On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. Today, the Fourth of July is a celebration of the nation created on that momentous occasion 245 years ago. But how well do you really know the people and places of the United States? Take this quiz to find out.
True or false
1. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to live in the White House.
2. Sonia Sotomayor was the first Hispanic American to serve on the Supreme Court.
3. The United States Constitution was inspired by the Iroquois Confederacy.
4. Frederick Douglass was the first African American senator.
5. The Washington Monument is the tallest monument in the United States.
What happened first
6. The Louisiana Purchase or the passage of the Bill of Rights?
7. The invention of the telephone or the establishment of the first national park?
8. The founding of the Ford Motor Company or the Wright brothers’ first flight?
9. The creation of the National Football League or the ratification of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote?
10. The passage of the Civil Rights Act or the creation of NASA?
By the numbers
11. How many UNESCO World Heritage Sites are in the United States?
12. What percentage of fire departments in the United States are staffed entirely by volunteers?
a. 30 percent
b. 55 percent
c. 70 percent
13. How many states does the Mississippi River run through?
1. False (It was John Adams)
4. False (It was Hiram Rhodes Revels)
5. False (It’s the Gateway Arch)
6. Bill of Rights, 1791 (Louisiana Purchase, 1803)
7. Yellowstone, 1872 (Telephone, 1876)
8. Ford, June 1903 (Wright brothers, December 1903)
9. Women’s suffrage, Aug. 18, 1920 (NFL, Aug. 20, 1920)
10. NASA, 1958 (Civil Rights Act, 1964)
Credit 101: Debit cards don’t build your credit score
You use debit cards and credit cards in the same way: A swipe or wave in a card reader or type in your number online.
But the two are very different; only credit cards help build your credit score and are listed on your credit report.
Activity on a debit card isn’t reported to the three credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion). The credit bureaus monitor how people use credit. But they don’t monitor debit cards, which are used like cash. The full amount is deducted from your checking account as soon as the purchase is made.
With credit cards, the full amount is loaned to you on a credit line.
With debit cards, you avoid interest charges and don’t go into debt because if you don’t have the money in the bank, the debit card will be declined.
Credit cards, on the other hand, can build credit — or trash your credit if you don’t make the payments on time. If you use a credit card on purchases you can pay off quickly, especially in the same month, your credit score may increase.
You can’t get a conventional credit card if you have bad credit or no credit history. Enter the secured credit card. With a secured card, you make a deposit to the credit card company, and that deposit becomes your credit line. Then, you can use the card to buy an item every month and then pay off the item each month. This way, you build a history of paying for what you buy. That’s good credit. In some cases, credit card companies will eventually upgrade a secured card to an unsecured card.
Trapping: 15 species to catch
Do you want to hunt using perfectly designed traps placed in strategic locations? You can trap a host of species in the U.S. for meat, pelts, or pest management. While you need to keep regional regulations in mind, here are some common species to consider adding to your hunting display.
Before setting your traps, ensure you’ve completed all the necessary training and have the required permits and certifications. In addition, review the most current regulations regarding appropriate types of gear.
NASA unveils plans to save earth from asteroids
In 1998, Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck, and other brave souls blasted into space and used oil drilling equipment to blow up an asteroid barreling towards Earth.
That same year, Elijah Wood discovered another asteroid bound for our planet. Fortunately, Robert Duvall blew that one up.
Of course, we’re talking about sci-fi movies, but asteroids are a real threat. Thankfully, NASA has plans (not involving movie stars) for dealing with them.
Over the summer, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released an 18-page report titled the “National Near-Earth Object Preparedness Strategy and Action Plan” outlining steps to identify and deflect asteroids and how to react should one hit.
Currently, NASA’s plans for warding off asteroids center on smashing spacecraft into asteroids at high speed. The goal isn’t to destroy the asteroid but simply to redirect it. If an asteroid’s course can be changed even a tiny bit, it could cause it to harmlessly shoots past Earth.
The United States isn’t alone in defending Earth against asteroids. China has announced plans to use the moon as a planetary defense platform. The Chinese plan would involve installing telescopes on the Moon’s north and south pole, along with kinetic weapons. However, the prospect of placing weapons on the moon has drawn criticism.
Asteroids can travel over 15 miles per second (54,000 miles per hour). An asteroid just 500 feet in diameter could destroy a large city. An asteroid a quarter of a mile in diameter could cause mass extinctions. NASA, among other organizations, already scans for asteroids. However, experts estimate that only about 40 percent of larger asteroids have been mapped. Many smaller asteroids also haven’t been mapped but don’t pose as grave a threat.
Fortunately, FEMA’s National Response Coordination Branch has labeled the likelihood of a serious asteroid impact as unlikely but does note that such an impact would be of high consequence.
Buy local in every industry
When you think about buying local, you probably conjure up images of a friendly farmer selling vegetables and jams on a country road or a quaint farmers’ market with a friendly atmosphere. Although these examples illustrate one aspect of buying local, it goes much further.
Have you thought about these sectors?
Buying locally isn’t limited to specific industries. When it comes to supporting your local economy, various companies would be happy to do business with you, including:
• Telecommunications providers
• Insurance companies
• Supermarket chains
• Big box stores
• Hardware stores
• Video game developers
• Engineering firms
• Furniture retailers
Why are these important?
Even if you don’t associate large companies with buying locally, they play a significant role in the economic vitality of your region. That’s why it’s essential to know where your products and services come from, whether you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables or doing business with an insurance company, internet provider, or appliance store.
Remembering the comic strip loved by millions
If you are one of the millions of people who enjoyed the Peanuts comic strip and its star Charlie Brown, here are some odd facts you might not know.
Creator Charles Schulz, who started the strip in 1947, originally called it Li’l Folks. But when the strip was syndicated in 1950, the name was changed to Peanuts. Schulz didn’t especially like it.
Charlie Brown’s beloved beagle Snoopy was modeled after Schulz’s pointer dog, Spike. Snoopy had five siblings from the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm. All of them made appearances during the years the strip ran.
One character was so unpopular with readers that she had a short run. The brash Charlotte Braun, the counterpoint to soft-spoken Charlie Brown, appeared in only ten strips and disappeared without explanation.
Another character was frequently mentioned as the love interest of Charlie Brown. She was called the Little Red-Haired Girl. She was never given a name or seen in the strip. She appeared in silhouette in one of the strips in 1998. She was based on Schulz’s unrequited love for a real red-haired woman.
Apple orchards make fun outings
Does anything taste better than a crisp, ripe apple fresh from the tree? Not really, and unless you have trees in your backyard, the only way to get a just-picked apple is to visit your local orchard and do it yourself.
Decide when you should plan your visit. Earlier is better — many orchards are picked clean before the official end of the season because it’s such a popular activity. You should also consider when different varieties will be available. Call your preferred orchard or visit their website to see if they have that information available. Most orchards are only open to the public on weekends, so don’t count on stopping by on a weekday.
Before you bring home more apples than you can possibly eat, consider how much you really want and what you might do with them. Are they all destined for lunch boxes? Is there an apple pie recipe or three you can try? Do you plan to cook a bushel down to make homemade applesauce?
When you head to the orchard, visit only the designated rows of trees that have been opened for picking. Look at apples closest to the outside of the three — those ripen first. The right color depends on the variety, and the orchard may provide pictures for reference. If not, just look them up on your phone.
When you start picking, lift the apple away from the branch and give it a little twist to release it. Don’t pull — you want the stem to remain on the fruit to help it last longer. Inspect the apple for any nicks or bruises, then place it gently (don’t drop it) into your basket or bag. If you pick an apple and then accidentally drop it on the ground, it’s still fine to pick up, but don’t collect any apples that were already on the ground.