Whacky facts that, strangely enough, are 100% true!

Here’s another episode of my own, personal, “Believe it or not!”

believe it or not 3

The word “Pennsylvania” is misspelled on the Liberty Bell.  It’s true!

There’s a town in Washington with treetop bridges made specifically to help squirrels cross the street.

In 1872, Russia sold Alaska to the Unites States for about 2 cents per acre.  They just wouldn’t take the “beads” deal like we gave to the Indians for Manhattan!

There’s an island full of wild monkeys off the coast of South Carolina called Morgan Island, and it’s not open to humans.  I predict someone will soon die there trying to take a “selfie” with the locals.

Airlines sell all their unclaimed baggage to a store in Scottsboro, Alabama, that resells everything.  How’d they ever get that contract!?

Oregon’s Crater Lake is deep enough to cover six Statues of Liberty stacked on top of each other.

The Empire State building has its own zip code.

At 46 letters, Massachusetts’s Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg has the longest place name in the U.S.  How do you fit that name on an envelope!?

A highway in Lancaster, California plays the “William Tell Overture” as you drive over it, thanks to some well-placed grooves in the road.

You can visit the “future birthplace” of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk in Riverside, Iowa. (March 22, 2228)

believe it or not 1

Your cell phone has more (way more) computing power than NASA used for the moon landing.

Barry Manilow didn’t write his hit song “I Write the Songs.”

He did, however, write State Farm’s “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there” jingle and the “I am stuck on Band-Aids, ‘cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me” jingle.

There’s a village in southern Norway actually named “Hell.” And yes…, it freezes over every winter!

believe it or not 2

Dolly Parton once entered a Dolly Parton look-alike contest…, and lost!

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was at work in Hiroshima when the first atomic bomb was dropped on Japan…, and he survived.  He was then at home in Nagasaki when the second atomic bomb was dropped…, and he survived that as well. Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time…, twice!

In the mid-1908’s, Fergie, of the Black-Eyed Peas musical group, was the voice of Charlie Brown’s sister Sally.

Fredric Baur invented the “Pringles can.”  When he passed away in 2008, his ashes were buried in one.  Do you think it was an “Original,” “French Onion,” “Barbecue” or some other flavor can?  This is the kind of stuff I think of!

And lastly, my own contribution to the list…

Did you know that the democrats and “the biased, liberal propaganda, fake news media” are currently orchestrating the modern version of “the fall of the Roman Empire” right here in the United States!  It’s true!

Stay thirsty my friends!

But remember…, don’t drink the liberal Kool-Aide!!!

 

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Harvard professor insists that the space object named “Oumuamua,” which is zipping through our solar system as we speak, could be extraterrestrial in origin!

Abraham (Avi) Loeb, a distinguished Harvard University professor, is not backing down from his claims that a piece of extraterrestrial spacecraft technology may be flying past the orbit of Jupiter at this very moment.

Avi Loeb, one of the top astronomy professors in the world, boasting of decades of Ivy League professorships and hundreds of publicized works in respected astronomy publications, is remaining defiant that the space object, dubbed as “Oumuamua,” first noticed by Hawaiian astronomers in 2017, could be from another civilization.

avi loeb and light sail

“Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that ‘Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as debris from advanced technological equipment,” Loeb and his colleague Shmuel Bialy wrote in Astrophysical Journal Letters in November, according to the Washington Post.

According to Lukas Mikelionis of FoxNews.com, “Since making the shock claim last year, many scientists have criticized Loeb for offering, in their view, the most sensationalist theory of what the object is.”

‘“Oumuamua is not an alien spaceship, and the authors of the paper insult honest scientific inquiry to even suggest it,’ Ohio State University astrophysicist Paul M. Sutter wrote in a tweet.  Other scientists are more diplomatic and haven’t publicly countered Loeb’s claims, only saying that the object is likely just some sort of rock, whether it’s a piece of an asteroid or a comet.”

Mikelionis adds, “But Loeb remains stubborn on this theory, and dismisses the claims that it’s a rock, noting that it’s moving too fast for an inert rock.  He told the [Washington] Post that the object is long yet no more than one millimeter thick, and that it’s so light that sunlight is moving the object out of the solar system.”

“Many people expected once there would be this publicity, I would back down,” Loeb says. “If someone shows me evidence to the contrary, I will immediately back down.”

“It changes your perception on reality, just knowing that we’re not alone,” he continued.

“Even as his theories attracted attention around the world, despite his colleagues’ criticism, Loeb says he’s not afraid of any possible repercussions for spreading his theories and wears it as a badge of honor, showing his unorthodox approach to science.”

I have written a couple blogs already on this subject, and it does not appear to be going away…, the subject, that is, not the object!

Please go back and check out my previous blogs on this subject for some additional perspective.

So, what do you think?  Email me and let me know.

“The universe is a pretty big place.  If it’s just us…, it seems like an awful waste of space.” – Carl Sagan, from his book, and later the movie, “Contact”

 

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avi loeb and oumuamua

 

 

More interesting speculation from scientists about the mysterious interstellar object that is still passing through our solar system!

Note 1: Please refer to my blog of October 30, 2017, “A Mysterious Object from Deep Space passed through our Solar System,” and my blog of July 6, 2018, “NASA said, ‘Your Momma did what?’” for some additional background on this topic.

Note 2: Regarding claims that I am a “space nerd,” I must plead guilty.  I hope some of you find this story as interesting as I do, or at least mildly interesting.

The object we’re referring to again here is named “Oumuamua” (Pronounced: ooh-moo-eh-moo-eh.  It is a Hawaiian term meaning “scout,” “pathfinder” or “messenger”).  It is the first interstellar object ever spotted in our system, and it’s been described as a “metallic or rocky object” approximately 1,312 feet in length and 131 feet wide.

NASA and the European Space Agency may have ruled the object to be a comet (A comet with no tail!), but a new study from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CFA) says it could be something much more exciting!  It could be “a light sail of artificial origin” sent from another civilization!

That is definitely more exciting!  Wait…, what’s a “light sail?”

A “light sail,” also known as a “solar sail” or a “photon sail,” is a kind of space propulsion method which uses radiation pressure exerted by sunlight on large mirrors.  It’s kind of like a sail on a sailboat.  The light exerting a force on the mirrors is like a sail being blown by the wind.

The study, which was posted online earlier this month, suggests that Oumuamua’s strange “excess acceleration” could be artificial in nature.

“Considering an artificial origin, one possibility is that Oumuamua is a light sail, floating in interstellar space as a debris from an advanced technological equipment,” researchers wrote in the paper.

The paper continues: “Light sails with similar dimensions have been designed and constructed by our own civilization, including the IKAROS project and the Starshot Initiative.  The light sail technology might be abundantly used for transportation of cargos between planets or between stars.”

They even theorized that Oumuamua “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.”

The paper was written by postdoctoral researcher Shmuel Bialy and Professor Abraham (Avi) Loeb, the director at the CFA’s Institute for Theory and Computation.

Other studies have suggested that other “Oumuamua-like objects” will potentially enter our solar system, with some potentially carrying “life.”

Oumuamua was discovered in October 2017 by the PanSTARRS1 telescope after it spotted a new spot of light coming from a strange direction at an unusually fast speed.

Oumuamua is now traveling away from the Sun at a rate of approximately 70,000 mph, towards the outer part of the solar system.  In approximately four years, it will fly past Neptune’s orbit, on its way to exiting our solar system.

 

Thanks to Chris Ciaccia of Fox News for contributing to this article.

 

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oumaumau

Halloween is coming!  But how did it get here, and where did it come from?

The story of Halloween takes a long and winding road.  It starts way back in the times when Stonehenge was constructed in ancient England, and evolves as the Christian Church gets involved, and again when the celebration travels from the European continent over to North America.

OK, so let’s get started!

Where did the name “Halloween” come from?

The word “Halloween” or “Hallowe’en” dates back to about 1745 and is of Christian origin.  The word “Hallowe’en” means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening.”  It comes from a Scottish term for “All Hallows’ Eve” (the evening before All Hallows’ Day).  In Scottish, the word “eve” is “even,” and this is contracted to e’en or een.  Over time, (All) Hallow(s) E(v)en evolved into Hallowe’en.

Where did our celebration of “Halloween” originate from and how did it evolve?

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (Pronounced sow-in, go figure!).  The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1st.  This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with death.

Celts believed that on the night before their New Year (Oct. 31st), the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred.  On the night of October 31st they celebrated Samhain (remember, pronounced sow-in), when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth.  In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of these spirits made it easier for the Druids (the Celtic priests) to make predictions about the future.  For a people entirely dependent on the unpredictable natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction as they headed into the long, dark winter.

To celebrate the event, the Druids built huge sacred bonfires, and the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic gods.  During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins.

By 43 A.D., the Roman Empire had conquered the majority of Celtic territory.  Over the course of the next four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.  The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead.  The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees.  The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

In 609 A.D., Pope Boniface IV established the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day.  Pope Gregory III later expanded the festival to include all saints as well as all martyrs, and moved the observance from May 13th to November 1st.

By the 9th century (the 800’s) the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands, where it gradually blended with and supplanted the older Celtic rites.  In 1000 A.D., the church made November 2nd All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead.  It is widely believed today that the church was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday.  All Souls Day was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels and devils.  The All Saints Day celebration was also called “All-hallows” or “All-hallowmas” (from Middle English “Alholowmesse” meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain in the Celtic religion, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

So the merging of the Celtic, Roman and Christian celebrations and holidays, related to what we now call Halloween, was now fairly complete.

But the evolution of Halloween was not complete yet.  Americans of course would have to put their spin on it!

Over a half a century later in America, the celebration of Halloween was extremely limited in colonial New England because of the rigid Protestant beliefs there.  Halloween was much more common in the southern colonies.

As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups as well as the American Indians meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge.

The first American Halloween celebrations included public gatherings held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other’s fortunes, dance and sing.  Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds.

By the middle of the nineteenth century (the 1800’s), annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century (the late 1800’s) America was flooded with new immigrants.  These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland’s potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today’s “trick-or-treat” tradition.

By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a more non-religious, community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment.

By the 1950’s, Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young, probably due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom.  The centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived.  Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share in the Halloween celebration.

So there you have the history of “Halloween.”

A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow every year.  Today, Americans spend an estimated $6 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country’s second largest commercial holiday, behind only Christmas.

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends.  For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and evil in nature.  Our customs and superstitions are scarier too.

Christian churches now tend to officially disassociate themselves from the celebration of Halloween, since the evolution of the holiday has taken it off into a “Godless” direction.

When we think of Halloween now, we think of the night, darkness, monsters, ghosts, skeletons, jack-o-lanterns, witches, bats, spiders, graveyards, vampires, the devil and demons.  Basically, anything scary.

Did You Know?:

Over one fourth of all the candy sold annually in the U.S. is purchased for Halloween?

It’s true!

Pumpkins entered into the Halloween celebration after Irish immigrants came to America and found that pumpkins were easier to carve than potatoes?

It’s true!

Jack-o-lanterns have been around for hundreds of years. The legend actually revolves around a man named Jack.  Jack supposedly made a deal with the devil, which of course usually does not turn out good.  In the end, Jack is stuck between heaven and hell, wandering around, looking for his final resting place, lighting his way, carrying a pumpkin with a candle in it to light his way.

It’s true!

Candy corn, a popular treat during Halloween, was first created in the late 1800’s.  More than 35 million pounds of candy corn is produced each year!

It’s true!

The word “witch” comes from the word “wica,” an Old Saxon word that means “wise one.”  The early-known witches were dealers in medicinal herbs and charms and were highly respected in their communities.

It’s true!

Well, now your Halloween IQ has just been increased over 100%!

Here are just a few more parting shots!

Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

A: Frostbite.

 

Q: Why are ghosts so bad at lying?

A: Because you can see right through them!

 

Q: What’s it like to be kissed by a vampire?

A: It’s a pain in the neck.

 

Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Boo.

Boo, who?

Well you don’t have to cry about it!

 

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halloween

You’re saying this iceberg formed naturally?  What you talkin’ ‘bout Willis!?

A huge, flat, iceberg with perfect right angles was spotted on Oct. 16, 2018, by NASA’s “Operation IceBridge,” floating among sea ice, just off the Larsen “C” ice shelf, on the Antarctic Peninsula (the South Pole).

According to NASA, ‘“Operation IceBridge’s’ mission is to record images of our planet’s polar regions, in order to better understand how ice has changed and shifted in recent years.”

Fox News reports that, “This mysterious iceberg’s unique geometric shape has sparked considerable debate on social media.”

According to NASA, however, there’s a simpler scientific reason why the iceberg appears to be a perfect rectangle.

Uh, excuse me, but it doesn’t just “APPEAR TO BE a perfect rectangle,” IT IS A PERFECT RECTANGLE!!!

“We get two types of icebergs: We get the type that everyone can envision in their head that sank the Titanic, and they look like prisms or triangles at the surface and you know they have a crazy subsurface,” Kelly Brunt, an ice scientist with NASA, told Live Science. “And then you have what are called ‘tabular icebergs.'”

“Tabular icebergs are wide and flat, and long, like a sheet cake,” she said. “They split from the edges of ice shelves, large blocks of ice, connected to land but floating in the water surrounding iced-over places like Antarctica.”

“What makes this one a bit unusual is that it looks almost like a square,” Brunt said, adding that it’s probably not very old since wind and water have yet to soften its sharp edges.”

Uh, ya, “a bit unusual” to say the least.  “A bit unusual” is definitely an understatement.

“Although it’s hard to tell the size of the iceberg in this photo,” Brunt said, “it’s likely more than a mile across.”

Now I ain’t no “scientist,” but I am smart enough to realize that this “tabular iceberg” did not just happen naturally, all on its own.

You can say what you want, and come up with all of the scientific explanations you want, but I’m sorry, no one can convince me otherwise.

As with all icebergs, of course, the part visible above the surface is just the top 10 percent of its mass.  The rest is hidden underwater, and I wonder what that looks like!?

What do you think about this?  Please email me and let me know.

Thanks to Christopher Carbone of Fox News for contributing to this article.

 

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NASA-ICE-square-iceberg-1120

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