What famous figures gave their names to the months of July and August?
(Scroll down for answer)
Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar.
The Roman Senate named the month of July for Julius Caesar in honor of his reforming of the Roman calendar. Later, after Julius Caesar's grand-nephew Augustus became emperor of Rome, the Senate decided to bestow his name on the month in which he had won his battles with Marc Antony -- Sextillis, the sixth month of the Roman year, became August.
The Senate added a day to August so that Julius and Augustus Caesar would be honored with months of equal length. To accommodate that, they took a day from February, shortening it from 29 to 28 days.
Posted on Aug 17, 2011 at 7:26 PM1 comments
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving on I-295 in Washington D.C., listening to the radio. I was on my way into work at Potomac Tech Journal, which shared space with the Washington Business Journal in The Rosslyn section of Arlington, Va.
The cheerful morning DJ was chatting with musician Ben Folds, who was in the studio that morning, when they stopped to relay a news report about a plane having hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center in New York. Details were lacking and they assumed it was an accident involving a small plane ... until the second one hit.
I was passing by the Pentagon right about then. The radio crew were realizing that there was more going on than an accident, but there was still little more than speculation to relay. And then I arrived at my office and had to conduct an interview over the telephone almost immediately.
My workstation was situated so that my back was to the floor-to-ceiling windows that looked south. I was focused on my conversation and taking notes, and only dimly aware of some commotion in the office behind me. Until I hung up the phone and turned to see the billowing plumes of black smoke rising into the air from the Pentagon.
It's a day that is indelibly stamped on our memories, and the tenth anniversary is coming up this year. Where were you on 9/11? Leave a comment to tell your story.
Posted on Aug 10, 2011 at 7:26 PM28 comments
A few days ago, I published an entry headlined “Horrible Bosses in Atlantis: How Google governs the news
,” about the influence that Google’s trending search terms have on the coverage of news. I said there that editors have to pay some attention to what the big topics of the day are because those are the things readers will be searching for.
The post generated some interesting reader comments. One reader, Dave, asked the cogent question: Did the blog entry – which led with a paragraph containing all 10 of that days top search terms – bring in more readers than usual?
The answer, according to the analytics tools we use, was a little baffling. Yes, it did get a few more views than an FCW Insider entry usually gets, but not by any dramatic amount. However, very little of that traffic came from search engines. Instead, the numbers came from the usual mixture of people coming directly to the website, or through the e-mail newsletter or via referrals from other sites. Google and Bing were in there, but accounted for their normal proportion of visits, not any increased number.
I think the explanation is pretty simple: If you Google the search terms you’re interested in – on that day, “space shuttle” or the movie “Horrible Bosses,” for example – you’ll get hits related to those terms, not our blog post. And if you string several of the terms together, our entry comes up in the number-one spot, but includes enough text to show the reader that it’s actually not about any of those things.
Which brings me to another commenter who posted thoughts on that entry:
“You traded on a respected name (FCW) but used nefarious tactics (a headline that has nothing to do with the article),” the reader wrote. “Now that I associate FCW with this sort of rubbish, I'll be less likely to click on your articles.”
I’m going to assume the reader was being tongue in cheek. What the entry did was something akin to a magician performing an impressive trick and then demonstrating how it’s done. Doing something transparently and then pointing out what you did and explaining why is hardly “nefarious.”
I’m also a little bemused at the accusation that the headline had “nothing to do with the article” … mainly because I can’t figure out what other sort of story a reader might expect with that headline.
Posted on Jul 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM0 comments