Google Questions

  • What's the Origin of "Nor'easter"?

    by Bradley Craig

    In a break from tradition (or perhaps it’s merely the start of a new one) the Weather Channel has given names to the major winter storms from the 2012-2013 season. Time will tell if this has been a particularly snowy winter, but as of the end of February sixteen of the twenty-three proposed storm names have already been used. None were more severe this year than Winter Storm Nemo, which socked the Northeast at the beginning of February, causing power outages throughout the Northeast and killing fourteen people.Nemo was far from the worst of the so-called “nor’easters” which regularly impact New England. Documented since at least the early nineteenth century, nor'easters regularly devastate the eastern coasts of Canada the United States.  Nor'easters typically occur between the months of September and April (so there’s time still yet for another round – in 2007, a powerful nor’easter hit the East Coast in mid-April), and these storms usually cover an area of hundreds of miles or more.  Heavy rain, snow, and winds tend to hit the New England region heaviest, causing flooding, property damage, and coastal erosion. 


  • Which Other Popes Have Resigned?

    by David Austin Walsh

    UPDATE, 2-28-13: As of 2:28 pm today, Pope Benedict XVI has stepped down from the papacy.* * * * *In an unexpected announcement today, Pope Benedict XVI stated he is resigning from the papacy as of February 28. Benedict's abdication, reportedly due to ill health, apparently took even the pope's closest advisors by surprise. Indeed, a pope hasn't stepped down from the papacy in over six hundred years, and the few instances when popes have resigned have been for reasons either more political -- or more corrupt -- than health.A look back at the confirmed instances of papal abdication:


  • Who Killed Emmett Till?

    by Bradley Craig

    Emmett Till was one of the 3,446 black men lynched in the United States between 1882 and 1968, but his story is not just one more statistic. How the death of a boy from Chicago galvanized the civil rights movement and changed the world.

  • What Killed the Talking Filibuster?

    by Kris Wood

    How 'bout it, Senator Payne? Where'd it go?On August 29, 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond sat in a steam bath, preparing himself for what he knew would be a long evening. Normally an undertaking reserved for post-physical activity, Senator Thurmond’s time in the sweat box was in preparation for an oratory workout that would come later in the evening. While most people make use of steam baths for relaxation, Thurmond had other plans in mind. The senator intended to flush any excess liquids out of his body, forestalling the need to use the washroom, for what would end up being the longest solo filibuster in the history of the U.S. Senate, a filibuster that lasted for 24 hours and 18 minutes.

  • Is "Argo" a True Story?

    by Lee P. Ruddin

    Ben Affleck is receiving well-earned praise for directing (if less so for acting in) the movie Argo. Set in an authentically recreated 1979, Chris Terrio’s script (heavily based upon Joshuah Bearman’s 2007 Wired article) tells the dramatic, declassified true story of how Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) “exfiltrator” Tony Mendez (Affleck) extracted six fugitive American consular employees out of Shah-toppled, revolutionary Iran.Hollywood critics are currently falling over themselves to congratulate Affleck on his third feature as director and some (The Hollywood Reporter, Huffington Post, the Los Angeles Times, to name but three) have even gone as far as to suggest the Academy Award-winner (awarded for Best Screenplay and shared with Matt Damon, co-writer of Good Will Hunting) make room on his mantelpiece for another gong. The praise comes from far and wide, and a reviewer from the Czech Republic (writing in The Prague Post) articulates the case for actor-director Affleck as good as any other and highlights that

  • How Was History Made in the 2012 Election?

    by Mariana Villa

    As 2012 draws rapidly to a close and with eyes of political observers already turning to 2014 and 2016, it’s important to note the history that was made in this past year’s elections.So what historical firsts were made in 2012?Well, for starters, obviously Barack Obama was re-elected as president. That makes him the first African American to ever be re-elected president, the first Democratic president to be re-elected since Bill Clinton in 1996, and is part of the longest stretch of unbroken two-term presidents since Jefferson-Madison-Monroe (and, unlike the three Virginians, the past three two-term presidents have been from different political parties).Mitt Romney, too, made history. Formally nominated at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida at the end of August, he was the first Mormon to be a major party presidential nominee. Had he won the election, he would have been the first Mormon to hold the nation’s highest office.