Archive | March, 2012

April Fools’ Day

30 Mar

Sunday marks the beginning of April and as well marks All Fools’ Day (aka April Fools’ Day). This is not a national holiday, but it is celebrated in countries all over the world. On April 1st, the tradition is to play all kinds of jokes and foolishness on one another.

One explanation of the origin of April Fools’ Day was given by Joseph Boskin, a professor of history at Boston University. He explained that the practice began during the reign of Constantine, when a group of court jesters and fools told the Emperor that they could do a better job of running the empire than him. So for one day, Constantine allowed a jester named Kugel to be king. On that day Kugel passed an edict calling for absurdity on that day and the custom became an annual event. 1983 this explanation was brough to the public’s attention in an Associated Press article, but there was a catch; Boskin made the whole explanation up and the papers had become the victims of an April Fools’ joke themselves.

To read about more explanations, click here.

Happy April Fools’ Day!

Nelson Dellis-Memory Champ

29 Mar

 

Nelson Dellis won his 2nd consecutive US Memory Championship last Saturday against 50 competitors. Dellis correctly memorized and recited 303 computer generated digits, breaking his last record of 248 digits. He also memorized the corrected order of two shuffled decks of cards in 5 minutes. He was inspired to begin memorizing things after watching his grandmother suffer from AlAlzheimer’s disease. He’s since turned full time to memory-related ventures and has performed like no other American in the speed events, with records not only in speed numbers but also speed cards.

Dellis’ victory qualifies him for the World Memory Championship where he will compete against the planet’s best. The world record for speed numbers is 500 digits, and the mark for speed cards is 21.19 seconds

For more information, click here.

Protesters Hijack MBTA Meeting

28 Mar

Yesterday, an MBTA finance committee meeting was ending prematurely due to a group of protesters took control. The protesters are members of the T Riders Union who showed up, each member wearing a different designated color and wearing their underwear on the outside of their clothes. The group interrupted the committee with angry shouts and demands while the committee members quickly left the room. This last public meeting to discuss the T fare increases and service cuts was ended before anything could be discussed. MBTA officials said that they would make the final proposals public this week, and the T board of directors is expected to vote on the recommendations in the coming week.

Do you think the “superheros” did more harm than good when they hijacked the meeting? To read more about the article, click here.

Mariana Trench

27 Mar

James Cameron, the oscar winning director behind Titanic and Avatar, emerged on Monday after taking a trip down into the Mariana Trench, the deepest known point in the world. There have only been two other people to visit the trench and Cameron is the first person to ever take this trip alone. At about 35,800 feet, the Mariana Trench is deeper than Mt. Everest is tall.

Cameron took the trip in the Deepsea Challenger, a deep sea vessel that he has been working on for the past eight years with a group of scientists and engineers. The Challenger can withstand up to 16,000 pounds of pressure and has a hydraulic, robotic arm with which to take samples. Unfortunately, the hydraulics did not work on this trip, but Cameron thinks that the problem will be fixed by the time his next trip comes around.

 

To read more about the historic trip, click here.

Highest Grossing Movies of all Time

26 Mar

With “The Hunger Games” raking in $155 million for its opening weekend, it made the Top 3 highest grossing debuts. The movie stands only behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” and “The Dark Knight”. All of the record-breaking in the first weekend of its release shows promise for the franchise to break even more records in the future. Who knows, maybe the movie will make the list of highest-grossing movies of all time! For more information on “The Hunger Games” weekend opening, click here.

In order from least to greatest, here are the Top 15 highest grossing movies of all time:

15. 1994 “The Lion King” $951.6 million

14. 2010 “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” $956.4 million

13. 2007 “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” $963.4 million

12. 2001 “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” $971.8 million

11. 2008 “The Dark Knight” $1.002 billion

10. 1999 “Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace” $1.022 billion

9. 2010 “Alice in Wonderland” $1.024 billion

8. 2011 “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” $1.044 billion

7. 2010 “Toy Story 3” $1.063 billion

6. 2006 “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” $1.066 billion

5. 2003 “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” $1.120 billion

4. 2011 “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” $1.124 billion

3. 2011 “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” $1.328 billion

2. 1997 “Titanic” $1.843 billion

1. 2009 “Avatar” $2.782 billion

The Hunger Games

23 Mar

Reviews say that The Hunger Games are “irresistible.” The movie opened last night in the United States and was an instant hit, as predicted.

The Hunger Games is the first of three movies based on the trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The books follow the life of a 16 year-old, named Katniss Everdeen, living in a postapocalyptic world in the country of Panem. In this country there are 12 districts that are controlled by the Capitol. The Capitol makes its presence known to each of the districts by forcing them to participate in annual games called The Hunger Games. These games are a sinister reminder of the Capitol’s influence. 2 “tributes”, a boy and a girl, from each of the districts are chosen by lottery to enter the Games and fight to the death until one is left standing. As if children killing each other wasn’t bad enough, everyone in Panem is forced to watch, there are no exceptions.

According to many of the reviews, the movie stays true to the book and turned out to be a great movie to see for people of all ages and genders. So let’s go to the movies!

Amelia Earhart found?

22 Mar

 

Seventy-Five years ago Amelia Earhart, an aeronautical trailblazer, disappeared on a trans-Pacific flight and was never found. Investigators are now saying that they could have found the missing piece to the puzzle:  a new enhanced analysis of a photo taken on the Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro, formerly Gardner Island, three months after Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared, may show the landing gear of her Lockheed Electra protruding from a reef. The photo was taken in 1937 and had been seen by Earhart researchers many times but when they looked at the new, enhanced photo in 2010 their interests were raised. They took the photo to the US State Department which ruled that the photo does, in fact, show the landing gear of Earhart’s fallen plane.

Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, will lead an expedition on July 2 to look for the missing plane. For more information click here.