How Whiskey Cars Worked

It’s a clich¨¦ that necessity is the mother of invention, but it’s clich¨¦d because it’s true. Imagine that you live in a rural Southern town during the Great Depression. Crops have failed and work is scarce. The only thing you have is your car — and it’s a sweet one. It may just be an old Ford, but you’ve spent plenty of time working on it. You’ve sweated over the engine in the hot Georgia sun, scraping your knuckles while wrenching parts into place so many times that it seems like the engine is covered in equal parts blood and grease. That car is your world. It’s your ticket to a better life.
Not only is the car a well-oiled machine, but you’re also a great driver. In loosely organized races through the pastures and back roads of the country, you’ve beaten all comers — or at least given them a run for their money. Now your skill has caught the eye of some connected individuals, and they have a job for you.
Even though prohibition is over, many towns in the South are dry. Selling liquor is illegal. And, even in parts where liquor can be sold, if you sell it without the authorities knowing, you don’t have to pay taxes. That’s more money in your pocket. So now you’ve got a job running homemade liquor — moonshine — into dry towns. You’ve got to get the liquor to the buyers and avoid the police. If you can’t avoid the police or the federal revenuers, you’ve got to outrun them. It’s just the job you and your car were made for.
Running liquor wasn’t uncommon during the 1920s and ’30s. But here’s where the story takes an interesting twist — the same men who used their skills as drivers and mechanics to outrun the law used those same skills to found one of the most popular sports in the country: NASCAR. The need to make a living and the love of fast cars combined in the sport with one of the most colorful backgrounds imaginable. Trust us — football and baseball didn’t evolve from a heady combination of the need to outsmart police and the ability to have a great time doing it.
Those original cars raced on weekends in small towns throughout the South and spent the rest of their time as whiskey cars; souped up and filled with illegal liquor, they toured the South making deliveries and avoiding the law. The characters and technology behind the precursors to today’s NASCAR race cars are as intoxicating as the liquor they carried.

Softball Facts & Rules

Softball ball is similar to baseball, but you use a larger ball in softball than you do in baseball. You pitch the ball underhand in softball. You throw fast pitches and you are allowed to steal bases in fast-pitch softball games. You must pitch the ball with an arc that is 3 to 10 feet high and you may not steal bases in slow-pitch softball.
According to the International Softball Federation website, softball originated on Thanksgiving Day in 1887 in Chicago. A football fan celebrating victory for his team threw a boxing glove at a fan of the opposing team. The fan hit the glove with a stick and a reporter named George Hancock witnessed this. Hancock was inspired to initiate a game and bound the glove into a sphere, marked lines on the floor with chalk and used a broomstick handle as a bat. Hancock held the first softball game the night he witnessed the glove toss and held games ever Saturday night. Hancock issued the first rulebook in 1889.
The International Softball Federation rulebook stipulates that a softball must be a smooth-seamed, concealed stitched or flat surfaced ball. The center core of the ball must be made of long fiber kapok, a mixture of cork and rubber, a polyurethane mixture or other materials that the ISF Equipment Standards Commission approves. Softballs must be wound with twisted yarn and covered with latex or rubber cement. The cover of the ball must be attached to the ball with cement and sewn with a waxed thread of cotton or linen. Balls must be marked either slow-pitch or fast-pitch and the cover must be chrome tanned horsehide, cowhide or a synthetic material that is approved by the ISF Equipment Standards Commission.
A fast-pitch softball team may consist of nine players or nine players plus one designated player. The designated player is an offensive player who bats in place of a defensive player. Slow-pitch softball teams that are not co-ed must have 10 players and may have an optional 11th player. Co-ed softball teams must have five male and five female players. Two extra players may participate on a co-ed team but one must be male and the other must be female.
Regulation games consist of seven innings. A game may consist of six innings if the team that bats second has scored more runs through six innings or before the third out in the seventh inning. Games that are tied at the end of the seventh inning may continue until one side scores more runs at the end of an additional inning. Games that are tied at the end of the seventh inning may also continue until the team that bats seconds scores more runs in its half of an additional inning before the third out. The umpire may call a game at any time due to darkness, rain, fire, panic or causes that put the patrons or players in danger. A game that the umpire calls is a regulation game if five innings are complete.
A batter must have his feet inside the batter¡¯s box when he makes contact with the ball. The batter may not touch the home plate with any part of his foot when he makes contact with the ball. An illegally batted ball occurs when the batter steps completely out of the batter¡¯s box and returns to the batter¡¯s box to make contact with the ball. Batters must use approved and unaltered bats. Bats must be wood or another material approved by the ISF Equipment Standards Commission. Metal bats must be made of angular metal and must not have a wooden handle. Softball bats must not exceed 34 in. or 38 oz.

Martian Mud Volcanoes May Indicate Life

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The Mars Odyssey spacecraft has discovered a curious sight on the red planet’s northern planes: mud volcanoes spurting methane gas and sediment up to the icy surface. Think about that for a second. What do you need to have mud? And what produces methane gas? That’s right, water and animals.
This is not to say the Martian underworld is overrun with jersey cows or giant sand worms. Animals aren’t the only source of methane, but scientists theorize that the gas could indeed be due to thriving microbes several miles beneath the Martian surface. Down there, warmer temperatures could theoretically permit things like mud and life to exist.
This news, reported in a New Scientist article, comes on the heels of a recent geological study on Earth supporting the notion that ancient, subterranean extremophiles might have survived the catastrophic celestial bombardment of the Earths’ crust 3.9 billion years ago.
Of course, theories regarding buried life on Mars might prove particularly difficult to substantiate. We’re pretty sure these volcanoes are spitting mud based on infrared analysis of the material’s rapid cooling following eruption, but the ability to drill miles into the ground is well beyond our current technology.
Look for life on Mars at HowStuffWorks.com: How Will Landing on Mars work? How the Mars Exploration Rovers Work How Mars Odyssey Works How Mars Works Is there really water on Mars?
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How Big Is an Olympic Soccer Field?

The international association of soccer, FIFA, lays out the required soccer field dimensions for all international matches, including the World Cup, the European Championships, the Olympics and any qualifying games. For FIFA to recognize any international match, it must be played on a field the dimensions of which fall into the range laid out in FIFA’s Laws of the Game handbook.
The touchline of an Olympic soccer field must be 100 meters — 110 yards — to 110 meters — 120 yards — long and the goal line must be 64 meters, about 70 yards, to 75 meters, about 80 yards, wide. These dimensions apply to both men and women’s games. Wembley Stadium, where the men’s and women’s soccer finals were held during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, is 105 meters by 68 meters.

Aromatherapy: Fir

The balsam fir, a native of northern Europe, is our well-known Christmas tree. To the Irish Celts it was a tree of birth and thus it signified the birth of the new year, and so the original Yule logs were probably fir. For centuries, boughs were scattered over floors of churches and houses during winter, providing a clean, scented covering.
Perhaps long ago, people realized the aromatherapy benefits: the uplifting fragrance helped overcome winter blues and encouraged feelings of contentment and joy. This use of fir is reflected in Greek myth. When the god Attis was about to die from a wound, Cybele turned him into a fir so that he would remain evergreen.
Fir essential oil is distilled from the twigs or needles of many different conifers, including spruces and pines, yielding a rich variety of fragrances. The Canadian Balsam (A. balsamea) and Siberian Fir (A. siberica) have an especially pleasant, forestlike scent.
In comparison, the scent of pine essential oil is sharper. The harsher turpentine oil also comes from members of the pine family and is used in varnishes and paints, preservatives, and lamp oil. For general purposes, all of these essential oils have highly antiseptic properties.
Principal constituents of fir: Santene, pinene, limonene, bornyl acetate, lauraldehyde
Scent of fir: Similar to that of Christmas trees, it is fresh, softly balsamic, invigorating, and forestlike.
Therapeutic properties of fir: Antibacterial, deodorant; relieves pain and coughing, clears mucous from the lungs, kills mold
Uses for fir: Fir and pine essential oils soothe muscle and rheumatism pain and increase poor circulation when used in a massage oil or when added to a liniment or bath. They also help prevent bronchial and urinary infections and reduce coughing, including that caused by bronchitis and asthma. The best ways to utilize the essential oil are either through inhalation or via a chest rub.
It is occasionally added to a salve or other skin preparation as an antiseptic for skin infections. Pine and fir stimulate energy, according to research from International Flavors and Fragrances, Inc., in New Jersey. An aromatherapy alarm clock from Japan uses the forest scent of pine or fir along with eucalyptus for its wake-up call.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kathi Keville is director of the American Herb Association and editor of the American Herb Association Quarterly newsletter. A writer, photographer, consultant, and teacher specializing in aromatherapy and herbs for over 25 years, she has written several books, including Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to the Healing Art and Pocket Guide to Aromatherapy, and has written over 150 articles for such magazines as New Age Journal, The Herb Companion, and New Herbal Remedies. This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.

How to Deal With Your Kid’s Bad Attitude in Sports

Playing sports helps children build confidence, handle conflict and make new friends. However, children sometimes develop a bad attitude while playing sports when they are frustrated or disappointed. Children may also act in an unsportsmanlike manner when imitating the actions and attitudes of teammates or professional athletes. Setting clear expectations and modeling good sportsmanship helps your child transform a bad attitude into a positive mindset.
Model a positive attitude for your child. Don’t criticize yourself or your teammates when you’re frustrated and don’t give up. Focus on giving positive feedback and encouragement from the sidelines or bleachers instead of criticism.
Check whether your goals for your child are realistic. If you expect him to win every game or be the star player, he is likely to become frustrated or disappointed with his performance. Encourage him to try his best and praise effort, not only accomplishment.
Tell children when they are acting inappropriately. Tell them how their actions are unacceptable and how they should act. Make sure your expectations are consistent.
Talk to children about acceptable ways to express anger or frustration. Tell kids they are allowed to feel disappointed or angry, but they can’t throw their tennis racquet on the court.
Let children take the consequences for their bad attitude. For example, if their coach benches them or a referee penalizes them for unsportsmanlike behavior, don’t intervene.
Discuss the sportsmanship you see in professional sports and movies. Discuss how players are acting well or poorly and explain the consequences that result from poor behavior.
Ensure children are physically prepared for sports. Children are more likely to be cranky or irritable if they are tired, hungry or thirsty. Make sure kids drink lots of water, eat healthy meals and get plenty of sleep the night before a game.

Mirror Neurons: Are there people who feel others’ pain?

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Topics in this Podcast: Chuck, empathy, josh, mirror neurons, pain
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Broad Jump & What It Means for Athletes

Broad jumps, also known as standing long jumps, are a bounding exercise used by everyone from track and field athletes to football players trying out for the NFL. Coaches use broad jumps not only to build leg strength in their athletes but also to test leg strength and explosive power. Introducing broad jumps into your athletic training routine can be a highly functional way to improve your overall athletic performance.
The biggest benefit of broad jump training for athletes is that it improves the reaction of fast-twitch muscle fibers throughout the body. Like other plyometric exercises, effective broad jumps require your leg and core muscles to contract very quickly so you can generate maximal force with each leap. According to sports physiologist Phil Davies, the squat you take before a broad jump allows you to stretch your muscles and thus generate a more powerful muscle contraction when you jump. He adds that one or two plyometric training sessions per week can have a significant effect on your explosive strength and in turn your sprinting and jumping performance.
In any sport, it is important for coaches to monitor training and make adjustments to areas that need improvement. Athletics coach Brian MacKenzie says regular testing of broad jump ability in an athlete can help a coach assess progress resulting from strength and plyometric training. Each performance test should contain three broad jumps. Once the coach has gathered enough test data, he can compare an athlete’s performance against past tests to monitor improvement or compare the performance to the average performance for the athlete’s age group and ability level.
Athletics coach Jon Heck of Stockton College in New Jersey says broad jumps and other plyometric bounding exercises are helpful in knee injury prevention. When you land from any kind of jump or fall, you place a large amount of strain on your lower body. Heck states that if you emphasize a soft landing with each of your box jumps, you can reduce the strain on your anterior cruciate ligament and knee and hip joints.
A 2003 study published in the ¡°Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research¡± looked into the effects of warm-up exercises on broad jump ability. Alexander Koch and his research team studied the impact of six different warm-up routines ranging from heavy squats to light stretching in 32 men and women. They concluded that warm-up routines have little effect on broad jump ability, but overall leg strength — which they measured as one-repetition maximal strength for squats — was seemingly related to broad jumping ability.

How to Clean Football Pads

Football pads get smelly from absorbing the player¡¯s sweat. Regular washing of the body pads keeps odor and bacteria growth down. You can cut down on the frequency of laundering pads to once or twice a week during football season if you allow the pads to dry completely after each practice. Shoulder pads can be professionally cleaned at the end of every season as they contain materials that cannot go into the wash. With the correct care, football pads stay in good shape for many seasons.
Remove sweaty pants pads from the football pants after practice or a game and set them on a towel to dry. If the football pants have sewn-in, built-in pads, hang the pants on a clothesline or over the back of a chair to dry.
Remove the belt and pads from the pants. If the football pants have non-removable, built-in pads sewn into the pants, leave the pads inside the pants and launder and dry them as one piece.
Launder the pants pads — if they’re removable — along with the belt, pants and jersey in a washing machine set on cold water, using regular bleach-free laundry detergent.
Lay the pants pads flat on a towel to air-dry, or dry pants with non-removable pads on a clothesline or over the back of a chair. Alternatively, you can dry pads and pants in a clothes dryer set on low-heat, along with the belt, pants and jersey.
Replace the pants pads and belt into the pants after drying.
Take sweaty shoulder pads out of the gear bag, once you get home from a practice or a game. Set the shoulder pads on the floor to let them dry. Drying football pads is important to reduce the growth of bacteria and mold.
Wipe dirt off shoulder pads with a rag dampened with water. Dry the shoulder pads with a dry rag after you have finished cleaning them. Remove stubborn streaks and disinfect football shoulder pads, by cleaning them with an athletic disinfectant gear cleaning solution or a household disinfectant cleaning solution labeled safe to use on plastics, following the cleaning solution manufacturer’s directions.
Take your pads to be professionally cleaned after the season is over. They will be reconditioned and sanitized. The cushions will be removed from the hard plastic shell and washed in 140 degree water and the shell will be inspected for cracks and then cleaned with an anti-bacterial solution.