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Posts tagged Holidays

Still wondering what you’re going to do other than eat and nap tonight? Watch Punkin’ Chunkin’ on the Science Channel at 8pm!

"It’s one of my favorite holiday traditions" - Trace

Aren’t convinced by my testimonial? I’m not surprised. Watch a video or two ( about how they fling, throw and blast pumpkins as far as possible with these homemade rigs. How can you not get excited about that?

QUIZ: Is This Haunted or Not?

Take the Quiz!

Being a ghost hunter can’t be easy, especially this time of year when there seems to be a ghoul around every corner.

Put your sixth sense to the test and decide whether you think the building you see is haunted — at least in terms of popular superstition — or just an old and kind of creepy-looking dump.

Abandoned prisons, creepy houses and famous spots… do you think they look haunted?

Pumpkins, ghosts, costumes and candy are all part of the modern Halloween tradition. But how did the holiday get its start? But where did Halloween actually come from?

Discovery News’ James Williams animates the spooky history of this ghoulish celebration.


The Science of Halloween: Will o’ the Wisps

About, about in reel and rout, / The death-fires danced at night; / The water, like a witch’s oil, / Burnt green, and blue and white,” writes Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. He’s describing an elusive natural phenomenon commonly known as the Will o’ the Wisps, or ignis fatuus (“foolish fire” in medieval Latin). Will o’ the Wisps have been part of European folklore since the middle ages—Newton even mentioned them in Opticks—and they’re reported to be balls of ghostly glowing flames that appear over marshes or swamps at night, leading travellers astray from the path and into treacherous areas. They’ve been attributed to mischevious fairies, malevolent spirits, ghosts, aliens, the hinkypunks of Harry Potter—but there are fascinating rational explanations too, including bioluminesence, ball lightning, and bright animals. The most likely explanation, however, is that Will o’ the Wisps are actually the spontaneous combustion of marsh gases—basically, methane. Marshes and swamps are rich with rotting vegetation, which produce methane and phosphoretted hydrogen, which also carries the vapour of liquid hydrogen phosphide that triggers the spontaneous combustion. The mixture then bubbles up through mud and ignites, or ‘luminously oxidises,’ creating an eerie-looking, low-temperature flame.

have you heard the tale of the werewolves and the will o’ the wisps? it’s a good Halloween story!

Note: these are werewolves of old legend not the high-on-muscle, low-on-believable-dialog types that can’t seem to keep clothing on their body.

i used to live in a haunted house, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying scary movies, especially the campy ones.

Why is fear fun?

What possesses people to seek out experiences that make them tremble with fear?

With Halloween approaching, it’s hard to avoid ghosts, goblins and other spooky decorations. But some people go even further, seeking out horror movies and convoluted haunted houses that are designed to scare the living daylights out of them.

Enjoyment likely comes not from the fear itself, experts say, but from the physical and emotional release that follows scary situations.

don’t be scared…

as today seems to be a “human achievement” kind of day…

there are rarely accidents, and they’re extremely well trained. so cool.

Human Castle Building in 25th Year: Big Pic

Since the late eighteenth century, Spain has had human tower building in the Catalan region, and over time it developed into a competitive sport. The Catalan tradition is believed to have originated from human towers built at the end of the 18th century by dance groups and is part of the Catalan culture.

This year makes the 25th Tarragona Castells Competition.

The competitors build what are called castells, which means castle in Catalan. The goal is to create the largest and most complex castle possible. They can have between one and five people per level and will sometimes have as many as ten levels.

The bottom of the castle is called the “pinya,” and serves the dual purpose of providing support for the castle and a human safety net for the castellers.

build it bigger…

don’t worry, we’d still get the day off.

but what do you think? should we change the name?

Should Columbus Day Become ‘Exploration Day’?

"Rededicating Columbus Day as Exploration Day will allow those who wish to commemorate his accomplishments to continue doing so, but for those who find Columbus’s role in history disquieting, it will enable them to celebrate the day in a very different way.

Exploration Day covers the depth and breath of America’s rich history of exploration, research and discovery. Thus, Exploration Day will be something that unites rather than divides.” — Karl Frank

read the full plan…

Arr! Don’t ferget to celebrate with some rum!

(though probably not while at work, unless ye be a true pirate, arr!)


Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day, ya scurvy dogs!

Make sure you be gettin’ stares from your shipmates as ya talk with a flog-worthy accent, lest ye walk the plank!

If yer feelin’ like a real scallywag, yer can watch me old pirate-themed This Week in Discovery News! Though ter tell the truth the ninja kick be the best part. ARR!

(Hook wasn’t that bad, was it? Am I misremembering?)

This is one of my favorite pirate shanty’s ter drink the rum to!

Marty (Discovery News' video guy), Hillary (HowStuffWorks' tumblr gal) and I celebrate our not working with some sushi!

Happy Labor Day!

[ @ ]trace501 Lunchtime with @hillaryossip and @martyberman

I’m right-handed, but my Mom is left-handed, does that make me a half-lefty? Maybe? It’s that a… stretch?*

(*really bad arm-related pun)


Left-Handed Presidents

If you’re a southpaw, you’re in good Presidential company. Many of our U.S. Presidents have been left-handed, including Harry S. Truman, Gerald R. Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama.

Both Presidents Truman and Reagan were switched to writing with their right hands as young school children, but photos show them favoring the left in other activities. It’s widely believed that Herbert Hoover was also left-handed, but archivists at the Hoover Library tell us that they’ve found no documentation - it’s just left hander’s lore.

Happy International Left Handers Day!

Thanksgiving’s Cultural Cousins

Autumn festivals, including American Thanksgiving, East Asian Mid-Autumn Festival and Jewish Sukkot, celebrate family and the Earth’s bounty in similar ways despite cultural differences.

Of those three, Thanksgiving is the newcomer.