enforce national pollution legislation.

On April 22, 1990, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, more than 200 million people in 141 countries participated in Earth Day celebrations.

Earth Day has been celebrated on different days by different groups internationally. The United Nations officially celebrates it on the vernal equinox, which usually occurs about March 21.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 21

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:57pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Which letters come next in this sequence:

TO NE US RN ER RS ==?==

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 21 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:57pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - April 21

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 10:57pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

City Scape
   Build a city in the most efficient way.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Friedrich Nietzsche

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:00pm
"There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness."
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Henry J. Tillman

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:00pm
"If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate."
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Ogden Nash

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:00pm
"I think that I shall never see / a billboard lovely as a tree. / Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, / I'll never see a tree at all."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Unknown

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:00pm
"My Karma ran over your dogma."
Categories: Fun Stuff

omnipotent

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 21, 2015 is:

omnipotent • \ahm-NIP-uh-tunt\  • adjective
: having virtually unlimited authority or influence

Examples:
Small children often believe their parents to be omnipotent, capable of commanding any situation or resolving any problem they find before them.

"As test scores become the omnipotent factor in what determines an effective educator, a successful student, or the quality of a school, awe-inspired learning moments begin to pale in comparison to the urgency of bubbling in a correct answer." — Laurie Futterman, Miami Herald, March 11, 2015

Did you know?
The word omnipotent made its way into English through Anglo-French, but it ultimately derives from the Latin prefix omni-, meaning "all," and the word potens, meaning "potent." The omni- prefix has also given us similar words such as omniscient (meaning "all-knowing") and omnivorous (describing an animal that eats both plants and other animals). Although omnipotent is used in general contexts to mean "all-powerful" (as in "an omnipotent warlord"), its original applications in English referred specifically to the power held by an almighty God. The word has been used as an English adjective since the 14th century; since 1600 it has also been used as a noun referring to one who is omnipotent.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 21, 753: Rome founded

This Day in History - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:00pm

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, found Rome on the site where they were suckled by a she-wolf as orphaned infants. Actually, the Romulus and Remus myth originated sometime in the fourth century B.C., and the exact date of Rome’s founding was set by the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro in the first century B.C.

According to the legend, Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia, the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa. Alba Longa was a mythical city located in the Alban Hills southeast of what would become Rome. Before the birth of the twins, Numitor was deposed by his younger brother Amulius, who forced Rhea to become a vestal virgin so that she would not give birth to rival claimants to his title. However, Rhea was impregnated by the war god Mars and gave birth to Romulus and Remus. Amulius ordered the infants drowned in the Tiber, but they survived and washed ashore at the foot of the Palatine hill, where they were suckled by a she-wolf until they were found by the shepherd Faustulus.

Reared by Faustulus and his wife, the twins later became leaders of a band of young shepherd warriors. After learning their true identity, they attacked Alba Longa, killed the wicked Amulius, and restored their grandfather to the throne. The twins then decided to found a town on the site where they had been saved as infants. They soon became involved in a petty quarrel, however, and Remus was slain by his brother. Romulus then became ruler of the settlement, which was named “Rome” after him.

To populate his town, Romulus offered asylum to fugitives and exiles. Rome lacked women, however, so Romulus invited the neighboring Sabines to a festival and abducted their women. A war then ensued, but the Sabine women intervened to prevent the Sabine men from seizing Rome. A peace treaty was drawn up, and the communities merged under the joint rule of Romulus and the Sabine king, Titus Tatius. Tatius’ early death, perhaps perpetrated by Romulus, left the Roman as the sole king again. After a long and successful rule, Romulus died under obscure circumstances. Many Romans believed he was changed into a god and worshipped him as the deity Quirinus. After Romulus, there were six more kings of Rome, the last three believed to be Etruscans. Around 509 B.C., the Roman republic was established.

Another Roman foundation legend, which has its origins in ancient Greece, tells of how the mythical Trojan Aeneas founded Lavinium and started a dynasty that would lead to the birth of Romulus and Remus several centuries later. In the Iliad, an epic Greek poem probably composed by Homer in the eighth century B.C., Aeneas was the only major Trojan hero to survive the Greek destruction of Troy. A passage told of how he and his descendants would rule the Trojans, but since there was no record of any such dynasty in Troy, Greek scholars proposed that Aeneas and his followers relocated.

In the fifth century B.C., a few Greek historians speculated that Aeneas settled at Rome, which was then still a small city-state. In the fourth century B.C., Rome began to expand within the Italian peninsula, and Romans, coming into greater contact with the Greeks, embraced the suggestion that Aeneas had a role in the foundation of their great city. In the first century B.C., the Roman poet Virgil developed the Aeneas myth in his epic poem the Aeneid, which told of Aeneas’ journey to Rome. Augustus, the first Roman emperor and emperor during Virgil’s time, and Julius Caesar, his great-uncle and predecessor as Roman ruler, were said to be descended from Aeneas.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 20

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:43pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

A man builds a house with all 4 sides facing south. A bear walks past the house. What colour is the bear?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 20 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:43pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - April 20

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:43pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Common Answers
   Compete with the rest of the world by predicting the most common answers to 10 easy questions.
[Played on the BrainBashers Puzzle/Illusion website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Cindy Gardner

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"What's the difference between a boyfriend and a husband? About 30 pounds."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Jimmy Buffett

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"Indecision may or may not be my problem."
Categories: Fun Stuff

James Thurber

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
Categories: Fun Stuff

H. L. Mencken

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
Categories: Fun Stuff

ailurophile

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 20, 2015 is:

ailurophile • \eye-LOOR-uh-fyle\  • noun
: a cat fancier : a lover of cats

Examples:
Ailurophiles, young and old, are sure to love the art museum's new exhibit featuring paintings and photographs of felines, ranging from tabbies to man-eaters.

"Yes, it's book one of a series…. And yes, the primary villain is a cat, whereas I'm an unashamed ailurophile. … But none of that mattered when I closed the back cover—I just wanted more, more, more." — Katie Ward Beim-Esche, Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2014

Did you know?
Although the word ailurophile has only been documented in English since the early 1900s, ailurophiles have been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were perhaps history's greatest cat lovers, pampering and adorning felines, honoring them in art, even treating them as gods. But the English word ailurophile does not descend from Egyptian; rather, it comes from a combination of the Greek word ailouros, which means "cat," and the suffix -phile, meaning "lover." If Egyptian cat-loving sentiments leave you cold and you're more sympathetic to medieval Europeans who regarded cats as wicked agents of evil, you might prefer the word ailurophobe (from ailouros plus -phobe, meaning "fearing or averse to"). That's a fancy name for someone who hates or fears cats.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 20, 1980: Castro announces Mariel Boatlift

This Day in History - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 11:00pm

On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.

The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortagescaused bythe ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire.

The Cuban government demanded the five be returned for trial in the dead guard’s death. But when the Peruvian government refused, Castro withdrew his guards from the embassy on Good Friday, April 4. By Easter Sunday, April 6, some 10,000 Cubans crowded into the lushly landscaped gardens at the embassy requesting asylum. Other embassies, including those of Spain and Costa Rica, agreed to take a small number of people. But suddenly, two weeks later, Castro proclaimed that the port of Mariel would be opened to anyone wishing to leave, as long as they had someone to pick them up. Cuban exiles in the United Statesrushed to hire boats in Miami and Key West and rescue their relatives.

In all, 125,000 Cubans fled to U.S. shores in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast guard. Cuban guards had packed boat after boat, without considering safety, making some of the overcrowded boats barely seaworthy. Twenty-sevenmigrants died, including 14 on an overloaded boat that capsized on May 17.

The boatlift also began to have negative political implications for U.S.President Jimmy Carter.When it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities, many were placed in refugee camps while others were held in federal prisons to undergo deportation hearings. Of the 125,000 “Marielitos,” as the refugees came to be known, who landed in Florida, more than 1,700 were jailed and another 587 were detained until they could find sponsors.

The exodus was finally ended by mutual agreement between theU.S. andCubangovernments in October 1980.

Categories: Fun Stuff