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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 6, 2018 8:59 am 
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While We’re On The Subject: Why Do People Live Near Active Volcanoes?

In May 2018, the people living in the shadow of the Hawaiian volcano Kilauea made a hasty evacuation when it suddenly exploded. The thing is, it had already been erupting, albeit at a slower pace, since about 1983 — which raises a question: Why did all those people choose to live near a ticking time bomb? Well, as it turns out, volcanoes have a lot to offer local residents — as long as they're ready to beat it at a moment's notice.

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It would probably be pretty difficult to convince someone from New York or Chicago to set up a homestead directly in the path of an active volcano. But the volcanoes, well, they make a compelling case. There are actually many agricultural, economic, and social reasons to live next to a volcano. It all starts with the soil.

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If you remember your fifth-grade science class, the molten rock that pours forth during a volcanic eruption is known as magma when it's underground and lava once it reaches the surface. The thing about magma coming up from below ground is that it takes other things up with it — things like valuable minerals and nutrients that are then broken down to make the soil extra fertile. The result is that on volcanic soil, tomatoes grow plumper, beans grow greener, and flowers grow brighter and more plentifully.

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Tomatoes grown in volcanic soil

There's also the cultural role that volcanoes play in so many civilizations. In Mexico, the active Popocatépetl and the inert Iztaccihuatl are at the center of a centuries-old legend, and the Aztecs certainly weren't going to abandon the place most closely associated with their cultural heroes.

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Popocatepetl

Meanwhile, in Iceland, the ruthlessness of the volcano Hekla became a point of pride. Some Christians on the island believed it was literally a gateway to Hell, while others told a tale of a wicked magician driven off by the volcano's lava bombs. Seems like a handy feature of a hometown.

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Hekla

That explains why people have been living near volcanoes since time immemorial. But as technology has advanced, the benefits of volcanoes have only increased. In Iceland and New Zealand, for example, geothermal energy plants have come to play an integral role in keeping the countries' lights on. That wouldn't be possible without the volcanoes that created the islands in the first place. Plus, the unmatched vistas created by volcanic networks aren't just pleasant to live near; they're also a major draw of tourist dollars. That kind of thing can't be ignored.

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New Zealand geothermal plants

Whatever the draw, it's clear that volcanoes have a lot to offer the people who live in their shadows. Name an active volcano: Fuji, Vesuvius, Mt. St. Helens, or even Iceland's infamous Eyjafjallajökull — every single one of them has a decent-size population at the base, and a couple of them have full-blown megalopolises. Living near a volcano is a lot like gambling, but in this case, you're going to want to get out before things get too hot.

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Mt. Fuji

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 7, 2018 8:38 am 
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Why Do Raccoons Wash Their Food?

There is some truth to the story that raccoons wash their food before eating it.

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A raccoon may dip its food in water before eating it, but this habit does not indicate cleanliness, for the water may be dirty. And raccoons will eat most anything, whether it is washed or not.

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Some people believe that a raccoon washes its food because the animal has a keen sense of touch and investigates objects by feeling them, using its front paws like little hands. However, the raccoon can investigate moist objects better than dry ones.

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Frogs, crabs, and crayfish, some of the raccoon’s favorite fresh-water food, are “felt” (which is often mistaken for washing) the same way dry objects are.

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Eating crab

Other people, however, believe that because the raccoon has a small throat, it likes to soak its morsel of food to make it soft before eating it.

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Whatever the raccoon’s reasons for washing its food, it has been known to even do the same thing with pebbles, which it doesn’t eat! The raccoon washes and scrubs the pebbles until they shine, then piles them up in a mound to dry in the sun.

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Well, not exactly,
but you get the picture


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 8, 2018 3:10 am 
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thx henry! i have a lot of respect for coons. they had free range of a house i rented (due to the previous owner) in hotel california, so i had to teach them some new rules (as in, NOT in my house and NOT on my deck). they are hilarious, very intelligent, and have attitudes. a lot of compromise when on until they finally accepted that the rules had indeed changed. they sure had my dog trained - stay in the corner cowering while we roam the house! i laughed to tears the first time i saw that, and seeing how they set the rules for leaving the house that first time. a very entertaining evening.

i've only seen one up here in the hills, and it was HUGE! i'd just as soon they stay wild in the wild - i've already had my allocated share of fun with them!


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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 8, 2018 8:34 am 
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mtnhsmama wrote:
thx henry! i have a lot of respect for coons. they had free range of a house i rented (due to the previous owner) in hotel california, so i had to teach them some new rules (as in, NOT in my house and NOT on my deck). they are hilarious, very intelligent, and have attitudes. a lot of compromise when on until they finally accepted that the rules had indeed changed. they sure had my dog trained - stay in the corner cowering while we roam the house! i laughed to tears the first time i saw that, and seeing how they set the rules for leaving the house that first time. a very entertaining evening.

i've only seen one up here in the hills, and it was HUGE! i'd just as soon they stay wild in the wild - i've already had my allocated share of fun with them!


They used to come to my night-time deck and attack the hummingbird feeder, but it's been years since I've seen one - especially because we now bring the feeders inside at sundown.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 8, 2018 8:37 am 
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What Are Space Probes Used For And Which Space Probes Have Visited Other Planets In Our Solar System?

Space probes are unmanned spacecraft fitted with instruments to gather and transmit data and images from space.

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Because the probes are self-sufficient, they can be sent where no person could survive: into orbit around the Sun, to the other planets, or even out beyond the solar system.

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The downside of unmanned probes is that malfunctions need to be taken care of from Earth, or the space shuttle, which could be millions or billions of miles away.

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Much of the information we have about the Sun and the planets came from space probes such as Pioneer, Mariner, and Voyager.

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Pioneer, Mariner and Voyager

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Post Posted: Jun 9, 2018 8:12 am 
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What Is Light Made Of, Where Does Light Come From, And Why Is Light A Type Of Electromagnetic Radiation?

Light is a familiar everyday phenomena that we take for granted.

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When the Sun or other stars shine, we see light. When we turn on a lamp, we see light.

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Technically, light is an energy disturbance in the air. Oscillating electric and magnetic fields radiate energy in waves.

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The wavelengths and frequency fall in the middle of the electromagnetic spectrum, between ultraviolet and infrared rays. It so happens that our eyes detect radiation at those wavelengths and frequencies in the form of light.

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Different elements, and the combinations of elements that make up molecules, emit radiation in different ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. Nitrogen-based ammonia, for example, tends to emit microwaves. We cannot see ammonia in space with an optical telescope, but it can be found using a special microwave telescope.

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Observatories across the electromagnetic spectrum

Neon radiation, however, is detected as light. Think of all the neon signs in all the store and restaurant windows you’ve seen.

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Neon

Technology now allows astronomers to study radiation across the whole electromagnetic spectrum. Research into all the different kinds of radiation provides far more information, and raises many more questions, about the universe than studying light alone.

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???

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Post Posted: Jun 10, 2018 8:31 am 
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How Did The Newspapers Force The United States Into The Spanish-American War?

American presidents do not declare war just because a few journalists tell them to do so.

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The pressure for war or peace did not come merely from newspapers and outraged common people.

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U.S. businessmen had invested about $50 million in sugar plantations, railroads, mines, and other enterprises in Cuba. They wanted a greater U.S. presence on the island to protect and expand their investments.

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Meanwhile, American imperialists such as Senator Henry Cabot Lodge urged the building of an American overseas empire. Imperialists wanted overseas naval bases and a strong navy to allow U.S. commerce to expand abroad.

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The urgings of empire builders were at least as strong an influence on President McKinley as the popular wish to help Cubans achieve freedom.

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Post Posted: Jun 11, 2018 8:37 am 
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Who Built The Taj Mahal In India And Who Was It Built For?

The love story surrounding the Taj Mahal is true, but certain facts are generally left out. Here’s the oft-told romantic tale: Indian mogul Shah Jahan was deeply in love with one of his four wives, whom he called Mumtaz Mahal, or “Ornament of the Palace.”

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Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal

In 1631, Mumtaz, on her death bed, asked Shah Jahan to take care of her children and build her a suitably lavish monument. Shah Jahan was grief-stricken. He moaned and refused to eat for eight days.

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Finally he emerged from his quarters and began work on a “monument of perfect proportions.” Day and night for 22 years, 20,000 jewelers, masons, and calligraphers worked to create the wondrous white mausoleum still regarded as one of the most remarkable structures ever built.

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Here’s the part most guidebooks don’t tell you: While Shah Jahan was reputedly a fairly benevolent ruler for his time and place, Mumtaz was a ruthless Islamic fanatic who demanded that her husband crush all other religions. At one time, for example, she goaded him into destroying a Christian settlement on India’s northeast coast. The city of Hooghly was razed and its people forced into a 1,200-mile death march to Agra, where Mumtaz had the priests trampled to death by elephants and the rest of the Christians sold into slavery.

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In fact, until the British took over India, guards were posted at the Taj Mahal with a warning that any non-Moslem who tried to enter would be put to death.

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Guards at the Taj Mahal

As soon as the Taj Mahal was finished, Shah Jahan began work on a second mausoleum, this one in black marble, for himself.

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Black mausoleum – never completed

Shah Jahan’s extravagance for his wife, however endearing, eventually led to his downfall. Before his second building could be completed, he was deposed by his own son and imprisoned in a cell overlooking the Taj Mahal. The romantic story has it that every day for eight years he sat gazing across the river, pining for Mumtaz Mahal.

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Well, maybe not every day, he did have his entire harem with him, and he reportedly died from an overdose of aphrodisiacs at age 74.

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Post Posted: Jun 12, 2018 9:09 am 
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Farrokh Bulsara

Farrokh Bulsara (1946-1991) was a gifted musician and vocalist. He was born on 5 September, 1946 in Stone Town, Zanzibar. His family were Parsees, followers of the Zorastrian religion whose ancestors came from Persia. There were sometimes whispers in the Asian community that he ignored his heritage.

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Farrokh Bulsara

But to his family it was an essential part of his identity.

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Jer and little Farrokh

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An adult sister, Kashmira

His father, Bomi, was born in India and like many went to a British possession in Africa to work as a registrar for the colonial government, taking with him his wife Jer. They brought up Farrokh and his younger sister Kashmira, in Zanzibar, now a part of Tanzania, but then a colony in its own right.

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Jer and Bomi Bulsara

When he was eight he was sent to St Peter's, a boarding school near his parents' home city of Bombay, now Mumbai, and showed a natural talent for the piano.

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Mrs Bulsara recalled: "He was quite happy and saw it as an adventure as some of our friends' children had gone there.

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Jer Bulsara (died 11/13/2016)

With a vocal range exceeding 4 octaves, he soon found his true calling as a musical artist. When the family moved to London in 1964, Farrokh attended the Ealing College of Arts, where he met some of his future band mates. He left Ealing College in June 1969, with a diploma in graphic art and design. In 1970, Farrokh joined the band “Smile” as lead singer, where he made two life-changing decisions:

1. He legally changed his name to Freddie Mercury and…

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2. He renamed Smile to Queen.

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Millions-of-sold-albums-later, the rest is history.

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Freddie died of AIDS-related bronchopneumonia on November 24, 1991. He was 45. His last public appearance was on February 18, 1990 at the 11th Brit Awards.

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Last public appearance


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Post Posted: Jun 13, 2018 8:34 am 
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Who Built The First Liquid-Fueled Rocket In The World And When Was It Launched?

In 1926, Robert Goddard, a rocket engineer, fired the first rocket propelled by liquid fuel, solid fuel had already been discounted as not powerful enough to send anything into space.

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Robert Hutchings Goddard

The first flight of a vehicle powered by a liquid-fueled rocket took place on March 16, 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts.

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Goddard’s rocket reached a velocity of 60 miles per hour and height of 41 feet.

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The rocket was named “Nell”, and flew for just 2.5 seconds before landing in a cabbage field (184-feet away), but it was an important demonstration that liquid rockets were possible.

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The first rocket did not reach orbit, but it was the precursor of all spacecraft.

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What distinguished it from other flying machines was that it was meant, one day, to shoot straight up into space. More specifically, the first rocket which could fly high enough to get into space was the V2 missile which was first launched by Germany in 1942. The first rocket which actually launched something into space was used to launch Sputnik, the first satellite, on October 4, 1957. The rocket that launched Sputnik was a R-7 ICBM rocket.

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The V2 (left) reached space first; the R-7 ICBM (right) launched Sputnik-1

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Post Posted: Jun 14, 2018 8:36 am 
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How Does A Porcupine Use Its Quills To Defend Itself Against Predators?

Although a porcupine shooting its quills is a common stunt used in cartoons, porcupines don’t have projectile quills.

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As a last resort, after growling and spitting, a porcupine will turn backward and ram itself into enemies.

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Quills, like fishhooks, have barbs that make them very difficult to remove without causing a great deal of pain.

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It is, again, a porcupine’s last line of defense. In general, porcupines are very docile creatures and easy to tame.

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So trusting, as a matter of fact, their number one danger in life is being killed by humans.

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People eat them but more often use their hollow quills in rituals of magic and religion, as musical instruments, jewelry, and as vials for gold powder or other precious liquids or powders.

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Earrings

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Quill bascket

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Post Posted: Jun 15, 2018 1:53 am 
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O M G!!!

thx so much henry! i just hafta respond to ur post on freddie mercury. there was sumpn vaguely familiar about the kid, and when i saw one life-changing decision was changing his name - my mouth shot open and my hand went over my mouth! i can't believe it's been that long, but his death ranked up there w/ me like prince's death. so sorrowful. both were absolutely intelligent, very private, and fantastically talented! thanks for such a wonderful background on him - who knew!! farrokh bulsara. i'll not forget it!


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