Interesting stuff

Curiosity Corner: Give ’em something to talk about

Give ’em something to talk about!  

                                                                                              

CURIOSITY CORNER

By

Dr. Jerry D. Wilson

Emeritus Professor of Physics

Lander University

 

Trivia time. You gotta keep your trivia knowledge sharp.

* Four states do not allow billboards: Maine, Vermont, Alaska and Hawaii.

*Denmark has the highest income tax rates. Tax rates based on income run from 42 percent to 68 percent.

* Babe Ruth hit the first home run in Yankee Stadium in 1923.

* The steeplechase, a form of horse racing involving jumping fences and ditches, is so called because originally the race went from church steeple to church steeple, hence a steeplechase.

* The Canary Islands is not named after the canary (the bird), but after a breed of large dogs. The Latin name is “Canariae Insulae,” meaning “Islands of the Dogs.”

* The Tootsie Roll, introduced in 1896 by Leo Hirshfield of New York, was named after his daughter, nicknamed “Tootsie.”

* Aluminum foil began replacing tin foil in 1910. Some people still refer to aluminum foil as tin foil and use it to make tin foil hats. (Tin foil hats are supposed to shield the brain from electromagnetic fields and mind control. I know a couple of people who wear them.)


* Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.

* Cow’s milk contains 3-4 percent fat and butter 80 percent fat. Therefore, it takes about 21 pounds of milk to make a pound of butter. (Milk, like water, has a weight of about 8 pounds per gallon, so 21 pounds is 2.5 gallon.)

* The vice president’s residence in Washington, D.C., is located on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory. Historically, the VPs and their families lived in their own residences. But with the increasing cost of these Washington, D.C., residences, in 1974 Congress agreed to refurbish the house at the Naval Observatory as a home for the VP. Vice President Gerald Ford acceded to the presidency before he could use it, and his VP, Nelson Rockefeller, used it only for entertaining. Walter Mondale was the first VP to move in, followed by George Bush, Dan Quayle, Al Gore, Dick Chaney and currently, Joe Biden.

 

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript):  On quiz shows, some female contestants say “I have the best husband in the whole world.” How do they know? Have they tried them all?   ~Anon.

 

 

 

Words: mixed up meanings

English has got to be one of the toughest languages to learn. Even our exceptions to the rules have exceptions.

Here are some of my recent mental meanderings on mixed up meanings.

Confusing homophones
1.                  This bimonthly publication comes out every other month, and that bimonthly publication comes out twice a month. Both sentences are correct.
2.                  Loan (verb) me the money, or I’ll need to get a loan (noun)
 
Homophones that are antonyms 
3.                  I buckle (bind) my seatbelt so I won’t buckle (fall apart) under pressure
4.                  This Christmas, we will have to trim (reduce) the decorations when we trim (add to) the tree.
5.                  It was an unbelievable (very accurate) documentary on extraterrestrials, but the unbelievable (not credible) accounts of UFO sightings detracted from the real evidence. 
 
Same phrase that means the opposite thing
6.                  Watch out for (look forward to) opportunities to volunteer, but watch out for (avoid) over committing.
7.                  Person 1: Did you see all the fuss about the new employee.   
            Person 2: Tell me about it?
            Person 2 could be saying “I already know” or “I want to know more”
 
Opposite phrase that means the same thing
8.                  The two houses met the same fate. This house burned up, and that house burned down.
 
Not true homophones, but stated orally, these sentences could be confusing.
9.                  I was thinking of moving a broad
10.              It is apparent that you are a parent
If you liked this you might also be interested in 
1. Word Power
2. English is Nutty 5
3.Evolving Language


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Eight Interesting Words

interesting words
interesting words

 How many words are in your vocabulary? The average high school graduate is said to know about 10,000 words. The average 4-year college graduate is said to know about 20,000 words. Do you have room for any more words in your vocabulary?

 

 

 

 

Here are some interesting words, which you may not know.

Upon learning an interesting word, if you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to work it into a conversation to improve your vocabulary or just to see the expression on your friends’ faces. Since this is an online conversation, maybe you’re feeling a little motivated now.

If after reviewing this list of eight, you feel up for a challenge, please read through to the Word Power Exercise.

 

Eight Interesting Words

Zymurgy:  The art or practice of fermentation

 

Accismus: When you pretend not to be interested in something – when you really are

 

Snollygoster – A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician

 

Josser – One not born to circus life

 

Tyrotoxism: To be poisoned by cheese

 

Winklepicker  a style of shoe worn by British rock and roll fans

 

Defenestrate: To throw out a window

 

Unobtanium: A material that is unobtainable, often because it doesn’t exist

 

 

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Word Power Exercise:

See how many of these Eight Interesting Words you can include in a 50 word (or less) comment. The only two rules are: 1. Your comment must make sense, and 2. You may not use any of the words directly beside another one, such as in a list. Have fun, and add your blog address, so visitors can stop by and say Hi. For more word fun, check out my Eleven Interesting Words post here.

 

 

 

 Waiting my next batch to zymurgy, I was talking with a friend about a snollygoster, I find that accisumus.  This snollygoster was a josser.  They told me this snollygoster suffered from tyrotoxism.  My friend was dressed in an unobtanium winklepicker which made me feel like I wanted to defenestrate him.

Sensfaction: http://262291.blogspot.com

 

 Son, the worst form of josser is a snollygoster, from whom integrity is unobtanium, and who is more interested in zymurgy than even the trapeze. Their disinterest isn’t accismus; like those winklepickered punks in Clockwork Orange, they could defenestrate August Ringling and still have the appetite to dine unto tyrotoxism.

Drew  http://www.reddit.com/user/drewcamealong/

 

Politics are the pits these days. All the candidates are a bunch of snollygosters. I am sure some wish they got a case of tyrotoxism. They act so accismus in their speeches. They also try to look cool by wearing winklepickers.

 Mike  http://geography-trivia.blogspot.com

 

Recovering from a nasty case of tyrotoxism, I put on my winklepickers and set out to hoodwink a couple of jossers into divulging their zymurgy secrets. Then I ran into Colonel Fraudy, a local snollygoster usually out for cash. Sensing accismus on his part, I defenestrated the unobtanium. Close call.

Angry Max pterodactylpuke.com

Which word in the English language has the most definitions?

The word SET has the most definitions of any word in the English language.
SET has 464 definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Here’s how the others stack up:CB029654
RUN – 396 (defs.)
           GO – 368
          TAKE – 343
          STAND – 334
          GET – 289
          TURN – 288
          PUT – 268
          FALL – 264
          STRIKE – 250
set 1 
v. set, set·ting, sets
1. To put in a specified position; place: set a book on a table.
2. To put into a specified state: set the prisoner at liberty.
3.
a. To put into a stable position: set the fence post into a bed of concrete.
b. To fix firmly or in an immobile manner: He set his jaw and concentrated on flying the plane through the storm.
4. To restore to a proper and normal state when dislocated or broken: set a broken arm.
5.
a. To adjust for proper functioning.
b. To adjust (a saw) by deflecting the teeth.
c. Nautical To spread open to the wind: set the sails.
6. To adjust according to a standard.
7. To adjust (an instrument or device) to a specific point or calibration: set an alarm clock.
8. To arrange properly for use: set a place for a dinner guest; set a table.
9. To apply equipment, such as curlers and clips, to (hair) in order to style.
10. Printing
a. To arrange (type) into words and sentences preparatory to printing; compose.
b. To transpose into type.
11. Music
a. To compose (music) to fit a given text.
b. To write (words) to fit a given melodic line.
12. To arrange scenery on (a theater stage).
13. To prescribe the unfolding of (a drama or narrative, for instance) in a specific place: a play that is set in Venice.
14. To prescribe or establish: set a precedent.
15. To prescribe as a time for: set June 6 as the day of the invasion.
16. To detail or assign (someone) to a particular duty, service, or station: set the child to cleaning the closets; set guards around the perimeter.
17. To incite to hostile action: a war that set families against one another.
18.
a. To establish as the highest level of performance: set a world aviation record.
b. To establish as a model: A parent must set a good example for the children.
19.
a. To put in a mounting; mount: set an emerald in a pendant.
b. To apply jewels to; stud: a tiara that was set with diamonds.
20. To cause to sit.
21.
a. To put (a hen) on eggs for the purpose of hatching them.
b. To put (eggs) beneath a hen or in an incubator.
22. Sports To position (oneself) in such a way as to be ready to start running a race.
23. Sports To pass (a volleyball), usually with the fingertips, in an arc close to the net so that a teammate can drive it over the net.
24.
a. To value or regard something at the rate of: She sets a great deal by good nutrition.
b. To fix at a given amount: The judge set bail for the defendant at $50,000.
c. To make as an estimate of worth: We set a high value on human life.
25. To point to the location of (game) by holding a fixed attitude. Used of a hunting dog.
26. Botany To produce, as after pollination: set seed.

 

For more definitions, visit freedictionary.com and search for set.

 

History Mystery

This was recently sent to me.

question-mark1I wanted to pay it forward.

History Mystery 

 
  
Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846. 
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946. 

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860. 
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960. 

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights. 
Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday. 
Both Presidents were shot in the head. 

Now it gets really weird.

Lincoln ‘s secretary was named Kennedy. 
Kennedy’s Secretary was named Lincoln . 

Both were assassinated by Southerners. 
Both were succeeded by Southerners named Johnson. 

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808. 
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908. 
  

John Wilkes Booth, who assassinated Lincoln, was born in 1839.

Lee Harvey Oswald, who assassinated Kennedy, was born in 1939.

 

Both assassins were known by their three names. 
Both names are composed of fifteen letters. 

 

Now hang on to your seat. 

 

Lincoln was shot at the theater named ‘Ford’. 
Kennedy was shot in a car called ‘Lincoln ‘ made by ‘Ford’. 

 

Lincoln was shot in a theater and his assassin ran and hid in a warehouse.

Kennedy was shot from a warehouse and his assassin ran and hid in a theater.

 

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials. 

 

And here’s the kicker… A week before Lincoln was shot, he was in Monroe , Maryland.

A week before Kennedy was shot, he was with Marilyn Monroe.

 

Makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Samuel Lander Movie

Let me know what you think.

Prestantia Pictures is Paul (www.paulsfunkystuff.com) Cruthcer and me, Robert (rob’s megaphone) Stevenson.

Paul and I work at Lander University; I am helping Paul, who is the mastermind behind this project,  tell the story of Lander University’s founder, Samuel Lander.

 

Related Links: Lander Forum Online

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Curiosity Corner: Dual Citizenship

Dual citizenship possible, but complicated

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,

Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University

Question: Is it possible for a U.S. citizen to have dual citizenship with another country?  (Asked by a curious column reader.)

Reply: Good question. Had I answered this off the top of my head, I would have said no, because I had always heard that U.S. citizens could only have our citizenship. And it was sort of that way, but no more. Here’s what I found out.

The first sentence of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, often called the “citizenship clause,” states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” (Naturalization through immigration.) The original intent of this provision passed in 1868 after the Civil War was to guarantee citizenship to former slaves and their descendents. Children of foreign diplomats are excluded, but foreign-born children of U.S. citizens are not. It is true that persons who become U.S. citizens through naturalization are required to state under oath that they renounce their old citizenship. However, the rub comes in with the laws of other countries. They may not recognize this and still consider the person to be a citizen of that country, so you have dual citizenship whether you want it or not. The U.S. was pretty strict about dual citizenship for quite a while. You can imagine the messes about voting, serving in the military and so on. However, most of the laws forbidding dual citizenship were struck down by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 1967 and 1980. Basically, the court held that the “citizenship clause” prevented Congress from revoking a person’s U.S. citizenship without evidence of his or her intent to give up this citizenship. This allowed for dual citizenship, and the State Department, which has jurisdiction over these matters, was effectively under court order to ignore the old laws that were still on the books. The 1967 case involved a U.S. immigrant to Israel. Israeli laws confer Israeli citizenship for any Jewish immigrant without having to apply for it. The person in this case was alleged to have lost his U.S. citizenship, not because he had become an Israeli citizen, but because he had voted in an Israeli election. Citizenship in other countries may also be obtained through naturalization, for example in Canada. (In Canada, giving up the original citizenship requires signing special forms in the presence of Canadian officials … otherwise, you’ve still got it.)

So, there are our laws, and there are their laws (or sometimes “policies”). As you might imagine, there are all sorts of situations and ramifications. Here are a few concerning dual citizenship:

  • You can serve in a foreign army (which is sometimes required by that country) without loss of U.S. citizenship, unless you are engaged in hostilities toward the U.S., commit treason against the U.S., or act with the intent of giving up your U.S. citizenship.
  • Even if you were born in the U.S., with naturalized parents or grandparents, be careful on visiting the “old country.” You may still be considered a citizen there and subject to mandatory military service.
  • Marriage to a U.S. citizen does not automatically confer U.S. citizenship on the foreign spouse, but he/she becomes an “immediate relative.” Obtaining a green card through an immediate relative is perhaps the fastest route to U.S. permanent residency. Under U.S. immigration law, an immediate relative is defined as the spouse, child (under the age of 21 years) or parent of a U.S. citizen. The biggest advantage of the immediate relative category is that it does not fall under the preference categories and there is no priority date backlog. An immigrant visa is always available under the immediate relative category.
  • To serve as president, you must be a “natural-born citizen.” This might seem to imply that a person must be born in the U.S., but the first Congress extended this to children of citizens born overseas or out of the limits of the U.S. Examples:
  • – Barry Goldwater, 1964 presidential candidate, was born in the Arizona Territory in 1909. (Arizona became a state in 1912.)
  • – George Romney, 1968 Republican hopeful, was born in Mexico in 1907 to American parents who had moved there to escape anti-Mormon prosecution.
  • – John McCain, 2008 Republican presidential hopeful, was born in the Panama Canal Zone in 1936 to American parents.

Speaking of presidents, here’s a trivia question. How many former presidents are not buried in the U.S.?

Answer:  Three. Carter, Bush, and Clinton. (They are all alive – tricky, tricky.)

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript):  Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice weaving.  ~Mignon McLaughlin

See HERE for last week’s Curiosity Corner.

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

Simple stir stick prevents superheated explosion

Simple stir stick prevents superheated explosion

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University
Question: I recently read a story about a boy being burned while trying to boil water in a cup in a microwave oven. When removed, the heated water in the cup was not boiling, but suddenly “blew up” into his face causing bad burns. What caused this?

Reply: Yes, this can happen under the right conditions, which hopefully would be avoided after reading this. First, let’s take a look at droplet and bubble formation. Starting with droplet formation, as in the case of rain, the water vapor (invisible gas) must be cooled to the dew point temperature. At this temperature, the vapor is ready to condense, but it won’t unless there is something on which to condense.
Droplets don’t just form spontaneously. What is needed is called hygroscopic nuclei. Without such nuclei the vapor may be supercooled, and droplets will form instantaneously when some nuclei come along, such as particles of dust, pollen, etc. In fact, one method of artificial rainmaking involves introducing minute crystals of silver iodide into clouds. (Silver iodide has a crystalline structure similar to ice.) If the water vapor in the cloud is below the dew point, the crystals act as nuclei and droplets form that grow into raindrops.
Now, let’s move on to bubbles. They, too, do not form spontaneously and require nucleation sites – a rough surface, residue, etc. You may have noticed that in a glass of carbonated beverage the bubbles generally rise from the bottom where the washing detergent has not made the glass squeaky clean.
When water is heated, as in a microwave oven, it is possible to raise the temperature above the boiling point without actually boiling the water, or to superheat it. This is particularly true in new cups or containers that do not have scratches or residue to act as nucleation sites. So, in this case, the water is more than ready to boil, and a bump or jar can bring the superheated liquid in contact with some rough places, or sites, and the water “flash boils,” releasing a lot of pent-up energy. The rising bubbles of the sudden boiling carry hot liquid with them, and the water explodes out of the cup – causing burns in some cases.
What to do? Provide nucleation sites in the heating liquid. For example, place a wooden or plastic stir stick, or perhaps a tea bag or instant coffee in the cup. Then on the other hand, you could get up a little earlier and use a teakettle to boil water.

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript):  A signature always reveals a man’s character — and sometimes even his name.  ~Evan Esar

See HERE for last week’s Curiosity Corner.

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

 

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Curiosity Corner: Moon “phased” by changing positions

Moon “phased” by changing positions

 

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University
A couple of questions, one technical and the other better-rounded.
Question: The moon goes through phases – new, first-quarter, full and third- (or last) quarter. Yet, when we see a first- or third-quarter moon, the face of the moon we see is one-half illuminated. Is there something wrong? Shouldn’t we have half moons? (Submitted by a lunar-observant column reader.)
 

Reply: Well, the thing to keep in mind is that about half of the moon’s surface is always illuminated – the half of the spherical surface that is toward the sun. On Earth, we see phases, or different portions, of the moon illuminated because of the relative positions of the sun, Earth and moon.
 For example, we see first and third quarters when the sun is 90° east and 90° west of the moon, respectively. On Earth then, we see half of the moon’s face illuminated. (Think of someone shining a flashlight on a basketball and you are 90° from the person. Depending on whether they are shining the light from left or right, you’ll see only half of the ball [left or right] illuminated.)
 Got it? OK, the phase count starts with the new moon, when the sun and the moon are overhead at 12 noon. Astronomers refer to phase in reference to how far around the moon is in its orbit. One-quarter around, the moon is in first-quarter phase (6 pm), but we see it half illuminated as described above. Halfway around it is full moon (12 midnight – moon and sun on opposite sides of the Earth). Third-quarter moon (6 am), the moon is three-quarters around in its orbit, but again, only half of the moon is illuminated for us poor Earthlings.
Question: I bought a hat the other day, and I wear a size 7-3/8. Does the hat size number mean anything?
Reply: Checked into it, and oddly enough the size seems to be based on the roundness of your head (or hat). Most American manufacturers take the length, or circumference, of the band inside the hat and divide by pi (p = 3.14). This gives the diameter of the hat if you were round-headed.
 For example, if the hatband had a length of 23 inches, then 23/p = 7-3/8 (to the nearest 1/8). Of course, most of our heads aren’t really round, but the hat size number gives us an indication of fit. If you have a fitting problem, you can always try a baseball cap with the adjustable plastic strap in the back.

C.P.S. (Curious Postscript):  When somebody tells you nothing is impossible, ask him to dribble a football. ~Anon
 

See HERE for last week’s Curiosity Corner.

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

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Curiosity Corner: Tumblin’ tumbleweeds

Tumblin’ tumbleweeds are a pain in the west. 

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University

Here are a couple of “What is” questions.

Question: What is tumbleweed? (Asked by some curious dude.)
Reply: “Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds” (Sung by Sons of the Pioneers, if you’re old enough to remember).
 I guess we’ve all seen tumbleweed a tumblin’ in western movies, or maybe in person. There are several types of plants that tumble, but the most common and familiar is the Russian thistle. This tumbleweed has a round shape that makes for easy rolling in the wind. What is really going on is the sowing of seeds. The round plant snaps off from its roots in the fall when the leaves are dying and its seeds are ripe. It is estimated that a single tumbleweed plant can have a couple of thousand seeds.
 The seeds mature in flowers that are sort of wedged into the stems of the plant. As a result, they all don’t get dumped out on the first roll, but are spread far and wide as the “weed” tumbles along the prairie.
 The tumbleweed (Russian thistle) turned up in the West in the 1800s where it is well-adapted to the dry conditions. It may look harmless, but keep in mind that it is a thistle that is spiny and sharp, and it can cut horses and cowboys. Also, the tumbleweed can be a pain for farmers when it goes tumbling across their fields dropping seeds.
Question: What is quicksand?
Reply: Very simply, it is a mixture of sand and water. We can walk on ordinary wet sand like on the beach because a small amount of water acts as an adhesive for the sand grains. In loose sand, we sink in a bit, but the sand grains are in contact and distribute our weight. However, sand and adequate water gives a mixture (quicksand) that acts like a liquid and we tend to sink in it.
 Quicksand is usually found in rivers or streams where pools of water become filled with sand, or where groundwater comes up through a sand deposit.
 The movies make quicksand a culprit with people and animals sinking to their deaths in it. Quicksand is denser than water, and so more buoyant. If you panic when in quicksand, you may sink, similar to panicking in water. If you ever get into quicksand, don’t panic and try to float on your back – you won’t sink. If no one is around to help you out, keep calm, and do a few gentle body motions that will take you to the nearest edge. Sand swimming so to speak, but no freestyle.
C.P.S. (Curious Postscript):  The surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that it has never tried to contact us.    -Bill Watterson
Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, www.curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW
See HERE for last week’s Curiosity Corner.

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

 

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Curiosity Corner: A touch of the grape may be good for the heart

 

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University

A touch of the grape may be good for the heart 

 
Question: I heard on the news that grape juice may help prevent heart attacks. How is this?  (Asked by a curious column reader.)
Reply: What’s good and bad for you seems to change every day, and it is easy to get lost and/or confused. First of all, let’s talk about blood cells. Most people know there are white and red blood cells. But there is a third type called platelets. Platelets are involved in the first stage of the blood clotting process. When a blood vessel is injured (and you bleed), platelets gather there and provide a sticky substance that “glues” the cells together. Other chemicals in the blood then assist in forming a clot that seals the wound.
            Clotting is not always good, in the sense that heart attacks can occur when blood clots stick to fatty deposits on the walls of the arteries, blocking the flow of blood. You may have read that aspirin and red wines tend to reduce the platelets’ activity to clot, thereby reducing the possibility of heart attack. Natural substances called flavonoids found in various foods appear to have the ability to reduce platelet clotting. Red wines and grape juice contain flavonoids.
            In recent studies on humans and monkeys, it was found that drinking purple grape juice reduced the platelet activity by as much as 75 percent, as compared to 45 percent for aspirin and red wine. It is hoped that a drug can be manufactured from grapes that could be used in heart attack treatment. However, always remember to consult with your physician on such things. Blood clotting is very essential and slowing down platelet activity could lead to unwanted bleeding.
 
C.P.S. (Curious Postscript)  I like red wine because it’s more sophisticated, more complex and mature. It’s a bit like me, no longer young but not old yet either.  -Mick Hucknall
 
Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, www.curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW
See HERE for last week’s Curiosity Corner.

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

 

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Twelve Interesting Words

Twelve Interesting Words

 How many words are in your vocabulary? The average high school graduate is said to know about 10,000 words. The average 4-year college graduate is said to know about 20,000 words. Do you have room for any more words in your vocabulary?
Here are some interesting words, which you may not know.
Upon learning an interesting word, if you’re like me, you’ll be tempted to work it into a conversation to improve your vocabulary or just to see the expression on your friends’ faces. Since this is an online conversation, maybe you’re feeling a little motivated now.
If after reviewing this list of twelve, you feel up for a challenge, please read through to the Word Power Exercise.

 

Twelve Interesting Words
1. Nudiustertian  – The day before yesterday
2. Pronk  – A weak or foolish person
3. Pettifogging – Something petty or trivial
4. Inaniloquent – Pertaining to idle talk
5. Mesonoxian – Pertaining to midnight
6. Tyrotoxism – To be poisoned by cheese
7. Nihilarian  A person who deals with things lacking importance.
8. Scopperloit – Rude or rough play
9. Gargalesis – Forceful tickling
10. Dumbledore – A type of bee
11. Humdudgeon – An imaginary illness
12.  Mungo – A dumpster diver – one who extracts valuable things from trash

 

Word Power Exercise:

See how many of these Twelve Interesting Words (EIW) you can include in a 75 word (or less) comment. The only two rules are: 1. Your comment must make sense, and 2. You may not use any of the EIWs directly beside another one, such as in a list. Have fun, and add your blog address, so visitors can stop by and say Hi. For more word fun, check out my Eight Interesting Words post here.

 

 

Nudiustertian I met a Pronk who was talking about a pettifogging subject. Inaniloquent, he went on and on about Dumbledores and mungo. Then he proceeded to Gargalesis of me. Since it was around Mesonoxian and I was coming down with Humdudgeon and he was a Nihilarian prone to scopperloit and I had to perform Tyrotoxism on him.
http://www.blogbydonna.com
 
Nudiustertian just about mesonoxian walking down the street to my home I saw a mungo collecting cans which I found to be pettifogging. This mungo stopped what he was doing, and decided to inaniloquent with me about his humdudgeon. This nihilarian was telling me that while he was digging, he found some food and ate it, and then got Tyrotoxism. He also told me that a Dumbledore stung him and he had a allergic reaction. This guy was a real pronk!
http://www.skyewolfwrittenworks.com

 

Nudusterian a pronk was inaniloquently pettifogging aboud the mesonoxian.
The Nihilarian dumbledore scopperloit the pronk with gargalesis.
That’s about the best I could do;p The first one I think has them in too much of a consecutive order… Violates rule 2.. Anyway.. There’s my attempt at it;p
http://www.movies4wholesale.com
 
It was no humdudgeon that hit me the other day, in fact, it was a case of tyrotoxism!! I felt like such a pronk. I should have known that my mungo brother would have brought me a snack of cheese that he found in the nudiustertian trash.
Not wanting to make him feel like a Nihilarian, I broke down and ate it.
After our snack we started engaging in gargalesis, like we did as children, but when it turned into a scopperloit brawl, I started to feel sick and called it quits.
Now, I am stuck in bed pettifogging through inaniloquent magazines, and reading about the mesonoxian habits of the Dumbledore to stay busy while trying to recover.
http://www.hiddenstreamsproductions.com/thevillag…
Being an avid nihilarian and a young pronk, I’m inclined to attempt the activity of pettifogging, which is better than the follies of scopperloit and safer than gargalesis, a symptom of humdudgeon (a disorder some claim is acquired when dumbledores, who live in dumpsters, attack mungos).
Of course, this monologue is rather inaniloquent; provoked by an onset of tyrotoxism I caught at a filthy diner nudiustertium. I’ll go to bed, as it’s nearly mesonoxian. 
Shadow Crystal
 
 
 
 

 

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July 30: on this day

July 30

On this day in . . .  

1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convenes for the first time.

1729 Baltimore, Maryland is founded.

1932 – Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first Academy Award winning cartoon and first cartoon short to use Technicolor, premieres.

1954 
Elvis performed with The Blue Moon Boys in his first paid appearance at the Overton Park Shell, with Slim Whitman headlining.
 
 

 

1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 15 Mission – David Scott and James Irwin on Apollo Lunar Module module, Falcon, land with first Lunar Rover on the moon. (Astronaut David Scott gives salute beside the U.S. flag July 30, 1971 on the moon during the Apollo 15 mission. Photo: NASA/Liaison/Getty Images)

 

1974 Watergate Scandal: US President Richard M. Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the United States Supreme Court.

 

1975Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He is never seen or heard from again.
 

1990 – The first Saturn automobile rolls off the assembly line.

 

2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.

 

2006 – World’s longest running music show Top of the Pops broadcast for the last time on BBC Two. The show had aired for 42 years.

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Curiosity corner: The tale of two kiwis — bird and fruit linked by looks

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University
 
Curiosity corner: The tale of two kiwis  — bird and fruit linked by looks
Question: Are the kiwi bird and the kiwi fruit related?
Reply: Well, not really. You don’t usually cross a bird with a fruit. However, there is a correlation, or perhaps a resemblance. The one kiwi is a flightless, nocturnal bird found only in New Zealand. Named for their cry, they are brownish or grayish in color with hairlike plumage. Kiwis are about a foot tall and weigh on the order of 5 pounds. They have slender bills and minute wings, but no external tail.
          The other kiwi (fruit) grows on a grapelike vine and is native to south central China. Sometimes known as a Chinese gooseberry, the kiwi is a small, round fruit with fuzzy greenish brown skin that roughly resembles the plumage of the kiwi bird. The fruit was brought to New Zealand in the early 1900s, and this country is now a major producer. I suppose the fruit’s resemblance to the bird is how it got its name.
Question: Are all fish cold-blooded?
Reply: For the most part, yes. But, there are a couple of exceptions. Cold-blooded means the body temperature of the creature varies with the external temperature. Warm bloods, like us, maintain a relatively constant body temperature irrespective of the surrounding temperature. There are some fish, tuna and the mackerel shark, that have body temperatures higher than that of the surrounding water. Hence, they are termed warm-bodied.  Cold-blooded fish lose internal heat in the circulating blood to water passing through the gills, and the body temperature is usually within a degree of the surrounding water temperature. Tuna and mackerel sharks, however, have a system whereby internal heat in the warm blood going to the gills is transferred to the cold blood coming from the gills. As a result, yellowfin and skipjack tuna have body temperatures that can vary 10-20° F above the water temperature – so warm-bodied          Their cousin the bluefin tuna might qualify as a warm-blooded, as opposed to warm-bodied, fish. The bluefin maintains a fairly constant body temperature, varying only a few degrees over a much wider range of water temperature. Ask Charlie, or any mermaid you happen to see. …
 Check out last week’s Curiosity Corner here.
C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): A compromise is an agreement whereby both parties get what neither of them wanted.   -Anon

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

 

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History of 1500s: Authenticity Uncertainty

The information for this post was sent to me by a friend to run on Rob’s Megaphone. 

I thought it was really interesting, so I dug a little.  I discovered that this post had made the rounds in the blogosphere – more than once. What I found most interesting was that more than 200 sites ran this history from the 1500s without verifying its accuracy and with no credit given to the original source. As it turns out some of the post’s claims are factual and some of are fictitious.

Have a look at the post, and be sure to check out My Point at the end.

Here’s the post:

  The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn’t just how you like it, think about how things used to be.

  Here are some facts about the 1500’s:

  Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor. Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

 Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.  Hence the saying, ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.’

 Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw-piled high, with no   wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it   rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and off the roof. Hence the saying ‘It’s raining cats and dogs.’

 There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection. That’s how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying ‘dirt poor.’ The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until when you opened the door it would all start slipping outside. A  piece of wood was placed in the entranceway. Hence the saying a ‘thresh hold.’ 

  In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get  cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence the rhyme, ‘Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot nine days old.’ 

 Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could ‘bring home the bacon.’ They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit around and  ‘chew the fat.’

 Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach onto the food, causing  lead poisoning  death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or  so, tomatoes were considered poisonous. Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the  burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top, or ‘upper crust.’

   Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up. Hence the custom of holding a ‘wake.’

  England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a ‘bone-house’ and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the  graveyard all night (the ‘graveyard shift’) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be ‘saved by the bell’ or was considered a ‘dead ringer.’

My Point: There’s clearly a market for information that may or may not be true. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and the National Enquirer come to mind as publications that print both fact and fiction. I have no problem with these publications; we know their mission from the outset. My objection is when fiction is presented as fact. As far as I’m concerned no information is better than misinformation unless it is presented as “true to the best of my knowledge” or some similar disclaimer.

In a myth-busting article “Facts” About the 1500s?”  published in History-Magazine.com, author Halvor Moorshead sought to separate the popular post’s fact from fiction.  Have a look at some of the busted myths. Moorshead clear debunked a few claims, but it turns out that more than one of the original claims may be true; the problem seems to be less with the popular practices than if the practice started in the 1500s. 

Considering the pervasiveness of recycled information together with the credibility given to published print, fact checking is an indispensable step for those who want to be more than another rumor rag. I have posted about an urban legend or two, but always with a disclaimer as to the uncertainty of the claim’s authenticity. For more myth busters, check out   http://www.snopes.com and http://urbanlegends.about.com,

Also check here for more information on urban legends.

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Curiosity corner: A pair of paradoxical points to ponder

I am proud to announce that Curiosity Corner has found a home away from home in the blogsophere right here on Rob’s Megaphone.
                                                                         

by Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University
 
Question: Somebody recently mentioned “Zeno’s paradox.” Would you please explain this?  Thanks. (Asked by a curious and bashful column reader.)
Reply: First let’s define paradox. (We’re big on defining things in science so we know what we’re talking about.) Paradox comes from the Greek word meaning “contrary to expectation,” and more generally, a paradox is something that is seemingly contradictory to common sense and yet perhaps true.
          Zeno was a Greek philosopher who lived in the 5th century B.C. He dealt with paradoxes, and perhaps his most famous, in one form, goes something like this. Suppose you’re traveling in a straight line from point A to point B. In doing so, you first travel half the distance between the two locations, say to point C. Once at the midpoint C, you must then travel half the remaining distance (C to B). But once you arrive at the midpoint (D) of this remaining distance, you still have to travel half of the remaining distance (D to B). So, there’s always half the remaining distance to travel, and this goes on ad infinitum (even though we would run out of letters in the alphabet).
          Since it takes time to travel half of any given distance (no matter how small), and any remaining distance in our travel from A to B can always be divided in half, it will therefore take an infinite amount of time to travel from A to B. That is, you’d never reach B!
          Of course, Zeno knew that in reality the trip could be made. He was into philosophizing that common sense and the laws of motion couldn’t both be true at once, or more generally, that reality is unreal. I’m not going to get into that (take a philosophy course at Lander), but basically, in taking an infinite number of time and distance intervals, mathematically, you are dividing infinity by infinity, which is not defined or allowed. (But I’ve counted to infinity twice.)
          So, let’s get back to the real world and let me give you an old one to think about. Suppose you are half another person’s age. To make things easy, let’s say you are 10 and the other person is 20 years old. Then you are 10/20 = 1/2 = 0.50, or half the other person’s age.
          Let a decade (10 years) go by. The ages are then 20 and 30, so you are 20/30 = 2/3 = 0.67, and you are two-thirds the person’s age. Then another ten years goes by, and at the ages of 30 and 40, you are 30/40 = 3/4 = 0.75, or three quarters the person’s age. In another 10 years, we have 40/50 = 4/5 = 0.80, and you are four-fifths the person’s age. Notice how you are closing the gap and getting fractionally closer to the age of the other person. Question: How long will it take for you to catch up and be the same age as the other person?
(You should live so long.)
 
C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): So they [the Government] go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful for impotence.  -Winston Churchill
 Check out last week’s Curiosity Corner here.
Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW
 

The world’s most difficult word to translate loses much in translation

The world’s most difficult word to translate loses much in translation

 

In an article published by the BBC on June 22, 2004, “ilunga” was deemed the world’s most difficult word to translate. According to the article by Oliver Conway, “ilunga” topped a list compiled by 1,000 linguists as the “hardest word to translate.” It was reported that “ilunga,” which comes from the Tshiluba language, spoken in south-eastern Congo, means “a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time”.

The survey was conducted by Today Translations, which emphasized, while the ilunga’s definition can be found in the dictionary, the difficulty in translation comes from its cultural connotations and usage.

BUT WAIT, there is a problem.

According to an article in Wikipedia: There is no independent evidence supporting Today Translations’ claim that “ilunga” is in fact the world’s most difficult word to translate.  In fact ilunga is apparently a reasonably common family name in the DR Congo, and it has nothing to do with a conditionally forgiving person. Furthermore, according to Wikipedia, the translation company failed to respond to inquiries regarding the survey, made by the same reporter. Also, according to an entry in Nation Master Encyclopedia, not all of the words on Today Translations’ list were even legitimate. Some of them turned out to be mistakes and hoaxes.   

In my opinion, the category the “most untranslatable word” is on its face problematic to begin with.  It appears the article infers that these words are the hardest to translate into English, but there is no specific mention of this. Despite the 226,000 hits for “ilunga” from my July 19, 2008, Google search (many of which represent blogs recycling the original BBC article), it seems Today Translations’ linguistics need better translators. It also appears the BBC could have done a better job deciphering fact from fiction.

 Even so, the list “The ten foreign words voted hardest to translate,”  is fun to consider, so here it is:

1. Ilunga [Tshiluba word for a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time; to tolerate it a second time; but never a third time. Note: Tshiluba is a Bantu language spoken in south-eastern Congo, and Zaire]

2. Shlimazl [Yiddish for a chronically unlucky person]

3. Radioukacz [Polish for a person who worked as a telegraphist for the resistance movements on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain]

4. Naa [Japanese word only used in the Kansai area of Japan, to emphasise statements or agree with someone]

5. Altahmam  [Arabic for a kind of deep sadness]

6. Gezellig [Dutch for cosy]

7. Saudade [Portuguese for a certain type of longing]

8. Selathirupavar  [Tamil for a certain type of truancy]

9. Pochemuchka [Russian for a person who asks a lot of questions]

10. Klloshar [Albanian for loser]

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Check out Hip Hot Games

Hip Hot Games

My pal Mike from New York City is a frequent visitor to Rob’s Megaphone. He’s a very supportive, talented, and witty blogger.  I wanted you all to know about his blog: Hip Hot Games. I think it’s a lot of fun. I bet you will too. It’s described as: Fun word and number games. Unscramble words, guess spelling of words, math games, and much more. It also includes fun board games you can buy.

Check it out here.

Are you sitting down, there’s more – a lot more.  Mike has 16 other blogs.  I hope you get a chance to test drive them. Be sure and tell him Dr. Rob sent you. Thanks.

Annoyances
Annoyances about cars, dating, drivers, elections, money, painting, people, shopping, and hundreds of other annoyances
Food My Way … Your Way
My favorite foods in fish, meats, pasta, pizza, and many more. My favorite Italian meals that you can cook.
Fun And Useless Trivia
My fun and useless trivia on all topics. Cartoon and TV show trivia from all decades. Cartoon and TV show DVDs you can buy.
Fun Music Trivia
My music trivia from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s. Music trivia on albums, artists, songs, and much more.
Great New Music
New music that is out. Dance, pop, rock, and other genres of music. MP3s and music CDs you can buy.
Great World Music
Music from Central and South America, Asia, Europe … around the world. World music MP3s and music CDs you can buy.
Horse Racing Handicapping
Covering the major thoroughbred races of the year. My horse racing tips and commentary. Horse racing books you can buy. 
Ideas For Saving Money
My money saving tips on cars, college, clothes, food, gas, going out, shopping, toys, and many more. Save money and have more savings.
Know Your World
My trivia and facts on world geography. Capitals, deserts, lakes, mountains, rivers, oceans, and much more.
Montauk Point
My pictures of the Montauk Point area and the Montauk Point Lighthouse here in New York. Color, black and white, sepia, and special effects pictures.
Penny Stocks
Tips I learned from my own investments in penny and shell stocks. Share counts, reverse splits, trading, and many more topics.
Sky Photography
My digital photography of clear sunny skies to cloudy weather here in New York. Sky photography in color, black and white, and sepia.
The Best 60s Music
My favorite albums and songs of the 60s. 60s dance, pop, rock, and other genres of 60s music. 60s MP3s, music CDs, and DVDs you can buy.
The Best 70s Music
My favorite albums and songs of the 70s. 70s disco, pop, rock, and other genres of 70s music. 70s MP3s, music CDs, and DVDs you can buy.
The Best 80s Music
My favorite albums and songs of the 80s. 80s dance, pop, rock, and other genres of 80s music. 80s MP3s, music CDs, and DVDs you can buy.
The Best Old School Rap Music
My favorite rap albums and songs from the 80s. Hot 80s rap beats and rap artists. 80s rap MP3s, music CDs, and DVDs you can buy.

 

 

 

 

 

Curiosity Corner: Guys and Gals

I am proud to announce that Curiosity Corner has found a home away from home in the blogsophere right here on Rob’s Megaphone.

Curiosity Corner: Guys and Gals

Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Lander University

Question: We use the terms “gal” and “guy” to refer to females and males. I can see where “gal” would be a slang contraction of “girl”, but where does “guy” come from? (Asked by a curious guy.)

Reply: I had to look to find this one. We use “guy” to refer to the male species – this guy, that old guy (like me). However, the word originally meant someone that was grotesque or weird looking. And, it is an eponym – a word formed from the name of a real person. The person in this case was Guy Fawkes, the infamous leader of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot in Britain. Guy and his buddies hid quite a few barrels of gun powder under the Parliament building, with the intent of blowing up King James I and Parliament members on November 5. The plot was discovered, and Guy and most of his co-conspirators were captured and executed.The day of the planned big boom (Nov. 5) became know as Guy Fawkes Day, and eventually became the equivalent of the American Halloween. Grotesque effigies, know as “guys”, were carried through the streets. There were bonfires and fireworks – masked children begged from door-to-door for pennies for “guy” (fireworks). By the 1800s, “guy” was used in Britain as slang for someone who exhibited weird dress or behavior.

In America, however, the term “guy” got cleaned up and came to mean simply “a man”. This filtered back to Great Britain (U.K.), and “guy” doesn’t imply much of a “weirdo” anymore.

OK, how about you answering some questions.

Here’s a couple I gleaned from The Learning Kingdom and a couple trivia type. Everyone should know the answers.1. How many muscles are there in an elephant’s trunk? 2. What fish travels 800 miles backwards? 3. The longest English words without the vowels a, e, i, o, and u, are “rhythm” and “syzygy”. I’ve got rhythm, do you have syzygy? 4. I was reading an opisthograph the other night. Have you ever read one?Answers: 1. The trunk of a full-grown elephant is about 7 feet in length and weighs 300 lb. This extension of the nose and upper lip has more than 100,000 muscles and no bones. 2. Chinook salmon fry (young fish) are hatched in high mountain streams. When a year or two old, they return to the Pacific Ocean, being carried downstream. But, their current-fighting instinct keeps them facing upstream. For the most part, the 800-mile journey is completed swimming upstream while moving downstream. 3. You might have a syzygy if you’re a heavenly body. In astronomy, this is an alignment of three celestial objects, such as the Sun, Earth, and Moon or a planet (as viewed from above). Syzygy for the Sun-Earth-Moon system occurs at full moon and new moon. 4. I’m sure you have. An opisthograph is a manuscript or book with writing on both sides of the pages. Students sometimes turn in a report as an anopisthograph and waste paper. And now you know.

Check out last week’s Curiosity Corner here.

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, Science Division, Lander University, Greenwood, SC, 29649, or for e-mail, jerry@curiosity-corner.net. Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. © JDW

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Check out Digg/Rescue

NOTE: This short post is about digg.com, a social network site that ranks posts. I was just notified that a new blog desgined to rescue burried diggs has been created. I thought this was a great idea because some great posts get burried by diggers for reasons unrelated to the quality of the post.  My post on the Andy Griffith Show group is currently being featured on this new site.

If you like it, I’d really appreciate a digg.

http://www.diggrescue.com/2008/07/new-andy-griffith-show-group-news-from.html

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