Archives for the month of: August, 2013

Winston’s Hiccup or Churchill’s Sneeze is the huge zigzag in Jordan’s eastern border with Saudi Arabia, supposedly because Winston Churchill drew the boundary of Transjordan after a generous and lengthy lunch.

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The Maco Light was a supposedly anomalous light, or “ghost light”, occasionally seen between the late 19th century and 1977 along a section of railroad track near the unincorporated community of Maco, North Carolina. Said to resemble the glow from a railroad lantern, the light was associated with a folk tale describing a fatal accident, which may have inspired tales of a similar type around the country.

The tale associated the light with Joe Baldwin, a train conductor who was said to have been decapitated in a collision between a runaway passenger car and a locomotive at Maco, along the Wilmington and Manchester Railroad, in the late 1800s.

Similar “headless brakeman” stories have been found associated with other “ghost lights” in the United States, such as the Bragg Road ghost light and Gurdon light: from a folklore perspective the story connected with the Maco light, being substantially the oldest and best-known and having received some national coverage, may have served as the point of origin for the others.

 

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Thiotimoline is a fictitious chemical compound conceived by science fiction author Isaac Asimov and first described in a spoof scientific paper titled “The Endochronic Properties of Resublimated Thiotimoline” in 1948. Asimov went on to write three additional short stories, each describing different properties or uses of thiotimoline.

In Asimov’s writing, thiotimoline is notable for the fact that when it is mixed with water, the chemical actually begins to dissolve before it contacts the water. This is explained by the fact that in the thiotimoline molecule, there is at least one carbon atom such that, while two of the carbon’s fourchemical bonds lie in normal space and time, one of the bonds projects into the future and another into the past. Thiotimoline is derived from the bark of the (fictitious) shrub Rosacea karlsbadensis rufo, and the thiotimoline molecule includes at least fourteen hydroxy groups, two aminogroups, and one sulfonic acid group, and possibly one nitro compound group as well. The nature of the hydrocarbon nucleus is unknown, although it seems in part to be an aromatic hydrocarbon.

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Saint Pio (Pius) of Pietrelcina, O.F.M. Cap. (May 25, 1887 – September 23, 1968) was a Capuchin Catholic priest from Italy who is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church. He was born Francesco Forgione, and given the name Pius (Italian: Pio) when he joined the Capuchins, thus he is popularly known as Padre Pio. He became famous for bearing the stigmata. On 16 June 2002, he was canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Padre Pio was said to have had the gift of reading souls, the ability to bilocate (according to eyewitness accounts), among other supernatural phenomena. The reports of supernatural phenomena surrounding Padre Pio attracted fame and legend. Even the Vatican was initially skeptical.

On the day of Padre Pio’s death, mystic and Servant of God Maria Esperanza de Bianchini from Venezuela reported that he appeared to her in a vision and said, “I have come to say good-bye. My time has come. It is your turn.” Her husband then watched as his wife’s face transfigured into that of Padre Pio. On the following day, they heard of the death of Padre Pio. Witnesses say they later saw Esperanza herself levitating during Mass and engaging in bilocation. Padre Domenico da Cese, a fellow Capuchin stigmatist, reported that on Sunday, September 22, 1968 he saw Padre Pio kneeling in prayer before the Holy Face of Manoppello, although it was known that Padre Pio hadn’t left his room.

On 20 September 1918, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio had his first occurrence of the stigmata: bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sanctity.

His stigmata, regarded as evidence of holiness, was studied by physicians whose independence from the Church is not known. The observations were unexplainable and the wounds never became infected. His wounds healed once but reappeared. They were examined by Luigi Romanelli, chief physician of the City Hospital of Barletta, for about one year. Dr. Giorgio Festa, a private practitioner, also examined them in 1920 and 1925. ProfessorGiuseppe Bastianelli, physician to Pope Benedict XV, agreed that the wounds existed but made no other comment. Pathologist Dr. Amico Bignami of theUniversity of Rome also observed the wounds but could make no diagnosis. Both Bignami and Dr. Giuseppe Sala commented on the unusually smooth edges of the wounds and lack of edema. Dr. Alberto Caserta took X-rays of Padre Pio’s hands in 1954 and found no abnormality in the bone structure.

However, this condition is said to have caused him great embarrassment, and most photographs show him with red mittens or black coverings on his hands and feet where the bleeding occurred. At the time of Padre Pio’s death, his body appeared unwounded, with no sign of scarring. There was a report that doctors who examined his body found it empty of all blood.

Those, both religious and non-religious, who have accused Padre Pio of faking his stigmata, say Padre Pio used carbolic acid to self-inflict the wounds. The sole piece of evidence for this is a single document found in the Vatican’s archive — the report of pharmacist Maria De Vito, from whom he requested 4 grams of the acid. This letter was among the material gathered by those who disputed Padre Pio’s stigmata at the time. According to De Vito, Padre Pio asked her to keep the order secret, saying it was to sterilize needles (he also asked for other things, such as Valda pastilles). One commentator expressed the belief that the Church likely dismissed the claims based on witnesses who stated the acid was in fact used for sterilization. “The boys had needed injections to fight the Spanish Flu which was raging at that time. Due to a shortage of doctors, Padres Paolino and Pio administered the shots, using carbolic acid as a sterilizing agent.” Furthermore, carbolic acid is a chloric substance that causes rotting of the flesh and eats away at biological tissue, which was not consistent with Pio’s wounds which were localized for over sixty years.

 

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(IMPORTANT PASSAGES BOLD – WE KNOW YOU HAVE A BUSY SCHEDULE)
The 1923 FA Cup Final was an association football match between Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United on 28 April 1923 at the original Wembley Stadium in London. The showpiece match of English football’s primary cup competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (better known as the FA Cup), it was the first football match to be played at Wembley Stadium. King George V was in attendance to present the trophy to the winning team.

Each team had progressed through five rounds to reach the final. Bolton Wanderers won 1–0 in every round from the third onwards, and David Jack scored the lone goal each time. West Ham United faced opposition from the Second Division or lower in each round, the first time this had occurred since the introduction of multiple divisions in the Football League. West Ham took three attempts to defeat Southampton in the fourth round but then easily defeated Derby County in the semi-final, scoring five goals.

The final was preceded by chaotic scenes as vast crowds surged into the stadium, far exceeding its official capacity of approximately 125,000. A crowd estimated at up to 300,000 gained entrance and the terraces overflowed, with the result that spectators found their way into the area around the pitch and even onto the playing area itself. Mounted policemen, including one on a light-coloured horse which became the defining image of the day, had to be brought in to clear the crowds from the pitch and allow the match to take place. The match began 45 minutes late as crowds stood around the perimeter of the pitch. Although West Ham started strongly, Bolton proved the dominant team for most of the match and won 2–0. David Jack scored a goal two minutes after the start of the match and Jack Smith added a controversial second goal during the second half. The pre-match events prompted discussion in the House of Commons and led to the introduction of safety measures for future finals. The match is often referred to as the “White Horse Final” and is commemorated by the White Horse Bridge at the new Wembley Stadium.

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The Isleworth Mona Lisa is a painting of the same subject at an earlier age as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Though insufficiently examined, the painting is claimed by some to be partly an original work of Leonardo dating from the early 16th century.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isleworth_Mona_Lisa

 

John Hartford and the Dillards on Austin City Limits doing Orange Blossom Special in 1978.

John Cowan Hartford (December 30, 1937 – June 4, 2001) was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore. Hartford performed with a variety of ensembles throughout his career, and is perhaps best known for his solo performances where he would interchange the guitar, banjo, and fiddle from song to song. He also invented his own shuffle tap dance move, and clogged on an amplified piece of plywood while he played and sang.

The Dillards are an American bluegrass band from Salem, Missouri. The Dillards originally consisted of Douglas Flint “Doug” Dillard (born March 6, 1937, Salem, Missouri – May 16, 2012) on banjo, Rodney Adean “Rod” Dillard (born May 18, 1942, Salem, Missouri) playing the guitar, and dobro, Roy ‘Dean’ Webb (born March 28, 1937, Independence, Missouri) on mandolin, and Mitchell Franklin “Mitch” Jayne (July 5, 1928, Hammond, Indiana – August 2, 2010) on double bass.

The fiddle tune “Orange Blossom Special,” about the passenger train of the same name, was written by Ervin T. Rouse (1917-1981) in 1938. The original recording was created by Ervin and Gordon Rouse in 1939. It is often called simply The Special. It has been referred to as the fiddle player’s national anthem.

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The United States National Radio Quiet Zone is a large area of land centered between the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Green Bank, West Virginia and the Sugar Grove Research Facility at Sugar Grove, West Virginia. The Radio Quiet Zone is a rectangle of land approximately 13,000 square miles (34,000 km2) in size that straddles the border area of Virginia and West Virginia. It includes all land with latitudes between 37° 30′ 0.4″ N and 39° 15′ 0.4″ N and longitudes between 78° 29′ 59.0″ W and 80° 29′ 59.2″ W.

The National Radio Quiet Zone protects the telescopes of the NRAO facility and the antennas and receivers of the U.S. Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) at Sugar Grove, West Virginia. The NIOC at Sugar Grove has long been the location of electronic intelligence-gathering systems, and is today said to be a key station in the ECHELON system operated by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The Quiet Zone was created by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1958 to protect the radio telescopes at Green Bank and Sugar Grove from harmful interference. Restrictions on transmission are tightest near these sites, where most omnidirectional and high-power transmissions are prohibited.

Not all radio transmissions are prohibited in the Radio Quiet Zone. For example Citizen’s Band radios, police and ambulance radios, and fire department radios are used there. However, large transmitter owners must typically coordinate their operations with representatives of the NRAO, which oversees the NRQZ in agreement with the Sugar Grove facility. The only broadcast radio stations in the inner core of the Quiet Zone are part of the Allegheny Mountain Radio network–with just one station in the AM band, and several low-power FM stations. Most broadcast transmitters within the area are licensed by the FCC (just as they are in the rest of the United States). Exceptions to the Radio Quiet Zone restrictions are usually determined on a case-by-case basis, with preference given to public safety concerns, such as remote alarm systems, repeaters for first responders, and NOAA Weather Radio. Due to the restrictions, the area has attracted people who believe they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

Most broadcast transmitters in the Quiet Zone are forced to operate at reduced power and use highly directional antennas. This makes cable and satellite all but essential for acceptable television in much of the region.

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Ida May Fuller (September 6, 1874 – January 27, 1975) was the first American to receive a monthly benefit Social Security check. She received the check, amounting to $22.54, on January 31, 1940.

Fuller was born on a farm outside Ludlow, Vermont. She spent most of her life in Ludlow, working as a legal secretary, but lived with her niece inBrattleboro, Vermont during her last eight years. She retired in 1939, having paid just three years of payroll taxes. She received monthly Social Security checks until her death in 1975 at age 100. By the time of her death, Fuller had collected $22,888.92 from Social Security monthly benefits, compared to her contributions of $24.75 to the system. She later said about going to the Social Security office, “It wasn’t that I expected anything, mind you, but I knew I’d been paying for something called Social Security and I wanted to ask the people in Rutland about it.”

 

The Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year, originally known as the Diagram Group Prize for the Oddest Title at the Frankfurt Book Fair, commonly known as the Diagram Prize for short, is a humorous literary award that is given annually to the book with the oddest title. The prize is named after the Diagram Group, an information and graphics company based in London, and The Bookseller, a Britishtrade magazine for the publishing industry. Originally organised to provide entertainment during the 1978 Frankfurt Book Fair, the prize has since been awarded every year by The Bookseller and is now organised by the magazine’s diarist Horace Bent. The winner was initially decided by a panel of judges, but since 2000 the winner has been decided by a public vote on The Bookseller’s website.

Controversy arose since the creation of the awards; there have been two occasions when no award was given because no titles were judged to be odd enough, Bent has complained about some of the winners chosen by the public, and the 2008 winner, The 2009–2014 World Outlook for 60-milligram Containers of Fromage Frais, proved controversial because rather than being written by its listed author, Philip M. Parker, it was instead written by a machine of Parker’s invention. 

Daily FYI staff selections

Unsolved Problems of Modern Theory of Lengthwise Rolling

The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification

Bombproof Your Horse

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bookseller/Diagram_Prize_for_Oddest_Title_of_the_Year