Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tips for working hard

Tips for 'working hard' from George Costanza ...words to live by

  1. Never walk down the hall without a document in your hands. People with documents in their hands look like hardworking employees heading for important meetings. People with nothing in their hands look like they're heading for the cafeteria. People with a newspaper in their hands look like they're heading for the toilet. Above all, make sure you carry loads of stuff home with you at night, thus generating the false impression that you work longer hours than you do.
  2. Use computers to look busy. You can send and receive personal email, calculate your finances and generally have a blast without doing anything remotely related to work. These aren't exactly the societal benefits that the proponents of the computer revolution would like to talk about but they're not bad either. When you get caught by your boss - and you "will" get caught - your best defence is to claim you're teaching yourself to use new software, thus saving valuable training dollars.
  3. Messy desk. Top management can get away with a clean desk. For the rest of us, it looks like you're not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the observer, last year's work looks the same as today's work; it's volume that counts. Pile them high and wide. If you know somebody is coming to your cubicle, bury the document you'll need halfway down in an existing stack and rummage for it when he/she arrives.
  4. Voice Mail. Never answer your phone if you have voice mail. People don't call you just because they want to give you something for nothing - they call because they want YOU to do work for THEM. That's no way to live. Screen all your calls through voice mail. If somebody leaves a voice mail message for you and it sounds like impending work, respond during lunch hour when you know they're not there - it looks like you're hardworking and conscientious even though you're being a devious weasel. If you diligently employ the method of screening incoming calls and then returning calls when nobody is there, this will greatly increase the odds that the caller will give up or look for a solution that doesn't involve you. The sweetest voice mail message you can ever hear is: "Ignore my last message. I took care of "it". If your voice mailbox has a limit on the number of messages it can hold, make sure you reach that limit frequently. One way to do that is to never erase any incoming messages. If that takes too long, send yourself a few messages. Your callers will hear a recorded message that says, "Sorry, this mailbox is full" - a sure sign that you are a hardworking employee in high demand.
  5. Looking Impatient and Annoyed. One should also always try to look impatient and annoyed to give your bosses the impression that you are always busy.
  6. Appear to Work Late. Always leave the office late, especially when the boss is still around. You could read magazines and storybooks that you always wanted to read but have no time until late before leaving. Make sure you walk past the boss' room on your way out. Send important emails at unearthly hours (e.g., 9:35pm, 7:05am,etc...) and during public holidays.
  7. Creative Sighing for Effect. Sigh loudly when there are many people around, giving the impression that you are very hard pressed.
  8. Stacking Strategy. It is not enough to pile lots of documents on the table. Put lots of books on the floor etc... You can always borrow them from the library. Thick computer manuals are the best.
  9. Build Vocabulary. Read up on some computer magazines and pick out all the jargon and new products. Use it freely when in conversation with bosses. Remember: They don't have to understand what you say, but you sure sound impressive.
  10. *** MOST IMPORTANTLY: DON'T forward this to your boss by mistake!!!

See http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~magi/personal/humour/haha/Work_Tips.html

Monday, 30 March 2009

Top ten movie quotes

  1. "You're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!" Charlie Croker, The Italian Job
  2. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, Apocalpyse Now
  3. "May the force be with you" Various characters, Star Wars
  4. "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Then who the hell else are you talkin' to? You talkin' to me? Well I'm the only one here" Travis Bickle, Taxi Driver
  5. "I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti" Hannibal Lecter, The Silence Of The Lambs
  6. "Here's Johnny!" Jack Torrance, The Shining
  7. "He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy" Brian's mother, Monty Python's Life Of Brian
  8. "We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here, and we want them now" Withnail, Withnail & I
  9. "The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club" Tyler Durden, Fight Club
  10. "Oh, I'm sorry. Did I break your concentration?" Jules, Pulp Fiction

See http://www.virginmedia.com/movies/movieextras/top10s/moviequotes2.php

Saturday, 28 March 2009

The Trumpet

The Trumpet consists of a narrow tube of brass coiled round on itself to save space. The sound comes out of the flared bell, and is made by blowing a "raspberry" with your lips into the cup-shaped mouthpiece. In effect, your lips are vibrating like the reed of a clarinet, and this vibration becomes musical sound in its passage through the specially-shaped bore of the trumpet. You can obtain a number of different "open" notes in this way by varying the tension of your lips (try blowing a raspberry and smiling at the same time), and can then produce the notes in between by pressing different combinations of valves. The valves divert the air through little extra lengths of tubing, thus making the instrument temporarily a bit longer and therefore deeper. There are three valves.

See http://www.paythepiper.co.uk/trumpet.asp

Friday, 27 March 2009

Bloodletting and the Barber Shop Pole

Many of us are familiar with the candy-cane striped barber shop pole, but some are less familiar with the origin of the symbol.

Historical accounts vary in exactly how and when the red and white striped poles were created, but they all have one thing in common: bloodletting. In the old days (some would argue going back to Victorian times, other would go back to the days of Hippocrates), barbers performed more duties than just cutting hair - back then they also performed dentistry and surgical acts [2]. Historically, bloodletting was a very popular practice. People believed that bleeding was healthy for you, and helped to fight disease and infection.

See full story at http://community.livejournal.com/wtf_history/63015.html

Thursday, 26 March 2009

What comes after once, twice, thrice?

Nothing, I'm afraid. These three are the only words of their type, and no further terms in the series have ever existed (the suggestion of `quince' for `five times' is picturesque but no more!). Presumably the language has not felt the lack of them.

See http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutwords/once?view=uk

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

For the dead travel fast

In Chapter I of Dracula, Bram Stoker writes in Jonathan Harker's Journal:

"One of my companions whispered to another the line from Burger's 'Lenore:' - "Denn die Todten reiten Schnell."  ("For the dead travel fast.")

Stoker is quoting Gottfried August Burger's macabre folk ballad, Lenora (or Lenore), which includes the refrain "the dead ride quick." Lenora tells the story of a soldier, William (or is it Death?), who arrives on horseback in the dead of night to retrieve his lover, Lenora. There are several interesting translations of the ballad from German to English.

The dead travel fast; the dead ride quick; the dead pass swiftly; the dead drive fast ...

All in all, the dead aren't slow ...

Stoker also refers to the line in Dracula's Guest (published posthumously in 1914):

"On the top of the tomb, seemingly driven through the solid marble - for the structure was composed of a few vast blocks of stone - was a great iron spike or stake. On the back I saw, graven in Great Russian letters:

The dead travel fast."

See http://www.geocities.com/nansee_2000/deadridequickintro.html

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


A cape is a type of clothing, and can be used to describe any sleeveless outer garment, such as a poncho, but usually it is a long garment that covers only the back half of the wearer, fastening about the neck.

They were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a hood in the chaperon, and have had periodic returns to fashion, for example in nineteenth century Europe.

Roman Catholic clergy wear a type of cape known as a ferraiolo, which is worn for formal events outside of a liturgical context.

The cope is a liturgical vestment in the form of a cape. Copes are often highly decorated with elaborate embroidery.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape

Monday, 23 March 2009


A path, also known as a rhumb line, which cuts a meridian on a given surface at any constant angle but a right angle. If the surface is a sphere, the loxodrome is a spherical spiral. The loxodrome is the path taken when a compass is kept pointing in a constant direction. It is a straight line on a Mercator projection or a logarithmic spiral on a polar projection. The loxodrome is not the shortest distance between two points on a sphere.

See http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Loxodrome.html

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Stop the Train, I Want to Get Off!

Train travellers got a longer trip than they bargained for in England in January, reported the Daily Express of London.

Because a link to the train’s satnav service was lost, the train operator on a Southern company train traveling from the East Croydon station in London informed his passengers that the train would not be stopping until the end of the line. The unhappy passengers had to fly by six more stations until reaching Caterham, Surrey. Most passengers had to wait a half hour for another train to take them back to their station.

Because some stations have shorter platforms, the conductor was unable to open the correct doors at the six stops enroute. “A lot of our trains have GPS, which recognizes where the train is and allows it to open the doors at the station, depending on the length of the train and the length of the platform,” a spokesman for Southern said. “Doors can be opened manually in an emergency, but we would not recommend it at other times.”

“It’s absolutely bizarre,” said one passenger. “We now have trains that can’t let the passengers out because they fail to pick up signals from outer space.”

See http://www.gpsworld.com/gpsworld/Seen%20+%20Heard/Seen---Heard-Stop-the-Train-I-Want-to-Get-Off/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/578849?ref=25

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594) was a Flemish cartographer who in his quest to make the world “look right” on the maps developed new projection (called Mercator projection) using mathematical formulas. From then on, the image of the world that he produced on his map from 1569 becomes a conventional view of the world that we are accustomed today.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cartography

Friday, 20 March 2009

Types of Cranes

Cranes are machines that use levers and/or pulleys to lift significant weights. A crane one passes on the road may look like a fairly modern invention, but these machines have actually been used for at least the past 2000 years, if not longer. The Romans used cranes to build huge monuments. Medieval churches were constructed with them. Also, the Egyptians may have used them to create pyramids. The modern version can be either simple or complex, and cranes vary based on their application.

A relatively simple crane is the mobile crane. A telescopic boom (arm) or steel truss mounts its movable platform. Either pulleys or levers raise the boom. Generally a hook suspends from the boom. The platform of a mobile crane can either have traditional wheels, wheels designed for railroad tracks, or a caterpillar track, which is useful for navigating unpaved and uneven surfaces. Mobiles can be used for demolition or earthmoving by replacing the hook with an appropriate tool, such as a wrecking ball or bucket. Telescopic cranes, with a series of hydraulic tubes fit together to form the boom, can also be mobile.

Truck mounted and rough terrain cranes are both essentially mobile as well. The truck-mounted crane generally has outriggers to increase its stability. Rough terrain cranes tend to have a base that resembles the bottom of a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Outriggers also stabilize these cranes. They tend to be used in rough terrain, as the name suggests, and are frequently used to pick up and transport materials.

Loader cranes have hydraulic powered booms fitted onto trailers. They load goods onto the trailer and the jointed sections of the boom are folded down when not in use. The loader may also be considered telescopic, as one section of the boom, in some designs, may telescope for ease of use.

Stacker cranes are most frequently seen in automated warehouses where they tend to follow an automatic retrieval system. For example, in huge automated freezers, these cranes, equipped with forklift apparatus, can work by remote, stacking or obtaining foods as needed. This retrieval system makes it possible to keep workers out of the cold.

Gantry cranes are most often found in ports and railroads, where they unload and move huge containers off of ships and trains. The bases are huge crossbeams which run on rails, so lifted containers can be moved from one location to another. The portainer is a special type of gantry that lifts materials on and off ships.

Floating cranes mounted on barges or pontoons are also essential to the shipping industry. Situated in water, they are used to construct ports, salvage ships or build bridges. Like portainers, floating cranes also can unload ships. They are able to handle very heavy loads and awkwardly shaped containers.

Tower cranes, conversely, do not generally have a moveable base. These are often the tallest cranes, and have to be assembled piece by piece. The base looks like a long ladder, and the boom is perpendicular to the base. Tower cranes are used to construct tall buildings, and in the case of skyscrapers, the tower crane is often assembled and affixed inside the building itself during construction.

All cranes represent a meeting of simple machines, used for the purpose of reducing workload. However simple they may seem, they are instrumental in many aspects of industry. They can dig, move, create, or destroy, depending on their type. Cranes exemplify that sometimes the oldest ideas are the best ones.

See http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-the-different-types-of-cranes.htm

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Dinner Table Etiquette

The basic principles of proper dinner table etiquette.......and how to avoid social embarrassment!

Here you will find tips on dinner table etiquette that will help you through any formal or semi formal lunch party or dinner party.

The 10 easy DO's, and 10 easy DON'Ts of good table etiquette!

But first of all, a little general advice on.....

Simple, Good Manners

  • Always respond to an invitation within a week of receiving it.
  • Dress according to the recommended (if any) dress code. NEVER attempt to "out dress" the hostess!
  • Be punctual - never more than 10 minutes late.
  • If you wish to bring a guest as your partner, good dinner table etiquette demands that you should always check with the host first. If you are the one hosting the party and a guest of yours arrives with an unexpected friend, be polite & courteous with them, and speak with your inconsiderate guest at another time!
  • It is considered polite to take along a small gift, for your host and hostess. Flowers, chocolates or champagne are always appreciated.

Dinner Table Etiquette - the 10 Do's!

  1. Once seated, unfold your napkin and use it for occasionally wiping your lips or fingers. At the end of dinner, leave the napkin tidily on the place setting.
  2. It is good dinner table etiquette to serve the lady sitting to the right of the host first, then the other ladies in a clockwise direction, and lastly the gentlemen.
  3. Hold the knife and fork with the handles in the palm of the hand, forefinger on top, and thumb underneath.
  4. Whilst eating, you may if you wish rest the knife and fork on either side of the plate between mouthfuls. When you have finished eating, place them side by side in the center of the plate.
  5. If the food presented to you is not to your liking, it is polite to at least make some attempt to eat a small amount of it. Or at the very least, cut it up a little, and move it around the plate!
  6. It is quite acceptable to leave some food to one side of your plate if you feel as though you have eaten enough. On the other hand, don't attempt to leave your plate so clean that it looks as though you haven't eaten in days!
  7. Desserts may be eaten with both a spoon and fork, or alternatively a fork alone if it is a cake or pastry style sweet.
  8. Should a lady wish to be excused for the bathroom, it is polite for the gentlemen to stand up as she leaves the table, sit down again, and then stand once more when she returns.
  9. Always make a point of thanking the host and hostess for their hospitality before leaving.
  10. It is good dinner table etiquette to send a personal thank you note to the host and hostess shortly afterwards.

Dinner Table Etiquette - the 10 Don'ts!

  1. NEVER start eating before a signal from the host to do so.
  2. Forks should not be turned over unless being used for eating peas, sweetcorn kernels, rice or other similar foods. In which case, it should be transferred to the right hand. However, at a casual buffet, or barbecue it is quite acceptable to eat with just a fork.
  3. It is not generally regarded as good dinner table etiquette to use one's bread for dipping into soups or mopping up sauces.
  4. Loud eating noises such as slurping and burping are very impolite. The number one sin of dinner table etiquette!
  5. Talking with one's mouth full. is not only unpleasant to watch, but could also lead to choking! Definitely not a good idea!
  6. Don't stretch across the table crossing other guests to reach food, wine or condiments. Instead ask a guest sitting close to pass the item to you.
  7. Good dinner table etiquette sometimes involves a degree of diplomacy when it comes to the host's choice of food and wine! Even if you feel that you can do better, don't ever offer your criticism. If you feel unable to pay any compliments, at least remain silent on the subject.
  8. Picking teeth (unless toothpicks are provided) or licking fingers are very unattractive! The only exception to the latter is when eating meat or poultry on the bone (such as chicken legs or ribs). In which case, a finger bowl should be provided.
  9. Drinking too much wine can be very embarrassing! Where a different wine is served with each course, it is quite acceptable to not finish each glass.
  10. Don't forget to make polite conversation with those guests around you. Dinner parties are not just about the food, they are intended to be a sociable occasion!

See http://www.gourmet-food-revolution.com/dinner-table-etiquette.html

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Which or that

The word which can be used to introduce both restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, although many writers use it exclusively to introduce nonrestrictive clauses; the word that can be used to introduce only restrictive clauses.

Think of the difference between

   "The garage that my uncle built is falling down."


   "The garage, which my uncle built, is falling down."

I can say the first sentence anywhere and the listener will know exactly which garage I'm talking about — the one my uncle built. The second sentence, however, I would have to utter, say, in my back yard, while I'm pointing to the dilapidated garage. In other words, the "that clause" has introduced information that you need or you wouldn't know what garage I'm talking about (so you don't need/can't have commas); the "which clause" has introduced nonessential, "added" information (so you do need the commas).

Incidentally, some writers insist that the word that cannot be used to refer to people, but in situations where the people are not specifically named, it is acceptable.

   The students that study most usually do the best.

But we would write "The Darling children, who have enrolled in the Lab School, are doing well."

From http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/notorious/that.htm

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Combinatorics and parties of six or more people

A branch of mathematics known as combinatorics shows us that if we go to any party with six or more people, there must be either three who are mutual acquaintances or three who are mutual strangers. Try it the next time you're in a group of six.

See http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A46904600

Monday, 16 March 2009

The Spanish Main

The Spanish Main was the mainland coast of the Spanish Empire around the Caribbean. The mainland of which was initially called "Spanish America" (thus, "Spanish Main"), it included Florida, Mexico, Central America and the north coast of South America. In time it became a general term for the seaways around the Spanish possessions in the Caribbean.

From the 16th to the 18th century the Spanish Main was the point of departure for enormous wealth in the form of gold, silver, gems, spices, hardwoods, hides and other riches.

Major loading ports were Cartagena de Indias in New Granada, Porto Bello on the Isthmus of Darien and Veracruz in New Spain (with wares brought by the Manila Galleons transported overland from Acapulco), and from there they were shipped to Spain by the famous Spanish treasure fleets. This made the Spanish Main a haunt of pirates and privateers, and gave the name a notorious and romantic allure.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Main

Sunday, 15 March 2009

A short history of the weekend

What did you do last weekend? You probably relaxed and didn't think about work for two days. But people didn't always have two-day weekends. Where does the weekend come from?

2000 B.C. - 1800 A.D.

Many people spent one day a week on religion. This was called a "holy day" in England, and the English word holiday comes from this expression. On this day people rested and prayed.

1800 - 1840

Sunday was the "holy" day. But many workers used this day to play games and have fun. And then they didn't go to work on Monday morning because they felt too tired. In the U.S., workers called these days "blue Mondays."


In England, Saturday afternoon became a holiday. Work stopped at one o'clock. This was the beginning of the weekend in England. Around 1900 in the U.S., workers began to take off Saturday afternoons in the summer. Then, by 1930, most offices were closed on Saturday afternoons all year.


Offices and factories were closed all day Saturday, and the two-day weekend began in the U.S. What did people do on those first weekends? They went to the theater or the movies. They took the train and visited their friends. They took walks in the park. They relaxed and had fun.

See http://www.ompersonal.com.ar/ELEMENTARY/unit18/page1.htm

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Types of Wrench/Spanner

Common wrenches

Double open-end wrench or open-ended spannerOpen-end wrench, or Open-ended spanner: a one-piece wrench with a U-shaped opening that grips two opposite faces of the bolt or nut. This wrench is often double ended, with a different sized opening at each end. The ends are generally oriented at an angle of around 30 degrees to the longitudinal axis of the handle. This allows a greater range of movement in enclosed spaces by flipping the wrench over.

Box-end wrench, or Box spanner, or Ring spanner: a one-piece wrench with an enclosed opening that grips the faces of the bolt or nut. The recess is generally a six-point or twelve-point opening for use with nuts or bolt heads with a hexagonal shape. The twelve-point fits onto the fastening at twice as many angles, an advantage where swing is limited. Eight-point wrenches are also made for square shaped nuts and bolt heads. Box-ends are also often double-ended.

Double Handled Tap Wrench, Combination wrench, or Combination spanner: a double-ended tool with one end being like an open-end wrench or open-ended spanner, and the other end being like a box-end wrench or ring spanner. Both ends generally fit the same size bolt.

Flare-nut wrench, or Tube wrench: used for gripping the nuts on the ends of tubes. The design is similar to a box–end wrench but with an opening to allow the wrench to fit over the tube.

Adjustable end wrench, or Adjustable spanner, or Shifting spanner (commonley known as a shifter): an open-ended wrench with adjustable (usually smooth) jaws, also sometimes called by the original patent holder's brand name as a Crescent® Wrench (Crescent Tool and Horseshoe Company).

  • Monkey wrench: an old type of adjustable end wrench with a straight handle and smooth jaws, these are also known in the UK as 'gas grips'.
  • Crescent® wrench: the brand name of an improved version of the adjustable end wrench developed by the Crescent Tool and Horseshoe Company. Often used as a generic term.
  • Pipe wrench: an adjustable end wrench with self-tightening properties and hard serrated jaws that securely grip soft iron pipe and pipe fittings. Sometimes known by the original patent holder's brand name as a Stillson® Wrench.

Socket wrench: a hollow cylinder that fits over one end of a nut or bolt head—may include a handle but usually used with various drive tools. It generally has either a six–point or twelve–point recess, may be shallow or deep, and may have a built-in universal joint. In addition, face driving sockets are available. These are more durable still, and have the ability to drive a range of hexagonal head sizes, with less risk of damaging the nut or bolt head than traditional "corner" drivers. The drive handles generally used are:

  • a break–over (or hinged) handle.
  • a ratchet handle (contains a mechanism which allows the socket to be turned without removing it from the nut or bolt).
  • a speed handle (sometimes called a crank handle).
  • a screwdriver handle (for use of the socket as a nutdriver).

Crowfoot socket wrench: a type of socket designed to fit some of the same drive handles as the regular socket but non-cylindrical in shape. The ends are the same as those found on the open-end, box-end, or the flare-nut wrenches. These sockets use for use where space restrictions preclude the use of a regular socket. Their principle use is with torque wrenches.

Saltus wrench: similar in concept to a socket wrench. A Saltus wrench features a socket permanently affixed to a handle; sockets are not interchangeable as with a socket wrench. The socket often rotates around the handle to allow the user to access a fastener from a variety of angles. Commonly a Saltus wrench is part of a double-ended wrench, with an open-end type head on the opposide side from the socket head.

A mole wrench, also known as a mole grip, is not a wrench but a type of self-locking pliers

From Pocket Wikipedia, http://www.free-soft.ro/pocket-wikipedia/

Friday, 13 March 2009

Nym Words

Don't know your acronyms from your antonyms or your aptronyms from your autonyms? Confused about what tautonyms and toponyms are? You'll find them all here, from homonyms and hypernyms to eponyms and exonyms. We will guide you through explanations of each term, with helpful examples. Never again will you be perplexed by patronyms, confused by contronyms (contranyms), baffled by bacronyms, or stumped by synonyms. You won't muddle meronyms, metonyms, and metronyms, nor heteronyms, hyperonyms, and hyponyms. This is the ultimate guide to the –nym words. So, if you don't know what autoantonyms, capitonyms, and oronyms are, or you want to find out more about paronyms, pseudonyms, and retronyms, read on...

Words ending in –nym are often used to describe different classes of words, and the relationships between words. The –nym literally means name, from the Greek onoma meaning name or word. The Nym Dictionary below defines all the common –nym words, and many of the more unusual ones too.


An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of a series of words; e.g. NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organisation), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration).

• From Greek akros (=point, tip).

• Also called protogram, initialism.


Either of a pair of words that have opposite (or near-opposite) meanings; e.g. slow and fast are antonyms of one another, also dead and alive, wife and husband.

• From Greek anti (=against).


A person's name that matches it's owner's occupation or character very well (either in fiction or reality); e.g. arctic explorer Will Snow, hairdresser Dan Druff.

• From apt (=suitable); coined by Franklin P. Adams.

See full list at http://www.fun-with-words.com/nym_words.html

Thursday, 12 March 2009

What is the difference between a 'street' and a 'road'?

The terms may frequently apply to exactly the same thing. However, 'road' is a general term, whereas 'street' is narrower in sense and chiefly urban in application: a street typically has buildings on either side, and is paved or metalled.

See http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutwords/street?view=uk

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

20 Worst Horror Movie Cliches

My favourite horror movie cliché is the girl who runs up the stairs instead of down, thus setting herself up to be hunted down in the bathroom, where she'll be hiding behind the shower curtain.

See the full list at http://horror.about.com/od/horrorthemelists/ig/Horror-Movie-Cliches/

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Seward's Folly

The term "Seward's folly" refers to the United States' Secretary of State William Seward's decision to purchase the Alaskan territory from Russia in 1867. At the time, Seward's decision to buy the land was regarded as a terrible one by many critics in the United States — hence, the term "folly."

In Seward's Folly, Czar Alexander II of Russia decided to sell the country's territory in Alaska, because Russia was having economic troubles and would not be able to sufficiently defend the territory from invaders. The czar reasoned that they would be better off selling the territory than waiting for it to be annexed by another country. He offered to sell the land to the United States, and sent a Russian diplomat to enter negotiations with William Seward.

Seward's Folly resulted in the purchase of 6,000,000 square miles for $7,200,000 US Dollars (USD) — only a few cents per acre. Though public opinion of the purchase was generally positive, it was the words of several critics that gave "Seward's Folly" its name — most notably, The New York Tribune's Horace Greely, who claimed that Alaska "contained nothing of value but furbearing animals, and these had been hunted until they were nearly extinct. Except for the Aleutian Islands and a narrow strip of land extending along the southern coast the country would be not worth taking as a gift."

However, in the 1890s, large quantities of gold were discovered in the Alaskan territory, which made critics of Seward's Folly change their tune and praise him for his foresight. Unfortunately, William Seward never got to see "Seward's Folly" acknowledged for the great accomplishment it was, as he passed away in 1872, before the gold reserves had been found.

Today, Seward's Folly is celebrated as "Seward's Day" in Alaska on the last Monday of March each year, in honor of Seward's purchasing the Alaskan territory from Russia. Though it was established as an organized territory in 1912, it did not ultimately become a state until 1959. Today, Alaska is by far the largest of the states in the United States.

Seward's Folly helped the United States turn Alaska into a tourist destination for people who love the outdoors. Oil was also found in the state, though ongoing controversy remains as to whether it is right to drill for it in a wildlife refuge, where much of the oil is located. As of 2005, Alaska had a population of around 663,000, making it the least densely populated state in the nation.

See http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-sewards-folly.htm

Monday, 9 March 2009

Dracula's Powers and Limitations

His powers include a wide range of abilities, some of which are beyond the powers of the other undead in the novel:

  • he can command any animal and control the weather;
  • he can become mist or elemental dust;
  • he has superhuman strength and speed;
  • his gaze is hypnotic;
  • he can transform himself into a bat or a wolf.

He has serious limitations, as well:

  • he is relatively powerless between sunrise and sunset;
  • he cannot enter a home unless invited (although his power to hypnotize helps him to bypass this limitation);
  • he cannot advance when faced by a cross, garlic, or a piece of communion wafer;
  • he can only cross running water when it is at its lowest;
  • he must sleep in soil made sacred by the burial of dead from his own family.

See http://www.gradesaver.com/dracula/study-guide/character-list/

Sunday, 8 March 2009

What comes after primary, secondary, tertiary?

The sequence continues with quaternary, quinary, senary, septenary, octonary, nonary, denary. Words also exist for `twelfth order' (duodenary) and `twentieth order' (vigenary).

See http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq/aboutwords/primary?view=uk

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Friday, 6 March 2009

Easter Act 1928

The Easter Act 1928 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom first passed in 1928 but not as yet implemented.

The purpose of the Act is to provide a fixed date for Easter rather than the current moveable feast. The effect would be to establish Easter Sunday as the Sunday following the second Saturday in April, resulting in Easter Sunday being at earliest 9 April up to 15 April.

The Act is so phrased as to require the agreement of all relevant churches and, although the subject is raised occasionally in Parliament this agreement is not yet forthcoming

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Easter_Act_1928

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Square Root Day

Tuesday, March 3, 2009, was Square Root Day, a rare holiday that occurs when the day and the month are both the square root of the last two digits of the current year. Numerically, March 3, 2009, can be expressed as 3/3/09, or mathematically as √9 = 3, or 3² = 3 × 3 = 9.

Square Root Day occurs only nine times in a century. The last one occurred on February 2, 2004, and the next will occur in seven years on April 4, 2016.

Square Root Day isn't the only humorous holiday celebrated in the math world.

Pi Day is observed each March 14 (3.14), while Pi Approximation Day falls on July 22 (roughly equal to 22/7). The first Pi Day was observed in 1988 by staff at the San Francisco Exploratorium, who walked around in circles.

See http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-10186121-76.html

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

7 Habits to Start in College That Will Help You Be Successful in Your Career

#1 Be On Time

Professors don't like when you're late to class, and employers like it even less. Learning how to be on time now will save you from being an unemployed outcast later in life.

#2 Show Up

Showing up is even more important than being on time. If you're supposed to be somewhere, be there. It's good practice. Someday you'll have a job, where showing up everyday is a requirement.

#3 Try Hard

You should never settle for less than your best in everything you do. When you actively strive for success you are much more likely to achieve it. So in short, leave your minimalist attitude in high school where it belongs.

#4 Be Organized

Disorganization can lead to serious time management problems in school and on the job. You can save yourself a lot of headaches if you just get it together now. Things to organize include: your schedule, your desk, your closet, and your bedroom.

#5 Write Stuff Down

Humans weren't meant to remember everything--that's what computers and notepads are for. If you get in the habit of writing down the important stuff now, you can develop a habit that will save you from forgetting important stuff (like project due dates and the boss' birthday) later on.

#6 Think Before Speaking

Not everyone embraces this philosophy, but it is a prudent habit to pick up. When you speak without thinking you run the risk of sounding rude, ditsy, or immature--three traits that employers (and a lot of other people) despise.

#7 Learn to Manage Stress

Stress is just a part of life. The sooner you learn to deal with it, the better off you will be in life and your career. Since everyone handles stress differently, you may need to try a few things until you find the stress management techniques that work for you.

See http://degreedirectory.org/articles/10_Habits_to_Start_in_College_That_Will_Help_You_Be_Successful_in_Your_Career.html

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

They Walk Among Us!

I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area.
So I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up.
She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands.
Then she asked me, "Has your plane arrived yet?"

Some guy bought a new fridge for his house.
To get rid of his old, still working fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on It saying: "Free to good home. You want it, you take it".
For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it.
He eventually decided that people were too un-trusting of this deal. It looked to good to be true, so he changed the sign to read: "Fridge for sale $50".
The next day someone stole it. Caution ...

While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning.
She asked, "Does the sun rise in the North?"
When my brother explained that the sun rises in the East, and has for sometime, she shook her head and said, "Oh, I don't keep up with that stuff."

I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call centre.
One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call centre was open. I told him, "The number you dialled is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
He responded, "Is that Eastern Standard Time or Western Standard Time?"
Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, "Uh, Eastern"...

A mate and I were eating lunch in a restaurant when we overheard a woman at the next table talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive up the coast.
She was saying she drove a convertible and a blonde girl sitting across from her said, "How did you get sunburned? Wasn't the car moving?"

My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car that's designed to break the window if the car goes into the water.
She keeps it in the trunk...

My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were discounted 10%.
Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases.
The cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount.

I was hanging out with a mate when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain.
My mate said, "Wouldn't the Chain rip out every time she turned her head?"
I explained that a person's nose and ear remain the same distance apart no matter which way the head is turned...

While in an Italian restaurant I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go.
The cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6.
He thought about it for some time before responding.
"Just cut it into 4 pieces, I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.

from uk. rec. humour

Monday, 2 March 2009

Sad News for Mad Fans

Mad Magazine mascot Alfred E. Neuman (along with the magazine itself) will be appearing less frequently starting in April.

It’s a less Mad world. Starting with issue no. 500, to be released in April, the monthly satirical publication will become a quarterly, though it will expand to 56 pages from 48. The changes were announced by DC Comics, which publishes Mad Magazine and is owned by Warner Brother Entertainment.

As befits the what-me-worry? attitude of the magazine, its editor, John Ficarra, had a sardonic spin on the news. “The feedback we’ve gotten from readers is that only every third issue of Mad is funny,” he said in a statement. “So we decided to just publish those.”

See http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/sad-news-for-mad-fans