Fun Stuff

October 12, 1492: Columbus reaches the New World

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

After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus sights a Bahamian island, believing he has reached East Asia. His expedition went ashore the same day and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his attempt to find a western ocean route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice islands of Asia.

Columbus was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. Little is known of his early life, but he worked as a seaman and then a maritime entrepreneur. He became obsessed with the possibility of pioneering a western sea route to Cathay (China), India, and the gold and spice islands of Asia. At the time, Europeans knew no direct sea route to southern Asia, and the route via Egypt and the Red Sea was closed to Europeans by the Ottoman Empire, as were many land routes. Contrary to popular legend, educated Europeans of Columbus' day did believe that the world was round, as argued by St. Isidore in the seventh century. However, Columbus, and most others, underestimated the world's size, calculating that East Asia must lie approximately where North America sits on the globe (they did not yet know that the Pacific Ocean existed).

With only the Atlantic Ocean, he thought, lying between Europe and the riches of the East Indies, Columbus met with King John II of Portugal and tried to persuade him to back his "Enterprise of the Indies," as he called his plan. He was rebuffed and went to Spain, where he was also rejected at least twice by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. However, after the Spanish conquest of the Moorish kingdom of Granada in January 1492, the Spanish monarchs, flush with victory, agreed to support his voyage.

On August 3, 1492, Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three small ships, the Santa Maria, the Pinta, and the Nina. On October 12, the expedition reached land, probably Watling Island in the Bahamas. Later that month, Columbus sighted Cuba, which he thought was mainland China, and in December the expedition landed on Hispaniola, which Columbus thought might be Japan. He established a small colony there with 39 of his men. The explorer returned to Spain with gold, spices, and "Indian" captives in March 1493 and was received with the highest honors by the Spanish court. He was the first European to explore the Americas since the Vikings set up colonies in Greenland and Newfoundland in the 10th century.

During his lifetime, Columbus led a total of four expeditions to the New World, discovering various Caribbean islands, the Gulf of Mexico, and the South and Central American mainlands, but he never accomplished his original goal—a western ocean route to the great cities of Asia. Columbus died in Spain in 1506 without realizing the great scope of what he did achieve: He had discovered for Europe the New World, whose riches over the next century would help make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - October 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:39pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Imagine a bottle recycling skip, empty other than one lonely bottle.

Every hour, on the hour, people come and put bottles into the skip.

The first hour, at Noon, one person came and put a bottle in.

One hour later, two people placed a bottle each into the skip.

An hour later four people placed a bottle each into the skip.

This doubling of people continued until 11pm, when the skip was finally full.

When was the skip exactly half full?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - October 11 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:39pm
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 - October 11

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 10:39pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

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

Categories: Fun Stuff

George Lucas

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Trey Parker and Matt Stone

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable."
Categories: Fun Stuff

James Thurber

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"The wit makes fun of other persons; the satirist makes fun of the world; the humorist makes fun of himself."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Steven Wright

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 7:00pm
"What's another word for Thesaurus?"
Categories: Fun Stuff

derogate

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sat, 10/11/2014 - 1:00am

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

derogate • \DAIR-uh-gayt\  • verb
1 : to cause to seem inferior : disparage 2 : to take away a part so as to impair : detract 3 : to act beneath one's position or character

Examples:
It is easy to derogate the prom committee for its lackluster theme now, but nobody came forward with any better ideas while it was being discussed.

"In two national elections, American voters definitively entrusted that man with the job. That man represents the presidency…. Politicians who publicly disrespect the man who holds that office derogate their own profession." — Laura Washington, Chicago Sun-Times, June 23, 2014

Did you know?
You're probably familiar with derogatory, the adjective meaning "expressing a low opinion," but you may not be as well-acquainted with the less common verb, derogate. Both words can be traced back to the Late Latin word derogatus, which is the past participle of the verb derogare, meaning "to detract" or "to annul (a law)." Derogare, in turn, derives from the Latin word for "ask," rogare. Derogate first appeared in English in the 15th century. Derogatory was adopted in the early 16th century, and has become much more popular than the verb. Other derogate relatives include derogative, derogation, and derogatorily.

Categories: Fun Stuff

October 11, 2002: Jimmy Carter wins Nobel Prize

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

On this day in 2002, former President Jimmy Carter wins the Nobel Peace Prize "for his decades of untiring effort to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development."

Carter, a peanut farmer from Georgia, served one term as U.S. president between 1977 and 1981. One of his key achievements as president was mediating the peace talks between Israel and Egypt in 1978. The Nobel Committee had wanted to give Carter (1924- ) the prize that year for his efforts, along with Anwar Sadat and Menachim Begin, but was prevented from doing so by a technicality--he had not been nominated by the official deadline.

After he left office, Carter and his wife Rosalynn created the Atlanta-based Carter Center in 1982 to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering. Since 1984, they have worked with Habitat for Humanity to build homes and raise awareness of homelessness. Among his many accomplishments, Carter has helped to fight disease and improve economic growth in developing nations and has served as an observer at numerous political elections around the world.

The first Nobel Prizes--awards established by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel (1833-1896) in his will--were handed out in Sweden in 1901 in the fields of physics, chemistry, medicine, literature and peace. The Nobel Prize in economics was first awarded in 1969. Carter was the third U.S. president to receive the award, worth $1 million, following Theodore Roosevelt (1906) and Woodrow Wilson (1919).

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - October 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:25pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

By changing the third letter of each of the words below, can you make another valid word.

You have to change each word such that the third letters will reveal a ten letter word when read downwards.

Therefore, what now reads KRZSAPROKD will be a real word.

BAKE
CURE
MAZE
PEST
NEAT
ROPE
PORT
FOOD
POKE
SODA

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - October 10 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:25pm
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 - October 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 10:25pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Neuro Light
   Put your memory to the test. Smooth little game to keep your memory sharp. Have fun playing in 8 different ambiences.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Greg Garcia

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"That's the funny thing about havin' a kid. They come with their own set of problems; make everything else you were worried about seem kinda silly."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Paul Tillich

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"Cynically speaking, one could say that it is true to life to be cynical about it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Ann Landers

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"Television has proved that people will look at anything rather than each other."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Tom Lehrer

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"On my income tax 1040 it says 'Check this box if you are blind.' I wanted to put a check mark about three inches away."
Categories: Fun Stuff

clerisy

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 10/10/2014 - 1:00am

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

clerisy • \KLAIR-uh-see\  • noun
: intellectuals who form an artistic, social, or political vanguard or elite: intelligentsia

Examples:
The book's author claims that a successful society must have both a strong commitment to democratic ideals and a well-established clerisy.

"The situation was so dire that it required nothing less than scientific experts freed from constitutional strictures to run the government and the elevation of intellectuals and artists to the status of a new cultural clerisy." — Daniel DiSalvo, The Washington Times, February 18, 2014

Did you know?
English philosopher-poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834) believed that if humanity was to flourish, it was necessary to create a secular organization of learned individuals, "whether poets, or philosophers, or scholars" to "diffuse through the whole community … that quantity and quality of knowledge which was indispensable." Coleridge named this hypothetical group the clerisy, a term he adapted from Klerisei, a German word for clergy (in preference, it seems, to the Russian term intelligentsia which we borrowed later, in the early 1900s). Coleridge may have equated clerisy with an old sense of clergy meaning "learning" or "knowledge," which by his time was used only in the proverb "an ounce of mother wit is worth a pound of clergy."

Categories: Fun Stuff

October 10, 1985: Achille Lauro hijacking ends

This Day in History - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 11:00pm

The hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro reaches a dramatic climax when U.S. Navy F-14 fighters intercept an Egyptian airliner attempting to fly the Palestinian hijackers to freedom and force the jet to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily. American and Italian troops surrounded the plane, and the terrorists were taken into Italian custody.

On October 7, four heavily armed Palestinian terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. Some 320 crewmembers and 80 passengers, were taken hostage. Hundreds of other passengers had disembarked the cruise ship earlier that day to visit Cairo and tour the Egyptian pyramids. Identifying themselves as members of the Palestine Liberation Front--a Palestinian splinter group--the gunmen demanded the release of 50 Palestinian militants imprisoned in Israel. If their demands were not met, they threatened to blow up the ship and kill the 11 Americans on board. The next morning, they also threatened to kill the British passengers.

The Achille Lauro traveled to the Syrian port of Tartus, where the terrorists demanded negotiations on October 8. Syria refused to permit the ship to anchor in its waters, which prompted more threats from the hijackers. That afternoon, they shot and killed Leon Klinghoffer, a 69-year-old Jewish-American who was confined to a wheelchair as the result of a stroke. His body was then pushed overboard in the wheelchair.

Yasir Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) condemned the hijacking, and PLO officials joined with Egyptian authorities in attempting to resolve the crisis. On the recommendation of the negotiators, the cruise ship traveled to Port Said. On October 9, the hijackers surrendered to Egyptian authorities and freed the hostages in exchange for a pledge of safe passage to an undisclosed destination.

The next day--October 10--the four hijackers boarded an EgyptAir Boeing 737 airliner, along with Mohammed Abbas, a member of the Palestine Liberation Front who had participated in the negotiations; a PLO official; and several Egyptians. The 737 took off from Cairo at 4:15 p.m. EST and headed for Tunisia. President Ronald Reagan gave his final order approving the plan to intercept the aircraft, and at 5:30 p.m. EST, F-14 Tomcat fighters located the airliner 80 miles south of Crete. Without announcing themselves, the F-14s trailed the airliner as it sought and was denied permission to land at Tunis. After a request to land at the Athens airport was likewise refused, the F-14s turned on their lights and flew wing-to-wing with the airliner. The aircraft was ordered to land at a NATO air base in Sicily, and the pilot complied, touching down at 6:45 p.m. The hijackers were arrested soon after. Abbas and the other Palestinian were released, prompting criticism from the United States, which wanted to investigate their possible involvement in the hijacking.

On July 10, 1986, an Italian court later convicted three of the terrorists and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 15 to 30 years. Three others, including Mohammed Abbas, were convicted in absentia for masterminding the hijacking and sentenced to life in prison. They received harsher penalties because, unlike the hijackers, who the court found were acting for "patriotic motives," Abbas and the others conceived the hijacking as a "selfish political act" designed "to weaken the leadership of Yasir Arafat." The fourth hijacker was a minor who was tried and convicted separately.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - October 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 10:11pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

At the annual BrainBashers puzzle discussion conference, 20 people attended.

At the start of the conference, each person shook hands with every other person, how many handshakes took place in total?

Categories: Fun Stuff