Friday, August 30, 2013


Colonel Meow just won a Guinness Book of Records title for having the longest hair on any cat - up to 9 inches in some places.


The state with the longest official name is also the smallest. The winner is the "State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." 42 letters, not counting spaces.

Despite the name, most of Rhode Island is on the mainland United States. The official name of the state, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, derives from the merger of two settlements. Rhode Island colony was founded near present-day Newport, on what is now commonly called Aquidneck Island, the largest of several islands in Narragansett Bay. Providence Plantations was the name of the colony founded by Roger Williams in the area now known as the City of Providence.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


This 1723 pound (781.5 kg) pumpkin from Alaska was not eligible to set a world record or to compete in the Alaska State Fair because of a tiny puncture that went all the way through to the center.  The rules say this makes it ineligible.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


"I Have a Dream" is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination. The speech, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, was a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement. Delivered to over 200,000 civil rights supporters, the speech was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century by a 1999 poll of scholars of public address. According to U.S. Representative John Lewis, who also spoke that day, "Dr. King had the power, the ability, and the capacity to transform those steps on the Lincoln Memorial into a monumental area that will forever be recognized. By speaking the way he did, he educated, he inspired, he informed not just the people there, but people throughout America and unborn generations."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


New Element 115, Ununpentium, May Join Periodic Table

The periodic table of the elements has grown ever since the first version was published by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. And now scientists in Sweden suggest it's time to add yet another element to the table.

Now, a new set of experiments backs up the discovery of one of those elements. An international team of physicists has synthesized an element with 115 protons in the GSI accelerator in Germany. This isn't the first time a research group has synthesized the element, which has the temporary name of ununpentium (Latin for one-one-five, plus "-ium.") A team of Russian and U.S. scientists first made ununpentium in the early 2000s and published a paper about it in 2006. However, at the time, the IUPAC didn't consider that enough evidence to officially recognize—or name—ununpentium. The new GSI studies are another step toward official recognition.

Dr. Rudolph and his team synthesized element 115 by blasting calcium ions (with 20 protons) at a film of americium, a radioactive element with 95 protons. Super-heavy elements like ununpentium decay rapidly, so the team measured the photons (light particles) released by the decay of the sample. They confirmed that the energy of the photons matched up with the element's expected radioactive "fingerprint."

If added to the periodic table, element 115 would join its recently named neighbors, livermorium and flerovium (elements 114 and 116), which were added to the table in 2011.


for more information:

still more information:

and still more:

Monday, August 26, 2013


No one, witch or otherwise, was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials.  Most were hanged.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


The History of Zero

In today's modern mathematics, we have become accustomed to zero as a number. It's hard to believe that most ancient number systems didn't include zero. The Mayan civilization may have been among the first to have a symbol for zero. The Mayas flourished in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico about 1300 years ago. They used the as a placeholder, in a vertical place-value system. It is considered one of their cultures greatest achievements.

The ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks alike had no symbol for zero. In Greek geometry, zero and irrational numbers were impossible. The Greeks made great strides in mathematics, but it was all done with a number system without zero. The Greek astronomer Ptolemy (ca. C.E. 150) was the first to write a zero at the end of a number. For this he used a circular symbol.

In ancient Babylonian history there was no use of the zero. In the later Babylonian or during the Seleucid period a special symbol, which was also used as a separation mark between sentences, came into use for a zero. There's a definite possibility that the Babylonians used this mark for a zero within a number, as early as the end of the eighth century B.C.E.  Up until the time of Aristotle, there seems to be no evidence that the Babylonians ever regarded zero as a number. Aristotle discussed division by zero in connection with speed through a vacuum.

Throughout the Dark Ages, Western mathematics was held back by the Roman's traditional numbering system. The first to think differently was Leonardo Fibonacci. He was a merchant's son, born in the Italian city-state Pisa, late in the twelfth century. In Pisa, he studied the work of Euclid and other Greek mathematicians. When he was still a boy, he moved to the Muslim city of Bugia, in North Africa. There he examined leather and furs before they were shipped back to Pisa. Leonardo got an education in Arabic culture as he traveled around the Mediterranean to Constantinople, Egypt and Syria. He recognized that the Hindu-Arabic numerals, the numerals we use today, were superior to the Roman numerals he had grown up with in the West.

In the sixth century, mathematicians in India developed a place-value system. They introduced the concept of zero to keep their symbols in their proper places. In the seventh century, Hindu scholars introduced to Islam the ideas of zero and place-value. These ideas spread rapidly throughout the Arabic world. Six centuries later, Fibonacci was so impressed with the ease of Hindu-Arabic numerals that he wrote a book entitled Liber abaci.

The Pisan local merchants, the trading class, ignored Fibonacci's book. They were wallowing in prosperity and did not want to be bothered with giving up Roman numerals and adopting a zero. Ferbonacci's mathematician friends liked the new number system and slowly over time gave up the Roman numerals. By the fifteenth century, the numerals were showing up on coins and gravestones. Western mathematics had emerged from the Dark Ages, and was flourishing into a new number system with a zero, the Hindu-Arabic numerals. The immediate advances in mathematics after that time are proof of the importance of, the zero.

  completely stolen from another website, where this was contributed by Pam Nye

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thursday, August 22, 2013


"Double Stuf" Oreos only have 1.86 times as much "stuf" as regular Oreos.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Countries that are on our weird measurement system, rather than the way superior metric system:  US, Myanmar, and Liberia.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


An Austrian collector has found what may be the oldest globe, dated 1504, to depict the New World, engraved with immaculate detail on two conjoined halves of ostrich eggs.

The globe, about the size of a grapefruit, is labeled in Latin and includes what were considered exotic territories such as Japan, Brazil and Arabia. North America is depicted as a group of scattered islands. The globe’s lone sentence, above the coast of Southeast Asia, is “Hic Sunt Dracones.”

for more information:

Monday, August 19, 2013


To the Kikuyu tribe of central Kenya, the number 10 is considered bad luck. In fact, “10” is so feared that no one speaks it aloud; they just skip that number when counting anything—especially people, since it’s thought to be particularly bad luck to count humans.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Densuke Black Watermelon

Also imported and exported from Japan, the Densuke Black Watermelon is an exquisite fruit only grown on the Japanese island of Hokkaido where only 10,000 are produced annually. One of the 17-pound fruits can be sold for $6,100.

Friday, August 16, 2013


911 Operator to the Rescue After Bride's Dress Is Stolen

A bride whose wedding dress had been stolen got the surprise of her life when a 911 dispatcher stepped in — and saved her wedding day.

Last Sunday, a Washington-based bride-to-be (her name was withheld for privacy) was inside her home on the morning of her wedding, preparing for the ceremony, when someone broke into her car and stole her wedding dress, among other belongings.

Panicked, the woman called 911 to report the crime, and Candice (she declined to provide her last name), a dispatcher at Valley Communications, the local 911 center, answered the call. “We deal with theft calls every day, but this one really touched me,” Candice, 28, told Yahoo! Shine. “I handled the situation as I normally would, but inside, I really sympathized. I couldn’t imagine someone stealing my wedding dress. All I kept thinking was, ‘I have a wedding dress. Maybe she could wear that.’”

By the time Candice got off the phone, she had made her decision: “I wanted her to wear my wedding dress.” So, after getting her supervisor's approval (and with no idea of the woman’s weight, height, or personal taste), Candice asked the responding officer to offer the woman the dress that Candice had worn on her own wedding day 18 months earlier.

“The woman was definitely surprised but very grateful,” Candice shared. “She also asked to see a photo, which, being a female, I totally understood.” Candice texted a picture of the dress to the officer, who, in turn, showed it to the bride-to-be.

It was a match. The woman loved the dress. With only hours to spare, Candice made arrangements to deliver it. “However, that was the difficult part,” she said.

Fortunately, Candice's husband, Brandon, was home, having canceled plans to go camping that weekend. “I called him and asked, ‘Can you do me a huge favor and pick up my wedding dress at my parents' home?’ He was really surprised, but once I explained the situation, he was happy to help," she recounted.

Brandon made a stop at Candice’s brother Peter’s house to pick up house keys before making the 20-minute drive to his in-laws' home. But there were still obstacles ahead. When he arrived, he discovered that Peter had given him the wrong set, so Peter had to drive over to let him in. "Meanwhile, I had no idea where the dress was, so I texted my parents, ‘Emergency. Call me,'" recounted Candice. "They told me that the dress was in the attic."

After Brandon located the bride’s fiancé, he delivered the dress to their home shortly before the ceremony was set to begin. “I’m so happy that I was able to help this woman,” Candice said. “She was very grateful and texted me a photo of her wearing the dress. I would do it all over again, if I could.”
Candace (the operaror) in her dress


Thursday, August 15, 2013



is a fear of long words.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Pioneer Courthhouse Square, Portland's "living room," is where people go to see and be seen and just hang out.

Located on the east side of the square is a whimsical directional signpost with distances shown to nine sister-cities and other geographical destinations--both near and far. The marker is easy to understand as it should be. The furthest distance on the direction sign is Crozet Basin 12,419 Mi.

There are two signs pointing to Crozet Basin, pointing in opposite directions, since Crozet Basin is exactly halfway around the world from Portland.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Approximately 2,500 lefties die each year in accidents with right handed tools.

Monday, August 12, 2013


When you divide googolplex (10^(10^100)) by 7 the remainder is 4.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Someone was building a 20 story skyscraper in Spain.  Then they decided to go bigger, and make it 47 floors instead.  But when they planned the additional 27 floors, they forgot to put in an elevator.  No one is sure what will be done with the building.

for more information: 47-story-skyscraper-in-benidorm-spain-lacks-an-elevator-

or more information: a-47-story-high-rise-has-a-tall-problem-they-forgot-the-elevators/

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Einstein's brain weighed 1230 grams.

The average male brain weighs 1360 grams.

Friday, August 9, 2013


Last Monday (Aug 5, 2013) , some people attempted to set a new world record for the largest gathering of people in their underwear.  The gathering was in Times Square.  Unfortunately, they only had 779 people, far below the previous record of 2,270 set in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, on September 24, 2011.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Eighty Eight is an unincorporated town in Barren County, Kentucky, United States. It is part of the Glasgow Micropolitan Statistical Area and is 10 miles east of Glasgow on State Highway 90. The town's biggest claim to fame was the celebration of August 8, 1988 (08/08/88). People with an affinity for the number 8 descended upon the town from various parts of the nation and world, and the celebration was televised on national television.

As reported in a New York Times article, the town was named in 1860 by Dabnie Nunnally, the community's first postmaster. He had little faith in the legibility of his handwriting, and thought that using numbers would solve the problem. He then reached into his pocket and came up with 88 cents.

The only store in this small town was opened and run by the Richardson Brothers. It was the main source for feed, grocery, hardware and farm needs. It was closed in the late 1980s. The building was restored in 2005 and reopened as the Eighty Eight General Store. The historic post office (Zip Code 42130) was kept intact and is now open to the public. It is no longer in service however and was discontinued in 1984.

Eighty Eight is home to a congregation of the Church of Christ. Although sometimes mistakenly called Eighty Eight Church of Christ, the proper name is Refuge Church of Christ.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


3531 is a value of n for which φ(n) = φ(n-2) - φ(n-1).

The totient function phi(n) is defined as the number of positive integers <=n that are relatively prime to (i.e., do not contain any factor in common with) n, where 1 is counted as being relatively prime to all numbers.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013



Created by Knipschildt, the Chocopologie is the most expensive piece of chocolate from across the globe. The handmade truffle consists of 70% Valrhona cacao and can be ordered at $2,600 per pound.

Monday, August 5, 2013


Just in case you're too cheap to get HBO, "khaleesi" means "queen" in the fictional language of the Dothraki from Game of Thrones. Despite being more of a title than a name, last year the word showed up on the birth certificates of 146 American baby girls whose parents apparently anticipate them to blossom into sexy dragon ladies who get nude a lot.

Considering that the novels have existed since 1996 and the name only showed up after the HBO series started, it's safe to say that once GoT is taken off the air, "Khaleesi" will go back to sounding like a stripper of mysterious ethnicity who does weird things with snakes in public. (Which isn't too far from the source material, actually.)

There’s no greater gift you can give a child than a lifetime of having to explain her dumb name came from a TV show.

Saturday, August 3, 2013


A googol is the large number 10^100; that is, the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes:
The term was coined in 1938[1] by 9-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner. Kasner popularized the concept in his 1940 book Mathematics and the Imagination.

A googol has no particular significance in mathematics, but is useful when comparing with other very large quantities such as the number of subatomic particles in the visible universe or the number of hypothetically possible chess games. Edward Kasner used it to illustrate the difference between an unimaginably large number and infinity, and in this role it is sometimes used in teaching mathematics.

A googol is approximately 70!

Friday, August 2, 2013


197 is the smallest prime that is the sum of seven consecutive primes:  

197 = 17 + 19 + 23 + 29 + 31 + 37 + 41.

Thursday, August 1, 2013