Cumberland Times-News

May 23, 2009

Want to know? Find out here

Jan Alderton, Managing Editor

It may not be as appealing and as easy to use as Google, but a new free Web service called WolframAlpha may be worth your time for a look-see.

The brainchild of Stephen Wolfram, a 49-year-old, British-born physics prodigy, the site is all the talk in technology circles.

Type “March 25, 1984, Cumberland, Md. weather,” for example, and you learn that the local weather that day was rain, fog and overcast. You also learn that the average humidity was 73 percent, the average windspeed was 7 mph and the temperature ranged from 38 to 47 degrees.

What is the distance from Cumberland to Jacksonville, Fla.? In a split second, Wolframalpha says 663.6 miles.

What is 15 percent of $250? You know in another second it is $37.50.

The site is located at www.wolframalpha.com....

Memorial Day 2009 is observed on its earliest possible date, May 25. The holiday is always the last Monday of May.

Next year, it will seem more traditional, being observed on May 31 while the date for 2011 is May 30....

On the topic of dates, we received an email noting that at five minutes and six seconds after 4 a.m. on July 8 of this year, the time and date will be: 04:05:06 07/08/09. Who has time to keep track of these things?...

With billions in stimulus money floating around, perhaps Congress could allocate some dollars for a larger, more modern Amtrak station in Cumberland.

The existing station could almost be called an eyesore. Even worse, many passengers have to stand outside because there is not enough room inside....

The Social Security Administration routinely compiles a list of top baby names for boys and girls.

The top 10 girls names for 2008 were Emma, Isabella, Emily, Madison, Ava, Olivia, Sophia, Abigail, Elizabeth and Chloe. Leading the boys, in order, were Jacob, Michael, Ethan, Joshua, Daniel, Alexander, Anthony, William, Christopher and Matthew.

The lists looked a lot different 50 years earlier, in 1958. For girls it was Mary, Susan, Linda, Karen, Patricia, Debra, Deborah, Cynthia, Barbara and Donna. For boys, Michael, David, James, Robert, John, William, Mark, Richard Thomas and Steven....

The Baltimore Business Journal reports that the cost of long-term care in Maryland is rising at a rate outpacing inflation.

Citing information from Genworth Financial Inc., the newspaper said that in Baltimore, the cost for a private nursing home room has risen 5 percent annually during the past five years. That is more than twice that of the median annual inflation rate of 2.3 percent during that same period.

Nursing home costs have risen 2 percent per year in Cumberland. Elsewhere in Maryland, costs have risen 7 percent a year during the last five years....

More schools are moving toward a four-day week to save money, mainly on transportation costs. So far, six states have introduced bills to permit shortened school weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times....

West Virginia basketball legend Jerry West revealed for the first time this past week that he has a heart condition that dates back to his playing days.

He said he suffers from a heart rhythm condition called atrial fibrillation. It is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia, or abnormal heart rhythm.

West, who starred at West Virginia University and then in professional basketball, said the condition forced him to retire from his front office job with the Lakers nine years ago....

Seen on the Internet — Funny newspaper headlines:

• Juvenile court to try shooting defendant

• New study of obesity looks for larger test group

• Man minus ear waives hearing

• Bank drive-in window blocked by board

• N.J. judge to rule on nude beach

• Panda mating fails; veterinarian takes over

• Stolen painting found by tree

Contact Jan Alderton at jpalderton@times-news.com.