Fun Stuff

omnipotent

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 21, 2015 is:

omnipotent • \ahm-NIP-uh-tunt\  • adjective
: having virtually unlimited authority or influence

Examples:
Small children often believe their parents to be omnipotent, capable of commanding any situation or resolving any problem they find before them.

"As test scores become the omnipotent factor in what determines an effective educator, a successful student, or the quality of a school, awe-inspired learning moments begin to pale in comparison to the urgency of bubbling in a correct answer." — Laurie Futterman, Miami Herald, March 11, 2015

Did you know?
The word omnipotent made its way into English through Anglo-French, but it ultimately derives from the Latin prefix omni-, meaning "all," and the word potens, meaning "potent." The omni- prefix has also given us similar words such as omniscient (meaning "all-knowing") and omnivorous (describing an animal that eats both plants and other animals). Although omnipotent is used in general contexts to mean "all-powerful" (as in "an omnipotent warlord"), its original applications in English referred specifically to the power held by an almighty God. The word has been used as an English adjective since the 14th century; since 1600 it has also been used as a noun referring to one who is omnipotent.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 21, 753: Rome founded

This Day in History - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 11:00pm

According to tradition, on April 21, 753 B.C., Romulus and his twin brother, Remus, found Rome on the site where they were suckled by a she-wolf as orphaned infants. Actually, the Romulus and Remus myth originated sometime in the fourth century B.C., and the exact date of Rome’s founding was set by the Roman scholar Marcus Terentius Varro in the first century B.C.

According to the legend, Romulus and Remus were the sons of Rhea Silvia, the daughter of King Numitor of Alba Longa. Alba Longa was a mythical city located in the Alban Hills southeast of what would become Rome. Before the birth of the twins, Numitor was deposed by his younger brother Amulius, who forced Rhea to become a vestal virgin so that she would not give birth to rival claimants to his title. However, Rhea was impregnated by the war god Mars and gave birth to Romulus and Remus. Amulius ordered the infants drowned in the Tiber, but they survived and washed ashore at the foot of the Palatine hill, where they were suckled by a she-wolf until they were found by the shepherd Faustulus.

Reared by Faustulus and his wife, the twins later became leaders of a band of young shepherd warriors. After learning their true identity, they attacked Alba Longa, killed the wicked Amulius, and restored their grandfather to the throne. The twins then decided to found a town on the site where they had been saved as infants. They soon became involved in a petty quarrel, however, and Remus was slain by his brother. Romulus then became ruler of the settlement, which was named “Rome” after him.

To populate his town, Romulus offered asylum to fugitives and exiles. Rome lacked women, however, so Romulus invited the neighboring Sabines to a festival and abducted their women. A war then ensued, but the Sabine women intervened to prevent the Sabine men from seizing Rome. A peace treaty was drawn up, and the communities merged under the joint rule of Romulus and the Sabine king, Titus Tatius. Tatius’ early death, perhaps perpetrated by Romulus, left the Roman as the sole king again. After a long and successful rule, Romulus died under obscure circumstances. Many Romans believed he was changed into a god and worshipped him as the deity Quirinus. After Romulus, there were six more kings of Rome, the last three believed to be Etruscans. Around 509 B.C., the Roman republic was established.

Another Roman foundation legend, which has its origins in ancient Greece, tells of how the mythical Trojan Aeneas founded Lavinium and started a dynasty that would lead to the birth of Romulus and Remus several centuries later. In the Iliad, an epic Greek poem probably composed by Homer in the eighth century B.C., Aeneas was the only major Trojan hero to survive the Greek destruction of Troy. A passage told of how he and his descendants would rule the Trojans, but since there was no record of any such dynasty in Troy, Greek scholars proposed that Aeneas and his followers relocated.

In the fifth century B.C., a few Greek historians speculated that Aeneas settled at Rome, which was then still a small city-state. In the fourth century B.C., Rome began to expand within the Italian peninsula, and Romans, coming into greater contact with the Greeks, embraced the suggestion that Aeneas had a role in the foundation of their great city. In the first century B.C., the Roman poet Virgil developed the Aeneas myth in his epic poem the Aeneid, which told of Aeneas’ journey to Rome. Augustus, the first Roman emperor and emperor during Virgil’s time, and Julius Caesar, his great-uncle and predecessor as Roman ruler, were said to be descended from Aeneas.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 20

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:43pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

A man builds a house with all 4 sides facing south. A bear walks past the house. What colour is the bear?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 20 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:43pm
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 - April 20

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 10:43pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Common Answers
   Compete with the rest of the world by predicting the most common answers to 10 easy questions.
[Played on the BrainBashers Puzzle/Illusion website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Cindy Gardner

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"What's the difference between a boyfriend and a husband? About 30 pounds."
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Jimmy Buffett

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"Indecision may or may not be my problem."
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James Thurber

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers."
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H. L. Mencken

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy."
Categories: Fun Stuff

ailurophile

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 20, 2015 is:

ailurophile • \eye-LOOR-uh-fyle\  • noun
: a cat fancier : a lover of cats

Examples:
Ailurophiles, young and old, are sure to love the art museum's new exhibit featuring paintings and photographs of felines, ranging from tabbies to man-eaters.

"Yes, it's book one of a series…. And yes, the primary villain is a cat, whereas I'm an unashamed ailurophile. … But none of that mattered when I closed the back cover—I just wanted more, more, more." — Katie Ward Beim-Esche, Christian Science Monitor, December 30, 2014

Did you know?
Although the word ailurophile has only been documented in English since the early 1900s, ailurophiles have been around for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians were perhaps history's greatest cat lovers, pampering and adorning felines, honoring them in art, even treating them as gods. But the English word ailurophile does not descend from Egyptian; rather, it comes from a combination of the Greek word ailouros, which means "cat," and the suffix -phile, meaning "lover." If Egyptian cat-loving sentiments leave you cold and you're more sympathetic to medieval Europeans who regarded cats as wicked agents of evil, you might prefer the word ailurophobe (from ailouros plus -phobe, meaning "fearing or averse to"). That's a fancy name for someone who hates or fears cats.

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 20, 1980: Castro announces Mariel Boatlift

This Day in History - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 11:00pm

On April 20, 1980, the Castro regime announces that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. are free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.

The boatlift was precipitated by housing and job shortagescaused bythe ailing Cuban economy, leading to simmering internal tensions on the island. On April 1, Hector Sanyustiz and four others drove a bus through a fence at the Peruvian embassy and were granted political asylum. Cuban guards on the street opened fire. One guard was killed in the crossfire.

The Cuban government demanded the five be returned for trial in the dead guard’s death. But when the Peruvian government refused, Castro withdrew his guards from the embassy on Good Friday, April 4. By Easter Sunday, April 6, some 10,000 Cubans crowded into the lushly landscaped gardens at the embassy requesting asylum. Other embassies, including those of Spain and Costa Rica, agreed to take a small number of people. But suddenly, two weeks later, Castro proclaimed that the port of Mariel would be opened to anyone wishing to leave, as long as they had someone to pick them up. Cuban exiles in the United Statesrushed to hire boats in Miami and Key West and rescue their relatives.

In all, 125,000 Cubans fled to U.S. shores in about 1,700 boats, creating large waves of people that overwhelmed the U.S. Coast guard. Cuban guards had packed boat after boat, without considering safety, making some of the overcrowded boats barely seaworthy. Twenty-sevenmigrants died, including 14 on an overloaded boat that capsized on May 17.

The boatlift also began to have negative political implications for U.S.President Jimmy Carter.When it was discovered that a number of the exiles had been released from Cuban jails and mental health facilities, many were placed in refugee camps while others were held in federal prisons to undergo deportation hearings. Of the 125,000 “Marielitos,” as the refugees came to be known, who landed in Florida, more than 1,700 were jailed and another 587 were detained until they could find sponsors.

The exodus was finally ended by mutual agreement between theU.S. andCubangovernments in October 1980.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - April 19

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 10:29pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

The BrainBashers football world tour is well underway and Alfred is planning the journey to each country.

Unfortunately, the BrainBashers atlas software is playing up again and has worked out the mileage incorrectly, as shown below.

China       3,500
Finland     6,000
Chile       3,700
Jamaica     3,800
Wales       6,000

According to the software, how many miles is it to Germany?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - April 19 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 10:29pm
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 - April 19

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 10:29pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Confusion
   Control two lots of activity with two lots of controls, all at the same time.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Randy K. Milholland

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"The only thing that lasts longer than a friend's love is the stupidity that keeps us from knowing any better."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Alfred Hitchcock

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Ambrose Bierce

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"Brain: an apparatus with which we think we think."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Laurence J. Peter

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"Competence, like truth, beauty and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder."
Categories: Fun Stuff

desiccate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 04/19/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for April 19, 2015 is:

desiccate • \DESS-ih-kayt\  • verb
1 : to dry up or become dried up 2 : to preserve (a food) by drying : dehydrate 3 : to drain of emotional or intellectual vitality

Examples:
Weeks of blazing heat along with a prolonged lack of rain have desiccated many of the plants in our garden.

"Since these insects desiccate easily, they will build tunnels to provide themselves the moisture they need." — Paula Weatherby, Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville), February 7, 2015

Did you know?
Raisins are desiccated grapes; they're also dehydrated grapes. And yet, a close look at the etymologies of desiccate and dehydrate raises a tangly question. In Latin siccus means "dry," whereas the Greek stem hydr- means "water." So how could it be that desiccate and dehydrate are synonyms? The answer is in the multiple identities of the prefix de-. It may look like the same prefix, but the de- in desiccate means "completely, thoroughly," as in despoil ("to spoil utterly") or denude ("to strip completely bare"). The de- in dehydrate, on the other hand, means "remove," the same as it does in defoliate ("to strip of leaves") or in deice ("to rid of ice").

Categories: Fun Stuff

April 19, 1897: First Boston Marathon held

This Day in History - Sat, 04/18/2015 - 11:00pm

On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York won the firstBoston Marathonwith a time of2:55:10.

The Boston Marathon was the brainchild of Boston Athletic Association member and inaugural U.S. Olympic team manager John Graham, who was inspired by the marathon at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens in 1896. With the assistance of Boston businessman Herbert H. Holton, various routes were considered, before a measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland was eventually selected.

Fifteen runners started the race but only 10 made it to the finish line. John J. McDermott, representing the Pastime Athletic Club of New York City, took the lead from Harvard athlete Dick Grant over the hills in Newton. Although he walked several times during the final miles, McDermott still won by a comfortable six-minute, fifty-two-seconds. McDermott had won the only other marathon on U.S. soil the previous October in New York.

The marathon’s distance was changed in 1908 in accordance with Olympic standards to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.

The Boston Marathon was originally held on Patriot’s Day, April 19, a regional holiday that commemorates the beginning of the Revolutionary War. In years when the 19th fell on a Sunday, the race was held the following Monday. In 1969, Patriots Day was officially moved to the third Monday in April and the race has been held on that Monday ever since.

Women were not allowed to enterthe Boston race officiallyuntil 1972, but Roberta “Bobbi” Gibb couldn’t wait: In 1966, she became the first woman to run the entire Boston Marathon, but had to hide in the bushes near the start until the race began. In 1967, Kathrine Switzer, who had registered as “K. V. Switzer”, was the first woman to run with a race number. Switzer finished even though officials tried to physically remove her from the race after she was identified as a woman.

In the fall of 1971, the Amateur Athletics Union permitted its sanctioned marathons (including Boston) to allowfemale entry. Nina Kuscsik became the first official female participant to win the Boston Marathon in 1972. Seven other women started and finished that race.

In 1975, the Boston Marathon became the first major marathon to include a wheelchair division competition. Bob Hall won it in two hours, 58 minutes.

Categories: Fun Stuff