That’s Spicy

The two most popular spices sold throughout the world are pepper, number one, and mustard coming in second.

That Enigmatic Smile

“La Gioconda” is also the name given the painting by Leonardo da Vinci more usually known as the Mona Lisa.

Historians believe the Mona Lisa is a portrait of Madam Lisa Giocondo, wife of a wealthy Florentine. Giorgio Vasari, a sixteenth century biographer of the life of Leonardo da Vinci, gave the painting its name Mona Lisa (which is know in Italian as La Gioconda or La Joconde in French).  The original is now owned by the Government of France, displayed at the Louvre in Paris.

La Gioconda

Based on the play in prose Angelo, Tyrant of Padua, by Victor Hugo, Amilcare Ponchielli composed an opera in four acts entitled “La Gioconda” which was first performed in 1876.  Critically acclaimed, it is a famous example of Italian Grande opera and happens to be one of only a few operas featuring a principal role for each of the six major voice types.

However, that is not the only creative art work known as “La Gioconda” – can you identify what it is?

Crater With an Unfamiliar Ring?

The previous record holder for largest meteorite crater on earth used to be the Vredefort Ring (sometimes referred to as a “Dome”) in South Africa.  However, more recently, in Australia, it was discovered a huge meteorite entered the earth’s atmosphere and split into two chunks (each chunk appears to have been at least 6 miles wide) that created twin impact craters spanning nearly 250 miles across the Australian countryside.

Caution: High Voltage

Count Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta, an Italian physicist, chemist, and a pioneer of electricity and power is credited as the inventor of the electric battery in the early 19th century. The discoverery of methane is also attributed to Count Volta!

Roundhay Garden Scene

The world’s earliest known surviving motion-picture film, showing actual consecutive action is called Roundhay Garden Scene. It was directed by by French inventor Louis Le Prince in 1888 and although it is only 2.11 seconds long, it is technically a movie and you can watch all 2.11 seconds of it right here:

In 1895, a 50 second film, the Arrival of a Train (image depicted in the title section) showed a locomotive pulling a train into the station at the French  town of La Ciotat. Legend has it that when the film first aired, people were so scared by an image of a train heading right at them, there were screams from the audience most of whom ran to the back of the screening room.

The photograph shown this past Monday (The Oldest Movie) posing the question, is actually one of the earliest attempts at capturing consecutive pictures depicting motion. Though not a true movie, it is a series of photographs known as The Horse In Motion.  It was created in 1878 to try and answer the question: are all four of a galloping horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time?  The individual photographs were assembled into one “motion” picture – one of the first attempts to visually capture movement in a single medium.