Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Antarctica Reaches Its Hottest Temperature in Known History

Recently parts of Antarctica reached 63 degrees Fahrenheit (17.2C), which is the hottest day for Antarctica since humans started researching the area. While those who reject the idea of global warming and climate change often can't stop talking about a strong snow storm in Boston or New York. However they often remain silent when something like this happens to area that is really cold all the time. 

Funny Story: Dog Bath

My dog is a jack-russell/beagle mix, but she is more of a jack-russell in personality. She used to be pretty strong and quick, which would make giving her a bath a very difficult situation. She hated baths, so much so that she would always try to jump out of the bathtub. So to counter this, I would take her for a long walk. Then let my mom take her for a long walk, and then I would let my brother take her for another walk. As soon as she got back from the third walk, she wouldn't have the strength to get out of bath-time. 

Fact of the Day: Dog Vision

While it's true dogs are "color-blind", the term isn't as literally true as it sounds. Studies have found that dog typically see blues,yellows and grays. They suffer from red-green color blindness, similar to that of  deuteranopia in humans. 

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Theory of Everything (2014 Film) Review

 I noticed The Theory of Everything very early on mainly because I heard they were making a movie based on the life of the scientist Stephen Hawking. Most people know him because an illness had physically handicapped himself to a wheelchair and he can only speak with a computer making a voice. But he's still a phenomenal scientist, and I was interested to see this movie.

Fact of the Day: Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig was a famous baseball player who played for the New York Yankees. His skill earned himself the nickname "The Iron Horse". However, near the end of his career people started to notice he was playing a lot worse for an unexplained reason. He suffered from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (now commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease) which originates in the brain that doesn't really affect mental ability but eventually renders most of the muscles in the body useless. While some people have survived the illness, Lou Gehrig did not as he died in 1941.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Story Time

I took this photo of my niece Little K recently after dinner with my brother and his wife. He took out a story book and she kept closing the cover while he was reading. She thinks it's hilarious. 

Fact of the Day: Lunar Wright

When the Apollo 11 first landed on the moon, they brought pieces of the Wright Brothers plane with them. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Knights of Sidonia (TV Series) Season 1 Review

 Netflix has a lot of their own original shows, and when I first noticed Knights of Sidonia last year I thought there was no way that Netflix would have their own original anime. Which is mostly true as it debuted in Japan, and they just got the exclusive version in English. Like most anime shows, it's based on a popular manga and seemed to have positive opinions.

Fact of the Day: Knight

While the customs of knighthood changed over the centuries, traditionally knights had to train for about fourteen years to become knights. They would serve for about seven years as a page, and another seven as a squire. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Question: Greatest President?

I think all Americans will be asked or ponder this question once in their lives. As someone who knows American history very well, it's hard to say if any president was truly the greatest. Even popular choices like Abe Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt have had instances in their terms that would be subject to heavy criticism today. Like FDR and I on fiscal issues are very close, but I admit that I was very ashamed to learn of his role in the internment of Japanese-Americans. 

Do you have a favorite president?

Harry Reid Is Going To Retire

The former Senate Majority Leader (now Senate Minority Leader) Harry Reid announced that he will be retiring from politics as he will not seek re-election in 2016. While his Senate leadership was not perfect, I think he did a good job countering the Tea Party/Republican opposition who went out of their way to see President Obama fail for political gain. After the mid-term election results in 2014, I figured it was time for Harry Reid to leave the Senate. I'd rather wish Nancy Pelosi would do the same in the House of Representatives. While most people don't ever notice the folks in Congress (which is sad), we need younger and sharper minds in congressional leadership. 

Fact of the Day: Idiot Andrew

Andrew Johnson was elected Vice President when Abraham Lincoln won his 2nd term in 1864. When he showed up for his inauguration, he became quite drunk. After a incoherent speech, he later could not carry out the ceremonial duties traditionally tasked for the Vice President. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Cool Niece

My sister-in-law Tiffany calls my niece (her daughter) Little K a little diva. I suppose that might be true, she seems to like wearing her sunglasses. I think her mother said it perfectly "she thinks she's cool". 

Fact of the Day: Orange Tree

The English word "orange" is derived from the Old French orenge which itself came from languages such as Arabic and Persian. The word that eventually became "orange" in English described a citrus tree. Which means that the fruit was called an orange long before the color. 

This was inspired by Martha's post which pondered the question. Now you know the answer. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dumb and Dumber To (2014 Film) Review

 Dumb and Dumber is one of my favorite comedies ever. I've watched it more times than I can remember. I recall the prequel movie but it just didn't feel the same without Jeff Daniels and especially Jim Carrey. Twenty years later, we finally have the sequel.

Fact of the Day: Journey

The English word journey is derived from the Old French word jornee. The word roughly means "a day's travel" in English. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Question: Do You Ever Think Humans Will Ever Walk on Mars?

While it's the dream of many people to see astronauts on Mars, I don't see it becoming a reality anytime soon. While the solar system is a tiny spot in out galaxy, the gap between Earth and Mars is still very far when you have real humans in the space-craft. I wouldn't be surprised if it took us one or two hundred years to walk on Mars. I don't think humanity will ever colonize the planet either. Humans wouldn't last very long on Mars without a space-suit, so everything would have to built with technology to merely survive. Without a lot of water and food, I could not see a little city on Mars lasting long. 

When you do you think astronauts will reach Mars?

Fact of the Day: Ceres

In 1801, a dwarf planet was discovered which was named Ceres after the Roman counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter. Unlike other dwarf planets, Ceres is the only one in the inner-solar system. It lies in the asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.  

Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz Officially Wants To Be President

The first candidate from either major party to officially announce their run for the presidency in 2016 was born in Canada. Ted Cruz is the darling of the far-right conservatives, the same group that kept talking about the conspiracy that President Obama was born in Kenya, despite the evidence that he was born in Hawaii. Funny how they were darn sure Obama could not be president, but even if their conspiracy was true, Ted Cruz also had an American mother and a foreign father. How hypocritical can people be? They were so confident about Obama, but now they are so easily convinced that Ted Cruz can legally be president. 

Birdman (2014 Film) Review

 Birdman was film that came by surprise to me. I had heard about it late last year, and I didn't know much about it. I was wondering if it had anything to do with Harvey Birdman, but not so much. Michael Keaton plays a washed-up superhero actor, and this tale actually won the Oscar for Best Picture.

Fact of the Day: Kung Fu Dancing

Bruce Lee was considered a master at martial arts, but he was also quite the avid dancer. He was Hong Kong's Cha-Cha dance champion in 1958. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Things I Hate: Saying Grace Before Meals

I suppose the tradition dates back to times where it was a miracle for an every-day family to have food at their table. It's also a practice not exclusive to Christianity as some cultures do so as well. In Japan people commonly say "Itadakimasu" before eating a meal. But I don't see the point of thanking God for food, even if you believe in him. You have food because you or someone else worked for it, and we have plenty of it in this world after thousands of years of farmers learning by trial and error. If any deity had an effect of bringing food to a table, we'd have no starving children or hungry adults. 

Fact of the Day: Hungry World

While many countries make enough food for everyone in the world, roughly a 9th of the world's population do not have enough to eat. About twice as many don't have clean water either. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

My Favorite Photos: Cinderella

I took this photo of my fiancee Daisy right before we left the movie theater after seeing the new Cinderella movie. Daisy really liked the movie, especially since she got to see Richard Madden in it. She was a fan of him in the TV show Game of Thrones and recently saw (spoilers) his character Robb Stark's demise not many days before the movie. 

Fact of the Day: Dracula Untold (2014 Film) Review

 While there have been many famous vampire stories, there's no vampire more famous than Count Dracula. While Irish author Bram Stoker created the character, he has taken many forms over the years. This movie mixes a little bit of history with a lot of legend.

Fact of the Day: Faux Tuna

Where there are many types of Tuna, over half of the food in the United States called "tuna" isn't really tuna at all. Which happens at both the supermarket and at restaurants as well.  The fish known as escolar is commonly called tuna, and they have been known to cause health problems in humans. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Question: Do You Get Enough Sleep?

I'm more of a night-owl personality, so that doesn't make getting enough sleep easy for me. I remember many nights of only getting maybe five to six hours of sleep and I planned it that way. Now I try to get at least seven hours of sleep, but hopefully more than eight. Especially when I have to wake up very early in the morning. I love the night before my day off, because I know I will get out of bed when I want to, not because the alarm clock went off. 

Do you think you get enough sleep on a normal basis?

Fact of the Day: Dreams

Your most active dreams take place each night during the stage known as REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep. It gets its name as your eyes will move back and forth constantly during it. Virtually all known land mammals and birds have been discovered to go through REM sleep as well. Which makes it very likely that these animals have dreams as well.  

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cinderella (2015 Film) Review

 Cinderella is a tale older than a lot of present-day countries. It has many versions but most remember Disney's animated film from 1950. Even that movie is rather old, so now Disney has decided to make another movie but without the cartoons. I wanted to see it for two reasons, the first being that Richard Madden was the Prince as I liked his portrayal of Robb Stark in Game of Thrones. Lastly was seeing Lily James for the first time in that blue dress.

Fact of the Day: Cinderella

The tale of Cinderella is older than anyone knows for sure. The story was first told only with speech, and was finally put on paper by Giambattista Basile of Naples, Italy in the 17th century. By the time Basile wrote down the tale of Cinderella, her name was Cenerentola. Which is still today the Italian name for the mythical princess. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Patch Adams (1998 Film) Review

 Even since his death, I've been meaning to watch almost every movie I haven't seen with Robin Williams. Patch Adams was one of those movies. I heard it was good, but I guess I forgot that it was based on true story too.

Fact of the Day: Edward Bear

The famous fictional bear Winnie-the-Pooh's proper name in the stories is Edward Bear. The name Winnie comes from the actual bear known as Winnipeg or "Winnie" for short. She was a popular animal in the London Zoo until her death in 1934. 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Things I Hate: Nintendo Land (WiiU)

 I had heard of Nintendo Land soon after it was revealed, and I was excited. Nintendo has done a pretty good job with the Wii Sports games, and this seemed to mix that concept with classic Nintendo series. I heard bad reviews, but I managed to get it as it came with my WiiU.

Fact of the Day: Saint Patrick's Day

Despite not being a public holiday, St. Patrick's Day is still one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States. This is obviously because of America's history of many Irish immigrants, with at least ten percent of Americans claiming a notable amount of Irish ancestry. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Things I Like: Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Is there any ice-cream more classic than the ice-cream sandwich? I don't think many could rival it, but while it may be simple it's been one of my favorites since childhood. I actually don't like sweet candy like I used to when I was little, but I could never turn down one of these. 

Fact of the Day: Neapolitan Ice Cream

A container of ice-cream containing three flavors of ice cream (vanilla,strawberry,chocolate) is commonly known as Neapolitan ice cream. It got its name in the 19th century, as it was believed it had originated in Naples, Italy. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Hunt for Red October (1990 Film) Review

 I had heard of Tom Clancy's novels and some of his movies for quite some time. The only thing Tom Clancy related I've known well were the video games based on his work. The Hunt For Red October was the first film based on his work, which also happened to be his first book too. It was also one of the last Cold War movies to actually be released during the Cold War.

Fact of the Day: Russian Grapes

The 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath (based on the novel by John Steinbeck) was originally allowed to be shown in the Soviet Union because it showed plight under capitalism. Soviet officials later reversed their decision because someone pointed out that even the poorest Americans had cars in the movie. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bride Leaves Groom Over Math Problem

Recently a bride in India asked her groom a simple math problem during her wedding. When he said "17" to the problem of "What is 15+6?", she walked out. In India, it is common for a marriage to be arranged by the parents of the bride and groom. Apparently the bride's family were pretty mad that the groom's parents never were that truthful about their son's extreme lack of an education. Can you blame the bride?

Funny Story: Tail Debate

Someone I know sparked some conversation with me, it started rather off-topic but he told me about some guy who goes to college debates to make fun of evolution. His favorite "point" was that if we came from "monkeys" why don't we have tails? As it would be helpful to use a tail like an extra arm. While I didn't mention that only New World Monkeys have talented tails, I did counter his argument without him seeing it coming.

Fact of the Day: Epicurus Evolution

While most of what we know about biology didn't get a solid foundation until the 19th century, an ancient Greek philosopher named Epicurus got an idea about evolution mostly right, ages before Charles Darwin was even born. He thought that the idea of extinct animals was possible, and that only the most successful animals would be able to produce off-spring. Which is a key factor in evolution's natural selection. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Airplane! (1980 Film) Review

Airplane! came out nearly a decade before I was born, but I have heard of it for quite some time. I heard it was a really funny movie, so I eventually had to see it. I somehow thought Leslie Nielsen had the main role, but his character is far more minor than I thought.

Fact of the Day: Fast Plane

The fastest plane in the world is the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, which was used by the U.S. Air Force until 1998. It can reach speeds up to about 2,242 mph.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Favorite Photos: 1950s Diner

My brother recently took my niece Little K to one of those 50's diners. I'm not too sure how she liked the restaurant, but she'd be adorable in any decade. 

Fact of the Day: Natalie Portman

Actress Natalie Portman was born Neta-Lee Hershlag in Jerusalem, Israel in 1981. Her first language was Hebrew, and she is still fluent. 

Michele Bachmann Is Going To Be in Sharknado 3

Sharknado is a film series that has vicious sharks attack people while riding on tornadoes. The movies have been called "so bad they're good". Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann will have a cameo in the movie as (I assume) herself but in the movie she'll still be in congress and will tell everyone about the realness of the sharks/tornadoes. I just have to wonder what makes less sense? The amount of people who want a Sharknado 3? Or the fact that this gaffe-prone far-right politician was elected to congress four times?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Solar Impulse Plane Sets New Record For Flight

While solar-powered cars seemed more dream than reality to most people, the plane known as the Solar Impulse flew farther than any other solar air-plane yet. Unlike some other solar vehicles, all it's energy comes straight from the sun, so there's no hybrid system using another form of energy. It made a trip of 912 from Oman to India which is farther than any solar plane before it. From what I understand, human made solar-power systems are only eight percent efficient. Imagine what a plane could do if that number was eighty or even a hundred, once scientists can figure out how to make better solar technology?

The Wind Rises (2013 Film) Review

The Wind Rises is considered the Farewell Masterpiece from Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki. While his films have only had mild success in America, among critics and fans they are some of the best. Miyazki's film are somewhat like Pixar films in America, when they come out most people take notice. What I've always liked about his films is that all of them are very different from each other. This one is actually a story based on the life of the Japanese air-plane designer Jiro Horikoshi.

Fact of the Day: Jiro Horikoshi

Jiro Horikoshi designed a few of the most notable aircraft used by Japan during World War II, including the legendary Mitsubishi A6M Zero plane. Despite being the brains behind the planes, Horikoshi was extremely critical of Japan's government during the wartime. He would later write his dissent about the war a few years later. 

When we awoke on the morning of December 8, 1941, we found ourselves — without any foreknowledge — to be embroiled in war... Since then, the majority of us who had truly understood the awesome industrial strength of the United States never really believed that Japan would win this war. We were convinced that surely our government had in mind some diplomatic measures which would bring the conflict to a halt before the situation became catastrophic for Japan. But now, bereft of any strong government move to seek a diplomatic way out, we are being driven to doom. Japan is being destroyed. I cannot do anything other but to blame the military hierarchy and the blind politicians in power for dragging Japan into this hellish cauldron of defeat.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

House of Cards (TV Series) Season 3 Review

 I ignored House of Cards back in 2013, as I didn't take it seriously since it was an original series just for Netflix. Last year I became a fan of the series, and I understood why it was such a success with critics. The first season had Francis J. Underwood as a ruthless congressman, the second season had him as a Vice President seeking higher power, and now he is President of the United States of America.