Fun Stuff

November 16, 1532: Pizarro traps Incan emperor Atahualpa

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

On November 16, 1532, Francisco Pizarro, the Spanish explorer and conquistador, springs a trap on the Incan emperor, Atahualpa. With fewer than 200 men against several thousand, Pizarro lures Atahualpa to a feast in the emperor's honor and then opens fire on the unarmed Incans. Pizarro's men massacre the Incans and capture Atahualpa, forcing him to convert to Christianity before eventually killing him.

Pizarro's timing for conquest was perfect. By 1532, the Inca Empire was embroiled in a civil war that had decimated the population and divided the people's loyalties. Atahualpa, the younger son of former Incan ruler Huayna Capac, had just deposed his half-brother Huascar and was in the midst of reuniting his kingdom when Pizarro arrived in 1531, with the endorsement of Spain's King Charles V. On his way to the Incan capital, Pizarro learned of the war and began recruiting soldiers still loyal to Huascar.

Pizarro met Atahualpa just outside Cajamarca, a small Incan town tucked into a valley of the Andes. Sending his brother Hernan as an envoy, Pizarro invited Atahualpa back to Cajamarca for a feast in honor of Atahualpa's ascendance to the throne. Though he had nearly 80,000 soldiers with him in the mountains, Atahualpa consented to attend the feast with only 5,000 unarmed men. He was met by Vicente de Valverde, a friar traveling with Pizarro. While Pizarro's men lay in wait, Valverde urged Atahualpa to convert and accept Charles V as sovereign. Atahualpa angrily refused, prompting Valverde to give the signal for Pizarro to open fire. Trapped in tight quarters, the panicking Incan soldiers made easy prey for the Spanish. Pizarro's men slaughtered the 5,000 Incans in just an hour. Pizarro himself suffered the only Spanish injury: a cut on his hand sustained as he saved Atahualpa from death.

Realizing Atahualpa was initially more valuable alive than dead, Pizarro kept the emperor in captivity while he made plans to take over his empire. In response, Atahualpa appealed to his captors' greed, offering them a room full of gold and silver in exchange for his liberation. Pizarro consented, but after receiving the ransom, Pizarro brought Atahualpa up on charges of stirring up rebellion. By that time, Atahualpa had played his part in pacifying the Incans while Pizarro secured his power, and Pizarro considered him disposable. Atahualpa was to be burned at the stake—the Spanish believed this to be a fitting death for a heathen—but at the last moment, Valverde offered the emperor clemency if he would convert. Atahualpa submitted, only to be executed by strangulation. The day was August 29, 1533.

Fighting between the Spanish and the Incas would continue well after Atahualpa's death as Spain consolidated its conquests. Pizarro's bold victory at Cajamarca, however, effectively marked the end of the Inca Empire and the beginning of the European colonization of South America.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 6:00pm
"Here's a tip to avoid death by celebrity: First off, get a life. They can't touch you if you're out doing something interesting."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Leon Trotsky

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 6:00pm
"Old age is the most unexpected of all the things that happen to a man."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Doug Larson

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 6:00pm
"Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Joseph Stalin

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 6:00pm
"A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic."
Categories: Fun Stuff

execrable

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 11/15/2014 - 12:00am

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

execrable • \EK-sih-kruh-bul\  • adjective
1 : deserving to be execrated : detestable 2 : very bad : wretched

Examples:
It turned out that the execrable odor was coming from a bag of onions rotting in the back of the pantry.

"If the waiter laid my plate on the table and said, 'Eat!' I wouldn't mind. But 'Enjoy!' is another matter. There's something cloying, manipulative and, yes, distasteful about being told to enjoy something that might, for all you know, be bland or even execrable." — Tim Johnson, The Burlington (Vermont) Free Press , February 16, 2013

Did you know?
He or she who is cursed faces execrable conditions. Keep this in mind to remember that execrable is a descendant of the Latin verb exsecrari, meaning "to put under a curse." Since its earliest uses in English, beginning in the 14th century, execrable has meant "deserving or fit to be execrated," the reference being to things so abominable as to be worthy of formal denouncement (such as "execrable crimes"). But in the 19th century we lightened it up a bit, and our "indescribably bad" sense has since been applied to everything from roads ("execrable London pavement" — Sir Walter Scott) to food ("The coffee in the station house was ... execrable." — Clarence Day) to, inevitably, the weather ("the execrable weather of the past fortnight" — The (London) Evening Standard).

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - November 14

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:32pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

What number comes next in the sequence:

1 2 3 5 9 12 ==?==

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - November 14 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:32pm
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 - November 14

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 11:32pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Magic Pipes
   Use the different-shaped pipes to link the energy-pods in each level.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

November 15, 1867: First stock ticker debuts

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

On this day in 1867, the first stock ticker is unveiled in New York City. The advent of the ticker ultimately revolutionized the stock market by making up-to-the-minute prices available to investors around the country. Prior to this development, information from the New York Stock Exchange, which has been around since 1792, traveled by mail or messenger.

The ticker was the brainchild of Edward Calahan, who configured a telegraph machine to print stock quotes on streams of paper tape (the same paper tape later used in ticker-tape parades). The ticker, which caught on quickly with investors, got its name from the sound its type wheel made.

Calahan worked for the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company, which rented its tickers to brokerage houses and regional exchanges for a fee and then transmitted the latest gold and stock prices to all its machines at the same time. In 1869, Thomas Edison, a former telegraph operator, patented an improved, easier-to-use version of Calahan's ticker. Edison's ticker was his first lucrative invention and, through the manufacture and sale of stock tickers and other telegraphic devices, he made enough money to open his own lab in Menlo Park, New Jersey, where he developed the light bulb and phonograph, among other transformative inventions.

The last mechanical stock ticker debuted in 1960 and was eventually replaced by computerized tickers with electronic displays. A ticker shows a stock's symbol, how many shares have traded that day and the price per share. It also tells how much the price has changed from the previous day's closing price and whether it's an up or down change. A common misconception is that there is one ticker used by everyone. In fact, private data companies run a variety of tickers; each provides information about a select mix of stocks.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Ernie Kovacs

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Television � a medium. So called because it is neither rare nor well done."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Fletcher Knebel

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Smoking is one of the leading causes of statistics."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Maurice Chevalier

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Old age is not so bad when you consider the alternatives."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Edgar Wilson Nye

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 6:00pm
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
Categories: Fun Stuff

devise

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 11/14/2014 - 12:00am

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

devise • \dih-VYZE\  • verb
1 a : to form in the mind by new combinations or applications of ideas or principles : invent b : to plan to obtain or bring about : plot 2 : to give (real estate) by will

Examples:
The author's childhood home was devised to the city and the Historical Commission will turn it into a museum devoted to her life.

"Students at the Ilead Charter School devised three ways to bash pumpkins into pieces. One method used rubber surgical tubing to create an Angry Birds-style slingshot to propel the squash through the air. A more direct device crushed the pumpkins with a weight and a bowling ball." — Kevin Lillard, Juneau County Star-Times (Wisconsin), October 15, 2014

Did you know?
There's something inventive about devise, a word that stems from Latin dividere, meaning "to divide." By the time devise appeared in English in the 1200s, its Anglo-French forebear deviser had accumulated an array of senses, including "to divide," "distribute," "arrange," "array," "digest," "order," "plan," "invent," "contrive," and "assign by will." English adopted most of these and added some new senses over the course of time: "to imagine," "guess," "pretend," and "describe." In modern use, we've disposed of a lot of the old meanings, but we kept the one that applies to wills. Devise traditionally referred to the transfer of real property (land), and bequeath to personal property; these days, however, devise is often recognized as applying generally to all the property in a person's estate.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - November 13

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

I have a machine which has four sequential cog wheels in constant mesh.

The largest cog has 21 teeth and the others have 17, 12 and 10 respectively.

What is the fewest number of revolutions the largest cog must make so that all of the cogs are back in their starting position?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - November 13 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:18pm
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 - November 13

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 11:18pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Boring Game
   Test your avoiding skills.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

November 14, 1851: Moby-Dick published

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

On this day in 1851, Moby-Dick, a novel by Herman Melville about the voyage of the whaling ship Pequod, is published by Harper & Brothers in New York. Moby-Dick is now considered a great classic of American literature and contains one of the most famous opening lines in fiction: "Call me Ishmael." Initially, though, the book about Captain Ahab and his quest for a giant white whale was a flop.

Herman Melville was born in New York City in 1819 and as a young man spent time in the merchant marines, the U.S. Navy and on a whaling ship in the South Seas. In 1846, he published his first novel, Typee, a romantic adventure based on his experiences in Polynesia. The book was a success and a sequel, Omoo, was published in 1847. Three more novels followed, with mixed critical and commercial results. Melville's sixth book, Moby-Dick, was first published in October 1851 in London, in three volumes titled The Whale, and then in the U.S. a month later. Melville had promised his publisher an adventure story similar to his popular earlier works, but instead, Moby-Dick was a tragic epic, influenced in part by Melville's friend and Pittsfield, Massachusetts, neighbor, Nathaniel Hawthorne, whose novels include The Scarlet Letter.

After Moby-Dick's disappointing reception, Melville continued to produce novels, short stories (Bartleby) and poetry, but writing wasn't paying the bills so in 1865 he returned to New York to work as a customs inspector, a job he held for 20 years.

Melville died in 1891, largely forgotten by the literary world. By the 1920s, scholars had rediscovered his work, particularly Moby-Dick, which would eventually become a staple of high school reading lists across the United States. Billy Budd, Melville's final novel, was published in 1924, 33 years after his death.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Peter Ustinov

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 11/13/2014 - 6:00pm
"In America, through pressure of conformity, there is freedom of choice, but nothing to choose from."
Categories: Fun Stuff