What is crowd sourcing? What did it allow Star Wars fans to do?

Crowd sourcing is the equivalent of 'asking the audience' in a radio show.  And there is no keener audience than die-hard Star Wars devotees. One enthusiast asked fellow-fans to recreate scenes from the film and has now spliced  the pint-sized, crowdsourced, fan-generated scenes into   Star Wars Uncut: The Director’s Cut , which has just been released.  Star Wars Uncut  is a crowdsourced work of wonder. Read more:

What is an Oscar? Where does the word come from?

Winners of Hollywood's Academy Awards receive a gold-plated statuette on a black metal base.  It is 13.5 in (34 cm) tall, weighs 8.5 lb (3.85 kg) and depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes each represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians. The popular name for an Academy Award is an Oscar. But there is no definitive explanation as to why. The name was first publicly used was in an article by Hollywood columnist about Katharine Hepburn's first Best Actress victory at the fifth annual ceremony in 1934. By 1939 the word was universally known - but there remains confusion regarding its origin. One theory is that the name came from an early Academy director, Margaret Herrick, in 1931. According to this legend, Herrick thought that the statue looked like her Uncle Oscar. Another is that Bette Davies named it after

What does a credit rating downgrade mean?

What do credit rating agencies do? Credit rating agencies are independent bodies which assess whether a company or country has the resources to pay back money loaned. An AAA rating indicates that the market is confident the money will be paid back.  The big credit rating agencies (Standard and Poor's, Moody's etc) have had a patchy record in recent years. Lehman Brothers, for example, had an AAA rating right up to their collapse. But few doubt that they are essentially correct in their current analysis. This can be summarised as: too much debt and too little growth to ever pay it off. What difference does this make? Credit rating has two key financial consequences. The first is in the yield or dividend offered on bonds or fixed term loans. Because investors value security, particularly in a volatile market, a government or company can pay its bond holder a lower rate of interest to reflect the lower risk. The second and more immediate impact is on the abilit

Why do we say Happy New Year/Happy New Year's on January 1st??

A more complex question that it first appears. January was first declared the beginning of the year by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE to celebrate the God of Janus - whose two faces looked back into the past and forward into the future. Like many Pagan holidays (e.g. Christmas/Midwinter Festival) it slowly became incorporated into the Christian calendar, though from a Christian perspective the 12th Day of Christmas (January 6) might be the more logical transformation point from old into new. Throughout the medieval period there was sporadic resistance to what was generally thought to be an alien, pagan anniversary A desire to standardise calendars eventually drove the assimilation of the NYD as the official beginning of the year. In 1066 William the Conqueror  declared that January 1st a holiday and in the same 'I'll show you who's boss' spirit  Pope Gregory XIII used the 1578 New Year's Day celebration to  decree  that all Roman Jews, under pain of death, must listen

Why did Dickens love Christmas?

Christmas Time!  (from 'A Christmas Dinner' ) And therefore, Uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good and will do me good: and I say, God bless it! (Fred explaining his attitude to Christmas to his Uncle Scrooge) All his life Dickens loved Christmas. As a young man he hosted parties like those found at Dingley Dell or at Mr Fezziwig's Ball. He loved to organise riotous games and show off his very impressive magic tricks - including a sensational one involving a flaming Christmas pudding. On the Twelfth Night he wrote sketches for family members to perform, often taking the lead roles himself.  Many have speculated that Christmas represented everything Dickens aspired to as a troubled, insecure child: family, fun, festivity, tradition, security and order. And according Claire Tomalin's  biography ( Charles Dickens: A Life )    he never gave up on the festival even in the latter, darker period i

Where does the word/name Emmanuel come from?

The word Emmanuel is the Hebrew for 'God is with us'.  For Christians the birth of Jesus is the physical incarnation of this:   Mt:1:23: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Luke:1:26-39: 26: This is made explicit in  Hark the Herald Angel Sing: Glory to God in the ... Jesus our Emmanuel . ...  It is also the the theme of the most beautiful carols: