Fun Stuff

utopia

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 04/16/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 16, 2014 is:

utopia • \yoo-TOH-pee-uh\  • noun
: an impractical scheme for social improvement

Examples:
To some people, gated communities are visions of Utopia—safe, quiet, and out of the way.

"Peninsula Players has entertained generations of audiences since it was founded in 1935 by a brother-and-sister team, Caroline and Richard Fisher, who dreamed of an artistic utopia where actors, designers and technicians could focus on their craft while being surrounded by nature in a contemplative setting." — From an article in the Green Bay Press-Gazette, March 12, 2014

Did you know?
In 1516, English humanist Sir Thomas More published a book titled Utopia. It compared social and economic conditions in Europe with those of an ideal society on an imaginary island located off the coast of the Americas. More wanted to imply that the perfect conditions on his fictional island could never really exist, so he called it "Utopia," a name he created by combining the Greek words "ou" (meaning "no, not") and "topos" (meaning "place," a root used in our word "topography"). The earliest generic use of "utopia" was for an imaginary and indefinitely remote place. The current use of "utopia," referring to an ideal place or society, was inspired by More's description of Utopia's perfection.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 16, 1943: Hallucinogenic effects of LSD discovered

This Day in History - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 11:00pm

In Basel, Switzerland, Albert Hoffman, a Swiss chemist working at the Sandoz pharmaceutical research laboratory, accidentally consumes LSD-25, a synthetic drug he had created in 1938 as part of his research into the medicinal value of lysergic acid compounds. After taking the drug, formally known as lysergic acid diethylamide, Dr. Hoffman was disturbed by unusual sensations and hallucinations. In his notes, he related the experience:

"Last Friday, April 16, 1943, I was forced to interrupt my work in the laboratory in the middle of the afternoon and proceed home, being affected by a remarkable restlessness, combined with a slight dizziness. At home I lay down and sank into a not unpleasant, intoxicated-like condition characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed (I found the daylight to be unpleasantly glaring), I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors. After some two hours this condition faded away."

After intentionally taking the drug again to confirm that it had caused this strange physical and mental state, Dr. Hoffman published a report announcing his discovery, and so LSD made its entry into the world as a hallucinogenic drug. Widespread use of the so-called "mind-expanding" drug did not begin until the 1960s, when counterculture figures such as Albert M. Hubbard, Timothy Leary, and Ken Kesey publicly expounded on the benefits of using LSD as a recreational drug. The manufacture, sale, possession, and use of LSD, known to cause negative reactions in some of those who take it, were made illegal in the United States in 1965.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 15

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 8:51pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What are the next two letters in this sequence:

O T T F F S S E ==?== ==?==

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 15 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 8:51pm
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 15

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 8:51pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Murfy Maths
   Complete maths puzzles against the clock in this addictive puzzle game.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Marcus Brigstocke

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 7:00pm
"Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if Pac Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Edith Sitwell

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 7:00pm
"Eccentricity is not, as dull people would have us believe, a form of madness. It is often a kind of innocent pride, and the man of genius and the aristocrat are frequently regarded as eccentrics because genius and aristocrat are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd."
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Peter Ustinov

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 7:00pm
"If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can't be done."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Agatha Christie

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 7:00pm
"If one sticks too rigidly to one's principles, one would hardly see anybody."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Walter Mitty

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 04/15/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 15, 2014 is:

Walter Mitty • \WAWL-ter-MIT-ee\  • noun
: a commonplace unadventurous person who seeks escape from reality through daydreaming

Examples:
Alan is a Walter Mitty who loves to read travel books but rarely ventures beyond the limits of his own small town.

"Ralphie eventually has to resort to his own Walter Mitty-esque flights of fancy to deal with his real-life predicament." — From an article by Bill Eggert in The Tribune-Democrat (Johnstown, Pennsylvania), December 14, 2013

Did you know?
The original Walter Mitty was created by humorist James Thurber in his famous story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." In Walter's real life, he is a reticent, henpecked proofreader befuddled by everyday life. But in his fantasies, Walter imagines himself as various daring and heroic characters. Thurber's popular story was first published in The New Yorker in 1939. "Walter Mitty" has since become the eponym for dreamers who imagine themselves in dramatic or heroic situations.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 15, 1947: Jackie Robinson breaks color barrier

This Day in History - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson's groundbreaking career was honored and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig in a ceremony attended by over 50,000 fans at New York City's Shea Stadium. Robinson's was the first-ever number retired by all teams in the league.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia, to a family of sharecroppers. Growing up, he excelled at sports and attended the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was the first athlete to letter in four varsity sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. After financial difficulties forced Robinson to drop out of UCLA, he joined the army in 1942 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. After protesting instances of racial discrimination during his military service, Robinson was court-martialed in 1944. Ultimately, though, he was honorably discharged.

After the army, Robinson played for a season in the Negro American League. In 1945, Branch Rickey, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, recruited Robinson, who was known for his integrity and intelligence as well as his talent, to join one of the club's farm teams. In 1947, Robinson was called up to the Majors and soon became a star infielder and outfielder for the Dodgers, as well as the National League's Rookie of the Year. In 1949, the right-hander was named the National League's Most Valuable Player and league batting champ. Robinson played on the National League All-Star team from 1949 through 1954 and led the Dodgers to six National League pennants and one World Series, in 1955. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility.

Despite his talent and success as a player, Robinson faced tremendous racial discrimination throughout his career, from baseball fans and some fellow players. Additionally, Jim Crow laws prevented Robinson from using the same hotels and restaurants as his teammates while playing in the South.

After retiring from baseball in 1957, Robinson became a businessman and civil rights activist. He died October 24, 1972, at age 53, in Stamford, Connecticut.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 14

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 8:23pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

If I buy a melon and a coconut, the cost will be £1.19.

If I buy a melon and a pineapple, the cost will be £1.45.

If I buy a coconut and a pineapple, the cost will be £1.40.

What are the individual prices?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 14 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 8:23pm
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 14

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 8:23pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

BugBug In Sky Tower
   Look for lost parts of your ship as you roll your way through challenging puzzles.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ellen DeGeneres

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:00pm
"In the beginning there was nothing. God said, 'Let there be light!' And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Jimmy Breslin

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:00pm
"Rage is the only quality which has kept me, or anybody I have ever studied, writing columns for newspapers."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Walt Whitman

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:00pm
"Do I contradict myself?/ Very well then I contradict myself,/ (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"
Categories: Fun Stuff

John Mason Brown

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 7:00pm
"He played the king as if afraid someone else would play the ace."
Categories: Fun Stuff

madeleine

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 04/14/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 14, 2014 is:

madeleine • \MAD-uh-lun\  • noun
1 : a small rich shell-shaped cake 2 : one that evokes a memory

Examples:
"The evening started with wine and snacks, which included house-made charcuterie, cheese, and cornbread madeleines—the latter, I thought, a clever mashup of French and US traditions…." — From an article by Tom Philpott on MotherJones.com, March 11, 2014 "Every year, the family gathered in the backyard to roast a whole pig in a pit. Between the smell and the smoke, it makes for my own 35-pound madeleine." — From an article by Ana Menéndez in Gourmet, September 2007

Did you know?
The madeleine is said to have been named after a 19th-century French cook named Madeleine Paumier, but it was the French author Marcel Proust who immortalized the pastry in his 1913 book Swann's Way, the first volume of his seven-part novel Remembrance of Things Past. In that work, a taste of tea-soaked cake evokes a surge of memory and nostalgia. As more and more readers chewed on the profound mnemonic power attributed to a mere morsel of cake, the word "madeleine" itself became a designation for anything that evokes a memory.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 14, 1865: Lincoln is shot

This Day in History - Sun, 04/13/2014 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer, fatally shoots President Abraham Lincoln at a play at Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C.  The attack came only five days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, effectively ending the American Civil War.

Booth, a Maryland native born in 1838, who remained in the North during the war despite his Confederate sympathies, initially plotted to capture President Lincoln and take him to Richmond, the Confederate capital. However, on March 20, 1865, the day of the planned kidnapping, the president failed to appear at the spot where Booth and his six fellow conspirators lay in wait. Two weeks later, Richmond fell to Union forces.

In April, with Confederate armies near collapse across the South, Booth hatched a desperate plan to save the Confederacy. Learning that Lincoln was to attend a performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater on April 14, Booth masterminded the simultaneous assassination of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward. By murdering the president and two of his possible successors, Booth and his conspirators hoped to throw the U.S. government into disarray.

On the evening of April 14, conspirator Lewis T. Powell burst into Secretary of State Seward's home, seriously wounding him and three others, while George A. Atzerodt, assigned to Vice President Johnson, lost his nerve and fled. Meanwhile, just after 10 p.m., Booth entered Lincoln's private theater box unnoticed and shot the president with a single bullet in the back of his head. Slashing an army officer who rushed at him, Booth leapt to the stage and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis! [Thus always to tyrants]–the South is avenged!" Although Booth broke his leg jumping from Lincoln's box, he managed to escape Washington on horseback.

The president, mortally wounded, was carried to a lodging house opposite Ford's Theater. About 7:22 a.m. the next morning, Lincoln, age 56, died–the first U.S. president to be assassinated. Booth, pursued by the army and other secret forces, was finally cornered in a barn near Bowling Green, Virginia, and died from a possibly self-inflicted bullet wound as the barn was burned to the ground. Of the eight other people eventually charged with the conspiracy, four were hanged and four were jailed. Lincoln, the 16th U.S. president, was buried on May 4, 1865, in Springfield, Illinois.

Categories: Fun Stuff