Fun Stuff

John Kenneth Galbraith

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 7:00pm
"The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Gloria Borger

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 7:00pm
"For most folks, no news is good news; for the press, good news is not news."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Unknown

Quotes of the Day - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 7:00pm
"Antonym, n.: The opposite of the word you're trying to think of."
Categories: Fun Stuff

technobabble

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Mon, 05/11/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 11, 2015 is:

technobabble • \TEK-nuh-bab-ul\  • noun
: technical jargon

Examples:
The manual for the computer program used so much technobabble that I was completely lost.

"Flitting comfortably between highbrow wit and gleeful crassness, Silicon Valley elicits more than its share of honest-to-goodness belly laughs, whether or not you’re up on the latest technobabble." — Portland (Maine) Press-Herald, April 5, 2015

Did you know?
Technobabble was formed by combining techno- (meaning "technical or technological") with babble ("continuous meaningless vocal sounds"), and unsurprisingly suggests language which sounds highly technical and is incomprehensible to the listener. Techno- as a combining form has given English speakers a number of interesting words, including but not limited to technocrat, technophile and technophobia, techno-thriller, technopreneur, and even technostructure ("the network of professionally skilled scientists, engineers, and administrators that tends to control the economy"). Techno- itself traces back to the same root word that gave us technology, namely the Greek word technē, meaning "art, craft, or practical skill."

Categories: Fun Stuff

May 11, 1934: Dust storm sweeps from Great Plains across Eastern states

This Day in History - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1934, a massive storm sends millions of tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta.

At the time the Great Plains were settled in the mid-1800s, the land was covered by prairie grass, which held moisture in the earth and kept most of the soil from blowing away even during dry spells. By the early 20th century, however, farmers had plowed under much of the grass to create fields. The U.S. entry into World War I in 1917 caused a great need for wheat, and farms began to push their fields to the limit, plowing under more and more grassland with the newly invented tractor. The plowing continued after the war, when the introduction of even more powerful gasoline tractors sped up the process. During the 1920s, wheat production increased by 300 percent, causing a glut in the market by 1931.

That year, a severe drought spread across the region. As crops died, wind began to carry dust from the over-plowed and over-grazed lands. The number of dust storms reported jumped from 14 in 1932 to 28 in 1933. The following year, the storms decreased in frequency but increased in intensity, culminating in the most severe storm yet in May 1934. Over a period of two days, high-level winds caught and carried some 350 million tons of silt all the way from the northern Great Plains to the eastern seaboard. According to The New York Times, dust “lodged itself in the eyes and throats of weeping and coughing New Yorkers,” and even ships some 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks.

The dust storms forced thousands of families from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico to uproot and migrate to California, where they were derisively known as “Okies”–no matter which state they were from. These transplants found life out West not much easier than what they had left, as work was scarce and pay meager during the worst years of the Great Depression.

Another massive storm on April 15, 1935–known as “Black Sunday”–brought even more attention to the desperate situation in the Great Plains region, which reporter Robert Geiger called the “Dust Bowl.” That year, as part of its New Deal program, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration began to enforce federal regulation of farming methods, including crop rotation, grass-seeding and new plowing methods. This worked to a point, reducing dust storms by up to 65 percent, but only the end of the drought in the fall of 1939 would truly bring relief.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - May 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 9:17pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

How many times per day do the hour and minute hands of a clock form a right angle?

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - May 10 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 9:17pm
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 - May 10

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 9:17pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Halloween Clix
   In this falling puzzle game - eliminate the ghostly ghouls and evil pumpkins before they pile up to the top.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Peter Blake

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 7:00pm
"Great part of being a grownup, you never have to do anything."
Categories: Fun Stuff

P. J. O'Rourke

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 7:00pm
"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Art Spander

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 7:00pm
"The great thing about democracy is that it gives every voter a chance to do something stupid."
Categories: Fun Stuff

G. Gordon Liddy

Quotes of the Day - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 7:00pm
"Obviously crime pays, or there'd be no crime."
Categories: Fun Stuff

riparian

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Sun, 05/10/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for May 10, 2015 is:

riparian • \ruh-PAIR-ee-un\  • adjective
: relating to or living or located on the bank of a natural watercourse (such as a river) or sometimes of a lake or a tidewater

Examples:
When the students were studying riparian habitat development, their teacher took them on a field trip to a nearby creek.

"But invasive plants slowly overtook the native savannahs, prairie and riparian forest that soil samples have proved were there first." — Molly Glentzer, Houston Chronicle, March 31, 2015

Did you know?
Riparian came to English from the same source that gave us river—the Latin riparius, a noun deriving from ripa, meaning "bank" or "shore." First appearing in English in the 19th century, riparian refers to things that exist alongside a river (such as riparian wetlands, habitats, trees, etc.). Some river communities have laws called "riparian rights," referring to the rights of those owning land along a river to have access to the waterway. Note the distinction of this word from littoral, which usually refers to things that occur along the shore of a sea or ocean.

Categories: Fun Stuff

May 10, 1869: Transcontinental railroad completed

This Day in History - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Promontory, Utah, and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line that connects their railroads. This made transcontinental railroad travel possible for the first time in U.S. history. No longer would western-bound travelers need to take the long and dangerous journey by wagon train, and the West would surely lose some of its wild charm with the new connection to the civilized East.

Since at least 1832, both Eastern and frontier statesmen realized a need to connect the two coasts. It was not until 1853, though, that Congress appropriated funds to survey several routes for the transcontinental railroad. The actual building of the railroad would have to wait even longer, as North-South tensions prevented Congress from reaching an agreement on where the line would begin.

One year into the Civil War, a Republican-controlled Congress passed the Pacific Railroad Act (1862), guaranteeing public land grants and loans to the two railroads it chose to build the transcontinental line, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific. With these in hand, the railroads began work in 1866 from Omaha and Sacramento, forging a northern route across the country. In their eagerness for land, the two lines built right past each other, and the final meeting place had to be renegotiated.

Harsh winters, staggering summer heat, Indian raids and the lawless, rough-and-tumble conditions of newly settled western towns made conditions for the Union Pacific laborers–mainly Civil War veterans of Irish descent–miserable. The overwhelmingly immigrant Chinese work force of the Central Pacific also had its fair share of problems, including brutal 12-hour work days laying tracks over the Sierra Nevada Mountains. On more than one occasion, whole crews would be lost to avalanches, or mishaps with explosives would leave several dead.

For all the adversity they suffered, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific workers were able to finish the railroad–laying nearly 2,000 miles of track–by 1869, ahead of schedule and under budget. Journeys that had taken months by wagon train or weeks by boat now took only days. Their work had an immediate impact: The years following the construction of the railway were years of rapid growth and expansion for the United States, due in large part to the speed and ease of travel that the railroad provided.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - May 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 9:03pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

My friend, Alex, struggles a little. I recently asked him to buy me some ribbon for my daughter's pretty pink bonnet.

He went to the haberdashery shop for the required length but accidentally interchanged the feet and inches.

When I measured the resulting ribbon I only had 5÷8 of the length I required.

How much ribbon did I originally ask for?

Remember that there are 12 inches in each foot.

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - May 9 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 9:03pm
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 - May 9

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 9:03pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Rapid Fire
   Fire at the moving targets as accurately as you can.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Stephen Colbert

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 7:00pm
"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Bill Clinton

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 7:00pm
"When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web.... Now even my cat has its own page."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Margaret Millar

Quotes of the Day - Sat, 05/09/2015 - 7:00pm
"Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of witnesses."
Categories: Fun Stuff