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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 6, 2018 8:56 am 
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How bizarre and cool is that?!

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Post Posted: Apr 7, 2018 8:32 am 
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A 27-Year-Old Harvard Dropout Is The World's Youngest Self-Made Billionaire

A lot happens in your 20s. It's a chunk of time during which you might graduate college, start a real full-time job, get married, buy your own car, make your first billion. You know, all the usual milestones of young adulthood ... if your name is John Collison, at least.

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John Collison

The world's youngest self-made billionaire (yes, with a B) is no longer Mark Zuckerberg. While Zuck did earn his first billion earlier than anyone else in history at the age of 23, he's gotten on in years (can you believe he's pushing 34?) and since been ousted as the youngest self-made billionaire overall. The latest newcomer to the self-made billionaire club is a young man from Ireland who you've probably never even heard of. John Collison reached self-made billionaire status in 2016 at age 26, and he's the current reigning youngest billionaire on Earth at the time of this post.

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Mark Zuckerberg – CEO Facebook

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John Collison – Co-founder Stripe

Collison, along with his similarly impressively young brother Patrick only two years his senior, co-founded the tech company Stripe. He was only 19 — a teenager! — when they started things up in 2010. Stripe was designed as a way to transform how people and businesses handle online payments. Seems simple, but as e-commerce was taking off, apparently no one had thought to update the user-unfriendly methods of online payment — not until the Collisons came along, anyway. Instead of forcing users to make accounts on websites to purchase anything, Stripe made it possible for businesses to integrate payment processing into their websites. Since its inception, Stripe has made customers of huge companies like Facebook, Target, Lyft, Squarespace, and way more. Early investors in the company include such familiar folks as Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Elon Musk.

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John (left) and Patrick (right)

Collison's success story doesn't follow a very predictable formula. He was born in Limerick, Ireland in 1990 and eventually moved to the small, fairy-tale-esque Irish village of Dromineer with his family. From these humble roots, Collison gained acceptance to Harvard before he even finished his Leaving Certificate (final exams, basically) with the highest possible scores. He was already a millionaire before leaving for the States; by then, he and his brother Patrick already had a lucrative software firm that made it easier for eBay sellers to manage transactions. His stint at Harvard didn't last long, however — he dropped out after his first year to start his current company, not unlike fellow young billionaire Mark Zuckerberg. Stripe, the Collisons' company, was valued at $9.2 billion in 2016, which brought each brother's fortune up to a cool $1.1 billion. Well, that didn't take long.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 8, 2018 8:47 am 
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Who Was Jacques Cousteau?

Jacques Cousteau was a Frenchman who revealed to the world the incredible and complex life beneath the ocean’s surface.

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Jacques Cousteau

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As a student at the French Naval Academy in the 1930s, Cousteau suffered an injury in an automobile accident that left his right arm paralyzed. A friend suggested he swim to rehabilitate his arm. He did, and wearing goggles, Cousteau saw “a jungle of fish. That was like an electric shock.” Cousteau adapted a camera to take pictures underwater and he began thinking about a way for people to breathe underwater.

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At that time, divers breathed oxygen through a tube connected to a boat. It was cumbersome and dangerous. Cousteau developed the Aqua-Lung, an oxygen tank strapped to the back of the diver that allowed him or her to swim freely.

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Antiquated breathing method

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In 1951, Cousteau sailed in a ship, Calypso, to investigate the world’s oceans. He improved the Aqua-Lung and built a camera capable of photographing life 600 feet deep. On his first voyage, to the Red Sea in 1952, he filmed and took photographs of amazing undersea life.

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He made a film, The World of Silence, out of his undersea clips, which won an Academy Award in 1955. He is best known for his television show, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which ran four times a year and lasted from 1966 to 1975. But Cousteau didn’t remain happy to just film the ocean; he wanted to colonize it.

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The World Of Silence (aka The Silent World)

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Cousteau thought of the sea as a place to be colonized using craft similar to stations in space. Throughout the 1960s, the Cousteau team constructed three consecutive Continental Shelf Stations, known colloquially as Conshelf I, II and III.


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A bold concept

In 1963, Cousteau and four other men spent a month at 33 feet beneath the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt in an underwater settlement that included air conditioning and Plexiglas windows that showed ocean life swimming by.

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Playing chess aboard Conshelf II

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Conshelf II diver

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Conshelf III

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Cousteau and his “Aquanauts”

His dreams of colonizing the ocean never materialized, but when Cousteau died in 1997, he was remembered as a passionate defender of the world’s oceans. The Cousteau Society, founded by Cousteau in 1973, continues to fight for the protection of the environment and natural resources.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 9, 2018 8:25 am 
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*** Topic Revisit ***

--------------------

Note: A “revisit” means that either new facts or better images
- or both - have been found on a topic I previously posted on.

--------------------

North Sentinel Island Is Home To The Last Uncontacted People On Earth

It's just a fact: there are almost no uncharted places left on the map. Even the most adventurous explorer isn't going to stumble on a group of people who haven't experienced the modern world. Well, unless you're in the Bay of Bengal. Just head over to North Sentinel Island (part of the Andaman chain of islands) if you want to try contacting the world's last uncontacted people — but you'd better be careful.

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How does an island population survive into the 21st century without ever running into a modern Magellan? Basically, by keeping any would-be "discoverer" at bay with bows, arrows, and spears. The people of North Sentinel Island have kept their corner of the Indian Ocean free of intruders for as long as they've lived there — about 60,000 years. It's not because they or their island are unknown, either. North Sentinel Island can be found in the writings of Marco Polo (although modern historians doubt he ever landed there), and every three to five decades a ship tends to find itself on the island's shore, whether on purpose or by accident. Today, the Indian government recognizes the island as a sovereign entity and makes efforts to ensure they're left undisturbed.

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One of the first deliberate encounters with the people that English-speaking mainlanders have come to call the Sentinelese came in 1880, and it might explain why they've been so hostile to outsiders ever since. Led by anthropologist and British naval officer Maurice Vidal Portman, this expedition ended when the European researchers kidnapped an elderly couple and four children in order to "study" them. To make things worse, many of these unfortunate victims died shortly after from disease.

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Portman with Sentinelese tribsmen

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Even before Portman's voyage, though, the Sentinelese weren't especially welcoming. Thirteen years before the 1880 incident, an Indian merchant ship called the Ninevah was wrecked on the surrounding reefs, and after three days on the beach, they were assailed from the jungle. Something very similar happened in 1981 when the merchant vessel Primrose was grounded on the reef. The crew kept the Sentinelese at bay with improvised weapons, including their flare gun, and sent distress calls back to the mainland that left recipients scratching their heads in confusion. Still, they were rescued after approximately one week via helicopter — an event that must have been quite the sight to the Sentinelese further inland.

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Ninevah (Nineveh)

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Primrose aground

The only successful contact came in 1991, when the anthropologist TN Pandit finally interacted with them after two decades of distant observation. But the Sentinelese still don't want you there. In 2006, two poachers were killed when they broke the island's quarantine and ran afoul of its residents.

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Successful contact in 1991

Obviously, there's a lot that we don't know about how exactly people live on North Sentinel Island. But there are a few things that we can say for sure. First, the population numbers somewhere between 50 and 400 — I said "for sure," not "specifically." Also, they live a hunter-gatherer lifestyle and have dwelt on the island since before the invention of agriculture.

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A lot of what we know about life on North Sentinel Island can be inferred from the peoples of the surrounding islands. After all, North Sentinel Island isn't that isolated — it's only 20-odd miles from the other Andaman islands, which are now bustling with their own cities and roads. The way aboriginal societies once thrived on the other islands can offer clues as to the current lifestyle on North Sentinel Island. For now, that's how it'll stay. The Sentinelese want it that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 9, 2018 7:04 pm 
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There are about 500 million dogs in the world with another one born every second. There are more than 400 recognized breeds.

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Post Posted: Apr 10, 2018 8:46 am 
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Why Do We Still Have Human Window Washers?

Factory workers are being replaced by computers. Taxi drivers are being replaced by autonomous vehicles. So why is the window washing industry still going strong? You might think that building a robot to clean a skyscraper would be first on the list — wouldn't it save human lives? — but in reality, getting a robot to do a window-washer's job is nothing close to easy.

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Robots have certainly tried cleaning skyscrapers. The original World Trade Center towers were equipped with one, in fact. It did a lousy job. "It was never effective," Steven Plate of the Port Authority of New York told the New York Times in 2014. "It basically didn't clean the building." Instead, it required double duty: a once-over by the mechanical system, then another pass by humans to clean what the robot hadn't. Those dangling scaffolds that hold workers hundreds of floors up are also used for a lot more than just cleaning — sometimes windows need repairs and facades need fixing, and a building owner is unlikely to invest in one mechanized system for that and another for a window-cleaning robot.

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The messes aren't exactly predictable, either. There's obviously bird poop, which takes a bit more scrubbing than your run-of-the-mill dirt. And older buildings still have windows that open, and that means inhabitants can throw things. Food, for instance. "They throw s*** out of the windows all the time," window washer Ron Zeibig told The New Yorker about cleaning the Empire State Building. "One time, they threw, like, twenty gallons of strawberry preserves—and it went through ten floors, all over the windows. And it was the winter, so it froze on there and we couldn't get it off."

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There's also the fact that building architecture is changing. As the Empire State Building proves, there was once a point where you could open the windows in a high-rise building. That made it easy for window washers to strap themselves into a harness, climb out the window, and hook to the side of the building from within. But in the 1950s, buildings began using glass-curtain walls, which turned each window into a fixed facade instead of an adjustable portal. That meant that windows could only be washed from the outside, which also meant that a special mechanized system had to be installed on the roof. At first, that required buildings to have flat roofs, but as the technology advanced, architects had more freedom to add slopes and curves to their designs.

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Ropes and pulleys

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Mechanical window cleaner

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Building-supported scaffolding

That all culminates in the skyscrapers of today, many of which look more like sculptures than dwellings, and require complex window-washing rigs to match. Take Hearst Tower in New York City, for example. It looks like an origami cylinder or a finely cut jewel, and the system to clean its windows took three years and $3 million to build, according to The New Yorker — and it still has to use human window washers.

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Hearst Tower window cleaning rig

But if you're worried for the safety of those workers hanging from death-defying heights, don't be. Despite the altitude, it's a surprisingly safe gig. According to data collected by CityLab, window washers were victims of less than two dozen fatal falls annually from 2003 through 2010. And as the New York Times reports, the pay is nothing to sneeze at, reaching nearly $27 an hour plus benefits. For having skills a robot can't match, they've certainly earned it.

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Just another day at the office

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Post Posted: Apr 11, 2018 8:52 am 
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Did Attila The Hun Die In Battle?

No, Attila the Hun died in bed on his wedding night.

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After a night of passion, he died of a fatal nose bleed, although there are slight disagreements with this.

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How very tragic and slightly ironic.

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In Depth

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Post Posted: Apr 12, 2018 8:42 am 
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How Did Winston Churchill Coin The Term “Iron Curtain” And When?

Winston Churchill is widely known to have coined the term “Iron Curtain”.

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In most history texts, you’ll find that he used the term publicly in a speech given at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946.

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Statue of Churchill outside of Westminster College

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, however, says the term was in use long before his speech. “The expression ‘iron curtain’ had been previously applied by others to the Soviet Union or its sphere of influence, e.g., Ethel Snowden, in the book “Through Bolshevik Russia (1920)”; Dr. Goebbels, in Das Reich (25 Feb. 1945); and by Churchill himself in a cable to President Truman (4 June 1945).”

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Because Churchill’s speech was widely heard, and heard of, people assumed that he actually coined the phrase, however, he didn’t.

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Post Posted: Apr 13, 2018 8:47 am 
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How Did The Buffalo Soldiers Get Their Name And What Does It Mean?

Native Americans gave the troops the name, probably because they hadn’t seen many African Americans and thought the soldiers’ short, dark, curly hair resembled the mane of the buffalo.

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The name was thought to be a sign of respect because the buffalo was an important animal to the Indians.

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The name originated with the Cheyenne warriors in the winter of 1867, says the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, the Cheyenne translation being “Wild Buffalo.”

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The term Buffalo Soldiers became a generic term for all African-American soldiers, and is still in use today for units that trace their direct lineage back to the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments formed in 1866.

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What Is The Name Of The Beautiful 17th Century Poem Found In Old St. Paul’s Church In Baltimore?

The 17th century poem found in Old St. Paul’s Church in Baltimore is called “Desiderata,” which begins, “Go placidly amid the noise and haste”.

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It was on a lot of posters in the 1960s, attributed as “found in Old Saint Paul’s Church, A.D. 1692.”

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It may be beautiful, but it wasn’t found in Baltimore’s Old St. Paul’s Church and it isn’t from the 17th century. A genuine slip-up gave the wrong origins to the poem. Its actual author was Indiana lawyer and businessman Max Ehrmann, and the copyright on the poem is 1927.

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In the 1950s, Old St. Paul’s housed a clergyman by the name of Frederick Ward Kates, who liked putting inspirational phrases on his church bulletins for his congregation.

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Frederick Ward Kates

He ran across a copy of Ehrmann’s “Desiderata” and printed it. On the letterhead, there was also the founding date of the church: “Old Saint Paul’s Church, Baltimore, A.D. 1692.” The founding date of the church became confused with the authorship date of the poem, and because the poem was pretty, it got circulated into the heart of the Flower Power movement in San Francisco.

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Children Of The Universe

Banners, framed cross-stitch patterns, posters, and T-shirts were created bearing the poem. Everyone thought the beautiful, cosmic piece “You are a child of the universe / no less than the trees & the stars…” was ancient wisdom being passed from the 1690s to the 1960s.

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In 1977, a local news writer for the Washington Post, Barbara J. Katz, began tracking down the history of “Desiderata” after hearing conflicting stories. She pinpointed the true author as hobbyist poet/playwright Ehrmann and discovered how the slip-up occurred at Old St. Paul’s.

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---------------

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater
and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble,
it's a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Author - Max Ehrmann (1872 - 1945)


---------------
In Depth

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Post Posted: Apr 15, 2018 8:37 am 
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UPS Trucks Almost Never Make Left Turns — And Maybe You Shouldn't Either

Here's a strange idea: never make a left turn in your car again. Turns out, avoiding left turns is standard practice for UPS truck drivers. Once you discover the reasons they have for this rule, you'll be flashing your right-hand blinker a lot more too.

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Next time you need to make a quick grocery trip, trying driving there without turning left at all. UPS drivers do just that whenever they can. In fact, the company made that their policy in 2004. The first reason is the most obvious: danger. Left-turning vehicles usually go against the flow of traffic. In numerous studies, left turns caused a significantly higher number of crashes than right turns. Left turns are also three times more likely to kill pedestrians than right ones, according to data collected by New York City's transportation planners. Look both ways before you cross the street, kids.

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Here's where it gets pretty astonishing — avoiding left turns saves an incredible amount of fuel. Since enacting this policy, UPS has saved 10 million gallons of fuel every year and 100,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. That's the equivalent of taking 21,000 cars off the road. It's all due to the fact that left turns usually cause a driver to sit in that turn lane idling until their chance to go.

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So should the rest of us follow suit? Obviously, banning left turns outright just isn't feasible. Sometimes, you just gotta. Jack Levis, UPS Senior Director of Process Management, tells CNN, "We will make left hand turns, but not ones that are unnecessary. We don't need to go in circles all day long by making only right hand turns. We have tools [that] analyze the number of left hand turns for each route, and we can work out which ones are avoidable."

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Although this practice can make driving safer and save you fuel money, how do you tell that to your GPS? UPS has a proprietary software that directs drivers away from unnecessary left turns. "We can differentiate more important left-hand turns from unimportant ones. Google Maps has no concept of not making a left-hand turn, it just shows the most direct way to reach your destination. We have the ability to penalize some of those," Levis told CNN.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Apr 15, 2018 8:47 am 
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Hmmm, interesting. I never knew that. I would get a little frustrated, though.

:off topic: I love your sig line: “You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ~ Dr. Seuss

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