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Articolele zilei - Articles of the day

The story of a great flood sent by a deity to destroy civilization as an act of divine retribution appears in many ancient cultural traditions. Though it is best known in the modern Western world through the Biblical story of Noah's ark, other versions, such as stories of Matsya in the Hindu Puranas, Deucalion in Greek mythology, and Utnapishtim in the Epic of Gilgamesh, are also well known. What do scientists believe accounts for the flood myth's prevalence in so many cultures? Discuss
The field of physics has expanded exponentially in the last few centuries, but scientists still grapple with a number of problems and questions that remain unsolved. Several of these problems are theoretical: they involve observed phenomena that existing theories seem incapable of explaining. Others are experimental: they concern theories that do not lend themselves to testing or phenomena that cannot be investigated in greater detail. What are several of the most prominent unsolved problems? Discuss
Tuk-tuks are small vehicles used for urban transport. They are especially popular in the traffic-congested and densely populated cities of Southeast Asia, such as Bangkok. Often employed as taxis, tuk-tuks usually have sheet metal bodies with canvas roofs and drop-down or removable sides. They rest on three wheels—one in front and two in back—have a small cabin for the driver, and seating for up to three passengers. Rather than steering wheels, tuk-tuks possess what steering mechanism? Discuss
Raw foodism is a lifestyle involving the consumption of uncooked, unprocessed, and often organic foods as a large percentage or the entirety of one's diet. Raw foodists vary in the extent to which they eat raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meat, and even unpasteurized dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt. Proponents claim that raw foods encourage weight loss, promote digestion, and prevent illness and toxicity. What have studies shown about raw food diets? Discuss
It is now widely thought that the eruption of Indonesia's Mount Tambora—the largest in over 1,600 years—led to a widespread reduction in temperature in 1816 that destroyed crops and prompted food shortages and famine across the globe. The event became the primary motivation for western expansion in America, and the lack of horse feed inspired research into horseless travel. What novel is said to have been written by an author forced to stay inside by the unseasonable weather in July 1816? Discuss
Catch-22 is a term coined by Joseph Heller in his novel of the same name to describe a situation in which a desired outcome is impossible to attain. Heller's prototypical Catch-22 concerns the sanity of military pilots. Basically, since combat missions are so dangerous, those who fly them must be insane and should be grounded. Asking to be grounded, however, shows concern for one's own wellbeing and demonstrates a pilot's sanity. He must therefore continue to fly. What are other examples? Discuss
The Percy-Neville Feud was a string of skirmishes between two prominent northern English families and their followers that helped provoke the Wars of the Roses—a series of dynastic civil wars between supporters of the Houses of Lancaster and York in the 15th century. Six months after the Nevilles allied themselves with Richard, Duke of York—rival of the Lancastrian King Henry VI—the Percys met the Nevilles and the Duke in the first battle at St. Albans. What was the original reason for the feud? Discuss
Exquisite corpse is an exercise in which a collection of words or images is assembled by several participants, each of whom adds to a composition by either following a predetermined sequence—such as adjective-noun-adverb-verb-article-adjective-noun—or by looking at the end of the previous entry. The name of the game is derived from the phrase that French Surrealists created when they first played it in 1925: "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau," which means what? Discuss
Because human senses are adapted for use on the ground, relying on sensory input alone to navigate during flight can be dangerous. Since the senses do not always accurately reflect the movement of an aircraft, they can cause a number of sensory illusions, including those affected by vision and fluid in the inner ear. Some illusions result in false sensations of rotation, while others can cause misconceptions about the orientation of one's aircraft. What is the black-hole approach illusion? Discuss
Baiting is a blood sport that involves setting game dogs upon an often chained up animal for the purpose of subduing it by incapacitating or killing it. In 1610, during the reign of James I of England, the first recorded lion-baiting event was staged for the amusement of his court. The practice continued in the UK until the early 19th century, when public outrage brought the issue to the attention of parliament. What became of the one dog that survived the 1610 event? Discuss
TlhIngan Hol is the constructed language spoken by Klingons in the fictional Star Trek universe. The language was first heard on screen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture and was subsequently developed into a full language by linguist Marc Okrand. Deliberately designed to be "alien," it contains many peculiarities, such as object-verb-subject word order. However, a few dedicated Trekkies can actually converse in Klingon. What literary works have been translated into Klingon? Discuss
In the thousand years leading up to the Renaissance, developments in the construction and design of defensive fortifications changed warfare. As new tactics, weapons, and siege techniques were created to breach them, fortifications were modified to maintain their effectiveness. Along with walls, moats, and drawbridges, soldiers used measures such as machicolations—openings between a wall and a parapet through which stones and boiling water could be hurled—and killing fields, which were what? Discuss
"Jumping the shark" is a colloquialism used by TV critics and fans to denote the point in a TV series at which the characters or plot veer into a ridiculous, out-of-the-ordinary storyline. Shows that have "jumped the shark" are typically deemed to have passed their peak and undergone too many changes to retain their original appeal. The term is an allusion to a scene in a 1977 episode of the TV series Happy Days, when the popular character Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli does what? Discuss
The Malmedy Massacre occurred in 1944 during the Battle of the Bulge—a bloody German offensive on the Western Front near the end of World War II. Under orders from Hitler to carry out the attack with brutality, the German spearhead trapped an American convoy, forcing the Americans to surrender. The unarmed prisoners were then taken to a field, where approximately 80 of them were executed. Some troops managed to escape to the Allied lines. What became of the German officer who led the massacre? Discuss
A frame is a schema of interpretation that individuals rely on to understand events. In framing, specific social and political forces use these unconscious collections of stereotypes to develop rhetorical packaging that encourages certain interpretations and discourages others. It has become especially popular in the US, where it is used by both major political parties. What framing strategies were included in the political memo titled "The 14 Words Never to Use"? Discuss
Named after the host of the game show Let's Make a Deal, the Monty Hall problem is a probability puzzle that has a history of stumping even respected mathematicians. In this problem, a game show contestant is asked to choose one of three doors. There is a car behind one and goats behind the other two. He picks door 1, but the host, who knows what is behind each door, opens door 3 to reveal a goat. The host then asks the player if he wants to switch to door 2. Should the player switch? Discuss
The idea that water can retain a "memory" of a substance dissolved in it even after heavy dilution was proposed by French immunologist Jacques Benveniste to explain the alleged therapeutic powers of homeopathic remedies, which are prepared by serially diluting aqueous solutions to such a degree that even a single molecule of the original solute is unlikely to remain in each final preparation. He successfully tested his theory in 1988, but attempts to reproduce his results have failed. Why? Discuss
Spanish for "Cave of the Hands," Cueva de las Manos is an Argentinean cave famed for the paintings of hands—along with depictions of humans, animals, hunting scenes, and geometric shapes—that are believed to have been made thousands of years ago by the region's indigenous inhabitants. Based on the size of the hands, it is speculated that teenage boys stenciled them on the wall of the cave to mark their advancement into manhood. Most of the paintings are of left hands, suggesting what? Discuss
The wendigo of Algonquian mythology is a malevolent, cannibalistic spirit into which humans can transform or which can possess humans. Those who have indulged in cannibalism or succumbed to greed are thought to be particularly susceptible. It is said that whenever wendigos eat someone, they grow larger in proportion to the meal they have just had. Thus, though wendigos are constantly gorging themselves, they remain emaciated from starvation and are never full. What is windigo psychosis? Discuss
Remembered as the "Bloody Lady of Cachtice" and considered the most infamous serial killer in Hungarian and Slovak history, Erzsébet Báthory was a 17th-century Hungarian countess from the renowned Báthory family. Accused of torturing and killing hundreds of young girls, Báthory was arrested and sentenced to house arrest in 1610. Her story inspired numerous legends, including that of the countess bathing in her victims' blood in order to retain her youth. How did she die? Discuss
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