The Sega Dreamcast was the first console to implement
online play over a phone line, calling the system Sega Net.
Popular Science recognized the Sega Dreamcast as one of
the most important and innovative products of 1999.
The PlayStation 2 was the first system to have graphics
capability better than that of the leading-edge personal
computer at the time of its release.
The Nintendo N64 marked the first time that computer
graphics workstation manufacturer Silicon Graphics Inc.
(SGI) developed game hardware technology.
The first console to have games available in the form of
add-on cartridges was the Fairchild Channel F console,
introduced in August 1976.
The word atari comes from the ancient Japanese game of Go
and means "you are about to be engulfed." Technically, it
is the word used by a player to inform his opponent that he
or she is about to lose, similar to "check" in chess.
The Sega Genesis featured a version of the same Motorola
processor that powered the original Apple Macintosh
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Born in Racine, Wisconsin, USA, on 19 April 1868, Paul P. Harris was the second of six children of George N. and Cornelia Bryan Harris.
At age three, he moved to Wallingford, Vermont, where he grew up in the care of his paternal grandparents, Howard and Pamela Harris. He attended the University of Vermont and Princeton University and received his law degree from the University of Iowa in 1891.
While he was in school, both of Harris's grandparents died, and he spent the five years after graduation traveling around the country and working odd jobs. After arriving penniless in San Francisco in 1891, he worked as a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and then as a ranch hand, grape picker, actor, and cowboy. He was also a hotel night clerk in Jacksonville, Florida, and a traveling marble and granite salesman.
In 1896, he settled in Chicago and opened a law practice. Along with Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, and Hiram Shorey, he founded the Rotary Club of Chicago in 1905 and was elected its president in 1907.
Club membership grew rapidly. Many members were originally from small towns and found an opportunity for fellowship in the Chicago club. Harris was convinced that the club could be expanded into a service movement and strove to extend Rotary to other communities.
In 1910, he met Jean Thompson during an outing with the Prairie Club, a Chicago-based organization for wilderness enthusiasts. Harris and Thompson married three months later and settled on Chicago's South Side.
In the same year, the National Association of Rotary Clubs was formed, and Harris was elected its first president. He held the office for two years and afterward became president emeritus, serving as the public face of the organization and promoting membership extension and service around the world.
He wrote several books about Rotary and his life and travels, including The Founder of Rotary and This Rotarian Age.
In addition to his work with Rotary, Harris was involved in other civic organizations, including the Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, City Club of Chicago, Chicago Bar Association, Prairie Club, and Easter Seals. He was also recognized by the Boy Scouts of America and honored by the governments of Brazil, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Peru.
Harris died on 27 January 1947, leaving a rich legacy of fellowship, professionalism, service, and friendship. His passing also sparked an outpouring of donations to The Rotary Foundation from all over the world, allowing the Foundation to greatly expand its programs and services.
Q: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?
A: Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange
clay called "pygg". When people saved coins in jars made of this clay,
the jars became known as "pygg banks." When an English potter
misunderstood the word, he made a bank that resembled a pig. And it
KFC will introduced its long-awaited grilled chicken on Tuesday and will give away free tastes on April 27.No purchase necessary.
The grilled chicken has between 70 to 180 calories and 4 to 9 grams of fat depending on the piece. That compares with skin-on fried chicken products, which have 110 to 490 calories and 7 to 31 grams of fat depending on the piece.
Last year, Hironao Tsuboi, creative director at 100%, was selected by ID Magazine as one of the world’s top emerging designers. At the 100% store in Tokyo, you can find evidence of his strong design skills in conjunction with his playful doubletake on everyday items. No need for a clock face when the LED on the wristband shows the time, on his faceless LED Watch.
The Finger Wave: Curls and waves were all the rage in the
1930s. Women wanted their hair to look like those of
beautiful Hollywood actresses Greta Garbo, Katharine
Hepburn, and Carole Lombard, who all kept their hair short
to mid-length, wavy, and styled for maximum sex appeal.
The Cary Grant: This men's hairstyle of the 1940s was a
precise cut with a severe side part and a whole lot of
styling wax to make it shine. The result was a look as
sauve and debonair as Grant himself.
The Bouffant: Thanks to salon-sized hair dryers being
introduced to the world of beauty in the 1950s, the bouffant
and the beehive began popping up all over the place. The
look was that of a big, round silhouette on the head.
The Mop Top: With the increasing popularity of the Beatles
in the 1960s came the increasing popularity of their
hairstyle - a longer, over the ears, floppy shag cut. Girls
and boys alike copied the style, which was also sported by
another huge band of the time, The Rolling Stones.
The Farrah Fawcett: The 1970s saw this iconic hairstyle,
made famous by Charlie's Angels star Farrah Fawcett. The
style came to a soft point at the top of the head,
creating a triangular silhouette with long, feathered
flips cascading down the sides and the back.
The Rat-Tail: Popular with young men (and some women) of
the '80s, this style was characterized by hair cut short
all over except for a long strip of hair (usually 1/2- to
1-inch wide) growing from the nape of the neck and dangling
down the back.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Apples contain vitamins A, B, C, potassium, iron and
magnesium. They also contain important flavanoids, and help
fight the effects of bad cholesterol.
Carrots help lower cholesterol, boost the immune system and
help fight cancer. Carrots are loaded with nutrients and
vitamins including vitamins B,C,D,E, and K along with folic
acid and the anti- cancer protecting ingredient beta
Pineapples are packed full of vitamin C and fiber which
help the immune and digestive system. They also have anti-
inflammatory effects and they contain the protein digesting
Raspberries are high in ellagic acid which is good for the
immune system. This fruit is packed full of vitamins and
minerals including cancer fighting beta carotene, vitamin
C, magnesium, phosphorus and sodium.
A handful of strawberries contains 100% of your recommended
daily intake of vitamin C. Strawberries also contain
natural pain killing substances some of which are included
Oranges contain antioxidants that help fight the free
radicals that damage and age our skin, and are loaded with
beta carotene and are a good source of calcium and other
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
One of the most sobering facts about malaria is that it can be prevented simply by sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net. These nets can last five years and cost about $10 -- expensive to families who survive on less than $1 a day but, thanks to Rotarian efforts, now accessible to many of them. East Alton Rotary Club will be partnering with Monmouth Rotary Club for an international project to prevent malaria in Uganda, Africa. East Alton Rotary's $1,000 contribution will be paired with $6,000 from the Monmouth Club and an $8,000 matching grant from Rotary District 6460 to purchase mosquito netting.About 40% of the world's population, mostly those living in the poorest countries, are at risk of malaria. Of these 2.5 billion people at risk, more than 500 million become severely ill with malaria every year and more than 1 million die from the effects of the disease. Malaria is especially a serious problem in Africa, where one in every five (20%) childhood deaths is due to the effects of the disease. An African child has on average between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malaria fever each year. And every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.
1. Caveat Emptor
(KAV-ee-OT emp-TOR): “Let the buyer beware”
Before money-back guarantees and 20-year warranties, caveat emptor was indispensable advice for the consumer. These days, it’d be more fitting to have it tattooed on the foreheads of used-car salesmen, infomercial actors, and prostitutes. For extra credit points, remember that caveat often makes solo appearances at cocktail parties as a fancy term for a warning or caution. Oh, and just so you know, caveat lector means “let the reader beware.”
2. Persona Non Grata
(puhr-SOH-nah non GRAH-tah): “An unacceptable person”
Remember your old college buddy, the one everybody called Chugger? Now picture him at a debutante ball, and you’ll start to get a sense of someone with persona non grata status. The term is most commonly used in diplomatic circles to indicate that a person is unwelcome due to ideological differences or a breach of trust. Sometimes, the tag refers to a pariah, a ne’er-do-well, a killjoy, or an interloper, but it’s always subjective. Back in 2004, Michael Moore was treated as a persona non grata at the Republican National Convention. Bill O’Reilly would experience the same at Burning Man.
3. Habeas Corpus
(HAY-bee-as KOR-pus): “You have the body”
When you wake up in the New Orleans Parish Prison after a foggy night at Mardi Gras, remember this one. In a nutshell, habeas corpus is what separates us from savages. It’s the legal principle that guarantees an inmate the right to appear before a judge in court, so it can be determined whether or not that person is being lawfully imprisoned. It’s also one of the cornerstones of the American and British legal systems. Without it, tyrannical and unjust imprisonments would be possible. In situations where national security is at risk, however, habeas corpus can be suspended.
4. Cogito Ergo Sum
(CO-gee-toe ER-go SOME): “I think, therefore I am”
When all those spirited mental wrestling matches you have about existentialism start growing old (yeah, right!), you can always put an end to the debate with cogito ergo sum. René Descartes, the 17th-century French philosopher, coined the phrase as a means of justifying reality. According to him, nothing in life could be proven except one’s thoughts. Well, so he thought, anyway.
5. E Pluribus Unum
(EE PLUR-uh-buhs OOH-nuhm): “Out of many, one”
Less unique than it sounds, America’s original national motto, e pluribus unum, was plagiarized from an ancient recipe for salad dressing. In the 18th century, haughty intellectuals were fond of this phrase. It was the kind of thing gentlemen’s magazines would use to describe their year-end editions. But the term made its first appearance in Virgil’s poem “Moretum” to describe salad dressing. The ingredients, he wrote, would surrender their individual aesthetic when mixed with others to form one unique, homogenous, harmonious, and tasty concoction. As a slogan, it really nailed that whole cultural melting pot thing we were going for. And while it continues to appear on U.S. coins, “In God We Trust” came along later (officially in 1956) to share the motto spotlight.
6. Quid Pro Quo
(kwid proh KWOH): “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”
Given that quid pro quo refers to a deal or trade, it’s no wonder the Brits nicknamed their almighty pound the “quid.” And if you give someone some quid, you’re going to expect some quo. The phrase often lives in the courtroom, where guilt and innocence are the currency. It’s the oil that lubricates our legal system. Something of a quantified value is traded for something of equal value; elements are parted and parceled off until quid pro quo is achieved.
7. Ad Hominem
(ad HAH-mi-nem): “To attack the man”
In the world of public discourse, ad hominem is a means of attacking one’s rhetorical opponent by questioning his or her reputation or expertise rather than sticking to the issue at hand. Translation: Politicians are really good at it. People who resort to ad hominem techniques are usually derided as having a diluted argument or lack of discipline. If pressed, they’ll brandish it like a saber and refuse to get back to the heart of the matter. Who said the debate team doesn’t have sex appeal?
8. Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
(ad-MA-yor-em DAY-ee GLOR-ee-um): “All for the Greater Glory of God”
Ad majorem dei gloriam is often shortened to AMDG. In other words, it’s the WWJD of the Jesuits, who’ve been drilling the mantra into their followers since (Saint) Ignatius of Loyola founded the Catholic Order in 1534. They believe all actions, big or small, should be done with AMDG in mind. Remind your Jesuit-educated buddies of this when they seem to be straying from the path. (Best used with a wink and a hint of irony.)
9. Memento Mori
(meh-MEN-toh MOR-ee): “Remember, you must die”
Carpe diem is so 20th century. If you’re going to suck the marrow out of life, trying doing it with the honest, irrefutable, and no less inspiring memento mori. You can interpret the phrase in two ways: Eat, drink, and party down. Or, less hedonistically, be good so you can get past the pearly gates. Naturally, the latter was the one preferred by the early Christian Church, which would use macabre art—including dancing skeletons and snuffed-out candles—to remind the faithful to forgo temporal pleasures in favor of eternal bliss in heaven. The phrase also served to prevent swelling heads. Some historians say that victorious, parading Roman generals would have servants stand behind them and whisper “memento mori” in their ears to keep their egos in check.
10. Sui Generis
(SOO-ee JEN-er-is): “Of its own genus,” or “Unique and unable to classify”
Frank Zappa, the VW Beetle, cheese in a can: Sui generis refers to something that’s so new, so bizarre, or so rare that it defies categorization. Granted, labeling something “sui generis” is really just classifying the unclassifiable. But let’s not over-think it. Use it at a dinner party to describe Andy Kaufman, and you impress your friends. Use it too often, and you just sound pretentious.
This June marks the 40th anniversary of the inaugural season of the Missisippi River Festival. A collaborative effort of the SIUE Alumni Association and the SIUE Foundation has created the MRF Commemoration Committee. The committee is planning an MRF Commemoration Cook-Out and Monument Dedication on Saturday, June 13th from 10am-3pm. The festivities will be held in the former parking lot for MRF attendees near the Southwest corner of the intersection of New Poag Road and North University Drive. For more information on the committee or the event, please e-mail Steve Jankowski at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
District Governor Eric Storberg in Rotary District 7230 (New York and Bermuda) is a great example of a Rotarian, who has made his dream real by helping children to be born without the HIV-AIDS virus. Eric does this because in 1992 AIDS claimed the life of his younger brother Neil, so Eric is very passionate about fighting AIDS. He does so by supporting Rotarian Dr. Stephen Nicholas and his Rotary Club of Yonkers, New York in Eric’s Rotary District. Dr. Steve is an internationally-recognized HIV-AIDS expert, who in 1988 started the Harlem Hospital Pediatric AIDS Program in New York and was its medical director and executive director from 1988 to 2000. This program totally stopped HIV-AIDS transmissions in Harlem from HIV-AIDS infected mothers to their newborn children. After having been successful with the Harlem Hospital Pediatric AIDS Program, Dr. Steve looked at the Dominican Republic, which is the most HIV-AIDS infected country in the western hemisphere. You can read about Dr. Steve on the Internet at the following links:
The program that District Governor Eric supports is Dr. Steve’s international Rotary Project between the Rotary Club of Yonkers and the Rotary Club of La Romana in the Dominican Republic, which is in district 4066. The Rotary Foundation also supports the project with a matching grant for up to $36,666. In his capacity as District Governor, Eric is contributing $10,000 in District Designated Funds. A number of Rotary Clubs and Rotarians are also making contributions. There is a total of $41,200 in contributions so far with an additional $23,834 that needs to be collected. In addition to Rotary, the following prominent donors are also providing economic support to Dr. Steve’s International Family AIDS Program:
- William J. Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative
- United States Agency for International Development
- Knights of Malta, Coral Gables, FL
- Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church, NYC
- Cathedral St. John the Divine, NYC
- Canada Dry Delaware Valley Bottling
- Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
The great thing about the Rotary Mother-Baby AIDS Project, is that it stretches Rotarians dollars to the maximum. For example, a donation from Rotarians of $500 can save a whole family of 4 because it leverages additional donations from other organizations. For example, $500 from Rotarians generates an additional $250 from the Rotary Foundation; this $750 will generate approximately $7,500 from other organizations making it a total of $8,250. How often do we have the opportunity to generate 16.5 times our investment? The answer seems to be, only in Rotary! The other organizations will follow because Rotary takes the lead. If you want to find out more about the Rotary Mother-Baby AIDS Project, you can contact District Governor Eric Storberg, telephone 917-903-0300, e-mail email@example.com, Dr. Steven Nicholas, telephone 212-304-6128, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and Past District Governor Chuck Katze, telephone 914-633-3790, e-mail email@example.com.
Because donations are made to the Rotary Foundation, they are fully tax deductible in the United States. They also qualify for the following Rotary Recognitions:
- Sustaining Member
- Paul Harris Fellow
- Major Donor
- Arch C. Klumph Society
You can read about Rotary Foundation Recognitions on the Internet at the following link:
The initiative that District Governor Eric Storberg together with the Rotary Clubs of Yonkers and La Romano took regarding the Rotary Mother-Baby AIDS Project is a great example of Rotary Leadership that inspire us Rotarians. Even in our economic recession, compassionate Rotarians in Yonkers, New York, La Romano in Dominican Republic, Saskatoon in Canada, West Palm Beach in Florida and District 7230 are showing that they are still able to save the lives of newborn babies. I believe that such sprit of compassion and service will help Rotary to grow around the world. Nobody has ever achieved greatness in history by being selfish or cynical. Great people in history have always been those, who served others above self. The success story about District Governor Eric Storberg and the Rotary Clubs of Yonkers and La Romano shows that it is possible for Rotarians to make dreams real.
It is time to roll up our sleeves and fasten our seatbelts. The future of Rotary is in our hands!
Yours in Rotary Service,
1977: Annie opens on Broadway. It rakes in more than $20 million during its 2,377 performances .
Because today is April 20 rather than April 1, we'll assume the mayoral proclamation is both legit and sincerely made. Soft! On Thursday, verily, haply we'll hear Shakespearean language in all kinds of Chicago settings. Alack! Prithee! Mark me well!
At City Hall, Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) to Ald. Richard Mell (33rd): "Foolery, sir, doth walk about the orb like the sun. It shines everywhere."
Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, in impromptu statement outside home: "Thieves for their robbery have authority, when judges steal themselves."
POWER FOLDING: Folding a stroller with one hand while carrying a child in the other can be frustrating for many parents. The power-folding Origami stroller from 4moms seeks to make one-handed folding a lot easier. At the push of a button, the $650 stroller, which will be available in September, uses a motor to fold and unfold. When sensors detect a child in the seat, the function is disabled.
TOT TUNES: To make a workout ride more enjoyable for both baby and parent, more strollers are coming equipped with hookups for MP3 players. Baby Trend Inc. makes three jogging-stroller designs -- starting at $159.99 -- that have an MP3 connection, a device storage pouch and a speaker in the canopy. Later this year, the manufacturer plans to offer a redesigned version that puts the music connection in the handle area, where it's more convenient.
INTERACTIVE I DO'S: More couples have started adding interactive elements to their events, Ms. Roney says. Such elements include lounge areas where guests can play the latest interactive videogames, as well as video screens on the dance floor with music videos and lyrics so guests can sing along.
INSTANT GRATIFICATION: Immediately after weddings, photographers are giving couples mobile devices filled with images from the event. Videographers are also now playing highlights from the ceremony on screens during the reception, and guests are increasingly uploading their own tagged shots to social-networking sites right after the party.
PASS THE HASH: Hackers spend a lot of effort stealing passwords. Now they don't have to. Most computers store an encrypted version of a user's password, called a hash, on the computer itself. New hacking tools that take advantage of flaws in a computer's operating system make it easier for sophisticated hackers to locate and copy the hash and then gain access to any password-protected system.
FREE CALLS: As businesses increasingly use the Internet to route phone calls, hackers will step up efforts to exploit these systems. One new threat: A hacker taps into the system and sets up his own phone line. He then can use it to make free calls -- or worse, carry out scams by impersonating employees.
CHICAGO, April 15, 2009—The Citizens Utility Board’s (CUB) “Right Call Campaign” is rolling into Alton to help consumers beat the bad economy and cut their calling costs by hundreds of dollars a year. CUB’s campaign was launched after the consumer group released a report showing that Illinois callers are overpaying by about $1.5 billion a year. However, the report also said that most consumers can enjoy significant savings by following a few simple steps. CUB’s free “phone-bill clinics” have been showing consumers across the state how to cut their local and long-distance bills by more than $200 a year on average. The next clinic is co-hosted by state Rep. Dan Beiser and is:
10 a.m.-Noon, Friday, April 24
Alton Square Mall*
200 Alton Square
*On the upper level, near the escalators and “Vitamin World”
“Most people are paying too much for phone service,” CUB Executive Director David Kolata said. “However, CUB has been showing consumers how to save an average of about $20 a month on their local and long-distance bills. Plus, we have a new online tool that has been teaching consumers how to slash cell-phone bills by a monthly average of $25. You just can’t get a free service like this anywhere else.”
Consumers frequently complain that they can’t get reliable information from the phone company, which often just throws them a sales pitch for a more expensive plan. At CUB’s clinics, however, citizens will receive helpful tips about:
CUB Cellphone Saver—a state-of-the art online tool that automatically analyzes individual wireless bills, potentially cutting a caller’s costs by hundreds of dollars a year.
The new CUB-designed Consumer’s Choice local-calling plans that AT&T is forced to offer under a legal settlement. Unlike AT&T’s other plans, these plans are designed to save most consumers money.
Illinois’ best long-distance plans, including how to get an automatic $20 credit CUB negotiated. That amounts to nearly 11 hours of free calls.
Line-Backer, a costly—and optional—AT&T service that most people don’t need.
Attendees should bring their phone bills so CUB experts can analyze them and give tips on how to cut them.
'A few weeks ago I experienced one of those rare and wonderful mornings where you just kind of wake up naturally, no alarm clocks, no noise, no nothing. Just gentle sunlight caressing my face and whispering, 'Wake up, Charlie. Wake up.'
'I rolled over and glanced at the digital clock on my nightstand and it was flashing 7:25. I thought the power must have gone off during the night. Not to worry. It's Saturday and I don't have to work. With any luck I've slept right through Car Talk. Then it hit me like a sumo wrestler falling on my chest. It wasn't Saturday after all, it was Friday! I'm going to be late for work. Again!
'So I sprang to my feet and grabbed the wristwatch off my dresser. It said 6:50. That's odd. So I ran to the kitchen where I have one of those old fashioned analog electric clocks, the kind with the hands that plugs into an electric outlet. And it read 6:30. So assuming that all three timepieces are working properly and they were all set to the same time when I went to bed the night before, when did the power go off and for how long?'
Here's the answer. Obviously the wristwatch was unaffected by the power outage so it must show the correct time which is 6:50. Now while both the analog and digital clocks were affected by the outage, they were affected differently. The analog clock simply stopped for the duration of the outage and resumed when the power came back on, so the difference between the wristwatch and the clock in the kitchen is 20 minutes. So the power was out for 20 minutes. That?s the easy part.
Here's the tough part. Most digital clocks recycle to midnight after an outage. And that's what his did, the fact that his digital clock time is later than the wristwatch must mean the digital clock was advanced as a result of the outage. So the outage must have occurred before midnight. It occurred at 11:05. How do we know that? Well, because at 11:25 when the power came back on 20 minutes later, it got advanced 35 minutes right to midnight
Monday, April 20, 2009
OUDOUN, VA. -- Behind the wheel, you want the least amount of distraction possible. So why is a local transportation agency painting crooked lines on the road on purpose?
The Virginia Department of Transportation says it's part of a safety campaign to get drivers to slow down in a high pedestrian and bicycle area. The 500 feet of zig-zagging lines are painted on the ground on Belmont Ridge Road, where it intersects with the Washington and Old Dominion trail in Loudoun County.
"It is a low cost strategy to get motorists to slow down as they approach the bike trail and pedestrian path," says VDOT's Mike Salmon. "While at first motorists may be a little disoriented, the main point is to get them to pay attention and slow down through that area."
There are plans to also paint the crooked lines on Sterling Boulevard where it intersects with the W&OD trail.
VDOT says similar programs have been successful in the United Kingdom and Australia. The transportation agency will study the zig-zagging lines for a year and see if they actually reduce speeds.
If the lines prove effective, you can expect to see more of them on the ground.
You, too, can run, cycle or walk across the U.S., much as the actor Tom Hanks did in "Forrest Gump." Or, rather, you can do it on your computer. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California have developed a Web site and tool that allow you (and training partners) to log your daily mileage at home or in the gym, and track your progress on a virtual trip from Yorktown, Va., to Florence, Ore. The site -- by means of photos -- shows you exactly what you would see if you were actually making the transcontinental trek.
To learn more, visit exercise.lbl.gov.
1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold kill 12 students, one teacher and themselves at Columbine High School in Colorado.
1971: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously backs busing to end racially segregated school patterns.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
23 skiddoo -- to get going; move along; leave; or scram
The cat's pajamas -- the best; the height of excellence
Gams -- legs
The real McCoy -- sincere; genuine; the real thing
Hotsy-totsy -- perfect
The bee's knees -- excellent; outstanding
I'll be a monkey's uncle -- sign of disbelief; I don't
Gig -- a job
Girl Friday -- a secretary or female assistant
Skivvies -- men's underwear
Blockbuster -- a huge success
Keeping up with the Joneses -- competing to have a lifestyle
or socioeconomic status comparable to one's neighbors
Cool -- excellent; clever; sophisticated; fashionable; or
Sitting in the hot seat -- in a highly uncomfortable or
Boo-boo -- a mistake; a wound
Hi-fi -- high fidelity; a record player or turntable
Hipster -- an innovative and trendy person
Daddy-o -- a man; used to address a hipster or beatnik
Groovy -- cool; hip; excellent
Hippie -- derived from hipster; a young adult who rebelled
against established institutions, criticized middle-class
values, opposed the Vietnam War, and promoted sexual freedom
The Man -- a person of authority; a group in power
Catch you on the flip side -- see you later
Dig it -- to like or understand something
Get down/Boogie -- dance
Mind-blowing -- unbelievable; originally an expression for
the effects of hallucinogenic drugs
Pump iron -- lift weights
Workaholic -- a person who works too much or is addicted to
his or her job
Bodacious -- beautiful
Chillin' -- relaxing
Dweeb -- a nerd; someone who is not cool
Fly -- cool; very hip
Gag me with a spoon -- disgusting
Gnarly -- exceptional; very cool
Preppy -- one who dresses in designer clothing and has a
neat, clean-cut appearance
Wicked -- excellent; great
Yuppie -- Young Urban Professional; a college-educated
person with a well-paying job who lives near a big city;
often associated with a materialistic and superficial
Chinese-made drywall causing home and health hazards
A gut-turning smell like rotten eggs hit Richard and Partricia Kampf the day they first walked into their new house in Cape Coral, Florida, in July 2007. At first they thought it was some kind of “new home” smell that would go away quickly. Patricia bought some scented candles to help cover the odor.
But the smell didn’t go away and other strange things started happening. The metal coil on the central air conditioner turned black and then became so badly corroded it had to be replaced after just a few months. The mirrors in the bathrooms turned black. The Kampfs had to replace the motherboard on their computer three times and their son’s Xbox stopped working—after two repairs they bought a new one.
And then there were the headaches and the nosebleeds. The only time the symptoms subsided was when they were away from the house. Their son, who had always been the picture of health, was sickened for a week by an upper respiratory attack.
After replacing the air conditioner coil several times, the air conditioner company told them their problem was likely the drywall that had been installed in their new home during construction. The Kampfs were astonished.
Similar things were happening in a lot of homes, the air conditioner company told them. The drywall had been imported from China and was giving off metal-corroding gases. It had been used in a lot of new homes during the past few years, they were told. “This was our dream house – the place we were retiring to,” says Richard. “But it has been nothing but a nightmare. We really don’t know what we are going to do.”
The Kampfs are far from alone. The federal government is now ramping up a multi-agency investigation of drywall imported from China that is suspected of releasing sulfur gases believed to be causing the corrosion and health problems.
Until recently the drywall problems had been found mainly in Florida, but a Washington, D.C.-based research group that works on class action lawsuits, America’s Watchdog, says it is now getting complaints from California, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Louisiana, Nevada, the Carolinas, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia and other states.
A number of class-action lawsuits have recently been filed in Florida, where some builders are moving residents out of their homes and replacing suspect drywall. But the Kampfs say their builder recently told them it was not responsible for fixing the problem.
The drywall used in U.S. homes has traditionally been made in this country, but that changed beginning in 2004 as first a building boom and then rebuilding made necessary by hurricanes Katrina and Rita depleted domestic supplies.
A spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission says the agency has been looking into possible defects surrounding drywall imported from China for the last two months and has now initiated a formal compliance investigation. “The agency is on the ground in Florida in a fact-finding mode,” says CPSC spokesman Joe Martyak. “Our goal is to determine if, and to what extent, there is any safety risk involved with imported Chinese drywall.”
Martyak says the CPSC is working on the investigation with the Environmental Protection Agency, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Florida Department of Health. He says the CPSC has received a “handful” of complaints about the drywall beginning late last year. Martyak says the agency has received no reports of fires.
The Florida Department of Health says it has received more than 140 complaints from homeowners and is still trying to determine if the drywall is causing serious health problems.
America’s Watchdog says the suspect drywall is being found in homes built or remodeled since 2004. Among the indicators:
- The home may have a slight or strong, sulfur, rotten egg or even acid type smell.
- Air conditioning coils, stove top and oven elements, and refrigerators may be failing at an unusually high rate—often within a year or less.
- Silver jewelry or silver wedding plates or flatware may be tarnishing within months or even weeks. Mirrors might turn black.
- Since moving into the house, a homeowner or family member may have experienced symptoms of severe allergies, nose bleeds, or upper respiratory problems. If that person leaves the home for an extended period of time, these symptoms may disappear.
The Herald Tribune of Sarasota recently reported that at least 550 million pounds of Chinese drywall have come through U.S. ports since 2006, according to a review of shipping records conducted by the newspaper. That’s enough to build at least 60,000 homes, according to the paper.
The drywall problems are having a negative impact on an already troubled real estate market in Florida, according to USA Today and reports in several newspapers in the Sunshine State. Some would-be home buyers are backing out of contracts.
Richard Kampf says he is worried the corroded wiring poses a fire hazard. “It’s really scary,” he says. “I don’t even want to think about what this has done to the value of our house. It’s awful.”—Bob Williams
HOW HOUSTON REHEARSED ITS WORST EVER PROBLEM
AS AMERICA prepares to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first Moon landing, attention is set to focus on a little-known speech drafted in case of a much different outcome that historic day.
While Neil Armstrong’s immortal lines “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” have entered history, 233 other words, written for a tragedy that everyone hoped would never happen, were consigned to an archive and forgotten until now.
They are contained in a typed memo from President Richard Nixon’s speechwriter, Bill Safire, to White House chief of staff Harry Haldeman, dated July 18, 1969 – two days before the landing was due.
Chillingly entitled “In the event of Moon disaster”, the stark message brings home just how dangerous the mission was.
If Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin had been stranded on the Moon, unable to return to Michael Collins’s orbiting Apollo 11 command ship, Nixon would have called their widows then addressed a horror-struck nation.
“Fate has ordained that the men who went to the Moon to explore in peace will stay on the Moon to rest in peace,” he would have told the watching millions.
These brave men know there is no hope for their recovery but they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.
“These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.
“They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.
“In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.”
The President would have added: “In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood. Others will follow and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied but these men were the first and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.”
And in an allusion to Rupert Brooke’s First World War poem The Soldier, his concluding lines were to be: “For every human being who looks up at the Moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.”
Once the speech had been delivered, Mission Control would have closed communications and a clergyman would have conducted a burial service like the one used at sea.
The memo lay dormant for decades in Nixon’s private papers in America’s national archives, laid aside once the astronauts had completed their perilous mission.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Q. How do I decide whether to replace or repair aging appliances?
A. Unless you have a beloved higher-end model, it usually makes better financial sense to replace broken kitchen and laundry appliances if they are eight years old or older, or if the repair costs at least half the price of a new model, suggests Consumer Reports. Consider replacing ailing vacuums and dishwashers after six years and a computer if it’s at least five years old and the repair exceeds one-third the cost of a comparable new model. Look for products with a blue-and-white Energy Star label—these appliances use up to 50 percent less energy than standard models and may qualify you for tax breaks. Many communities have rebate programs, too.
In 1998, Russian wolfhound Olive Oyl of Grayslake, Illinois,
made the Guinness Book of World Records when she skipped
rope 63 times in one minute.
Chihuahua and shih tzu mix Tiny Tim of London holds the
record (as of 2004) for being the tiniest dog ever. The
little guy measures three inches tall at the shoulder and
four inches long from nose to tail, and weighs just over a
The oldest dog reliably documented was an Australian cattle
dog named Bluey. After 29 years and 5 months of faithful
service, Bluey was put to rest in 1939.
I am a word which means to bewilder or perplex.
You can get lost in my last four letters.
What am I?
Thursday, April 16, 2009
If you have no idea why we’re pondering that question today, go brush your teeth real quick and grab a drink (orange juice, iced tea, beer—anything except water). Awful, isn’t it?
You can thank sodium laureth sulfate, also known as sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), or sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) for ruining your drink, depending on which toothpaste you use. Both of these chemicals are surfactants – wetting agents that lower the surface tension of a liquid – that are added to toothpastes to create foam and make the paste easier to spread around your mouth (they’re also important ingredients in detergents, fabric softeners, paints, laxatives, surfboard waxes and insecticides). While surfactants make brushing our teeth a lot easier, they do more than make foam. Both SLES and SLS mess with our taste buds in two ways. One, they suppress the receptors on our taste buds that perceive sweetness, inhibiting our ability to pick up the sweet notes of food and drink. And, as if that wasn’t enough, they break up the phospholipids on our tongue. These fatty molecules inhibit our receptors for bitterness and keep bitter tastes from overwhelming us, but when they’re broken down by the surfactants in toothpaste, bitter tastes get enhanced. So, anything you eat or drink after you brush is going to have less sweetness and more bitterness than it normally would. Is there any end to this torture? Yes. You don’t need foam for good toothpaste, and there are plenty out there that are SLES/SLS-free. You won’t get that rabid dog look that makes oral hygiene so much fun, but your breakfast won’t be ruined.
Click on "DISTRICT FACEBOOK" above to link to the site..
Do you facebook? Rotary District 6460 has established a group page on social networking site, facebook. Share upcoming club events, membership recruiting ideas, fundraisers, or just catch up with fellow Rotarians that we tend to see once or twice a year at District events! You will need a facebook account to join the group. Membership is FREE and can be highly addictive!
Holly Kieu, Licensing Specialist with Children's Home + Aid in Alton, Illinois, was the guest speaker at our April 16th meeting. Learn more about the Children's Home and foster care.
click here to listen to this podcast
Inventing a New World
By JOHN STEELE GORDON
The Industrial Revolutionaries
By Gavin Weightman
Grove, 422 pages, $27.50
There are technologies and then there are technologies. Some are trivial, such as Ziploc plastic bags. They're handy, to be sure, but they don't change the world. Some are extraordinarily simple but profound, such as the stirrup, which came along only after men had been riding horses for well over a thousand years. Nothing more than a ring of metal hung from a leather strap, the stirrup made cavalry the dominant force on the European battlefield and therefore made the mounted knight the dominant force in European society for several hundred years. As Gavin Weightman's "The Industrial Revolutionaries" reminds us, inventions on the level of the stirrup's importance seemed to come every other month during the late 18th and 19th centuries -- what Mr. Weightman calls "the most remarkable period of practical inventiveness in world history." When Thomas Hobbes famously wrote in the 17th century that the great majority of the population led lives that were "nasty, brutish and short," he was describing an agrarian society that was, in its essence, unchanged since the advent of agriculture about 10,000 years earlier. Ownership of land was the basis of wealth. Hobbes had no reason to think that the situation would change any time soon. But it did: A rapidly accelerating development of world-transforming technologies, subsumed under the rubric of "the Industrial Revolution," began in Britain and within 100 years had molded the modern world. The factory system, first deployed on a large scale in the British cloth industry, greatly increased productivity as machines came to do some of the tasks that humans had done -- or allowed workers to do their tasks more efficiently. Originally powered by falling water, the factories sprang up where the water was, often deep in the countryside. The steam engine, first made practical by Thomas Newcomen and then made vastly more fuel efficient by James Watt, made work-doing energy cheap for the first time in human history. With the steam engine, factories could be located where labor was most available, and Britain's urban industrial cities, such as Manchester and Birmingham, quickly expanded. Soon after the turn of the 19th century a new type of steam engine, using high pressure, proved far more powerful per unit of weight than Watt's engine. "In one of the most remarkable coincidences in the history of invention," Mr. Weightman writes, two versions of the high-pressure steam engine were developed "almost at the same time," in Britain by Richard Trevithick -- "a giant of a man with immense energy" -- and in America by Oliver Evans. (Mr. Weightman dismisses lingering suspicions that one of the men stole the idea from the other.) At first, the new steam engines were employed to power ships, because the machinery was too heavy for the tracks used by horse-drawn railways. "Commercial steamship services," Mr. Weightman notes, "got going a good twenty years before steam railways, which had to await the manufacture of wrought-iron rails." By 1830, though, the high-pressure engines had been adapted for railroads, the seminal invention of the 19th century. View Full ImageBridgeman Art Library/Getty ImagesBritish engineer Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) built the first working steam locomotive in 1804. His portrait, painted in 1816, is by John Linnell.Before the railroad, bulky goods, such as coal, moved by water or they did not move at all. Thus there were innumerable local economies, with each town supplying most of its own needs. Production was small-scale. The railroad made possible national markets -- and huge economies of scale that brought down prices and increased demand. Goods that had once been reserved for the rich -- carpets, wallpaper, china, books -- became common objects in middle-class homes. The synergy of the new industrial era was remarkable. As factories grew, so did the demand for labor. And the new agricultural machinery that was built in factories -- such as the reaper developed by the American Cyrus McCormick -- freed countless agricultural laborers for factory work. The collapse in the price of steel -- thanks to Henry Bessemer, the Englishman whose process allowed steel to be produced by the ton -- greatly increased the demand for iron ore and coking coal. That in turn spurred demand for steel railroad tracks and rolling stock. The new railroad routes proved the perfect place to string telegraph lines, which, in turn, fostered communication that allowed the trains to run more efficiently. Thus, thanks to the Industrial Revolution, economies began to grow far more rapidly than before, generating far more wealth. Pre-industrial economies grew at a rate that averaged 1% per year, thus taking 72 years to double in size. Industrial economies grew at a rate that averaged 4% per year, doubling in just 18 years. As a young novelist, Benjamin Disraeli coined the word "millionaire" in 1827 to describe members of the burgeoning class that created the new industrial wealth. This swift economic growth, of course, profoundly changed the world. A person born in, say, 1780 came into a world that his grandparents, great-grandparents and even great-great grandparents would have found familiar. But a mere lifetime later the world had been utterly transformed, and every generation since has had a similar experience. Mr. Weightman, a Briton, has written books on different aspects of the Industrial Revolution, such as the development of the Marconi wireless telegraphy system, and on the ice trade (ice in the mid-19th century was the largest American export after cotton). "The Industrial Revolutionaries" has a far larger sweep: the panoply of industrial development up to World War I. View Full ImageScience Museum/SSPLFrance's first major railroad line, between Paris and Rouen, opened in 1847. It was built by British engineers.He concentrates on the individual inventors, industrialists and engineers who made the Industrial Revolution possible. Some are still household names, such as Eli Whitney and Thomas Edison. Some are now obscure, such as John "Iron Mad" Wilkinson and Jacob Perkins, whose inventions included a machine that both cut nails and put heads on them. With some justification, Mr. Weightman devotes much of his attention to the contributions of his countrymen -- Britain, after all, was the crucible for innumerable advances -- but he casts a wide net. He is especially interested in Japan and its eager embrace of a "crash course in industrialism" in the 1860s after the country, still "almost medieval in its economy and industry," was visited by steamships and exposed to Western technology. Mr. Weightman also provides a welcome corrective to the folklore that persists regarding many of the major players in "Industrial Revolutionaries." Watt was not inspired by the steam pouring from his mother's tea kettle. Samuel Morse was not the first to invent the telegraph. Indeed, Charles Wheatstone had a working telegraph along a section of the Great Western Railway in 1839, five years before Morse sent the message "What hath God wrought!" from the Capitol Building in Washington to Baltimore. As Mr. Weightman makes clear, it was Morse's system as a whole, especially his marvelously efficient code, that made him the central figure in the history of the telegraph. “There were spies everywhere in eighteenth-century Britain. Though they disguised themselves in a variety of ways, they all had one ambition – to unearth the secrets of Britain's industrial success.” Read an excerpt from "The Industrial Revolutionaries"The author's Anglocentric account has some advantages: Readers in the U.S. will learn of much British invention and development that is often missing from American accounts. There was a growing oil industry in Scotland, for instance, more than a decade before Edwin Drake first drilled for oil in western Pennsylvania in 1858. Perhaps inevitably, Mr. Weightman is less strong on matters American. One cannot take a train from New Jersey to New Brunswick. Thomas Jefferson was hardly reluctant to make the deal for the Louisiana Purchase. And in 1793, Alexander Hamilton was rather more than an "aide-de-camp to George Washington." Aides-de-camp don't end up pictured on the currency. Also inevitable, I suppose, is the omission of some significant and interesting people in "The Industrial Revolutionaries." Charles Parsons, for instance, goes unmentioned. Parsons -- whose father, an Irish earl, built the world's largest telescope in the 1840s -- invented, among much else, the steam turbine that is central to both ship propulsion and electrical generation. What's also missing from this otherwise entertaining and informative book is an overview of the Industrial Revolution itself. That revolution, while it made the lives of everyone better in the long run, was hardly costless. Especially in its early days, labor conditions in the new factories were often horrifying, and the lives of those who worked in them were just as nasty, brutish and short as had been the lives of the peasantry in Thomas Hobbes's world. The Industrial Revolution revolutionized more than just the global economy: It transformed politics and society. A world divided between a handful of aristocrats and millions of peasants was transformed into a world dominated by the middle class, where wealth is widely distributed and the franchise universal.
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
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: Bet 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.'