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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 24, 2018 8:34 am 
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Why Do Hurricane Hunters Hunt Hurricanes?

Not the thrill-seeking way you might think. Hurricane hunters is the name given the men and women who have the very dangerous job of flying directly into the eye of newly forming hurricanes.

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Hurricane hunters are the dedicated crew of the planes that are sent out by the air force, the navy, or the Hurricane Center of the Environmental Science Service Administration to collect information on storms that have been spotted by instruments, ships, satellites, or planes.

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The hunters fly special aircraft equipped with many different kinds of equipment. The machines on the plane record and measure the size of the storms that are beginning.

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This information is very helpful in warning those who live in the path of these oncoming hurricanes. Hurricane hunters have saved many lives.

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If you go…

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…or if you stay…

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 25, 2018 8:32 am 
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Why Is A Male Donkey Called Jack And A Female Donkey Called Jenny And How Did The Names Originate?

Jack is the diminutive or short form of the common name John, although it is also often used as a proper name.

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The name Jack was so common at one point that it was used for addressing any male.

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It was eventually used to designate any male person, male animals, and even a variety of inanimate objects, such as a jack for lifting heavy loads.

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Hence the names lumberjack, jackass, jackrabbit, bootjack, jack-of-all-trades, and even Jack the Ripper.

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A little more confusing is how the female donkey became known as the jennyass.

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Nowadays Jenny is short for Jennifer, but there were few Jennifers hundreds of years ago when “Jennyass” became Jack’s counterpart. It turns out that, back then, the name Jenny was also short for Guinevere, an extremely common English name for girls hundreds of years ago.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 26, 2018 8:31 am 
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Why Is A Sloth Called Lazy?

A sloth is a small South American mammal which moves about very slowly, when it moves at all.

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Three-toed Sloth

It is considered a sluggish, or lazy, animal because of this, but scientists say that this sluggishness is caused by the sloth’s very low body temperature.

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Monkey steals food from slower sloth

Sloths spend most of their time in trees and seldom come down to the ground. They walk upside down, hanging from branches by their hook-like claws, and feed on leaves, buds, and young twigs.

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Once their hunger is satisfied, they even fall asleep in that same upside-down position and sleep up to 18 hours a day.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 27, 2018 8:33 am 
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Pingelap Atoll Is Known As The Island Of The Colorblind

A lot of people are colorblind — including some very famous color enthusiasts — and in fact, very few of us have perfect color vision. But there's a place where colorblindness runs so rampant that it's known as the Island of the Colorblind. And it's not the red-green blindness that's most common on the mainland. The island's inhabitants see in almost entirely black and white.

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Pingelap Atoll made its first impression in the mainstream media in 1996 with the book by Oliver Sacks that lent it a nickname: "The Island of the Colorblind." It lives up to the name. While red-green colorblindness isn't especially uncommon (at least among some people — about 8 percent of men have it, while only 0.5 percent of women do), on Pingelap Atoll, about 10 percent of the population has the much rarer condition known as achromatopsia. Elsewhere in the world, the condition only affects about 1 in 30,000 people.

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10% of the population have the rarer achromatopsia

So how did this place come to be? This isn't an evolutionary adaptation to gain some sort of advantage from the environment. Instead, it's almost a fluke. This endemic achromatopsia dates back to 1775 when a typhoon devastated the atoll and left only a few survivors behind. One of those survivors — the king, according to the oral tradition — had the condition, and passed it on quite liberally as the people repopulated the islands. Fast forward a couple of centuries, and achromatopsia on Pingelap Atoll is about as common as left-handedness is on the mainland.

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You may have heard of how color vision works thanks to the three types of cone cells in your eye — some are sensitive to red, some to green, and some to blue. Achromatopsia happens because none of the cones function properly, leaving only the brightness-sensitive rod cells to do all the work. Rods only detect the intensity of light, so they can only perceive in grayscale. But there's another side effect, as well. People with achromatopsia also tend to be very sensitive to bright light, which can make daily chores on a sunny island unbearable. The upside is that achromatopsia comes with excellent dark vision, which is handy for another island tradition: catching flying fish by night using a bright fire suspended from a boat.

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Belgian photographer Sanne De Wilde recently paid a visit to Pingelap Atoll, hoping to document how this extreme colorblindness (which is called "maskun," or "not-see," on the island) shapes the way the residents see the world. It's easy to tell which of the people have it, she told Wired, because they blink and squint constantly. But one thing that she was surprised to learn was that many achromatopes claim to see some very slight variations of some colors: blues and reds specifically. Thus, her project (also called "The Island of the Colorblind") was born.

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Sanne De Wilde

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In this series, she photographed scenes and citizens on the island in several different ways. Many of her pictures depict the world in stark black and white, while for other images she used infrared settings to distort and subdue certain wavelengths. And then there are the pictures that she had colored in. Back in an art installation at her Amsterdam studio, she displayed several of the black-and-white photos under special conditions to simulate colorblindness. Visitors were then invited to color in those images using watercolors, even though the lighting made them unable to actually see what colors they had been using. Only later, under normal lighting conditions, were they able to see the colorful artworks that they had helped to create. De Wilde's goal is to make people reconsider their relationship with color and try to understand what a color actually is outside of how it's experienced.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 27, 2018 9:12 am 
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Hmm, very interesting that's it's just this island has such a high incidence.

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 27, 2018 9:21 am 
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aspenleaf wrote:
Hmm, very interesting that's it's just this island has such a high incidence.


Tough job for the king ... but someone had to do it. :whistle:

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 28, 2018 8:49 am 
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This Unassuming Spanish Town Is Swarming With Michelin-Starred Restaurants

The unassuming seaside town of San Sebastian, in the Basque region of Northern Spain (locally known as Donostia), has a reputation far larger than its size — and it's all about the food. With more Michelin stars per square meter than any other city in the world (16 stars and counting), it's no wonder Europe declared it as a Capital of Culture in 2016.

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For centuries, San Sebastián was little more than a small fishing village, but it gained popularity as a vacation spot for Europe's aristocracy, including the Spanish Royal Family, in the 19th century. The result was the creation of many architectural treasures, including a number of stunning Belle Époque buildings and palaces scattered throughout the city. With Biarritz, France and Bilbao, Spain each just an hour's drive away, the atmosphere is a mix of classic French elegance with an earthy Basque ambiance. It's like having all the charm of Paris with the beauty of the beachfront.

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It wasn't until the 1970s that the city experienced a culinary revolution. With ample rainfall, lush green hillsides, and nutrient-rich Biscayan waters, the climate was perfect for harvesting top quality ingredients.

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It was only a matter of time before someone took the bait! Two young chefs from San Sebastián did just that. Juan Mari Arzak and Pedro Subijana spent time in France studying the nouvelle-cuisine movement and returned to their hometown determined to give the Basque cuisine an innovative new twist. With the help of other free-thinking chefs, a new and exciting culinary movement was born: La Nueva Cocina (the new kitchen), otherwise known as molecular gastronomy. This modern method merges technique and technology with dishes defying convention, such as hot ice cream and carrot-juice noodles — just like a real-life Willy Wonka factory!

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Juan Mari Arzak & daughter Elena

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Pedro Subijana

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Hot Ice Cream

With nine Michelin Star restaurants to dine in, three of which are ranked in the top 50 worldwide, your biggest dilemma will be deciding which one to visit. Of course, if you're feeling particularly lavish, you can set yourself the challenge of trying them all! Arzak, Akelaŕe, and Martin Berasategui each boast three Michelin stars, alongside Mugaritz with two and Kokotxa, Mirador de Ulia, Zuberoa, Alameda, and newcomer Amelia with one.

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Of the three-star spots, there's Martín Berasategui, named for its head chef: a proud holder of eight Michelin stars in Spain (the most in Spanish history) and coined as the godfather of Basque cuisine. A trip to his establishment will wow you with exciting flavors and textures you never thought possible, and you may even catch a glimpse of the celebrity chef working his magic in the kitchen.

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Head chef Berasategui

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Post Posted: Jul 29, 2018 8:44 am 
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We May Have Detected Liquid Water On Mars

Mars might have water hiding under its southern pole. A study published a few days ago in Science – based on radar observations from the Mars Express spacecraft – suggests a 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) zone of sediments with water in the Planum Australe region. If there is indeed water down there, that could be a spot for life on Mars.

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Possible water reservoir

Mars used to be much wetter in the ancient past. All you need to do is look at its numerous canyons on the surface, or examine Martian rocks such as hematite — rocks that usually form in water. But the planet is a dry and dusty place today, shaped by wind instead of water. So where did all that water go?

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The theory is that Mars used to have a much thicker atmosphere, like that of Earth. But over the eons, it slowly eroded away. Mars doesn't have a global magnetic field. This means that it's poorly protected from the sun's radiation. Slowly but surely, charged particles from the sun knocked away lighter molecules of the Red Planet's atmosphere and scattered them into space.

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This newfound water reservoir — if it indeed exists, because not all scientists agree it's there — is probably a leftover of that wetter period on Mars, billions of years ago. (The science team was cautious to say that this discovery is probably sediments mixed in with water — not a lake, as some media have said.)

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But we need more evidence to be sure this water is there, and to figure out exactly what is in the area. On Earth, scientists commonly use planes to beam radar at the ice in places like Antarctica to discover what's underneath. So we may not get an answer for sure until we can get a craft to peer at the Martian south pole from up close.

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Proposed radar search aircraft: MARSIS

Yes, there definitely is water on the Red Planet. All you need to do is look at the poles of Mars. There are layers of water ice (and in some cases, carbon dioxide ice) that wax and wane with the changing seasons on Mars. In summer, the caps are smaller as the water evaporates into the atmosphere. In winter, the caps expand as the atmosphere lets go of the water and the ice freezes up again. Mars may even have snowstorms.

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Polar ice cap winter v. summer

But what about running water — water where microbes might like to live? A possible region of study is something called recurring slope lineae (RSL). These are strange patterns of dark streaks that appear on the sides of steep craters on the equator of Mars, or the warmest part of the planet, during the summer. Some researchers say it's running water seeping out from under the surface, kept liquid by salts. Others argue that the RSL are actually dry sand flows, or maybe contain water from the atmosphere.

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There's even water ice under the surface of Mars, including in a huge zone in Utopia Planitia (in the mid-northern latitudes) that probably has an ice deposit with as much water as Lake Superior. It would take a little bit of digging to get it out of the ground, but NASA said in 2016 that this ice zone "identifies a possible resource for future astronauts."

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While Mars isn't a place for water sports, it still seems a promising spot to set up a colony. SpaceX's Elon Musk, NASA and several other agencies are thinking about heading to Mars in a couple of decades. Could one of these water zones be where future humans settle? Probably, although concerns about how to protect the microbes from us will have to be answered first. Time to start thinking about it!

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The future is almost here

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 Post subject: Re: Interesting Facts
Post Posted: Jul 30, 2018 8:34 am 
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Where Did the Phrase “Cup of Joe” Originate and Why Is a Cup of Coffee Called a “Cup of Joe”?

Up until 1914, the United States Navy practiced the British tradition of each sailor receiving a daily ration of rum (aka Grog).

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British navy

But in that year, Secretary of the Navy Josephus, or Joe, Daniels, a non-drinker, prohibited any alcohol on board any American vessel.

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==========

GENERAL ORDER NO. 99
[Prohibition in the Navy]

NAVY DEPARTMENT,
Washington, D.C., June 1, 1914

CHANGE IN ARTICLE 827, NAVAL INSTRUCTIONS.

On July 1, 1914, Article 827, Naval Instructions, will be annulled and in its stead the following will be substituted:

"The use or introduction for drinking purposes of alcoholic liquors on board any naval vessel,
or within any navy yard or station, is strictly prohibited, and commanding officers will be held
directly responsible for the enforcement of this order."

JOSEPHUS DANIELS
Secretary of the Navy.


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This made coffee the strongest drink available to the disgruntled sailors, who arguably began referring to their mugs of coffee as a “cup of Joe.”

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Post Posted: Jul 31, 2018 8:41 am 
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How Old Are Dice?

Cubes with numbers or spots on their sides have been used since ancient times by people in almost all parts of the world. Dice are so old that no one even knows when or where they were invented, because they have been around since before man learned how to write!

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Primitive people probably made the first dice from the bones of sheep, and used them for predicting the future as well as for playing games.

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Ancient roman era bone die

Stone dice more than 4,000 years old have been found in Egypt. The ancient Greeks and Romans made their dice out of bone or ivory, boring holes or carving circles on the sides. Greek pottery from ancient times shows men playing dice, and a Roman emperor once wrote a book on dice playing.

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Stone dice

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Ivory dice

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Achilles and Ajax playing a dice game

Dice fixed for cheating, or loaded dice, are almost as old as dice themselves. Loaded dice have been found in tombs from ancient Egypt and China!

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Ancient loaded die shows the Vikings cheated

Predicting the future with dice even has its own name, astragalomancy!

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Why Is The Hippopotamus Poached For Its Teeth And How Many Hippos Are Left In The Wild?

It’s sad but true, but the poor Hippopotamus is bearing the brunt of the effort to save the elephant.

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Unfortunately, elephants are not the only source of precious ivory. There are others:

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Currently, hippos (or ‘river horses” in ancient Greek) are still threatened by habitat loss and poaching for their meat and ivory canine teeth.

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Hippo habitat

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Hippo meat

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Hippo teeth

Since the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species officially imposed a ban on ivory trading in 1990, about 30,000 pounds per year of hippo teeth have been exported from Africa. Before the ban on ivory, annual numbers were only about 5,600 pounds.

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There are about 125,000 to 150,000 hippos left in the wild in Sub-Saharan Africa. Zambia and Tanzania both have the largest populations.

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Poaching and the sale of hippopotamus meat is illegal in most countries, but black-market sales are difficult for authorities and Park officers to track.

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Hippo teeth: Hong Kong black-market

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When The Spruce Goose Flew

It was a cool California November afternoon in 1947 when the wooden H-4 Hercules, also known as the Spruce Goose, finally flew. It was supposed to be a simple taxi test, nothing more than motoring through the water of Long Beach Harbor to show off its speed and test out the plane in open water. But having endured years of people mocking the project and himself for trying to build a plane so massive it had no hope of flying, Howard Hughes decided to take the opportunity to extend his middle finger at them all in the most poignant way he could.

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Howard Hughes at the controls of the Spruce Goose

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The H-4 Hercules (Spruce Goose)

No doubt with a twinkle in his eye as the Hercules cruised through the water, Hughes turned to the 30 year old hydraulic engineer, David Grant, who he had chosen as his co-pilot that day despite him not actually being a pilot, and unexpectedly told him to “lower the flaps to 15 degrees” - the take off position.

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The Spruce Goose flight deck

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Internal wooden ribbing

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4 of 8 engines … 3,000 HP each

Not long after, the massive, few hundred thousand pound (250K LB / 113K kg empty, 400K LB / 181K kg gross), 218 ft (67 m) long aircraft with a still record holding wingspan of just shy of 321 feet (98 m) was out of the water. It was airborne for under a minute, went less than a mile, and only about 70 feet in the air, but it had done the impossible - the Spruce Goose flew.

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Scene from movie: The Aviator

When it finally settled back down in the water, Grant stated, “It was ecstasy all the way. It was like walking on air. It wasn’t under-powered at all, and it performed exactly like it was designed to.”

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