Jul
31
2009
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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 [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 [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 [more...]

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Jul
27
2009
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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 [more...]

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Jul
25
2009
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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 [more...]

Jul
24
2009
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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 [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 [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 [more...]

Jul
21
2009
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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 [more...]

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Jul
21
2009
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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 [more...]

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