October 2012 Archives


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Xs and Os Orgin.jpg

DialyRandomFacts.com February 29, 2012


            The other night my mom sent me a cute little text that read XOXO. I know cheesy, right? I am in college; but she misses me, so it's cute. This immediately brought me back to my elementary school days where my mom use to leave me a note in my lunch and signed it "Love Mom, XOXO." Unless your mom is as adorable as mine, you probably didn't see XOXO all year, but simply during February, the month of LOVE. Now I know it is not yet February, but after my mom's text and finding this random little tidbit, I just couldn't resist.


            Personally, I don't think Xs look like a person's mouth when they kiss, and Os only kinda look like hugs because you make a circle with your arms. It's a stretch, but I can vaguely see it. However, the letters have nothing to do with the actually reason as to why Xs and Os are used.


            Xs as kisses came from medieval times when not everyone could write, read, or even sign their names. Therefore, in front of a witness, people would simply write an X on the paper, and then they would kiss it. The kiss was to show sincerity in their "signature." Personally, I think this is a really interesting little tidbit. I had no idea that an X's meaning of kisses came about so long ago. It is also crazy to think that in the past people had to sign their name with an X and kiss it. Signatures are fun to create and personalize as you grow up and have to sign more and more documents. Maybe this is where sign by the x__________ came from too?


            Os as hugs rose similarly to Xs. However, Os were used by Jewish immigrants to sign their names. Jews believe that Jesus was a preacher and not the Messiah, which Christians believe he is. Therefore, they did not want to sign an X which represents a Christian cross. And consequently, hugs as Os were created.


            The use of XOXO is very popular during Valentine's Day. Many couples and loved ones buy items with Xs and Os on them, or sign their name with Xs and Os. But I think it is a nice, innocent, simple gesture that more people should participate in year round. I can't tell you how happy I was when I saw my mom's letter lovingly signed MOM XOXO! And I'm sure everyone at my lunch table was jealous. I thought they were at least. Either way, next time it' s Valentine's Day and you see an XOXO, you'll be the smart person in your group and be able to tell everyone where Xs and Os originated from.

Discovering Parties for the First Time

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            Politics is not a big topic in my household. So therefore, for this election, I am totally confused on what political party believes what, and what are the different platforms for each candidate. Luckily, Dr. Pirrone gave me two articles published earlier this year in the New York Times that tries to simplify and lay down the ground work for the different beliefs.


            After reading the articles, I realized there are so many sectors in each political party, it is hard to imagine they can manage to accomplish anything. Some subgroups have similar beliefs, but then they also have such varying beliefs, it is hard to categorize them in the same party. The constant arguing is the factor that pushes me away from politics. If I wanted to watch people fighting constantly and talking over each other, I would just watch one of the many reality TV shows on the various programming channels.


            I have realized I truly am an independent. I tend to not lean more to one side than another at this point in my life. I think this is most likely due to the fact that politics is relatively new to me. I took AP Government my senior year, and that was opening a whole new book for me. I knew the general stuff about government, but none of the ideas of lobbyists, pork barrel legislation, etc. I have increased my knowledge drastically in the past year and a half, and I plan to continue.  

Turnip O' Lantern?

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Halloween Turnip.jpg

October 23, 2012 DailyRandomFacts.com


            Halloween is the opening act to the magnificent stage of holidays to come in the fall and winter. This is a holiday completely devoted to acting crazy, looking crazy, and eating as much candy as possible. Who wouldn't love it?


            Pumpkin carving is one of the many loved traditions of Halloween. However, did you know that originally instead of pumpkins people used turnips? Turnips were first used in Ireland for the Gaelic festival of Samhain. These turnips could be used for three different things: to light the path for someone, to represent spirits or other beings, and to protect someone's home from these beings. When Irish immigrants came to the United States, they brought with them their tradition. However, pumpkins were more readily available in the States, and pumpkins were bigger and easier to carve. Therefore, pumpkins became the new turnips.


            Personally, carving a pumpkin is one of my favorite activities to do during the Halloween season. I'm not the most artistic person, but I still have fun with it. Shapes aren't too hard to draw. However, now I kind of want to try to carve a turnip just to see how it would have been. How about you?


Presidential Debate

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            Still undecided for whom I plan on voting for, I watched the Presidential Debate to try to come even just a little closer to a decision. Unfortunately, I feel as if I am still where I started. Being a first time voter, this is all new to me. Politics was not a prevalent topic at family dinners in my household, so everything involved with voting and my opinion are unknown to me. I have no idea if I am Republican or Democrat, but so far I believe I fall somewhere in the middle. However, which side I lean more to is still a blur to me. However, I was hoping this debate would let me find out where the candidates stand on certain issues and what they plan for the future. Sadly, I was a bit mistaken.


            I did learn some valuable information about the candidates' beliefs. However, I was mostly distracted by the finger pointing and attacking done by each candidate. One candidate would say something about the other that was supposedly wrong or contradicted in early times. The constant bantering and yelling is distracting and not the true point of a debate. Debates use to be candidates on stage talking for hours and hours about their beliefs and what they plan to do for this country. There was nowhere to "hide" or simply reiterate the same fact over and over again. Candidates were required to think quickly and relate their message accurately. I'm not saying I would like to listen to hours of each candidate talking. But the current short time segments cause candidates to feel pressure to get in the last word, and therefore, cause a yelling match.


            All in all, I did learn different opinions and intended actions of each candidate that hopefully will bring me somewhat closer to deciding. Only time will tell. There is always the next debate too.  


So Who's a NERD?

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Dr. Seuss Nerd.jpg

DailyRandomFacts.com October 12, 2012


I'll admit it; I can be a nerd at sometimes. I was called one all the time when I was little. Teacher's pet, brown noser, nerd...but what does the word NERD really mean. Most people would think it was a person who was a "know-it-all" and spent more time studying and learning than having fun or going out. But if you want the true definition you're going to have to ask Dr. Seuss. You heard me...Dr. Seuss.


I Ran the Zoo is the first book in which the word "nerd" was published...


"And then, just to show them, I'll sail to Ka-Troo/And Bring Back an It-Kutch, a Preep, and a Proo,/A Nerkle, a Nerd, and a Seersucker too!"


So what type of "animal" is a Nerd you ask? Well I'm about to tell you. A Nerd is a "comically unpleasant creature" as depicted in Dr. Seuss's book. Children then picked up this terminology and began to call their older siblings Nerds. It was therefore passed on to teenagers who at the time were calling other "weird" kids "squares." And this is how the term "nerd" came about.


Dr. Seuss and all his magical, wonderful, crazy, made up books are about happy, playful, and outrageous words and things. Most of my childhood was spent reading Dr. Seuss books. The first book I read by myself was Green Eggs and Ham. It is just crazy and hard to believe that such a negative, stereotypical word derived from such a lovable man. So next time you use to word Nerd remember where it comes from and what it truly means.


Evaluation of College, Campuses At Least

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            When deciding on which university to go to, I did not go through the same processes that many other seniors go through. I did not have to decide which major university I wanted to go to because my mom's job had already decided that for me. She works for Penn State University, Harrisburg Campus., and therefore, I was going to Penn State University due to the large discount on tuition I received. However, there were other evaluations I made about what type of college experience I wanted.


            Penn State Harrisburg is close to home, but for me, it's way too close to home. I wanted my independence now. After living with the same three people for 18 years, I needed my space and wanted it. I love my family, but we need to be separated right now in my life. . However, in contrast I didn't want to be across the state where I could only come home on major holidays. Therefore, I narrowed down my choices to University Park and Altoona campus.


            Another major decision I had to make was whether I wanted to go to a large, "city-like" branch or a small, "homey" branch. I personally live in a fairly small town at home. It takes me 20-30 minutes to get anywhere actually significant with stores, businesses, gas stations, or schools. Therefore, I tended to lean towards University Park because no matter what if I walked outside my building I could get almost anything I wanted by walking. It still might take me 10 minutes, but I wouldn't feel like I was in the middle of nowhere. There was a "large area" feel that I had always wanted to be a part of, but hadn't been yet.


            I also had to decide and evaluate if I wanted a more personal experience with my teachers or just become a number in a class. I came from a relatively small high school where all the teachers knew all their students names. Also, some teachers taught classes in multiple grade levels, so there was the possibility that you could have the same teacher multiple years in a row. Although just being a number isn't the most ideal option, I realized that if I wanted to I could meet with my teachers and still have a semi-personal relationship with them. I decided that having big classes would be an adjustment but not a decision breaker for me.


            When deciding on a campus, I also had to decide if it was important that I stay at the same campus or participate in the two plus two program offered at branch campuses. Adjusting to a campus and college life would be a big adjustment. I had to decide if I wanted to do that twice or just once.


            These are distinct decisions I needed to deliberate and come to a conclusion. However, all these participating factors collided with one another. If I went to Altoona, I would have smaller classes and maybe get to know my teachers well. However, at Altoona, I would be, what I thought, was the middle of nowhere where I would have to take buses to get anywhere. It also reminded me so much of the Harrisburg campus where I had been visiting every since I was born. If I chose University Park, I would be in a hustling, bustling "city" of its own where there are so many activities to participate in, but I may get lost in the crowd. I may also have a harder time adjusting, since the atmosphere is drastically different. This was obviously one of my parents' top concerns.


            Either way, there are many factors and evaluations that need to be made before deciding on a college. Whether it is which college you will actually go to, or instead, in my case, which campus would I attend. Obviously, I chose University Park, and so far, I am very happy with my decision. 

Imagine Life Without Bar Codes

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First Barcode.jpg

DailyRandomFacts.com April 30, 2012


            During the summer, bar codes are a part of my life no matter what. Working in a retail store, I am constantly scanning bar codes, so the computer can spit out to me how much each item is worth, how much tax there is, and how much the total amount the customer needs to pay. Of course, there is always that one bar code that doesn't scan, and I have to type in the umm-teen long bar code number. Even then that may not work, and I have to put in a generic bar code and then the price. This seems like a lot of work and sometimes it can be. But if you stop to think about it, bar codes have been a part of our life's since we were born. It's almost weird when a store doesn't have bar coded items or chooses not to use the bar codes to ring up items.


            Believe or not Wrigley's gum was the first item to have a bar code. This makes a lot of sense though. Many people buy gum at convenience stores, grocery stores, malls, and multiple other places. Just being able to scan a bar code would be a lot faster and more convenient for such a small item that is purchased quite often. I couldn't imagine going through a day at my job where bar codes weren't on every item. Customers already get mad if the bar code doesn't work and I take long typing it in. We live in a fast pace, hurry in and out society where bar codes fit perfectly. And to think it all started with a pack of gum.


Vice Presidential Debate: Joe Biden and Paul Ryan

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            Honestly, this was the first time I watched a presidential or a vice presidential debate. Therefore, I had no preconceived notions or opinions on how this hour and a half long broadcast would go. I did listen to what each candidate said and agreed and disagreed with both on one issue or another. However, what I found troubling was the various reactions and the constant need to interrupt the other candidate.


            Vice president, Joe Biden, continually referred to Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney as "my friend;" "my friend believes this" or "my friend said this."  However, immediately after, Biden would make a rude comment. Now I am not saying they should agree on everything. There would be no political parties or opposing opinions then. However, I listen to my friends opinions and give them the benefit of the doubt to say what they would like to say. By saying "my friend," it appeared as if Biden was trying to show sympathy or a connection to Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney, but then he would immediately disagree.  It was frustrating to me because friends show each other respect, and there were many times Biden as well as Ryan did not show respect to one another.


            Each candidate constantly interrupted one another throughout the debate. As a first time watcher, I was trying to hear each candidate's opinions and beliefs on the multiple issues that face our country. However, with the constant interrupting and hostile responses, I could barely keep track of who was saying what. It was almost as if I was watching reality TV where people are just constantly trying to get their word in. I just wish the candidates would be courteous to each other and let one another speak when it is their turn.


            While watching the vice presidential debates tonight gave me an insight on some of the beliefs of the Democratic and Republican platforms, I was more confused after. I was unable to focus do to the reactions of Biden as well as the constant interrupting from each candidate.

Fear of What??

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DailyRandomFacts.com September 6, 2012


            Fear is a part of most of our lives. The fear of spiders or snakes, the fear of heights or closed spaces, and many other fears are common in today's society. Personally, I have my dad or my brother get any spider or insect that is in our house. Rationally, the spider can't really hurt me except for maybe bite me. But since I already know it is there, I feel better just getting rid of it. I am so much bigger than that spider or insect, yet I am still petrified that it can get me. With there being so many different fears in today's society, it's hard to imagine what a "weird" fear might be. However, did you ever think that there is a fear of beards?


            Pogonophobia is the fear of beards. Fear of beards? When I discovered this interesting little tidbit, I couldn't imagine how someone could be afraid of beards; that's just crazy! But then I remembered that I have fears too. A person with pogonophobia could be perfectly okay with spiders and insects. Society has just been more accepting of certain fears than others.


            I don't see spiders everywhere I go; mainly because I try not to look for them. But many men sport beards in various shapes and sizes, and at various events and settings. Walking around campus, I see all kinds of facial hair. If I had the fear of beards, I would have to deal with the fear every time I went outside my dorm room. Therefore, even though it may be irrational, I'll stick with my fear of spiders.  

"Letter from a Birmingham Jail": Extremists for Love

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"So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremist will we be."


            Passion is a wonderful characteristic to possess. It can fuel the fire inside you to accomplish anything and everything you look to achieve. Extremists have passion and fire within themselves that allows them to work towards their goals of the future.


            Extremists have a negative connotation with their name. Most people think of terrorists or hate groups as the only extremists. But as Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, "Will we be extremists for hate or for love?"


            The definition of an extremist is one who advocates or resorts to measures beyond the norm. To advocate love is more challenging than to advocate hate. Hatred is an easier emotion to possess. It is not difficult to hate someone; to find flaws or issues in someone and to hate them for it. We do it all the time and rarely realize that we are doing it. However, love is a more difficult emotion to obtain and keep throughout struggle.


            Martin Luther King Jr. advocated for extremists of love. The nonviolent demonstrations he led or organized were out of love; to show how it is to love. He led these demonstrations so that one day everyone will be loved equally, no matter the color of his or her skin. King chose to take the more dangerous and challenging path of love, instead of the easy, straightforward path of hate. He showed the world through his actions what the Civil Rights movement meant to him; that everyone would advocate love and join the eternal brotherhood that many refused to see or join.


             So though there may be struggles and difficulties in your life, in the end love conquers all.  

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