May 25, 2020

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Everybody’s Talking

Deep dive: Belize, on the east coast of Central America, is home to some of the best diving in the world. One reason for that is the existence of the Great Blue Hole, located off the country’s coast in the Caribbean Sea. Surrounded by coral reefs, the circular Great Blue Hole is an underwater sinkhole that attracts many species of marine life. It measures 300 meters (984 ft.) across and is 125 meters (410 ft.) deep. Divers can reach the Great Blue Hole by a more than two-hour boat ride from Belize City. Boats also can be rented on Ambergris Caye, which is closer.

Money giver: Charities in the city of Braunschweig, Germany, are amazed and grateful for an anonymous donor who has been providing cash to help them do their good deeds. The donor sends a bag of euros to a newspaper office with instructions to give the money to a certain charity. One such “miracle bag” contained €100,000 to be given to a local hospice. For over eight years, bags of money, some containing over €200,000, have intermittently appeared, with the mystery giver identifying soup kitchens, churches, and other worthy causes as recipients.

Turf tradition: For centuries, the traditional home used by the people of Iceland was the turf house. These houses had roofs and thick walls made of a top layer of sod with grass growing out of it. People used turf because trees were not as available for building material. Turf also has good insulating qualities against the winter cold. In the early 1900s, many people still lived in turf houses, but now few remain. However, some have been preserved and maintained by the National Museum of Iceland, allowing visitors to view these traditional abodes.

Peaceful people: A street in Vienna, Austria, is a monument to peace. The winding, dead-end street is called Blutgasse and is one of the oldest in the city. On the street is Peace Museum Vienna, which has a mission to educate visitors toward achieving world peace. The museum is free for anyone who wants to visit the exhibits or attend a discussion. One of the displays, called Windows for Peace, is intriguing. In the museum’s street-facing windows are images of peace heroes, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Bertha von Suttner, author of the novel Lay Down Your Arms.

Quoteable Quotes

“All things are to be examined and called into question. There are no limits set to thought.”
—Edith Hamilton

“The greatest liberty that man has taken is with nature.”
—James Bryce

Trivia

1. What is the German word meaning finished, defeated, or destroyed?

Kaput

2. The average person blinks how many times a minute?

15-20 times

3. In the world of ice hockey, what is a “blueliner”?

Defenceman

4. Name the leader of the English rock band The Who.

Roger Daltry

5. What are filled dumplings of Central and Eastern Europe called?

Pierogi

Games

Did You Know?

Using names: Anthropologist Jane Goodall studied chimpanzees for 45 years in Tanzania. Rather than numbering the primates she was studying, she named them instead. Some names she chose were David Greybeard, Flint, and Goliath.

Extinct pigeon: Passenger pigeons became extinct about 100 years ago. These pigeons, native to North America, were able to fly very fast, attaining speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 km).

Museum founder: Francisco Moreno of Argentina was a famous naturalist and geographer in the 1800s. He founded the La Plata Museum of Natural History in Argentina in 1888, which is an important museum today.

Hot stuff: The Datil pepper is a small, hot pepper grown near St. Augustine, Florida (U.S.), where there’s even an annual Datil Pepper Festival. It is used to make hot sauces, mustards, infused vinegar, and jellies.

Big but gentle: Whale sharks, which are docile giants that live in tropical oceans, are the largest living fish. Their life span is about 70 years, but they have been known to live to be 100.

On the Lighter Side

  • What question can you never answer “Yes” to? “What does ‘N-O’ spell?
  • I wonder how many miles I’ve scrolled with my thumb.
  • Why was the math book sad? Because it had so many problems.
  • Patient: “I’m terribly nervous, doctor. This is my first operation.”
    Doctor: “I know what you mean. It’s mine, too.”
  • What is easy to get into, but hard to get out of? Trouble.

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