Noah Webster is responsible for what is known as American English.
He believed English spelling rules were too complex and in his 1828 book, The American Dictionary of the English Language, he changed the spelling of words like ‘colour’ to ‘color’ and ‘centre’ to ‘center’.
He learnt 26 languages during the time he was writing his dictionary in order to better evaluate the etymology of words.
Some of those languages included Anglo-Saxon, Gothic, German, Latin, Greek, Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, Welsh, Russian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit.
During those times Americans in different parts of the country used different types of vocabulary. The also spelled, pronounced and used words differently. Webster hoped that he could standardize American speech.
Webster’s dictionaries brought about a redefinition of Americanism in a time of unstable American cultural identity.
He saw language as a tool to control wayward thoughts and his American Dictionary underlined the virtues of social control over human passions and even individualism. It emphasized submission to authority, and fear of God.
After Noah’s death George and Charles Merriam got the publishing and revision rights for Webster’s 1840 edition of the dictionary but after a series of law suits they lost the rights to exclusively use the name “Webster”. The name was then changed to Merriam-Webster, Incorporated.
Drugs are bad for you. There’s no doubt that messing with the body’s chemistry can have some serious side effects that can permanently alter the way it functions.
However, in some cases drugs can be used to unlock the great mysteries in the brain, permanently bettering society.
Such was the case with Kary Mullis, a Nobel Prize-winning biochemist who was grateful for his LSD use.
Mullins goes into great detail about his trips with various psychedelic amphetamines and a less-than-stellar trip on DET in his autobiography.
He was never shy about sharing his abundant use of LSD in the 1960s and early 1970s while living in Berkeley, California, and he claims it was a mind-opening experience. He credits it with many of his discoveries over any course he took in school.
In fact, he attributes LSD with helping him develop the polymerase chain reaction that helps amplify specific DNA sequences, which is a commonly used technique in molecular biology today. He was certain he wouldn’t have invented the technique if it wasn’t for that trippy drug.
There is an actual website devoted to giving the information of the next mooning for Amtrak trains. It’s been a tradition for 33 years! They have also been doing an annual mooning of the Metrolink for 7 years.
Everyone can meet up along the chain link fence across from the Mugs Away Saloon in Laguna Niguel, California. The tradition lasts all day. The website gives driving directions to the spot and suggests that you arrive by the Metrolink, because it is too congested to come by car.
They ask for volunteers to help set up, but no one is specifically in charge. The Mooning Day is supposed to be a fun and law abiding tradition. The sheriff does make his rounds, so no alcohol or genital showing is allowed. They even have ‘night mooning’ after 8pm. Don’t miss the festivities!
Russian geneticist, Dmitry K. Belyaev, wanted to find out how wild animals originally became domesticated.
He believed animals were originally selected based on their tamability traits, and not based on physical features or strengths.
He wanted to test his theory and started an ongoing experiment that has been running for over 50 years!
He chose the silver fox, a species similar to dogs in its taxonomy, but also a species that has never before been domesticated.
During this experiment, breeding of the foxes were very closely monitored to ensure that absolutely no inbreeding occurred.
After forty years of intense selective breeding, the aggressive nature of wild foxes had completely disappeared from the domesticated foxes and they now display similar characteristics to dogs. They love human contact and will lick and sniff humans, but also have the independent traits of house cats.
What’s most fascinating, though, is that they changed in appearance and no longer look like their wild family members!
Some of the domesticated foxes have floppy ears and even their fur color changed. Some of the foxes now have a star pattern on their faces like certain domesticated dog breeds.
The domesticated foxes also have shorter legs and broader and shorter muzzles than their wild counterparts.
The experimenters who have kept these foxes as pets say that they are amazingly good-natured animals and just as devoted as dogs.
Maybe silver foxes will become the next man’s best friend?
Reading Rainbow was an American kiddie’s television series that encouraged children to read.
It aired from 1983 to 2006 and garnered over 200 broadcast awards, including a Peabody Award and 26 Emmy Awards!
On 10 November 2006 the show was however cancelled despite its huge popularity.
LeVar Burton said that, ironically, the show was cancelled because of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001!
No Child Left Behind is a United States Act of Congress that supports standards-based education reform.
LeVar re-launched ‘Reading Rainbow’ as an internet program and on 20 June 2012 the Reading Rainbow App was released for the iPad.
LeVar was criticized for being a ‘for-profit’ company and responded by saying: “Well, yes, we are. And the idea that ‘Reading Rainbow’ was free when it was on television is really a mischaracterization of the way PBS works. There may have been no immediate costs to the consumer, but it wasn’t free. It was paid for by the government, and by viewers like you.”
When he was asked if the show was not originally cancelled because it was ineffective, he said: “’Reading Rainbow’ was not cancelled because it was not effective.
‘Reading Rainbow’ was the most used television resource in our nation’s classroom. In 2009, it was cancelled due to No Child Left Behind. That government policy made a choice between teaching the rudiments of reading and fostering a love of reading. “
Sports have always been a world’s stage for breaking down barriers in society.Some of the biggest and best movements in civil liberties took place on the baseball field, running track, and wrestling ring.
One such example is from a white wrestler who stood up for African American rights.
Roscoe Monroe Brumbaugh, best known as Sputnik Monroe, was famous for setting an attendance record that lasted until the Monday Night Wars era in 1995.
Born in 1928, he started his career by wrestling in traveling carnivals. He quickly became a favorite in Memphis, Tennessee, where segregation was the norm.
He was the biggest wrestling draw of his time, but made a distinct cultural statement when he refused to come out until black patrons were allowed to sit in any seat at the Ellis Auditorium instead of being confined to the “colored section.”
It was a small step for equality, but the meaning behind it was much larger than the sport of wrestling.
There is a part of the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Namibia and south of Angola that has a really nasty reputation, adopting the name Skeleton Coast, “The Land God Made in Anger,” and “The Gates of Hell.”
Not exactly the best marketing campaign to attract some vacationing families.
The name Skeleton Coast came from John Henry Marsh when he wrote the story of Dunedin Star I, published in 1944.
Dense ocean fogs crop up most of the year, heavy rainfall, and an inhospitable climate make it a horrible place to be. Before powered boats, it was impossible to launch from the shore due to the heavy surf, and the only way out was through a marsh hundreds of miles in length, accessible only by a desert.
It was given the ominous name due to the whale and seal bones that littered the shore from the dreaded whaling industry. Now, the skeletons are mostly that of shipwrecks that were caught by the hidden rocks and thick fog.
If you can get to the beach, I hear it’s a nice place for surfing!
The Russian chemical scientist, Dmitry Mendeleev, is widely known for developing the periodic table of elements.
But in Mendeleev’s mind, this area of study was not his forte.
Mendeleev said: “Do you think I’m a chemist? I actually am a political economist.”
He was right.
He created a development program for Russia based on industry instead of agriculture and by the end of 1890, when Russia started facing serious economic problems, Mendeleev’s authority on the subject started to be recognized.
He calculated the country’s custom tariffs and according to Maxim Savchenko, a professor at the Russian Customs Academy, “Not a single important decision concerning trade and industry was carried out without Mendeleev’s approval.”
Mendeleev predicted that oil would become a key component of the world economy and was the first to suggest the idea of using pipelines to transport the resource.
“Of the three major schools of thought in Russian economics, the most meaningful today is based on the ideas of Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleev,” said Mikhail Antonov, an economist at the Moscow-based Institute of Russian Civilization.
The Arctic Monkeys are an indie rock band from England.
With the charting of their fifth, most recent album, AM, they became the first independent-label band to debut at number one in the UK with their first five albums.
To support the album, they were scheduled to perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on 9 October 2013, before starting a 100 concert tour in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.
They didn’t get to play that show, however, because Kimmel’s guest Kanye West talked for too long.
A week later the band performed the first two singles form the album, “Do I Wanna Know?” and “R U Mine?” on the show’s outdoor stage.
The album was the second fastest selling album of the year, trailing only Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, and featured in many end of year lists as one of the best of 2013. It even made it to NME magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
If you hear the word ‘migraine’, you probably think of a debilitating, throbbing headache.
But a migraine doesn’t always have to include a headache.
There is such a thing as a silent migraine. Sufferers of silent migraines do not come off easy, just because they do not experience the pain phase.
Typical migraines come in four phases.
The pre-headache phase can include muscle stiffness, mood changes, fatigue and food cravings. These symptoms can occur hours or days before the onset of a migraine.
Then there is the ‘Aura’ phase that sets in immediately before the headache comes. These include changes in the visual field, like flashing lights or zig-zag lines. It can also include hallucinations that include scents and sounds.
Sufferers of silent migraines experience both these phases in its full intensity and sometimes the hallucinations are even worse for those who suffer from this type of migraine.
Typical migraine sufferers will then experience the intense headache that silent sufferers do not.
The post-headache phase, which silent migraine sufferers also do not go without, is when the depression or euphoria sets in, difficulty concentrating or thinking is experienced and some people also describe it as like suffering from a bad hangover.
A silent migraine can be very frightening because the visual symptoms are acute and still very disruptive to daily activities. Because there are no headaches, sufferers and those around them don’t always realize what’s happening.