Thursday, January 31, 2008

In the Know #28

February 1, 2008

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month.'s Word of the Day

mien \MEEN\, noun:
1. Manner or bearing, especially as expressive of mood, attitude, or personality; demeanor.
2. Aspect; appearance.

In the news:

- California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announces his support for Arizona Senator John McCain.

- A Chinese official says harsh winter weather is threatening food production and adding to inflationary pressures.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1790 - The Supreme Court of the United States first convenes in New York City.

1862 - Julia Ward Howe's "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" (cover pictured) is first published.

1960 - Four African-American students sit at the counter of Woolworth's in Greensboro, NC, beginning the Greensboro Sit-ins.

2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrates upon reentry into Earth's atmosphere.

Today's Famous Births:

1894 - John Ford, American director and producer, The Grapes of Wrath and The Searchers

1901 - Clark Gable, American actor, Gone with the Wind and It Happened One Night

1902 - Langston Hughes (pictured), American writer

1909 - George Beverly Shea, Canadian singer

1931 - Boris Yeltsin, 1st President of the Russian Federation

1937 - Don Everly, American musician, "All I Have to Do is Dream"

1948 - Rick James, American musician

1975 - Antwan "Big Boi" Patton, American musician, "Ms. Jackson"

Today's Category - Pluto...the former planet, not the Disney character

~ Earth's circumference is 5.3 times bigger than Pluto's with 151.1 times more volume, but Earth is 476.2 times more massive.

~ A year on Pluto lasts 248.1 Earth years.

~ A day on Pluto lasts only 153.3 Earth hours.

~ Minimum temperature is 33K (-400F) and maximum temperature is 55K (-361F).

~ The atmosphere of Pluto is composed mostly of nitrogen, methane and carbon monoxide.

~ The mean apparent magnitude of Pluto is 15.1, making it visible only with magnification.

I always wondered... the current writer's strike works...

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) is on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP).

There are three issues that are being contested by writers:

1 - Since 1988, Writer's have given 0.3% of video sales up to the first million dollars and 0.36% of subsequent sales. Because of decline in costs of DVD (and thus less income) and because the reported profit of DVD's is much higher than box office figures, the writer's have asked for double the residual amount (0.6%). This request was dropped early in the strike, but will probably be contested again in the not-too-distant future.

2 - New media residuals are being negotiated. New media includes internet downloads, streaming media, video on demand, satellite television and other means of delivery channels. Currently, there is no arrangement concerning these new medias, but the WGA is asking for 2.5% of the gross sales. The AMPTP has offered the same deal as for DVD, 0.3%, and no payment for streaming materials. Both of these have been rejected by the WGA.

3 - The WGA has no jurisdiction in reality TV and animation. They are asking for credit in these areas because reality TV needs creative scenarios and animation has slowly evolved from storyboard-only work to screenplays then storyboards. The WGA has been denied this by the AMPTP. The WGA has since dropped this request, but will keep the idea tabled for the future.

[All references from unless otherwise noted]

In the Know #27

January 31, 2008's Word of the Day

irascible \ih-RASS-uh-buhl\, adjective:
Prone to anger; easily provoked to anger; hot-tempered.

In the news:

- John McCain wins the Florida primary.

- Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards drop out of the presidential nomination race.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1606 - Guy Fawkes (pictured) is executed for plotting against Parliament and James I.

1876 - The United States orders all Native Americans to move into reservations.

1961 - Ham the Chimp travels into outer space.

Today's Famous Births:

1797 - Franz Schubert (pictured), Austrian composer

1872 - Zane Grey, American Western writer

1919 - Jackie Robinson, American baseball player, the first African-American player in Major League Baseball, 6-time All Star

1931 - Ernie Banks, American baseball player, 10-time All Star

1941 - Dick Gephardt, American politician

1947 - Nolan Ryan, American baseball player, 8-time All Star

1970 - Minnie Driver, British actress, Good Will Hunting

1981 - Justin Timberlake, American singer, "What Goes Around...Comes Around" and "My Love"

Today's Category - per request, Neptune...the planet, not the trident-wielding god

~ Neptune (pictured as seen by Voyager 2) is the eighth planet from the sun, located beyond the asteroid belt and is one of four Jovian planets, the gas giants.

~ Neptune's circumference is 3.8 times bigger than Earth's with 57.7 times more volume, but it is only 17.1 times as massive as Earth.

~ A year on Neptune lasts 164.8 Earth years.

~ A day on Neptune lasts only 16.1 Earth hours.

~ Mean temperature is between 55K (-361 F) and 72K (-330 F) depending on altitude.

~ The atmosphere of Neptune is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium.

~ The apparent magnitude of Uranus varies from 8.0 to 7.8 at its brightest, making it visible only with magnification.

I always wondered... noise-canceling headphones works...

In order to understand how noise-canceling headphones work, one must first understand how sound waves work. A sound wave is composed of crests and troughs which, respectively, represent compressions (positive pressure) and rarefactions (negative pressure) of air. When graphed, a sound wave is seen as a sine wave.

Destructive interference is what makes noise-canceling headphones work. Destructive interference occurs when crests meet troughs, or vice versa, in opposing sound waves. Alternatively, if crests meets crests and toughs meet troughs, constructive interference - or amplification - occurs (constructive and destructive interference pictured). So all that needs to happen in order for sound cancellation to occur is to reproduce a sound wave in the opposite direction and 180 degrees out of phase from the original sound wave. To visualize this, imagine two identical trains on the same track, traveling at the same speed, but towards each other. When the trains collide, neither will continue traveling along the track, instead they will "cancel each other out"...though quite violently in this example.

Active noise-canceling headphones utilize a microphone, a circuit board (which analyzes sound waves and creates the opposite wave), and a speaker. The speaker is aimed away from the ear and transmits the out of phase sound waves, which practically destroys all sound waves coming toward the headphones.

["Noise-canceling headphones" reference: How Stuff Works]
[All references from unless otherwise noted]

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Sorry about the hiatus, but I was out of town today. January 30th's In the Know will be up with February 1st.

Monday, January 28, 2008

In the Know #26

January 30, 2008's Word of the Day

canorous \kuh-NOR-us; KAN-or-uhs\, adjective:
Richly melodious; pleasant sounding; musical.

In the news:

- George W. Bush delivers his last State of the Union address.

- Indonesia reports its 100th death from bird flu.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1835 - Richard Lawrence attempts to assassinate President Andrew Jackson.

1933 - Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.

1948 - Mohandas Gandhi (pictured) is assassinated by Nathuram Godse.

1968 - The Tet Offensive is launched by the National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam, a.k.a. Viet Cong.

1972 - Bloody Sunday in Ireland: British Paratroopers attack civil rights marchers in Northern Ireland.

1976 - George H. W. Bush becomes the Director of the CIA.

Today's Famous Births:

1882 - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States.

1912 - Francis Schaeffer, American Evangelical theologian and pastor

1930 - Gene Hackman, American actor

1941 - Dick Cheney (pictured), 46th Vice President of the United States

1951 - Phil Collins, English musician, "In the Air Tonight"

1957 - Payne Stewart, American golfer, PGA Champion and two-time U.S. Open Champion

1962 - King Abdullah II, reigning King of Jordan

1974 - Christian Bale, Welsh actor, Equilibrium and Batman Begins

Today's Category - per request, Uranus...the planet, not your anus, hahaha...

~ Uranus is the seventh planet from the sun, located beyond the asteroid belt and is one of four Jovian planets, the gas giants.

~ Uranus' circumference is 4.0 times bigger than Earth's with 63.1 times more volume, but it is only 14.5 times as massive as Earth.

~ A year on Uranus lasts 84 Earth years.

~ A day on Uranus lasts only 14-17 Earth hours.

~ Mean temperature is between 49K (-371F) to 76K (-323F) depending on altitude.

~ The atmosphere of Uranus is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium.

~ The apparent magnitude of Uranus varies from 5.9 to 5.2 at its brightest, making it difficult to see with the naked eye.

I always wondered... WiFi works...

Wireless networks use radio waves to transmit data. A computer's wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna. A wireless router (pictured) receives the signal and decodes it. It sends the information to the Internet using a physical, wired Ethernet connection. The opposite is also true with the router sending information to the computer's antenna.

The transmitters utilize 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies. These frequencies are higher than cell phone and television radio signals, allowing higher data transfer rates. The technical protocol for wireless routers is the 802.11 networking standard. There are several different versions of 802.11 technology utilizing the different frequencies and boasting varying transfer rates.

A wireless router consists of (1) a port to connect to your cable or DSL modem, (2) a router, (3) an Ethernet hub, (4) a firewall and (5) a wireless access point. This router has a service set identification (SSID) name, which is the manufacturer by default, but can be changed by the user. 3 types of security are available in a wireless network: (1) Wired Equivalency Privacy and (2) WiFi Protected Access (WPA), which both use passwords, and (3) Media Access Control (MAC), which locates a physical address that is unique to a certain computer located in a list of safe computers.

["How WiFi Works" reference: How Stuff Works]
[All references from unless otherwise noted]

In the Know #25

January 29, 2008's Word of the Day

sylvan \SIL-vuhn\, adjective:
1. Of or pertaining to woods or forest regions.
2. Living or located in a wood or forest.
3. Abounding in forests or trees; wooded.

1. A fabled deity or spirit of the woods.
2. One that lives in or frequents the woods or forest; a rustic.

In the news:

- At least 250 schoolchildren 12 to 18 years old and several teachers were taken hostage and finally released by at least seven militants inside a high school in Domail, Pakistan.

- The United States Secret Service has evacuated the West Wing of the White House in Washington, D.C. after finding a suspicious package.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1845 - "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe (pictured) is published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1861 - Kansas admitted as the 34th U.S. state.

1886 - Karl Benz is granted a patent for the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

2002 - In his State of the Union address, President George W. Bush describes "regimes that sponsor terror" as an Axis of Evil.

Today's Famous Births:

1737 - Thomas Paine, American patriot, Common Sense and Rights of Man and The Age of Reason.

1843 - William McKinley, 25th President of the United States

1860 - Anton Chekhov (pictured), Russian writer, Uncle Vanya and The Cherry Orchard.

1874 - John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American entrepreneur and philanthropist

1880 - W.C. Fields, American actor

1945 - Tom Selleck, American actor, "Magnum P.I."

1954 - Oprah Winfrey, American actress and talk show host, "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and The Color Purple.

1960 - Greg Louganis, American diver, 4 Olympic gold medals

1970 - Heather Graham, American actress

Today's Category - Saturn...the planet, not the car company or the game console

~ Saturn is the sixth planet from the sun, located beyond the asteroid belt and is one of four Jovian planets, the gas giants.

~ Saturn has a complex ring system, composed mostly of ice and dust.

~ Saturn's circumference is 9.45 times bigger than Earth's and is 763.6 times more voluminous, but is only 95.2 times as massive.

~ A year on Saturn lasts 29.46 Earth years.

~ A day on Saturn lasts 10-11 Earth hours.

~ Mean temperature is between 84K (-308F) and 134K (-218F), depending on altitude.

~ The atmosphere of Saturn is composed of mostly hydrogen.

~ The apparent magnitude of Saturn is between 1.2 and -0.2, making it easily visible to the naked eye.

I always wondered... braille works...

In 1821, the Frenchman Louis Braille developed the braille system of writing for use by blind people. The system utilized cells comprised of 6 dot positions with the arrangement of raised dots in the positions deciding letters and characters. The cells are arranged with two columns of three dots each. The arrangement of dots creates 64 permutations (2^6).

Dot heights are approximately 0.02 inches. Dot spacing is approximately 0.1 inches. Cell spacing is approximately 0.15 inches horizontally and 0.2 inches vertically. A standard braille page is 11 by 11.5 inches and consists of a maximum of 40-43 cells per line and 25 lines.

["Braille" Photo: Christophe Moustier - 2005]
[All references from unless otherwise noted]

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Who knew...

Organ Hero

"Carry on My Wayward Son" like you've never heard it before.

Saturday, January 26, 2008



Lebrons 2 on 2
"I'm on you like white on rice, like flies on shut yo mouth!"

The other three Lebrons commercials
"That's a quadruple double right there boy."

Just in case you didn't figure it out, Lebron James plays all the characters.

In the Know #24

January 28, 2008's Word of the Day

neophyte \NEE-uh-fyt\, noun:
1. A new convert or proselyte.
2. A novice; a beginner in anything.

In the news:

- At least 45 people killed in a new surge of violence (pictured) that began after Kenya's disputed December 27 presidential election.

- Gunmen killed 11 people in the village of Lusignan on the coast of Guyana.

- Barack Obama wins the South Carolina Democratic primary.

- An unresponsive United States reconnaissance satellite is in an uncontrolled, decaying orbit and will re-enter Earth's atmosphere in late February or early March.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1521 - The Diet of Worms begins.

1915 - U.S. Congress creates the United States Coast Guard (seal pictured).

- At the launch of NASA mission STS-51-L, Space Shuttle Challenger explodes 73 seconds after lift-off.

Today's Famous Births:

1890 - Robert Stroud, American convict, "The Birdman of Alcatraz"

1912 - Jackson Pollack, American painter, No. 5

1936 - Alan Alda, American actor and writer and director, "M.A.S.H."

1954 - Rick Warren, American pastor and author,

1955 - Nicolas Sarkozy (pictured), President of France

1959 - Frank Darabont, American filmmaker, The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile

1974 - Magglio Ordoñez, Venezuelan baseball player, 6-time All Star

1981 - Elijah Wood, American actor, Lord of the Rings trilogy

Today's Category - per request, Jupiter...the planet, not the orchestral piece or the rocket

~ Jupiter (pictured, as seen from Voyager I - click it to watch the approach) is the fifth planet from the sun, located beyond the asteroid belt and is one of four Jovian planets, the gas giants.

~ Jupiter's circumference is 11.2 times bigger than Earth's with 1,317 times more volume, but it is only 318 times as massive as Earth.

~ A year on Jupiter lasts 11.86 Earth years.

~ A day on Jupiter lasts only 9.9 Earth hours.

~ Mean temperature is between 112K (-258F) to 165K (-163F) depending on altitude.

~ The atmosphere of Jupiter is composed mostly of hydrogen and helium.

~ The apparent magnitude of Jupiter varies from -1.6 to -2.9 at its brightest, making it easily distinguishable from the stars.

I always wondered... youth ministry works...

If you have any idea...let me know.

[All references from unless otherwise noted]

In the Know #23

January 27, 2008

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.'s Word of the Day

indelible \in-DEL-uh-buhl\, adjective:
1. That cannot be removed, erased, or washed away.
2. Making marks that cannot easily be removed or erased.
3. Incapable of being forgotten; memorable.

In the news:

- A 16-year-old was arrested over allegations of intentions to hijack a commercial passenger airliner.

- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announces a "decisive" offensive against al-Qaeda in Iraq.

- Australia to withdraw troops from Iraq this year.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

98 - Trajan becomes Roman Emperor.

1678 - The first fire engine company in the United States went into service.

1825 - U.S. Congress approves Indian Territory (in what is present-day Oklahoma), paving the way for the "Trail of Tears."

1880 - Thomas Edison is granted a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.

1926 - John Logie Baird makes the first television broadcast.

1945 - The Red Army arrives at the Auschwitz-Birkenau (entrance pictured) concentration camp in Poland.

Today's Famous Births:

1756 - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Austrian composer, Le nozze di Figaro

1832 - Lewis Carroll, English author, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and "Jabberwocky"

1921 - Donna Reed, American actress, It's a Wonderful Life and From Here to Eternity

1940 - James Cromwell, American actor, The Green Mile and Babe

1955 - John G. Roberts, Jr. (pictured), 17th Chief Justice of the United States

1957 - Frank Miller, American comic book artist and writer and film director, 300 and Sin City

1971 - Jonathan Smith, American rapper, a.k.a. Lil' Jon

Today's Category - per request, Mars...the planet, not the candy bar

~ Mars is the fourth planet from the sun.

~ Earth's circumference is 1.88 times bigger than Mars', but Earth is 9.35 times as massive.

~ It is referred to as the "Red Planet" due to its appearance from Earth.

~ A year on Mars lasts 686.5 Earth days.

~ A day on Mars lasts 24.55 Earth hours.

~ Surface temperatures range from about 133K (-220F) to 293K (68F).

~ The atmosphere of Mars is composed mostly of carbon dioxide.

~ The apparent magnitude of Mars at its brightest is about -2.9, making it visibly brighter than any star.

I always wondered... The Shawshank Redemption works...

[1] Actor - Morgan Freeman; actor - Driving Miss Daisy and Glory and Se7en and Million Dollar Baby and so many more

[2] Actor - Tim Robbins; actor - Jacob's Ladder and Arlington Road

[3] Writer, short story - Stephen King; writer, short story - Stand By Me; writer, novel - The Green Mile and The Shining and a few horror novels too

[4] Director and screenplay - Frank Darabont; screenplay - The Green Mile; executive producer - Collateral

Greatest movie...ever.

[All references from unless otherwise noted]

Friday, January 25, 2008

Commercial commercial...there's a perfect job for everyone...even a guy with ginormous legs.

Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour!

Watch this video and let me know of you want to go on March 20 to Greenville for the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour.
Last year's event was beyond phenomenal.
$15 (I think) for three hours of awesome films.

I can't wait!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

In the Know #22

January 26, 2008's Word of the Day

caterwaul \KAT-uhr-wawl\, intransitive verb:
1. To make a harsh cry.
2. To have a noisy argument.

1. A shrill, discordant sound.

In the news:

- President Bush and Congress agree on an economic stimulus package.

- A car bomb blast in a Christian suburb of the Lebanese capital Beirut has killed at least six people, including a top security official.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1564 - The Council of Trent issues its conclusions in the Tridentinum, which established the distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.

1837 - Michigan is admitted as the 26th U.S. state.

1905 - The Cullinan Diamond, the largest gem-quality diamond ever discovered at 3106.75 carats, is found near Pretoria, South Africa.

1988 - Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera (pictured) debuts at Broadway's Majestic Theatre.

1998 - U.S. President Bill Clinton announces on American television that he had no "sexual relations" with intern Monica Lewinsky.

2005 - Condoleezza Rice is sworn in as U.S. Secretary of State, becoming the first African-American woman to hold the post.

Today's Famous Births:

1880 - Douglas MacArthur (pictured), American general and Medal of Honor recipient

1904 - Seán MacBride, Irish statesman, founding member of Amnesty International and Nobel Peace Prize winner

1925 - Paul Newman, American actor and race car driver, Cool Hand Luke

1935 - Bob Uecker, American baseball player and broadcaster

1946 - Gene Siskel, American film critic

1955 - Eddie Van Halen, Dutch musician, Van Halen

1958 - Ellen DeGeneres, American actress and comedian, Finding Nemo and "The Ellen Show"

1961 - Wayne Gretzky (pictured), Canadian hockey player, "The Great One", 18 All Star game appearances

1970 - Kirk Franklin, American singer

1977 - Vince Carter, American basketball player, 8-time All Star

Today's Category - per request, Venus...the planet, not the statue or the tennis player

~ Venus is the second planet from the sun.

~ Earth's circumference is 1.05 times bigger than Venus' and Earth is 1.23 times as massive.

~ It's similarities to Earth give Venus the nickname "Our sister planet".

~ A year on Venus lasts 224.7 earth days.

~ A day on Venus lasts 116.75 earth days (the sidereal day - the time it takes to complete one full rotation - on Venus is 243 days, which is longer than its year!).

~ The mean temperature on Venus' surface is 735K (863.3F).

~ The atmosphere of Venus is comprised of carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

~ The apparent magnitude of Venus can be as bright as -4.6, gaining the titles "The Evening Star" and "The Morning Star"

I always wondered... golf balls works...

The earliest golf balls were smooth and made of wood. Early in the 17th century, the 'featherie' ball was introduced and was constructed of tightly compacted goose down inside a cowhide casing. Later, tree sap was heated and formed into a ball, which flew truer because of imperfections in the ball. This led golf ball makers toward the distinctive dimples we know today. The 20th century contributed core technology, introducing a solid inside the ball allowing designers to fine tune the length, spin and feel of golf ball characteristics. Today, golf balls have titanium or other metal cores and may be composed of up to four layers.

The diameter of a golf ball cannot be smaller than 1.68 inches. 250 feet per second is the maximum velocity for the ball. Maximum weight of the ball cannot exceed 1.62 ounces. Most golf balls have between 300-450 dimples.

The millisecond-long impact of club and ball determines velocity, launch angle and spin rate. In its flight, the ball will experience drag and lift. The dimples on the ball work in two ways which affect these aerodynamic forces: (1) as the ball moves through the air, the dimples reduce drag by reducing turbulence (pictured), and (2) backspin induced by the angle of the club creates lift which is magnified by the dimples.

["How golf balls work.." turbulence picture reference]
[All references from unless otherwise noted]


This is another one of my favorite commercials: Orange Underground

In the Know #21

January 25, 2008's Word of the Day

disheveled \dih-SHEV-uhld\, adjective;
also dishevelled:
In loose disorder; disarranged; unkempt; as, "disheveled hair."

In the news:

- Romano Prodi (pictured), Italy's President of the Council of Ministers, loses a vote of confidence and resigns.

- Democratic Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich quits his bid for the presidency.

- An Iraqi police chief is killed in a suicide bombing.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

41 - Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor after Caligula is killed.

1919 - The League of Nations is created.

1924 - The first Winter Olympics opens in Chamonix, France.

1949 - At the Hollywood Athletic Club, the first Emmy Awards (pictured) are presented.

1949 - David Ben-Gurion becomes the first Prime Minister of Israel.

1961 - President John F. Kennedy delivers the first live televised presidential news conference.

2004 - Mars rovers Opportunity lands on the surface of Mars.

Today's Famous Births:

1627 - Robert Boyle, Irish chemist

1741 - Benedict Arnold, American general notorious for treason

1759 - Robert Burns (pictured), Scottish poet, Auld Lang Syne

1882 - Virginia Woolf, English writer

1938 - Etta James, American singer, "At Last"

1941 - Buddy Baker, American race car driver and commentator

1942 - Eusébio, Portuguese soccer player

1951 - Steve Prefontaine, American runner

1962 - Chris Chelios, American hockey player ,11 All-Star games

1981 - Alicia Keys, American singer

1984 - Robinho, Brazilian soccer player

Today's Category - per request, Mercury...the planet, not the element

~ Mercury is the closest planet to the sun.

~ Earth's circumference is only 2.61 times the size of Mercury, but earth is 18 times as massive.

~ A year on Mercury lasts just under 88 days.

~ A day on Mercury lasts over 4200 hours (over 175 earth days).

~ Surface temperatures range from 80K (-315F) to 700K (800F).

~ Two NASA missions have studied Mercury: Mariner 10 (1974-75, upper picture)) and MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging - 2008, lower picture) [Note quality difference in photos].

~ The atmosphere of Mercury contains hydrogen, helium, oxygen, sodium, calcium and potassium.

~ At its brightest, Mercury is an apparent magnitude of -2.0, which is brighter than Sirius (the brightest star in apparent magnitude).

I always wondered... that yellow first down line on a televised football game works...

It would seem that placing that little yellow line on our magical living room screens might be so very simple, but this could not be farther from the truth. A colossal amount of technology is put into play to make it possible. Sportvision created a system called 1st and Ten to digitally paint the line.

The system must:
  - know the orientation of the field
  - know where each yard line is
  - sense the camera's movement
  - recalculate perspectives, based on the camera's movement, at 30 frames per second (actually works at 60 fps)
  - cause the line to follow the curve of the field
  - work with multiple cameras
  - sense when players, refs or the ball cross the line, so as to not draw the line over them
  - be aware of superimposed graphics

There are several mechanisms and means used to address these issues. First, each camera is equipped with a special mount that records the cameras pan, tilt, zoom and focus. Stored on a main PC is a 3-D model of the field and the location of each camera. This allows the camera mount encoders to work with the 3-D model to appropriately place the line.

Also included in the software of the system is a color palette that distinguishes the field from the players, refs and the ball. When a pixel of a color not representing the field or first down lines passes over the line, the line disappears only where that pixel is.

It takes four people to run the 1st and Ten: a spotter and operator input the first down line manually, then two other operators make any corrections to the line during the game (such as adding colors to the palette like mud or snow). The system utilizes 8 computers in total.

["How it works" reference:}
[All references from unless otherwise noted]

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

In the Know #20

January 24, 2008's Word of the Day

nolens volens \NO-lenz-VO-lenz\:
Whether unwilling or willing.

In the news:

- A border wall between Egypt and the Gaza Strip was partially destroyed allowing Palestinians to enter Egypt.

- Iraq removes three stars that referenced Sadaam Hussein's Baath Party from the Iraqi flag (new flag pictured).

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

41 - Gaius Caesar, a.k.a. Caligula, is assassinated by his disgruntled Praetorian Guard

1848 - James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter's Mill, sparking the California gold rush.

1918 - Russia finally adopts the Gregorian calendar, stating that the day after January 31st would be February 14th to correct the date.

2003 - The United States Department of Homeland Security (seal pictured) officially begins operating.

Today's Famous Births:

76 - Hadrian, Roman emperor

1705 - Carlo Broschi, a.k.a. Farinelli, Italian castrato

1862 - Edith Wharton, American writer, Ethan Frome and The Age of Innocence

1917 - Ernest Borgnine (pictured), American actor

1918 - Oral Roberts, American evangelist

1939 - Ray Stevens, American musician

1941 - Neil Diamond, American musician

1941 - Aaron Neville, American singer

1949 - John Belushi, American actor

1968 - Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast

Today's Category - Apartheid

~ The National Party enforced racial segregation in South Africa.

~ Apartheid lasted from 1948 to 1994.

~ In 1973, an International Convention of the United Nations General Assembly ruled that the system of apartheid amounted to a crime against humanity.

~ Apartheid strove to divide the country into sections that would aid in total physical segregation of races.

~ Anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his fight against apartheid.

~ Mandela became an instrument of reconciliation after the fall of apartheid and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993.

I always wondered... Communism works...

It doesn't...

[All references from unless otherwise noted]

In the Know #19

January 23, 2008's Word of the Day

effusive \ih-FYOO-siv\, adjective:
Excessively demonstrative; giving or involving extravagant or excessive emotional expression; gushing.

In the news:

- Actor Heath Ledger found dead in New York City.

- Fred Thompson quits the U.S. Presidential race.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1556 - The deadliest earthquake in history hits Shaanxi Province in China.

1943 - Beginning of the Jewish-led Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

1960 - The Bathyscaphe USS Trieste (pictured) descends to 35,798 feet in the Challenger Deep of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean, the record depth achieved by any vehicle.

1973 - President Richard Nixon announces that a peace accord has been reached in Vietnam.

Today's Famous Births:

1737 - John Hancock, American statesman, first signer of the Declaration of Independence

1855 - John Moses Browning, American inventor

1898 - Sergei Eisenstein, Russian film director, Bronenosets Potyomkin (Battleship Potemkin)

1950 - Richard Dean Anderson, American actor, MacGyver

Due to time constraints, "Trivia" and "I always wondered..." will not be included in today's post. Sorry if this ruins your day. If this does ruin your day, consider your sad life and get mental blog is not that interesting. Thanks for reading.
- JB

[All references from unless otherwise noted]

Monday, January 21, 2008

In the Know #18

January 22, 2008's Word of the Day

permeate \PUR-mee-ayt\, transitive verb:
1. To spread or diffuse through.
2. To pass through the pores or openings of.

intransitive verb:
1. To spread through or penetrate something.

In the news:

- The New England Patriots (logo pictured, right) defeat the San Diego Chargers 21-12 to advance to the Super Bowl.

- The New York Giants defeat the Green Bay Packers 23-20 to advance to the Super Bowl.

- World stocks plunge on fears of United States recession.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1521 - Emperor Charles V opens the Diet of Worms

1905 - Bloody Sunday in St. Petersburg, Russia.

1973 - The Unites States Supreme Court comes to a decision in Roe v. Wade.

1973 - George Foreman beats the undefeated heavyweight Joe Frazier, "Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!"

1984 - The legendary "1984" commercial (pictured), aired during Super Bowl XVIII, advertising the Apple MacIntosh computer

1997 - Madeleine Albright becomes the first female Secretary of State.

Today's Famous Births:

1561 - Sir Francis Bacon, English philosopher

1788 - George Gordon, Lord Byron (pictured), English poet

1869 - Grigori Rasputin, Russian monk, the "Mad Monk"

1875 - D.W. Griffith, American director, Birth of a Nation and Intolerance

1965 - Jeffrey Townes, American rapper and actor, DJ Jazzy Jeff

1965 - Diane Lane, American actress, The Outsiders

Today's Category - The Kentucky Derby

~ The Kentucky Derby (pictured) takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

~ The race is one and a quarter miles (2 km).

~ In the United States, the race is known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports".

~ The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, which also includes the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes

~ May 17, 1875 marked the inauguration of the race.

~ 2007 was the 133rd running of the race.

~ A blanket of 554 roses is draped over the winner, giving the derby the nickname "The Run for the Roses".

~ The purse for winning is $2 million.

~ Mint Julep is the official drink of the race.

- Two horses, Secretariat (in 1973) and Monarchos (in 2001), have finished the race in under two minutes.

I always wondered... the human voice works...

The human voice is created by vibrations through two membranes called vocal folds, or vocal cords. Male vocal cords are between 17mm and 25mm in length and female vocal cords are between 12.5mm and 17.5mm in length, making the male voice lower than the female voice.

There are four basic divisions of vocal range, determined by the way the vocal cords vibrate. Vocal fry register, in which air is permitted to bubble through the vocal cords, is the lowest range. Modal register is the normal speech and singing voice and can cover as much as two octaves for well trained singers. Falsetto voice occurs when the edges of the vocal cords are used and extends the vocal range of any singer. Not all singers can achieve phonation in the whistle register, which is not physiologically understood. Physiologists know that vibrations for the whistle range occur in the anterior region of the vocal cords.

In terms of frequency, human voices are roughly in the range of 80 Hz to 1100 Hz (that is, E2 to C6) for normal male and female voices together. The world record for the lowest note produced by a human voice is B-2 (two octaves below the lowest B on a piano, 8 Hz) by America's Tim Storms. The record for the highest vocal note is G10 (25087Hz) by Brazil's Georgia Brown.

Below is a list of the vocal classifications of the basic choral ranges:
Soprano: C4 (261.626 Hz) - C6 (1046.50 Hz)
Mezzo-Soprano: A3 (220.000 Hz) - A5 (880.000 Hz)
Contralto: E3 (164.814 Hz) - E5 (659.255 Hz)
Tenor: C3 (130.813 Hz) - C5 (523.251 Hz)
Baritone: G2 (97.9989 Hz) - G4 (391.995 Hz)
Bass: E2 (82.4069 Hz) - E4 (329.628 Hz)

A soprano who can sing higher than C♯6 is known as a sopranino and a bass who can sing G1 or lower is known as a sub-bass singer. Males who possess high ranges or can project falsetto, are referred to as countertenors and possess ranges equivalent to those of the female ranges, alto, mezzo-soprano and soprano.

[All references from unless otherwise noted]


Don't let your youth group miss it!

"I guess it is awesome..."

Watch this Skittles commercial, click "Touch" when the page finishes loading. The end is so funny.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

In the Know #17

January 21, 2008's Word of the Day

callow \KAL-oh\, adjective:
Immature; lacking adult perception, experience, or judgment.

In the news:

- Adolfo Nicolas (pictured) is chosen as the new Superior General of the Society of Jesus, whose members are known as Jesuits.

- George Bush proposes economic growth packages worth up to $150 billion.

Today in History, according to Wikipedia:

1861 - Jefferson Davis (pictured) resigns from the United States Senate.

1915 - Kiwanis International is founded in Detroit, Michigan.

1924 - Vladimir Lenin dies.

1954 - The USS Nautilus, the first nuclear-powered submarine is launched.

1976 - Commercial service of Concorde, a supersonic passenger airliner, begins.

Today's Famous Births:

1813 - John C. Frémont, American army officer, explorer and presidential candidate

1824 - Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, American Confederate general

1918 - Richard D. "Dick" Winters (pictured), American war hero, portrayed in the HBO miniseries Band of Brothers

1922 - Telly Savalas, American actor, "Kojak" and Birdman of Alcatraz

1924 - Benny Hill, English actor, comedian and singer, "The Benny Hill Show"

1932 - John Chaney, American NCAA basketball coach, 1988 National Coach of the Year

1938 - Robert Weston Smith, American disc jockey and actor, better known as "Wolfman Jack"

1940 - Jack Nicklaus, American golfer

1941 - Plácido Domingo, Spanish tenor

1953 - Paul Allen, American entrepreneur, co-founder of Microsoft

1956 - Geena Davis, American actress, A League of Their Own

1963 - Hakeem Olajuwon, Nigerian-born basketball player, 12-time All Star

1965 - Jason Mizell, American disc jockey, better known as "Jam Master Jay", founder of Run-D.M.C. (pictured)

Today's Category - John Grisham

~ John Grisham (pictured) graduated from the University of Mississippi School of Law in 1981.

~ He practiced criminal and civil law in Southaven, Mississippi for nearly a decade.

~ In 1983, he was elected as a Democrat to the Mississippi House of Representatives, where he served until 1990.

~ His first novel was "A Time to Kill", which had an original print of only 5,000 but would be reprinted to become a bestseller.

~ 17 Grisham novels have topped the New York Times bestseller list.

~ 7 of his novels have become full length box office feature films.

~ His novels sold over 60 million copies in the 90's.

I always wondered... surround sound works...

Home theater surround sound has two main components. First is the A/V receiver, which receives, decodes and sends both audio and video signals. Second are the speakers. The speakers are divided onto channels: Left, center, right, surround and subwoofer. The notation of the surround sound is as follows: [Number of surround speakers].[number of subwoofers] (i.e. 5.1 = five surround speakers and one subwoofer).

Surround sound comes to us in two forms: analog and digital. Analog surround is contained in two channels. The left and right channels contain two out of phase signals each. In the left channel, the left front speaker gets one signal and the left rear speaker gets the other, out of phase signal. The same occurs in the right channel. A center channel is constructed out of the two front speaker signals. Unlike analog, digital surround sound is recorded as ones and zeros. As such, it is the only format that can be recorded onto DVD's. Each channel is a separate track of the recording medium.

The center channel acts as the anchor of the system; producing the majority of dialog and effects. The left and right speakers remove the majority of the dialog. Rear surround speakers create sound effects, which help to create the illusion of being in the action. The Low Frequency Effects (LFE) channel sends bass to the subwoofer.

The most common surround sound formats are Dolby Pro Logic (logo pictured) and Digital Theater Systems (DTS, logo pictured).

["How surround sound works" reference:]
[All references from unless otherwise noted]