Curiosity and Mars – The Stuff That Rover Finds

Some Mars Rover Things

For those of you who know and/or follow me, you know I am often off in space.  I love to read about space both in fiction and non-fiction.  I subscribe to a good number of space related feeds and often hear things that others miss.  I thought I might take a few minutes to post some Curiosity news and trivia. Continue reading “Curiosity and Mars – The Stuff That Rover Finds”

How Nimrod Changed Meaning

Nimrod Once a Great Hunter, Now an Idiot, Why?

I can recall using the word “nimrod” with negative connotations as far back as high school marching band.  That would have been about 1980.    Specifically, a nimrod would be a jerk, idiot or someone who is dim-witted.  This is listed as the informal definition at The Free Dictionary.

Originally, the word  implied “mighty hunter” as The Bible described King Nimrod of Shinar. In fact, it used to be used as a first name. Battleships, and other military vehicles have also been named Nimrod.  I wonder if anybody would still consider using it as such in today’s era.  I am even more curious as to how the meaning of the word shifted.

Bugs Bunny's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Bugs Bunny’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Although I am not 100 percent sure, there is a popular theory at to how the meaning changed. First off, we just don’t read scriptures as often as we used to. Second, is the fact that we started to consume television. At least that is what an article told me in my feed reader. According to the article, we can blame a certain “screwy rabbit”. The article did not mention what episode it began with. I was curious as to which episode this started in so I hit up Google.

Several sources, but not the article linked above, stated that in the cartoon, now public domain, Fresh Hare, Bugs Bunny supposedly called Elmer Fudd a nimrod.  Also relevant, it is considered the first official Bugs Bunny release with both Elmer and Bugs in their final forms. However, I watched the video and he did not call Fudd a Nimrod. (In fact, I watched several versions of the episode for some versions edited out scenes where Elmer Fudd blew up and he was painted in black face in the final scene.)  On the other hand, I do recall Bugs using the phrase “look at that nimrod” in an episode. I jut can’t recall which one.

Checking the message board at Snopes, I learned that the OED cites the negative usage as early as 1933.  Bugs Bunny did not start until 1940. The same thread also states that the cited author was rather unknown and the context of the usage does not clearly imply it to mean idiot.  While Bugs may have popularized the use of the word, I still can’t find any episode where he used the term.  I am not trying to split hares (pun intended) regarding the modern informal definition’s origin but I am not sure I can blame the rabbit.  If you know of the episode where he used the word please leave me a comment with the information.  Additionally, if you have an information on how the word’s meaning changed please let us know.

On This Day, Jim Henson was Born

Shouldn’t We Have a Jim Henson Day?

Seriously, why not?  How many lives did this man positively impact?  I can attest to the fact that Big Bird and Kermit had me reading even before I entered school. If we can have a National Hot Dog Day, we should have a Jim Henson Day.   Kudos to The Writer’s Almanac for bringing the date to my attention.

Not only did he aid in education but he successfully created a huge brand, The Muppets.  He also transformed what was originally a children’s show into main stream entertainment when he stubbornly refused to give up on his idea of The Muppet Show. A show that no network wanted to touch and then ran for five seasons.  At times, it dominated the ratings.  In honor an memory of his life, enjoy one of my favorites from the series, Why Can’t We be Friends?

Another Reason to Like Stephen King

Stephen King Dollar Babies

Stephen King, American author best known for h...
Stephen King, American author best known for his enormously popular horror novels. King was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Taken at the 2007 New York Comicon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While I am not the biggest fan of his horror fiction, I love what happens when someone does a movie based on one of his books.  Furthermore, I think that his book, On Writing, A Memoir of the Craft, rivals even The Elements of Style for being a necessity to every writer.  If you desire to write, you need to read and re-read both of these books. You should also look over his FAQs, specifically the section on writing.

Recently, I discovered another reason to like and respect the horror writer.  He has this page at his website titled Stephen King Dollar Babies.  It is a place where a film student can buy rights to one of King’s works to do a film project.   Honestly, what film student wouldn’t want to do a King story?


A Sesame Street Episode That Will Never Re-Run

It Aired Once in 1976 and That Shall be the Last

Sesame Street (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found this bit of trivia interesting.  In 1976, Sesame Street inadvertently terrorized children to the point that complaints came in.  How did they do that?

It seems that some one had the idea to guest star Margaret Hamilton.  The did so by having her act as her best known role, The Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz. She lost her broom while flying over the make-believe neighborhood.  Naturally, Oscar was the only one who would talk to her and he even developed a crush for the wicked woman.  Eventually Big Bird warmed up to her as well.  The target audience however, did not share any love for this one.

Children’s Television Workshop did a few more test screenings after the original aired and the results varied.  It seems that the viewers who watched it in color were more fascinated with the green face of the witch.  In the end, they decided to never re-air that episode.  Maybe they should have tested this one out before they aired it?

Honestly, should they not have seen that one coming.

An Inside View of a Wasp’s Nest

Being a former beekeeper, I found this rather awesome.

A 3-D Printed Car

A New Speed Record, Sort of

Usually automobile speed records are measured in miles per hour, not days.  While I am sure automobile manufacturers measure productions time, this story is still slightly different. The record set was  printing time.  The 3-d printed “Strati” car was printed in just 6 days.  The previous 3-D printed car, the Urbee, took 2500 hours to print (, or about 104 days).  Check out the video below