Fun Stuff

March 21, 1871: Stanley begins search for Livingstone

This Day in History - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1871, journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his famous search through Africa for the missing British explorer Dr. David Livingstone.

In the late 19th century, Europeans and Americans were deeply fascinated by the “Dark Continent” of Africa and its many mysteries. Few did more to increase Africa’s fame than Livingstone, one of England’s most intrepid explorers. In August 1865, he set out on a planned two-year expedition to find the source of the Nile River. Livingstone also wanted to help bring about the abolition of the slave trade, which was devastating Africa’s population.

Almost six years after his expedition began, little had been heard from Livingstone. James Gordon Bennett, Jr., editor of the New York Herald, decided to capitalize on the public’s craze for news of their hero. He sent Stanley to lead an expedition into the African wilderness to find Livingstone or bring back proof of his death. At age 28, Stanley had his own fascinating past. As a young orphan in Wales, he crossed the Atlantic on the crew of a merchant ship. He jumped ship in New Orleans and later served in the Civil War as both a Confederate and a Union soldier before beginning a career in journalism.

After setting out from Zanzibar in March 1871, Stanley led his caravan of nearly 2,000 men into the interior of Africa. Nearly eight months passed–during which Stanley contracted dysentery, cerebral malaria and smallpox–before the expedition approached the village of Ujiji, on the shore of Lake Tanganyika. Sick and poverty-stricken, Livingstone had come to Ujiji that July after living for some time at the mercy of Arab slave traders. When Stanley’s caravan entered the village on October 27, flying the American flag, villagers crowded toward the new arrivals. Spotting a white man with a gray beard in the crowd, Stanley stepped toward him and stretched out his hand: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

These words–and Livingstone’s grateful response–soon became famous across Europe and the United States. Though Stanley urged Livingstone to return with him to London, the explorer vowed to continue his original mission. Livingstone died 18 months later in today’s Zambia; his body was embalmed and returned to Britain, where he was buried in Westminster Abbey. As for Stanley, he returned to Africa to fulfill a promise he had made to Livingstone to find the source of the Nile. He later damaged his reputation by accepting money from King Leopold II of Belgium to help create the Belgian-ruled Congo Free State and promote the slave trade. When he left Africa, Stanley resumed his British citizenship and even served in Parliament, but when he died he was refused burial in Westminster Abbey because of his actions in the Congo Free State.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - March 20

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 9:28pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

The spy was captured easily, and his message proved to be so simple that the lieutenant saw its importance immediately. What does it say?

Alice: Tom told Ann Carter Killy and Ted, David Atwood was not moving out now. David awaiting you.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - March 20 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 9:28pm
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 - March 20

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 9:28pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Common Answers
   Compete with the rest of the world by predicting the most common answers to 10 easy questions.
[Played on the BrainBashers Puzzle/Illusion website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

William Goldman

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"Life is pain, anyone who says differently is selling something."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Brendan Behan

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"When I came back to Dublin I was courtmartialed in my absence and sentenced to death in my absence, so I said they could shoot me in my absence."
Categories: Fun Stuff

George Santayana

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Tallulah Bankhead

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 7:00pm
"I'm as pure as the driven slush."
Categories: Fun Stuff

zephyr

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 20, 2015 is:

zephyr • \ZEFF-er\  • noun
1 a : a breeze from the west b : a gentle breeze 2 : any of various lightweight fabrics and articles of clothing

Examples:
"There was not even a zephyr stirring; the dead noonday heat had even stilled the songs of the birds." — Mark Twain, Tom Sawyer, 1876

"Strangely enough, by the end of a Maine winter, a 32-degree breeze feels like a palm-scented zephyr from Bali." — Brett Willis, Portland (Maine) Press Herald, January 8, 2015

Did you know?
For centuries, poets have eulogized Zephyrus, the Greek god of the west wind, and his "swete breeth" (in the words of Geoffrey Chaucer). Zephyrus, the personified west wind, eventually evolved into zephyr, a word for a breeze that is westerly or gentle, or both. Breezy zephyr may have blown into English with the help of William Shakespeare, who used the word in his 1611 play Cymbeline: "Thou divine Nature, thou thyself thou blazon'st / In these two princely boys! They are as gentle / As zephyrs blowing below the violet." Today, zephyr is also the sobriquet of a lightweight fabric and the clothing that is made from it.

Categories: Fun Stuff

March 20, 1965: LBJ sends federal troops to Alabama

This Day in History - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson notifies Alabama’s Governor George Wallace that he will use federal authority to call up the Alabama National Guard in order to supervise a planned civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.

Intimidation and discrimination had earlier prevented Selma’s black population–over half the city–from registering and voting. On Sunday, March 7, 1965, a group of 600 demonstrators marched on the capital city of Montgomery to protest this disenfranchisement and the earlier killing of a black man, Jimmie Lee Jackson, by a state trooper. In brutal scenes that were later broadcast on television, state and local police attacked the marchers with billy clubs and tear gas. TV viewers far and wide were outraged by the images, and a protest march was organized just two days after “Bloody Sunday” by Martin Luther King, Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). King turned the marchers around, however, rather than carry out the march without federal judicial approval.

After an Alabama federal judge ruled on March 18 that a third march could go ahead, President Johnson and his advisers worked quickly to find a way to ensure the safety of King and his demonstrators on their way from Selma to Montgomery. The most powerful obstacle in their way was Governor Wallace, an outspoken anti-integrationist who was reluctant to spend any state funds on protecting the demonstrators. Hours after promising Johnson–in telephone calls recorded by the White House–that he would call out the Alabama National Guard to maintain order, Wallace went on television and demanded that Johnson send in federal troops instead.

Furious, Johnson told Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach to write a press release stating that because Wallace refused to use the 10,000 available guardsmen to preserve order in his state, Johnson himself was calling the guard up and giving them all necessary support. Several days later, 50,000 marchers followed King some 54 miles, under the watchful eyes of state and federal troops. Arriving safely in Montgomery on March 25, they watched King deliver his famous “How Long, Not Long” speech from the steps of the Capitol building. The clash between Johnson and Wallace–and Johnson’s decisive action–was an important turning point in the civil rights movement. Within five months, Congress had passed the Voting Rights Act, which Johnson proudly signed into law on August 6, 1965.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - March 19

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 9:14pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Which word is the odd one out?

nivek nomis nevets niarda semaj nala

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Sudoku - March 19 - Easy

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 9:14pm
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 - March 19

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 9:14pm
BrainBashers Daily Game

Canyon Glider
   Fly your glider through the virtual canyon.
[Played on the BrainBashers Games website]

Categories: Fun Stuff

Umberto Eco

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Anatole France

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"To be willing to die for an idea is to set a rather high price on conjecture."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Harlan Ellison

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity."
Categories: Fun Stuff

Bill Cosby

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 7:00pm
"Human beings are the only creatures that allow their children to come back home."
Categories: Fun Stuff

sprachgefühl

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 03/19/2015 - 1:00am

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for March 19, 2015 is:

sprachgefühl • \SHPRAHKH-guh-fuel\  • noun
1 : the character of a language 2 : an intuitive sense of what is linguistically appropriate

Examples:
One review of the book praised the author's sprachgefühl and her graceful, literary style.

"Robert Dankoff patiently taught me Ottoman Turkish, attempting to instill in me Sprachgefühl, and carefully corrected every inaccurate transliteration and translation that I insisted he read." — Marc David Baer, Honored by the Glory of Islam, 2008

Did you know?
Sprachgefühl was borrowed into English from German at the end of the 19th century and combines two German nouns, Sprache, meaning "language, speech," and Gefühl, meaning "feeling." (Nouns are capitalized in German, and you'll occasionally see sprachgefühl capitalized in English too, as in our second example.) We're quite certain that the quality of sprachgefühl is common among our readers, but the word itself is rare, making only occasional appearances in our language.

Categories: Fun Stuff

March 19, 2003: War in Iraq begins

This Day in History - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 11:00pm

On this day in 2003, the United States, along with coalition forces primarily from the United Kingdom, initiates war on Iraq. Just after explosions began to rock Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, U.S. President George W. Bush announced in a televised address, “At this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.” President Bush and his advisors built much of their case for war on the idea that Iraq, under dictator Saddam Hussein, possessed or was in the process of building weapons of mass destruction.

Hostilities began about 90 minutes after the U.S.-imposed deadline for Saddam Hussein to leave Iraq or face war passed. The first targets, which Bush said were “of military importance,” were hit with Tomahawk cruise missiles from U.S. fighter-bombers and warships stationed in the Persian Gulf. In response to the attacks, Republic of Iraq radio in Baghdad announced, “the evil ones, the enemies of God, the homeland and humanity, have committed the stupidity of aggression against our homeland and people.”

Though Saddam Hussein had declared in early March 2003 that, “it is without doubt that the faithful will be victorious against aggression,” he went into hiding soon after the American invasion, speaking to his people only through an occasional audiotape. Coalition forces were able to topple his regime and capture Iraq’s major cities in just three weeks, sustaining few casualties. President Bush declared the end of major combat operations on May 1, 2003. Despite the defeat of conventional military forces in Iraq, an insurgency has continued an intense guerrilla war in the nation in the years since military victory was announced, resulting in thousands of coalition military, insurgent and civilian deaths.

After an intense manhunt, U.S. soldiers found Saddam Hussein hiding in a six-to-eight-foot deep hole, nine miles outside his hometown of Tikrit. He did not resist and was uninjured during the arrest. A soldier at the scene described him as “a man resigned to his fate.” Hussein was arrested and began trial for crimes against his people, including mass killings, in October 2005.

In June 2004, the provisional government in place since soon after Saddam’s ouster transferred power to the Iraqi Interim Government. In January 2005, the Iraqi people elected a 275-member Iraqi National Assembly. A new constitution for the country was ratified that October. On November 6, 2006, Saddam Hussein was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. After an unsuccessful appeal, he was executed on December 30, 2006.

No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

Categories: Fun Stuff

Daily Puzzle - March 18

BrainBashers - Easy Sudoku - Wed, 03/18/2015 - 9:00pm
BrainBashers Daily Puzzle

Which letter is missing from this sequence:

B C E G K Q S W

[Copyright: Kevin Stone]

Categories: Fun Stuff