July 26, 2011 - Happy Birthday, FBI!

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was created on this day in 1908. It is, in a way, the United States' national police department, because the FBI has jurisdiction in more than 200 categories of federal crime. The FBI also is the “intelligence agency” that gathers information from inside the country for the purposes of national security. (The CIA and NSA both operate as intelligence agencies involved with data gathering around the world.)

Did you know that FBI is an abbreviation for “Federal Bureau of Investigation,” but it's not an acronym? An acronym is a word you can pronounce, with at least one vowel per syllable, created from initial letters or word parts. FBI is just the initial letters that we pronounce as letters; it would have to be pronounced something like “febbie” to be an acronym. Examples of acronyms are NASA (“National Aeronautics and Space Administration”) and scuba (“self-contained underwater breathing apparatus”).

But though FBI is not an acronym, the organization does feature a backronym. A backronym is a phrase created especially to start with certain letters; in other words, it is sort of the opposite of an acronym. The FBI's backronym is its motto: Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity.

Play games on the official FBI website!  I just tried the first two slider puzzles—and they were difficult but fun!

Watch White Collar. This is one of my favorite shows right now; the USA network show features a white collar division of the FBI.  The show is in its third season, but we watched the first two seasons streaming and on DVDs from Netflix and loved them!

Many other television shows, including an old favorite, NUMB3RS, also deal with the FBI, but these shows are often more violent--the FBI, of course, does investigate murders and other violent crimes. White Collar is a lot less bloody because it's more about conmen and scam artists. You might, however, want to check the parental advisory.

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