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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:30 am 
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Today is Global Handwashing Day, so as long as you've washed your hands at least once today, congratulations, you participated. It's also the day, in 2003, when China joined the spaceflight club with Russia and the US, launching Shenzhou 5 with Yang Liwei aboard (which if you've been watching Star Trek: Discovery - caught episode four tonight, still being caught off-balance by how atypical of Star Trek its storytelling is, but enjoying it - that's why Michelle Yeoh's ship is named USS Shenzhou). And speaking of people getting off the ground, today in 1783 Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier did it in style for the first time ever, piloting the Montgolfier brothers' hot air balloon - still tethered to the ground that time, but since previous efforts to get off the ground hadn't really gotten further than jumping as high as you could, it drew quite a crowd.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:03 pm 
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World Food Day today, the food day to end all food days (not that that's going to stop me looking them up) - and it's also World Anaesthesia Day. If only they could figure out how to administer anaesthetic in a burger, we could just combine them.

Also today, in 1869 the Cardiff Giant was discovered, a 10-foot-tall petrified man, made in secret and buried a year earlier by George Hull after having an argument with a Methodist about whether the Bible said there used to be giants. After being sold to a group of promoters, PT Barnum attempted to buy it, and on being refused, made his own 'fake' giant and started exhibiting it as the real thing, claiming the 'real' one was the fake, which was the story the press reported, leading one of the owners of the 'real' one to note "There's a sucker born every minute" (which ended up being attributed to Barnum, who'd probably have taken credit for it if he knew). They sued Barnum for calling it a fake, but the case kind of came undone when Hull piped up and admitted that it was a fake. According to wikipedia, the 'real' giant is currently on display in the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York, so that's something to go see if you're in the area.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:51 pm 
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Today in 1604... well, actually on a day that doesn't seem to have been precisely determined yet, and about 20,000 years ago, a star we'd end up calling SN 1604 decided it had had enough and blew up in spectacular fashion, but today in 1604 Johannes Kepler took note of it (difficult not to, what with it outshining every other star in the sky for over a year, and was visible during the day for three weeks) and wrote the book on it (literally: De Stella nova in pede Serpentarii), which is why it's also known as Kepler's Supernova. While it's believed a couple of other stars have popped their corks in our galaxy since then, there's no record of anyone seeing them - likely due to interstellar gas getting in the way (there was also a film called Supernova in 2000, but I don't think anyone saw that either - I've got it on dvd though) - so Kepler's remains the last supernova to have been observed by eye to date.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:56 pm 
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I feel like this should be an MKF message but it's not Thursday... anyway, on this day in 1963 the French launched the sounding rocket (which basically means it carries scientific instruments, although it's also correct in the other sense that, as wikipedia puts it, it's a French sounding rocket) Véronique AGI 47, a suborbital rocket carrying Félicette, a black and white cat found on the streets of Paris, who was probably quite surprised at how things turned out. She went up 154km, and came down by parachute just fine.

It's also Chocolate Cupcake Day, so if you've got one, enjoy it in celebration of the first cat in space.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Today is either Brandied Fruit Day, or Office Chocolate Day. Why not Office Brandied Fruit Day? It's also the anniversary of the Saturday Night Massacre, when Nixon decided there would be no negative consequences to just firing his way through Attorneys General until he got to one that'd get rid of Watergate for him, and it's comforting to reflect on how that turned out in the end... And on a brighter note, today in 1973 the Queen (Liz 2, if you're not in one of those countries where "the Queen" is basically her actual name) opened the Sydney Opera House, vastly simplifying matters for any filmmaker who wants the audience to know right away that a scene is taking place in Sydney.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 3:56 am 
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No food for today, but it's definitely worth taking a moment to celebrate today's sci-fi birthday: the late and very great Carrie Fisher. Man that Episode 8 trailer tugs at the heartstrings.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:24 am 
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And today we celebrate Wombat Day, in honour of Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat, unofficial mascot of the Sydney Olympic Games. Not even slightly making that up, here's proof. And another random fact, I've finally transferred all my files and whatnot across to a new laptop, since the old one is ridiculously past its use-by date. In keeping with my helpful-AI naming theme for computers, the new one (taking the place of Avina) is named Joi.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 22, 2017 10:07 pm 
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It's Mole Day - not the little burrowing critters, but the base unit for an amount of substance, with one mole of a thing being as much as contains the same number of particles as there are atoms in 12 grams of carbon-12 - that number is the Avogadro constant, which is roughly 6.02 × 10^23, and that's why it's today.

It's also Boston Cream Pie Day, which I looked up and looks yummy - the relevant wikipedia page informed me that it's the official dessert of Massachusetts, and yes, not being American I did have to check to find out what that had to do with Boston. :blush

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:01 am 
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It's National Chocolate Day today, which I feel is a bit generic, so I went browsing through history instead - did you know there were such things as antipopes? As in, someone other than the pope making a claim that they are the pope, and convincing enough people of that that they needed to come up with a new term for them other than 'smartass'. Well, today in 1061 the antipope Honorius II was elected, and he and the positively-charged pope at the time, Alexander II, spent the next couple of years at various degrees of war with one another.

Speaking of history, this is also the day - in 1928 - when the Langford Expedition dug up the Stargate at Giza. Pity they didn't keep digging until they got the DHD as well to get it working, then they'd have really had something to show the folks back home.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 1:38 pm 
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My new kitten is five months old

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:59 pm 
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D'aww, kitty :kitty

I missed yesterday, oops - and it was a good one, the anniversary of the day in 1969 when ARPANET linked two computers together for the first time, thus paving the way for what we're doing now. Yay! Today, by contrast, is Mischief Night, which I had no idea was a formal occasion as opposed to just people getting drunk and being pricks around Halloween, but apparently it is, and was originally part of May Day before it moved to October/November (before either Halloween or Bonfire Night) in the 19th Century for reasons nobody seems to be very clear about (although I don't think we can entirely discount that itself being a rather subtle prank played on folklore students). It's also known as Devil's Night, Goosey Night in some parts of New Jersey, and Moving Night in Baltimore, which really doesn't make Baltimore sound very exciting.

And the dude from The Crow gets murdered on Devil's Night, and comes back to life the same day one year later, according to wikipedia. For no particular reason I've never seen The Crow - not that I've avoided it, and since it's early Alex Proyas (and Dark City is one of my favourites) I probably really should, it's just never happened to be around when I've been looking for something to watch.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:04 pm 
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Another day off, but everyone knows yesterday was Halloween, and that obviously would've been the attached fact, so that's fine (plus it was the day I was hurrying to get Paint finished before the end of the work day, don't tell anyone I do most of my writing at work).

Today's got a lot going on in the food stakes - it's simultaneously Vegan Day, Vinegar Day, Fried French Clam Day, and Cook For Your Pets Day (another one that really should be brought to MKF's attention in her thread, but I'm sure her mommies celebrate it even if it's not on a Thursday this year). If you want to try for all of those simultaneously, I did some googling and it seems button mushrooms are the clam substitute for vegans. In the US it's also National Brush Day - nothing to do with paint (I didn't even know that yesterday, although I'm prepared to call it a cute coincidence in hindsight), it's to remind everyone to brush their teeth, to try to mitigate at least some of the damage the mountain of sugar accumulated yesterday is going to do.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:27 pm 
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On this day way back when, Howard Hughes' H-4 Hercules, the largest fixed wing aircraft ever built took off on its first test flight, covering a mile or so before landing back in the water (it's a seaplane, so that wasn't a mistake). So that was successful, but also the only time it ever flew, since the whole point of the thing originally was to be a gigantic cargo aircraft to help with the war effort, and the test flight took place in 1947, so you can see the issue there. (Being constructed mostly during the war also accounted, along with weight concerns, for it being mostly wood rather than metal, hence the nickname 'Spruce Goose' (originally coined by those who thought it was a colossal waste of time and would probably never work) - it's actually birch, but so far as I've been able to determine with google, there isn't a bird that rhymes with 'birch'.) That's not just the biggest aircraft at the time though, it's still the biggest, so that's pretty cool.

(Also a model of it, along with Howard Hughes, makes an appearance in The Rocketeer, which is one of my favourite films.)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:30 pm 
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It's National Sandwich Day! That's not a comedic exclamation point, I really do like sandwiches - not so much the current 'things stuffed into a long bun any old how' sort (although they can be perfectly tasty too), I mean your classic sandwich, square and possibly with an extra layer, and cut diagonally so there's a neat little cross-section. The geometry of sandwiches, if you follow me.

Also relevant today, back in 1954 Godzilla stomped out of the ocean to flatten Tokyo, in what would become a recurring city-flattening tradition. And without Godzilla there'd be no Willzilla (and Queen Tarah of course), and there's always room in life for more Willow and Tara, even if they are gigantic radioactive reptiles.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 4:51 am 
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It's National Candy Day today, but maybe it's just an Australian thing but that doesn't sound very interesting (we don't as a rule use 'candy' much - 'sweets' sometimes, but mostly we just specify what type of thing we're ruining our health with rather than leaving it vague). More fascinating is that it was on this day in 1960 that Dr Jane Goodall ("Diamonds!") observed chimpanzees making tools, the first time anyone had ever seen any creature other than humans doing so. Three years later (not to the day, sadly) Pierre Boulle's 'La Planète des Singes' was published - no direct link, so far as wikipedia says anyway, but timely nonetheless, and so far the whole Planet of the Apes saga seems to be serving its purpose in warning ape-kind in general that tools may seem cool, but if you play with them too much you end up developing human civilisation, and look what kind of a mess you're in then.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:01 am 
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Guy Fawkes! Actually not really, it's not a big thing in Australia (we don't even do fireworks without historical context any more, ever since some bright spark noticed that encouraging children to play with explosives might not be the best idea) - you'd think it'd be more popular here though, the slow deviation of the occasion away from celebrating the capture of Guy Fawkes to, without really outright saying so, celebrating him for having a go in the first place seems like it'd be right in line with the Australian sense of humour. Anyway, if we're looking for something to celebrate without any moral ambiguity attached, how's about a happy birthday to Armin Shimerman, who I'm sure you all know as Principal Snyder, but - for the benefit of the non-Trekkies - he also played Quark on Deep Space Nine, and pretty much single-handedly redeemed the Ferengi species, launched at the start of Next Gen in the hopes of being a new antagonist but almost immediately collapsing to recurring bad joke status. Shimerman was there, too, as one of the Ferengi crewmen in 1987's 'The Last Outpost', so it's rather satisfying that he got to restore some dignity to the species. And then there's 'Profit and Lace', but hey, sometimes even when the writers have got their house in order they still just screw up out of the blue (don't go watch it, just imagine how badly-handled a 'comedy' about a male character being temporarily turned into a woman could be, and yep, that's about how badly they handled it). Still, Quark had firmly established his bona fides as one of the Trek fandom's most beloved characters already, and that's very much largely down to Shimerman, who managed to do it even with a metric ton of latex on his head the whole time.

There's no official food for today, but in honour of the Ferengi, how about we all celebrate with some of their favourites: a nice hearty bowl of tube grubs, washed down with a refreshing can of Slug-O-Cola? No? Yeah, probably best not.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:23 am 
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Today is National Nachos Day, but since I had to look up nachos to see what they were (apart from a flavour of chips), I went looking for something else, and was reminded by wikipedia that it was on this day back in 1999 that Australia collectively decided we can't really be bothered with this whole republic thing, so we'll keep on having a British head of state for a while longer thanks (although that's a debate that's just waiting to re-erupt if Charlie ever gets his turn). It's also Rebecca Romijn's birthday, best known to us nerds as Mystique from the original X-Men series - I always thought she was the best thing in those movies, and not just for the obvious reason that she's gorgeous (kind of moreso in blue, but I'm weird like that); she's silent almost the whole time, then comes out with this one line of dialogue per movie that just nails it ("People like you are the reason I was afraid to go to school" to the Senator in X-Men 1, and in X2 when Nightcrawler asks why she doesn't just look human and blend in, "Because I shouldn't have to.") Never thought Jennifer Lawrence's prequel-Mystique measured up, to be honest.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:53 am 
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CHRIS YOU'VE NEVER HAD NACHOS?!?

I literally feel like flying to Australia to rectify this. (It's also my nephew's first birthday this week, so I could fit in a visit with him too.)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:55 am 
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I've got an idea that I have once, but it would have been a long time ago (if I'm not misremembering it entirely), so all in all yeah, my nacho level is probably hovering somewhere close to zero. But I'm fully qualified to enjoy today though: it's Kladdkakans dag, when the Swedes celebrate mud cake, and rightly so. (America meanwhile is having National Bittersweet Chocolate With Almonds Day, which doesn't sound bad either, but if it had to be one or the other I'd definitely go mud cake.)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:25 am 
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Bit of an odd choice today - it's either Harvey Wallbanger Day, or Cook Something Bold and Pungent Day. I guess it wouldn't be that difficult to do them one after the other, down enough vodka and anything you do in the kitchen is likely to be bold in one way or another. It's also World Radiography Day, celebrating the discovery of X-rays in 1895 by Wilhelm Röntgen, which netted him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2017 8:17 pm 
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On this day (which is Vanilla Cupcake Day if you're hungry) Microsoft first unveiled Windows 1.0 - which, yeah, didn't have the most amazing instant success (I wasn't even aware of Windows until 3.0) but it did eventually catch on. They finally ended support for it in 2001, when I assume there were still a few people using it, at least because that's what happened to me with Vista this year (I stick with computers a long time, so I tend to skip generations of operating system - I was on 98 for ages, until that PC finally died and I ended up with Vista, and now I've gone straight from Vista to 10.)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 5:05 am 
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Found an interesting thing while looking up today - it's Pepero Day in South Korea, a kinda-sorta Valentine's Day thing where you give Pepero (which are like biscuit sticks with chocolate on them) to people to express affection. Which is better than the folklore original meaning of it, which is that eating 11 packets of the things today at 11:11am and 11:11pm would make you tall and thin, like the sticks. Covered in chocolate, people, think it through.

It's also Pocky Day in Japan, where they eat Pocky, which are biscuit sticks with chocolate on them, and yep, those two companies are continually at each other's legal throats. Apparently the Japanese version is less about showing affection and more about blitzing Twitter to get the world record for most mentions of a product in 24 hours, but hey, whatever makes you happy I guess.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:38 pm 
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Here we are, Monday the 13th... I really liked Garfield when I was young. Now there's the whole Garfield-without-Garfield thing, which yeah I get the joke, but... I dunno, I still just like Garfield with Garfield (but without movies).

And I missed yesterday, sorry about that - out late - but it turns out it was a bit lukewarm anyway, as the list of food days says it was Chicken Soup For The Soul Day, which I was very disappointed to find out doesn't actually involve chicken soup in any material sense. Why is it even on the food days list? I kind of missed that inspirational story phenomenon or whatever it is, and I think in any case my personal chicken soup for the soul would consist of just having some chicken soup.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:12 pm 
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So this is weird, today is Spicy Guacamole Day, which is different to September 16's Guacamole Day. Is the spice really that much of a change? It's also Pickle Day though, so I'll take the guacamole - not a fan of pickles. (And it's also World Diabetes Day, for which I imagine either pickles or guacamole would be fairly safe? Check first if you're not sure though, I'm just guessing. And admittedly my main point of reference for pickles are that they're what McDonalds put on their burgers so (I've been told) they're not technically classified as cakes, so while the pickles might not be a diabetes issue, their presence could be a warning sign.)

And at 10am tomorrow, the results of the Same Sex Marriage Survey are announced, so fingers crossed.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:04 am 
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Does apple cider go with Vichyssoise? (Honestly, I had to look Vichyssoise up to see what it was.) It's both their days today, so I guess they go together whether they (or diners) like it or not. It's also the day, in 1994, when Star Trek: Generations was released, to the delight of Trekkies, until they saw it, whereupon it became yet another thing to argue about (although while the 'worst movie ever' verdicts are as overblown as almost always, not many would really rate it above 'eh, it's okay, I guess'). Bit of a waste of Malcolm McDowell as a villain, although the idea of him being an evil el-Aurian (Guinan/Whoopi Goldberg's species, the 'listeners') using his intuition to manipulate rather than help, was sound enough (and revisited in DS9, with Chris Sarandon... and unfortunately it didn't work their either, and kind of wasted him, so maybe it's an idea best left alone). I do remember going to see Generations at the cinema, and just coming out kind of neutral, which given how much of a Trekkie (and, despite DS9 being my favourite, fan of TNG) I am, is not a good result. Still, it does mean the old 'odd-numbered movies suck' rule continued to hold true, and honestly, there is some comfort in that (it still works, so long as you insert Galaxy Quest as the good one between Insurrection and Nemesis - luckily they stopped numbering the movies so you can cheat like that and just do it by release date).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:27 am 
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It's Jodie Foster's birthday! First saw her in Contact, so far as I can recall, and that's still a favourite film of mine. Her all kitted up in her space explorer gear also inspired the look of my particular Commander Shepard (Elizabeth), although what with my inability to really recognise facial features - I recognise whole faces just fine, but it's like my brain never bothers breaking them down into components, which makes any kind of 'make a face' feature such as Mass Effect character creation largely an exercise in pure chance - all that really boiled down to is 'blue eyes, tight ponytail'.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:34 am 
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So occasionally someone at work notices some of the nerd whatnots I've got scattered about the shop - Wonder Woman's sword and shield, an omni-blade, and so on - and usually the response is just a mildly confused 'oh'. But the courier today tried to get into the spirit of things - by giving the Vulcan salute, because she thought the sonic screwdrivers were lightsabers. I mean, bless her for making the attempt, but...

Also, it's Ming-Na Wen's birthday - voice of Mulan, Aki Ross in the Final Fantasy movie, Agent May/Agent Mom on SHIELD (also appearing in the new Lego Avengers game), and the impressive feat of keeping a straight face throughout Street Fighter, and kind of making it work.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 3:04 am 
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Turns out it's World Hello Day today, a holiday to remind everyone to try to solve problems by communication rather than photon torpedoes (not actually that last part, but it does sound very Starfleet, so y'know...) If you want to take part in World Hello Day (what with timezones, a lot of you still can), you just have to verbally greet ten people during the course of the day; I'm not sure if it counts if, like me, you do that just because you're the only one at work and have to answer the phone, but I'm going to assume it does. I'm not really a very social person.

It's also Stuffing Day - as in chicken stuffing and so on - and World Television Day, which has a really weird wikipedia page, about 80% of which is recounting how Germany objected that there was no need for the UN to create World Television Day in the first place. And on this day back in 1905 Albert Einstein got published in Annalen der Physik with a little paper suggesting that E=mc².

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Through the Looking-glass - Every world needs a Willow and Tara.


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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:07 am 
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17. Mega-Witches
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Two years and a few days after Generations, today (in 1996) came the good Star Trek: The Next Generation film, First Contact - which of course I also saw at the cinema, and I liked it, but... I guess just 'I liked it'. At the risk of sounding very Trekkie-snobbish, I wasn't a huge fan of the idea of the Borg having a Queen (and it was pretty blatant in the film that they didn't have any idea how it worked in a way that wasn't just 'she's in control of all the Borg', and handwaved it away by having her say humans were too dumb to understand what she was), nor Picard suddenly being an action hero (not that he never had his moments, I admit), and, ultimately - even though everyone says it's the best - I never really liked the Enterprise E much. Not its fault, it only ever got three movies, whereas the D had seven whole years of television to feel like home. So now if you want to sound like a pedantic uber-nerd, you know the script.

On the other hand, I did get the soundtrack, and - since I got into Star Trek before NASA - the movie introduced me to Magic Carpet Ride as what you play when you fly into space (and also, aptly with Justice League in cinemas now, the notion that Steppenwolf isn't just some alien warlord).

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Chris Cook
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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Nov 23, 2017 3:15 am 
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17. Mega-Witches
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Three foods to choose from today - it's National Cashew Day, National Espresso Day, and National Eat A Cranberry Day. Was just 'National Cranberry Day' too imprecise, they were worried people would be confused what to do with their cranberries? Anyway though, it's a triple for more important things today - the birthday of Michael Gough, maybe best known as Alfred in the Michael Keaton Etc. Batman series (the only one to stick around for all four movies), but also the Celestial Toymaker (and later on, a Time Lord) in Doctor Who, the birthday of Michelle Gomez, the delightfully wicked Missy in Doctor Who, and rounding out the three, the birthday of Doctor Who itself, with the BBC airing episode one, An Unearthly Child, today in 1963. 54 years later, the main character is once again a woman (because as is noted over on TV Tropes, the original run of Doctor Who could well be renamed The Why Barbara Is Awesome Show).

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