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"Our life is what our thoughts make it."
- Marcus Aurelius

AUG 2012

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8/1/12     Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) were the organizers of the Lewis and Clark expedition which began with training in 1803. Thomas Jefferson urged explorers to investigate the territory west of the Mississippi River, and he finally appointed Lewis, his personal secretary, to oversee the expedition. - Provided by Reference.com
8/2/12     The first U.S. census in 1790 revealed that there were 3,939,326 citizens in the 16 states and Ohio Territory. The U.S. Census has been taken every 10 years since then. The United States made history when it took its first census in 1790, not only because of the size of the area enumerated and the effort to obtain data on characteristics of the population but also because of the political purpose for which it was undertaken - namely, representation in Congress on the basis of population. England took its first census in 1801. - Provided by Reference.com
8/3/12     Crabs and lobsters are crustaceans, animals with hard shells. Crabs have broad, round shells. Lobster have long bodies with tails. Most live in the water, though some crabs can survive out of the water. The average life span of a lobster is 50-70 years, but only three years for a crab. The American lobster is often marketed alive. It is commonly blackish green or brownish green above and yellow orange, red, or blue underneath. The red color of lobsters is caused by immersion in hot water. - Provided by Reference.com
8/4/12     The Revenue Marine Service, established in 1790 by Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton, later became the Revenue Cutter Service and then, in 1915, merged with the U.S. Lifesaving Service (formed in 1878) to become the U.S. Coast Guard. It is the part of the military service charged with the enforcement of maritime laws. - Provided by Reference.com
8/5/12     In 1957, "American Bandstand" premiered as a national show. Starting in 1952, it was a local Philadelphia show. Then in 1957, Dick Clark - then a disk jockey - became the host, introducing songs and listing the top 10 songs each week. He was only 26 at the time. Almost immediately, the show became a hit for the struggling network, ABC. The show became TV's longest-running musical series. The show was canceled six months after Clark turned over the hosting duties to David Hirsch in 1989. - Provided by Reference.com
8/6/12     H.G. Wells was the first to use the term 'atomic bomb' (1914) and 'ground zero' was first used in reference to the devastation left by an atomic bomb (particularly Hiroshima). The term 'nuclear bomb' encompasses both 'atomic bomb' and 'hydrogen bomb.' - Provided by Reference.com
8/7/12     The first U.S. military decoration, the Purple Heart, was instituted by General George Washington in 1782 (Badge of Military Merit) and awarded for bravery in action. The records show that only three men received it during the American Revolutionary War, all of them noncommissioned officers. - Provided by Reference.com
8/8/12     Among the best-known and most spectacular meteor showers are the Perseids, which peak about August 10-12. They appear to originate in the vicinity of the constellation Perseus, named for the slayer of the Gorgon Medusa and the rescuer of Andromeda from a sea monster. - Provided by Reference.com
8/9/12     Alaska is the largest of the United States, but among the least populated. The 49th state to join the Union (January 3, 1959), Alaska contains Point Barrow, the northernmost point of the U.S. and Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America. About one-third of the state lies within the Arctic Circle and its westernmost point is only 50 miles (80 km) from Russia. Alaska was purchased from Russia in 1867 for about $7 million or two cents an acre. Its name comes from the Aleut word "alakshak", meaning peninsula. - Provided by Reference.com
8/10/12     The heat involved in boiling the egg causes chemical changes to the soft matter which makes it harden. The discoloring that sometimes occurs (gray or green) is caused by iron and sulphur compounds that accumulate when eggs are overcooked. Although the discolored egg yolks don't look great, it does not affect the taste or nutritional value of the eggs. - Provided by Reference.com
8/11/12     Watermelon is a succulent fruit of the gourd family (Cucurbitaceae), native to tropical Africa, but under cultivation on every continent except Antarctica. Its vines grow prostrate, with branched tendrils, deeply cut leaves, and flowers borne singly in the axil of a leaf. Watermelon is the third most popular fruit in the United States; however, it is really a vegetable (Citrullus lanatus), a cousin of the cucumber. - Provided by Reference.com
8/12/12     "Floods are caused by rivers overflowing their banks or by high tides and strong winds blowing ocean waters onto land. They can occur in the spring when melting snow and ice from winter makes rivers unusually high. They can occur when hurricanes raise the tides and the winds and also accompany tsunamis. - Provided by Reference.com
8/13/12     The Renaissance is the name of an important artistic and scientific period that began about 1400 and went on for 200 years in Italy and, eventually, all of Europe. Renaissance means rebirth and this period was a time when scholars revived interest in learning and the arts of ancient Greece and Rome. The people of the Renaissance looked for new explanations, new ways of doing things, new interpretations of writings, new ways of building their homes and public buildings. - Provided by Reference.com
8/14/12     The original Social Security Act established a permanent national old-age pension system through employer and employee contributions. The system was later extended to include dependents, the disabled, and other groups. Responding to the economic impact of the Great Depression, 5,000,000 old people in the early 1930s joined nationwide Townsend clubs, promoted by Francis E. Townsend to support his program demanding a $200 monthly pension for everyone over the age of 60. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt considered the matter and studied the recommendations of a committee he formed. In 1935, Congress enacted the Social Security Act, providing old-age benefits to be financed by a payroll tax on employers and employees. - Provided by Reference.com
8/15/12     The Yukon Territory is a triangle-shaped region of northwestern Canada that is 186,661 square miles, but has only 25,000 residents. It is bordered by the Northwest Territory, Alaska, British Columbia, and the Beaufort Sea. The Yukon was among the last areas of North America to be explored by nonnatives; two explorers for the Hudson's Bay Company first entered the region around 1840. - Provided by Reference.com
8/16/12     A fan does not cool air but increases air circulation over skin, which speeds evaporation of moisture and makes one feel cooler. Actually, the fan's motor increases air temperature. - Provided by Reference.com
8/17/12     In the early 1950s, Walt Disney started plans for a huge amusement park to be built near Los Angeles and it opened on July 17, 1955 in Anaheim. Disney's love of nostalgia and fantasy was evident in its design and construction and it soon became a mecca for tourists from around the world. A second Disney park, Walt Disney World, near Orlando, Florida, which was under construction at the time of Walt Disney's death, opened in 1971. - Provided by Reference.com
8/18/12     The first mail-order catalog was published by Montgomery Ward and Co. (of Chicago) in 1872. It was only a single sheet of paper! Ward started the company in 1872 with $2,400 capital and the aim of buying large quantities of merchandise wholesale and then selling it directly to farmers in rural areas without the help of retail intermediaries. By 1904, the Montgomery Ward catalog weighed four pounds. In 1985, the company closed its 113-year-old catalog operation and in 2000 it announced the closing of its retail stores. - Provided by Reference.com
8/19/12     The "black cow" or "root beer float" was created on August 19, 1893. Frank J. Wisner, owner of Cripple Creek Brewing in Colorado, served the first root beer float. Inspired by the moonlit view of snow-capped Cow Mountain, Mr. Wisner added a scoop of ice cream to his Myers Avenue Red root beer and began serving it as the "Black Cow Mountain." The name was later shortened to "black cow." - Provided by Reference.com
8/20/12     Little League started in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, by Carl E. Stotz and brothers Bert and George Bebble. The league originally included boys age 8 to 12, but girls have been admitted since 1974. The Little League now includes a senior division for players age 13 to 15 and a big-league division for ages 16 to 18. - Provided by Reference.com
8/21/12     Hawaii became the 50th state in 1959. The islands have an area of 6,459 square miles (16,729 square kilometers). The name is thought to derive from Hawaiki, the former name of Raiatea, one of the Society Islands, from which Polynesians sailed in voyaging canoes to settle after AD 1000. - Provided by Reference.com
8/22/12     The spleen is a lymphoid organ located in the left side of the abdominal cavity under the diaphragm, the muscular partition between the abdomen and the chest. In man it is about the size of a fist and is well supplied with blood. As the lymph nodes are filters for the lymphatic circulation, the spleen is the primary filtering element for the blood. - Provided by Reference.com
8/23/12     Salt raises the boiling point of water so it takes longer to boil the water, but since it makes the water hotter, foods cook faster. In general, solutes (materials that are soluble in liquids) raise the boiling point of the liquid since the solute can bind or hold the water or liquid molecules together ever so slightly. This action does not allow those molecules to change their form to the gaseous state as easily resulting in a higher boiling point. - Provided by Reference.com
8/24/12     The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939, a classic motion picture directed by Victor Fleming. It was a musical adaptation of the L. Frank Baum children's book and it had both black-and-white and color sequences. It starred Judy Garland as Dorothy, Frank Morgan as the Wizard, Roy Bolger as Scarecrow, Bert Lahr as Lion, Jack Haley as Tin Man, and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch. It was nominated for six Academy Awards and won for best original music score and best song, "Over the Rainbow." - Provided by Reference.com
8/25/12     Archaeology as a discipline has its origins in 15th-16th centuries in Europe, when people of the Renaissance wanted to know more about the glories of Greece and Rome. Popes, cardinals, and noblemen in Italy began to collect antiquities and to sponsor excavations to find more works of ancient art. - Provided by Reference.com
8/26/12     Women's Equality Day was first celebrated in in 1971, marking women's advancements toward equality with men on the anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment (1920) which granted American women full suffrage. Annually since then, women have observed the day with events that celebrate women's progress toward equality. - Provided by Reference.com
8/27/12     A balloon or airship is a type of aircraft that flies using lighter-than-air gases. The first balloon flight was made in France in 1783 by the Montgolfier Brothers. An unmanned balloon made of linen and paper was lifted by heated air, rose to 5,906 ft. (1,800 m), and flew 1 mile. The first manned flight was made later that year with a Montgolfier balloon. Hydrogen replaced hot air for filling balloons in the same year; gas was let out by a valve for descending. Now airships are lifted by helium and are used for advertising and filming. - Provided by Reference.com
8/28/12     A volcano is an opening in the earth from which molten rock and gas erupts. The molten rock (magma) forms a hill or mountain around the opening and the burning gas, ash, and hot lava may explode out or pour down the sides. The explosion of a volcano is called an eruption and can do much damage, as seen in Pompeii and Washington state's Mount St. Helens. There are about 800 places in the world where volcanoes are active, including 80 below the sea. - Provided by Reference.com
8/29/12     In 1922, the first radio commercial was broadcast on WEAF in New York. Broadcasters realized that radio could earn profits from the sale of advertising time. The first "spot" was sponsored by the Queensboro Realty Corporation of Jackson Heights to promote Hawthorne Court, a group of apartment buildings in Queens. This first commercial cost $100 for 10 minutes. - Provided by Reference.com
8/30/12     Edmond Hoyle was from London and he collected instructions for playing games; he may have been the first technical writer on card games. His "Short Treatise on the Game of Whist" was published in 1742 and it became the model guide to the rules of the game. Hoyle's name became synonymous with the idea of "correct" play according to the rules and the phrase "according to Hoyle" was first recorded in 1906. - Provided by Reference.com
8/31/12     In 1893, Mrs. Grover Cleveland, Frances Folsom Cleveland, became the first presidential wife to give birth at the White House (girl, Esther). The first child born in the White House, though, was the granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson in 1806: Jefferson's daughter, Patsy (Mrs. Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr.) gave birth to a son named for James Madison. - Provided by Reference.com

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