Sunday, November 18, 2007

10 things I didn't know until last week

1. ‘Sputnik’ is the Russian word for satellite.
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2. A three-dimensional pixel is referred to as voxel. It’s a portmanteau word combining ‘volumetric’ and ‘pixel’ and represents a value on a regular grid in three dimensional space.
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3. His defeat of Hannibal earned the Roman general, Scipio Africanus, the unprecedented honour of being named after the the people he conquered - the Africans. The victory title ‘Africanus’ in his name is an agnomen - a name attached to an individual’s full titulature after birth and formal naming by the family.
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4. Winifred Wagner - daughter-in-law of the composer Richard Wagner - used to refer to Adolf Hitler as USA (for Unser Seliger Adolf or our blessed Adolf).
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5. Trailers are called so, despite preceding movies by weeks or months, because in the early days they were shown after a movie show and announced forthcoming movies or movie installments. Therefore, in its original usage, trailer “refers less to when the clip was screened within the sequence of the program than to how the actual piece of film was used – it was stuck on the end of the main attraction and thus trailed behind.”
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6. The first virus for personal computers was called Elk Cloner, and was created and distributed on an Apple II computer in 1982.
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7. Lewis Hamilton is named after the US sprinter, Carl Lewis.
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8. According to Albert Uderzo, Rene Goscinny chose the name Asterix for the Gaulish hero to ensure that their work would appear first in an encyclopaedia of comics.
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9. The full name of the Knights Templars was ‘Poor Fellow-soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon’.
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10. China has actually banned Tibet’s living Buddhas from reincarnating without permission from the government. “The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,” said a government order, which came into effect from September 1st 2007.
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