FoiDansSonAme: Keeping the Faith and More on Answers.com.

If French is the language of love, what better language is there with which to express your love for Answers.com? Je t’aime, Answers.com!

Our Featured Contributor had the same idea when she added a little French flair and elegance to her username – FoiDansSonAme. Translated it means “faith in her heart.” And although she doesn’t speak French, she thought the former sounded prettier than the latter. We agree!

Here’s more:

What is your first name?

Heather.

What is your age?

23.

Would you care to tell us about your family?

I am the daughter of Phil and Laura Chapman, a lawyer and a Realtor, and the younger sister of Alex Chapman, a computer programmer.

Do you have any pets?

I have two dachshunds named Petey and Badger, a black and tan Coonhound named Roscoe and a turtle named Fernando.

Where do you live, how long have you lived there and why do you like the area?

I’ve lived in Durham, North Carolina, for almost two years now, and I like that it’s far south enough that it isn’t freezing, but I can still expect snow in the winter.

Where did you grow up and do you have any special memories of your childhood?

My father was a Navy Seal, so I grew up in Michigan, California, Colorado, Panama (the country), Virginia and Tennessee. I remember a lot of packing…haha.

What educational information would you like to share?

I graduated from Longwood University in 2009 with a BA in English.

What are some of your past and present occupations?

Throughout school, I worked at Busch Gardens, a sandwich store called The Cheese Shop, a sushi restaurant called Gold Taste and at the university as a Resident Assistant. After moving to North Carolina, I worked as a “camp counselor” and receptionist at a doggie daycare called Camp Bow Wow, and now I work as a veterinary receptionist.

What are your key areas of knowledge, interest or expertise?

I wouldn’t really call myself an “expert” in any area, but I particularly like to answer questions about grammar, pet care and random trivia. I’ve always excelled in English classes, and with my recent professions, I’ve gained a lot of pet knowledge.

Do you have any collections or hobbies?

I love cooking! I’m a celiac, so I like to invent new gluten-free recipes.

What do you like to do for recreation?

I love music; I’m the lead singer in two bands. One is a local metal band, and the other is a bit more complicated. We live on three different continents, and we’ve never met, but we released a CD in 2005.

What are a few random facts about yourself?

I’m missing six of my teeth from birth. I never had wisdom teeth or twelve year molars.

Do you have any special talents you’d like to share?

I can touch my lips to my nose without using my hands.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

I released a CD and music video in 2005, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the honor’s program at Longwood University and I received a certificate for acting quickly enough to save the life of a dog with bloat at Camp Bow Wow.

What are your special goals or dreams?

I would love to make enough money to adopt a ridiculous amount of shelter dogs in my lifetime.

How would you describe yourself or personality?

Musical, devoted, always a romantic…

What brought you to Answers.com?

It was a product of severe boredom while searching for a job toward the end of my college career.

What keeps you coming back to Answers.com?

I love the community, and even though it’s impossible to rid it of vandals (being a wiki), I love the pursuit of good answers on the Internet.

What is your favorite Answers.com activity?

I know it can be monotonous, but I love finding a question that’s been asked a thousand times in different ways and organizing that question for hours. (For example, “Do werewolves exist?”)

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

Just sleep on it.

Can anything compare to the feeling of laying your head down on a soft square of cotton, closing your eyes, molding your body into the depths of a mattress and letting the sweet flow of semi-consciousness set in? My answer is no. In an age where we work past dinner, chill in bars till 4 am and hit the gym at midnight – yet still rise and shine for work the next day –  how is this lack of sleep affecting us?

Well, let’s start off simple. We know sleep is a good thing.  And, when we are deprived of it, we feel lousy. This occurs for 2 simple reasons:

Physically sleep repairs your body, working the immune system at full capacity.  Mentally though, it does a whole lot more. Without adequate sleep, your judgment, mood, and ability to learn and retain information are weakened. You can become an incoherent, irritable monster.  In fact, 72 hours of no-sleep can make a man go temporarily insane.

So I guess the more sleep you get,  the more intelligent and healthy you are… Let’s examine this theory across species in the animal kingdom.  Below is a list of some typical animal sleep cycles, in order of longest to shortest sleep times per day:

  • Brown Bat (19.9 hours)
  • Giant Armadillo (18.1 hours)
  • Python (18 hours)
  • Owl Monkey (17 hours)
  • Tiger (15.8 hours)
  • Squirrel (14.9 hours)
  • Lion (13.5 hours)
  • Rat (12.6 hours)
  • Cat (12.1 hours)
  • Cheetah (12.1 hours)
  • Dolphin (10.4)
  • Chimpanzee (9.7 hours)
  • Human adult (8 hours)
  • Pig (7.8 hours)
  • Guppy Fish (7 hours)
  • Sheep (3.8 hours)
  • African Elephant (3.3 hours)
  • Horse (2.9 hours)

Pythons sleep for 18 hours, yet elephants (those memory-rich, emotional vertebrates) sleep for only 3.3 hrs. The giraffe has one of the shortest sleep requirements of any mammal (between 10 mins-2 hrs in a 24 hr period, averaging 1.9 hours per day) yet giraffes sleep 5 hours less than your  household goldfish. Based on these numbers, sleep and intelligence don’t appear to be dependent on one another.

So, why do some animals require more sleep than others?  Perhaps it’s not intelligence, just evolution.

When it comes down to sleep and survivability, a predator-prey relationship exists: Animals at the top of the food chain, such as the King of the Jungle, tend to  get longer and deeper shut eye than, say, your average vigilant  squirrel. Humans fall somewhere in between, but this doesn’t explain how we have sleep patterns most closely related to pigs, or why armadillos sleep a whole lot more than cows.

Hibernation draws the same complexities. Certain species of moth hibernate just as long as polar bears. Some toads can even hibernate  for up to four years. So this evolution thing, with animal size and the potential of being eaten, doesn’t seem to hold up either.

Perhaps it’s not who is sleeping, or how often you sleep… but where you sleep that matters?

Sloths have long been known to be the ‘nappers of the wild.’ Even their name is  a synonym for lazy.  A 2008 study, reported by BBC news, involving brown-throated, three-toed sloths, found that when in captivity (where they are safe and fed well) sloths sleep for more than 16 hours per day and live quite long lives. But the same study noted that sloths only slept for 9.6 hours in the wild. So where you sleep, and how happy you are while getting that shut-eye,  has a huge impact on the success of your sleep session.

Where can we find happy sleepers?

  • Overcrowded US high schools, where shifts are required,  report that those students who slept in and start two hours later,  consistently scored higher on exams and report cards than those poor teens who had to wake up at the crack of dawn.
  • Google has nap rooms for its employees, and based on the company’s  success and productivity, it seems to be working for them.
  • Einstein slept for 10 hours a day and he came up with the Theory of Relativity.
  • Winston Churchill and George Washington napped regularly, and accomplished some pretty cool things.

Unfortunately, humans have been getting 1.5 hours less sleep on average throughout the last 50 years… So I’m here to tell you one thing: SLEEP. Sleep hard and sleep often; that 6-8 hourrs of recommended sleep is for the birds (literally).  If you need more sleep – do it! If you need to nap – do it! If you need to make a pit stop in your car – do it!

Next time you find yourself drowsy and incoherent, don’t reach for a Starbucks, reach for an REM frappucino!  Lay your head down  on your pillow and smile. Because great things are not accomplished by stressed-out overworked sloths –  they are accomplished by people who get their sleep.

AnswerThon in your language, coming soon.

We’re looking forward to introducing the first ever Italian and Spanish AnswerThons, hosted on Answers.com Italiano and Answers.com Espanol!

The AnswerThon is a 2-day event where contributors compete to answer the most questions in the 48 hour period.

It’s going to be a great time, so be sure to stay tuned for more info, contest sign up, and of course – prizes!

The 2010 WAmmy Awards announced!

In this season of somewhat superficial (but deliciously addictive) entertainment awards, we may forget the folks who truly make a difference in our local communities… one of those communities being your online community of contributors on Answers.com.

Millions of people contribute all year, and the annual WAmmy Awards are a chance to give a shout and badge of honor to the community’s nominees in dozens of categories.

Some of my personal favorites for 2010:

Check ‘em all out here.

Feel free to personally congratulate winners on their message boards! Positive feedback makes the world go ’round…

You can start collecting and promoting your nominations for the 2011 WAmmys by posting them on the Community Forum, in the Kontributor Kudos section under the relevant WAmmy 2011 threads.

Where in the world is Ganderton?

A recent mention of Waldo inspired me to dedicate this post to our Mentoring Program Coordinator, Gregg (code name: Ganderton). Unlike the thick-glassed, super geek who gets lost in mirages of people, our gifted Ganderton can be found EVERYWHERE on Answers.com. When he’s not busy setting up new Supers with inspiring Mentors, he’s found recommending SPAs, answering questions on the Supers Forum, helping with the WAmmys, encouraging Contributors on message boards, beefing up the Jeeps category and so on. Pretty much: EVERYWHERE!

So where in the world is Ganderton right now you ask? That’s easy! Here’s smack-dab in the middle of our Contributor Corner!

What is your user name on Answers.com?

Ganderton.

How did you first learn about the site? When?

I stumbled on to FAQ Farm in early 2006, when I was researching some issues with my daughter’s car. I didn’t find the answer I was looking for, but I did find the same question. Once I repaired the problem I went back and added the answer so that the next person would have an easier time tracking down the malfunction. I contributed anonymously for months, and finally registered so I could keep track of my contributions. Crystal snagged me right away to become a Supervisor.

What is your role on Answers.com and what does it entail?

I am the Mentoring Program Coordinator on Answers.com. I manage the wonderful group of Mentors on site, and try to keep them all actively helping newly appointed Supers get their capes. I develop training tools and visual aids to help them get acquainted with their Super Powers, and try to introduce the new Supers to the community.

What is your favorite activity on the site? Least favorite?

My favorite activity has to be a tie between letting a Contributor know that they have just been made a Super, and when I announce a new Graduate from Mentoring.

Do you have a favorite category? Most despised category?

My favorite category has to be Cars & Vehicles, and within that Jeep and classic Mustangs.

Aside from Answers.com, what do you like to do for fun? Hobbies?

I have 4×4 vehicles that I off-road frequently, canoeing, skiing, hiking, repairing automobiles and photography. Feeding the wild birds outside is so cool! We get hundreds of them every day, and I take as many pictures as I can.

Name one thing not many people know about you.

I really love coffee, and I don’t just mean a spring fling either. I am totally smitten. I consume at least one pot of coffee and two lattes daily. I grind my own beans, and my equipment takes up more space on the kitchen counters than our actual cooking stuff does. Luckily my wife obliges me, and even joins in on Latte 3.0.

If you were a professional wrestler, what would your ring name be and why?

The Inedible Bulk! I just have to laugh when I say it, no other reason.

If you could go bowling with any three people – dead or alive – who would you take and why?

Bruce Smith, because he ROCKS the lanes; George Carlin, because everything he does is funny; and someone from the Busch family (I like beer when I bowl).

Any final words about the site? Your role? The community?

I can’t think of a better thing to be doing with my days (and nights). Every interaction I have with the community leaves me with a great feeling. I hope to be doing this for a long, long time.

Do you want to be interviewed for the Contributor corner? Just leave a comment below and we’ll get to work.

Show your face! Add your avatar on Answers.com.

Time for a profile makeover! No, I don’t mean the silhouette of your actual face. I mean getting your avatar on your Answers.com profile.

Why show your face? Well, aside from the fact that it helps build your profile and establish a trustworthy reputation across the site, avatars will play a key role in some upcoming community features.

In that case, I recommend going from this:

To this:

So, how do you get the avatar on there? The trick is to connect your existing Answers.com account with one of the five offered social IDs: Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo!, Google or LinkedIn. Once you connect your account, your avatar and profile URL are pulled in from the social ID’s site. For instance, if you choose Facebook, your profile picture from Facebook will be pulled in as your avatar, and you’ll have a link to your Facebook page on your Answers.com profile.

In three simple steps:

  1. Sign in to Answers.com with your username and go to My Settings.
  2. Under ‘Connect your account,’ click the social ID you’d like to connect with your existing Answers.com account.
  3. Go to My Profile and check it out!

If you don’t have an Answers.com account or username yet, it’s actually even simpler.

Just click one of  the social ID icons above the log in area to connect and sign in within seconds.

From then on, you’ll only need to click the same social ID button to sign into Answers.com.

Your existing avatar will be pulled to your new Answers.com profile, as well as a link to your profile on that other account. You can add all the other details as well by editing your profile on Answers.com. It looks like this:

Here are some helpful tips on this topic:

  • If you’ve changed your avatar on the other social ID site since connecting with Answers.com, and you want to change it on Answers.com too, simply disconnect the accounts on My Settings, and then reconnect.
  • If the first time you signed up for Answers.com was through a social ID, and you want to link it to an existing Answers.com account, you can still do that by going to My Settings.
  • Just because you have your Facebook link in your profile, doesn’t mean all Answers.com users can see your Facebook profile. That is still dependent on your Facebook privacy settings.
  • Read on about signing in and connecting accounts in the Help Center.
  • More information on building a good reputation on Answers.com can be found here.

Valentine’s Day for whatever you’re into. [VIDEO]

Today may be February 14th, but lots of people have been celebrating Valentine’s Day over this past weekend. Romantic dinners, bouquets of flowers, heart-shaped candy, gifts of all kinds, or none of the above – whatever you’re up to for the holiday of love, there’s something for you to watch and learn.

Personally, I could leave all the flowers and red bows and puppies behind, and only focus on one thing: the cupcakes. Like these Sweet Sweet Valentine’s cupcakes, from a Magnolia bakery recipe.

But you may be into even sweeter stuff – like figuring out first date etiquette so you can take out the girl you’ve been ordering extra coffee from for the last month.

Or, going further – maybe you’re already in relationship mode, and want to work out a long distance relationship with your love.

And if you’re indeed near and dear, and just want to get to the point – well, there are plenty of videos that’ll share a thing or too on sex – and what it does to your brain! (And remember to keep it safe).

But if really, your Valentine’s Day is about taking the ultimate leap – and giving the ultimate gift (of commitment) – there’s an entire library of wedding videos to answer your questions.

And if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to check out the infographic that has the answers to your Valentine’s Day gift-giving questions, from the hottest Q&A sites around.