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What is Lorem Ipsum Filler Text?

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Have you ever visited a website that’s under construction and seen a jumble of Latin text? Most likely, what you saw was Lorem Ipsum filler text.

Used in newspaper and magazine publishing, typesetting, and web design, Lorem Ipsum serves as a temporary placeholder for text before the final copy is inserted. Although Lorem Ipsum consists of Latin words, it’s an example of "Greeking"—making text unreadable to signify that it’s a placeholder. Lorem Ipsum is less distracting for designers when they're trying to get a visual feel for a piece of text, and copyeditors are less likely to mistake Lorem Ipsum for the final text, lest they accidentally publish a document that still contains it. Sometimes, though, editors miss a block of Lorem Ipsum text and it gets published, as it did for an article in this Singapore newspaper.

In the 1980s, the general public became exposed to Lorem Ipsum when the filler text appeared on several desktop publishing and word processing templates such as PageMaker. However, Lorem Ipsum isn't new. In the 1500s—relatively soon after the invention of the printing press—typesetters first began using random Latin text for mock-ups. Amazingly, the Lorem Ipsum text that made its way into computer publishing software in the 20th century is a version of what was used in the 1500s.

Latin scholar Dr. Richard McClintock discovered that this common text is in fact a scrambled section from ancient Roman philosopher Cicero’s De Finibus Bonorum Et Malorum ("On The Ends of Good and Evil"). "This text has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since some printer in the 1500s took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book," McClintock told Before & After, a publishing magazine, in 1994. "[I]t has survived not only four centuries of letter-by-letter resetting but even the leap into electronic typesetting, essentially unchanged." (But he later told The Straight Dope that he hasn’t been able to find the old type sample that contained the phrase "lorem ipsum," so the practice might be only a few decades old.)

Written in 45 BCE, Cicero’s text explores different schools of philosophy such as Epicureanism and Stoicism. The specific “lorem ipsum” section is derived from a passage in which Cicero discusses pain and pleasure.

As it appears on design templates today, however, Lorem Ipsum is not taken verbatim from Cicero’s text. Rather, the text is jumbled so that it’s meaningless: even if someone knows Latin, they won’t be distracted by the text. The word lorem is abridged from the Latin word dolorem (pain), so dolorem ipsum translates to "pain itself."

Here's a comparison of Lorem Ipsum filler text and the original Cicero source, with English translation:

Standard Lorem Ipsum Filler Text:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

The original Cicero passage:

Neque porro quisquam est, qui dolorem ipsum quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit, sed quia non numquam eius modi tempora incidunt ut labore et dolore magnam aliquam quaerat voluptatem.

English translation:

Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure.

If you’re bored with the standard Lorem Ipsum, you can always use funnier alternatives such as Bacon Ipsum, Nietzsche Ipsum, or Hipster Ipsum.

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travel
Why You Should Never Take Your Shoes Off On an Airplane
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What should be worn during takeoff?

Tony Luna:

If you are a frequent flyer, you may often notice that some passengers like to kick off their shoes the moment they've settled down into their seats.

As an ex-flight attendant, I'm here to tell you that it is a dangerous thing to do. Why?

Besides stinking up the whole cabin, footwear is essential during an airplane emergency, even though it is not part of the flight safety information.

During an emergency, all sorts of debris and unpleasant ground surfaces will block your way toward the exit, as well as outside the aircraft. If your feet aren't properly covered, you'll have a hard time making your way to safety.

Imagine destroying your bare feet as you run down the aisle covered with broken glass, fires, and metal shards. Kind of like John McClane in Die Hard, but worse. Ouch!

Bruce Willis stars in 'Die Hard' (1988)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

A mere couple of seconds delay during an emergency evacuation can be a matter of life and death, especially in an enclosed environment. Not to mention the entire aircraft will likely be engulfed in panic and chaos.

So, the next time you go on a plane trip, please keep your shoes on during takeoff, even if it is uncomfortable.

You can slip on a pair of bathroom slippers if you really need to let your toes breathe. They're pretty useless in a real emergency evacuation, but at least they're better than going barefoot.

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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