Fun Stuff

bodacious

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 05/29/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 29, 2015 is:

bodacious • \boh-DAY-shuss\  • adjective
1 : outright, unmistakable 2 : remarkable, noteworthy 3 : sexy, voluptuous

Examples:
The comedy writing team has created a sitcom pilot featuring two geeky guys and their bodacious female roommate.

"She'd get a big kick out of this moment. Being honored and commemorated by the postal service with her own stamp, for the big, bold, bodacious life she dared to live, in a way that dazzled and gave meaning to those of us who knew her and many who didn't." — Oprah Winfrey, Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal, April 7, 2015

Did you know?
Some of our readers may know bodacious as a word that figured prominently in the lingo of the 1989 film Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Others may recall the term's frequent use in the long-running "Snuffy Smith" comic strip. Neither the creators of the comic strip nor the movie can claim to have coined bodacious, which actually first appeared in print in 1832, but both likely contributed to its popularity. The exact origin of the word is uncertain, but it was most likely influenced by bold and audacious, and it may be linked to boldacious, a term from British dialect.

Categories: Fun Stuff

May 29, 1953: Hillary and Tenzing reach Everest summit

This Day in History - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 11:00pm

At 11:30 a.m. on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay, a Sherpa of Nepal, become the first explorers to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which at 29,035 feet above sea level is the highest point on earth. The two, part of a British expedition, made their final assault on the summit after spending a fitful night at 27,900 feet. News of their achievement broke around the world on June 2, the day of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, and Britons hailed it as a good omen for their country’s future.

Mount Everest sits on the crest of the Great Himalayas in Asia, lying on the border between Nepal and Tibet. Called Chomo-Lungma, or “Mother Goddess of the Land,” by the Tibetans, the English named the mountain after Sir George Everest, a 19th-century British surveyor of South Asia. The summit of Everest reaches two-thirds of the way through the air of the earth’s atmosphere–at about the cruising altitude of jet airliners–and oxygen levels there are very low, temperatures are extremely cold, and weather is unpredictable and dangerous.

The first recorded attempt to climb Everest was made in 1921 by a British expedition that trekked 400 difficult miles across the Tibetan plateau to the foot of the great mountain. A raging storm forced them to abort their ascent, but the mountaineers, among them George Leigh Mallory, had seen what appeared to be a feasible route up the peak. It was Mallory who quipped when later asked by a journalist why he wanted to climb Everest, “Because it’s there.”

A second British expedition, featuring Mallory, returned in 1922, and climbers George Finch and Geoffrey Bruce reached an impressive height of more than 27,000 feet. In another attempt made by Mallory that year, seven Sherpa porters were killed in an avalanche. (The Sherpas, native to the Khumbu region, have long played an essential support role in Himalayan climbs and treks because of their strength and ability to endure the high altitudes.) In 1924, a third Everest expedition was launched by the British, and climber Edward Norton reached an elevation of 28,128 feet, 900 vertical feet short of the summit, without using artificial oxygen. Four days later, Mallory and Andrew Irvine launched a summit assault and were never seen alive again. In 1999, Mallory’s largely preserved body was found high on Everest–he had suffered numerous broken bones in a fall. Whether or not he or Irvine reached the summit remains a mystery.

Several more unsuccessful summit attempts were made via Tibet’s Northeast Ridge route, and after World War II Tibet was closed to foreigners. In 1949, Nepal opened its door to the outside world, and in 1950 and 1951 British expeditions made exploratory climbs up the Southeast Ridge route. In 1952, a Swiss expedition navigated the treacherous Khumbu Icefall in the first real summit attempt. Two climbers, Raymond Lambert and Tenzing Norgay, reached 28,210 feet, just below the South Summit, but had to turn back for want of supplies.

Shocked by the near-success of the Swiss expedition, a large British expedition was organized for 1953 under the command of Colonel John Hunt. In addition to the best British climbers and such highly experienced Sherpas as Tenzing Norgay, the expedition enlisted talent from the British Commonwealth, such as New Zealanders George Lowe and Edmund Hillary, the latter of whom worked as a beekeeper when not climbing mountains. Members of the expedition were equipped with specially insulated boots and clothing, portable radio equipment, and open- and closed-circuit oxygen systems.

Setting up a series of camps, the expedition pushed its way up the mountain in April and May 1953. A new passage was forged through the Khumbu Icefall, and the climbers made their way up the Western Cwm, across the Lhotse Face, and to the South Col, at about 26,000 feet. On May 26, Charles Evans and Tom Bourdillon launched the first assault on the summit and came within 300 feet of the top of Everest before having to turn back because one of their oxygen sets was malfunctioning.

On May 28, Tenzing and Hillary set out, setting up high camp at 27,900 feet. After a freezing, sleepless night, the pair plodded on, reaching the South Summit by 9 a.m. and a steep rocky step, some 40 feet high, about an hour later. Wedging himself in a crack in the face, Hillary inched himself up what was thereafter known as the Hillary Step. Hillary threw down a rope, and Norgay followed. At about 11:30 a.m., the climbers arrived at the top of the world.

News of the success was rushed by runner from the expedition’s base camp to the radio post at Namche Bazar, and then sent by coded message to London, where Queen Elizabeth II learned of the achievement on June 1, the eve of her coronation. The next day, the news broke around the world. Later that year, Hillary and Hunt were knighted by the queen. Norgay, because he was not a citizen of a Commonwealth nation, received the lesser British Empire Medal.

Since Hillary and Norgay’s historic climb, numerous expeditions have made their way up to Everest’s summit. In 1960, a Chinese expedition was the first to conquer the mountain from the Tibetan side, and in 1963 James Whittaker became the first American to top Everest. In 1975, Tabei Junko of Japan became the first woman to reach the summit. Three years later, Reinhold Messner of Italy and Peter Habeler of Austria achieved what had been previously thought impossible: climbing to the Everest summit without oxygen. Nearly two hundred climbers have died attempting to summit the mountain. A major tragedy occurred in 1996 when eight climbers from various nations died after being caught in a blizzard high on the slopes.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - May 28

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:25pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Three teachers were discussing how long they had been teaching.

Adrian and Betty had been teaching for a total of 36 years.

Charles and Betty had been teaching for a total of 22 years.

Charles and Adrian had been teaching for a total of 28 years.

How long had each been teaching?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - May 28 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:25pm
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 - May 28

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:25pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Premiere League Foosball
   Play Foosball with your favourite UK football team.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Henry Adams

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Robertson Davies

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight. "
Categories: Fun Stuff

Wernher von Braun

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"We can lick gravity, but sometimes the paperwork is overwhelming."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Samuel Johnson

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"A cucumber should be well-sliced, dressed with pepper and vinegar, and then thrown out."
Categories: Fun Stuff

fictioneer

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 05/28/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 28, 2015 is:

fictioneer • \fik-shuh-NEER\  • noun
: someone who writes fiction especially in quantity and without high standards

Examples:
Dwight was a fictioneer who specialized in pulp novels, producing over 300 of them in his long career.

"Is it right for such irresponsible fictioneers to be playing around unconscionably with such tragic subject matter?" — Jeff Simon, Buffalo (New York) News, November 18, 2014

Did you know?
In Latin, the verb fingere means "to shape, fashion, or feign." Fictioneers surely do shape stories and feign the truth, so you could say that the noun fictioneer is etymologically true to its ancestor. The word fiction had been around for more than 500 years by the time fictioneer appeared in English in 1923, bearing a suffix that harks back to such words as engineer and pamphleteer. The word is used generally to refer to any writer of fiction but often specifically to one who writes with little concern for literary quality. Fictioneer and fiction aren't the only English feigners and shapers born of fingere. The words effigy, feign, and figment are among others that trace back to that Latin verb.

Categories: Fun Stuff

May 28, 1961: Appeal for Amnesty campaign launches

This Day in History - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1961, the British newspaper The London Observer publishes British lawyer Peter Benenson’s article “The Forgotten Prisoners” on its front page, launching the Appeal for Amnesty 1961–a campaign calling for the release of all people imprisoned in various parts of the world because of the peaceful expression of their beliefs.

Benenson was inspired to write the appeal after reading an article about two Portuguese students who were jailed after raising their glasses in a toast to freedom in a public restaurant. At the time, Portugal was a dictatorship ruled by Antonio de Oliveira Salazar. Outraged, Benenson penned the Observer article making the case for the students’ release and urging readers to write letters of protest to the Portuguese government. The article also drew attention to the variety of human rights violations taking place around the world, and coined the term “prisoners of conscience” to describe “any person who is physically restrained (by imprisonment or otherwise) from expressing…any opinion which he honestly holds and does not advocate or condone personal violence.”

“The Forgotten Prisoners” was soon reprinted in newspapers across the globe, and Berenson’s amnesty campaign received hundreds of offers of support. In July, delegates from Belgium, the United Kingdom, France, the United States, Germany, Ireland and Switzerland met to begin “a permanent international movement in defense of freedom of opinion and religion.” The following year, this movement would officially become the human rights organization Amnesty International.

Amnesty International took its mandate from the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which holds that all people have fundamental rights that transcend national, cultural, religious and ideological boundaries. By the 10th anniversary of the Appeal for Amnesty 1961, the organization it spawned numbered over 1,000 voluntary groups in 28 countries, with those figures rising steadily. In 1977, the organization received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Amnesty International owes much of its success in promoting human rights to its impartiality and its focus on individuals rather than political systems. Today, Amnesty International continues to work toward its goals of ensuring prompt and fair trials for all prisoners, ending torture and capital punishment and securing the release of “prisoners of conscience” around the globe.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - May 27

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:11pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Gib is to llams as nepo is to desolc as pu is to ==?==

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - May 27 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:11pm
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 - May 27

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:11pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Dice Mogul
   Race around a circular board buying everything in sight, then building houses, hotels, or landmarks to get the most money.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Anonymous

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everybody agrees that it is old enough to know better."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Blore's Razor

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"Given a choice between two theories, take the one which is funnier."
Categories: Fun Stuff

James M. Barrie

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"I know not, sir, whether Bacon wrote the works of Shakespeare, but if he did not it seems to me that he missed the opportunity of his life."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Sir Thomas Beecham

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"A musicologist is a man who can read music but can't hear it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

riot act

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 05/27/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 27, 2015 is:

riot act • \RYE-ut-AKT\  • noun
: a vigorous reprimand or warning — used in the phrase read the riot act

Examples:
Celia's parents read her the riot act after she stayed out for almost an hour past her curfew.

"[Angela Merkel] read Greece and other affected zone members the riot act: their borrowing and spending was out of control, and they'd have to rein it in, just as Germany had done." — Paul Hockenos, The Nation, March 12, 2015

Did you know?
Many people were displeased when George I became king of England in 1714, and his opponents were soon leading rebellions and protests against him. The British government, anxious to stop the protests, passed a law called the "Riot Act." It allowed public officials to break up gatherings of 12 or more people by reading aloud a proclamation, warning those who heard it that they must disperse within the hour or be guilty of a felony punishable by death. By 1819, riot act was also being used more generally for any stern warning or reprimand. Although the law long ago fell into disuse and was finally repealed in 1973, the term that it generated lives on today.

Categories: Fun Stuff

May 27, 1941: Bismarck sunk by Royal Navy

This Day in History - Tue, 05/26/2015 - 11:00pm

On May 27, 1941, the British navy sinks the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France. The German death toll was more than 2,000.

On February 14, 1939, the 823-foot Bismarck was launched at Hamburg. Nazi leader Adolf Hitler hoped that the state-of-the-art battleship would herald the rebirth of the German surface battle fleet. However, after the outbreak of war, Britain closely guarded ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, and only U-boats moved freely through the war zone.

In May 1941, the order was given for the Bismarck to break out into the Atlantic. Once in the safety of the open ocean, the battleship would be almost impossible to track down, all the while wreaking havoc on Allied convoys to Britain. Learning of its movement, Britain sent almost the entire British Home Fleet in pursuit. On May 24, the British battle cruiser Hood and battleship Prince of Wales intercepted it near Iceland. In a ferocious battle, the Hood exploded and sank, and all but three of the 1,421 crewmen were killed. The Bismarck escaped, but because it was leaking fuel it fled for occupied France. On May 26, it was sighted and crippled by British aircraft, and on May 27 three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off.

Categories: Fun Stuff