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May 5, 2016

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Sharon Opdahl, Agent Sharon 2534 17thOpdahl Avenue South Grand Forks, ND 58201 Agent Bus: 701-746-0495

by Kathy Wolfe

Approximately 1.23 billion people around the world spend an average of an hour a day playing video games. This week, Tidbits studies up on the history of this industry. • Video games were being developed as far back as the 1950s, when New Mexico’s Los Alamos Laboratories developed the first blackjack program on an IBM 701 computer in 1954. A checkers game came along two years later on the same type of IBM computer. (This game defeated a checkers master in 1964!) • William Higinbotham was an American physicist who was a member of the team that developed the first nuclear bomb. In 1958, he created “Tennis for Two,” played on an oscilloscope. Although Higinbotham obtained twenty-plus patents during his life, he never patented his video game. • In 1962, Steve Russell, a computer scientist from MIT, led a team that developed a game on one of the first PDP-1 computers, which were the first to use a screen and a typewriter keyboard. “Spacewar!” is considered the first recognized widely available computer game. This two-player game required each player to take control of a starship while firing photon torpedoes in an attempt to destroy the other. A star in the center of the screen pulled on both ships as they maneuvered to keep from falling into the gravitational pull.

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Quiz Bits 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6. Name the game released in 1997 that was almost called “Race ‘n’ Chase.” In video games, who is Mario 7. T or F: “Kangaroo” and “Ramthe plumber’s brother? page” were the names of two What 1971 game simulated the arcade games in the 1980s. westard trek of pioneers? 8. Name the 2012 Disney film What 1982 Disney movie kicked about an arcade-game character off a video game of the same name? who became tired of always beWhat is the country of origin for ing the “bad guy” and losing to the “Angry Birds” game? the “good guy” opponent. What 2003 game featured World TRIVIA War II soldiers?

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VIDEO GAMES (continued):

• In 1971, engineers Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney created “Computer Space,” the first arcade game. The following year they founded Atari, and released the legendary arcade game “Pong.” Bushnell sold Atari to Warner Communications in 1976 for $28 million and remained employed as president of the company. By 1982, the company was experiencing $1.3 billion in annual sales and was the fastest-growing company in the history of American business. The Atari 2000 was introduced in 1977, a game system that incorporated joysticks, interchangeable cartridges, color graphics, and different settings for difficulty. • Before long, Atari wasn’t the only game in town. In 1979, Mattel debuted their game system Intellivision, an improvement over the Atari 2000, and experienced sales of three million units. • In July of 1980, a Japanese company, Namco, released the arcade game Pac-Man. It was designed by Toru Iwatani, supposedly while eating pizza. The player guides Pac-Man through a maze as he eats dots while pursued by four enemy “ghosts,” Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. One of the highest-grossing video games of all time, it was followed by Ms. Pac-Man in 1982. • Nintendo acquired the rights to distribute the Magnavox Odyssey in 1974, the first home video game console, a system with 12 games. In 1981, the company released the first of its many successful games, “Donkey Kong,” featuring a carpenter named Jumpman. It was the world’s first look at the character who would later be called Mario, with a new occupation, that of plumber. “Donkey Kong” was the first game to have four levels. • In 1983, Atari suffered losses of $533 million, and the company was sectioned off and sold to three different buyers.


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VIDEO GAMES (continued): • A 29-year-old Russian mathematician named Alexey Pajitnov released the puzzle game “Tetris” in 1984, featuring “Tetriminos,” geometric game pieces made up of four square blocks each. As the puzzle pieces fit together, lines are cleared, and when four lines are cleared, the player achieves a “Tetris.” The name comes from the ancient Greek word tetra, meaning “four.” • Nintendo released its game system in 1985, as well as the wildly successful “Super Mario Brothers” game. Another huge success, “The Legend of Zelda” came along in 1987. In 1989, the company introduced the hand-held video game device, the Game Boy. • Sega took a chunk out of Nintendo’s profits when they introduced their system, Sega Genesis, in 1989, with sales of nearly 31 million units, and their famous character Sonic the Hedgehog in 1991. Another competitor entered the scene in 1995 when Sony debuted their first PlayStation. Nintendo rebounded the following year with the Nintendo 64 system, and Sega followed up in 1999 with their Dreamcast console. • Microsoft unveiled their X-Box system in 2001, launching it with the new game “Halo.” Sony quickly answered with the PlayStation 2 the next year, the first game console to use DVD technology. PlayStation 2 is the best-

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selling home game console to date, with over 155 million units sold, while their latest upgrade, PlayStation 4, released in 2013, is the fastest-selling in history, with sales of one million consoles in the first 24 hours. • Anyone could become a musician like Jimi Hendrix with the introduction of “Guitar Hero” in 2005. With its guitar-shaped controller, resembling a miniature Gibson SG, the player presses buttons on the controller keeping in time with the music notes on the screen. ...continued


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VIDEO GAMES (continued):

• Although Guitar Hero was enormously successful, (with sales of $1 billion in its first week), it had trouble keeping producers and developers, and the franchise shut down in 2011. • There are several negative aspects of playing video games, including tendonitis in the hands and wrists, backaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, the promotion of sedentary behavior, and social isolation. Violent games have been linked to aggressive behavior and desensitization to violence. Gaming marathons have even resulted in deaths, including recently when a 38-year-old man died after playing non-stop for five days, and another 32-year-old who suffered a heart attack and died after playing for three days straight without stopping.

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• Video games also have some positive benefits. Studies indicate that they improve hand-eye coordination, motor skills, and spatial reasoning skills. Playing also contributes to the ability to multi-task and make quick decisions, since most games require fast reactions. Brain scans have shown improved concentration and pattern recognition. Favorable results have been achieved in helping people with autism and with improving memory in those with dementia. • Who plays video games in America? More than 150 million Americans play on a regular basis, about two-thirds of American households. Four out of five U.S. households own a device that is used to play video games, with at least two gamers per household. Fifty-one percent of U.S. homes have a dedicated game console. The average age is 35, with 60% males and 40% female, with 42% of Americans playng three hours or more per week. Thirty-five percent of players use their Smartphone to play.

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Nolan Bushnell, the engineer who founded Atari, is also the founder of Chuck E. Cheese Pizza chain. Bushnell was looking to expand his distribution of arcade games to a kid-friendly venue. The first location opened in 1977 in San Jose, California. *Answers located further back in this issue.

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by Samantha Weaver

• It was 20th-century American politician and diplomat Adlai Stevenson who made the following sage observation: "The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning." • According to a 2015 survey, more American adults would rather admit their weight than disclose their salary. • You might be surprised to learn that actor James Doohan, best known for his role as Scotty in the original "Star Trek" series, served in the Royal Canadian Artillery during World War II. He saw combat for the first time at the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, where he led his men through a field of anti-tank mines to reach higher ground. After defensive positions had been established that night, he was crossing between command posts when he was shot six times -by a Canadian sentry. One of the bullets hit his chest, but it was stopped by a silver cigarette case that his brother had given him. • Researchers in the United Kingdom have developed what they're calling the "SlugBog" -- a robot that eats slugs and is powered by the biogas created by their decay. • If you've ever had to explain yourself the morning after a raucous night out, you might be glad to know that the Tsonga people of southern Africa have a word that can be useful in certain of these circumstances. "Rhwe" means to sleep on the floor without a mat, while drunk and naked. • The University of Gottingen, in Germany, is in possession of a rare Bible -- it's printed on 2,470 palm leaves. *** Thought for the Day: "A fellow of mediocre talent will remain a mediocrity, whether he travels or not; but one of superior talent (which without impiety I cannot deny that I possess) will go to seed if he always remains in the same place." -- Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart © 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.


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Unusual Animals:

RED PANDA Most of us think of pandas as the giant black-and-white bear weighing close to 350 lbs. Did you know there is also a red panda that doesn’t even resemble that big bear? Read along and learn. • The red panda, found in Nepal, India, Bhutan, and part of China, isn’t really a panda at all, or even a bear. It shares the habitat of the giant panda of the foothills of Nepal’s Himalayan Mountain range and in the cool bamboo forests of central China, and eats the same diet, but there the similarities end. The red panda more closely resembles a raccoon, complete with a ring-striped tail, and in fact belongs to the same genetic superfamily as the raccoon, skunk, weasel, and badger. • It’s just slightly larger than a household cat, about 25 inches long, with a long bushy tail of an additional 19 inches, which it uses as a wraparound blanket on cold nights. A red panda will weigh from 7 to 14 pounds when fully grown. Its entire body, even the bottom of its feet, is covered with soft dense fur. • For the most part, red pandas are herbivores, a plant-eating animal. However, they do supplement their diet with fish, bird eggs, and insects when available, as well as fruit during the warmer seasons. They also like mushrooms and acorns but two-thirds of their diet consists of bamboo. Unfortunately, bamboo is not a very good source of energy as well as being hard to digest. The panda must spend 13 hours a day eating and looking for food in order to sustain its body, and must eat 20% to 30% of its body weight each day – between 2 and 4 lbs. of bamboo shoots and leaves. A panda might eat up to 20,000 bamboo leaves in one day!

• The pandas spend most of their lives in trees, feeding and sleeping. They aren’t social animals, and keep pretty much to themselves, leading a solitary life. A typical panda’s life span is about eight years. • The name “panda” translates from the Nepali language “ponya,” which means “bamboo or planteating animal.” In the Chinese, the name is “hunho,” translating “firefox,” which is used by Mozilla as the name of their browser. (Mozilla had originally considered “Firebird” as the name, but discovered it was already been used.) • Because it’s estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 adult red pandas remaining, it’s classified an endangered species. While hunting is illegal in most places, in southwest China, they are hunted for their fur, particularly the bushy tails, from which hats are created. The tails and hides are frequently part of weddings, as bridegrooms traditionally carry the hide, and panda tail hats are considered good-luck charms for newlyweds. Images of the panda have been discovered in 13th-century Chinese artwork as part of a hunting scene. • Fans of the animated Kung Fu Panda films will recognize the character of Shifu as an elderly red panda. Voiced by Dustin Hoffman, Shifu serves as the strict kung fu master.

Answer

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King CROSSWORD

THANKS FOR READING TIDBITS!


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AMERICAN LEGION • POST 157 •

• On May 9, 1671, in London, Thomas Blood, an Irish adventurer known as "Captain Blood," is captured trying to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. King Charles was so impressed that he made Blood a member of his court with an annual pension. • On May 10, 1869, the presidents of the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads meet in Utah and drive a ceremonial last spike into a rail line, making transcontinental rail travel possible for the first time.

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• On May 11, 1934, a massive storm sends 350 million tons of topsoil flying across the parched Great Plains as far east as New York. Even ships some 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks. • On May 15, 1942, legislation creating the Women's Army Corps becomes law, granting women official military status. However, it would not be until 1980 that 16,000 women who had joined the early WACs would receive veterans' benefits. • On May 12, 1975, the American freighter Mayaguez is captured by communist government forces in Cambodia. In response, President Gerald Ford ordered the bombing of the Cambodian port where the gunboats had come from. Forty-one Americans died, most of them in an accidental explosion during the attack. • On May 13, 1985, in Philadelphia, police drop a small bomb on the roof of a row house on Osage Avenue in an attempt to end a standoff with the radical cult group MOVE. The explosion sparked a fire that killed 11 people and burned down 61 homes. • On May 14, 1999, President Bill Clinton apologizes directly to Chinese President Jiang Zemin on the phone for the accidental NATO bombing of the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. The Chinese president had refused to accept a phone call from Clinton for four days.

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Thursday, May 19, 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.

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King Features Weekly Service

© 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.

(Answers located on next page)

April 25, 2016

• You can keep little office items like paperclips, push pins, etc., organized in a drawer by using an ice-cube tray. It makes a great organizer for different sizes of nails, too. • When shopping around for electronic equipment — especially computer-related items and such — make sure you factor in the cost of necessary accessories. Many products don’t come with all the cords, batteries, memory chips, etc., that you’ll need. Oftentimes, these can make a big difference in what seems like a really good deal. • “Baking soda is good for so many uses in the home — especially the kitchen. Here’s another you might not have considered: If you have a glass-top range, fill an empty Parmesan cheese container (the shaker kind, with large holes) with baking soda to keep by the stove. Use the baking soda to clean burned-on spills with a damp sponge. If you have a pan fire, it’s a great way to put that out, too.” — R.E. in Florida • When choosing your campsite, here are some helpful things to note: The wind direction, so that you aren’t downwind of a neighboring site’s fire; where the sun will rise and set, so that you can be prepared for the early morning light and enjoy the sunset; and whether there are any healthy trees affording some cover, in case of a rainstorm. • “I love chocolate-covered popcorn, but it goes stale quickly and is pretty costly. Now I make my own. Line a tray or cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pop about 6 cups of popcorn, and season with salt and butter to your liking. Then melt 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in the microwave. Toss the popcorn and the melted chocolate together in a large bowl, and arrange on the parchment. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and break into pieces. Enjoy!” — C.E. in Ohio Send your tips to Now Here’s a Tip, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803.


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• It was the dream of Edgar Helms’ parents that he live his life on the Iowa family farm, but Edgar had a dream for a greater cause. Feeling a call to devote his life to the church and helping others, he enrolled in Cornell College, and later Boston University, earning a Bachelors Degree of Sacred Theology. His excellent academic achievements earned him a fellowship to London to study the poverty-stricken neighborhoods there, with the dream of doing missionary work in India afterward. • Helms was disappointed to learn that he was not being sent to India after all, but instead to a Methodist church in one of Boston’s poorest immigrant areas. Morgan Hill Chapel, situated in one of America’s worst slums, was surrounded by drug addicts, thieves, gamblers, prostitutes, and every type of criminal. Helms and his wife established a settlement house, a haven for immigrants which provided a nursery, a gymnasium, recreational activities, English classes, and other education helping the immigrants settle into their new life. • Helms was soon inundated with requests for food and clothing. In 1902, he began combing Boston’s wealthier neighborhoods carrying a burlap bag, collecting discarded and damaged goods. He then offered wages to the poor of Morgan Hill to mend and repair items, which were in turn sold to the poor. The proceeds were used to develop job training programs. It was Helms’ motto that the poor “needed a chance, not a charity,” believing that their greatest need and want was employment.

(Solution on Next Page)


GOODWILL INDUSTRIES (cont.)

• By 1905, Helms’ endeavor was known as Morgan Memorial Cooperative Industries and Stores. Dell. With money from his church, Helms Answer: began a trek across the United States, spreading LARGE NUMBER the wordAofVERY his undertaking. He also became a •pioneer EdwardinKasner was a mathematician. In treat1938 the fight for equal pay and fair he was asked to come up with a name for a ment of immigrant workers. When approached very large number: the numeral one, followed by the disabled, he became an advocate for by a hundred zeros. He asked his two young their equalwhat employment opportunities as well. nephews name they would suggest.

DIFFERENCES: 1. Arm is moved. 2. Neckline is different. 3. Fence section is lower. 4. Cap is reversed. 5. Paint can is reversed. 6. Dish is missing. © 2016 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.

• •The organizationMilton was soon incorporated as Nine-year-old suggested a name Goodwill by 1934, out of theIndustries, funnies. Aand cartoon strip Goodwill character was a strong in providing aid to chose those named Barneyforce was very popular. Milton Barney’s last name for the number. in need. They approached one of the advisors U.S. President Roosevelt •toKasner announcedFranklin the newD.name for thewith big number in hisidea. next Goodwill’s book, altering the spelling. an innovative executives proposed that the federal government make a $5 • Sixty years later, Larry Page and Sergey Brin million grant to the organization, and Gooddeveloped a new internet search engine. Other search engines searched each webpage will would put every unemployed Americanand to ranked them according to how many times work. There is no evidence that FDR consid-a specific term appeared on them, but Page and ered the proposition. Brin designed their search engine to search for • Following Edgar’s death in find 1942, sonmany Revthe specific term and then outhishow erend Henry Helms became executive direclinks there were that led back to that page, tor, and resulted devotedin hisa life to fulfilling his father’s which better search engine. mission. • They decided they needed a name that reflected how many websites the billion search • Today, Goodwill generates nearly $5.5 engine was searching. They took the in revenue every year, with over 80% ofname that of Edward Kasner’s very large number, only amount spent directly on the organization’s they misspelled it slightly, so it ended up being employment and community services. Last spelled exactly the same way the cartoon year, closeBarney to 27 spelled million his people were What’s served character last name. and nearly 320,000 people placed into emit called? (Answer at bottom of page) ployment after receiving Goodwill’s COMPUTER FACTS job training. More than 2,600 thrift stores fund Good• In 1981 Bill Gates said, “640 kb of memory will’s calling. ought to be enough for anybody.” • •Macon, is that home to Helms College, Moore’sGeorgia, Law states computer performance an institution in 2007 provide doubles everyestablished 18 to 24 months, andto ever since education in the culinary arts, medical and 1971, this has been true. vocations, automotive •health HP, Google, Microsoft, and technology, Apple were and all the construction industry. started in garages. Answer: Google, googol. Tidbits! Thanks forfrom Reading

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Tidbits Grand Forks - May 5, 2016  

"Video Games," "Red Panda" and "Goodwill Industries"

Tidbits Grand Forks - May 5, 2016  

"Video Games," "Red Panda" and "Goodwill Industries"

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