Fun Stuff

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"We are so accustomed to disguise ourselves to others that in the end we become disguised to ourselves."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Thomas H. Huxley

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"The great tragedy of Science - the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact."
Categories: Fun Stuff

sycophant

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 08/27/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 27, 2015 is:

sycophant • \SIK-uh-funt\  • noun
: a servile self-seeking flatterer

Examples:
Rosemary has little use for sycophants in her office, so if you want that promotion, do your best and let your work speak for itself.

"'Have I just surrounded myself with sycophants who are just telling me whatever I want to hear, regardless of the truth?' [Silicon Valley character Gavin Belson] asks his spiritual advisor, whose gulping response is a perfect 'No.'" —Caleb Pershan, SFist (sfist.com), 18 May 2015

Did you know?
In the language of ancient Greece, sykophantēs meant "slanderer." The word derives from two other Greek words, sykon (meaning "fig") and phainein (meaning "to show or reveal"). How did fig revealers become slanderers? One theory has to do with the taxes Greek farmers were required to pay on the figs they brought to market. Apparently, the farmers would sometimes try to avoid making the payments, but squealers—fig revealers—would fink on them, and they would be forced to pay. Another possible source is a sense of the word fig meaning "a gesture or sign of contempt (such as thrusting a thumb between two fingers)." In any case, Latin retained the "slanderer" sense when it borrowed a version of sykophantēs, but by the time English speakers in the 16th century borrowed it as sycophant, the squealers had become flatterers.

Categories: Fun Stuff

August 27, 1883: Krakatau explodes

This Day in History - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 11:00pm

The most powerful volcanic eruption in recorded history occurs on Krakatau (also called Krakatoa), a small, uninhabited volcanic island located west of Sumatra in Indonesia, on this day in 1883. Heard 3,000 miles away, the explosions threw five cubic miles of earth 50 miles into the air, created 120-foot tsunamis and killed 36,000 people.

Krakatau exhibited its first stirrings in more than 200 years on May 20, 1883. A German warship passing by reported a seven-mile high cloud of ash and dust over Krakatau. For the next two months, similar explosions would be witnessed by commercial liners and natives on nearby Java and Sumatra. With little to no idea of the impending catastrophe, the local inhabitants greeted the volcanic activity with festive excitement.

On August 26 and August 27, excitement turned to horror as Krakatau literally blew itself apart, setting off a chain of natural disasters that would be felt around the world for years to come. An enormous blast on the afternoon of August 26 destroyed the northern two-thirds of the island; as it plunged into the Sunda Strait, between the Java Sea and Indian Ocean, the gushing mountain generated a series of pyroclastic flows (fast-moving fluid bodies of molten gas, ash and rock) and monstrous tsunamis that swept over nearby coastlines. Four more eruptions beginning at 5:30 a.m. the following day proved cataclysmic. The explosions could be heard as far as 3,000 miles away, and ash was propelled to a height of 50 miles. Fine dust from the explosion drifted around the earth, causing spectacular sunsets and forming an atmospheric veil that lowered temperatures worldwide by several degrees.

Of the estimated 36,000 deaths resulting from the eruption, at least 31,000 were caused by the tsunamis created when much of the island fell into the water. The greatest of these waves measured 120 feet high, and washed over nearby islands, stripping away vegetation and carrying people out to sea. Another 4,500 people were scorched to death from the pyroclastic flows that rolled over the sea, stretching as far as 40 miles, according to some sources.

In addition to Krakatau, which is still active, Indonesia has another 130 active volcanoes, the most of any country in the world.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 26

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 10:20pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Many years ago, a cruise liner sank in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

The survivors luckily landed on a remote desert island.

There was enough food for the 220 people to last three weeks.

Six days later a rescue ship appeared, unluckily this ship also sank, leaving an additional 55 people stranded on the island to now share the original rationed food.

The food obviously had to be re-rationed, but everyone was now on one-half of the original ration, so how many days in total would the food last for, from the day of the original sinking?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - August 26 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 10:20pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - August 26

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 10:20pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Dream Catcher
   Catch the 'dreams' and avoid the red spikes.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Dave Barry

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 7:00pm
"The only really good place to buy lumber is at a store where the lumber has already been cut and attached together in the form of furniture, finished, and put inside boxes."
Categories: Fun Stuff

P. J. O'Rourke

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 7:00pm
"There's a whiff of the lynch mob or the lemming migration about any overlarge concentration of like-thinking individuals, no matter how virtuous their cause."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Malcolm Forbes

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 7:00pm
"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Edward P. Tryon

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 7:00pm
"In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time."
Categories: Fun Stuff

draconian

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 08/26/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for August 26, 2015 is:

draconian • \dray-KOH-nee-un\  • adjective
1 : of, relating to, or characteristic of Draco or the severe code of laws held to have been framed by him 2 : cruel; also : severe

Examples:
The editorial asserts that a life sentence for any non-violent crime is draconian.

"As electronic highway signs implore Californians to 'Save Water' and municipalities impose increasingly draconian conservation measures, we are seeing a phenomenon known as 'drought-shaming'—the humiliation of water-wasters among both the rich and famous and more ordinary residents." —Henry I. Miller, Forbes.com, 1 July 2015

Did you know?
Draconian comes from Draco, the name of a 7th-century B.C.E. Athenian legislator who created a written code of law. Draco's code was intended to clarify existing laws, but its severity is what made it really memorable. In Draco's code, even minor offenses were punishable by death, and failure to pay one's debts could result in slavery. Draconian, as a result, became associated with things cruel or harsh. Something draconian need not always be as cruel as the laws in Draco's code, though; today the word is used in a wide variety of ways and often refers to measures (steep parking fines, for example) that are relatively minor when compared with the death penalty.

Categories: Fun Stuff

August 26, 1939: First televised Major League baseball game

This Day in History - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1939, the first televised Major League baseball game is broadcast on station W2XBS, the station that was to become WNBC-TV. Announcer Red Barber called the game between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, New York.

At the time, television was still in its infancy. Regular programming did not yet exist, and very few people owned television sets–there were only about 400 in the New York area. Not until 1946 did regular network broadcasting catch on in the United States, and only in the mid-1950s did television sets become more common in the American household.

In 1939, the World’s Fair–which was being held in New York–became the catalyst for the historic broadcast. The television was one of fair’s prize exhibits, and organizers believed that the Dodgers-Reds doubleheader on August 26 was the perfect event to showcase America’s grasp on the new technology.

By today’s standards, the video coverage was somewhat crude. There were only two stationary camera angles: The first was placed down the third base line to pick up infield throws to first, and the second was placed high above home plate to get an extensive view of the field. It was also difficult to capture fast-moving plays: Swinging bats looked like paper fans, and the ball was all but invisible during pitches and hits.

Nevertheless, the experiment was a success, driving interest in the development of television technology, particularly for sporting events. Though baseball owners were initially concerned that televising baseball would sap actual attendance, they soon warmed to the idea, and the possibilities for revenue generation that came with increased exposure of the game, including the sale of rights to air certain teams or games and television advertising.

Today, televised sports is a multi-billion dollar industry, with technology that gives viewers an astounding amount of visual and audio detail. Cameras are now so precise that they can capture the way a ball changes shape when struck by a bat, and athletes are wired to pick up field-level and sideline conversation.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - August 25

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:06pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

At the local games evening, four lads were competing in the draughts and chess competitions.

Liam beat Mark in chess, James came third and the 16 year old won. Liam came second in draughts, the 15 year old won, James beat the 18 year old and the 19 year old came third. Kevin is 3 years younger than Mark. The person who came last in chess, came third in draughts and only one lad got the same position in both games.

Can you determine the ages of the lads and the positions in the two games?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - August 25 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:06pm
BrainBashers Daily Sudoku



Complete the grid such that every row, every column, and the nine 3x3 blocks contain the digits from 1 to 9.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Game - August 25

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 10:06pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Dupligon
   Duplicate the polygons as closely as you can.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

William Shakespeare

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 7:00pm
"Though music oft hath such a charm to make bad good, and good provoke to harm."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Charles McCabe

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 7:00pm
"Any clod can have the facts, but having opinions is an art."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Victor Borge

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 7:00pm
"Laughter is the closest distance between two people."
Categories: Fun Stuff

John H. Patterson

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 08/25/2015 - 7:00pm
"An executive is a person who always decides; sometimes he decides correctly, but he always decides."
Categories: Fun Stuff