Fun Stuff

Sir Francis Bacon

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Tallulah Bankhead

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 6:00pm
"It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time."
Categories: Fun Stuff

allege

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 12/11/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 11, 2014 is:

allege • \uh-LEJ\  • verb
1 : to assert without proof or before proving 2 : to bring forward as a reason or excuse

Examples:
She alleges that her roommate stole hundreds of dollars from her.

"The Chicago lawsuit … alleges a two-decade-long campaign by the industry to persuade doctors to make the use of painkillers routine for chronic pain by obscuring the drugs' risks and misrepresenting their efficacy." — David Armstrong, Businessweek, November 14, 2014

Did you know?
These days, someone "alleges" something before presenting the evidence to prove it (or perhaps without evidence at all), but the word actually derives from the Middle English verb alleggen, meaning "to submit (something) in evidence or as justification." Alleggen, in turn, traces back to Anglo-French and probably ultimately to Latin allegare, meaning "to send as a representative" or "to offer as proof in support of a plea." Indeed, allege once referred to the actions of someone who came forward to testify in court; this sense isn't used anymore, but it led to the development of the current "assert without proof" sense.

Categories: Fun Stuff

December 11, 1936: Edward VIII abdicates

This Day in History - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 11:00pm

After ruling for less than one year, Edward VIII becomes the first English monarch to voluntarily abdicate the throne. He chose to abdicate after the British government, public, and the Church of England condemned his decision to marry the American divorcée Wallis Warfield Simpson. On the evening of December 11, he gave a radio address in which he explained, "I have found it impossible to carry on the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge the duties of king, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love." On December 12, his younger brother, the duke of York, was proclaimed King George VI.

Edward, born in 1894, was the eldest son of King George V, who became the British sovereign in 1910. Still unmarried as he approached his 40th birthday, he socialized with the fashionable London society of the day. By 1934, he had fallen deeply in love with American socialite Wallis Warfield Simpson, who was married to Ernest Simpson, an English-American businessman who lived with Mrs. Simpson near London. Wallis, who was born in Pennsylvania, had previously married and divorced a U.S. Navy pilot. The royal family disapproved of Edward's married mistress, but by 1936 the prince was intent on marrying Mrs. Simpson. Before he could discuss this intention with his father, George V died, in January 1936, and Edward was proclaimed king.

The new king proved popular with his subjects, and his coronation was scheduled for May 1937. His affair with Mrs. Simpson was reported in American and continental European newspapers, but due to a gentlemen's agreement between the British press and the government, the affair was kept out of British newspapers. On October 27, 1936, Mrs. Simpson obtained a preliminary decree of divorce, presumably with the intent of marrying the king, which precipitated a major scandal. To the Church of England and most British politicians, an American woman twice divorced was unacceptable as a prospective British queen. Winston Churchill, then a Conservative backbencher, was the only notable politician to support Edward.

Despite the seemingly united front against him, Edward could not be dissuaded. He proposed a morganatic marriage, in which Wallis would be granted no rights of rank or property, but on December 2, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin rejected the suggestion as impractical. The next day, the scandal broke on the front pages of British newspapers and was discussed openly in Parliament. With no resolution possible, the king renounced the throne on December 10. The next day, Parliament approved the abdication instrument, and Edward VIII's reign came to an end. The new king, George VI, made his older brother the duke of Windsor. On June 3, 1937, the duke of Windsor and Wallis Warfield married at the Château de Cande in France's Loire Valley.

For the next two years, the duke and duchess lived primarily in France but visited other European countries, including Germany, where the duke was honored by Nazi officials in October 1937 and met with Adolf Hitler. After the outbreak of World War II, the duke accepted a position as liaison officer with the French. In June 1940, France fell to the Nazis, and Edward and Wallis went to Spain. During this period, the Nazis concocted a scheme to kidnap Edward with the intention of returning him to the British throne as a puppet king. George VI, like his prime minister, Winston Churchill, was adamantly opposed to any peace with Nazi Germany. Unaware of the Nazi kidnapping plot but conscious of Edward's pre-war Nazi sympathies, Churchill hastily offered Edward the governorship of the Bahamas in the West Indies. The duke and duchess set sail from Lisbon on August 1, 1940, narrowly escaping a Nazi SS team sent to seize them.

In 1945, the duke resigned his post, and the couple moved back to France. They lived mainly in Paris, and Edward made a few visits to England, such as to attend the funerals of King George VI in 1952 and his mother, Queen Mary, in 1953. It was not until 1967 that the duke and duchess were invited by the royal family to attend an official public ceremony, the unveiling of a plaque dedicated to Queen Mary. Edward died in Paris in 1972 but was buried at Frogmore, on the grounds of Windsor Castle. In 1986, Wallis died and was buried at his side.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - December 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 9:59pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

At the local BrainBashers Internet despatch centre, the packing department was getting ready for the weekend.

However, it was late in the day and the final five packages were ready to be labelled.

Unfortunately, Fred dropped the labels to the packages and then had no idea which label belonged to which packet.

What is the probability that Fred managed to correctly label exactly four of the five packages?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - December 10 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 9:59pm
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 - December 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 9:59pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Medieval
   A jigsaw puzzle with a difference.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Sydney J. Harris

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 6:00pm
"The time to relax is when you don't have time for it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Mark Twain

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 6:00pm
"It was enough to make a body ashamed of the human race."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 6:00pm
"We always like those who admire us; we do not always like those whom we admire."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Samuel McChord Crothers

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 6:00pm
"Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways."
Categories: Fun Stuff

calumny

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 12/10/2014 - 12:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for December 10, 2014 is:

calumny • \KAL-um-nee\  • noun
1 : a misrepresentation intended to harm another's reputation 2 : the act of uttering false charges or misrepresentations maliciously calculated to harm another's reputation

Examples:
The notion that the mayor knew about the problem before the newspaper broke the story is nothing but calumny.

"Some say that showing respect for your opponent after heaping disrespect upon him … and having disrespect heaped upon you civilizes our politics. In truth, however, it degrades our politics. It says that anything goes—calumny and character assassination are all just part of the rough and tumble of campaigning.…" — Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune, November 7, 2014

Did you know?
Calumny made an appearance in these famous words from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "If thou dost marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry: be thou chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery, go." The word had been in the English language for a while, though, before Hamlet uttered it. It first entered English in the 15th century and comes from the Middle French word calomnie of the same meaning. Calomnie, in turn, derives from the Latin word calumnia, (meaning "false accusation," "false claim," or "trickery"), which itself traces to the Latin verb calvi, meaning "to deceive."

Categories: Fun Stuff

December 10, 1901: First Nobel Prizes awarded

This Day in History - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 11:00pm

The first Nobel Prizes are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The ceremony came on the fifth anniversary of the death of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite and other high explosives. In his will, Nobel directed that the bulk of his vast fortune be placed in a fund in which the interest would be "annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit on mankind." Although Nobel offered no public reason for his creation of the prizes, it is widely believed that he did so out of moral regret over the increasingly lethal uses of his inventions in war.

Alfred Bernhard Nobel was born in Stockholm in 1833, and four years later his family moved to Russia. His father ran a successful St. Petersburg factory that built explosive mines and other military equipment. Educated in Russia, Paris, and the United States, Alfred Nobel proved a brilliant chemist. When his father's business faltered after the end of the Crimean War, Nobel returned to Sweden and set up a laboratory to experiment with explosives. In 1863, he invented a way to control the detonation of nitroglycerin, a highly volatile liquid that had been recently discovered but was previously regarded as too dangerous for use. Two years later, Nobel invented the blasting cap, an improved detonator that inaugurated the modern use of high explosives. Previously, the most dependable explosive was black powder, a form of gunpowder.

Nitroglycerin remained dangerous, however, and in 1864 Nobel's nitroglycerin factory blew up, killing his younger brother and several other people. Searching for a safer explosive, Nobel discovered in 1867 that the combination of nitroglycerin and a porous substance called kieselguhr produced a highly explosive mixture that was much safer to handle and use. Nobel christened his invention "dynamite," for the Greek word dynamis, meaning "power." Securing patents on dynamite, Nobel acquired a fortune as humanity put his invention to use in construction and warfare.

In 1875, Nobel created a more powerful form of dynamite, blasting gelatin, and in 1887 introduced ballistite, a smokeless nitroglycerin powder. Around that time, one of Nobel's brothers died in France, and French newspapers printed obituaries in which they mistook him for Alfred. One headline read, "The merchant of death is dead." Alfred Nobel in fact had pacifist tendencies and in his later years apparently developed strong misgivings about the impact of his inventions on the world. After he died in San Remo, Italy, on December 10, 1896, the majority of his estate went toward the creation of prizes to be given annually in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace. The portion of his will establishing the Nobel Peace Prize read, "[one award shall be given] to the person who has done the most or best work for fraternity among nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies, and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses." Exactly five years after his death, the first Nobel awards were presented.

Today, the Nobel Prizes are regarded as the most prestigious awards in the world in their various fields. Notable winners have included Marie Curie, Theodore Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, George Bernard Shaw, Winston Churchill, Ernest Hemingway, Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Nelson Mandela. Multiple leaders and organizations sometimes receive the Nobel Peace Prize, and multiple researchers often share the scientific awards for their joint discoveries. In 1968, a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science was established by the Swedish national bank, Sveriges Riksbank, and first awarded in 1969.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences decides the prizes in physics, chemistry, and economic science; the Swedish Royal Caroline Medico-Surgical Institute determines the physiology or medicine award; the Swedish Academy chooses literature; and a committee elected by the Norwegian parliament awards the peace prize. The Nobel Prizes are still presented annually on December 10, the anniversary of Nobel's death. In 2006, each Nobel Prize carried a cash prize of nearly $1,400,000 and recipients also received a gold medal, as is the tradition.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - December 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 9:45pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Cen yee rell wrer er wreng werr rrer peregrepr? Er ferrr glence yee mey rrenk rrer jerr rre vewelr reve preblemr, ber ne! Rrree cenrenenrr elre reve preblemr, rrey reve been repleced werr rre lerrer R, ber wrecr ener ere rrey?

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - December 9 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 9:45pm
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 - December 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 9:45pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Square Man
   Very square platform game!
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

George Ade

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:00pm
"'Whom are you?' he asked, for he had attended business college."
Categories: Fun Stuff

John Kenneth Galbraith

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:00pm
"Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Katharine Hepburn

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:00pm
"Acting is the most minor of gifts and not a very high-class way to earn a living. After all, Shirley Temple could do it at the age of four."
Categories: Fun Stuff

George Bernard Shaw

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 12/09/2014 - 6:00pm
"If all economists were laid end to end, they would not reach a conclusion."
Categories: Fun Stuff