Friday The 13th

by Allacyn - May 13, 2011

Today is a seemingly innocent but quite interesting day – Friday the 13th. There are a lot of superstitions and supposed bad luck surrounding this day, but how much of it is true and how much has been blown out of proportion?

Friday has traditionally been thought of as an unlucky day (to me it is the best day of the week – start of the weekend) and 13 has been considered an unlucky number (my lucky number). The combination of the two has even led to a phobia paraskavedekatriaphobia – the abnormal fear of Friday the 13th.

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Happy Cinco de Mayo!

by Allacyn - May 05, 2011

Many of us in this country think of Cinco de Mayo as just another day to throw a party with great food, but here is some history behind why we celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

There is a common misconception that Cinco de Mayo is Mexican Independence Day, but September 16, 1810 is actually the day that Mexico declared its independence from Spain. The fifth of May is celebrated because it is the day that Mexico won a key battle in the fight to stop France from taking over their country. On May 5, 1862 4,000 brave Mexican soldiers fought against the French army of 6,000 just outside Mexico City.  Although the French did not withdraw until five years later, the Battle of Puebla forced the French back to the coast and was a turning point for Mexico, becoming a symbol of Mexican resistance to foreign domination. This was the first loss Napoleon’s army had suffered in 50 years.

France was interested in stopping the United States growth because the world powers felt threatened by the power the U.S. had. It is thought that if France had taken over Mexico they would have marched north to give aid to the Confederate Army so that they could divide the country into two less powerful countries. President Lincoln and the United States depended on Mexico to hold the French troops off until the Confederacy was defeated and troops could be sent south to help Mexico.

So with all that said, have a happy Cinco de Mayo, and be sure to party responsibly!

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Happy April Fool’s Day!

by Allacyn - Apr 01, 2011

Whether you are a prankster and get excited just by the thought of the first of April, or you are not a fan of April Fool’s Day because of being pranked one too many times, this blog is for you. If you dislike this holiday, now you might find out who to blame it on!

April Fool’s Day is kind of a mysterious holiday, but one theory is that in France in the 1500’s they changed the calendar to start celebrating the New Year in January instead of late March or April. News of the change did not travel very fast, so there were still people in rural areas celebrating the New Year in April – thus April Fool’s Day. Another theory is that it was common to pull pranks and camouflage yourself at European spring festivals of renewal. Another is that when Constantine ruled over the Roman Empire, his jesters convinced him to allow one of them to take over for a day, and that day was April 1.  This jester decreed April 1 to forever be the day of absurdity…Okay, so apparently that last one was a prank pulled on an Associated Press reporter by a professor of American humor, but that’s why it counts even more!

Today pranking is done less in the office and home and has become a tradition for big companies and media to play hoaxes on the public. Some are innocent enough, but sometimes others like ThinkGeek, notorious for releasing fake products on April 1st, end up in a bit of trouble. Their Canned Unicorn Meat product started out as an April Fool’s prank, but ended up granting them a cease and desist from the National Pork Board, which leads me to this tip: always consider the possible ramifications of your pranks, no matter how ridiculously obvious they are.

Have you Liked us on Facebook, or are you following us on Twitter? Feel free to share pictures or video of your office pranks with us! Make sure they’re work appropriate though, and getting the IT department involved earns bonus awesomeness points.

Happy (and safe) pranking!

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Happy Spring!

by Allacyn - Mar 22, 2011

Sunday marked the first day of Spring for those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere. Spring officially started at 7:21 PM ET Sunday, March 20, 2011. The vernal equinox or spring equinox occurs every year on either March 20 or March 21. What this means to us is that now our days are longer than our nights, for the next six months. Here are some interesting facts about spring equinox;

  • In most parts of the world it is equal in daylight hours and nighttime hours, but there are places that already have more daylight.
  • Fall and spring equinox are the only times when the sun rises due east and sets due west in a year.
  • These are also the only days when a person on the equator can see the sun passing directly overhead.
  • This day has been celebrated for thousands of years and it is celebrated all over the world.
  • Some other names for spring equinox celebrations are Norouz in Iran, Chunfen in China, and Ostara in Europe.
  • Many ancient structures were built to coincide with the sun’s position on vernal equinox like The Great Sphinx, the monliths at Stonehenge, and the Ancient Mayan Caracol Tower and Temples of the Sun and Moon.
  • One superstition on spring equinox is egg balancing, it is supposed to be possible to balance a raw egg on its oblong end. I wouldn’t try this at home because it has not been proven to work any better on spring equinox than any other day of the year.

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Happy St. Patricks Day!

by Allacyn - Mar 17, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day brings to mind green, treasure, leprachauns, lucky charms, four-leaf clovers, and perhaps corned beef and cabbage? Here are some random facts about the Holiday.

  • March 17 in 461 AD St. Patrick, Patron Saint of the Irish, is believed to have died. This is why we celebrate March 17.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday for Ireland and a provincial holiday in Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • Dublin, Ireland has a huge festival from March 15-19 to celebrate.
  • The Chicago River, in Chicago, IL is dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Boston, MA has had a St. Patrick’s Day parade since 1737.
  • In Ireland people traditionally wear bunches of shamrocks on their jackets or hats, women and girls wear green ribbons in their hair and children wear orange, white, and green badges.
  • According to the 2003 Census 34 million Americans have Irish Ancestry – that is about nine times the population of Ireland.
  • Towns in the United States with Irish names; Mount Gay-Shamrock, WV, Shamrock Lakes, IN, Shamrock, OK, Shamrock, TX, Dublin, CA and Dublin, OH.
  • The Guiness Book of World Records for most leaves on a clover is 14.
  • It is estimated that there are 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every lucky four-leaf clover.
  • The legend is that the first leaf of a clover is for hope, the second is for faith, the third for love, and the fourth is for luck.

Wishing  you a lucky St. Patrick’s Day!

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Happy Pi Day!

by Allacyn - Mar 14, 2011

March 14 was chosen to represent Pi Day because it resembles 3.14, but the official celebration begins at 1:59 PM to make an appropriate 3.14159. Here are some fun facts about Pi and Pi Day. Here at LearnKey we are celebrating by eating some PIE and you should too! That was a mouthful of Pi for one paragraph.

  • Pi is the number of times a circle’s diameter will fit around its circumference.
  • Pi is an irrational number.
  • So far Pi has passed all randomness tests.
  • In August 2010 a supercomputer calculated the value of Pi to 5 trillion decimal places.
  • Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day in 1879.
  • The first million decimal places of Pi consist of 99,959 zeros, 99,758 1s, 100,026 2s, 100,229 3s, 100,230 4s, 100,359 5s, 99,548 6s, 99,800 7s, 99,985 8s, and 100,106 9s. Glad I wasn’t the one tapped to figure that out.
  • Chao Lu holds the Guiness World Record for memorizing Pi to 67,890 places.
  • Pi Day was started by Larry Shaw at the San Francisco Exploratorium in 1989.
  • In 2009 the U.S. House of Representatives recognized March 14, 2009 as National Pi Day.
  • Traditional Pi Day celebrations include walking in circles, eating pie, and reciting as many digits of Pi as possible.
  • In 2015 March 15 will reflect 5 digits of Pi. 3/14/15.
  • MIT sometimes mails application decision letters to prospective students to be delivered on Pi Day.

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Presidential Facts for President’s Day

by Allacyn - Feb 21, 2011


President’s Day was designed to celebrate George Washington and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays, but for many of you it just means an extra day off from work and some amazing sales. So, in honor of the Presidents of the United States of America (the actual Presidents, not the 90’s alt-rock band), here are some fun facts about our nation’s past leaders:

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Visit Art Around the World – on Your Computer!

by Allacyn - Feb 16, 2011

Have you ever wanted to walk the halls of the Palace of Versailles or get a close up view of the real The Starry Night? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you now have the opportunity to do so because of a unique partnership between Google and 17 museums around the world. If you are a teacher this is a great chance to show your students some amazing art from around the world, that they may otherwise never have the chance to see. This would be a great tool to integrate into your history lessons with all of the information provided right there for you.

The Art Project provides viewers with information about the art, artists, museums, viewing notes, and a lot more. You can also walk through and explore the museums that house some of these great art pieces. In addition, you can zoom in on the art piece, giving you an up close view and the ability to examine the brush strokes in high resolution. It also allows you to create your own artwork collection that you can share with friends and family. The best part about it, is that it is free! So if you have some extra time and want to check out some of the best art in the world while lounging in your PJ’s you now have the option to do just that!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

by Allacyn - Feb 14, 2011

I hope everyone has a great day filled with way too much chocolate and candy!

So today is not all about candy and flowers, there is actually some interesting history behind the reason why we celebrate today. It is still a mystery who exactly we are celebrating, but there are some very good theories. There are at least three saints named Valentine or some variation and all three were martyred, perhaps this is why there is so much mystery surrounding the origin of this holiday. There are a few theories about who Valentine was, from a priest who performed secret weddings for young lovers and was killed for it to a man named Valentine who sent the first Valentine and signed it “From your Valentine” to a man who attempted to bust people out of jail. I like the first theory myself, but whatever the reason is it sounds mysterious and my sweet tooth is thankful for it.

Here are some fun facts about today:

  • One billion cards are estimated to be sent each year.
  • Women buy 85% of all valentines.
  • Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., France, and Australia.
  • They even sent Valentine greetings in the Middle Ages.
  • Esther A. Howland made the first commercial Valentine’s Day cards in 1840 in the U.S.

Whatever it is you do today make sure it is sweet!

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Happy Holidays!

by Allacyn - Dec 23, 2010


I want to thank everyone for reading our blog in 2010, it has been fun working on the blog and reading all of your comments. We are working hard to make sure we provide interesting posts for you to read and we hope it has been useful.

If you have any suggestions or ideas on what you would like to read about on our blog in 2011 please let us know and we will do everything we can to make it happen.

Happy Holidays to everyone may you have a safe and joyous Holiday Season!

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