Category Archives: Article of the Day

The Muppets

In 1954, Jim Henson got his first job as a local television puppeteer and soon created his alter ego, the debonair Kermit the Frog. He subsequently introduced several other “Muppets”—crosses between hand puppets and marionettes, with mobile, expressive faces and gesturing hands. In 1969, Henson and his associate Frank Oz brought Muppets like Ernie, Bert, Cookie Monster, and Big Bird to public television’s Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. Why are most Muppets left-handed? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Simple Machines

Practically every machine in existence incorporates one or more simple machines, elementary mechanical devices that change the magnitude or the direction of a force. These include the lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plane, wedge, and screw. The idea of the “simple machine” originated with the Greek philosopher Archimedes around the 3rd century BCE, but it was not until 1600 that scientists showed that simple machines only transform energy and do not create it. Who figured this out? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Bhangra

Bhangra is a form of Punjabi dance and music. The dance is traditionally performed in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent during harvest festivals and weddings and is characterized by the beating of a dhol, a large, two-headed drum. Though the dance began as a folk dance, bhangra music developed in the UK in the 1980s and combines traditional bhangra drumming with modern Western instruments and rhythms. What well known hip hop artists have incorporated bhangra elements into their songs? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Entropy

In popular, nontechnical use, entropy is regarded as a measure of the chaos or randomness of a system. In thermodynamics, it is the measure of a system’s energy that is unavailable for work or of the degree of a system’s disorder. Entropy increases during irreversible processes, such as the spontaneous mixing of hot and cold gases. The concept, first proposed in 1850 by the German physicist Rudolf Clausius, is sometimes presented as the second law of thermodynamics, which states what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Venera Program

The Venera Program consisted of a series of unmanned Soviet planetary probes sent to Venus between 1965 and 1983. Venera 2 flew to within 15,000 miles (24,000 km) of Venus in 1966. A few days later, Venera 3 crash-landed on its surface, becoming the first spacecraft to strike another planet. Later missions analyzed Venus’s atmosphere, made soft landings, and mapped and sent back the first close-up photographs of some of the planet’s surface. What does Venera mean in Russian? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Alevi

Numbering in the tens of millions, Alevis are members of a religious, sub-ethnic, and cultural community found primarily in Turkey. Alevism is classified as a branch of Shi’a Islam, but there are significant differences between Alevi beliefs, traditions, and rituals and those of other orthodox sects. For example, Alevi worship takes place in assembly houses—cemevi—rather than mosques, and it features music and dance in which both women and men participate. What are some other differences? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Wild Hunt

The Wild Hunt was a once prevalent folk myth across northern, western, and central Europe involving a phantasmal group of armed huntsmen, horses, and hounds in mad pursuit across the skies or along the ground. The hunters were variously believed to be spirits, deities, or historical or legendary figures. Seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague or the death of the one who witnessed it. The Wild Hunt was often used to explain what weather phenomenon? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Grub Street

“Grub Street” was the name of a street in London known for its concentration of aspiring authors and poets, low-end publishers and bookshops, and writers of low-quality books. It existed on the margins of London’s journalistic and literary scene and became famous for its bohemian society amidst low-rent flophouses, brothels, and coffeehouses. Today, “Grub Street” is used as a pejorative term for hack writers and their literary output. What poet popularized the contemporary image of Grub Street? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Iron Sights

An iron sight is a system of aligned markers used to assist the eye in making alignments or directional observations when one is aiming a firearm or crossbow. Unlike scopes, iron sights do not make use of lenses. They are instead typically composed of two component sights: the front sight, which is a post, bead, or ring, and the rear sight, which is either open (a notch) or closed (an aperture). On many firearms, the rear sight is adjustable to account for what factors? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Magnets

A magnet is defined as any material capable of attracting iron and producing a magnetic field outside itself. Magnets are essential for the generation of electric power and are used in motors, generators, information storage, ATM cards, TVs, and numerous other applications. By the end of the 19th century, all known elements and many compounds had been tested for magnetism, and all were found to have some magnetic property. However, only three elements exhibit ferromagnetism. What are they? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary