Archive for: December 31st, 2017

Interesting Things You Need to Know
Everything you need to know about snowflakes
December 31, 2017
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Ten facts about snowflakes

1. The word snowflake is often used to refer to what’s technically a snow crystal. Snowflakes can be made up of hundreds, or even thousands, of individual snow crystals.

2. Snow crystals grow fastest in temperatures around 5 °F, but no one knows why.

3. Almost all snowflakes are six-sided, or hexagonally symmetrical.

4. It’s virtually impossible for two naturally occurring snowflakes to be exactly alike.

5. The shape of a snowflake is determined by atmospheric factors such as temperature and humidity.

6. Sticking out your tongue to catch a few falling flakes is fine, but eating snow off the ground is a bad idea, as it may contain pathogenic substances.

7. In the 19th century, an American named Wilson Bentley developed a method for photographing snowflakes in great detail with the help of a microscope. He took more than 5,000 photos during his lifetime, many of which are now on display in various museums.

8. In 1951 the International Commission on Snow and Ice devised a system for categorizing snowflakes according to their shape. The seven main shapes according to this classification are plates, stellar crystals, columns, needles, spatial dendrites, capped columns, and irregular forms.

9. Individual snowflakes form when water vapor freezes around a tiny airborne particle (e.g. dust or pollen).

10. The largest individual snow crystal ever photographed was 10 millimeters (a little over 3/8 inch) wide.

Interesting Things You Need to Know
Looking for something to do in 2018?
December 31, 2017
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Here’s the list for January:

1 – New Year’s Day.
1 – ALLSTATE SUGAR BOWL, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA. 84th annual.
Web: 98th annual
1 – CANADA: POLAR BEAR SWIM 2018 English Bay Beach, Vancouver, BC. 98th annual.
Web: vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/polar-bear-swim.aspx.
1-31 – NATIONAL GLAUCOMA AWARENESS MONTH. Web: preventblindness.org.
1-31 – NATIONAL VOLUNTEER BLOOD DONOR MONTH. Since 1970. Web: redcross.org/blood.
1 – ROSE BOWL and PARADE, Pasadena, CA. Since 1902.
Web: tournamentofroses.com/rose-bowl.
2 – JAPAN: KAKIZOME. Traditional Japanese festival.
3 – EARTH AT PERIHELION At about 12:35 a.m., EST, planet Earth will reach the point in its orbit when it is closest to the sun (about 91,400,000 miles). The Earth is closest to the sun during the Northern Hemisphere winter.
4-7 –  AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION: ANNUAL MEETING Washington, DC. 132nd annual. Web: historians.org.
5 – NATIONAL BIRD DAY. 16th annual. Web: nationalbirdday.org.
6 – EPIPHANY or TWELFTH DAY. Epiphany of Our Lord, one of the oldest Christian feasts, is observed in Roman Catholic churches.
7 – GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS. Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA. 75th annual.
Web: goldenglobes.com.
7 – ORTHODOX CHRISTMAS. Observed by those churches using the Julian calendar.
8 – COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME. Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA.
Web: collegefootballplayoff.com.
9-12 –  INTERNATIONAL CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW. Las Vegas, NV. Web: cesweb.org.
9 – NORTH AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW. Cobo Center, Detroit, MI. Web: naias.com.
10-14 –  ENGLAND: LONDON BOAT SHOW. ExCeL, London’s Docklands, London. 64th annual. Web: londonboatshow.com.
11-21 –  CHICAGO SKETCH COMEDY FESTIVAL. Chicago, IL. 17th annual. Web: stage773.com.
11-14 – ULTIMATE FISHING SHOW–DETROIT. Suburban Collection Showplace, Novi, MI.
Web: showspan.com.
12-14 – ART DECO WEEKEND. Miami Beach, FL. 41st annual. Web: artdecoweekend.com.
12-14 – LOOP ICE CARNIVAL. St. Louis, MO. 13th annual. Ice slides, zip line rides, ice carving demos, more. Web: VisitTheLoop.com.
12-Feb. 3 – SOUTHWESTERN EXPOSITION AND LIVESTOCK SHOW. Fort Worth, TX. Western extravaganza. Web: www.fwssr.com.
Web: ksoutdoors.com.
14 – CHEVRON HOUSTON MARATHON. Houston, TX. 46th annual citywide race.
Web: chevronhoustonmarathon.com.
17-21 – CAREERBUILDER GOLF CHALLENGE. La Quinta, CA. 59th annual. Established in 1960, formerly Bob Hope Classic. Web: careerbuilderchallenge.com.
17 – MEXICO: BLESSING OF THE ANIMALS AT THE CATHEDRAL.
18-28 – SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL. Park City, UT. Since 1985. Web: sundance.org/festival.
19-21 – MILWAUKEE BOAT SHOW. Wisconsin Expo Center at State Fair Park, Milwaukee, WI. Web: showspan.com.
20-21 – ICE FEST. Ligonier, PA. Ice-carving demonstrations. Web: ligonier.com.
23-27 – SIOUX EMPIRE FARM SHOW. Sioux Falls, SD. Web: siouxempirefarmshow.org.
24-29 – ZEHNDER’S SNOWFEST (WITH ICE AND SNOW CARVING COMPETITIONS). Frankenmuth, MI.
Web: zehnders.com
25-28 – ANGOULEME INTERNATIONAL COMICS FESTIVAL. Angouleme, France.
Web: bdangouleme.com.
25-Feb.10 – SAINT PAUL WINTER CARNIVAL. St. Paul, MN. Web: wintercarnival.com.
26 – AUSTRALIA: AUSTRALIA DAY COCKROACH RACES. Brisbane, Queensland. 37th annual.
Web: storybridgehotel.com.au.
26-Feb. 3 – BLACK HILLS STOCK SHOW AND RODEO. Rapid City, SD.
Web: blackhillsstockshow.com.
27 – AFRMA FANCY RAT AND MOUSE ANNUAL SHOW. Riverside, CA. Web: afrma.org.
27-28 – AMHERST RAILWAY SOCIETY RAILROAD HOBBY SHOW. West Springfield, MA.
Web: railroadhobbyshow.com.
27 – BROOKFIELD ICE HARVEST. Brookfield, VT. 39th annual.
28-Feb. 3 – CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK. Since 1974, the annual celebration of Catholic education in the US. Web: ncea.org
28 – 2018 PRO BOWL. Camping World Stadium, Orlando, FL. Web: nfl.com.
30 – SCOTLAND: UP HELLY AA. Lerwick, Shetland Islands. Norse galley burned.
Web: shetland.org.
31-Feb. 4 – US NATIONALS SNOW SCULPTING COMPETITION. Lake Geneva, WI. 23rd annual.

Travel
Cruises go for virtual reality
December 31, 2017
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Cruise vacation fans will soon be in for high tech treats as companies go big for virtual reality.

You might say cruises are already a kind of virtual reality, a world where everything happens seamlessly and without effort; from food to fun to cleaning.

But there is more in store.

Royal Caribbean recently showed off its new virtual reality plans, among them virtual reality dining.

According to CNet, the experiences are weirdly theatrical. You put on a visor and suddenly you are in an authentic Japanese tea house. In front of you glows a blue orb for you to eat. You put it in your mouth and the paper doors of the tea house explode into paper cranes. Now, as you chew, you are in a garden with a stream. The scene suits the bite of tuna tartare you just consumed.

And with every glowing bite, your surroundings change to suit the taste and mood.

Virtual reality experiences in entertainment, as well as dining, are coming to every cruise line. Swiss-based MSC will offer virtual reality shopping, letting guests see how they look in different outfits without the bother of actually having to try them on.

And how about those inside rooms, which are cheaper, but don’t offer ocean views? Royal Caribbean has rolled out LED options for staterooms that let you project the ocean or turn your room into a rainforest.

Other technologies offer phone-based location services that let you order a drink on your phone from a waiter who finds you wherever you are. There are also self-driving cars to shuttle people down the long walkways at ports.