How did a crushing public humiliation become known as a “Roman holiday”?

The Etruscans of ancient Italy ritually honoured their dead war heroes by sacrificing the lives of all prisoners seized in battle. After conquering the Etruscans, the Romans borrowed and embellished the ritual by having the prisoners kill each other. They turned the slaughter into public gladiatorial games and declared the spectacle a Roman holiday, which became an expression synonymous with any cruel and crushing public destruction.

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Why do paratroopers shout “Geronimo” when they jump from a plane?

During the Second World War, Native American paratroopers began the custom of shouting the name of the great Indian chief Geronimo when jumping from a plane because, according to legend, When cornered at a cliff’s edge by U.S. cavalrymen, Geronimo, in defiance, screamed his own name as he leaped to certain death, only to escape both injury and the bluecoats.

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Why do we carve jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween?

In Irish folklore, a supreme con man named Jack, or “Jack-o,” once tricked the Devil himself. Upon his death, his sins barred him from heaven, and because he had once fooled the Devil he couldn’t enter hell. After a lot of begging he finally persuaded Satan to give him one burning ember. Placed in a hollowed-out turnip it served as a lantern to light his way through the afterlife. Later in North America, the plentiful pumpkin replaced turnips for use as “Jack-o’s lanterns.”

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Why do we call a quarter “two bits”?

European settlers brought their money with them to America, and coins made of precious metal were accepted everywhere at face value. The Spanish peso was divided into eight silver coins, which the English called bits, or pieces of eight.

Two bits was one-quarter of a Spanish dollar. When money was printed and minted in the new world, although a dollar’s coinage was divided by ten, the expression “two bits” continued to mean one-quarter of a dollar.

Why do we define the rat race as “keeping up with the Joneses”?

Keeping up with the Joneses has come to mean trying to keep up with your neighbours, in terms of material possessions, at any cost. The expression comes from the title of a comic strip that ran in newspapers between 1913 and 1931 and chronicled the experiences of a newly married man in Cedarhurst, New York. Originally titled “Keeping Up With the Smiths,” the cartoon was changed to the “Keeping Up With the Joneses” because it sounded better.

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Why are fuse provided in electric installations?

A safety fuse is made of a wire of metal having a very low melting point. When excess current flows in, the wire gets heated, melts and breaks the circuit. By breaking the circuit it saves electric equipment or installations from damage by excessive flow of current.

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Which tree was used in the fledgling shipbuilding industry?

During colonial times the U.S. Navy used the oak tree’s hard wood to build its ships. The U.S.S. Constitution received its nickname, “Old Ironsides,” during the War of 1812 because its live oak hull was so tough that British war ships’ cannonballs lit erally bounced off it. Because the Constitution was built before shipbuilders learned to bend or steam wood into shape, the live oak’s long, arching branches were used as braces to connect the ship’s hull to its deck floors. Throughout the years, oak wood has been used as lumber, railroad ties, fenceposts, veneer, and fuel wood. Today it is manufactured into flooring, furniture, and crates.

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Where can you stand in four states at the same time?

The Four Corners, located 40 miles (64 kilometers) southwest of Cortez, Colorado, is the only place in the United States where four states come together at one place. Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet at the Four Corners. Here, a person can put each of his or her hands and feet in four states at the same time. The unique landmark is on Navajo Nation land and is open for visits from the public. The area surrounding the monument is also Indian land, which includes part of New Mexico, Utah, and Arizona and covers 25,000 square miles (64,750 square kilometers). The Four Corners Monument was originally established by the U.S. Government Surveyors and Astronomers in 1868 with the survey of Colorado’s southern boundary. Surveys followed of New Mexico’s west boundary and Utah’s east boundary in 1878.

The northern boundary of Arizona was surveyed in 1901. A small permanent marker was made in 1912 to show where the boundaries of the four states intersect. The Monument was refurbished in 1992 with a bronze disk embedded in granite. The disk shows the state boundaries and each state’s seal rests within that state’s boundary.

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