Fun Stuff

Blaise Pascal

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 7:00pm
"I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room."
Categories: Fun Stuff

rathskeller

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 09/10/2014 - 1:00am

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

rathskeller • \RAHT-skel-er\  • noun
: a usually basement tavern or restaurant

Examples:
Beneath the service club's new meeting hall is a rathskeller that is open for lunch and dinner.

"Troy's Germania Hall remains open. The club serves dinner every Friday night in its rathskeller." — Jeff Wilkin, The Gazette (Schenectady, New York), August 10, 2014

Did you know?
Rathskeller is a product of Germany, deriving from two German nouns: Rat (also spelled Rath in early Modern German), which means "council," and Keller, which means "cellar." (Nouns in German are always capitalized.) The etymology reflects the fact that many early rathskellers were located in the basements of "council houses," which were equivalent to town halls. (The oldest rathskeller found in Germany today is said to date from the first half of the 13th century.) The earliest known use of rathskeller in English dates from 1766, but the word wasn't commonly used until the 1900s. Although the German word is now spelled Ratskeller, English writers have always preferred the spelling with the "h"—most likely to avoid any association with the word rat.

Categories: Fun Stuff

September 10, 1897: First drunk driving arrest

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

On this day in 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith becomes the first person ever arrested for drunk driving after slamming his cab into a building. Smith later pled guilty and was fined 25 shillings.

In the United States, the first laws against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol went into effect in New York in 1910. In 1936, Dr. Rolla Harger, a professor of biochemistry and toxicology, patented the Drunkometer, a balloon-like device into which people would breathe to determine whether they were inebriated. In 1953, Robert Borkenstein, a former Indiana state police captain and university professor who had collaborated with Harger on the Drunkometer, invented the Breathalyzer. Easier-to-use and more accurate than the Drunkometer, the Breathalyzer was the first practical device and scientific test available to police officers to establish whether someone had too much to drink. A person would blow into the Breathalyzer and it would gauge the proportion of alcohol vapors in the exhaled breath, which reflected the level of alcohol in the blood.

Despite the invention of the Breathalyzer and other developments, it was not until the late 1970s and early 1980s that public awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving increased and lawmakers and police officers began to get tougher on offenders. In 1980, a Californian named Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, after her 13-year-old daughter Cari was killed by a drunk driver while walking home from a school carnival. The driver had three previous drunk-driving convictions and was out on bail from a hit-and-run arrest two days earlier. Lightner and MADD were instrumental in helping to change attitudes about drunk driving and pushed for legislation that increased the penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. MADD also helped get the minimum drinking age raised in many states. Today, the legal drinking age is 21 everywhere in the United States and convicted drunk drivers face everything from jail time and fines to the loss of their driver's licenses and increased car insurance rates. Some drunk drivers are ordered to have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles. These devices require a driver to breath into a sensor attached to the dashboard; the car won't start if the driver's blood alcohol concentration is above a certain limit.

Despite the stiff penalties and public awareness campaigns, drunk driving remains a serious problem in the United States. In 2005, 16,885 people died in alcohol-related crashes and almost 1.4 million people were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - September 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 9:16pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

If I was in Florida and dropped a heavy ball into a bucket of water which was at a temperature of 45 degrees F and dropped another identical ball into an identical bucket of water at a temperature of 25 degrees F, which ball would hit the bottom of the bucket first?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - September 9 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 9:16pm
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 - September 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 9:16pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Eggsplosive
   Try to explode the required number of animals on each level by setting off a chain reaction.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Terry Pratchett

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Tallulah Bankhead

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Voltaire

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh."
Categories: Fun Stuff

David Frost

Quotes of the Day - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 7:00pm
"Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn't have in your home."
Categories: Fun Stuff

stereotactic

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 09/09/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 09, 2014 is:

stereotactic • \stair-ee-uh-TAK-tik\  • adjective
: involving or used in a surgical technique for precisely directing the tip of a delicate instrument or beam of radiation in three planes using coordinates provided by medical imaging in order to reach a specific locus in the body

Examples:
"Once in the OR, Mario was given a local anesthetic. His head had been shaved, his brain targeted to millimeter precision by MRIs. Attached to his head was a stereotactic frame to provide surgeons with precise coordinates and mapping imagery." — Lauren Slater, Mother Jones, November 2005

"The center is equipped with a $5 million machine, known as a stereotactic body radiotherapy system, that zaps tumors with high doses of radiation without damaging nearby tissue and organs." — James T. Mulder, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), July 18, 2014

Did you know?
At the beginning of the 20th century, neurosurgeons were experimenting with a technique used to direct the tip of a needle or an electrode in three spatial planes (length, width, and depth) to reach a particular place in the brain. At that time, the word for this technique was "stereotaxic," based on the prefix "stereo-" ("dealing with three dimensions of space") and "taxis" (referring to the manual restoration of a displaced body part). In 1950, "stereotactic" (based on "tactic," meaning "of or relating to touch") joined the medical vocabulary as a synonym of "stereotaxic." Around the same time, a noninvasive neurosurgery technique was developed using beams of radiation. It is this procedure that is now often described as "stereotactic" and (less frequently) "stereotaxic."

Categories: Fun Stuff

September 9, 1893: President's child born in White House

This Day in History - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 11:00pm

Frances Folsom Cleveland, the wife of President Grover Cleveland, gives birth to a daughter, Esther, in the White House.

On June 2, 1886, in an intimate ceremony held in the Blue Room of the White House, President Grover Cleveland married Frances Folsom, the daughter of Cleveland's late law partner and friend, Oscar Folsom. Fewer than 40 people were present to witness the 49-year-old president exchange vows with Frances, who at 21 years of age became the youngest first lady in U.S. history.

As a devoted family friend, Cleveland allegedly bought "Frank" her first baby carriage. After her father's death, he administered her estate. When Frances entered Wells College, Cleveland, then the governor of New York, asked Mrs. Folsom's permission to correspond with the young lady. After his inauguration as president in 1885, Frances visited Cleveland at the executive mansion. Despite a 27-year difference in age, their affection turned to romance, and in 1886 the couple were married in the White House.

Mrs. Cleveland, who replaced Cleveland's sister Rose Elizabeth as White House hostess, won immediate popularity for her good looks and unaffected charm. After the president's defeat in his 1888 reelection bid, the Clevelands lived in New York City, where their first child, Ruth, was born in 1891. In 1892, in an event unprecedented in U.S. political history, the out-of-office Cleveland was elected president again. Frances Cleveland returned to Washington and resumed her duties as first lady as if she had been gone but a day. On September 9, 1893, the first family saw the addition of a second child. Esther was the first child of a president to be born in the White House but not the first child ever to be born there. In 1806, James Madison Randolph was born to Martha Randolph, the daughter of President Thomas Jefferson.

When Grover Cleveland left the presidency in 1897, his wife had become one of the most popular first ladies in history. In 1908, she was at his side when he died at their home in Princeton, New Jersey. Five years later, she married Thomas J. Preston, Jr., a professor of archeology at Princeton University.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - September 8

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 9:02pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

If it takes 3 people 1 hour to dig a hole, how long does it take them to dig half a hole?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - September 8 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 9:02pm
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 - September 8

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 9:02pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Crate Man
   Lead the crate man to the red door.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Cullen Hightower

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 7:00pm
"Those who agree with us may not be right, but we admire their astuteness."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Albert Einstein

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 7:00pm
"Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Mark Twain

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 7:00pm
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Simon Cameron

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 7:00pm
"An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought."
Categories: Fun Stuff

culprit

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 09/08/2014 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for September 08, 2014 is:

culprit • \KUL-prit\  • noun
1 : one accused of or charged with a crime 2 : one guilty of a crime or a fault 3 : the source or cause of a problem

Examples:
After the empty warehouse burned down, an investigation determined faulty wiring to be the culprit.

"Police searched a parking structure in the Mid-City area of Los Angeles Saturday for one of two armed suspects who robbed a pedestrian but were unable to locate the culprit." — Los Angeles Daily News, August 2, 2014

Did you know?
We would be culpable if we didn't clearly explain the origins behind culprit. Yes, it is related to culpable, which itself derives from Latin culpare, meaning "to blame," via Middle English and Anglo-French. But the etymology of culprit is not so straightforward. In Anglo-French, culpable meant "guilty," and this was abbreviated "cul." in legal briefs and texts. Culprit was formed by combining this abbreviation with prest, prit, meaning "ready"—that is, ready to prove an accusation. Literally, then, a culprit was one who was ready to be proven guilty. English then borrowed the word for one accused of a wrongdoing.

Categories: Fun Stuff