Jul
31
2009
0

What are the nicknames of the U.S. states?

Oregon, known as the Beaver State, uses an image of the animal on the reverse side of its flag. PD-GOV.All of the states in the United States have been graced with various nicknames over the years. The following list shows the most common, although most of the nicknames are not official. Not included are various disparaging nicknames such as Taxachusetts (Massachusetts), Seward’s Folly (Alaska) and the Divorce State (Nevada). Alabama — Yellowhammer State, Heart [&hel[more...]

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Jul
30
2009
2

What is mourning jewellery?

Mourning brooches. Victorian grieving hand - photo by et sans. Georgian enamel picture brooch - photo by perfectjewels - both CC-BYIf you were bereaved in the 1800s, your clothes and jewels had to be black for a period of mourning, the length depending on whether you were widow, daughter, sister etc. Apart from the usual gold and silver settings, mourning jewellery was made of black jet – a “stone” derived from coal -  onyx, black [&hel[more...]

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Jul
27
2009
3

When was the first Traffic Jam?

A Cairo traffic jam  (photo by Walid Hassanein CC-BY)Traffic Jams: we’ve all experienced them and all hate them. But when did this expression come into use? The first traffic jams probably occurred in the earliest civilizations when farmers carried their produce on carts to sell at the city markets and found themselves all trying to squeeze through the small city gates under the [&hel[more...]

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Jul
27
2009
0

What good general-purpose Internet search engines are there other than Google?

Mykl Roventine photo. CC-BY.Those of us who have been using the World Wide Web for a dozen years or more can remember how incredible Google was when it first rose to popularity — it finally became possible to find what you wanted on the web, and quickly. Google became the powerhouse it is today because what it did [&hel[more...]

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Jul
25
2009
0

What is San Francisco city profile?

San Francisco Skyline from the North - courtesy permanently scatterbrained - CC-BYThe City of San Francisco is the fourth largest city in California. It is the second most densely populated major city in the United States. New York City is first. San Francisco was founded in 1776, when the Spanish established a fort at the Golden Gate and a mission which was named for Francis of [&hel[more...]

Jul
24
2009
0

Why vacation in Nauru?

Map of Nauru, PacificMap of Nauru, Pacific – Photographic Print Buy at AllPosters.com Nauru is a tiny island in the Micronesian Pacific Ocean, with a fascinating but sad background (wikipedia). The island is a coral reef covered in bird droppings, and the islanders sold the birdpoo for phosphate (fertiliser). They raked in the cash, as did their colonial [&hel[more...]

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Jul
22
2009
1

How much does it cost to flush the toilet?

Toilet Monster (image by Katiya Rhode-Singh's  - CC-BY)The euphemism for going to the toilet used to be “spending a penny”. This probably referred to the price paid to visit a public toilet cubicle back then. But how much do we pay for the water that we flush down the loo? People pay different amounts for their water, but I’ve arbitrarily used the [&hel[more...]

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Jul
21
2009
1

What is there to do and see in Alberta?

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park.Whether you prefer busy metropolitan areas or remote wilderness, you’ll find plenty to do in Alberta, the Canadian province that borders the United States and is wedged between British Columbia and Saskatchewan. Here are a few of the highlights: Calgary: With about a million residents, Calgary is the province’s largest city and features the sort [&hel[more...]

Jul
21
2009
0

Were club chairs traditionally upholstered in leather?

Leather club chair - sleek 21st century style - less bulky than classic club chairs from the first half of the 20th century  - photo by  tukanuk - CC-BYClub chairs owe a lot to Victorian advances in upholstery techniques. Earlier padded chairs just had a light layer of  horsehair stuffing – kept in place by  quilting in the 17th century, or by tufted deep stitches for the 18th century’s thicker padding. As the 1800s progressed, chair makers explored ways of adding more stuffing [&hel[more...]

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Jul
21
2009
0

What is San Antonio city profile?

San Antonio Riverwalk - courtesy jdtornow - CC-BYSan Antonio is located in the northern part of South Texas.  It is a center of Tejano culture and Texas tourism and known for Spanish missions, the Alamo, the River Walk, the Tower of the Americas, and host to Seaworld and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, the city hosts approximately 26 million visitors per [&hel[more...]

Jul
20
2009
0

What is Portland city profile?

Downtown Portland - courtesy faeryboots - CC-BYPortland is located in Oregon and the state’s largest city. It was incorporated in 1851. “The City of Roses” is built on a field of extinct volcanoes. One of the largest of these cinder cones, Mount Tabor Park, is known for its scenic views. And, of course, there is the International Rose Test Garden and [&hel[more...]

Jul
18
2009
0

What is a Sustainable Business?

A probably not very sustainable factory (Flickr-NKCR)You’ll hear a lot these days about sustainable business.  But what does that mean?  What do sustainable business practices look like?  Or more to the point, do sustainable businesses even exist? The idea of sustainability harks back several decades, at least as far as the Rio Conference in 1992, also known as the Earth Summit, [&hel[more...]

Jul
18
2009
0

Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online for College Newspapers?

This is what mom wants you to believe (Flickr Commons - NKCR)Exactly what were mom and dad doing back in their college days?  Seeking new knowledge in the library, or sneaking out the dorm for a midnight rendezvous?  Getting stoked for the big game, or getting a secret smoke behind the gym? I can’t tell you all the details, but maybe with a bit of prompting, you can get [&hel[more...]

Jul
17
2009
2

How do marriage laws vary within the United States?

Photo taken in the Maldive Islands by Sharaff. CC-BY.Laws about marriage have long been a state concern, not a federal one, in the United States. As a result, marriage laws vary considerably from state to state. In nearly all cases, however, a marriage performed in one state is recognized in all other states and by the federal government. Here are some of the [&hel[more...]

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Jul
17
2009
0

Why is Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Energy Important?

A Large Photovoltaic Solar Array (US Dept. of Energy - PD)Photovoltaic cells directly convert sunlight into electricity.   In the past few decades, this elegant source of solar energy has become more efficient, cheaper, and more versatile in how and where they can be put to use.   As the world ever-so-slowly weans itself from a dependence on fossil fuels, solar power from PV cells will play [&hel[more...]

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Jul
16
2009
0

Why vacation in Wyoming?

Devil's Tower Wyoming as in close encounters of the third kind - courtesy Tim Pearce, Los Gatos - CC-BYVisitors are attracted to the Equality State by its National Parks and Wild West history. Wyoming is a state of ‘must sees.’  From the Devil’s Tower (of Close Encounters fame) to Old Faithful and Yellowstone National Park, the state is jam-packed with great natural attractions. Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872 when people [&hel[more...]

Jul
15
2009
2

Why should I try Kangoo Jumps?

My new Kangoo Jumps (photo by umiat - CC- BY)Imagine jumping around on two little trampolines attached to a pair of lightweight buckle boots and you can begin to feel the freedom experienced by Kangoo Jumps enthusiasts! Kangoo Jumps provide low impact, rebounding fun to both adults and children and can be used on a variety of different surfaces both indoors and outside. At [&hel[more...]

Jul
15
2009
2

Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online from France and Other French-Language Areas?

The French Police wouldn't give me no peace (Flickr Commons NKCR)The French people have an amazing history, a beautiful language, and a justifiable pride in their culture.  But they’ve done a surprisingly poor job of preserving these things in the form of French-language online newspaper archives.  Still, there are a few good sources to know about, from France and other French-speaking areas, such as Quebec [&hel[more...]

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Jul
14
2009
2

Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online for Australia and New Zealand?

Australian Infantryman (Flickr Commons NKCR)Quezi, I am told, is Australian slang for question, as in, ‘scuse me, mate, I’ve got a quezi for ya’. Don’t believe me?  Try looking up the history of the word in old newspaper archives.  There are a number of free online newspaper archives covering Australia and New Zealand.  Here are the major ones you [&hel[more...]

Jul
12
2009
4

Where Can I Find Free Newspaper Archives Online for Canada?

Canadian Rockies (Flickr Commons, PD)Online newspaper archives are a wonderful source for researching your ancestors, studying history, learning more about your family, hometown or roots, or simply browsing to learn what was happening in day-to-day life in earlier times. There are some wonderful free newspaper archives online covering history and news in Canada. Did I mention they’re free? Take a look! Canadian [&hel[more...]

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