Friday, March 20, 2009

Did You Know These Words Origins

In George Washington’s days, there were no cameras. One’s image was either sculpted or painted. Some paintings of George Washington showed him standing behind a desk with one arm behind his back while others showed both legs and both arms. Prices charged by painters were not based on how many people were to be painted, but by how many limbs were to be painted. Arms and legs are ‘limbs,’ therefore painting them would cost the buyer more.

Hence the expression, ‘Okay, but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg.’ (Artists know hands and arms are more difficult to paint)



As incredible as it sounds, men and women took baths only twice a year

(May and October) Women kept their hair covered, while men shaved their heads (because of lice and bugs) and wore wigs. Wealthy men could afford good wigs made from wool. They couldn’t wash the wigs, so to clean them they would carve out a loaf of bread, put the wig in the shell, and bake it for 30 minutes. The heat would make the wig big and fluffy, hence
the term ‘big wig.’ Today we often use the term ‘here comes the Big Wig’ because someone appears to be or is powerful and wealthy.


In the late 1700’s, many houses consisted of a large room with only one chair. Commonly, a long wide board folded down from the wall, and was used for dining. The ‘head of the household’ always sat in the chair while everyone else ate sitting on the floor. Occasionally a guest, who

was usually a man, would be invited to sit in this chair during a meal.

To sit in the chair meant you were important and in charge. They called the one sitting in the chair the ‘chair man.’ Today in business, we use the expression or title ‘Chairman’ or ‘Chairman of the Board.’


Personal hygiene left much room for improvement. As a result, many women and men had developed acne scars by adulthood. The women would spread bee’s wax over their facial skin to smooth out their complexions. When they were speaking to each other, if a woman began to stare at another woman’s face she was told, ‘mind your own bee’s wax.’ Should the woman
smile, the wax would crack, hence the term ‘crack a smile’. In addition, when they sat too close to the fire, the wax would melt . . . Therefore, the expression ‘losing face.’


Ladies wore corsets, which would lace up in the front. A proper and dignified woman, as in ‘straight laced’. . Wore a tightly tied lace.


Common entertainment included playing cards. However, there was a tax levied when purchasing playing cards but only applicable to the ‘Ace of Spades.’ To avoid paying the tax, people would purchase 51 cards instead. Yet, since most games require 52 cards, these people were thought to be stupid or dumb because they weren’t ‘playing with a full deck.’


Early politicians required feedback from the public to determine what the people considered important. Since there were no telephones, TV’s or radios, the politicians sent their assistants to local taverns, pubs, and bars. They were told to ‘go sip some ale’ and listen to people’s
conversations and political concerns. Many assistants were dispatched at different times. ’You go sip here’ and ‘You go sip there.’ The two words ‘go sip’ were eventually combined when referring to the local opinion and, thus we have the term ‘gossip.’


At local taverns, pubs, and bars, people drank from pint and quart-sized containers. A bar maid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts,’ hence the term ’minding your‘P’s and Q’s ‘


One more and betting you didn’t know this!

In the heyday of sailing ships, all war ships and many freighters carried iron cannons. Those cannons fired round iron cannon balls. It was necessary to keep a good supply near the cannon. However, how to prevent them from rolling about the deck? The best storage method
devised was a square-based pyramid with one ball on top, resting on four resting on nine, which rested on sixteen. Thus, a supply of 30 cannon balls could be stacked in a small area right next to the cannon.

There was only one problem...how to prevent the bottom layer from sliding or rolling from under the others. The solution was a metal plate called a ’Monkey’ with 16 round indentations. However, if this plate were made of iron, the iron balls would quickly rust to it. The solution to the rusting problem was to make ‘Brass Monkeys.’ Few landlubbers realize that brass contracts much more and much faster than iron when chilled.

Consequently, when the temperature dropped too far, the brass indentations would shrink so much that the iron cannonballs would come right off the monkey. Thus, it was quite literally, ‘Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.’ (All this time, you thought that
was an improper expression, didn’t you.)

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Monday, March 16, 2009

20 Things You Didn't Know About Time


  1. “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so,” joked Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Scientists aren’t laughing, though. Some speculative new physics theories suggest that time emerges from a more fundamental—and timeless—reality.
  2. Try explaining that when you get to work late. The average U.S. city commuter loses 38 hours a year to traffic delays.
  3. Wonder why you have to set your clock ahead in March? Daylight Saving Time began as a joke by Benjamin Franklin, who proposed waking people earlier on bright summer mornings so they might work more during the day and thus save candles. It was introduced in the U.K. in 1917 and then spread around the world.
  4. Green days. The Department of Energy estimates that electricity demand drops by 0.5 percent during Daylight Saving Time, saving the equivalent of nearly 3 million barrels of oil.
  5. By observing how quickly bank tellers made change, pedestrians walked, and postal clerks spoke, psychologists determined that the three fastest-paced U.S. cities are Boston, Buffalo, and New York.
  6. The three slowest? Shreveport, Sacramento, and L.A.
  7. One second used to be defined as 1/86,400 the length of a day. However, Earth’s rotation isn’t perfectly reliable. Tidal friction from the sun and moon slows our planet and increases the length of a day by 3 milli­seconds per century.
  8. This means that in the time of the dinosaurs, the day was just 23 hours long.
  9. Weather also changes the day. During El NiƱo events, strong winds can slow Earth’s rotation by a fraction of a milli­second every 24 hours.
  10. Modern technology can do better. In 1972 a network of atomic clocks in more than 50 countries was made the final authority on time, so accurate that it takes 31.7 million years to lose about one second.
  11. To keep this time in sync with Earth’s slowing rotation, a “leap second” must be added every few years, most recently this past New Year’s Eve.
  12. The world’s most accurate clock, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Colorado, measures vibrations of a single atom of mercury. In a billion years it will not lose one second.
  13. Until the 1800s, every village lived in its own little time zone, with clocks synchronized to the local solar noon.
  14. This caused havoc with the advent of trains and timetables. For a while watches were made that could tell both local time and “railway time.”
  15. On November 18, 1883, American railway companies forced the national adoption of standardized time zones.
  16. Thinking about how railway time required clocks in different places to be synchronized may have inspired Einstein to develop his theory of relativity, which unifies space and time.
  17. Einstein showed that gravity makes time run more slowly. Thus airplane passengers, flying where Earth’s pull is weaker, age a few extra nano­seconds each flight.
  18. According to quantum theory, the shortest moment of time that can exist is known as Planck time, or 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001 second.
  19. Time has not been around forever. Most scientists believe it was created along with the rest of the universe in the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago.
  20. There may be an end of time. Three Spanish scientists posit that the observed acceleration of the expanding cosmos is an illusion caused by the slowing of time. According to their math, time may eventually stop, at which point everything will come to a standstill.
via

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Historical Facts On Daylight Saving Time

1784: Ben Franklin floats idea of daylight-saving time during his time in Paris.

1907: London builder William Willett is the first to seriously push the concept in a pamphlet titled “The Waste of Daylight.” His plan: Advance clocks by 20 minutes each Sunday in April, roll them back by 20 minutes each Sunday in September.

1916: To conserve fuel during World War I, Germany and Austria become the first nations to adopt daylight-saving time.

1918: The United States gets daylight time fever. Congress approves the measure on March 19; it goes into effect 12 days later, on the 31st.

1919: Still a largely agrarian society of early risers, the United States dumps daylight time shortly after World War I ends.

1942: President Franklin Roosevelt revives “War Time” at the start of World War II.

1945: War ends, so does War Time. The option of keeping daylight time is left open to local jurisdictions. This creates a hodge-podge of time zones; according to the Web site WebExhibits.org, at one point the 35-mile drive between Moundsville, W.Va., and Steubenville, Ohio, required seven time changes.

1966: Congress creates a uniform - more or less - daylight time for the United States. States are given the choice of opting out.

1974: In response to Arab oil embargo and resulting fuel crisis, the daylight-saving time Energy Act is passed, pumping clocks ahead by an hour for a 15-month period running from Jan. 6 to April 27, 1975.

1986: Law is passed to begin daylight-saving time at 2 a.m. the first Sunday of April and end it at 2 a.m. the last Sunday of October.

2005: Energy Policy Act of 2005 extends daylight-saving time by four weeks beginning in 2007.

2007: New, extended daylight-saving time went into effect.

Did You Know

- It’s daylight-saving time, not daylight savings time.

- A U.S. Department of Transportation study found that daylight-saving time cuts electricity usage nationwide by about 1 percent a day.

- About 70 countries worldwide observe daylight-saving time. The only major industrialized nations that don’t: Japan, India and China.

- In 1999, a terrorist attack on Israel’s West Bank was thwarted when the terrorists failed to take into account the switch back to standard time. The bomb went off an hour early, killing only the terrorists.

- Data shows violent crime is down 10 percent to 13 percent during daylight-saving time than standard times, according to a study from the U.S. Law Enforcement Assistance Administration.

- Passengers on Amtrak during the traditional “fall back” might experience a delay. Trains cannot leave a station before their scheduled time, so in early November trains will stop at 2 a.m. and wait an hour before resuming. In the spring, trains become an hour behind schedule when time leaps forward an hour, but they keep running to try to make up the difference.

- Daylight-saving time is not observed in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Arizona (except Arizona’s Navajo Nation, which does observe the time change).

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weird Buildings










Life As A Coffee

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university Professor.

Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the Prof. went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups:
porcelain, plastic, glass, some plain-looking and some expensive and exquisite, telling them
to help themselves to hot coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the Prof. said "If you noticed, all the nice-looking, expensive cups were taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is but normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. That all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the better cups and are eyeing each other's cups."

"Now, if Life is coffee, then the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, but the quality of Life doesn't change. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee in it."

So friend, don't let the cups drive you...enjoy the coffee instead.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Amazing Landscapes





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