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Archive for July, 2015

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Winners: Rosebud and the Driver

Things quieted down a bit from last week and our two Icelanders (Art and Daphne) returned with the original Icelandic spirit (Brennivin) and authentic local candies for us to sample. So it was only fair that we let The Driver win, or at least tie with Rosebud. Close behind were Rhys and Judy.

Driver was the only one who could answer the question on ringworm correctly and no one knew that a jonquil is a type of flower. BTW, it’s a lovely flower:

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Good Question!: Who shot Achilles in the heel?

Choices: a. Ares  b. Artemi  c. Hades  d. Paris

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Answer: Paris

First of all, who is Achilles and why was Paris shooting arrows at him, and at his heel of all places?

In Greek mythology, Achilles was a Greek hero of the Trojan War and the central character and greatest warrior of Homer’s Iliad. Paris, with Aphrodite’s help, had abducted Helen from King Menelaus of Sparta. The Greeks’ expedition to retrieve Helen from Paris in Troy is the mythological basis of the Trojan War. The whole story was kind of like an ancient Greek version of  “The Avengers.” I always wondered who this babe Helen was that caused all this trouble – now I know:

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Back to the story. Early on his mother attempted to protect her infant Achilles by dipping him in the river Styx. The infernal waters indeed rendered Achilles’ skin impervious to the likes of any mere Trojan arrow. But Thetis forgot that she was holding him by the heel during the dipping process, so that part was unprotected. Not good. In spite of his great power and strength, and unsurpassed skill and prowess in battle, Achilles remained with one weak or vulnerable spot, his left heel.

Paris was more lover than fighter and his preference for bow and arrow emphasizes this, since he does not follow the code of honor shared by the other heroes. Paris, with Apollo’s help, shoots a poisoned arrow through Achilles heel and that’s it for Achilles, although Homer couldn’t bear to actually describe the death of his hero in the Illiad.

If you feel the need to know more, here’s a brief, entertaining summary of the Illiad by a CUNY Professor: 

Blogger’s Note: with this post we celebrate 200 posts on TNBE since it’s founding in April 2010.

 

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Winning Team: “Planet Pluto’s Pals” (Jenessa & Pluto)

When the team with Pluto wins “Pluto Palooza” it sure seems like the fix was in. However, Pluto insists that the team’s victory really depended on young Jenessa, who was a Disney Pluto expert, nonpareil. Of course, Pluto had a lot riding on this game. He might have had to change identity if he had not won. “Pluto’s Pals” received bottles of “Moonshine” for their victory.

In second place was a pack of space cadets – Droppin’, the “Droids” (Barbara & Carol), and the “Plutoids” (Malva & Steve). Bobby Barcelona, playing as “R2D2′, had a serious malfunction on the launch pad and finished light years behind.

The night was filled with excitement and confusion, and that was before folks started drinking “Beam Me Up Scotty,” the rocket fuel in test tubes put together by Darin, our very gracious NASA hostess. It was fun watching folks at the end of the evening try to land their spaceship blindfolded on Pluto. Unfortunately, the video of that exercise will have to remain private.

Only 2 more weeks before the August recess, come out and play. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.

Good Question!: When New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto today – it was roughly the same distance away from Pluto as NYC from  ?

Choices: a. Los Angeles   b. Mumbai    c. London   d. Berlin

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Answer: Mumbai or 7,750 miles

If you want to read a wonderful, well written account of the difficulties faced and overcome by the NewHorizons team over the years try this piece from the NYT:

The Long, Strange Trip to Pluto, and How NASA Nearly Missed It

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Winner: Pluto

Tonight saw the welcome return of Jaime, who has been home raising baby Rowan, and mom Ellen. They were a little rusty, but vow to do better next week.

Pluto finished strong and won going away, although he was surprised that somehow, Ivory Coast is the world’s largest exporter of Cocoa beans. 10 O’Clock Bill and Rosebud were surprised that two wolves, Geri and Freki, belonged to Odin, but still managed to finish second.

Good Question!: With a capacity of about 150,000 spectators,what was the largest hippodrome or racecourse in ancient Rome?

Choices:  a. Colosseum     b. Circus Maximus     c. Pantheon     d. Forum Romanum

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Answer: Circus Maximus

Those of us who had been to Rome had never heard of, or seen Circus Maximus, so we went with the Colosseum as our answer. Well, now I know why we had never seen the big old hippodrome – it ain’t there anymore.

History

The Circus Maximus was the largest stadium in ancient Rome. Chariot races were one of the Roman’s most popular forms of entertainment and races were held here for almost a millennium. At one point the Circus could seat 250,000 people, one quarter of Rome’s population! Bread and circuses, indeed.

The first permanent starting gates were created in 329 BC. After a series of fires the Circus was rebuilt by Trajan in 103 AD. The Roman Empire was at the height of its power and the new Circus Maximus reflected this status. The Circus was now a stone construction, three stories high. The lower part of the cavea (seating area) was built in marble. The arena complex was now more than 600 meters long and 150 meters wide (2000x500ft).

The Circus Maximus was occasionally used for events such as processions or gladiator combats, but on most days only chariot races with quadrigaes, pulled by four horses, were held here. The races themselves were wildly popular with people fanatically supporting one of the four factions: red, white, green and blue representing summer, winter, spring and autumn respectively. Bets were laid on one of the factions and supporters of the different factions often clashed, sometimes resulting in deaths among the spectators (just like soccer matches).

When one thinks of chariot races, you think first of “Ben Hur”

Today only the layout of the original circus can be seen in what is now a large grassland. Most of the original structure was used as building material for medieval and Renaissance constructions.

Blogger’s Note: to celebrate the New Horizons mission to Pluto, at the extreme outer edge of our solar system
Tuesday, July 14th Special Event –
“Pluto Palooza” Party @ Main Street Cafe

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Φ with a tasty “Welcome Back Pluto” cake from Copenhagen Bakery

Ψ with a cocktail, specially created by Darin for the occasion, the “Pluto Palooza”

δ the trivia theme will be all Pluto, all the time (both Planet Pluto and Disney Pluto). we’ll match you up and play with 2 person teams – while you create a space themed name for your team.

φ we’ll be playing a custom, outer space themed music playlist in the background and

Φ you’ll have a chance to see if you can land your spacecraft on Pluto (blindfolded, of course)

On July 14, 2015, the New Horizons spacecraft will zip past Pluto and its five known moons. 85 years of speculation about Pluto climaxes in one day of close approach and flyby. Nobody really knows what it will find.

If you want to get pumped about the New Horizons mission, check out this short video:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/aky9FFj4ybE”

 

 

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