Edited by: Rich Norris
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Today’s Wiki-est, Amazonian Googlies
9…1996 gold medalist in men’s singles..AGASSI
Retired tennis professional Andre Agassi has been married to fellow player Steffi Graf since 2001. Agassi wrote an autobiography called “Open”, published in 2009. An amazing revelation in the book is that Agassi’s famous head of hair was actually a wig for much of his playing career. Can you imagine how hard it must have been to play tennis at his level with a rug stuck on?
16…Picture appropriate for Valentine’s Day..ROMCOM
Saint Valentine’s Day was introduced by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD to honor various martyrs with the name Valentine. However, the saint’s’ day was dropped by the Roman Catholic church in 1969, by Pope Paul VI. Try telling that to Hallmark though …
20…Snowman in “Frozen”..OLAF
“Frozen” is a 2013 animated feature from Walt Disney Studios that is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen”.
22…Like most ears..LOBED
Whether an earlobe is free or attached is an example of genetic dominance at play. The dominant gene calls for free earlobes, and the recessive for attached. Among cultural groups, the Japanese and Chinese have a relatively high incidence of attached earlobes, running at about 65% of the population.
23…Marx work..DAS KAPITAL
“Das Kapital” (entitled “Capital” in English versions) is a book about political economy written by Karl Marx, first published in 1867. The book is in effect an analysis of capitalism, and proffers the opinion that capitalism relies on the exploitation of workers. Marx concludes that the profits from capitalist concerns come from the underpaying of labor.
39…Leavers of pheromone trails..ANTS
A pheromone is a chemical secreted by an animal that triggers a social response of some sort in members of the same species. Sex pheromones are usually released by females, indicating availability for breeding. Trail pheromones are laid down to guide others from a nest to food. Territorial pheromones are used to mark the boundaries of an animal’s territory.
In ancient Rome, the patricians were the members of the families in the ruling classes. Those Romans who were not patricians by birth were known as plebs.
Traditionally, basil is considered “the king of herbs”. And in fact, the herb’s name comes from the Greek “basileus” meaning “king”.
48…”Murder in the First” gp…SFPD
“Murder in the First” is a TV detective drama set in San Francisco. Each season of the show follows just one case, as two SFPD homicide investigators try to solve the crime. I haven’t seen this one, but I hear good things …
49…Home of A. Wyeth’s “Christina’s World”..MOMA
The founding of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City was very much driven by Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, the wife of John D. Rockefeller, son of the oil magnate. Working with two friends, Abby managed to get the museum opened in 1929, just nine days after the Wall Street Crash. The MoMA’s sculpture garden bears the name of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, and has done so since 1949.
“Christina’s World” is an Andrew Wyeth painting that dates back to 1948. The subject of the work is Christina Olson, a woman who suffered from polio that paralyzed her lower body. In the picture, Wyeth painted Christina crawling across a field towards a house in the distance.
In the West we tend to think of yoga as a physical discipline, a means of exercise that uses specific poses to stretch and strengthen muscles. While it is true that the ancient Indian practice of yoga does involve such physical discipline, the corporeal aspect of the practice plays a relatively small part in the whole philosophy. Other major components are meditation, ethical behavior, breathing and contemplation.
1…Penultimate Greek letters..PSIS
The Greek letter psi is the one that looks a bit like a trident or a pitchfork.
2…Prepare for a crossing, perhaps..LADE
The verb “lade” meaning “to load” comes from an Old English word “hladan”. Lade also used to mean “to draw water” and indeed gave us our word “ladle”. So “lade” and “ladle” are close cousins.
The word “yen”, meaning “urge”, has been around in English since the very early 1900s. It comes from the earlier word “yin” imported from Chinese, which was used in English to describe an intense craving for opium!
DDT is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (don’t forget now!). DDT was used with great success to control disease-carrying insects during WWII, and when made available for use after the war it became by far the most popular pesticide. And then Rachel Carson published her famous book “Silent Spring”, suggesting there was a link between DDT and diminishing populations of certain wildlife. It was the public outcry sparked by the book, and reports of links between DDT and cancer, that led to the ban on the use of the chemical in 1972. That ban is touted as the main reason that the bald eagle was rescued from near extinction.
6…Send to the cloud..UPLOAD
In the world of computing, when one operates “in the cloud”, one’s files and key applications are not stored on one’s own computer, but rather are residing “in the cloud”, on a computer somewhere out on the Internet. I do 90% of my computing in the cloud. That way I don’t have to worry about backing up files, and I can operate from any computer if I have to …
8…Hotel dining room option..BREAKFAST BUFFET
Our word “buffet” comes from the French “bufet” meaning “bench, sideboard”. So, a buffet is a meal served from a “bufet”.
12…Certain explorer..SCUBA DIVER
The self-contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA) was co-invented by celebrated French marine explorer Jacques Cousteau.
14…Chatted with, briefly..IMED
Even though instant messaging (sending IMs) has been around since the 1960s, it was AOL who popularized the term “instant message” in the eighties and nineties.
23…Texas-based tech giant..DELL
Dell, the computer manufacturer, is named after the company’s founder Michael Dell. Michael Dell started his company in his dorm room at college, shipping personal computers that were customized to the specific needs of his customers. He dropped out of school in order to focus on his growing business, a decision that I doubt he regrets. Michael Dell is now one of the richest people in the world.
25…2011 revolution locale..CAIRO
Cairo is the capital city of Egypt. It is the largest city on the continent of Africa and is nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” because of its impressive skyline replete with Islamic architecture. The name “Cairo” is a European corruption of the city’s original name in Arabic, “Al-Qahira”.
27…Sight from the Oval Office..ROSEBUSHES
Ellen Axson Wilson was President Woodrow Wilson’s first wife. She was the First Lady of the US for the first fifteen months of President Wilson’s term in office, until she died of Bright’s disease in 1914. It was Ellen Axson Wilson who established the famous White House Rose Garden.
33…Musée de l’Orangerie collection..MONETS
The Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris is an art gallery with a fabulous collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works. The original building was erected to shelter orange trees, hence the name. The museum holds a beautiful series of water-lily paintings by Monet in two wonderfully lit oval rooms.
34…2012 Nintendo debut..WII U
The Wii U video game console is the successor to Nintendo’s Wii. I’m wondering if “Wii U” is some sort of play on the pronouns “we you”? Maybe I just think too much …
36…Place to see Santa..MALL
Surprisingly, our word “mall”, meaning “shady walk” or “enclosed shopping space”, comes from the Italian for “mallet”. All of our shopping-style malls are named for “The Mall” in St. James’s Park in London. This tree-lined promenade was so called as it used to a famous spot to play the croquet-like game called “pall-mall”. The game derived its name from the Italian for ball (palla) and mallet “maglio”. The London thoroughfare called the Mall still exists, at one end of which is Buckingham Palace. Indeed, parallel to the Mall is a street called Pall Mall.
The Pontiac GTO was produced by GM from 1964 to 1974, and again by a GM subsidiary in Australia from 2004 to 2006. The original GTO’s design is credited to Pontiac chief engineer at the time John DeLorean, who later was found the DeLorean Motor Company.
When the Pontiac division of General Motors brought out the GTO muscle car, the Oldsmobile division responded with a beefed-up version of the Cutlass that was dubbed 4-4-2. The 4-4-2 designation indicated a four-barrel carburettor, a four-speed manual gearbox and dual exhausts.
45…Mazda sports car..MIATA
The Mazda MX-5 is sold as the Miata in North America, and as the Roadster in Japan. I’ve always liked the looks of the Mazda Miata, probably because it reminds me so much of old British sports cars. The Miata is built in Hiroshima, Japan.
In the world of software development, the first tested issue of a new program is usually called the “alpha” version. Expected to have a lot of bugs that need to be fixed, the alpha release is usually distributed to a small number of testers. After reported bugs have been eliminated, the refined version is called a “beta” and is released to a wider audience, but with the program clearly labeled as “beta”. The users generally check functionality and report further bugs that are encountered. The beta version feeds into a release candidate, the version that is tested just prior to the software being sold into the market, bug-free. Yeah, right …
50…One of the Ringling brothers..OTTO
The Ringling Brothers started their circus in 1884 when Barnum & Bailey already had a popular circus that was touring the Midwest. There were six Ringling Brothers in all, and they grew their business at a phenomenal rate. The circus moved from town-to-town by train, extending their reach to the eastern seaboard. So great was their success that the Ringling Brothers purchased the Barnum & Bailey operation in 1907.
56…Company makeup, largely..GIS
The initials “G.I.” stand for “Government Issue” and not “General Infantry” as is often believed. GI was first used in the military to denote equipment made from Galvanized Iron and during WWI, incoming German shells were nicknamed “GI cans”. Soon after, the term GI came to be associated with “Government Issue” and eventually became an adjective to describe anything associated with the Army.