Archive for March, 2012


The Amazing Blue Planet

10 Things You May Not Know About Earth

In celebration of Earth month — April, here are a few of the amazing truths about our planet:

  1. Earth is the only planet not to get its name from Roman or Greek mythology — the word “earth” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “erda,” which means ground or soil.
  2. Almost 3/4 of the earth’s surface is covered by water — about 71%.
  3. The earth’s core temperature is thought to go as high as 7500° K — hotter than the sun.
  4. From a distance, earth is the brightest of the planets in our solar system — because of the sunlight reflecting off the water.
  5. The first photograph of the planet from outer space was taken in 1959 by the unmanned satellite “Explorer 6.”
  6. On average, the earth is about 93 million miles from the sun.
  7. The planet is not round — it bulges around the equator as a result of its rotation.
  8. It takes a little less than 24 hours for the earth to rotate on its axis — 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds to be precise; the missing minutes in our 24 hour day come from the sun’s daily shift compared to the stars.
  9. Although 75% of the earth’s atmosphere is contained within the first seven miles above the planet’s surface, the entire atmosphere extends about 6,200 miles from the surface.
  10. The earth’s atmosphere is separated into seven layers — the lowest is the troposphere, which extends 6.2 miles from the earth’s surface. The second layer, the stratosphere, occupies the next 25 miles — and contains the ozone layer, which is responsible for absorbing enough of the ultraviolet light emitted by the sun to protect the planet.

Did You Know Your Keyboard (Mouse, Computer) Could Do That?

5 Tips and Tricks for Mac and Windows Users


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1. Triple click (Mac & Windows)

Select a word or a whole paragraph in a flash — whether you’re in a word processing document or on a website, sometimes you want to grab a whole paragraph — maybe you want to move it, or delete it, or copy it. Triple click anywhere in the paragraph with your mouse to highlight the entire thing and then copy, cut, move or format it as you like.

Bonus tip: triple clicking in the address bar of your web browser will select the entire url — handy when you need to copy a website address to share in a document or email.

2. The power of Spotlight (Mac)

Find a file, an application, a web page in your history — the little magnifying glass in the upper corner of your Mac is often under-utilized and overlooked. Entering part of the file name you’re looking for into spotlight can often be a faster and easier way to find and open a document than through Finder or the application.

Bonus tip: you can use Spotlight as a calculator — simply type in your math (e.g., “365/25”) and Spotlight will do the rest.

2nd bonus tip: you can launch Spotlight without lifting your hands from the keys — just press Cmd + Spacebar.

3. Navigate through applications with one hand (Mac & Windows)

Ctrl-Tab (Windows) and Cmd-Tab (Mac) — when you’re multi-tasking, you might have multiple applications and windows open on your computer. Ctrl-Tab (Windows) and Cmd-Tab (Mac) will cycle you through your open windows (Windows) or applications (Mac) — making it easy to move from one to another.

Bonus Mac tip: When the app switcher is up on your Mac, you can quit any application while it’s highlighted by pressing “q” or hide an application by pressing “h.” You can also scroll through open windows in a single app with the keyboard shortcut Cmd+` (the key to the left of the 1 key).

Bonus Windows 7 tip: get a 3D view of your open windows on your PC by pressing the Windows (or Start) key on your keyboard and then using the Tab key to scroll through your open windows.

4. Open your favorite applications with a keyboard shortcut (Windows 7)

Windows (or “Start”) key plus the position of the app on your Task bar will open or switch to that app — you may already know that you can place icons for your favorite programs in your task bar and that you can drag them around to whatever order you like. What you may not know is the order you put them in has its own power — holding down the Windows key and pressing the number of whatever position that app holds on your Task bar will open or switch to that app. So if you have four applications — Word, Excel, Firefox and Skype — pinned in that order on your Task bar, pressing Windows + 4 key will launch (or switch to Skype). You can hotkey up to 10 applications this way (use Windows + 0 key for the 10th application).

Bonus tip: Keep pressing the keyboard shortcut to cycle through open windows of a specific application (e.g., if you have multiple windows open in Firefox in the example above, pressing Windows + 3 would cycle you through your open browser windows).

5. Format in a snap

Cmd (Mac) or Ctrl (Windows) + b, i, and u will apply or remove the three most common formatting styles — bold, italic and underline — to your text. Simply highlight the text you want to format (or un-format) and then press Cmd or Ctrl + b (or i or u) to apply or remove the formatting.

Bonus tip: you can select (highlight) text in a document (word processing, spreadsheet, etc.) with your keyboard as well —highlight a letter at a time by pressing Shift + à (right arrow) to select text to the right of the cursor (use the left arrow to go the other way, and the up and down arrows to grab a line at a time). To highlight a word at a time use Shift + Option (Mac) and the arrow keys, or Shift + Ctrl (Windows) and the arrow keys.

For even more tips and tricks, check out these resources:


The Lion, The Lamb, and St. Patrick

1. “Beware the Ides of March”

The dire warning made to Caesar by a soothsayer early in Act I of William Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar, has come to be synonymous with predictions of inescapable doom — the Ides of March (the 15th) was the day that Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of Roman senators.

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Ciaran Hinds as Caesar in HBO’s Rome


2. In times of war

March is named after Mars, the Roman god of war. In fact, in the earliest Roman calendar, March was the first month.

3. In Like a Lion, Out Like  a Lamb

March roars in like a lion

So fierce,

The wind so cold,

It seems to pierce.

The month rolls on

And Spring draws near,

And March goes out

Like a lamb so dear

 ~Lorie Hill

4. He wasn’t Irish and he didn’t solve the snake problem

The man who became St. Patrick was born in Britain (~390 A.D.) and arrived in Ireland after being kidnapped and shipped there as a slave to tend sheep.

As for St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland? Relatively easy to accomplish, as there never have been snakes in Ireland. Metaphorically, however, snakes often represent evil (the snake in the grass, the snake in the Garden of Eden, etc.) — and St. Patrick is credited with sweeping the evil of paganism out of and ushering Christianity into Ireland.

5. Famous Ides of March birthdays

It might be a foretelling of doom, but for these folks it’s cause for celebration:

·        Eva Longoria

· (Black Eyed Peas)

·        Sylvester Stallone

·        Fabio

·        Andrew Jackson (7th president of the United States) — James Madison, the 4th President, was born on March 16th

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Photo from


18 About 18

After 13 seasons, Peyton Manning and the Colts are parting ways…  while they were together, they created some magic:

1.         In 2007, Peyton Manning led the Colts to their first Super Bowl appearance since 1971

2.        During the 1998 season, Manning set the record for most touchdown passes (26) by a quarterback in his rookie season

3.        He holds the rookie record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass (13)

4.        Manning also holds the record for most passes intercepted (28) during his rookie season

5.        Manning holds the NFL record for most games with a perfect passer rating with four games

6.        In 2004, Manning’s seven-year, $99.2 million contract set a league record for highest paid player

7.        Manning threw his first career touchdown pass on September 6, 1998

8.        At 41 to 10, the Colt’s win against the Denver Broncos in the 2004 post-season remains the biggest margin in the Colts’ playoff history.

9.        Manning set the record for most passing touchdowns (49) in a single season in 2004 — and held it until 2007, when Tom Brady broke through his 50th touchdown pass

10.      Manning’s flapping, stomping, shouting and gesturing at the line of scrimmage is widely considered the most memorable — and imitated — QB pre-snap routine ever

11.        Manning won the NFL MVP award for the fourth time in 2009 — setting a league record

12.       Bringing the Colts to victory after trailing in the fourth quarter seven times in the 2009 season, Manning holds the NFL record for fourth-quarter comeback wins in a single season.

13.      Only Peyton Manning and Tom Brady have ever thrown no less than five touchdown passes in a game with NO interceptions — and they’ve done it four times

14.      Manning holds five NFL decade records — 

·        most wins as a starting QB in the regular season

·        most wins as a starting QB in regular and post-season combined

·        most touchdown passes in a decade

·        most passing yards in a decade

·        most completions in a decade

15.      In the final game of October, 2007, Manning became the first QB to beat all 31 other teams in the league — Tom Brady and Brett Favre matched that record the same week. (In 2009, when Favre faced the Packers as a Viking, he became the first and only QB to beat all 32 teams in the league.)

16.      Peyton’s Colts beat Eli’s Giants both times the teams faced off — in 2006 and in 2010.

17.      Manning is tied with Brett Favre for the most Pro Bowl QB selections (11)

18.      The Colts won 116 games, one division title and reached the playoffs (without a win) three times in the 20 years prior to Manning’s arrival— during Manning’s 13 year stint with the team, they have won 150 games, eight division titles, two AFC championships and one Super Bowl.


Meryl Streep Holds the Record for Oscar Nominations

But she’s not an EGOT winner


It’s sometimes called the “EGOT” — a coin termed on the show 30 Rock — short for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. It’s the Showbiz Grand Slam; and only 11 people in history have won all four:

1. Richard Rodgers

— the very first EGOT winner, Rodgers won the Oscar (with co-writer Oscar Hammerstein) for “Best Song” in 1945 — "It Might As Well Be Spring" from State Fair — and in 1962, he won an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony. In the intervening 17 years, he won his first Grammy (in 1960) and five other Tonys — including three with Hammerstein for “Best Musical” — 1950’s South Pacific, 1952’s The King and I and 1960’s The Sound of Music.

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2. Helen Hayes

— winning two Oscars — her first for “Best Actress” in 1932 and her second for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” in 1970 for Airport — 38 years apart, she also won two Tonys for “Best Actress” (in 1947 and 1958), a Grammy in 1976 and a “Best Actress” Emmy in 1953.

3. Rita Moreno


— an entertainment tour de force, Morena swept up her four major awards in the least amount of time — just 16 years between winning her Oscar in 1961 for “Best Actress in a Supporting Role” for West Side Story and winning an Emmy in 1977 for “Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in Variety or Music” – The Muppet Show. She won another Emmy the following year for her guest appearance on The Rockford Files. She was awarded the Grammy in 1972 for her contribution to the “Best Recording for Children,” The Electric Company and a Tony in 1975 for her performance in The Ritz.

4. John Gielgud

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— in 1981, Gielgud won the Oscar for “Best Actor in a Supporting Role” for his performance in Arthur (the original). He has won two Tonys — in 1948 for “Outstanding Foreign Company” and in 1961 for “Best Director of a Drama”, and one in 1961, an Emmy in 1991 for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special” and a Grammy in 1979 for “Best Spoken Word Documentary or Drama.”

5. Audrey Hepburn

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— the only Hepburn on the list, Audrey won the “Best Actress” Oscar in 1953 for her debut movie performance in Roman Holiday and a Tony in 1954 for her performance in Ondine, she won an Emmy for Gardens of the World with Audrey Hepburn in1993 and a Grammy for “Best Spoken Word Album for Children” in 1994. She is also the youngest to receive their first major award on this list, winning her Oscar when she was just 23 years old.

6. Marvin Hamlisch

— this musical force of nature has won three Oscars (all in 1973 for The Way We Were), four Emmys, four Grammys (also all for The Way We Were) and one Tony (for writing one of the most memorable musical scores of all time, A Chorus Line).

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7. Jonathan Tunick

— a significant musical talent, Tunick won an Oscar in 1977, an Emmy in 1982, a Grammy in 1988 and a Tony in 1997 — for “Best Orchestrations,” Titanic.

8. Mel Brooks

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— he has been awarded an Oscar — for “Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen” – The Producers (the original from 1968), four Emmys (one for writing and three in three consecutive years for “Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series” – Mad About You), three Grammys and three Tonys (all in 2001 for his work on The Producers).

9. Mike Nichols

— he won the first of the big four in 1961 — when he received the Grammy for “Best Comedy Performance” for An Evening With Mike Nichols And Elaine May— and his most recent in 2005 — when he won the Tony for “Best Director, Musical” for Monty’ Python’s Spamalot. In the 44 years between those two awards, Nichols has received one Oscar (for "Best Director,” The Graduate), four Emmys, and seven additional Tonys.

10. Whoopi Goldberg

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— before her well-deserved albeit surprise Oscar win for “Best Supporting Actress” in 1990 for Ghost, Goldberg won a Grammy for “Best Comedy Recording.” She’s won two Daytime Emmys for hosting (Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel and The View) and a Tony for co-producing 2001’s Thoroughly Modern Millie.

11. Scott Rudin

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— best known as a film and theater producer, Rudin joined this short list just this year, when he won his first Grammy for producing the “Best Musical Theater Album” — Book of Mormon). He won the Oscar for co-producing 2007’s “Best Picture” winner No Country for Old Men, an Emmy for “Outstanding Children’s Program,” He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’ and has won seven (7!) Tony awards between 1994 and 2011— two for “Best Musical” (including last year for Book of Mormon), one for “Best Revival of a Play” and four for “Best Play.”