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Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Weirdest Laws in the World

5 new laws making news in 2016 - AvvoStories

It's no secret that laws are important. They allow society to function in a way that provides people with a sense of safety and security, and most laws are in place for a good reason. A few, however... well, the reasoning behind them isn't so clear.

Here's a list of some of the weirdest laws around the world.

1. In Switzerland, it's illegal to own only one guinea pig. The justification for this is that guinea pigs are social animals, and therefore it is a crime to leave one by itself (as it should be).

2. In Mobile, Alabama, it's illegal to throw confetti or spray silly string. I guess they just don't like to party.

3. In England, it's against the law to handle a salmon in suspicious circumstances. Guess they don't want any fishy business.

4. You know that old cartoon trick where you tie a string to a dollar bill and leave it out in the open, only to pull it away when someone tries to grab it? Well, doing that can get you arrested in Pennsylvania.

5. In France, it's illegal to name a pig "Napoleon". It's considered offensive to the great emperor.

6. It's against the law to drive shirtless in Thailand. I guess that makes sense?

7. It's illegal to flush the toilet after 10pm in Switzerland. Need to use the restroom in the middle of the night? Better not flush that down!

8. In Singapore, it's illegal to bungee jump. It's also illegal to sell gum and pee in an elevator. I understand the logic behind one of those.

9. It's against the law to hang a bed out of a window in the United Kingdom. I'm honestly curious what had to have happened for them to have made this a law.

10. Feel like rocking some hot pink pants? Well, you can't if it's after midday on a Sunday in Australia.

11. It's illegal to use water guns in your New Years celebration in Cambodia.

12. Do you have a pet bear? If for some godforsaken reason you do, then you better make sure it's caged, or it's illegal to drive with it in your car in Missouri. It's also illegal to take it to a beach in Israel. Plus, you aren't allowed to enter it into a bear wrestling match in Alabama, because those are illegal too. Wow, there's a lot of laws about bears.

13. Also in Alabama, it's illegal to have an ice cream cone in your back pocket. Guess you'll have to find another way to hold your ice cream.

14. In Georgia, it's illegal to keep a donkey in a bathtub.

15. In Arizona, it's illegal for a donkey to be asleep in a bathtub, but it's perfectly legal for an awake donkey to be in a bathtub.

16. Camel-driving is illegal on Nevada highways. Well, there go my weekend plans.

17. You know that old magic trick where your grandpa makes a coin appear from behind your ear? Well, that would be against the law in Hawaii, where it is illegal to have coins in your ears.

18. In Washington, it's illegal to harass Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or other such creatures. They have feelings too!

19. It's against the law to push a moose out of an airplane in Alaska. It's also illegal to view a moose from the windows of a plane.

20. It's illegal to make clam chowder with tomatoes in Massachusetts. (It's New England chowder, not Manhattan chowder!)

21. In Rhode Island, it's illegal to bite someone else's leg off. That's reasonable.

22. How do you pronounce "Arkansas"? Well, it's illegal to pronounce it incorrectly in the state itself. It's also illegal to keep an alligator in a bathtub.

23. In South Carolina, it's illegal to keep a horse in a bathtub. (What's with all these laws banning animals from bathtubs??)

24. It's illegal for a woman to drive a car in California while wearing a housecoat.

25. Want to cross in to or out of Minnesota? Make sure you don't do it with a duck or chicken on top of your head, because that's illegal!

26. It's against the law to talk to other people in an elevator in New York. NO SOCIALIZING!

27. Do you like fishing? How about impersonating a cowboy? Sadly, your two passions can't be combined in Tennessee, because it is illegal to catch a fish using a lasso. What a shame.

28. It's illegal to dye a duckling blue and sell it in Kentucky unless more than six blue-dyed ducklings are for sale at once. I really don't get the logic behind this one.

29. In Idaho, it's illegal to ride a Merry-Go-Round on a Sunday.

30. Unless you get a permit first, it's against the law to take a picture of a rabbit in Wyoming between the months of January and April.

What's the weirdest law you've heard of?

Written by Jessica A., Homework Assistant
Sources
DumbLaws
The Fact Site

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fun Google Search Tricks


It's no secret that the internet is full of wonderful things. There's always so much you can discover, all with the click of a few simple keys into a search bar. But actually, the interesting part of the internet can even begin with the search bar, if you know what to search. Here are a few of the coolest Google search tricks - All you have to do is type the words into a Google search browser.


1. Do a Barrel Roll - this one's pretty much what it sounds like. Type that into your browser, and watch the world spin around you!

2. Anagram - did you mean nag a ram?

3. Festivus - Do you ever get annoyed at the pressure and commercialism of the Christmas season? Then celebrate Festivus instead!

4. Askew - once again, pretty self-explanatory. This one puts everything just a bit out of alignment. Don't keep your browser like this too long, though, or you'll end up with a serious neck cramp.

5. Zerg Rush - Classic arcade game meets web browser. 'Nuff said.

6. Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything - Any fellow Douglas Adams fans reading this? Typing this into your browser will show you the answer, all right. It just may not be what you're expecting... (Other similar queries that provide interesting answers are the loneliest number, once in a blue moon, and number of horns on a unicorn).

7. Blink HTML - Ooh, flashy!

8. Atari Breakout - Type this in your browser and go to the "Images" tab, and you will find yourself hours or even minutes of entertainment via one of the greatest games of my childhood.

9. Google in 1998 - Experience life as it was in the 90's! Or, at least what searching the internet was like.

10. Google Gravity - Type this phrase into your search bar to watch the whole webpage come crashing down! (Note: for this one, you may have to click the first link after searching for this phrase).

11. Play Dreidel - Celebrate Hanukkah virtually! Type this phrase into the search bar to play a game of virtual dreidel. But be warned, this trick only works during the holiday season.

12. Pac-Man - Play an online game of everyone's classic arcade favorite, Pac-Man!

13. Smarty Pins - This one's not exactly a search bar trick, but it's certainly a lot of fun! Search for Smarty Pins and click the first link to play a Google Maps-based game of geographical trivia!


Now, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and search all of them!

Written by Jessica A., Homework Assistant
Sources:
MethodShop
Time Magazine

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Bootstrap Paradox

The Bootstrap Paradox – Doctor Who Fan Art – chrystalizabeth

Do you have a favorite paradox? Because I do.

A paradox is a statement or idea that essentially contradicts itself, meaning that if something is possible or true, then it's impossible or false at the exact same time. That probably sounds pretty confusing, which is a pretty accurate way to describe paradoxical situations. There are a lot of paradoxes that exist in our world, related to all sorts of different subjects: logic, physics, biology, and much more. This may be the Doctor Who fan in me talking, but I have always found paradoxes about time travel to be the most interesting. One of my all-time favorite time travel paradoxes is called the Bootstrap Paradox, and is as follows:

The definition of the Bootstrap Paradox is "an object with an indiscernible point of origin", and is best explained through a story:

Imagine that you are Beethoven's biggest fan. You have authentic copies of all of his sheet music, and infinite knowledge of all things Beethoven. Imagine that you also happen to have a time machine. Being such a big Beethoven fan, you decide to go meet your idol in-person. You arrive in his hometown in 18th century Austria and start asking around, but it seems that no one has ever heard of the guy. After a few hours of searching for him, you realize: there really is no Beethoven! You feel really upset until you realize: you have all of his sheet music. Why don't you just publish it under his name, so the rest of the world can enjoy his symphonies as well? So that's what you do, and Beethoven's music gains immense fame. Eventually, 21st century you (before you had time-traveled) finds a copy of this sheet music, and, loving Beethoven so much, decide to travel back in time to have him sign your music! See where I'm going with this? You get stuck in the infinite loop of time travel in which trying to think in depth only leads you with more questions and an immense headache.

Now, the question that the Bootstrap Paradox is addressing: Who created the music in the first place? Yeah, you published it back in 1795, but only because you had the copy from 2018, which you got from when it had been published back in 1795, which was because you had brought it back from 2018... And thus, we see that the music really never originated anywhere, but rather has just been in an infinite loop between 1795 and 2018 that has no discernible beginning or end.

Interesting, right?


Written by Jessica A., Homework Assistant
Sources:
Astronomy Trek
Radio Times

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Want to Own Part of the Eiffel Tower?



Runaway Photo: The Eiffel Tower

Do you love souvenirs?

Some people collect mugs from each city they go to, others ethnic dolls, and still others little trinkets with the country's flag and a price tag that almost makes it not worth the purchase. Wherever they go, people love to take home a little piece of their destination, to carry on the memory of their trip.

Now, here's another question: Do you love Paris? Because, if so, you'll be sorry to know that you just missed the opportunity to get the city's most awesome souvenir: a piece of the Eiffel Tower. Seriously.

On November 27, 2018, a section of the tower's original helix staircase was auctioned off to the highest bidder. Other pieces of the tower's various staircases reside in various Parisian museums, in the gardens of the Yoishii Foundation in Japan, and even near the Statue of Liberty in New York City. And now, a part of the esteemed French monument can be found right in the living room of whoever had the cash to buy it! (Well, only if his or her living room is over 14 feet tall.)

Auction prices were estimated at around 40,000 to 60,000 euros. However, whoever calculated those numbers clearly did not grasp how far one buyer was willing to go to get his own slice of Paris, because the staircase ended up selling for almost 170,000 euros. For comparison, that's about $191,000.

However, if you think that's a lot, get this: in 2016, another piece of the staircase sold for over 523,000 euros ($593,000), over ten times the estimated price.

While it would be super cool to own a part of a national monument, I think I'm gonna stick with my standard souvenirs, unless anyone wants to loan me a few hundred thousand dollars.<3 3="" a="" anyone="" br="" country="" couple="" dollars.="" here="" hundred="" insert="" loan="" me="" nbsp="" t-shirts="" thousand="" to="" unless="" wants="">


Written by Jessica A., Homework Assistant
Sources:

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Things that Happened at the Same Time in History

One of the most mind-boggling facts I've ever heard is that Cleopatra actually lived closer to the invention of the iPhone and Pizza Hut than to the building of the Great Pyramids of Giza. This inspired me to look up a few other odd historical facts. Here's a list of some things that, although it may seem hard to believe, actually happened at the same time in history:

1. Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr, and Audrey Hepburn were all born in the same year: 1929. Also, Queen Elizabeth II (the current queen of England) was born in 1926, the same year as Marilyn Monroe.

2. In the first few years of classes at Harvard, there wasn't a calculus class. Because calculus hadn't been discovered yet.

3. Oxford University in England was founded over 300 years before the Aztec Empire.

4. Coca-Cola is older than the Eiffel Tower and is only 31 years younger than the country of Italy.

5. The fax machine was invented the same year people first began traveling on the Oregon Trail (1843).

6. The last use of the guillotine as an execution weapon in France was the same year the first Star Wars movie was released.

7. Betty White (born 1922) is actually older than sliced bread, which was first a thing in 1928.

8. Swiss women weren't able to vote until 1971, the same year that people first drove a buggy on the moon.

9. When the Great Pyramids were being built, Wooly Mammoths still roamed the Earth.

10. The modern bicycle was invented the same year the steam engine first became popular, around 1817.

11. The machine that slices deli meats was invented in the same year as the filing cabinet, in 1988.

12. Daniel Radcliffe (best known as Harry Potter) was born the same year that famous Spanish painter Salvador Dali died. Fun fact: Dali had a pet anteater.

13. The first Daytona 500 race took place the same day that Hawaii was officially made a US state.

14. Nintendo was founded the same year the Eiffel Tower was built and Van Gogh painted "Starry Night" (1889).

15. The Brooklyn Bridge was built in the same year as the world's first rodeo (1883).

16. Vitamins were discovered the same year the Titanic sank.

17. The Periodic Table was created the same year Heinz (the ketchup brand) established their trademark.

18. The first iPhone and the last Harry Potter novel were released in the same year (2007).

19. Galileo died the year Isaac Newton was born, in 1642.

20. Greek philosopher Socrates was born only 10 years after the death of Chinese philosopher Confucius.

What's your favorite odd fact about history?

Written by Jessica A., Homework Assistant
Sources:
Activly
Ranker
Chron
Bright Side

Monday, December 10, 2018

Types of YA Book Cover Art

If you're a fan of Young Adult literature, you may have noticed that book cover art goes through different trends, with some styles being popular in one decade and nearly nonexistent in the next.  (Sidenote: Did you know authors don't usually choose their own book covers?)

Image result for 13 little blue envelopes
Remember these? Headless people were all the rage in 2000s-era book covers.
Our generation, of course, is no exception.  Here are some of the popular ones I've noticed recently:

Intricate Vintage/Ancient-Looking
In general, book covers are moving away from photographs and realistic art and towards abstract patterns and illustrations.  While intricate, timeless designs have been a feature of fantasy books for a while now, I personally have noticed an uptick in their popularity.  These books usually center around awesome magic and creative world-building.
Image result for dance of thieves

The Instagram-Perfect Romance
Guy meets girl, guy and girl go on a road trip and gradually fall in love, and we squeal into our pillows because OMG IT'S SO CUTE.  These books usually feature a picture of the happy couple (or just their shoes/legs) showered in sunlight, either in a field or on the hood of a car--in other words, a photo-op so beautiful that we briefly forget our severely single status.
Image result for sarah dessen road trip


The Heroine Striking An Entirely Reasonable Pose
Finally, the days of weirdly contorted female warriors wearing precious little clothing are starting to fade (I'm looking at you, video game ads)!  Meanwhile, strong, resilient heroines are taking over our fantasy book covers with their awesomeness.  I swear they just keep getting cooler and cooler.
Image result for a blade so black

The Distressed-Looking Girl in Grayscale
This book could be one of three things: 1) It's a dystopia and she's fighting against government control of the populace through technology, 2) It's still a dystopia, but this time the character is navigating a secretive political landscape, or 3) The girl's sister/mother/friend dies/goes missing so our heroine goes on a harrowing journey that forces her to confront dark secrets from the past.  Hence why she looks so distressed.
Related image

Prominent Title Words
Keeping with the more abstract direction of today's book covers, the primary feature in a lot of cover art is simply the title itself.  This holds across many different genres, from futuristic-looking block letters to swirly romantic calligraphy.
Image result for turtles all the way down

Simple
These titles feature a title in plain, sans-serif text accompanied by small illustrations of people and objects.  They're usually realistic fiction, featuring relatable characters dealing with real problems that come with growing up and being a teenager.  I personally love this style, because it's subtle yet striking.
Image result for flight season marie marquardt

Large Illustration of the Main Character
This one's kind of hard to describe, but it's everywhere.  These books usually have a solid-colored backing, with the protagonist drawn in eye-popping colors.  Like the Simple, they most often tell coming-of-age stories.
Image result for solo kwame alexander

Those are just some of the types of covers I've noticed whilst writing this blog post and staring at the New Books Display.  Have you noticed these trends?  Is there anything I missed?

Written by Coral C., Homework Assistant

Monday, October 29, 2018

How to judge a person by their Starbucks order

1. Black Coffee
Image result for starbucks coffee
This person is a white collar worker with an important job that involves a lot of important work. They come in every day at precisely 6:00AM, and they're always complaining to the baristas that the store should open an hour earlier.  This person never gets anything except black coffee, and they probably bring their own thermos. They get offended when the baristas ask if they want room for cream, because they asked for black coffee, which obviously means they aren't going to put anything in it. Sugar and cream are for weaklings, and this person is quite clearly not a weakling.



2. Latte
Image result for starbucks latte
If you ever see a person with angel wings and a halo wandering around your local Starbucks, that's the latte drinker. This person drinks coffee because they like the taste. They really appreciate all of the baristas' hard work, so they're always polite and they always tip. They were voted Most Likely to Make Small Talk With Strangers for the last five consecutive years.


3. Espresso
Image result for starbucks espresso shot cup
The espresso drinker isn't here very often, but they were short on time today and this store was convenient. To be honest, they've had better coffee, but they're classy so they aren't about to complain. Don't expect to talk to them, because they'll invariably receive a phone call immediately after placing their order, and they'll be urgently conversing in some European language until they leave the store.

4. In a mug
Related imageYou're not sure how long they've been here, but they got here before you and they don't seem to be leaving anytime soon. Also, you've never seen a saucer anywhere in the store but they inexplicably have one anyway. They're halfway through a book, probably titled "MIDAS EYE: Weve Stozniak's Five Simple Steps To Success" or something like that. Every time you walk by, they look at you with a pleasant but interested expression.

5. A Giant Pile of Whipped Cream
Image result for starbucks whipped cream drink

This person knows exactly what they want the moment they get to the cash register. You couldn't understand any of the words in their order, but it can't be anything healthy. There is an 80 percent chance this person is a student, and they probably came with a large gang of their friends. The group of friends will stand at the counter and argue about whose drink is whose while the surrounding adults glare angrily at their school hoodies.  Then they'll take up most of the seating and complain about how so-and-so is causing Snapchat or Instagram drama.


6. Iced Coffee
Image result for iced coffee starbucks
This person is SO. DONE. with everything. They're just ready for the day to be over. Honestly, they just can't be bothered to care anymore--and yes, they realize it's basically freezing outside, but that won't stop them from wearing shorts and forgetting their jacket at work. They've still got half an hour of traffic to sit through before they can make it home, so if you've got something to say, you better be quick about it.

7. Pumpkin Spiced Latte
Image result for starbucks pumpkin spice latte holiday cup
Yes, they've been waiting all summer for this and yes, they are ashamed (so you can stop giving them that judgy look). They LOVE fall, because 1) PSL is finally here and 2) the fashions are TO DIE FOR. They had their earth-toned knitted scarves out the second September hit. Now all they need is a holiday cup.


8. The Colorful Whatever That Is
Image result for starbucks acai refresherJust ask--this person will give you a proper education. "It's a pink drink, duh! Strawberry Acai Refresher with strawberries and coconut milk.  It's so good.  You have to try it." Or, "You've never had the unicorn frappe?! You know they're not going to have it forever, right? I'll buy you one." You will wish you knew as much about any topic as this person knows about the intricacies of chain-store coffee. You'll find yourself wondering when you last had the kind of passion and verve this person possesses. Whatever it is they're recommending you, you should probably try it. If you don't like it, they'll be happy to take it off your hands.



9. Hot Tea
Image result for starbucks hot tea
This mild-mannered suburban parent is gearing up for a long day trying to manage the two crazy kids running all over the store. Yes, milk would be nice--two percent, please. Also, could the barista please make sure their kids' hot chocolate isn't too hot? Thank you; it's been a bit of a rough day, as you can see. They're awfully sorry about their kids--you know how they are at that age. It'll be a miracle if they get to the daycare in one piece--no, they don't need a receipt--thanks again.


10. Your Order
Related imageEven though you come here all the time, you are not a basic, you swear. You get more or less the same thing every time, but you're not boring, you just know what you like. You have a strongly held position on caffeine--you either reject it completely or you need it to survive. Your favorite activity is sitting on the lounge chairs while running a judgemental inner monologue on everyone in the store.

Let me know if I missed anything :)

Written by Coral C., Homework Assistant
Source: far too much time and money spent at various coffee shops