Jan
31
2010
0

What was the Peshtigo Fire?

Peshtigo 1871 - courtesy libraryimages.net - CC-BYOn October 8, 1871 the worst recorded fire in American history swept through Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. It destroyed millions of dollars worth of property and took between 1,200 and 2,400 lives. It happened on the same day as the more famous Great Chicago, Illinois fire but is much less widely known.  On that [&hel[more...]

Jan
30
2010
0

What is Jefferson City, city profile?

Missouri State Capitol - courtesy jimbowen0306 - CC-BYJefferson City is the capital of Missouri and was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.  Jefferson City was selected as the new capital in 1821. It was first called Lohman’s Landing. When the legislature decided to relocate there, they suggested the name “Missouriopolis” but later agreed on Jefferson City. Located [&hel[more...]

Jan
29
2010
0

What is Jackson city profile?

Mississippi State Capitol - courtesy szlea - CCc-BYJackson is the capital of Mississippi and the state’s largest city.  Jackson was founded as Parkerville, later known as LeFleur’s Bluff.  The city was later named Jackson after the seventh President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, in recognition for his victory in the Battle of New Orleans. In 1839, Jackson was the site of [&hel[more...]

Jan
29
2010
2

What are the differences between the Apple iPad and a netbook computer?

The iPad as seen on the day it was introduced to the public. GlennFleishman photo. CC-BY.When Apple announced the details of the iPad, it was clear that a new type of computer was being produced — something like a netbook and yet something like an oversized iPhone without the telephone capabilities or an iPod Touch on steroids. My word for the device is “netpad,” but only time will tell what [&hel[more...]

Jan
29
2010
1

What is the SS Great Britain?

SS Great Britain in dry dock, Bristol (photo by davehamster CC-BY)If you are visiting the historic maritime port of Bristol in England, then a tour of one of the pioneers of ocean-going passengers ships is recommended. The Steam Ship (SS) Great Britain, designed by the great Victorian engineers, Isambard Kingdom Brunell, was in its time at the forefront of ship design and technology. But as [&hel[more...]

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Jan
29
2010
0

What is Saint Paul city profile?

Minnesota State Capitol - courtesy cliff1066™ - CC-BYSaint Paul is the capital of Minnesota and the state’s second largest city.  We have already learned of one state capital city which began as a land scam, now we will learn of one that became capital because somebody deliberately hid the official paperwork that would have made another city the capital. The Minnesota Territory [&hel[more...]

Jan
27
2010
0

What is Lansing city profile?

Michigan State Capitol - courtesy CedarBendDrive - CC-BYLansing is the capital of Michigan, and the state’s sixth largest city.  Lansing is the only state capital to begin as a ‘land scam.’  The city was founded by two brothers from New York who plotted the area now known as REO Town just south of downtown Lansing and named it “Biddle City.”  It was [&hel[more...]

Jan
27
2010
0

Did Mama Cass Elliot choke to death on a ham sandwich?

Photo by WordRidden - CC-BYCass Elliot was the heavyweight of the 60s group The Mamas And The Papas in more ways than one. She had a fabulous voice and tremendous stage presence, but was also seriously obese. Cass died on 29 July 1974 at the age of 32 at Flat 12, 9 Curzon Place, Mayfair, London—the same flat where [&hel[more...]

Jan
27
2010
0

What is Boston city profile?

Massachusetts State Capitol - courtesy jimbowen0306 - CC-BYBoston is the capital and largest city in Massachusetts and was founded in 1630, by Puritan colonists from England.  The town was later named after Boston, Lincolnshire, England (United Kingdom).  During the Revolutionary War, The Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the Battle of Bunker Hill, and the Siege [&hel[more...]

Jan
27
2010
3

What’s the story behind A4 paper?

An A4 page folds into two A5 pages (photo by Photoshop Roadmap - CC-BY)Why is typewriter paper in most of the world not 8½ by 11 inches as it is in the United States? Even though the United Kingdom still measures distances in miles (despite being a member of the European Union) it uses the international metric paper sizes. But the most common metric page is not a [&hel[more...]

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Jan
26
2010
0

How do you get around Tenerife by bus?

Photo by Secret Tenerife - CC-BYTourists to the Canary Island of Tenerife often hire a car, but that’s not necessary unless you’re staying in an out-of-the-way tourist enclave. Tenerife’s buses are cheap, convenient and efficient—and there’s a tram too. Services are frequent and regular. There are at least two services an hour between major centres such as Santa Cruz, the [&hel[more...]

Jan
25
2010
0

What is steampunk?

Steampunk art by D Mattocks (CC-BY)Steampunk is a label applied to a certain form of literature, and also to the subculture that has arisen from it. Before we go further, let’s deal with the “punk” part. “Punk” is just a naming hook that pigeonholes steampunk as a literary movement by analogy with cyberpunk. The “punk” hook, perhaps originally a cheeky [&hel[more...]

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Jan
21
2010
4

Which UK towns have their own currency?

Lewes, East Sussex (photo by TravelEden CC-BY)If you visit the bustling county town of Lewes in East Sussex and go into of the shops or pubs, you will be offered the opportunity of exchanging your UK Sterling pounds for the local Lewes pounds. The exchange rate is one-to-one and there are no commission fees to worry about. In exchange you will [&hel[more...]

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Jan
21
2010
0

What is Annapolis city profile?

Maryland State Capitol - courtesy Joe Shlabotnik - CC-BYAnnapolis is the capital of Maryland and perhaps one of the more exciting of the small state capital cities.  It is certainly not just another ‘big’ small town.  And there is more to it than being the home of the United States Naval Academy. Annapolis was once even the Capital of the United States (1783–1784). [&hel[more...]

Jan
20
2010
2

What are the initials and numbers related to classical music?

J S Bach sonata for single violin #1 in E minor BWV 1001 (PD)BWV 1001 KV (or K.) 626 op. 25, D. 795 HWV 56 Op. 72C — What do these five sets of letters and numbers represent? They are musicologists’ catalogue numbers of the works of the composers of classical music: BWV 1001: Bach’s Sonata for single violin #1 in E minor HWV 56: Handel’s Messiah (an [&hel[more...]

Jan
19
2010
2

How do you get a taxi in central Siena, Italy?

Siena taxis take a less direct route to the cathedral. (Photo by Gaspa - CC-BY)You may have read that walking is the only way to see historic Siena. It’s true that nothing beats exploring it on foot, and also true that the hilly medieval city has banned most cars from the narrow, uneven streets in the city centre. There is an efficient taxi service though, so if you are [&hel[more...]

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Jan
18
2010
0

Were “oranges” once called “noranges”?

Photo by audreyjm529 - CC-BYA frequently-repeated etymology of the fruit that we call an “orange” goes like this: The fruit was not grown in England, and when the dock-hands unloaded the cargo ships they heard the fruit referred to by its Spanish name: naranja. From this it became known as “a norange”, but over time this became “an orange” [&hel[more...]

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Jan
18
2010
1

What is a Surreal Alphabet?

Photo by gothick matt - CC-BYA surreal alphabet is a witty variation on the way the alphabet is sometimes taught to children. The usual way runs like this: A for Apple B for Banana C for Cat D for Dog … etc A surreal alphabet retains the initial letter and the word “for”, then adds a clever wordplay that generates [&hel[more...]

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Jan
18
2010
0

When were the first Winter Olympic Games?

Chamonix has changed a great deal since 1924 (photo by phileole CC-BY)With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games almost upon us, it may be interesting to look back to the first games. The first Winter Olympic Games were held in 1924 in Chamonix, France, a well established ski resort. The week-long games were originally called by the French, “Winter Sports Week”. Politics within the Olympic movement prevented [&hel[more...]

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Jan
17
2010
0

What is Augusta, Maine, city profile?

Maine State Capitol - courtesy jimbowen0306 - CC-BYAugusta is the capital of Maine and one of the smallest state capital cities, though rather large by Maine standards.  It was first inhabited by English settlers from the Plymouth Colony in 1629 as a trading post on the Kennebec River and known by its Indian name Cushnoc.  Later the name was changed to Augusta [&hel[more...]

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