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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 22, 2018 7:52 am 
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Who Wrote The Orchestral Interlude “Flight of the Bumblebee” And Which Russian Opera Was It Written For?

The frantic piece of music called “Flight of the Bumblebee” was written in 1899 by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov for his opera The Tale of Tsar Saltan.

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Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

The piece is at the end of Act III, Tableau 1, where Prince Gvidon Saltanovich is transformed into an insect so that he can fly away to visit his father.

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“Flight of the Bumblebee” is also the theme music for the TV series The Green Hornet and the 2003 film Kill Bill.

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The Green Hornet and Kill Bill

In the opera, the melody is played by a solo violin, not a trumpet, accordion, or piano, as in more popularized versions. Although the melody probably sounded like a bumblebee to whoever gave the piece its nickname, the opera contains no insects whatsoever. Instead, the “Bumblebee” piece accompanies a fight to the death between a man and a fish.

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Loosely illustrated, here’s where it fits into the opera:

Tsar Saltan, who pretty much has a cameo role in his own opera, falls in love with the youngest of three sisters and marries her. He goes off to war and all but disappears from the plot for two hours.

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While he’s gone, his queen’s jealous sisters seal her and her young son in a barrel, which they throw into the sea.

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After floating for a long time, the barrel washes ashore on an island, and the queen and prince escape certain death.

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Time passes. One day the shipwrecked young prince, now a teenager, sees a beautiful swan being pursued by a large snub-nosed fish called a pike. While the violin plays its frenetic “Bumblebee” solo, the young prince fights the fish and saves the swan.

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She, of course, happens to be an enchanted princess, presumably on the lam from a production of Swan Lake down the street.

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The swan gives the prince magical powers, enabling him to build his own “Wonder City” on the island, complete with citizens who, not surprisingly, select him as their leader.

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The young prince convinces the swan princess to share his throne, and they live happily ever after, etc. Meanwhile, Tsar Saltan finally returns from war, hears about the fabulous Wonder City Island, and journeys there to be reunited with his queen and son just in time for curtain calls. Bravo!

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In Depth (Contains Playable Track)

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 23, 2018 7:48 am 
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Maria Agnesi

Most people could only name a few of math's greats, but even the most mathematically minded probably miss out on Maria Agnesi. Allow me to introduce you to the 18th-century genius who changed the life of anyone who's ever picked up a math textbook.

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Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Born Maria Gaetana Agnesi on May 16, 1718 in Milan, Italy, Maria quickly proved herself to be a child prodigy. By age six, she was fluent in both Italian and French, adding Latin, German, Greek, Hebrew, and Spanish to her skillset by the time she turned 11. Noticing the incredible intelligence of his eldest kid, Agnesi's father, Pietro, would invite over his friends just to have little Maria put her smarts on display. They didn't call her the "seven-tongued orator" for nothin'.

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By age 14, Maria was on her way to math greatness. When most preteens were just getting introduced to algebra, she was already well-versed in geometry and ballistics. It was in 1748 when Maria really changed the game for mathematics. She became the first woman to write a mathematics textbook with two volumes, entitled the "Basic Principles of Analysis." While most of the math texts of the time were written in Latin, -thanks to Newton and Euler setting that standard - Maria composed her text in Italian in an effort to make it more accessible to everyone. It also made things a little easier for her contemporary scholars who translated this book further for Paris and Cambridge university classrooms. This book, too, was one of the first textbooks for calculus, a relatively new field of math at the time — and not an easy one at that. In 1749, Maria's textbook was praised by the French Academy: "It took much skill and sagacity to reduce to almost uniform methods discoveries scattered among the works of many mathematicians very different from each other. Order, clarity, and precision reign in all parts of this work. ... It’s regarded as the most complete and best-made treatise."

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She introduced the Witch of Agnesi curve

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Beyond her textbook contributions, Maria became the first woman appointed as a mathematics professor at a university in 1750, by Pope Benedict XIV no less. Despite that sweet, sweet prestige, Maria supposedly turned down the offer to pursue her other true passion: advocating for the education of women and the poor. Though born a wealthy woman, she eventually gave it all up to found a small hospital in her home and dedicate her life to service and religion.

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She wrote: "Man always acts to achieve goals; the goal of the
Christian is the glory of God." I hope my studies have brought
glory to God, as they were useful to others, and derived from obedience,
because that was my father's will. Now I have found better ways and
means to serve God, and to be useful to others."


She died on January 09, 1799, poor and was buried in a mass grave with 15 others.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 24, 2018 7:33 am 
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Who Invented The Ritz Cracker And How Did It Get Its Name?

Ritzy was what the National Biscuit Company had in mind back in 1934 when the Ritz cracker was invented.

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The company took a regular cracker recipe, took out the yeast, and added more shortening. When the cracker was finished baking, it was slathered with coconut oil and dashed with salt.

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Because it looked shinier and richer, they named it the “Ritz.”

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Like everything else dubbed “ritzy,” the name is taken from the then opulent Ritz hotels chain. They are now called the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, a subsidiary of Marriott International.

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Ritz-Carlton, NYC

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 24, 2018 10:44 am 
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"Gooooood cracker!"

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 24, 2018 12:13 pm 
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Shortening and not butter. Interesting.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 25, 2018 7:39 am 
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What Is The Best Way To Avoid Being Attacked And Eaten By Tigers If You Encounter One In The Wild?

If you’re concerned about being attacked or eaten by tigers, staying in America and away from zoos and circuses is a safe bet.

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On their own turf, tigers can be a real menace, more so, even, than the other big cats.

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Angry fella

For example, one female tiger in Champawat, India, was blamed for killing at least 436 victims over several years.

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Even though people, who are bony and not that tasty, do not normally appear on the tiger menu, some tigers are lazy enough to make a meal of us slow-moving humans if we happen to make ourselves available for lunch, especially if they’re too sick or disabled to hunt for food they actually like.

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In 1987 scientists found an easy, low-cost way of protecting people passing through the swamps and forests of tiger country: a mask worn on the back of the head. Tigers make a habit of stalking and attacking their prey from behind, but if you wear a mask on the back of your head, you don’t seem to have a behind.

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Several thousand natives have reported that a backward mask works like a charm, tigers followed them for a while, but became visibly confused and demoralized by the ruse, and ultimately slunk back into the jungle.

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These are the benefits of being two-faced.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 26, 2018 7:36 am 
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How Did “Hillbillies” Get Their Name and Why Do They Live In the Appalachian and Ozark Mountains?

The term hillbilly generally describes a perceived uneducated or rough-hewn inhabitant of the Ozark and Appalachian mountains of the United States.

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Hillbillies are a proud culture unto themselves with amazing music that reflects their harsh, isolated existence and the origins of their forefathers.

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Their history is an honorable one indeed. The first hillbillies were the Scots-Irish followers of Britain’s King William III (1650-1702) whose Protestant Orangemen defeated the Roman Catholic allies of the former British king James II (1633-1701) at the Battle of the Boyne in Ireland in 1690.

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William III’s followers were known as Billy Boys, and many of them immigrated to the hills of Appalachia before the American Revolution. It was during this time that British soldiers gave these people the name hillbillies, an informal reference to their previous history as supporters of King William of Orange.

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Unfortunately, few people know about this gallant history. In 1900 an article in the New York Journal described a hillbilly as a “free and untrammeled white citizen of Alabama who lives in the hills, has no means … drinks whiskey … and fires off his revolver.”

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 27, 2018 7:36 am 
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Why Do Owls Have Such Big Eyes And How Do They Protect Them During The Day?

Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but owls have large forward-facing stereoscopic eyes that enable depth perception necessary for low-light hunting.

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Owls have stereoscopic eyes side-by-side

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Most other birds do not

The large eyes of an owl are for acute night vision, and they are also like pair of sunglasses.

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Being nocturnal, much of their hunting is done at night, and being able to see in the dark helps a lot.

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However, having large, open pupils for seeing in the dark can be a problem when the sun is out. So Mother Nature came up with a solution for the owl. It has a thin membrane of an eyelid that serves as a light filter during daylight so the owl can see while its eyes remain protected.

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Owls are also farsighted and are unable to see anything that is close up clearly.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 28, 2018 7:36 am 
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What Was The Original Banana Republic And Where Did The Term Come From?

Now the name of a fashionable chain of clothing stores, “banana republic” used to be a disparaging term for any small, poor Latin American nation with a history of civil turmoil and dictatorial rule.

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The first country to be saddled with the insulting name may have been Honduras early last century, when American fruit companies were buying up Honduran land and using it to grow bananas. To this day, bananas are Honduras’s principal crop.

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Banana plantation – Honduras

The U. S. Marines occupied next-door neighbor Nicaragua from 1912-1933 due to rebellion/insurgency activities that threatened to destabilize the whole multi-country region, including Honduras, not to mention jeopardizing American interests in those countries.

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Last edited by Henry on Jun 28, 2018 11:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 28, 2018 11:18 am 
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Henry wrote:
The first country to be saddled with the insulting name may have been Honduras early this century, when American fruit companies were buying up Honduran land and using it to grow bananas. To this day, bananas are Honduras’s principal crop.

Which century would that be? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 28, 2018 11:23 am 
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Bobcat wrote:
Henry wrote:
The first country to be saddled with the insulting name may have been Honduras early this century, when American fruit companies were buying up Honduran land and using it to grow bananas. To this day, bananas are Honduras’s principal crop.

Which century would that be? :)



Oops. Post corrected. :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jun 28, 2018 3:28 pm 
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Henry wrote:
Bobcat wrote:
Henry wrote:
The first country to be saddled with the insulting name may have been Honduras early this century, when American fruit companies were buying up Honduran land and using it to grow bananas. To this day, bananas are Honduras’s principal crop.

Which century would that be? :)



Oops. Post corrected. :oops:

Being older, I do it all the time. Every time someone says "turn of the century" and they are talking about the 20th to the 21st it just points out to me how old I am.

You know you are getting old when you tell someone your birth date and it sounds like a long time ago.

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