In the Know #8

10 01 2008

January 12, 2008

Word of the Day from

raillery \RAY-luh-ree\, noun:
1. Good-humored banter or teasing.
2. An instance of good-humored teasing; a jest.

Today in history, according to Wikipedia:

1908 – The Rocky Mountain National Park (pictured) is formed by an act of U.S. Congress.

1932 – Hattie W. Caraway becomes the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate.

1966 – Lyndon B. Johnson states the the U.S. should stay in South Vietnam until Communist aggression there is ended.

1991 – An act of the U.S. Congress authorizes the use of military force to drive Iraq out of Kuwait.

Today’s Famous Births:

1876 – Jack London, American writer, The Call of the Wild and White Fang

1893 – Hermann Goring (pictured), Nazi official, second in command of the Third Reich, commander of the Luftwaffe, commanded Manfred von Richthofen‘s (“The Red Baron”) division

1930 – Tim Horton, Canadian hockey player, co-founder of Tim Horton’s

1944 – Joe Frazier, American boxer, 1964 Olympic heavyweight gold medal, Heavyweight Champion of the world (1971-73)

1951 – Rush Limbaugh, American radio personality and political commentator

1960 – Dominique Wilkins, American basketball player, “The Human Highlight Film”, 9-time NBA All-star

1970 – Zack de la Rocha, American singer, Rage Against the Machine

1978 – Jeremy Camp, American musician, “I Still Believe” and “‘This Man”

Today’s category – Skyscrapers

~ A loose convention in the United States and Europe states that a building must be 500 feet (150 m) tall to be considered a skyscraper.

~ Taipei 101 is the tallest skyscraper at 1473.75 feet tall (1670.6 feet to the spire)

~ Taipei 101 is named so because of its 101 floors.

~ Upon completion, Burj Dubai (“Dubai Tower”, pictured) will be the tallest skyscraper in the world.

~ Burj Dubai will be 2,111 feet tall (2684 feet to the spire)

~ Finished in 1931, the Empire State Building stands at 1250 feet tall (1472 feet to the spire) and is still listed in the top ten tallest skyscrapers in the world.

I always wondered…
…how curling is played…

The game of curling is thought to have originated in Scotland during the late Middle Ages. Records from a monastery dating to 1541 reference a contest using stones on ice. A curling stone was found at the bottom of a lake with the year 1511 inscribed on it. The first American curling club was instituted in 1831 at Orchard Lake, Michigan. Curling has been an official Winter Olympic sport since 1998.

The curling sheet (playing surface, pictured below) is an area of ice 146 feet long by 14 feet 2 inches to 16 feet 5 inches wide. The surface of the ice has tiny bumps called pebbles, which are created by spraying water droplets onto the ice. The pebbles give the stones their spin, or curl.

A 12 foot wide set of concentric rings, called the house, is painted on each end of the sheet. The center of the house – known as the button – is marked by the juncture of two lines: the center line drawn lengthwise and the tee line drawn 16 feet from the backline. 37 feet from the backline and parallel to it, two more lines – called the hoglines – are drawn.

The rings surrounding the button are designated as the four-foot, the eight-foot and the twelve-foot rings. The rings are used merely to judge which stones are nearer to the button. Any stone outside of the twelve-foot ring is not “in the house” and cannot score. Twelve feet behind the button is the hackline, where the footholds (hacks), are located.

There are four players per team, practically named for their order of play: the first, second, third and fourth. The fourth is generally the team’s skip, or captain. The skip calls the strategy for the team. Each player throws (delivers) two stones while two other teammates sweep the ice to speed up or slow down the stone. The skip does not sweep for the throws, instead he calls the shot for the curlers and awaits the stones at the opposite end so that he can sweep opposing teams stones if they are hit.

The stone (pictured) is round with a handle on top and weighs 44 lb (20 kg). The maximum allowable dimensions are 36 inches in circumference and 4.5 inches in height.

There are ten ends – complete rounds of 16 throws – to a game. Players release the stones prior to reaching the hogline and either tries to place their stones (with help of the sweepers) as close to the button as possible or tries to hit the other teams stones out of the house, called a take-out or tap.

The last stone of an end is called the hammer and gives the advantage of an easier score. If no points are scored in an end, it is called blank. If no team scores, the hammer stays with the same team, so a skip will often call for a blank if he thinks he can only score one point. Additionally, curlers may throw guard stones in front of the tee line to keep the opposing team from nearing the button.

FYI: The U.S. Olympic curling team won the first curling medal for the United States at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Italy. They took home the bronze.

[All references from unless otherwise noted]




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