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 TRIVIA

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PostSubject: TRIVIA   Sun Mar 06, 2011 6:06 am

PAC-MAN TRIVIA



Having been a part of the pop-culture landscape for over 30 years now, Pac-Man is a pretty familiar character.

He has adorned cereal boxes, been the star of a Saturday morning cartoon program and appeared on virtually every gaming platform to have ever been released.

That's not just systems from Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. It also includes essentially every cell phone that has a screen, long-dead portable systems and plug-and-play devices for your TV. Along the way, the little pellet-muncher has built an empire that has allowed publisher Namco-Bandai to survive the worst the economy could throw at it.

But even the most well known icons have their secrets. This week, at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Toru Iwatani, creator of the game, offered a postmortem on the industry's biggest franchise-and told a few tales most fans have probably never heard.

Here are the five most surprising:


The point of the game was to attract girls

While today's player is slightly more likely to be male, gaming in the late 1970s was pretty much exclusively a men's club. Iwatani wanted to change this, creating something that could appeal to both women and families, he says.

"The reason I created Pac-Man was because we wanted to attract female gamers," he says. "Back then, there were no home games. People had to go to the arcade center to play games. That was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. So we wanted to include female players, so it would become cleaner and brighter."


Each ghost had specific orders

When you play the game, it might seem as if the four ghosts are actively chasing you. That's not exactly true. Iwatani intentionally avoided programming them with that purpose, since that would have resulted in Pac-Man zipping around the screen with four ghosts always right behind him.

Instead, it's only Blinky, the red ghost, who doggedly pursues you throughout the game. Pinky, the pink ghost (naturally), simply wants to position itself at a point that's 32 pixels in front of Pac-Man's mouth. The blue ghost, Inky, is seeking to position itself at a similar fixed spot. And Clyde, the orange ghost, moves completely at random.

Because the player constantly has Pac-Man on the go, however, the ghosts are always changing direction and trying to achieve their goal, which adds to the challenge of the game.




What, exactly, does Pac-Man mean?

You may have heard the story about how a pizza with a missing slice inspired Pac-Man's design. But it turns out the game was designed entirely around food.

"I thought about something that may attract girls," says Iwatani. "Maybe boy stories or something to do with fashion. However, girls love to eat desserts. My wife often does! So the verb ‘eat' gave me a hint to create this game."

That theme continued with the game's name. In Japanese, "puck puck" is akin to the U.S. saying "munch munch". So the original name - Puck-Man - translated as "Munch man". (A savvy Midway Games official changed it to Pac-Man when the game hit the U.S. to discourage vandals from shaving off part of the "P," thereby creating an obscene word.)


The missing puzzle piece

Pac-Man was designed to be as simple as possible, to attract a wide audience. The limits of technology in 1980 made this a little easier to achieve. Iwatani says he's happy about this now, but at the time, there was one more thing he wanted to add to the game.

"I wanted to have a shelter and it would move up and down," he says. "When the ghost comes, the ghost would be pinched by the shelter which would disfigure the ghost."


The ghosts were almost just one color

It's kind of hard to picture Pac-Man without the brightly colored ghosts today, but when the game was being developed, Iwatani says he was pressured hard to change that.

The president of Namco ordered him to make the ghosts a single color - red, to be precise - since she believed players would be confused that some ghosts, perhaps, were Pac-Man's ally.

Iwatani refused the order and on questionnaires to the game's testers, asked if they would prefer a single color ghost or four. Not a single person wanted the single-color option. That ultimately convinced the president she was wrong.

© 2011 CNBC, Inc.

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PostSubject: Re: TRIVIA   Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:34 am

THE TOP 10 BILLIONAIRES IN THE WORLD


No. 1 Carlos Slim Helú & family
Net Worth: $74 billion ↑
Source: Telecom
Citizenship: Mexico

The world's richest person for a second year in a row, the Mexican telecom mogul is also the year's biggest gainer, having added $20.5 billion to his fortune and widened the gap between him and No. 2, Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, to $18 billion. A 19% rise in the Mexican stock market, a stronger peso, and successful mining and real estate spinoffs from conglomerate Grupo Carso all contributed to the astonishing increase. He also merged his fixed-line telecom company into America Movil, Latin America's largest wireless carrier; the Slim family stake in that holding accounts for 62% of his net worth. He has other holdings in retailer Saks and the New York Times. Recently unveiled a new building for his Soumaya Museum, which houses his vast art collection. It is open to the public for free.


No. 2 Bill Gates
Net Worth: $56 billion ↑
Source: Microsoft
Citizenship: U.S.

Microsoft mogul, futurist and America's richest person has, with help from billionaire buddy Warren Buffett, convinced nearly 60 of the world's wealthiest to sign his "Giving Pledge," promising to donate the majority of their wealth to charity either during their lifetime or after death. He is no longer the planet's richest person, but that's because he's given away $30 billion to his foundation. The Gates Foundation, the world's most influential charity, tackles tuberculosis and polio and funds famine-resistant crops to fight hunger. He is calling for a higher sense of urgency in AIDS vaccine development and also pushing for better tools to rate teacher performance. Gates holds 70% of his wealth in investment fund Cascade, dabbling in everything from autos to hedge funds to Mexican Coke bottler Femsa; the rest of his wealth is held in Microsoft stock.


No. 3 Warren Buffett
Net Worth: $50 billion ↑
Source: Berkshire Hathaway
Citizenship: U.S.

The venerable investor's Berkshire Hathaway climbed more than 15% over the last year, adding $3 billion to his fortune. The 80-year-old is still hunting big deals.
"Our elephant gun has been reloaded, and my trigger finger is itchy." Along with bridge partner Bill Gates, the Oracle of Omaha is coaxing America's richest to pledge half their fortunes to charity. "Too often a vast collection of possessions ends up possessing its owner. The asset I most value, aside from health, is interesting, diverse and long-standing friends." Buffett faked breathing problems when he was 12 so he could move back to Omaha from Washington, D.C., where his father was a freshman congressman. He had read every book about investing in stocks in the Omaha Public Library by the time he was 12. He met value investor Benjamin Graham at Columbia; bought textile firm Berkshire Hathaway in 1965, and transformed it into massive holding company: food, insurance, utilities, industrials. Buffett acquired railroad giant Burlington Northern Santa Fe for $26 billion in 2009.


No. 4 Bernard Arnault
Net Worth: $41 billion ↑
Source: LVMH
Citizenship: France

The Lord of Luxe easily retains title of richest European. Fortune surged by $13.5 billion as shares of his luxury goods outfit, LVMH, rose by more than half over the past year thanks to strong demand for luxuries like Dom Perignon champagne, Cognac Hennessy, Tag Heuer watches and Louis Vuitton accessories, particularly in Asian markets like Shanghai and Ho Chi Minh City. The group acquired 20% of Hermes last year; Arnault insists he is a friendly shareholder but Hermes sees it as hostile. In March the Bulgari family transferred its majority holding in its brand to LVMH in exchange for LVMH shares and board seats. LVMH fired Christian Dior designer John Galliano after he apparently made anti-Semitic remarks. Renaissance man also owns yacht builder Royal Van Lent, a hotel in Courchevel; has stakes in French retailer Carrefour and French tour operator Go Voyages.


No. 5 Larry Ellison
Net Worth: $39.5 billion ↑
Source: Oracle
Citizenship: U.S.

The Oracle chief sits atop a fortune that is $11.5 billion bigger than last year thanks to a 30% jump in the software company's shares. In November Oracle won a mud-slinging copyright infringement court battle against German software rival SAP worth $1.3 billion. SAP is contesting the outcome. Oracle has acquired 75 companies over the years worth $40 billion, and figured out a way to turn a profit on its latest big buy, Sun Microsystems, in 2010. One of the highest-paid executives in the U.S., Ellison reaped $960 million in compensation in the past five fiscal years, mostly from exercising stock options; he recently cut his salary to $1. An avid yachtsman, Ellison spent a decade and over $100 million on his quest for the America's Cup, which he finally won in February 2010, beating Swiss rival (and billionaire) Ernesto Bertarelli. He is bringing the America's Cup to San Francisco in 2013. Intends to give 95% of wealth to charity.


No. 6 Lakshmi Mittal
Net Worth: $31.1 billion ↑
Source: Steel
Citizenship: India

Net profits at his ArcelorMittal, world's largest steelmaker, were up 18-fold to $2.9 billion in 2010 due to recovery in steel demand and higher margins. Group spun off its stainless steel unit into Aperam, a new listed company, and also acquired Canadian miner Baffinland Iron Mines. Funding a 377-foot sculpture called ArcelorMittal Orbit in London's Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics. Europe's richest resident who lives in London, he bought Alderbrook Park, a 340-acre country estate outside of the city, where he plans to build an eco-friendly country mansion for a reported $40 million. Daughter Vanisha acquired stake in Roc Capital Management, a New York hedge fund. Daughter-in-law Megha owns German fashion house Escada.


No. 7 Amancio Ortega
Net Worth: $31 billion ↑
Source: Zara
Citizenship: Spain

Amancio Ortega stepped down as chairman of Inditex, the $15.8 billion (sales) fashion company, in January; he still gets 87% of his fortune from his stake in the publicly traded firm. The company, which operates under several brand names including Zara, Massimo Dutti and Stradivarius, has 5,000 stores in 77 countries.
Ortega also owns properties in Florida, Madrid, London and Lisbon, a horse-jumping circuit, a stake in a soccer league; and has interests in gas, tourism and banks. Railway worker's son, he started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also a billionaire, started making dressing gowns and lingerie in living room. Daughter Marta works for Inditex.


No. 8 Eike Batista
Net Worth: $30 billion ↑
Source: Mining, oil
Citizenship: Brazil

Brazil's richest man is gearing up to take over the world. Making a play for foreign investors, Batista announced this year the opening of an office in New York and his intention to list some of his companies on the London Stock Exchange. Through his holding company, EBX, Batista controls businesses spanning mining, shipbuilding, energy, logistics, tourism and entertainment. After months of discussions, he was triumphant in February in taking control of Canadian gold outfit Ventana. Two-thirds of his fortune comes from OGX, the oil and gas exploration company he founded in 2007 and took public a year later. He says the company will start producing oil this year. In rare recent setback, his planned IPO for his shipbuilding business (OSX), meant to be the world's largest IPO in 2010, was a disappointment and has had a lukewarm reception in the Brazilian market. The son of Brazil's revered former mining minister, who presided over mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, got his start in gold trading and mining. Onetime champion offshore powerboat racer; formerly married to Playboy cover girl. In media interviews he's been warning Carlos Slim Helú that he'll soon take his spot as the world's richest man, but he still has a ways to go.


No. 9 Mukesh Ambani
Net Worth: $27 billion ↓
Source: Petrochemicals
Citizenship: India

His oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries, India's most valuable company, just forged a partnership with BP, selling 30% stake in 23 oil blocks in India for $7.2 billion and forming a marketing joint venture. The deal is being touted as one of biggest foreign investments in India. He's also betting on shale gas, having bought stakes in three American energy firms for $3.3 billion last year. He and wife Nita host parties at their recently completed 27-story sky palace in Mumbai, but have yet to move in permanently.


No. 10 Christy Walton & family
Net Worth: $26.5 billion ↑
Source: Wal-Mart
Citizenship: U.S.

Widow of John Walton inherited her wealth after the former Green Beret and Vietnam War medic died in an airplane accident near his home in Wyoming in 2005. Now world's richest woman, she got an extra bump in her fortune because of her late husband's early investment in First Solar; shares up nearly 500% since 2006 initial public offering. But bulk still comes from her holdings in Wal-Mart, the retailer founded by her father-in-law Sam Walton and his brother James in 1962. Today Wal-Mart has sales of $405 billion, and employs more than 2.1 million people. The philanthropist supports museums, education and organic gardening.

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PostSubject: TRIVIA: JAPAN'S EARTHQUAKE   Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:53 am

TRIVIA: JAPAN'S EARTHQUAKE SHIFTED BALANCE OF THE PLANET

Last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan has actually moved the island closer to the United States and shifted the planet's axis.

An energy map provided by NOAA shows the intensity of the tsunami caused by Japan's earthquake:


The quake caused a rift 15 miles below the sea floor that stretched 186 miles long and 93 miles wide, according to the AP. The areas closest to the epicenter of the quake jumped a full 13 feet closer to the United States, geophysicist Ross Stein at the United States Geological Survey.

The 9.0 magnitude quake (the fourth-largest recorded since 1900) was caused when the Pacific tectonic plate dove under the North American plate, which shifted Eastern Japan towards North America by about 13 feet (see NASA's before and after photos below). The quake also shifted the earth's axis by 6.5 inches, shortened the day by 1.6 microseconds, and sank Japan downward by about two feet. As Japan's eastern coastline sunk, the tsunami's waves rolled in.


Why did the quake shorten the day? The earth's mass shifted towards the center, spurring the planet to spin a bit faster. Last year's massive 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile also shortened the day, but by an even smaller fraction of a second. The 2004 Sumatra quake knocked a whopping 6.8 micro-seconds off the day.

After the country's 1995 earthquake, Japan placed high-tech sensors around the country to observe even the slightest movements, which is why scientists are able to calculate the quake's impact down to the inch. "This is overwhelmingly the best-recorded great earthquake ever," Lucy Jones, chief scientist for the Multi-Hazards project at the U.S. Geological Survey.

The tsunami's waves necessitated life-saving evacuations as far away as Chile. Fisherman off the coast of Mexico reported a banner fishing day Friday, and speculated that the tsunami knocked sealife in their direction.

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PostSubject: Ozone layer faces record loss over Arctic   Wed Apr 06, 2011 11:38 am

TRIVIA: OZONE LAYER FACES RECORD LOSS OVER ARCTIC

Report Date: April 5, 2011




GENEVA – The depletion of the ozone layer shielding Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays has reached an unprecedented low over the Arctic this spring because of harmful chemicals and a cold winter, the U.N. weather agency said Tuesday.

The Earth's fragile ozone layer in the Arctic region has suffered a loss of about 40 percent from the start of winter until late March, exceeding the previous seasonal loss of about 30 percent, the World Meteorological Organization said.

The Geneva-based agency blamed the loss on a buildup of ozone-eating chemicals once widely used as coolants and fire retardants in a variety of appliances and on very cold temperatures in the stratosphere, the second major layer of the Earth's atmosphere, just above the troposphere.

Arctic ozone conditions vary more than the seasonal ozone "hole" that forms high in the stratosphere near the South Pole each winter and spring, and the temperatures are always warmer than over Antarctica.

Because of changing weather and temperatures some Arctic winters experience almost no ozone loss while others with exceptionally cold stratospheric conditions can occasionally lead to substantial ozone depletion, U.N. scientists say.

This year the Arctic winter was warmer than average at ground level, but colder in the stratosphere than normal Arctic winters. U.N. officials say the latest losses — unprecedented, but not entirely unexpected — were detected in observations from the ground and from balloons and satellites over the Arctic.

Atmospheric scientists who are concerned about global warming focus on the Arctic because that is a region where the effects are expected to be felt first.

Ozone scientists have said that significant Arctic ozone depletion is possible in the case of a cold and stable Arctic stratospheric winter. Ozone losses occur over the polar regions when temperatures drop below -78 degrees Celsius (-108 Fahrenheit), when clouds form in the stratosphere.

Average temperatures in January range from about -40 to 0 C (-40 to 32 F), while average temperatures in July range from about -10 to 10 C (14 to 50 F).

"The Arctic stratosphere continues to be vulnerable to ozone destruction caused by ozone-depleting substances linked to human activities," said WMO secretary-general Michel Jarraud. "The degree of ozone loss experienced in any particular winter depends on the meteorological conditions."

The loss comes despite the U.N. ozone treaty, known as the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which has resulted in cutbacks in ozone-damaging chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons, halons and other, that were used in the making of refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and even hairspray.

The 196-nation ozone treaty encourages industries to use replacement chemicals less damaging to ozone, the atmospheric layer that helps protect against the sun's most harmful rays.

But because these compounds have long atmospheric lifetimes, it takes decades for their concentrations to subside to pre-1980 levels as was agreed in the Montreal Protocol.

U.N. officials project the ozone layer outside the polar regions will recover to pre-1980 levels sometime between 2030 and 2040.

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PostSubject: PRINGLES   Thu Apr 07, 2011 10:19 am

TRIVIA: PRINGLES

Once a Great Flop, Now Sold for Billions

ANDREW MARTIN, On Tuesday April 5, 2011



In announcing the sale of Pringles on Tuesday, Procter & Gamble concluded what had been a tumultuous, sometimes zany, 50-year experiment in engineered food.

The $2.35 billion deal with Diamond Foods is also a milestone for Procter as it sheds its last food brand after having already sold Jif peanut butter, Folger’s coffee and Crisco shortening.

The company’s expertise in edible oils was used widely by the potato chip industry in the 1950s and 1960s, and shaped the invention of Pringles, the thinly sliced saddle-shaped crisp. Company officials still aren’t sure how the chips got their name, but one theory holds that two Procter advertising employees lived on Pringle Drive in Cincinnati and the name paired well with potato.

The creator of the famous Pringles can was so proud of his invention that he asked that his ashes be buried in one.

Yet Pringles, which is basically dehydrated potato flakes that are rolled and then fried, was not universally loved.

It was such a dud in its early years that some called for Procter to dump the brand. The brand did not take off until the company tweaked the flavor in 1980 and introduced the “Fever for the Flavor of Pringles” advertising campaign.

By the late 1990s, Pringles had become a $1 billion a year brand. On the television series “Ally McBeal,” Ally got into a grocery store skirmish with a woman over a can of Pringles.

“When I was there 30 years ago, it was dead,” said Charles Jarvie, vice president of Procter’s food division in the late 1970s. “It’s a great example where they just didn’t give up.”

Nonetheless, the sale of Pringles was not unexpected, as Procter has refocused its attention on the core businesses of beauty, grooming and household care. “Pringles is an iconic, billion-dollar snack brand with significant global manufacturing and supply chain infrastructure,” said Michael J. Mendes, chief executive of Diamond Foods, in a statement. The $2.35 billion transaction includes $1.5 billion of Diamond stock, which goes to P.& G. shareholders who elect to participate in the deal, and the assumption of $850 million of Pringles debt by the merged company.

The sale will barely make a dent in Procter, with $80 billion in annual sales.

“It really didn’t fit what they are looking to do,” said Jason Gere, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets who tracks the company. “For a long time, this was one of those products that felt more appropriate in someone else’s portfolio.”

Pringles has kept up with some of its rivals in the flavor department, offering salt-and-vinegar, cheddar and pizza versions. While Pringles’ sales had been growing of late, Mr. Gere said that they had not been nearly as robust as many of P.& G.’s other megabrands.

Mr. Jarvie said the company had hoped to replicate the great science breakthroughs it had with laundry detergents, toothpaste and disposable diapers. But, he said, “food is as much an art as it is a science. Procter never got that.”

In the 1950s, roughly 25 percent of the company’s sales were in food, particularly in shortening and other cooking oils.

“We provided most of the oils to the potato chip industry,’ said Greg McCoy, a corporate archivist. “We were already frying up potato chips to test the oils.”

But it lacked a distribution network to ship perishable bags of chips to grocery stores, so it directed its researchers to come up with a longer-lasting chip that could be distributed with P.& G.’s existing distribution network.

“They knew from the get-go that they wanted it to be uniform in size, texture and taste,” Mr. McCoy said. Procter wanted to create a perfect chip to address consumer complaints about broken and stale chips and air in the bags.

The task was assigned to a chemist named Fredric Baur, who from 1956 to 1958 created Pringles’ saddle shape out of fried dough and also its can. But Mr. Baur could not figure out how to make the chips taste good, and he eventually was pulled off the Pringles job to work on another brand. In the mid-1960s, another Procter researcher, Alexander Liepa, dusted off Mr. Baur’s work and set a out to improve on the Pringles taste, which he succeeded in doing.



Another theory for the Pringles’ name comes from Mr. Liepa’s patent, which credits research done in the 1940s by Mark Pringle, Mr. McCoy said.

The chips were test marketed in Evansville, Ind., in 1968 and were an “overnight sensation,” Mr. McCoy said. But when the chips went national in 1971, the taste issue resurfaced. Officially, Pringles are called crisps rather than chips, the result of a long-ago fracas between competitors and regulators over what could be called a potato chip.

In the 1993 book “Soap Opera: the Inside Story of Procter & Gamble,” the author Alecia Swasy writes that Pringles were considered one of the great flops in company history, “the P.& G. Edsel.” Mr. McCoy maintains, however, that Pringles gained traction after a makeover in 1980s, which included a thicker chip and a new focus on the taste, rather than the can.

Mr. Baur never lost his affection for the Pringles’ can, which he invented. When he died in 2008, his children honored his request to bury his ashes in a Pringles can. In an interview with Time, Mr. Baur’s son, Larry, said he and his siblings stopped at a Walgreen’s to pick up a can of Pringles on the way to the funeral home.

“My siblings and I briefly debated what flavor to use,” Mr. Baur said, in the Time interview. “But I said, ‘Look we need to use the original.’ ”

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PostSubject: Re: TRIVIA   Thu Apr 14, 2011 7:51 am

TRIVIA: LITTLE KNOW FACTS ABOUT MARIO'S GIRLFRIEND.



PRINCESS PEACH -- Although the good princess is a familiar face to millions of Mario fans, it took her a while to make her first appearance. Mario famously debuted in 1981’s Donkey Kong (although he wouldn’t be called 'Mario' for another year), but the object of his affections wasn’t Princess Peach at all -- it was "Pauline," a damsel-in-distress who’d make just a handful of appearances in Nintendo games. Fickle Mario would switch his attentions to Princess Peach in 1985’s Super Mario Bros. and never look back.




This is Pauline. She is not a princess and she is the damsel-in-distress in the game Donkey Kong. Pauline is Mario's first love.

Pauline started out with a pink dress and blonde hair as seen below.


As the technology improved, characters also improved in design, and looks have changed slightly.






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PostSubject: Re: TRIVIA   Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:25 pm

TRIVIA: JURASSIC SPIDER



The largest fossil spider uncovered to date once ensnared prey back in the age of dinosaurs, scientists find.

The spider, named Nephila jurassica, was discovered buried in ancient volcanic ash in Inner Mongolia, China. Tufts of hairlike fibers seen on its legs showed this 165-million-year-old arachnid to be the oldest known species of the largest web-weaving spiders alive today — the golden orb-weavers, or Nephila, which are big enough to catch birds and bats, and use silk that shines like gold in the sunlight.

The fossil was about as large as its modern relatives, with a body one inch (2.5 centimeters) wide and legs that reach up to 2.5 inches (6.3 cm) long. Golden orb-weavers nowadays are mainly tropical creatures, so the ancient environment of Nephila jurassica probably was similarly lush.

"It would have lived, like today's Nephila, in its orb web of golden silk in a clearing in a forest, or more likely at the edge of a forest close to the lake," researcher Paul Selden, director of the Paleontological Institute at the University of Kansas, told LiveScience. "There would have been volcanoes nearby producing the ash that forms the lake sediment it is entombed within."

Spiders are the most numerous predators on land today, and help keep insect numbers in check. So these findings help us "understand the evolution of the insect-spider predator-prey relationship," Selden said, suggesting that golden orb-weavers have been ensnaring insects and influencing their evolution since the Jurassic Period.

"There were many large or medium-sized flying insects around at that time on which it would have fed indiscriminately," Selden said.

In modern golden orb-weaver species, females are typically much larger than males. This new fossil was a female, suggesting this trend stretches back at least as far as the Middle Jurassic, Selden said — that is, back before the first known bird, Archaeopteryx, or giant dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus and Diplodocus.

Although this is the largest fossil spider known to date, it is not the oldest. Two species from Coseley, England, Eocteniza silvicola and Protocteniza britannica, both come from about 310 million years ago.

Selden and his colleagues are now investigating other fossil spiders from China, "as well as those from elsewhere in the world — currently Brazil, New Zealand, Australia, Italy and Korea," he said.

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PostSubject: Re: TRIVIA   Mon Apr 25, 2011 10:26 am

TRIVIA - THE EASTER BUNNY EXPLAINED



There are few traditions as mystifying as the Easter Bunny. For Christians, Easter Sunday marks the day that Jesus Christ was resurrected. So, how exactly did a giant rabbit come to be the symbol of this very religious holiday?

According to various sources, including the good people at Mental Floss, the Easter Bunny has a long history as a pagan symbol. Experts believe that early Christians "co-opted" the rabbit as a way to make their own holiday more popular.

The abbreviated history: "Many pagan cultures held spring festivals" hundreds of years ago. One such festival was in celebration of "Eostre, the goddess of dawn." Mental Floss explains that Eostre was "linked to the hare and the egg, both symbols of fertility." As a way to convert the pagans to Christianity, missionaries began turning the festivals into Christian holidays.

It's a story with many similarities to the story of St. Patrick and the four-leaf clovers. According to Catholic.org, "Patrick used a three-leafed shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the locals. However, other sites call this story just a myth." The Easter Bunny was another example of Christians using pagan symbols.

As for the modern version of the Easter Bunny -- you know, an enormous rabbit who wears a bow-tie and looks very cute -- he's mostly taken from German traditions that stretch back to the 1500s. Again according to Mental Floss, "The Germans converted the pagan rabbit image into Oschter Haws, a rabbit that was believed to lay a nest of colored eggs as gifts for good children."

And that's how we stand today.

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PostSubject: Re: TRIVIA   Wed Apr 27, 2011 9:18 am

TRIVIA - “RED SKY AT NIGHT...RED SKY IN THE MORNING”

The appearance of the sky, the conditions of the atmosphere, the type or movement of the clouds, and the direction of the winds may have a scientific basis and likely can predict the weather.

In order to understand why “Red sky at night, Red sky in morning” can predict the weather, we must understand more about weather and the colors in the sky.

Usually, weather moves from west to east, blown by the westerly trade winds. This means storm systems generally move in from the West.

The colors we see in the sky are due to the rays of sunlight being split into colors of the spectrum as they pass through the atmosphere and ricochet off the water vapor and particles in the atmosphere. The amounts of water vapor and dust particles in the atmosphere are good indicators of weather conditions. They also determine which colors we will see in the sky.

During sunrise and sunset the sun is low in the sky, and it transmits light through the thickest part of the atmosphere. A red sky suggests an atmosphere loaded with dust and moisture particles. We see the red, because red wavelengths (the longest in the color spectrum) are breaking through the atmosphere. The shorter wavelengths, such as blue, are scattered and broken up.

RED SKY AT NIGHT.

When we see a red sky at night, this means that the setting sun is sending its light through a high concentration of dust particles. This usually indicates high pressure and stable air coming in from the west. Basically good weather will follow.

RED SKY IN THE MORNING.

A red sunrise reflects the dust particles of a system that has just passed from the west. This indicates that a storm system may be moving to the east. If the morning sky is a deep fiery red, it means a high water content in the atmosphere. So, rain is on its way.

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