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Why The Queen's Christmas Decorations Remain On Display Until February (via Hello!)

Our decorations were packed away yesterday, after the twelve days of Christmas had concluded.

I noticed a story about why the Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas decorations remain on display until February 6. Looking around it seems various media sources have been reporting the story; the earliest I found was from Hello! back on December 26.

The reason is sentimental, sweet, and long-standing.

Read about it at Hello! (or google the subject and take your pick of sources)

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When Does A New Decade Begin? (via Mental Floss)

It probably won’t surprise anyone who knows me to find out I lean heavily on the ‘decades/centuries begin on the year that has a 1, not a 0’ side of the contention about when these things actually start.
This article from Mental Floss has placated me a bit with its observation that it’s not really about math, it’s about how use the dates to group things.
Now if everyone can officially agree that the first decade has nine years, and the first century has ninety-nine years I’m happy.
And even if everyone can’t I think I can live with it.
I think.

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World’s Largest Redwing Boot (via Atlas Obscura)

Local shoe repair and key cutting legends Bannister and Son stock Redwing Boots.
I thought of them when I saw this post on Atlas Obscura about the world’s largest Red Wing Boot, in Red Wing Minnesota.
I’m not sure how the staff at Bannister’s would cope with repairing this bad boy, but they’d give it a crack.

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The Origins Of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’

Hallelujah is a song composed by Leonard Cohen and performed by hundreds of popular music artists.
Come Christmas time you may hear another set of lyrics that have been composed as a seasonal (Christian) version.
If you want to know more about the background of the song this Mental Floss article has a few facts I hadn’t read before.

The article makes the observation that the many, many, many (too many) renditions of the song might make it seem overexposed, but the word at the heart of the song “Hallelujah” is both an invitation to, as well an expression of, praise.

In 2009, after the song appeared in Zack Snyder’s Watchmen, Cohen agreed with a critic who called for a moratorium on covers. “I think it’s a good song,” Cohen told The Guardian. “But too many people sing it.”
Except “Hallelujah” is a song that urges everyone to sing. That’s kind of the point. The title is from a compound Hebrew word comprising hallelu, to praise joyously, and yah, the name of god. As writer Alan Light explains in his 2013 book The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah,” the word hallelujah was originally an imperative—a command to praise the Lord. In the Christian tradition, it’s less an imperative than an expression of joy: “Hallelujah!” Cohen seemingly plays on both meanings.


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Captive Congregation (via Atlas Obscura)

This Victorian era prison chapel placed the congregants/prisoners in seperate booths so they couldn’t see one another.
Today they just have worship with the lights out instead.
Though I accept that putting a roomfull of malcontents together in a dark room would have made for a very risky environment.
These days we could market it as introvert church.

Source: Atlas Obscura.

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Finding The Best Place To Park

I’m not sure that the authors of these strategies about finding the best place to park your car at the shopping centre ever experienced anything like the carparks at our local Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets.
This video is another attempt to demonstrate that maths has uses in everyday life.

Read more at Mental Floss.

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The Difference Between Forests, Woods, And Jungles (via Mental Floss)

Sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees.
But what about the wood or the jungle?

This article on Mental Floss is about the differences between the three terms.

Cutting to the chase:

To summarize, forests are historically and colloquially considered to be larger than woods, and scientifically considered to be more dense. Jungles are technically forests, too, since jungle is a casual word for what scientists call a tropical forest.

Read all the background explanation at Mental Floss.