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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 9, 2018 8:52 am 
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Daylight Savings Time

Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead one hour on Sunday.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 9, 2018 9:56 am 
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Happy 59th Anniversary Barbie!

My how you've changed. Here's a Barbie like the ones I played with in the early 1960s:

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And then she started evolving with the times:

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OOPS! (this is a real version of Barbie)

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Then she chose the wrong path for awhile: (this is not a real version of Barbie)

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But was pardoned and got her life back together, again:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 10, 2018 8:41 am 
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It's Illegal To Take A Photo Of The Eiffel Tower Illuminated At Night

It's a no-brainer to swing by the Eiffel Tower during a Parisian vacation. But it's weirdly a no-no to snap a photo of the famous structure while it's illuminated at night. More than just some cultural faux pas, the act is illegal. I know, I’m weeping for your Instagram account too.

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If you're visiting France, make sure to grab your Eiffel Tower selfie before sunset. The website for the Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel (the company that owns and operates the tower) says, "The views from the Eiffel Tower are rights-free. Permission and rights must be obtained from the Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel for the publication of photographs of the illuminated Eiffel Tower." So, daytime Tower is in the public domain, but nighttime Tower is not. Well, technically the Tower itself, constructed in 1889, is always rights-free. The problem lies in its illumination.

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The building's light show, which was added in 1985, is technically owned by the light-show artist. Therefore, nighttime photos of the Tower are a violation of the artist's copyright under French law. As reported by Snopes, the EU's 2001 Copyright Directive, Article 5, dictates that photographs of architectural works in public spaces can be taken free of charge. Thus, taking pictures of public buildings is permissible, and those photographs can be published or distributed without prior permission in most European countries. This EU directive is optional, however, and France opted out of including it in their national laws.

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The Société d'Exploitation de la Tour Eiffel considers the illumination to be an artistic work that is separate from the tower itself. If there were a way to photograph the Tower at night without the lighting, you'd be golden. But certainly not every tourist is aware of this obscure, urban-legend-sounding law.

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What would happen if you did snap a photo? Well, you didn't hear it from me, but probably nothing. Having a copyright is a whole lot different from enforcing said copyright. Apparently, no one has ever been taken to court over their images of the Tower or the light show at night. Your killer #EiffelTower Instagram is probably safe ... for now.

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Just don't go pointing fingers if you get busted.

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General Information

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 11, 2018 7:51 am 
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Here's Why You Shouldn't Add Oil To Your Pasta Water

Pasta is the universal ingredient, playing the starring role just as perfectly in a quick bowl of bachelor chow as it does in a time-intensive gourmet recipe. Regardless of how you like to serve it, there's really just one way to boil it — and that's without any oil.

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When most people make pasta, they believe they should add two things to the water. First is salt, which helps season the pasta (but doesn't make the water boil any faster, to debunk another pasta myth). The second is oil, supposedly to keep the pasta from sticking together as it boils.

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No-no

The problem with this comes down to a fact everybody knows: oil and water don't mix. No matter how hot the water or how rolling the boil, water's polar molecules won't mix with oil's nonpolar molecules. That means only a tiny bit of the oil, if any at all, will even make its way onto the pasta as it boils.

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In fact, adding oil does more harm than good. The pasta will get up close and personal with the oil once you drain it. At that point, all the oil is good for is leaving a slick coating on the pasta that will thwart any sauce that attempts to stick to it.

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Sauce can’t penetrate oily pasta

Pasta sticks when the starch molecules within it absorb so much hot water that they burst. That makes a bunch of starch rush out and coat the outside of the pasta pieces for a few minutes at the beginning of the cooking process. Eventually, though, it dissolves and washes away, leaving the pasta smooth again. If the pasta is constantly moving at that key moment, it's less likely to stick to itself. That's why experts like Alton Brown recommend using a huge pot and a ton of water (never less than a gallon [roughly 4 liters]) since that gives the pasta plenty of room to move around. It's also why most recipes tell you to stir the pasta immediately at the beginning, then periodically for the rest of the cooking time.

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Stir often

If your problem is keeping the pasta from sticking to itself once it's done, there are a few easy fixes. The obvious first: time your pasta so that it finishes with everything else. In fact, combining the pasta with the sauce when both are still hot is the best way to ensure the pasta absorbs the most sauce. Your other option is to save a little bit of pasta water, and use that to loosen the pasta when you're ready to serve it. That does double duty, since the starch dissolved in the water helps to thicken the sauce. If you must use oil, only use it to store the leftovers.

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In Depth

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 11, 2018 9:58 am 
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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 12, 2018 7:41 am 
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The World's Deepest Hotel Suite

When you were watching "The Fellowship of the Ring," did you sigh longingly at the scenes in the Mines of Moria? If so, you may want to book your next vacation to Sweden, where you can stay in the world's deepest hotel suite, located in an old silver mine.

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For four centuries, the Sala Silver Mine cranked out precious metal, but its last strike came in 1908. Today, it's a popular tourist destination. The mine goes 300 meters (984 feet) deep with over 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) of tunnels. The hotel suite is 155 meters (500 feet) deep, because a third of the mine is underwater.

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The experience begins with a private tour of the mine. Then, you're given wine, cheese, chocolate, and biscuits. After that, you're left to bask in your candlelit, hollowed-out hideaway. The stone walls frame plush armchairs and a very cozy-looking bed, and there's a bathroom right outside the door.

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In the morning, you're served breakfast, then brought back up to the top floor so you can use the showers. One night for two people costs a little over $500, but considering there's only one room and you'd have ultimate privacy, it may be worth the splurge.

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For adventure seekers, you can go scuba diving in the underwater portions of the mine. Swim down pitch-black tunnels (lit only by your headlamp) and stumble upon mining carts and tracks, wheelbarrows, and other tools; sunken reminders of the mine's illustrious history. Fair warning: the water is a frosty 35 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius).

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If scuba isn't your thing, you can embark on classic spelunking tours, including a firsthand look at hundreds of years of silver mining, a ropes course, and even a treasure hunt for the kids. They do events with actors taking you back to the early days of the mine for full immersion. If you're claustrophobic, they offer above-ground tours, and even a pub crawl. At the restaurant, you can chow down on delicacies like the wild-caught boar burger.

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And on the off chance you encounter a Balrog down in the mine, hopefully Gandalf can distract it long enough for you to escape.

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Balrog

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Gandalf

In Depth

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 12, 2018 8:57 am 
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There is an underground suite in Peach Springs Az. off route 66 near the Grand Canyon. No scuba but a shower, microwave and 32" tv. Not as elegant as Swedens but an attendant is available on call. It's around 200' underground and 800$ a night!

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 12, 2018 11:50 am 
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I add a little oil when boiling items to lessen the chance of it boiling over.... Oil reduces surface tension.


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 12, 2018 8:43 pm 
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To oil or not to oil, that is the question!! Actually, it doesn't make any difference--it's just a matter of preference. As long as the pasta is cooked correctly, everyone should be happy!


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Post Posted: Mar 13, 2018 7:41 am 
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The Oldest Message In A Bottle Ever Found Just Washed Up On Shore

There's something so surreal and romantic about a message in a bottle. What could it say? "Stranded on desert island"? "Send help"? "Guess my favorite Police song"? Well, one Australian woman just found a bottle of her own, and inside was a message from the German Consulate circa 1886. It's the oldest known message in a bottle ever recovered.

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There are a lot of bottles floating in the ocean, and you might be surprised to learn how many of them contain secret messages. But the latest one to wash up on the beach is something special: it was floating out there on the waves for nearly 132 years. Tonya Illman, an Australian woman from Perth, was out for a walk with her husband Kym when they spotted something wedged in a nearby dune. Thinking it might look nice cleaned up and placed on her mantle, Tonya picked up the dark brown bottle and noticed something inside. At first, she thought it was a rolled-up cigarette, but it turned out to be something much more exciting.

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The Illmans

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The cork was long gone, so it was easy for the Illmans to tip the bottle over and pour out its contents. It was a tightly wound note with a fragile piece of string around it. That's right — the note stayed intact for all that time even though the bottle didn't have a top. Since sand dunes can be surprisingly mobile, experts think that the bottle actually came ashore a little while ago, and the cork popped out after it dried.

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The Tillmans put the note in the oven to dry it out before they finally unrolled it. They couldn't believe what they saw. Inscribed on the note was the date June 12, 1886, along with a bunch of official-looking German words and the name of a ship, the Paula. They thought it must have been some sort of trick or promotion, but after plugging the German into Google Translate and looking up the history of the Paula, they realized it might be real after all.

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So what did the note actually say? I hate to disappoint you — it's not a message from a marooned ship, and it's not a lovelorn letter thrown dramatically to the sea. Actually, it was thrown in the ocean for exactly this purpose: to find out how long it would take for it to arrive on land (or at least, in another sailor's hands). Translated from the original German, the note bears the following message:

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This bottle was thrown overboard on June 12, 1886 at latitude 32° 49' South and longitude 105° 25' from Greenwich East.

From: Bark Ship Paula, Port: Elsfleth, Captain: D [illegible], On her journey from Cardiff to Macassar.

The finder is requested to send the slip in the bottle to the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg or the nearest consulate for the return to the same agency after filling in the information on the back.


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In Depth

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Post Posted: Mar 14, 2018 7:49 am 
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The South Pacific Religion That Worships A WW2 Soldier

There's an Arthur C. Clarke quote (really the Arthur C. Clarke quote) that goes "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That might make you think of the Wizard of Oz, who pulled levers behind a curtain in order to look like a sorcerer. Or of any given episode of "Doctor Who." On the South Pacific island of Tanna, this trope is writ onto the real world as a result of the complicated intersection of colonialism and indigenous practices. Meet "John Frum," the mythical WWII G.I. who's become a messiah to thousands.

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Ceremonial cross of John Frum cargo cult, Tanna, New Hebrides.

Here's the basic gist of the John Frum movement: according to the legend, John is an American who appeared to the people of Tanna in the form of a World War II G.I. in the 1940s. He brought with him a wealth of material goods, including chocolate, cola, and wondrous devices such as radios, televisions, and even airplanes. And then he left. Today, Tannese followers of the religion attempt to appease this mythical figure from afar in hopes of enticing him to return.

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Cultists try to attract John Frum with home-made airplane

Worship of John Frum involves building airstrips in jungle, practicing military drills with rifles made out of bamboo, and organizing celebratory parades every February 15 — John Frum Day.

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If that were the whole story, it would map pretty well onto the colonial views that the West tends to project onto the places it invades. You can see it, right? Natives see their first white man, immediately identify him as a god, and organize their entire lives around him. But as is often the case, reality is a lot more complicated.

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In no particular order, here are three major complications in the breezily colonial reading of John Frum. First, the Americans stationed on Tanna during World War II weren't the first Westerners the people had seen. The Portuguese landed on the island in 1606. Second, the religion dates back to at least the 1930s — well before any G.I.s would have been around to take on the messiah role (some sources trace it back as far as the 1910s). Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the religion isn't an embrace of Western modernity. It's a rejection of it.

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In the early 20th century, the Tannese were suffering under the thumb of English colonizers. Their religious practices were outlawed, as was the custom of drinking kava, a mild narcotic native to the island. According to some tellings, John first appeared at a clandestine kava meeting, stepping out of the jungle in Western clothes. He expressed his approval of this return to ancient ways, and encouraged the revelers to continue keeping these traditions (collectively known as "kastom") alive. And then things really started to take off.

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It's difficult to say if this first John Frum was an Englishman, a Tannese man in costume, or, as some hypothesize, some sort of collective hallucination as a result of the drink. But he soon got into trouble.

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In the early 1940s, the movement stepped out of the shadows as John Frum issued his first prophecy: if the Tannese rid themselves of Western money, Western clothes, Western schools, and everything else, then the whites would leave the island and John would supply his worshippers with everything they could possibly need. And indeed, in 1941, the faithful rushed the white-controlled settlements with all of the Western money that they had accumulated over the years. They spent extravagantly, and what they couldn't spend, they threw into the sea. A year later, the U.S. military made its presence known on the island. And that's when John Frum took on his American G.I. form.

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Revival meeting

Unlike the colonizers of previous generations, the military presence on the island included both black and white soldiers. Followers of the movement saw themselves reflected in the dark skin of these new people, and John Frum began to be depicted as a black serviceman. They also brought with them some of the wondrous pieces of technology I mentioned earlier, their identical, mass-produced packaging adding a pseudo-magical flavor to the kinds of materials that John could provide.

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The John Frum movement is still going strong, even as its practitioners grow more familiar with the actual workings of modern Western industrialism. And that's the crux of the issue: John Frum shouldn't be seen as a mortal human, but as a spirit or deity. Perhaps more significantly, the material goods, once seen as otherworldly or divine, can be seen instead as a vessel for independence. Indeed, new schisms in the religion have de-emphasized the worldly wealth that John is said to bring. And as religious leader Chief Isaac told Smithsonian Magazine, they're hardly the only faithful to wait patiently for a return. "You Christians have been waiting 2,000 years for Jesus to return to earth, and you haven't given up hope."

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Chief Isaac Wan

In Depth

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Mar 14, 2018 4:10 pm 
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Henry, I don't know if you or AL or one of the other web wunderkind on this board can format a post around this story, but I find this fascinating: After a year in space, Scott Kelly's DNA does not match his identical twin (https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/14/health/scott-kelly-dna-nasa-twins-study/index.html).

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