Showing posts from November, 2010

Interesting Words - OK okay

The true origins of the word "okay / OK" are not known with any certainty and have been the subject of much discussion over the years.

(Here are a few of the proposed origins:-
Initials of "oll korrect" Coined during a fad for comical misspellings and abbreviations. Documented by Allen Walker Read in 1964, and subsequently widely accepted by dictionaries and etymologists.Misspelling of "O.R." for "Order Received" A common mistake in the Western U.S. owing to the similar shapes of the letters R and K as in a 1790 bill of sale from "Andrew Jackson, Esq., a bill of sale from Hugh McGary to Gasper Mansker for a negro man, which was O.K." This is cited in Putnam's History of Middle Tennessee.  The assertion that the misspelling is common is added in James Parton's 1860 Life of Andrew Jackson. Woodford Heflin in 1939 established that the 1790 bill did in fact read "O.R." rather than "O.K."Initials of "Old Ki…

Interesting Words - OK okay

Okay (also spelled OK, O.K.) is a colloquial English word denoting approval, assent, or acknowledgement, but it can have several different meanings.

(As an adjective, "okay" means "adequate," "acceptable" ("this is okay to send out"), but it can also mean "mediocre" often in contrast to "good" ("the food was okay").

As an interjection, it can denote compliance, "Okay, I will do that", or agreement, "Okay, that's good".

Often it does not modify any other particular word, but rather reinforces the general point being made, particularly if that point is being called into question. For example, a response to “So the accident kept him from going to the reunion?” might be “Oh, he went to it okay, but he had bruised ribs and his car was a wreck.” In this case “okay” does not modify him or his going anywhere; it is a particle emphasizing the point that is being questioned.
As a noun and verb it mea…

Interesting Fact - Christmas Fact - Advent Calendar

Harrods have launched a one-million-dollar advent calendar.

(Amongst other designer toys, it features a speedboat a designer kitchen, and a chronograph watch in rose gold, worth 100,000 Euros. They have 5 for sale, one for each continent, and a spokesperson said that they expect to sell them all. I wouldn't be surprised if they do, after all, a fool and his money are soon parted.)

Interesting Fact - Smoking

According to a study led by the WHO, passive smoking causes 600,000 deaths every year.

(One-third of those killed are children, often exposed to smoke at home or in the family car. The study, carried out in 192 countries, found that passive smoking is particularly dangerous for children, said to be at higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome, pneumonia and asthma. And yet people still smoke. Especially outside the school gates as they pick up their children. We are a funny species.)

Interesting Fact - Ageing

Researchers at Erasmus University in Rotterdam in the Netherlands have developed a new method of estimating a person's age - from their blood.

(The test takes advantage of a characteristic of immune cells known as T cells but it's only accurate to plus or minus 9 years. So no more lying about your age - within limits.)

Interesting Fact - The Internet

The US president has the authority to disconnect computer systems and servers from the internet in the event of a national emergency.

(Seemingly a law was passed in 1942, when after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Roosevelt was given the broad power to commandeer or shut down telephone and telegraph networks. 70 years on there are no telegraph networks, and the telephone is only one of many means of communication. Although the 1942 law makes no mention of the internet it does say "any facility or station for wire communication". The good news is wifi should be safe.)

Interesting Fact - Computers

An Apple computer has sold for £133,250.00 ($210,000.00).

(Why would anyone pay so much for a computer that usually retails at around £1,000.00? Well this is one of the first batch of Apple personal computers, one of only 200 of the model ever made. It originally sold for $666.66 when it was introduced in 1976. 666? OMG!)

Interesting Place - South Africa

Hakskeen Pan, in the Northern Cape of South Africa, is to host the world’s first 1,000mph land speed record attempt in 2012.

(Just one little hitch, the Bloodhound Project needs every inch of over an area of 250 million square feet cleared of stones – by hand. They're asking for volunteers - no pay, backbreaking work, but the chance to be in on something historic.)

Interesting Fact - Books

The University of Texas in San Antonio (UTSA) has opened the first completely bookless library on a university campus in the US.

(The library in the engineering department seats 80 people and holds 425,000 e-books and 18,000 e-journal subscriptions. And the students don't have to worry about books already being out on loan, they simply download whatever they want, whenever they want. What bliss!)

Interesting Animal - Dogs

A chihuahua dog has joined a disaster rescue squad in Japan.

(The little chap will serve alongside retrievers and German shepherds. "We would like it to work hard by taking advantage of its small size," said a police department official. To boldly go where no dog has gone before.)

Interesting Fact - Science

Researchers at Cern, home of the Large Hadron Collider have trapped antimatter atoms for the first time.

(They formed 38 stable atoms of antihydrogen which lasted about two tenths of a second each. For each basic particle of matter, there exists an anti-particle with the same mass but the opposite electric charge, but when a particle and its anti-particle collide, they are "annihilated" in a flash of energy, yielding new particles and anti-particles. Physicists believe that the Big Bang should have produced equal amounts of matter and its opposite, but no one knows what happened to all the antimatter. The word "annihilated" makes me think that's a good thing.)

Interesting Word - Unfriend

The word "unfriend" was the New Oxford American Dictionary's "Word of the Year" for 2009.

(It means to stop being a friend of someone, especially on social networks. Internet friendships are friendships between people who have met online, in some cases people only know each other via the Internet.)


Today is National Unfriend Day.

(It's the day you are supposed to go through all your social network contacts and actually remove anyone you don't have some kind of relationship with.)

Interesting Fact - Diamonds

When he donated the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958, jeweller Harry Winston sent the fabled gem by registered first-class mail.

(It cost $145.29 to post, the stamps cost $2.44 the rest was for insurance. Why doesn't anyone ever send me diamonds?)

Interesting Place - China

380 "Etiquette Angels" have been trained to help out at ceremonies during the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China.

(So, what does an Etiquette Angel do? Well, their main job is to escort VIPs as they present medals to the athletes. In order to do this they have undergone rigorous training, which involves - carrying an imaginary tray of medals to an imaginary winner on the podium - deportment training, which involved learning to stand for at least an hour at a time without dropping a sheet of paper tucked between your knees or letting a book fall from your heads - holding a real with six full bottles of mineral water for up to half an hour at a time - and learning to smile by showing at least four teeth. Seemingly the Chinese deem it ungraceful for a woman to bare her teeth when she smiles, but these girls had to overcome this. It sounds as if they deserve a medal too.)

Interesting People - Niels Bohr

Niels Henrik David Bohr, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922, allegedly taught himself English by reading Dickens' Pickwick Papers over and over again.

(Ha! When I heard this I realised why someone of my acquaintance was so disappointed when he realised that reading The Pickwick Papers is the literary equivalent of watching paint dry.)

Interesting Fact - Reading and Writing

According to England's chief schools inspector, too many children leave primary school unable to read or write well enough.

(The head of Ofsted, Christine Gilbert, said one in five is not at the level expected for English at age 11. Maybe they should make it less of a chore, and a bit more fun. After all since the Factory Acts we've been trying to protect children from exploitation, but now we seem to want to work them to death at school!)

Interesting Fact - Work

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, nearly 600,000 registered nurse (RN) jobs will be created by 2018 - more than any other individual job.

(With an average salary of $65,130 per year, nursing jobs look more and more attractive in a time of recession. And you're not likely to be replaced by a robot any time soon.)

Interesting Fact - War

According to the SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) Military Expenditure Database, combat planes account for one third of all global arms purchases.

(The United States is the largest supplier and India, the United Arab Emirates and Israel the biggest buyers. Only 11 of the world's countries figure on the list produce these aircraft: the United States, Russia, China, France, Sweden, India and Japan on their own, and Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain as part of the Eurofighter consortium.)

Interesting Animal - Crickets

Scientists have discovered that a species of bushcricket, platycleis affinis, has testicles which account for around 14% of its body weight.

(This is the equivalent of a human being having testes with the combined mass of 10kg!)

Interesting Fact - Art

A black and white painting of a big bottle of Coca Cola has sold for 35.3 million dollars at Sotheby's New York contemporary art auction.

(Why? Well because,"Large Coca Cola", was painted by Andy Warhol and the extravagant price might have something to do with this article in Time magazine on how the banks are buying up contemporary art (banks have always been able to convince us that worthless pieces of paper are valuable). The head of contemporary art at Sotheby's described Warhol as "an icon of global desire." Each to his own, but as far as icons go, Warhol is way below Wallace and Gromit for me.)

Interesting People - The Queen

The Queen has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.

(Yes, the British Monarchy have launched themselves onto the internet-based social networking site, and you will be able to find out what royal events are happening, but you won't be able to add The Queen as a "friend" or "poke" her.)

Interesting Fact - Science

The Large Hadron Collider has successfully created a "mini-Big Bang".

(By smashing together lead ions instead of protons, they created temperatures a million times hotter than the centre of the Sun. And we're all still here.)

Interesting Fact - Longevity

In England and Wales, 42% of men die before their 75th birthday compared to 26% of women.

(Almost 100,000 men die prematurely each year compared to about 66,000 women. According to the Office for National Statistics, the life a newborn baby boy should expect to live 77.7 years and a newborn baby girl 81.9 years.)

Interesting Fact - The Weaker Sex

When people talk about "the weaker sex" they are usually talking about women, but according to medical experts, it should be men.

(Yes, when it comes to health, men really are the weaker sex. Men are more likely to get cancer than women and are also more likely to die from it. Heart disease, strokes and obesity are other conditions with a heavier toll in men. Men are even more likely to commit suicide. And yet men visit the GP far less than women.)

Source - BBC News

Interesting Fact - British Police

Fully-sworn British police officers are not employees, they are servants of the Crown.

(According to the Police Federation, "Every sworn police officer in England and Wales is a ‘Constable’, irrespective of rank," ... "those who hold the Office of Constable are servants of the Crown, not employees. Police officers have access to most statutory employment rights afforded to employees, but it is a criminal offence for police officers to take industrial action." This means the British police cannot go on strike, but on the other hand, they can't be made redundant either, as a result some police forces are trying to enforce retirement, because regulations state that a policeman can be "required to retire" after 30 or more years' service.)

Interesting Fact - Blindness

A newly invented electronic chip can help some blind people to detect objects.

(Developed by Professor Eberhart Zrenner, of Germany's University of Tuebingen, and a private company Retina Implant AG, the electronic chip was embedded in the central macular area behind the retina, and while not everyone benefited, one man, Miikka Terho, 46, from Finland, who suffers from an inherited form of blindness, was able to identify letters and a clock face. It's brilliant!)

Interesting Place - Mumbai

Officials in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) have had all the coconuts round the city's Gandhi museum, removed.

(Why? Well, US President Barack Obama is visiting, and they don't want the coconuts to fall on his head! According to George Burgess, director of the Florida Museum of Natural History, "Falling coconuts kill 150 people worldwide each year, 15 times the number of fatalities attributable to sharks." I wonder who compiled the stats?)

Interesting Fact - Technology

China has the world's fastest supercomputer, the Tianhe-1A supercomputer, which is capable of carrying out more than 2.5 thousand trillion calculations a second. (The computer has more than 7,000 graphics processors and 14,000 Intel chips and has taken over the top spot from America's XT5 Jaguar at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee, which can only carry out 1.75 petaflops. One petaflop is the equivalent of 1,000 trillion calculations per second.  I still love the word "petaflop".  It reminds me of Sam.)