Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Anonymous Thoughts

The English word anonymous is taken from the Latin word anonymus, which in turn was taken from the Greek anōnymos. Its first known use in English was in 1563.

The meaning of the word anonymous is: (1) without any name acknowledged; (2) of unknown name; (3) a name withheld; and (4) lacking individuality, unique character or distinction.

Throughout verbal and literary history, there have been many great thoughts expressed by unknown people. Many of these wise sayings have become part of the common wisdom and the proverbs of the English language. However, no one knows to whom they should be attributed.

*     *      *

1. God helps those who help themselves.
2. There are no such things as strangers, only friends that we have not yet met.
3. He who dies with the most toys is, nevertheless, still dead.
4. Great minds think alike.
5. A coward dies a thousand death; the brave die only once.
6. Dare to be wise.
7. A guilty conscience need no accuser.
8. By courage, I repel adversity.
9. Do not steal. The government hates the competition.
10. Sometimes insanity is the only alternative.
11. Good friends are hard to find, harder to leave, and impossible to forget.
12. Learn from yesterday; live for today; hope for tomorrow.
13. This is penny wise and pound foolish.
14. Never assume, for it makes an ASS out of both U and ME.
15. The difference between genius and stupidity it that genius has its limits.
16. Tis the advisor who suffers from bad advice.
17. You add insult to injury.
18. Actions speak louder than words.
19. By courage, I mean repel adversity.
20. Discretion is the better part of valor.
21. No man deserves punishment for his thoughts.
22. Write a wise saying and your name will live forever.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Word-games: The Mensa Invitational

Mensa  is the largest and oldest high IQ society in the world.  It is a non-profit organization open to people who score at the 98th percentile or higher on a standardized, supervised IQ or other approved intelligence test. Mensa is formally composed of various national groups and the umbrella organization Mensa International located in the United Kingdom. The word mensa is Latin for table. The word was chosen as the name of the organization as a symbolized to indicate the round-table nature of the organization, in other words, the coming together of equals.

Each year, the newspaper The Washington Post, holds a word contest called the Mensa Invitational. The contest invited readers to take any word from the dictionary; alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter; and supply a new definition. The 2012 winning entries are listed below.
Here are the  winners:

1.Cashtration (n.):  The act of buying a house, which renders
the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2.Ignoranus:  A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3.Intaxicaton:  Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts
until you realize it was  your money to start with.

4.Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5.Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people
that stops bright ideas from  penetrating. The bozone layer,
unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

6.Foreploy:  Any misrepresentation about yourself for
the purpose of getting  laid.

7. Giraffiti :  Vandalism spray-painted very, very  high

8.Sarchasm:  The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the
person who doesn't get  it.

9.Inoculatte:  To take coffee intravenously when you are running

10.Osteopornosis:  A degenerate disease. (This one got extra

11.Karmageddon:  It's like, when everybody is sending off all
these really bad vibes,  right? And then, like, the Earth explodes
and it's like, a serious bummer.

12.Decafalon(n.):  The grueling event of getting through the day
consuming only things that are  good for you.

13.Glibido:  All talk and no action.

14.Dopeler  Effect:  The tendency of stupid ideas to seem
smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15.Arachnoleptic Fit (n.):  The frantic dance performed just
after you've accidentally walked through a  spider web.

16.Beelzebug(n.):  Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into
your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17.Caterpallor (n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm
in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are:

1.Coffee,  n.. The person upon whom one coughs.

2.Flabbergasted,  adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one
has gained.

3.Abdicate,  v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt  an explanation while drunk.

5.Willy-nilly,  adj. Impotent.

6.Negligent,  adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing
only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v.. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle,  n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9.Flatulence,  n. Emergency vehicle that  picks up someone
who has been run over by a steamroller.

10.Balderdash,  n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11.Testicle,  n. A humorous question on an exam.

12. Rectitude,  n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by

13.Pokemon,  n. A Rastafarian proctologist.

14.Oyster,  n. A person who sprinkles his conversation
with Yiddishisms.

15.Frisbeetarianism,  n. The belief that, after death, the soul
flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

News You May Have Missed, No. 38

1. While unemployment is growing in much of Europe, a powerful international organization is now advertising vacancies in Austria for hundreds of white-collar jobs. Requirements: a sense of religious mission and a commitment to celibacy. Benefits: a possible inside track to Heaven. Seeking to repopulate its thinning clerical ranks, the Roman Catholic diocese of Austria's largest province launched a province-wide billboard campaign Tuesday meant to recruit priests. And, the posters are also looking for part-time help, laymen and women prepared to dedicate at least part of their life to Catholic religious and social service. Such mass (no pun intended)  advertising for priests is rare anywhere and the decision of the Lower Austrian diocese to turn to it now reflects fears that the Catholic Church in this country many soon not be able to carry out its mission due to the lack of clergy. Austria formally remains an overwhelmingly Catholic nation with more than 64 percent of its people declaring themselves as church members. But many are Catholics in name only. Like elsewhere in much of Europe and America, Masses are poorly populated in Vienna and other bigger cities and the number of declared Catholics is shrinking  (in Austria by 13 percent since 1960)  as former believers fed up with church scandals and a perceived sense of the Vatican's disconnect with the world flee in droves. At the same time, however, the number of priests has dropped even more sharply, in Austria by 26 percent. In St. Poelten, Lower Austria's provincial capital, 244 priests are administering to the needs of believers in 423 parishes. Country-wide, the overwhelming majority of priests are over 60, and young replacements are scarce. Launching the billboard campaign Tuesday, Klaus Kueng, St. Polten's bishop, described the lack of interest in the priesthood as a huge problem. But Lukas Leitner, whose advertising agency developed the project, was optimistic that his strategy would bear fruit.Eighty large billboards and 300 smaller electric placards are being mounted in the province of 1.6 million people.  There have been more controversial campaigns. Recruitment billboards graphically depicting Christ's agony in the 1980s in Toronto drew outrage from some, while the Trinitarian Fathers advertised in Playboy and Rolling Stone magazines in the 1970s.
2. According to CEN/EUROPICS and the Daily Star newspaper, Fei Lin, 41, of the Niqiao village near Wenling City, in east China’s Zhejiang province, told police he was asleep when the thieves burst into his room, put a bag over his head and cut off his penis. They put something over my head and pulled down my trousers and then they ran off, Lin said. I was so shocked I didn't feel a thing. Then I saw I was bleeding and my penis was gone. Police believe the attackers were jealous lovers of several local women whom Lin was having affairs with, the Austrian Times reported. Lin denied taking part in any infidelity. Emergency workers and  police seached for Lin's penis but turned up nothing, according to TNT Magazine. The penis thieves were not found, but police said they are continuing to look for the jealous lovers.
3. An 11-year-old boy boarded a plane from Manchester, U.K., to Rome, Italy, on his own without a passport, tickets or boarding pass. He mingled with families to get through checks in Manchester's Terminal 1 Airport. He was found mid-air on the Jet2 plane after passengers became suspicious. The airline said no head count was carried out on this flight and they would now become mandatory. A Manchester Airport spokesman said a number of airline staff had been suspended. U.K. Transport Secretary Justine Greening said it was incredibly concerning. The youngster had been shopping with his mother when he went missing. Staff at the shopping centre were alerted and checked the center's closed circuit television which showed the boy leaving the complex before he made his way to the airport. The airport spokesman said the boy passed through security checks but was not asked to show any documentation. The boy went straight to the nearest aircraft that was boarding which was the flight to Rome and went through full security screening. He then flew to Rome, stayed on board the plane when it landed at Rome Fiumicino Airport, and was flown back to Manchester when the plane returned on Tuesday evening. The boy has been returned safely to his family. Jet2 Managing Director Ian Doubtfire said, We will make sure that this doesn't happen again.
4. According to a Dutch study, severely obese children are putting their heart at danger even while they are still in primary school. Heart disease is normally associated with middle age, but the early warning signs were detected in children between the ages of 2 and 12.Two-thirds of the 307 children studied had a least one early symptom such as high blood pressure. Two-year-olds with a Body Mass Index, a measure of obesity, greater than 20.5 are classed as severely obese. By the age of 18, a BMI of 35 is a sign of severe obesity. Researchers at the VU University Medical Centre in Amsterdam collected data from the Dutch Pediatric Surveillance Unit between 2005 and 2007.They looked at warning signs of heart disease in the severely obese children. Remarkably, 62% of severely obese children under 12 years of age already had one or more cardiovascular risk factors, the study concluded. More than half had high blood pressure, and there were also cases of low "good cholesterol" and high blood sugar, which can result in Type 2 diabetes. The researchers said this may lead to cardiovascular disease in young adulthood. The findings were presented in Archives of Disease in Childhood. Obesity is a growing problem around the world with more people becoming obese and at a younger age.
5. A research charity has launched an animated film hoping it will encourage debate about the surge of women seeking "designer vaginas". The film called Centrefold, funded by the Wellcome Trust, features 3 women discussing how labiaplasty, the surgical reduction of the inner labia, has affected them. Last year in the U.K,, more than 2000 labiaplasties were carried out and in the last five years there has been a fivefold increase in the procedure. Experts believe the total number is likely to be much higher when considering the unregulated private sector, where the surgery costs upwards of £3,000. Despite the increase in labiaplasty there are no universal guidelines on the size and shape of normal female genitalia. And, researchers say there is little known about the long term effects and are concerned women are not receiving enough psychological support before opting for surgery. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons is calling for mandatory psychological screening before cosmetic surgery. It said a recent report found that routine psychological checks were carried out in fewer than 35% of clinics. Dr Lih-Mei Liao, a consultant clinical psychologist at University College London Hospitals, believes that a woman's anxiety or dissatisfaction with certain areas of her life may manifest itself as body image concerns. Surgery may have its place, but it needs to be seen as an extreme solution, she added. Consultant gynecologist, Dr Sarah Creighton, said that her clinic sees girls as young as 11 years old seeking surgery. She found that although a small percentage of women do have abnormal labia, in the majority of cases those with concerns had what she would consider a normal sized labia. And, she said that the trend for more extreme pubic grooming leaves the labia more exposed, something which has contributed to more women seeking surgery. What we should be doing... is looking at alternatives to surgery so that women have other options, rather than resorting to an operation about which we know very little, she added.
6.  One of the most primitive snake fossils ever found hints that the slithery reptiles might have originated on land, not in the sea as has been proposed. The animal, which lived at the same time as the dinosaurs, probably emerged from a line of burrowing reptiles that lost their legs. Where and how snakes diverged from their legged cousins the lizards has been a mystery. Details of the find appear in the journal, Nature. The debate over snake origins has been complicated by the scarcity of transitional fossils, those with features in between two groups of creatures. But, new fossils from eastern Wyoming, US, belonging to the ancient snake  called Coniophis precedens  which lived some 65-70 million years ago, could help clear up the mystery. According to the analysis by Nicholas Longrich from Yale University and colleagues, Coniophis lived in a floodplain environment and lacks adaptations for aquatic locomotion. They describe it as a transitional snake, combining a snake-like body and a lizard-like head. This thing quite probably would have had small legs, Dr. Longrich told the AFP news agency. The ancient reptile's small size along with the physical features of its spine suggests that it burrowed. And, analysis of its jaws show that it fed on relatively large, soft-bodied prey. But, it did not have the flexible jaws that allow modern-day snakes to swallow prey many times their own body size. The genesis of the Serpentes (the biological name that defines what we understand as snakes) that began with the evolution of a novel means of locomotion, followed by adaptations facilitating the ingestion of ever larger prey, thereby enabling snakes to exploit a wider range of ecological niches, the researchers write in Nature journal.
7. Twenty-one German soldiers entombed in a perfectly preserved World War One shelter have been discovered 94 years after they were killed. The men were part of a larger group of 34 who were buried alive when an Allied shell exploded above the tunnel in 1918 causing it to cave in. Thirteen bodies were recovered from the underground shelter but the remaining men had to be left under a mountain of mud as it was too dangerous to retrieve them. Nearly a century later French archaeologists stumbled upon the mass grave on the former Western Front during excavation work for a road building project. Many of the skeletal remains were found in the same positions the men had been in at the time of the collapse, prompting experts to liken the scene to the Ancient Roman city of Pompeii after the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. A number of the soldiers were discovered sitting upright on a bench, one was lying in his bed and another was in the fetal position having been thrown down a flight of stairs. Besides the bodies, personal effects such as boots, helmets, weapons, wine bottles, spectacles, wallets, pipes, cigarette cases and pocket books were also found. Even the skeleton of a goat was found, assumed to be a source of fresh milk for the soldiers. Archaeologists believe the items were so well preserved because hardly any air, water or lights had penetrated the trench. The 300-foot long tunnel was located 18-feet beneath the surface near the small town of Carspach in the Alsace region in France. Archaeologists also uncovered the wooden sides, floors and stairways of the shelter. The dead soldiers were part of the 6th Company, 94th Reserve Infantry Regiment. Their names are all known. It is estimated that over 165,000 World War I soldiers are still unaccounted for.
8. Two years after he became the first child to receive a stem cell-supported trachea (windpipe) transplant, a 13-year-old boy is able to breathe normally, has grown about four inches taller, does not require any anti-rejection drugs and has returned to school. Ciaran Finn-Lynch, born with a structural defect of his large airway, underwent the transplant in March 2010 at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. After his windpipe was removed, it was replaced by a windpipe from a deceased donor in Italy. The windpipe was stripped of the donor's cells down to the inert structure of collagen. Tissue from the lining of Finn-Lynch's windpipe was implanted in the new windpipe to kick-start the growth of a lining in the new windpipe. The surgeons laced the transplanted windpipe with Finn-Lynch's own bone marrow stem cells to prevent his body from rejecting the new organ. The teen also received compounds to promote the growth and differentiation of cells within the new windpipe. It was the first attempt to grow stem cells within the body of a child who had this type of operation, rather than in a laboratory, according to an article published online in The Lancet.
9. Japanese women have fallen behind Hong Kong in global life expectancy rankings for the first time in 25 years. This was partly due to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit the country in March 2011, said an annual report by Japan's health ministry. The expected lifespan for Japanese women dropped from 86.30 years in 2010 to 85.90 years in 2011. The official life expectancy for women in Hong Kong last year was 86.70 years. Japan has topped the women's rankings for a quarter of a century, with longevity attributed in part to a healthy traditional diet. The magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that left more than 20,000 dead or missing pushed the life expectancy down.  However the report noted that even without the disaster Japanese women would still have dropped behind Hong Kong in the statistics. Other factors contributing to the dip included a rise in the number of suicides among Japanese women, disease and other natural death causes, the report said. The life expectancy for men in Japan also declined from 79.55 in 2010 to 79.44 last year. The men dropped from fourth place in 2010 to eighth last year in the global life expectancy ranking, said Japan's Kyodo news agency.
10. News spread around New York City this week about the discovery of a grisly-looking, bloated, unidentified animal under the Brooklyn Bridge. Various New York media outlets like The Village Voice, Gothamist, and Fox News and overseas news sources such as the U.K.'s The Telegraph reported on the dead animal and showed its picture. The photo raised questions of its similarity to another grotesque creature that washed ashore in Montauk, N.Y., in 2008.  Denise Ginley previously told The Huffington Post, We found the dead creature lying on the strip of sand beside the East River, on the Manhattan side. ... It looked like the tide probably washed the carcass up there along with some driftwood. The pictures snapped by Ginley showed something that looks very much like an unusual animal with a hairless body and beak and claw. A similar dead animal found on the beach in Montauk, New York, was named the Montauk Monster by Loren Coleman, director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine, U.S.A.  Ever since 2008, when I investigated the media madness over the stranded, decomposing unknown 'thing' found on the beach at Montauk, unfortunately, every dead animal body, every carcass, has taken on fantastic creature importance, Coleman  said. But all have been found to be dead raccoons, dogs, swine, seals, dolphins, and even in one case, a dead sloth, he added.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Movie Massacre at Aurora, Colorado

Tom Mauser's 16-year-old son, Daniel, was among 13 people slaughtered in the school in a hail of gunfire that shocked the nation in 1999. The father of the student killed in the Columbine High School massacre 13 years ago spoke out Friday on the latest gun carnage, this time at a movie theater in another Denver suburb, and asked, How many more of these do we have to endure before we say this is enough?

It is a sobering fact that the day before the movie massacre in Aurora, Colorado, approximately 75 people Americans died from gun-related violence. In the month before, approximately 800 people died because of guns. In Syria, there was a massacre of 88 civilians and the U.S. and most of the world was outraged. Where was the outrage in the U.S. over 800 people who died in the U.S. because of gun violence?  Most of these victims were just nameless statistics and their murders were only locally reported at best.  But, when 12 victims of gun violence die all at once while watching the Batman movie, the nation is shocked, there are screaming headlines, profiles of the victims, flags flying at half staff, suspensions of political campaigns and an outpouring of national grief. For the 75, or 800, or 10,000, there is nothing. But, for the 12, there is hysteria. There is something wrong with that picture.

The Facts about the Aurora Shooting

In Aurora, Colorado, USA, a gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater in suburban Denver at a midnight opening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. Moviegoers didn't know what was happening and some thought the attack was part of the show. Then they saw a silhouette of a person in the smoke at the front of the theater near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd. I told my friend `we've got to get out of here,' but then he shot people trying to go out the exits, Jennifer Seeger told NBC television's Today program. She said the shooter made his way up the aisle, firing as he went, saying nothing.

Federal law enforcement officials identified the suspect as James Holmes, a 24-year-old American. Holmes is in police custody, and the FBI says there is no indication that incident is tied to any terrorist groups. The federal law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

Some of those injured are children, including a 3-month-old infant who was shot.

It was the worst mass shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999. Students Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, opened fire at the school in the Denver suburb of Littleton, about 15 miles west of Aurora, killing 12 classmates and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in the school's library.

Police officers later found the gunman near a car behind the theater. A gas mask, rifle, handgun at least one additional weapon were found inside the car. The suspect spoke of possible explosives in his residence. The suspect, James Holms, was taken into custody.

James Holmes is 24 years-old, grew up in San Diego, California, and lives in an apartment in Aurora, approximately five miles from the movie theater. He attends the University of Colorado and is a Ph.D. candidate in neurobiology. Authorities have found no significant criminal record and no terrorist affiliations. Investigators suspect he acted alone.


The Political Reaction to the Aurora Shooting

"There are going to be other days for politics. This, I think, is a day for prayer. Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come." - President Barack Obama

Note: He never once mentioned the word gun or gun violence.

Fact: America is the most gun violent country in the industrial world. And, the gun industry is bolstering a weak economy and has enormous power.

"Ann and I are deeply saddened by the news of the senseless violence that took the lives of 15 people in Colorado and injured dozens more. We are praying for the families and loved ones of the victims during this time of deep shock and immense grief. We expect that the person responsible for this terrible crime will be quickly brought to justice". - Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Note: He never once mentioned the word gun or gun violence.

Fact: The National Rifle Association has aligned itself with the Republican Party and is a major contributor to it. In return, a Republican-dominated Supreme Court rule that restricting gun ownership is unconstitutional and Republican-dominated state governments have made unrestricted and loose gun laws.  

"This is not only an act of extreme violence, it is also an act of depravity. It is beyond the power of words to fully express our sorrow this morning. Our prayers and condolences go first to the families of those killed, and we share the grief of everyone affected by this senseless event. We appreciate the swift work by local, state and federal law enforcement. Coloradans have a remarkable ability to support one another in times of crisis. This is one of those times." -Colorado Republican Governor John Hickenlooper.
Note: He calls it an act of depravity, implying that this is just an action of a deprived mind. But, he never once mentioned that the "depraved mind" used a gun or created gun violence.

Fact: Colorado, the scene of the Columbine High School massacre in which 12 high school students were killed, has looser gun laws now than when the Columbine incident took place.

"This senseless massacre of so many innocent people gathered with friends and family in a movie theater reminds us not only of the great evil that exists in the hearts of some, but of the great and precious gift of life." -Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
Note: He never once mentioned the word gun or gun violence.
Fact: He says that we should all appreciate life. Who does not do that? So, what he said is just rhetoric and meaningless.  But, what else can he say because he and his party are part of the problem.
"My thoughts and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families in this senseless act of violence. I've lived in Aurora almost all of my life and nothing like this has ever happened here. This was the type of violence that I would have expected when I served in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps but never here at home." - Colorado Republican Congressman, Mike Coffman (in whose district Aurora is in)
Note: He never once mentioned the word gun or gun violence.
Fact: A self-serving statement, he managed to get in that he served in the military and served in Iraq. He also managed to imply that Iraqis are  capable of this type of behavior but Americans should know better. But, they don't and that is the point.
"The shooting in the Aurora movie theater is a national tragedy, and the victims of this cruel and violent act are in my thoughts. Innocent people suffered a heartbreaking loss, but the victims and their families are not alone. Today, Americans take time to reflect on the value of life and the things that are most important to us, and mourn for those who lost what is most important to them. Everyone affected by this violent act will be in our hearts today and for a long time to come."  -Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Note: He never once mentioned the word gun or gun violence.
Fact: The Democratic Party is branded the party which is anti-gun. But in fact, the Democrats have done little to curb gun usage and gun violence, and Barack Obama actually expanded gun rights.
A Political Voice of Sanity
"You know, soothing words are nice, but maybe it's time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country. And everybody always says, 'Isn't it tragic,' and you know, we look for was the guy, as you said, maybe trying to recreate Batman. I mean, there are so many murders with guns every day, it's just got to stop. And instead of the two people, President Obama and Governor Romney, talking in broad things about they want to make the world a better place, okay, tell us how. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them concretely, not just in generalities - specifically what are they going to do about guns?"- Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York
Note: He mentioned the word gun.
The General Social Survey (GSS) is a primary source for data on firearm ownership, with surveys periodically done by other organizations such as Harris Interactive . In 2004, 36.5% of Americans reported having a gun in their home and in 1997, 40% of Americans reported having a gun in their homes. At this time there were approximately 44 million gun owners in the United States. That meant that 25 percent of all adults owned at least one firearm. These owners possessed 192 million firearms, of which 65 million were handguns. These number have radically increased because of the election of President Obama instigated by NRA Republican lies and propaganda the President has a secret plan to take away all guns from gun-owners. 

The United States is the gun violence capital of the world.  Here are the just a few of the startling numbers:
·       5 Average number of child deaths in gun-related accidents or suicide EVERY DAY.
·       9 Number of kids under 19 years old killed by guns EVERYDAY.
·       32 Number of states in the US that allow ANYONE to purchase firearms without an ID or criminal background check.
·       40 Percent of gun sales in the US occur without an ID or background check requirement.
·       40 Percent of American households that contain both children and guns.
·       83 Average number of Americans killed by guns EVERYDAY.
·       10,821 Average number of annual firearm homicides in the U.S.
·       34,000 Average number of Americans killed by guns EVERY YEAR.
·       $33,000 Average medical cost (80% uninsured) of a gun related death.
·       $300,000 Average cost (80% uninsured) of a gun related injury.
·       70,000 Average number of gun-related injuries EVERY YEAR.
·       1,035,000 Number of gun deaths in the US over the past 30 years.
·       $4 million NRA contributions to George W. Bush's 2004 campaign.
·       $18 million NRA contributions to Congressional candidates in the last four election cycles.
·       $40 million NRA contributions to John McCain's 2008 Presidential campaign.
·       $34 billion Annual US medical and productivity costs of gun injuries and deaths.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Knowledge Quiz, No. 40

              I dislike the term trivia. No knowledge is trivial. All information contributes to the whole of an intelligent human being. And, it is an essential part of critical thinking. That is why I did not call this a Trivia Quiz. Instead, I am calling it a Knowledge Quiz.
*    *    *    *
Knowledge Quiz, No. 40
The answers are at the bottom

1. What was the name of the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima?
2. Where was the truce signed which stopped  Korea War hostilities?
3. When and where did the U.S. attempt to invade Russia?
4. Who invented the laser?
5. Who was Coco Chanel?
6. Who wrote the opera, La Bohème?
7. Who was Vaclav Havel?
8. Who said, The quality of mercy is not strained?
9. What is the Ramayana?
10. What is a chuppah?
11. Who wrote the short story, The Necklace?
12. What is amontillado?
13. What is the retrograde  motion of Mars?
14. What is the capital of Brazil?
15. How many ribs does a cow have?
16. Who was Mary Cassatt?
17. Who are the Nubians?
18. What is an egret?                                                                                                                     
19. What is the cause of the disease, West Nile virus?
20. Who was El Cid?
1. The atomic bomb on Hiroshima was dropped from a Boeing B-29 Supperfortess bomber called the Enola Gay. The plane was named after Enola Gay Tibbets, mother of the pilot. (At that time, the pilot was  known as Colonel Paul Tibbits (1915-2007) but later he was made a Brigadier General.) The bomb was dropped on August 6,1945. The Enola Gay became the first aircraft to drop an atomic bomb as a weapon of war.

2. Panmunjom is an abandoned village on the border between North and South Korea where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement that paused the Korean War was signed. Meetings and discussions between the North and South still take place in blue buildings that straddle the Military Demarcation Line. The temporary truce in the fighting has been in effect for 69 years.

3. The United States, along with Canada, Great Britain, France, and Japan became entangled in the civil war which followed the Bolshevik revolution. In World War I, the Soviet government had negotiated a peace treaty with Germany removing Russia from the war. America and its allies joined with the White Russians, who promised to stay in the war, to fight the Red Army. The Allies feared that the major ports in northwest Russia,  Murmansk and Archangel would fall to Germany after Russia left the war. Millions of dollars of war supplies, mostly sent from the United States to Russia while they were still in the war, were stored in the docks and warehouses of Archangel. An allied force under British command was sent to Russia on August 3, 1918. They took the city of Archangel and pushed the Red Army (Bolshevik troops) south. At the request of the British, the United States sent a regiment to join the campaign. As the weather worsened, the troops fought through the winter in deep snow and intense cold against the Red Army, well after the fighting ceased on the Western Front in November. In May of 1919 American troops began to withdraw, replaced by fresh British troops and Russian White Army allies. To Americans, this campaign is a little known minor incident of World War I. But to the Russians, who had great pride in their ultimate victory, this was the American invasion.

4. Gordon Gould (1920 - 2005) was an American physicist who is widely credited with the invention of the laser. Gould is best known for his thirty-year fight with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to obtain patents for the laser and related technologies. He also fought with laser manufacturers in court battles to enforce the patents he subsequently did obtain. Gould's first laser patent was awarded in 1968.

5. Gabrielle "Coco" Bonheur Chanel (1883 - 1971) was a French fashion designer, founder of the Chanel brand of perfumes, jewelry and clothes. Her modernist thought, practical design, and pursuit of expensive simplicity made her an important and influential figure in fashion. She was the only fashion designer to be named on Time (magazine) 100: The Most Important People of the Century.

6. La Bohème is an opera in four acts by Giacomo Puccini (aka: Giacomo Antonio Domenico Michele Secondo Maria Puccini; 1858 - 1924) . It is based on the story Scènes de la vie de bohème by French novelist and poet, Henri Murger (aka: Louis-Henri Murger, Henri Murger, Henry Murger; (1822-1861, Paris). The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin, Italy, at the Teatro Regio in 1896.

7. Václav Havel (1936-2011) was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the ninth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989–1992) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He wrote more than 20 plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally. Havel was voted 4th in Prospect magazine's 2005 global poll of the world's top 100 intellectuals.

8.The quote the quality of mercy is not strained was penned by William Shakespeare (1564-1616) in his play, The Merchant of Venice. It was said by the character  in the play, Portia. The entire quote is:
The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

9. The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit language epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon (smrti).The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata. It depicts the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. Verses in the Ramayana are written in a 32-syllable meter called anustubh.

10. At a Jewish wedding, there is usually a chuppah, or wedding canopy. It is a covering often made of cloth held aloft on four poles and sometimes decorated with flowers. The chuppah is symbolic of the first roof the bride and groom share together, representing their new home. That there are no walls in this new home, encourages the couple to follow in the ways of Abraham and Sarah, whose tent was always open to guests.

11. The Necklace (French: La Parure) is a famous short story by Guy de Maupassant (1850-1893). It was first published in 1884 in the French newspaper Le Gaulois. The story has become one of de Maupassant's popular works and is well known for its surprise ending.

12. Amontillado is a variety of Spanish sherry. It is named after the Montilla region of Spain where the type of sherry originated in the 18th century. Amontillado must be fortified to approximately 17.5 percent alcohol so that it does not oxidize too quickly. Amontillado has dark color and rich flavor. The term Amontillado Sherry is a redundancy because Amontillado is a sherry and can be nothing other than a sherry.

13. The retrograde motion is the apparent reverse motion of a planetary body which appears to temporarily reverse its course and head in the opposite direction. It is an optical illusion based on the Earth's orbit and the other planet's orbit.  As seen from Earth, all the planets appear to periodically switch direction as they cross the sky. Mars retrogrades for 72 days every 25.6 months. Other planets which retrograde are Jupiter (121 days every 13.1 months), Saturn (138 days every 12.4 months), Uranus (151 days every 12.15 months), and Neptune (158 days every 12.07 months).

14. The capital of Brazil is Brasilia. The city was planned and developed in 1956 and on April 22, 1960, became Brazil's national capital. The residents of Brasília are known as brasilienses or candangos (the latter referring to those not born in the city but who migrated there when the city was established).

15. Cows have thirteen pairs of ribs. The ribs can get incredibly large depending upon the species of the cow.

16. Mary Stevenson Cassatt (1841-1926) was an American painter and printmaker. She lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas and later exhibited among the French Impressionists. Cassatt often created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children. Among her most famous works are: The Boating Party (1893-4), The Child's Bath (1893), Children at the Beach (1884).

17. The Nubians are an ethnic group originally from eastern North Africa between northern Sudan and southern Egypt. The Nubian people in Sudan inhabit the region between Wadi Halfa in the north and Aldaba in the south. The Nubians speak 4 different dialects of the Nubian language. Ancient Nubians were known for their skill and precision with the bow. The influx of Arabs to Egypt and Sudan has contributed to the suppression of the Nubian identity following the collapse of the last Nubian kingdom in 1900. The vast majority of the Nubians have converted to Islam and Arabic became their main language in addition to their own indigenous Nubian language.

18. An egret is any of several birds  most of which are white or buff, and several of which develop fine plumes (usually milky white) during the breeding season. The distinction between a heron and an egret is vague and depends more on appearance than biology. The word "egret" comes from the French word aigrette that means both silver heron and brush, referring to the long filamentous feathers that seem to cascade down an egret's back during the breeding season. In the 19th and early part of the 20th century, some of the world's egret species were endangered by relentless plume hunting for hat-makers.

19. West Nile virus (WNV) is found in both tropical and temperate regions and mainly infects birds but is known to also infect humans, horses, dogs, cats, bats. chipmunks, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, crocodiles and alligators. The main route of human infection is through the bite of an infected mosquito. Approximately 80% of West Nile virus infections in humans are without any symptoms. The West Nile virus produces one of three different outcomes in humans. The first is a symptomless infection. The second is a mild syndrome termed West Nile fever. The third is a neurological disease called West Nile meningitis or encephalitis.

20. El Cid (aka: El Cid Campeador [Spanish: The lord-master of military arts] and Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar;1043-1099), was a Castilian nobleman, military leader, and diplomat. Exiled from the court of the Spanish Emperor, El Cid went on to command an invading Moorish force consisting of Berbers, Arabs, Muladis and Malians. After the Christian defeat at the Battle of Sagrajas in 1086, El Cid was recalled to service by the emperor and commanded a combined Christian and Moorish army which he used to create his own fiefdom in the Moorish Mediterranean coastal city of Valencia. He is the subject of the oldest extant Spanish epic poem, Cantar de Mio Cid.  

News You May Have Missed, No. 36

1. The sleepy hamlet of Mittenwalde in eastern Germany could become one of the richest towns in the world if Berlin were to repay it an outstanding debt that dates back to 1562. A certificate of debt, found in a regional archive, attests that Mittenwalde lent Berlin 400 guilders on May 28 1562, to be repaid with six percent interest per year. According to Radio Berlin Brandenburg (RBB), the debt would amount to 11,200 guilders today, which is roughly equivalent to $136.79 million or 112 million Euros. Adjusting for compound interest and inflation, the total debt now lies in the trillions, by RBB's estimates. Town historian Vera Schmidt found the centuries-old debt slip in the archive, where it had been filed in 1963. Though the seal is missing from the document, Schmidt told Reuters that she was certain the slip was still valid. In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic, Schmidt said. Schmidt and Mittenwalde's Mayor Uwe Pfeiffer have tried to ask Berlin for their money back. Such requests have been made every 50 years or so since 1820 but always to no avail. Reclaiming the debt would bring significant riches to Mittenwalde, a seat of power in the middle ages, which now has a population of just 8,800. Red brick fragments of medieval fortifications still dot the leafy town centre. Schmidt and Pfeiffer met with Berlin's finance senator Ulrich Nussbaum, who ceremonially handed them a historical guilder from 1539. The guilder was put in a temporary display at the Mittenwalde museum. This case shows that debts always catch up with you, no matter how old they are, Nussbaum told the Berliner Zeitung newspaper. Berlin would have difficulty meeting Mittenwalde's demands anyway. According to a report released by the senate finance administration in June 2012, Berlin is already close to 63 million Euros in the red.


2. Researchers are perplexed by them and long-time residents of Hawaii have never seen anything like it before. According to Hawaii News Now (KHON television), several beachgoers have reported seeing pea-sized purple crabs by the droves on the shores of the island of O'ahu. It's really weird, it looks like you want to eat it like a little berry, one witness said. State wildlife said that the crabs may be washing up after rough seas left air bubbles in their shells, which prevented them from diving. It could be a flux of warm or cold water coming in but I don't have any signs of that, said marine biologist, Dr. Andrew Rossiter.  If it was pollution it would have affected other species as well, so we really don't know [why this is happening], he added. Though experts at the Waikiki Aquarium are speculating that they are likely 7-11 crabs (a species common in Hawaii) in its larvae stages, this type of event has never been seen before. 7-11 crabs can grow up to 7-inches tall. What you are seeing is a swimming stage, probably a few more molts before they settle into their crab stage self, explained Waikiki Aquarium biologist Norton Chan.Those that haven't died are reportedly being captured by Waikiki Aquarium researchers who hope to keep them alive long enough to see what they grow to become.


3. Scientists have discovered what appears to be an alien planet just two-thirds the size of Earth, a heat-blasted world perhaps covered in molten lava, a new study reports. Astronomers discovered the newfound alien planet, known as UCF-1.01, using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The diminutive world is just 33 light-years away, making it a near neighbor of Earth in the cosmic scheme of things. We have found strong evidence for a very small, very hot and very near planet with the help of the Spitzer Space Telescope, study lead author Kevin Stevenson, of the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, said in a statement. Identifying nearby small planets such as UCF-1.01 may one day lead to their characterization using future instruments.UCF-1.01 remains a planet candidate  rather than an officially recognized planet because researchers have yet to measure its mass. But, the discovery team thinks it's the real deal. Despite the lack of a confirmed mass, the team is confident future observations will verify our findings, said co-author Joseph Harrington, also of UCF. If UCF-1.01 ever had an atmosphere, it almost certainly has boiled away by now, researchers added. The planet could even be covered in magma, Harrington said. Stevenson and his colleagues weren't looking for new planets when they found UCF-1.01. It popped up unexpectedly in Spitzer observations of the Neptune-size exoplanet GJ 436b.


4. A man in Rochester, N.Y., U.S.A., who was arrested Tuesday for allegedly inappropriately touching children's feet, claims he's the victim of a setup by no less than President Barack Obama. Anthony Parri, 49, was arraigned on two felony sex abuse and endangering the welfare of a child charges. According to court documents obtained by WHAM-TV, Parri removed a child's shoe, fondled her foot, and pressed her foot up against his nose and mouth for sexual gratification. According to police, library staff reported the possible offense after a mother saw a suspicious man having contact with her daughter's foot. After confronting him, the man was escorted from the library and was detained and questioned by the police. Parri pleaded not guilty and claims the accusations are part of a conspiracy. I'm being set up by the President Barack Obama and the city and federal government, he said after the arraignment. My family was killed here. My uncle was killed here. This is a set up. They had women following me. Police are currently investigating five similar cases that occurred in two other nearby cities, Pittsford and Brighton. In those incidents a man approached young girls, ages 5 to 10, and licked their feet. According to court documents, Parri has two prior convictions for attempted murder and assault dating back to the early and late 1980's.

5. An iceberg twice the size of Manhattan has broken away from the Petermann Glacier in northern Greenland. Images from a NASA (U.S. National Aeronautic and Space Administration) satellite show the island breaking off a tongue of ice that extends at the end of the glacier. In 2010, an ice island measuring 250 square km (100 square miles) broke off the same glacier. The process that spawns icebergs which is known as calving is a natural, periodic process affecting all glaciers that terminate at the ocean. A previous calving event at the same glacier in 2010 created an iceberg twice the size of this one. Scientists have raised concerns in recent years about the Greenland ice shelf saying that it is thinning extensively amid warm temperatures. No single event of this type can be ascribed to changes in the climate. But some experts say they are surprised by the extent of the changes to the Petermann Glacier in recent years. It is not a collapse but it is certainly a significant event, Eric Rignot from NASA said in a statement. Some other observers have gone further. It's dramatic. It's disturbing, University of Delaware's Andreas Muenchow told the Associated Press. We have data for 150 years and we see changes that we have not seen before, Mr Muenchow added. The calving is not expected have an impact on sea levels as the ice was already floating. But, icebergs from the Petermann Glacier sometimes reach the waters off Newfoundland in Canada, posing a danger to shipping and navigation, according to the Canadian Ice Service.
6. A woman who got a new tattoo to celebrate her role in the Olympic torch relay was shocked to discover it had been spelt incorrectly. Jerri Peterson, from Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A., carried the torch through Derby, England, U.K., on 30 June after being nominated by the hotel chain for whom she worked. Before coming to England, she decided to spend money on a tattoo to mark the occasion. Only later did the 54-year-old realize it featured the misspelling Oylmpic. Mrs. Peterson was one of 70 international employees selected by her firm to take part in the relay as a thank you for her years of charity work. She said, I always wanted to have a tattoo but I never quite felt passionate about any one thing to have it put on my body permanently. So when I was selected for this wonderful honor, I thought 'That's it. I'm ready to have my tattoo'. Mrs. Peterson wanted to literally "mark" her role in the Olympic torch relay. She booked a session with what she called a really good tattoo artist in Georgia, and took a friend along for moral support. Initially she was delighted with how it looked and it was only when she sent a photo of the tattoo to a friend that the spelling mistake was pointed out. She said, I looked at it and I was so disappointed. I called my husband and he giggled a little bit. Then I started laughing about it and I've laughed ever since. Mrs. Peterson pointed out the mistake to the tattoo artist responsible but declined his offer to correct it. She said, He felt so bad when he found out. He wanted to fix it but I decided I want to keep it. It's fine. It's the Oy-limpics.  It's as unique as I am.
7. A Matisse painting stolen from a Venezuelan museum around 10 years ago may have been recovered by police in Miami. A man and a woman allegedly tried to sell Matisse's Odalisque a la culotte rouge to undercover FBI agents. Pedro Antonio Marcuello Guzman, 46, and Maria Martha Elisa Ornelas Lazo, 50, have been arrested and charged with possession of stolen goods. The 1925 painting has been valued at approximately 3 million dollars. The painting depicts a bare-chested woman sitting cross-legged on the floor wearing a pair of scarlet trousers. It was stolen approximately a decade ago from the Caracas Museum of Contemporary Art.In 2003 the museum discovered the original artwork had been replaced with a forgery after an art collector reported it was being offered for sale in New York. A press release from the Department of Justice on Wednesday claimed Mr. Marcuello had agreed to sell the painting for $740,000 after admitting it was stolen. Marcuello allegedly also admitted to the undercover agents during a meeting that he knew the painting was stolen and offered to sell it.


8. A "polypill" combining a statin with blood pressure drugs could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes every year, according to researchers. A UK study of 84 over-50s, published in the journal PLoS One showed the pill could cut blood pressure and levels of "bad" cholesterol. They called for the pill to be made available as a matter of urgency. But, the British Heart Foundation called for more research and said pills were not a substitute for a living a healthy life. The study conducted at Queen Mary, University of London investigated the polypill containing a statin and three blood pressure drugs, all of which are already widely used. Patients were given either a polypill or a dummy pill once a day for three months. Their treatments were then swapped so that over a six-month period they would have spent half the time taking the drug and half the time taking the sugar pill. The results suggested the polypill reduced blood pressure by 12% and LDL cholesterol by 39%. The study did not test the safety of the drug, but the researchers say all the components of the polypill have been used for decades. But, the polypill does not contain aspirin, which is already taken by some people to reduce their chances of a heart attack or stroke. It is thought the risk of causing internal bleeding outweighed those benefits for people with no history of cardiovascular disease. Dr. David Wald, consultant cardiologist, said: The health implications of our results are large. If people took the polypill from age 50, an estimated 28% would benefit by avoiding or delaying a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime. European and Canadian patents for a polypill are held by David Wald's father, Prof. Nicholas Wald.


9. It turned out to be a very bad day for Tavares Donnell Colbert. The 36-year-old Oklahoma, U.S.A., man accidentally shot himself in the genitals and then got arrested for it, The Weekly Vice reported. The police interviewed Colbert, a convicted drug dealer, while he was in the hospital. Colbert allegedly told officers that he found the gun somewhere in Kansas and had plans to sell it at a convenience store. He added that when he pulled over his truck that morning to make sure the gun worked, he found out that it did. He took a round to his groin, panicked and drove to the hospital. But, Colbert isn't allowed to carry a firearm because he's a convicted felon with a long rap sheet (list of criminal offences and convictions), so the police arrested him after he was treated for his wound and he was charged with illegal firearm possession according to reports in The Oklahoman newspaper and KOCO-TV. reported. All this comes from a guy who says that he cannot stand dumb people.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Great Thinkers, Great Thoughts, No. 17

1. We are all born mad; some remain so. - Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett (1906 -1989) was an Irish avant-garde playwright, novelist, poet, theater director who  wrote in both English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human nature, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humor. Widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature . Among his most famous work are  the plays, Waiting for Godot (1953), Endgame (1957), and Krapp's Last Tape (1958).

2. Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. - Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury (1920 - 2012) was an American science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery writer. He wrote 27 novels and over 600 short stories, but he is best known for his books The Martian Chronicles (1950), The Illustrated Man (1951) and Fahrenheit 451 (1953). Many of Bradbury's works have been adapted into television shows or films. The New York Times' obituary said that Bradbury was the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream. Both The Ray Bradbury Award, presented by the  Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America for fiction,and an asteroid discovered in 1992 (9766 Bradbury )  were named in his honor. In addition, Bradbury won a television screenwriting Emmy award in 1999 and he received the National Medal of the Arts award in 2004 .
3. I can you that women working together linked, informed and educated can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet. - Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende Llona (born:1942) is a Chilean writer with American citizenship. Her novels are often based upon her personal experience and weave together elements of myth and realism. Her most famous works are The House of the Spirits (La casa de los espíritus, 1982), Daughter of Fortune (Hija de la fortuna, 1999,) and City of the Beasts  (La ciudad de las bestias, 2002), In 2004, Allende was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 2010, she won Chile's National Literature Prize.
4. All this talk about equality. The only thing people really have in common is that they are all going to die. - Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan (Robert Allen Zimmerman; born:1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician and artist. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. A number of Dylan's early songs, such Blowin' in the Wind and The Times They Are a-Changin', became anthems for the  U.S. civil rights  and anti-war movements.  Dylan's lyrics incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counter-culture.


5. Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil. - Elie Wiesel
Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel (Wiesel Lázár; born: 1928) is a Romanian -born Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and Buchenwald concentration camps. When Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, the Norwegian Nobel Committee called him a "messenger to mankind," stating that through his struggle to come to terms with "his own personal experience of total humiliation and of the utter contempt for humanity shown in Hitler's death camps", as well as his "practical work in the cause of peace", Wiesel had delivered a powerful message "of peace, atonement and human dignity" to humanity.


6. Such is the audacity of man, that he hath learned to counterfeit Nature, yea, and is so bold as to challenge her in her work. - Pliny, the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus (23 AD -79 AD), better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman Empire author naturalist, philosopher and both Naval and army commander. Spending most of his spare time studying, writing or investigating natural and geographic phenomena in the field, he wrote an encyclopedic work, Naturalis Historia, which became a model for all such works subsequently written.  Pliny the Elder died on August 25, 79 AD, while attempting the rescue by ship of a friend and his family from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which destroyed the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. His companions attributed his collapse and death to toxic fumes.


7. There isn't a single human being who hasn't plenty to cry over, and the trick is to make the laughs outweigh the tears. - Dorothy Dix
Dorothy Dix (1861-1951) was the pseudonym of American journalist Elizabeth Meriwether Gilmer. As the forerunner of today's advice columnists popular, Dorothy Dix was America's highest paid and most widely read female journalist at the time of her death. Her advice on marriage was in newspapers around the world with an estimated audience of 60 million readers. She first used the pen name Dorothy Dix in 1896 for her column in the New Orleans newspaper, Daily Picayune. She used Dorothy because she liked the name and used Dix in honor of an old family slave named Mr. Dick who had saved the Meriwether family silver during the Civil War. The column was Dorothy Dix Talks and under that name was to become the world's longest-running newspaper feature.


8. All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree. - James Madison
James Madison, Jr. (1751 -1836) was an American statesman, political theorist, and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817). He is hailed as the Father of the Constitution for being instrumental in the drafting of the United States Constitution and author of the United States Bill of Rights. He served as a politician much of his adult life. Like other Virginia statesmen in the slave society, he was a slaveholder and part of the county's élite. Along with Thomas Jefferson, he helped to create what is known today as The Democratic Party, the world's oldest political party.

9. For it is in giving that we receive. - Francis of Assisi
Saint Francis of Assisi (born: Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone; 1181/1182 - 1226) was an Italian Catholic friar and preacher. He founded the men's Franciscan Order, the women’s Order of St. Clare, and the lay Third Order of Saint Francis. He is one of the most venerated religious figures in history and was canonized as a saint by Pope Gregory IX in 1228. He is the patron saint of animals and the environment. His feast day is October 4 and he is recognized as a saint in both the Catholic and Anglican Churches. 
10. Before we acquire great power we must acquire wisdom to use it well. - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803 -1882) was an American essayist, lecturer, and poet, who led the Transcendentalism movement of the mid-19th century. He was a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society, and he disseminated his thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures across the United States. Emerson gradually moved away from the religious and social beliefs of his time, formulating and expressing the philosophy of Transcendentalism in his 1836 essay, Nature. He also wrote a series of essays most as lectures first, then revised them for print. His first two collections of essays published in 1841 and 1844 represented the core of his thinking. His best-known essays are Self-Reliance, The Poet and Experience.