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Fact of the Day: softball

It is generally agreed that softball developed from a game called indoor baseball, first played in Chicago in 1887. It became known in the United States by various names, such as kitten ball, mush ball, diamond ball, indoor-outdoor, and playground ball. There were wide variances in playing rules, size and type of playing equipment, and dimensions of the playing field. In 1923 a rules committee was appointed to publish and circulate a standard set of rules. The committee was later enlarged to form the International Joint Rules Committee on Softball, which came to include representatives of a number of organizations that promote and sponsor softball. The Amateur Softball Association of America, organized in 1933, came to be the recognized governing agency for promotion and control of organized national competition.

Ending Soon

Hello all,

I have received notification from Reference.com that their "On This Day" email (the source for the facts for this blog) will be ending on May 13, 2015.

Therefore, this blog will end with the final fact on May 13.

I hope you've enjoyed this blog.


Civil Sugars

Tuesday's Fact of the Day: civil engineering

The first civil engineering course at a college was given in 1819 at Norwich University in Vermont. The first civil engineer would have been the first person to have constructed a road, canal, lock, bridge, or other architectural form. That would have been a person living thousands of years ago, if not longer!

Wednesday's Fact of the Day: sugars

Brown sugar is white sugar combined with molasses, which gives it a soft texture. There is light and dark brown sugar -- with the light generally being a more delicate flavor and the dark being the old-fashioned style with more intense molasses flavor. Both granulated and liquid brown sugar are now available but neither of these forms should be substituted for regular brown sugar in recipes. Brown sugar should also not be confused with raw sugar, which is the residue left after sugarcane has been processed to remove the molasses and refine the sugar crystals.

Weekend Catchup

Saturday's Fact of the Day: cruise control

Cruise control automatically maintains a set speed; the automatic system is an example of a feedback mechanism. A sensor measures the car's speed and controls the carburetor. It boosts fuel flow if speed begins to drop on climbing a slope, or feeds less fuel to the engine if the car begins to speed up. The sensor may be an electromagnet on the drive shaft, which produces an electric signal related to the speed. A motor operates the carburetor. The controlling operation is best carried out by a microprocessor; it continually checks the sensor signal and sends a control signal to the motor. The advantage of a microprocessor is that it can do more than control speed. As it "learns" the speed and fuel flow, it can also calculate and display speed, distance, and fuel consumption -- and control the engine to improve consumption.

Sunday's Fact of the Day: biomes

A biome (also called major life zone), is the largest geographic biotic unit, a major community of plants and animals with similar life forms and environmental conditions. It includes various communities and developmental stages of communities and is named for the dominant type of vegetation, such as grassland or coniferous forest. Several similar biomes constitute a biome type--for example, the temperate deciduous forest biome type includes the deciduous forest biomes of Asia, Europe, and North America.

Monday's Fact of the Day: seventh-inning stretch

The seventh-inning stretch takes place after the top of the seventh inning. The history behind the seventh-inning stretch is the following: On April 15, 1910, President William Howard Taft, who weighed 300 pounds, got up to stretch his legs after the top of the seventh-inning. Fans thought that he was getting up to leave the game. As a show of respect, the fans in the area stood up, too. Then President Taft sat back down. Thus the seventh-inning stretch was born.

Socratic Cheese

Thursday's Fact of the Day: Socratic method

The Socratic method is to start with whatever seems the most satisfactory "hypothesis," or postulate, about a given subject and then consider the consequences that follow from it. So far as these consequences proved to be true and consistent, the "hypothesis" might be regarded as provisionally confirmed. But one should not confuse inquiry into the consequences of the "hypothesis" with proof of its truth. The question of truth could be settled only by deducing the initial "hypothesis" as a consequence from some more ultimate, accepted "hypothesis." It is a philosophical method of systematic doubt and questioning of another to elicit a clear expression of a truth supposed to be implicitly known by all rational beings.

Friday's Fact of the Day: cottage cheese

The name "cottage" in cottage cheese comes from early European farmers who made this cheese in their cottages with milk that was left over from making butter. Today, cottage cheese is not made from buttermilk or whey.

Leaves and Feng Shui

Tuesday's Fact of the Day: leaves

The pigments in leaves (carotenoids) which are responsible for the fall colors are actually present in the leaves all during the growing season of spring and summer. The colors are eclipsed by the green chlorophyll. Toward the end of summer, chlorophyll production stops and the colors of the carotenoids (yellow, orange, red, purple, etc.) become visible. Different trees turn different colors, e.g. sugar maple and sumac turn flame red and orange; popular, birch, tulip trees, and willows turn yellow.

Wednesday's Fact of the Day: feng shui

In the feng shui ("wind and water") conception, the Earth is the body of a living spirit, or spirits, who can be pleased, displeased, or wounded by the way people use it. This idea arose early in China's Warring States Period (481-221 BC and is first mentioned in a mystical-political manual from Northeast China, the Guarn Dzu (c 400 BC), which speaks of water as the blood and breath of the Earth. From this conception, a superstitious belief developed that specialist feng shui geomancers can divine advantageous and disadvantageous arrangements of works and buildings by reference to their compass points. It is not clear when the divination began to be practiced, but it was familiar by the 2nd century BC.

Weekend Catchup

Saturday's Fact of the Day: brain

The brain weighs about 1,500 grams and constitutes about two percent of total body weight.

Sunday's Fact of the Day: shopping center

The first shopping center in a suburb was in Kansas City, Missouri and the first tenant moved in in 1923. It had 150 stores and a 2000-seat auditorium. The first enclosed climate-controlled suburban shopping mall was Southdale, in Edina, Minnesota, opened in 1956. The first pedestrian shopping mall was constructed in 1959 in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Monday's Fact of the Day: aquifers

Aquifers are groundwater systems. They serve the diverse agricultural, industrial, recreational, and domestic needs of millions of users. In some places it is the only source of water. In the coming decades, demand for water may increase beyond the aquifers' capacity to provide, and there are increasing concerns about the welfare of endangered species that depend on aquifer water. Overdrafts on an aquifer would imply that too much water is being drawn from an aquifer.

Smithsonian Castle

Fact of the Day: Smithsonian castle

The Smithsonian "Castle", built between 1847 and 1855, was the first Romanesque public building built in the United States. On the Mall in Washington D.C., The Smithsonian Castle is visited by thousands of people each year. It was designed by architect James Renwick, who also designed St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York. James Smithson, the Englishman who bequeathed his fortune to start the Smithsonian Institution, is interred in the Castle.


Fact of the Day: kimono

The kimono is a garment worn by Japanese men and women from the Early Nara period (645-724) to the present. Derived from the Chinese p'ao-style robe, the basic kimono is an ankle-length gown with long, expansive sleeves and a V-neck. It has neither buttons nor ties, being lapped left over right across the chest and secured at the waist by a broad sash known as an obi. The short-sleeved kimono (kosode), worn by women as an outer garment, was introduced in the Muromachi period (Ashikaga shogunate; 1338-1573). The contemporary wide obi dates only from the 18th century. Although the kimono is not of Japanese origin, as is often supposed, its great beauty is attributable to 17th- and 18th-century Japanese designers.

Rooster Ball

Tuesday's Fact of the Day: roosters

Long ago, when chickens were wild, roosters crowed so loudly to attract a mate that they were in danger of being pounced on by a predator. To avoid being seen, they began to do most of their crowing when the light was dim -- early morning and late afternoon. Today roosters still crow most at those two times. In the morning you notice it more because there are not a lot of other noises at 5 a.m.

Wednesday's Fact of the Day: baseball song

Take Me Out To The Ball Game was written by Jack Norworth (lyrics) and Albert von Tilzer (music) in 1908 and copyrighted then. Neither gentleman had seen a ballgame before writing this song.