Fun Stuff

Timothy Leary

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 6:00pm
"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition."
Categories: Fun Stuff

pontificate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 02/28/2015 - 12:00am

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

pontificate • \pahn-TIF-uh-kayt\  • verb
1 a : to officiate as a pontiff b : to celebrate pontifical mass 2 : to speak or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way

Examples:
Stan loves to hear himself talk and will often pontificate on even the most trivial issues.

"Though the game was another dud—a Patriots' blowout of the hapless Colts—sports columnists worldwide were given a unique chance to pontificate on, of all things, the air pressure of footballs." — Shelly Griffith, Daily Post-Athenian (Athens, Tennessee), January 30, 2015

Did you know?
In ancient Rome, the pontifices were powerful priests who administered the part of civil law that regulated relationships with the deities recognized by the state. Their name, pontifex, derives from the Latin words pons, meaning "bridge," and facere, meaning "to make," and some think it may have developed because the group was associated with a sacred bridge over the river Tiber (although there is no proof of that). With the rise of Catholicism, the title pontifex was transferred to the Pope and to Catholic bishops. Pontificate derives from pontifex, and in its earliest English uses it referred to things associated with such prelates. By the late 1800s, pontificate was also being used derisively for individuals who spoke as if they had the authority of an ecclesiastic.

Categories: Fun Stuff

February 28, 1953: Watson and Crick discover chemical structure of DNA

This Day in History - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1953, Cambridge University scientists James D. Watson and Frances H.C. Crick announce that they have determined the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule containing human genes.

Though DNA--short for deoxyribonucleic acid--was discovered in 1869, its crucial role in determining genetic inheritance wasn't demonstrated until 1943. In the early 1950s, Watson and Crick were only two of many scientists working on figuring out the structure of DNA. California chemist Linus Pauling suggested an incorrect model at the beginning of 1953, prompting Watson and Crick to try and beat Pauling at his own game. On the morning of February 28, they determined that the structure of DNA was a double-helix polymer, or a spiral of two DNA strands, each containing a long chain of monomer nucleotides, wound around each other. According to their findings, DNA replicated itself by separating into individual strands, each of which became the template for a new double helix.    In his best-selling book, The Double Helix (1968), Watson later claimed that Crick announced the discovery by walking into the nearby Eagle Pub and blurting out that "we had found the secret of life." The truth wasn’t that far off, as Watson and Crick had solved a fundamental mystery of science--how it was possible for genetic instructions to be held inside organisms and passed from generation to generation.

Watson and Crick's solution was formally announced on April 25, 1953, following its publication in that month’s issue of Nature magazine. The article revolutionized the study of biology and medicine. Among the developments that followed directly from it were pre-natal screening for disease genes; genetically engineered foods; the ability to identify human remains; the rational design of treatments for diseases such as AIDS; and the accurate testing of physical evidence in order to convict or exonerate criminals. 

Crick and Watson later had a falling-out over Watson's book, which Crick felt misrepresented their collaboration and betrayed their friendship. A larger controversy arose over the use Watson and Crick made of research done by another DNA researcher, Rosalind Franklin, whose colleague Maurice Wilkins showed her X-ray photographic work to Watson just before he and Crick made their famous discovery. When Crick and Watson won the Nobel Prize in 1962, they shared it with Wilkins. Franklin, who died in 1958 of ovarian cancer and was thus ineligible for the award, never learned of the role her photos played in the historic scientific breakthrough.  

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - February 27

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 9:37pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

How far can a horse run into a forest?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - February 27 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 9:37pm
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 - February 27

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 9:37pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

BUG Battle Combat
   Prepare to be addicted in this fast and simple fury of oncoming bugs.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

M. C. Escher

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:00pm
"My work is a game, a very serious game."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Aristotle

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:00pm
"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Will Rogers

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:00pm
"An ignorant person is one who doesn't know what you have just found out."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Steve Martin

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 6:00pm
"I like a woman with a head on her shoulders. I hate necks."
Categories: Fun Stuff

rationale

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 02/27/2015 - 12:00am

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

rationale • \rash-uh-NAL\  • noun
1 : an explanation of controlling principles of opinion, belief, practice, or phenomena 2 : an underlying reason : basis

Examples:
The newspaper's editorial reflected the concerns of many who questioned the rationale behind the mayor's decision.

"… the sacred trust that elected officials will share all options they've explored, identify the ones they haven't, and share the rationale behind their decisions." — Robert F. Walsh, Stratford (Connecticut) Star, January 29, 2015

Did you know?
The word rationale appeared in the second half of the 17th century, just in time for the Age of Reason. It is based on the Latin ratio, which means "reason," and rationalis, which means "endowed with reason." At first, rationale meant "an explanation of controlling principles" ("a rationale of religious practices," for example), but soon it began to refer to the underlying reason for something (as in "the rationale for her behavior"). The latter meaning is now the most common use of the term. The English word ratio can also mean "underlying reason" (in fact, it had this meaning before rationale did), but in current use, that word more often refers to the relationship (in number, quantity, or degree) between things.

Categories: Fun Stuff

February 27, 1827: New Orleanians take to the streets for Mardi Gras

This Day in History - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1827, a group of masked and costumed students dance through the streets of New Orleans, Louisiana, marking the beginning of the city's famous Mardi Gras celebrations.

The celebration of Carnival--or the weeks between Twelfth Night on January 6 and Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Christian period of Lent--spread from Rome across Europe and later to the Americas. Nowhere in the United States is Carnival celebrated as grandly as in New Orleans, famous for its over-the-top parades and parties for Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.

Though early French settlers brought the tradition of Mardi Gras to Louisiana at the end of the 17th century, Spanish governors of the province later banned the celebrations. After Louisiana became part of the United States in 1803, New Orleanians managed to convince the city council to lift the ban on wearing masks and partying in the streets. The city's new Mardi Gras tradition began in 1827 when the group of students, inspired by their experiences studying in Paris, donned masks and jester costumes and staged their own Fat Tuesday festivities.

The parties grew more and more popular, and in 1833 a rich plantation owner named Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration. After rowdy revelers began to get violent during the 1850s, a secret society called the Mistick Krewe of Comus staged the first large-scale, well-organized Mardi Gras parade in 1857.

Over time, hundreds of krewes formed, building elaborate and colorful floats for parades held over the two weeks leading up to Fat Tuesday. Riders on the floats are usually local citizens who toss "throws" at passersby, including metal coins, stuffed toys or those now-infamous strands of beads. Though many tourists mistakenly believe Bourbon Street and the historic French Quarter are the heart of Mardi Gras festivities, none of the major parades have been allowed to enter the area since 1979 because of its narrow streets.

In February 2006, New Orleans held its Mardi Gras celebrations despite the fact that Hurricane Katrina had devastated much of the city with massive flooding the previous August. Attendance was at only 60-70 percent of the 300,000-400,000 visitors who usually attend Mardi Gras, but the celebration marked an important step in the recovery of the city, which counts on hospitality and tourism as its single largest industry. 

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - February 26

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 9:23pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

If the Manchester Quartet can play Beethoven's 9th Symphony in 12 minutes, how quickly can the Birmingham Trio play it?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - February 26 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 9:23pm
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 - February 26

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 9:23pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Ball Cage
   Trap the blue and red balls.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Jules Renard

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm
"Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money."
Categories: Fun Stuff

A. J. Liebling

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm
"Freedom of the press is limited to those who own one."
Categories: Fun Stuff

P. J. O'Rourke

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm
"Fish is the only food that is considered spoiled once it smells like what it is."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Blaise Pascal

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 6:00pm
"I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room."
Categories: Fun Stuff

captious

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:00am

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

captious • \KAP-shuss\  • adjective
1 : marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections 2 : calculated to confuse, entrap, or entangle in argument

Examples:
Befuddled by the captious question, the suspect broke down and confessed to the crime.

"During the past 15 years Mr. Maxwell has established himself as one of the few sui generis voices in experimental theater, and like all truly original talents, he has been subject to varied and captious interpretations." — Ben Brantley, New York Times, October 24, 2012

Did you know?
If you suspect that captious is a relative of capture and captivate, you're right. All of those words are related to the Latin verb capere, which means "to take." The direct ancestor of captious is captio, a Latin offspring of capere, which literally means "a taking" but which was also used to mean "a deception" or "a sophistic argument." Arguments labeled "captious" are likely to capture you in a figurative sense; they often entrap through subtly deceptive reasoning or trifling points. A captious individual is one who you might also dub "hypercritical," the sort of carping, censorious critic only too ready to point out minor faults or raise objections on trivial grounds.

Categories: Fun Stuff