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Siddhārtha Gautama: Buddha’s Birthday

Buddha’s Birthday: the birthday of the Prince Siddhartha Gautama, a spiritual teacher who is considered to be the founder of Buddhism. In most Buddhist traditions, he is regarded as the Supreme Buddha of our age, “Buddha” meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.” Beginning in 1873 and traditionally celebrated in Mahayana Buddhism, the holiday is […]

Blasphemy-Day-International

Blasphemy Day International

Blasphemy Day International is a day of observance in which individuals and groups are encouraged to openly express their criticism of, or even disdain for, religion. It was founded in 2009 by the Center for Inquiry.  It is celebrated on September 30 to coincide with the anniversary of the publication of satirical drawings of Muhammad […]

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“Lazy Bones”: The First TV Remote Control

The first TV remote control called “Lazy Bones” was developed by Zenith Radio Corporation in 1950 and was connected to the television by a wire. A wireless remote control called the “Flashmatic”, was developed in 1955 but did function well because the pointer beam (based on photoelectric cells) could not distinguish between different light sources. […]

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Who Said That?: Fifteen Minutes of Fame

The well known saying “15 Minutes of Fame” was coined by Andy Warhol. The expression is a paraphrase of a line in Warhol’s exhibition catalog for an exhibit at the Moderna Museet, in Stockholm from 1968. The catalog read, “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” In 1979 Warhol stated his claim, “…my […]

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Idioms: Heebie Jeebies

The term Heebie Jeebies (meaning a feeling of nervousness, fright, or worry, or having the jitters) is widely attributed to cartoonist Billie DeBeck (1890-1942) who also coined “hotsy totsy,” “hot mama”, and other expressions. The first citation of it in print is in his 1923 cartoon in the  October edition of the New York American. […]

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Longest Place Name: Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu

Taumata­whakatangihanga­koauau­o­tamatea­turi­pukakapiki­maunga­horo­nuku­pokai­whenua­kitanatahu is the Māori name for a hill, 305 metres (1,001 ft) high, close to Porangahau, south of Waipukurau in southern Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand. The word translates roughly as The summit where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, the climber of mountains, the land-swallower who travelled about, played his nose flute to his loved one. […]

FROM THE ARCHIVES

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Philosophy: The Grandfather Paradox

The grandfather paradox is a proposed paradox of time travel first described by the science fiction writer René Barjavel in his 1943 book Le Voyageur Imprudent (Future Times Three). The paradox is this: suppose a man traveled back in time and killed his biological grandfather before the latter met the traveler’s grandmother. As a result, […]

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Smart Celebs: Dr. Mayim Bialik (aka) Amy Farrah Fowler

Mayim Bialik is best known for her portrayal of the young Bette Midler in 1989′s “Beaches” and went on to star in the popular sitcom “Blossom” from 1990-1994.   Bialik plays neurobiologist Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit TV show The Big Bang Theory. Ironically, Bialik holds a real PhD in Neuroscience from UCLA, specializing […]

New-Years-Resolution

The Science of a New Year’s Resolution

It’s that time again – the infamous New Year’s Resolution. Whether it be to lose weight, pay off debts, be nicer to our mother-in-law, most of us have set goals for the coming year. Yet research shows that about 88% of all resolutions end in failure. Recent neuroscience studies explain why we tend to fail […]