Sunday, December 24, 2006

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. The Flavian Amphitheatre was the official name of the Colosseum in Roman times. Its popular name was derived from a statue of Emperor Nero, which was known as Colossus, that stood nearby.
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2. In 1916, restrictions imposed in New York city resulted in all skyscrapers being pyramidal in structure (often referred to as the wedding cake shape.) The resolution was imposed to ensure that skyscrapers didn’t block all sunlight from reaching the street. Although there was no mandated height limit, the pyramid shape effectively provided that - making higher floors too small and uneconomical. A new resolution in 1962 shifted the focus, regulating overall height rather than shape.
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3. The 5 surviving manuscript copies of the Gettysburg Address are known as the Nicolay Draft, the Hay Draft, the Everett Copy, the Bancroft Copy and the Bliss Copy. The first two were drafts given by Abraham Lincoln to his secretaries and the other 3 were handwritten souvenir copies. Partly because it is titled, dated and signed by Lincoln, the Bliss Copy has been used for most facsimile reproductions of the famous address.
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4. ‘I Love Lucy’ began as a radio show named ‘My Favorite Husband’ and many of the TV shows used rewritten scripts from the radio show.
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5. The two CD set that accompanied the 1992 reissue of the book ‘Murmurs of Earth’ replicated the data on the the disc set that were sent on the Voyager 1 and 2 space missions.
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6. The atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima used uranium while the one dropped on Nagasaki used plutonium.
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7. A popular story narrates that the two wings of Hotel Moskva in Moscow (also found on the label of Stolichnaya Vodka) have two distinctly different architectural styles because when Stalin was presented with the two facades on a single blueprint, he signed right across the middle. No one was sure which version he had approved and no one dared to clarify. The actuality is that they were built by competing team of architects with different visions of how the hotel should look.
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8. Garuda, the national emblem of Indonesia, has 17 feathers on each wing, 8 tail feathers and 45 neck feathers so arranged to invoke the day Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch - 17th August 1945.
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9. English soldiers were nicknamed “Tommies” during World War I because the example name on the forms soldiers were required to fill out was Thomas Atkins, the U.S. equivalent of John Smith.
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10. Fahrenheit 451 – an apocalyptic movie about a future where books are burnt – has credits that are spoken out and not listed, taking off from its central theme.
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