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Quick Thursday Bits [Feb. 14th, 2008|02:07 pm]
Learn 3 new things every day

Apologizes in advance for the short post.  Today's been very busy, but I didn't want to be the one to break our streak. :-)

On September 5, 2000, the X-Files became the first television show to be released on DVD.

Twister was the first film to be released on DVD.

Richard Trenton Chase  was a serial killer who killed six people in the span of a month in California. Known as The Vampire of Sacramento due to his drinking of his victims' blood and his cannibalism. He he killed puppies and people, took their blood and brains home to his blender. He did this as part of a delusion that he needed to prevent Nazis from turning his blood into powder via poison they had planted beneath his soap dish.  The blood of other creatures would replenish it.

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Ocho Rios, Rhapsodomancy, and Double Jeopardy [Feb. 13th, 2008|04:04 pm]
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Travel Destination of the Week
Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Known as "Ochee" to the locals, Ocho Rios, Jamaica, is one of the most popular cruise ship ports in the Caribbean.  A rough translation from Spanish suggests the name means eight rivers, however this is a popular misconception.  The town got its name from a corruption of the Spanish "chorreras" or waterfalls which run the length of the coastline east of the town.  A series of streams cascade out of the limestone and this is why Jamaicans say that in Ocho Rios, "heaven spills into the seas."  Dunn's River, the island's premier attraction, gives visitors the opportunity to climb the falls which cascade down a giant 600 foot limestone staircase.  For the less adventurous, ordinary steps with hand rails are available.  The best time to visit is during the off-season between April and November.  This way, one can avoid crowds and high prices.

I've actually been to Ocho Rios.  I remember we climbed a waterfall.  They have all these tours you can go on.  Also, make sure you wear sunscreen because even if it's cloudy, you can BURN.  And if you try to buy something from a marketplace, don't accept the first price.  The sellers WANT YOU to haggle with them.

Word of the Week
Rhapsodomancy - the seeking of guidance through the chance selection of a passage in literature.

This term goes back to the ancient Greeks, in which verses uttered by the oracles were transcribed for random consultation in the sybilline books, or in which a phrase from one of the poets was picked on for guidance.  Rhapsodomancy comes from the Greek rhapsoidos, someone who recites epic poems, particularly the Homeric odes; its roots are rhaptein, “to sew together; stitch” and oide, “song” (the source of our word ode), so such a person was a “weaver of songs”.  It is closely related to our rhapsody, which originally meant a section of an epic poem suitable for reading at one time, but which later took on the modern sense of some exaggeratedly enthusiastic or self-indulgently effusive piece of writing or music.

Government Fact of the Week
Double Jeopardy
Double jeopardy is a procedural defense (and, in many countries such as the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and India, a constitutional right) that forbids that a defendant be tried twice for the same crime. At common law a defendant may plead autrefois acquit or autrefois convict (a peremptory plea); meaning the defendant has been acquitted or convicted of the same offence. If this issue is raised, evidence will be placed before the court, which will normally rule as a preliminary matter whether the plea is substantiated, and if it so finds, the projected trial will be prevented from proceeding.

This is why OJ Simpson can write a book called "If I Did It, Here's How It Would Have Happened" and not get arrested.  This is probably also why they're coming down so hard on him for breaking into a Vegas hotel room and trying to steal some merchandise.
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Trees, Beverages, and Outdoors [Feb. 12th, 2008|09:29 pm]
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Trees and Plants

Paper Birch (Betula papyrifera), also known as American white birch and canoe birch, is a mid-sized deciduous tree. It is an early successional species and needs a lot of nutrients. The bark of the paper birch is white and peels into fine strips. The bark feels and looks powdery and contains a high amount of oils. Since the bark contains such a high amount of oil, it was used by Native Americans as the waterproof covering of canoes. The oil also allows the bark to burn readily even when soaking wet making it an invaluable tool for survival. The wood of the paper birch is somewhat soft but heavy and typically used for furniture, pallets, OSB, and flooring.


Soju is a distilled beverage from Korea traditionally made from rice, however present day Soju is often supplemented with other starches (such as potatoes and barley). It has an ABV (Alcohol By Volume) of 20%-45% with 20% being the norm. It was first distilled around 1300 A.D. during the Mongol war with Korea. It is the primary liquor of Korea and in 2006, it was estimated that every Korean over 20 had consumed approximately 630 shots that year.

The Great Outdoors

Spectacle Island is located in Boston Harbor Islands State Park near Boston, Massachusetts. The island was originally used by Native Americans for fishing, clamming and gathering food. When Europeans settled in the 1630s, the island appeared to look like a pair of eyeglasses and was therefor named Spectacle Island. Now the island looks much different. For years the island was abused being used as a quarantine hospital and, later, a dump. Since then the island took a turn for the better. The somewhat recent (and seemingly forever ongoing) Big Dig project in Boston yeilded a lot (3.8 million cubic yards) of extra dirt which was added to Spectacle Island. A new visitor's center that runs on solar power and a plan to make the entire island run solely on renewable energy makes this park take leaps in the opposite direction. Currently, Spectacle Island is a 121-acre park with public boat access, beaches, picnic areas and spectacular views of the Boston Harbor.
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(no subject) [Feb. 10th, 2008|10:11 pm]
Learn 3 new things every day

Food - Tomatoes are a fruit further classified as a berry. The vegetable/fruit debate gets a little fuzzy mainly because the US Supreme court declared the tomato a vegetable in 1893 in order to subject it to vegetable import tariffs. The reason why a home grown tomato will typically taste better than a store bought one is because the store bought ones are picked before they're actually riped. They're then exposed to an ethylene gas in order to ripen them. The gas will turn the tomato to its full red color, but will do nothing to mature the fruit on the inside. Home grown tomatoes, on the other hand, are picked at the point where their flavor is at its peak.

Sports - The US has a professional lacrosse league and has had one in some shape or form since 1986. The NLL (National Lacrosse League) is a 12 team league that hasn't exactly taken the nation by storm. Franchise foldings and relocations are common. The 2008 season was nearly canceled due to a contract dispute, but a last minute 7 year deal saved the season for all the hardcore lacrosse fans out there. Teams are as far west as the Portland LumberJax, as far east as the New York Titans, and Canada even has a couple of teams to call their own. In fact, 73% of the men playing in the league were born in Canada while only 22.2% are of American origin.

Military - World War II is commonly known as the most deadly war in human history with an estimated 60-72 million deaths. The second deadliest war comes from the 13th century during the Mongolian Conquests. 30-60 million people died as the Mongols put together the largest empire in the history of the world. It began when Temujin was proclaimed ruler in 1206 and at its peak in 1279 their empire covered approximately 22% of the world's land area.
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hot streak! [Feb. 9th, 2008|05:45 pm]
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12 days in s row now!
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Saturday's Trivia [Feb. 9th, 2008|04:49 pm]
Learn 3 new things every day


Gorillas, the largest of the living primates, are ground-dwelling omnivores that inhabit the forests of Africa. Gorillas are divided into two species and (still under debate as of 2007) either four or five subspecies. Its DNA is 97%–98% identical to that of a human, and are the next closest living relatives to humans after the two chimpanzee species.


John Clayton Mayer (born October 16, 1977) is an American guitarist, singer-songwriter and comedian. Originally from Connecticut, he briefly attended Berklee College of Music, before moving to Atlanta, Georgia, in 1998, where he refined his skills and gained a following. His first two studio albums, Room for Squares and Heavier Things, did well commercially, achieving multi-platinum status. In 2003, he won a Best Male Pop Vocal Performance Grammy for "Your Body Is a Wonderland".

World Culture

The Dominican people and their customs have origins in a unique mix of African, Taino and European roots. The Dominican Republic was the first Spanish colony in the New World. The newly-arrived Europeans killed many of the native Taino people through enslavement and the introduction of diseases previously unknown to the native inhabitants, although many Tainos fled into the mountains where along with African escapees they formed Maroon colonies. The colonizers imported African slaves to replace the natives. After the Haitian liberation of the entire island, slavery was abolished and free blacks (and those of mixed race) could be found all over the island.
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(no subject) [Feb. 8th, 2008|02:00 pm]
Learn 3 new things every day

 Sorry No Learning today :(

My computer is broken so I can't really update today, sorry. I am using my phone right now and well I cant really look stuff up on here so I'll just wait till next week or Monday I might make a late update post :P
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It's gotta still be Thursday somewhere! [Feb. 8th, 2008|09:03 am]
Learn 3 new things every day

So on the way to work yesterday I planned out my Thursday post, and then totally forgot to do it.  Hopefully no one minds me throwing it in today.

Super Bowl XLII was the second most watch US Program of all time.  The only program watched more was the M*A*S*H finale in 1983.  In fact this Super Bowl is the first new program to crack into the top ten most watched programs since the Winter Olympics in 1994, where Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding competed against each other.  There are a total of four Super Bowl games in the top ten most wathced US programs of all time.

The movie <i>The Replacements</i> is based on the 1987 Football Players Strike.  The film is set in Washington D.C. but was actually filmed in and around Baltimore including the Baltimore Ravens' stadium.The actual football scenes were filmed during the Baltimore Ravens halftimes during the preseason.  During filming, Keanu Reeves was offered a tryout with the Baltimore Ravens.

In February of 1989, reports arose that Pete Rose had bet on baseball while managing the Cincinnati Reds. Two months later, the Dowd report was released containing a 225-page report on Rose's gambling charges.  n it, Dowd documented Rose's alleged gambling activities in 1985 and 1986 and compiled a day-by-day account of Rose's alleged betting on baseball games in 1987. The Dowd Report documented his alleged bets on 52 Reds games in 1987, where Rose wagered a minimum of $10,000 a day. Others involved in the allegations claim that number was actually $2,000 a day.  According to the Dowd Report itself, "no evidence was discovered that Rose bet against the Reds."

In 2004, Rose admitted to betting on baseball after years of denying such allegations.
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(no subject) [Feb. 7th, 2008|09:36 pm]
Learn 3 new things every day

It's almost bedtime and there hasn't been a post yet today, so I'm just gonna go with it. We have a streak of 8 straight days going which I think might be a 3newthings record. I'll be going away from the usual Thursday categories just because I've already been playing around with Wikipedia today so I might as well share what I've learned.

Hockey - The highest single season winning percentage by a team in the NHL belongs to the Boston Bruins. The B's, lead by old time hockey great, Eddie Shore, went 38-6 in 1929/1930 for a .875 winning percentage, a record that still holds to this day. The Bruins, however, didn't get the wins when it counted and lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Montreal Canadians.

Canada - There are just two landlocked provinces in the country of Canada. Saskatchewan is one of them. Saskatchewan is a sparsely populated prairie territory that is the birthplace of old time hockey great, Eddie Shore. It is so sparsely populated that its 10th largest city is Corman Park, home to 8349 people. Its fourth biggest town (weight in at just over 32,000 people) is called Moosejaw. If you learn nothing else today, just remember this...there is a real town called Moosejaw. And I think I want to move there.

Famous things to happen on March 16th
1802 - The United States Military Academy West Point is established.
1861 - Edward Clark became Governor of Texas, replacing Sam Houston, who was evicted from the office for refusing to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederacy.
1985 - Old time hockey great, Eddie Shore, dies at the age of 82.

Bet no one can figure out what I originally looked up on wikipedia...
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Mount Kilimanjaro, SD v. Dole, and phrontistery [Feb. 6th, 2008|04:29 pm]
Learn 3 new things every day

Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya
Although the origin of the name remains a mystery, some believe it is a Kiswahili word for "great hill."  Compared to Mt. Kenya (Africa's highest mountain), Mt. Kilimanjaro is a reatively easy climb.  Most climbers are able to reach the 19,341 foot peak without giving up.  Kilimanjaro is the most climbed mountain in the world with around 22,000 people setting out to climb it each year.

While many mountain expeditions require ropes, hoocks and other climbing gear, none at all is needed for Kilimanjaro.  It is the tallest mountain in the world that can be walked up.  An average expedition to the highest point takes around ten days.  Kilimanjaro has several routes ranging from cleared paths which are catered to more novice climbers to rougher, more natural and scenic routes for the physically fit.  It is customary for climbers to tip their guides upon return to the base.  Tips range from $60-$100 per climber.

Government and Politics
South Dakota vs. Dole (1987) (because my sister asked me about it today and I didn't know what it was.

In 1984, the United States Congress passed legislation withholding 5% of federal highway funds from states that did not adopt a minimum 21-year-old drinking age.  South Dakota, a state that had allowed 19-year-olds to purchase beer containing up to 3.2% alcohol, sued to challenge the law, naming Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole as the defendant because her office was responsible for enforcing the legislation.

The Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision authored by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, ruled that Congress had engaged in a valid exercise of its power under the Taxing and Spending Clause, and did not violate the Twenty-first Amendment. Rehnquist said that Congress's conditional spending is subject to four restrictions:

  1. The condition must promote "the general welfare;"
  2. The condition must be unambiguous;
  3. The condition should relate "to the federal interest in particular national projects or programs;" and
  4. Other constitutional provisions may supersede conditional grants.

The first three restrictions, Rehnquist noted, are uncontested. This leaves the fourth restriction. The Tenth Amendment bars federal regulation of the States, and it has been suggested that the Twenty-First Amendment might prohibit federal regulation of the drinking age. Nevertheless, the Congressional condition of highway funds is merely a "pressure" on the State to comply, not a "compulsion" to do so, because the State's failure to meet the condition deprives it of only 10% of the highway funds it may obtain. Therefore, Congress has not run afoul of the Tenth or Twenty-First Amendments.

Word of the Week

Phrontistery (noun) - an establishment for study and learning (sometimes including modern universities)
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