Fun Stuff

expeditious

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 06/29/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 29, 2015 is:

expeditious • \ek-spuh-DISH-us\  • adjective
: marked by or acting with prompt efficiency

Examples:
Geraldine was impressed by the company's expeditious response, which arrived in the mail only one week after she had submitted her query.

"[Councilman Frank Colonna] also noted that the recently formed Economic Development Commission is actively working to make the city more business friendly, and he hopes issues such as this can be dealt with in a more expeditious way." — Ashleigh Ruhl, Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA), May 9, 2015

Did you know?
Like expeditious, all of the following words contain ped. Can you guess which ones get those three letters from the same Latin root as expeditious?

encyclopedia, expedition, stampede, torpedo, orthopedic, & impede

The Latin source of expeditious is the verb expedire, which means "to extricate," "to prepare," or "to be useful." The ped is from pes, meaning "foot." (The ex- means "out of," and the literal sense of expedire is "to free the feet.") The ped in impede also comes from pes. But the ped in encyclopedia and orthopedic is from the Greek pais, meaning "child"; stampede is from the Spanish estampar, meaning "to stamp"; and torpedo is from the Latin torpēre, meaning "to be sluggish." What about expedition? Meaning both "a journey" and "promptness," it is from expedire and, in turn, pes.

Categories: Fun Stuff

June 29, 1995: U.S. space shuttle docks with Russian space station

This Day in History - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1995, the American space shuttle Atlantis docks with the Russian space station Mir to form the largest man-made satellite ever to orbit the Earth.

This historic moment of cooperation between former rival space programs was also the 100th human space mission in American history. At the time, Daniel Goldin, chief of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), called it the beginning of “a new era of friendship and cooperation” between the U.S. and Russia. With millions of viewers watching on television, Atlantis blasted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in eastern Florida on June 27, 1995.

Just after 6 a.m. on June 29, Atlantis and its seven crew members approached Mir as both crafts orbited the Earth some 245 miles above Central Asia, near the Russian-Mongolian border. When they spotted the shuttle, the three cosmonauts on Mir broadcast Russian folk songs to Atlantis to welcome them. Over the next two hours, the shuttle’s commander, Robert “Hoot” Gibson expertly maneuvered his craft towards the space station. To make the docking, Gibson had to steer the 100-ton shuttle to within three inches of Mir at a closing rate of no more than one foot every 10 seconds.

The docking went perfectly and was completed at 8 a.m., just two seconds off the targeted arrival time and using 200 pounds less fuel than had been anticipated. Combined, Atlantis and the 123-ton Mir formed the largest spacecraft ever in orbit. It was only the second time ships from two countries had linked up in space; the first was in June 1975, when an American Apollo capsule and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft briefly joined in orbit.

Once the docking was completed, Gibson and Mir’s commander, Vladimir Dezhurov, greeted each other by clasping hands in a victorious celebration of the historic moment. A formal exchange of gifts followed, with the Atlantis crew bringing chocolate, fruit and flowers and the Mir cosmonauts offering traditional Russian welcoming gifts of bread and salt. Atlantis remained docked with Mir for five days before returning to Earth, leaving two fresh Russian cosmonauts on the space station. The three veteran Mir crew members returned with the shuttle, including two Russians and Norman Thagard, a U.S. astronaut who rode a Russian rocket to the space station in mid-March 1995 and spent over 100 days in space, a U.S. endurance record. NASA’s Shuttle-Mir program continued for 11 missions and was a crucial step towards the construction of the International Space Station now in orbit.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - June 28

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 8:24pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

How many 3-letter words can you find in this list of letters.

The letters of each word appear horizontally and together, and in normal reading order.

VLLWELHEVMTWXBYOCWZGGHYWCTRHXAYZ
TZLSBEIIZIHUBHRVNWSBSBANSVHUZDGX
BPTKHPJLMHSQHIDGXFAKLZNJMEMVVCOE
NNFOXPOCUCOMNUHTMWPPDDNHPNZMQYBD
IWURRAKWGUUVSUCTYJFUEOLFGSFCVIWU
FGQAFOVNJNSNVXJINLVWTGECQTELDFZT
LAZRVZCUNUDQABVBABMRWCWBXXONNDIP
TRFOQWXOECIPPVZESYKSHBGGHRTYGHTY

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - June 28 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 8:24pm
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 - June 28

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 8:24pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

In The Bucket
   Can you fire all of the balls into the bucket?
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Scott Adams

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"If there are no stupid questions, then what kind of questions do stupid people ask? Do they get smart just in time to ask questions?"
Categories: Fun Stuff

Quentin Crisp

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"To know all is not to forgive all. It is to despise everybody."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"If someone wants a sheep, then that means that he exists."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Abraham Lincoln

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 7:00pm
"If I were two-faced, would I be wearing this one?"
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cybrarian

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 06/28/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for June 28, 2015 is:

cybrarian • \sye-BRAIR-ee-un\  • noun
: a person whose job is to find, collect, and manage information that is available on the World Wide Web

Examples:
The university's cybrarians maintain libraries of Web sites pertaining to specific fields of study.

"Mike Tromblee is on a mission. The new Redwood Area School District cybrarian and media center specialist wants to take technology education to the next level in the classroom." — Troy Krause, Redwood Falls (Maine) Gazette, August 30, 2010

Did you know?
We've been using librarian for the people who manage libraries since at least the beginning of the 18th century, and the word was used for scribes and copyists even earlier than that. Cybrarian, on the other hand, is much newer; its earliest documented use is from 1991. Librarian combines library (itself from liber, the Latin word for book) and the noun suffix -an, meaning "one specializing in." When people wanted a word for a person who performed duties similar to those of a librarian by using information from the Internet, they went a step further and combined cyber-, meaning "of, relating to, or involving computers or a computer network," with librarian to produce the new cybrarian.

Categories: Fun Stuff

June 28, 1953: Workers assemble first Corvette in Flint, Michigan

This Day in History - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1953, workers at a Chevrolet plant in Flint, Michigan, assemble the first Corvette, a two-seater sports car that would become an American icon. The first completed production car rolled off the assembly line two days later, one of just 300 Corvettes made that year.

The idea for the Corvette originated with General Motors’ pioneering designer Harley J. Earl, who in 1951 began developing plans for a low-cost American sports car that could compete with Europe’s MGs, Jaguars and Ferraris. The project was eventually code-named “Opel.” In January 1953, GM debuted the Corvette concept car at its Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. It featured a fiberglass body and a six-cylinder engine and according to GM, was named for the “trim, fleet naval vessel that performed heroic escort and patrol duties during World War II.” The Corvette was a big hit with the public at Motorama and GM soon put the roadster into production.

On June 30, 1953, the first Corvette came off the production line in Flint. It was hand-assembled and featured a Polo White exterior and red interior, two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, a wraparound windshield, whitewall tires and detachable plastic curtains instead of side windows. The earliest Corvettes were designed to be opened from the inside and lacked exterior door handles. Other components included a clock, cigarette lighter and red warning light that activated when the parking brake was applied–a new feature at the time. The car carried an initial price tag of $3,490 and could go from zero to 60 miles per hour in 11 or 12 seconds, then considered a fairly average speed.

In 1954, the Corvette went into mass production at a Chevy plant in St. Louis, Missouri. Sales were lackluster in the beginning and GM considered discontinuing the line. However, rival company Ford had introduced the two-seater Thunderbird around the same time and GM did not want to be seen bowing to the competition. Another critical development in the Corvette’s survival came in 1955, when it was equipped with the more powerful V-8 engine. Its performance and appeal steadily improved after that and it went on to earn the nickname “America’s sports car” and become ingrained in pop culture through multiple references in movies, television and music.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - June 27

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 8:10pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Which word comes next in this sequence:

India Victor X-Ray Lima Charlie ==?==

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - June 27 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 8:10pm
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 - June 27

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 8:10pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Barcode Bedlam
   Can you scan the correct barcodes? Miss too many and it's game over. It's Bedlam!
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Kurt Vonnegut

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Lois McMaster Bujold

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"The will to be stupid is a very powerful force, but there are always alternatives."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Nancy Astor

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"The only thing I like about rich people is their money."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Saki

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 7:00pm
"Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts."
Categories: Fun Stuff

mesmerize

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 06/27/2015 - 1:00am

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

mesmerize • \MEZ-muh-ryze\  • verb
1 : to subject to mesmerism; also : hypnotize 2 : spellbind

Examples:
Moviegoers will find themselves mesmerized by the visual intricacy and frenetic pacing of the animated sequence that opens the movie.

"In 2008, Democrats had a 47-year-old candidate who mesmerized the party and ran away with the votes of Americans aged 18 to 29." — Byron York, Daily Review (Morgan City, Louisiana), April 30, 2015

Did you know?
Experts can't agree on whether Franz Anton Mesmer (1734–1815) was a quack or a genius, but all concede that the late 18th-century physician's name is the source of the word mesmerize. In his day, Mesmer was the toast of Paris, where he enjoyed the support of notables including Queen Marie Antoinette. He treated patients with a force he termed animal magnetism. Many believe that what he actually used was what we now call hypnotism. Mesmer's name was first applied to a technique for inducing hypnosis by one of his students in 1784.

Categories: Fun Stuff

June 27, 1950: Truman orders U.S. forces to Korea

This Day in History - Fri, 06/26/2015 - 11:00pm

On June 27, 1950, President Harry S. Truman announces that he is ordering U.S. air and naval forces to South Korea to aid the democratic nation in repulsing an invasion by communist North Korea. The United States was undertaking the major military operation, he explained, to enforce a United Nations resolution calling for an end to hostilities, and to stem the spread of communism in Asia. In addition to ordering U.S. forces to Korea, Truman also deployed the U.S. 7th Fleet to Formosa (Taiwan) to guard against invasion by communist China and ordered an acceleration of military aid to French forces fighting communist guerrillas in Vietnam.

At the Yalta Conference towards the end of World War II, the United States, the USSR, and Great Britain agreed to divide Korea into two separate occupation zones. The country was split along the 38th parallel, with Soviet forces occupying the northern zone and Americans stationed in the south. In 1947, the United States and Great Britain called for free elections throughout Korea, but the Soviets refused to comply. In May 1948 the Korean Democratic People’s Republic–a communist state–was proclaimed in North Korea. In August, the democratic Republic of Korea was established in South Korea. By 1949, both the United States and the USSR had withdrawn the majority of their troops from the Korean Peninsula.

At dawn on June 25, 1950 (June 24 in the United States and Europe), 90,000 communist troops of the North Korean People’s Army invaded South Korea across the 38th parallel, catching the Republic of Korea’s forces completely off guard and throwing them into a hasty southern retreat. On the afternoon of June 25, the U.N. Security Council met in an emergency session and approved a U.S. resolution calling for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” and the withdrawal of North Korean forces to the 38th parallel. At the time, the USSR was boycotting the Security Council over the U.N.’s refusal to admit the People’s Republic of China and so missed its chance to veto this and other crucial U.N. resolutions.

On June 27, President Truman announced to the nation and the world that America would intervene in the Korean conflict in order to prevent the conquest of an independent nation by communism. Truman was suggesting that the USSR was behind the North Korean invasion, and in fact the Soviets had given tacit approval to the invasion, which was carried out with Soviet-made tanks and weapons. Despite the fear that U.S. intervention in Korea might lead to open warfare between the United States and Russia after years of “cold war,” Truman’s decision was met with overwhelming approval from Congress and the U.S. public. Truman did not ask for a declaration of war, but Congress voted to extend the draft and authorized Truman to call up reservists.

On June 28, the Security Council met again and in the continued absence of the Soviet Union passed a U.S. resolution approving the use of force against North Korea. On June 30, Truman agreed to send U.S. ground forces to Korea, and on July 7 the Security Council recommended that all U.N. forces sent to Korea be put under U.S. command. The next day, General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of all U.N. forces in Korea.

In the opening months of the war, the U.S.-led U.N. forces rapidly advanced against the North Koreans, but Chinese communist troops entered the fray in October, throwing the Allies into a hasty retreat. In April 1951, Truman relieved MacArthur of his command after he publicly threatened to bomb China in defiance of Truman’s stated war policy. Truman feared that an escalation of fighting with China would draw the Soviet Union into the Korean War.

By May 1951, the communists were pushed back to the 38th parallel, and the battle line remained in that vicinity for the remainder of the war. On July 27, 1953, after two years of negotiation, an armistice was signed, ending the war and reestablishing the 1945 division of Korea that still exists today. Approximately 150,000 troops from South Korea, the United States, and participating U.N. nations were killed in the Korean War, and as many as one million South Korean civilians perished. An estimated 800,000 communist soldiers were killed, and more than 200,000 North Korean civilians died.

The original figure of American troops lost–54,246 killed–became controversial when the Pentagon acknowledged in 2000 that all U.S. troops killed around the world during the period of the Korean War were incorporated into that number. For example, any American soldier killed in a car accident anywhere in the world from June 1950 to July 1953 was considered a casualty of the Korean War. If these deaths are subtracted from the 54,000 total, leaving just the Americans who died (from whatever cause) in the Korean theater of operations, the total U.S. dead in the Korean War numbers 36,516.

Categories: Fun Stuff