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Sunday, 29 June 2014


It is generally thought that Confucius was born on September 28, 551 BC. The son of a once noble family who had recently fled from the State of Song, his father, Kong He, was seventy and his concubine mother, Yan Zhengzai, only fifteen at his birth.

He had 9 older sisters and a crippled brother.

Confucius' father died when he was three. His mother was rejected by his father's family after his death and Confucius' family were forbidden to attend his funeral.  From then on they lived in poverty.

As a boy, he lived on a diet of rice and cabbage with possibly a little pork and bean broth.

His real name was K'ung Fu-Tsu- (The Master). Confucius is the latinised form given to him.

As a boy Confucius followed the Chinese custom of wearing plain metal necklaces like a collar to fool the evil spirits into thinking he was a dog.

A shy and lonely boy, Confucius acted out games with his toys made from clay and flew kites.

At the age of six, people noted his fondness for putting ritual vases on the sacrifice table.

Despite his poverty, Confucius received a fine education, for the Lu state was famous for preserving the state traditions of the Zhou dynasty.

Confucius married at the age of 19, The full name of his wife is not known, only that she was from a family with the name of Kienkuan. A year later the couple had their first child, Kong Li.

Confucius' wife didn't his expectations as a cook. The fastidious Chinese teacher demanded that meat should always be served in its proper sauce, be cut perfectly square and have exactly the right color. For him, even the choicest of rice is generally not white enough, and minced meat rarely fine enough.

It was not a happy marriage. Despite this Confucius stressed in his teaching the importance of a strong family.

Confucius' mother died in 527 BC, and after a period of mourning of three years he began his career as a state official.

As a young man he was a minor administrative manager in the State of Lu and rose to the position of Justice Minister. It is said that, after several years, disapproving of the politics of his Prince, he resigned.

When nearly 50 Confucius accepted governship of a small town where he distinguished himself in suppression of crime and promotion of morality. He performed so well that a neighbouring governor became jealous and plotted his overthrow and Confucius was forced into voluntary exile and wandered around for 13 years.

A portrait of Confucius by the Tang dynasty artist Wu Daozi (680–740)

Confucius then began a twelve year journey around China, seeking the "Way" and trying unsuccessfully to convince many different rulers of his political beliefs and to push them into reality.

Confucius developed his philosophy during a time of anarchy and war. His teachings based on reason sought to inspire true goodness in a social setting of morally correct behaviour governed by a righteous ruler.

During his lifetime Confucius gradually attracted a number of disciples who accompanied him whilst he sought such a ruler who would enable him to put in practice his vision of a just and humane society.

Confucius wore hemp or silk robes over trousers and in winter thick quilted coats and wooden clogs or straw sandals.

Confucius used mulberry for inner ear problems and dizziness, Chinese yam for fatigue and loss of appetite and buckbean root for the common cold.

A story is told of how one day Confucius and his disciples were all thirsty. One disciple discovered a hidden rain puddle, so he filled his rice bowl and offered it to him. Confucius emptied the offering on the ground saying, "It would be too much for one, too little for all of us, let us continue our walk."

One day the Chinese teacher came upon an old woman weeping beside a grave. Confucius asked her why. A tiger had killed her husband and her father in law she explained. Now it had recently slain her only son. "Why then do you live in this savage place?" asked Confucius. "Because there is no oppressive government here came the reply. "My children" said Confucius to his followers. "Remember that oppressive government is worse than a tiger."

Confucius devoted himself to collecting and editing the ancient Chinese holy writings. Amongst the material he collected were 300 Chinese songs, ceremonial dances, love songs and work songs.

He died in 479BC believing he had failed in his aims but many attend his burial and his grave became a center of pilgrimage.

There are reckoned to be 40,000 direct descendants of Confucius living in China today. Many of them are, to this, day, buried in Confucius forest.

Confucius's family, the Kongs, have the longest recorded extant pedigree chart in the world today. The family tree, now in its 83rd generation, has been recorded since the death of Confucius. With over 2 million registered descendants alive today. it is the largest family tree in the world.

For over 2,500 years Confucianism has been the religion of most Chinese people. In 136 BC Confucianism became the state religion.

Until the beginning of the 20th century all Chinese students training for official posts had to learn the sayings of Confucius, the country's most revered philosopher.

Sources Faber Book of Anecdotes, Food For Thought


Early on as a reformer, Martin Luther publicly concluded that penance (the church sacrament involving confession of sin) wasn't a sacrament at all. Yet he continued to daily confess his sins to another person for most of his life.

In 1994 Grey Garvey, a Canadian lecturer and self-styled Father Interactive of the Order of Binary Brothers developed an Automatic Confessional Machine. This sophisticated piece of redemptive technology was a six-foot black perspex kiosk topped by a red neon cross. Inside was a computer screen and a keyboard. The sinner pressed the “Amen” key to call up a menu of the Seven Deadly Sins, each of which was broken down into a range of sub-categories. Within a few seconds of clicking on your sin the user got a print-out of your penance.

Source Christian History

Sunday, 22 June 2014


The French composer Lully (1632-1687) used to beat time by banging a big stick on the floor to the time of the music. One day he banged his stick very hard and it went through his foot and he became ill and died.

The special role of the conductor emerged only in the 19th century; previously, the task of keeping the musicians together was performed by one of the leading players.

The prestige now associated with the role developed with the emergence of composers (such as Berlioz and Mendelssohn) who also conducted,

The German-born pianist and conductor Charles Hallé settled in England in 1848 and set up the Halle Orchestra and the Royal Manchester College of Music. Such was the love for Halle in Manchester that when he died on October 25, 1895, his funeral procession brought the city to a standstill.

Charles Hallé

When he died, conductor Herbert von Karajan's wife, Eliette, inherited a fortune worth $275 million.

Female conductors lead only 4.1% of "big budget" American symphony orchestras.

Conductors usually beat time with their right hand. This leaves their left hand free to show the various instruments when they have entries (when they start playing) or to show them to play louder or softer.

Source Europress Encyclopedia


To protect themselves from STDs, the Ancient Egyptians used cobra skins molted to form condoms.

In ancient Japan, condoms were made from tortoise shells or animal horns.

The 16th-century Italian gynaecologist Gabriele Falloppio advocated the use of condom use to prevent the spread of disease. Fallopia claimed to have tested it on 1100 men, none of whom became infected.

The oldest condoms ever found date back to the 1640s (they were found in a cesspit at Dudley Castle) and were made from animal and fish guts.

The Italian Giacomo Casanova (1725-1798), described his experience with condoms which he named 'English overcoats'. By Casanova's time, condoms were made from sheep, calf or goat intestine, or fish skin. They were hand sewn and relatively expensive.

During the Gulf War, the British shipped 500,000 camouflage condoms to troops in Saudi Arabia—to protect their guns from filling with sand.

In March 2010, the Swiss government announced that it was planning to promote smaller condoms intended for boys of 12–14 years old following concern about the pregnancy rate among adolescent girls, and also about the potential spread of AIDS among this age group.

The Ramses brand condom is named after the great Pharaoh Ramses II who fathered over 160 children.

The term "scumbag" originally meant "condom."

In 2008, Carl Mosca Dionisio strung together 18,500 latex condoms and used them to bungee jump from a 100-foot tower.

Nearly 96% of high schools in France have condom vending machines.

Source History World

Condensed Milk

Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk was introduced by an American, Gail Borden, to combat food poisoning and other illnesses related to the current difficulty in storing milk for more than a few hours in 1856. She received a patent for this new milk product from both the United States and England.

American Civil War troops required milk that kept well and didn't spoil. Gail Borden’s Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk met that need.

In 1864, Gail Borden's New York Condensed Milk Company constructed the New York Milk Condensery in Brewster, New York. Over 200 dairy farmers supplied 20,000 gallons of milk daily to the Brewster plant as demand was driven by the Civil War.

Gail Borden's new type of milk was also credited with significantly lowering the infant mortality rate in North America.

Nestlé’s origins date back to 1866, when two separate Swiss enterprises were founded that would later form the core of Nestlé. One of them was The Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company, which was established in August 1867 in Cham, Switzerland by Charles and George Page.

In 1911, Nestlé constructed the world's largest condensed milk plant in Dennington, Victoria, Australia.


The ancient Romans had concrete at least as early as 200 BC making it with pozzolana, a volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius, near Pozzuoli, Italy. Pozzolana is still used today.

Pozzolana concrete was at first used it only for terrace walls and foundations, as, for example, at the Temple of Fortuna Primigenia at Palestrina, erected about 80 BC.

It was the emperor Nero who first used the material on a grand scale to rebuild a region of the city of Rome around his palace, the expansive Domus Aurea (Golden House), after the great fire of AD 64.

Roman concrete was a fluid mixture of lime and small stones poured into the hollow centers of walls faced with brick or stone and over curved wooden molds, or forms, to span spaces as vaults.

The development of concrete used in conjunction with brick, along with a great deal of engineering skill, allowed the construction of buildings such as the Pantheon, (100-125), and the Coliseum.(72-80).

The Romans also used concrete for aqueducts, bridges and domes..

The Pantheon in Rome, built in 120 AD, is still the largest reinforced concrete dome in the world. With no metal skeleton, it fails current health and safety legislation.

Although the Romans used plenty of concrete, after the fall of the Empire the technology fell out of practical human knowledge for over 700 years.

Concrete was little used until 1752 when John Smeaton, an English engineer, rediscovered how to make waterproof cement and used it as mortar for a stone lighthouse at Eddystone, England.

By 1900 concrete had taken the place of a great deal of masonry and wood.

Just over 5 million barrels of concrete were required to build the Hoover Dam on the border of Arizona and Nevada. Even though it was built between 1931 and 1936, that concrete is not expected to completely set till at least 2035.

On February 15, 2014, 21,200 cubic yards, or 82 million pounds, of concrete was poured at the site of the Wilshire Grand Center, a 1,100 ft skyscraper under construction in the Financial District of Downtown Los Angeles. This broke a prior record of 21,000 cubic yards of concrete poured in one continuous pour. set during the construction of the Las Vegas hotel, The Venetian in 1999.

Computer rendering of the Wilshire Grand Center.Wikipedia Commons

NASA developed a form of concrete that doesn't need water, to be used as a construction material on the Moon.

The world record for the fastest time to break 16 concrete blocks on the body is 4.75 seconds, achieved by Ali Bahçetepe from Turkey in Milas Cumhuriyet Square, Muğla, Turkey, on March 18, 2017. Ali Bahçetepe broke his previous record of 6.33 seconds recorded exactly three years earlier.

China consumed 6.6 gigatons of concrete between 2011 and 2013, That’s more than the US used in the entire 20th century.

The weight of the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, is 440,000 tons. It is the equivalent to about 100,000 elephants.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.


The world’s first supersonic airliner, the Anglo-French Concorde, had its initial test flight from Toulouse on March 2, 1969, piloted by André Turcat, and first broke the sound barrier later that year on October 1st.

Inspired by delta-winged nuclear bombers, the Concorde was made by the French company Aérospatiale and the British company British Aircraft Corporation.

Concorde made its first non-stop flight across the Atlantic Ocean, from Washington to Paris on September 26, 1973 in record-breaking time. It flew at an average speed of 954 mph and halved the flight time to 212 minutes.

Scheduled flights began on January 21, 1976 on the London–Bahrain and Paris–Rio (via Dakar) routes, A scheduled service from Paris and London to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport began on November 22, 1977.

Flying from London to New York by Concorde, due to the time zones crossed, you could arrive two hours before you leave.

THE average age of a Concorde passenger was 43 — and 43 per cent were chairmen or senior managers.

In 1982 a passenger could have enjoyed a one-day visit on the supersonic jet to the Egyptian pyramids for £780 — marketed as the most expensive day trip in the world.

 "British Airways Concorde G-BOAC 03" by Eduard Marmet -Commons Wikipedia

Some people did not like the sonic booms caused by Concorde flying faster than the speed of sound. At different times, Concorde was not allowed to fly over certain countries because of this.

While taking off on July 25, 2000, en route from Paris to New York City, Air France Concorde Flight 4590 ran over debris on the runway, blowing a tyre and puncturing a fuel tank, leading to fire and engine failure. The aircraft crashed in Gonesse, France killing all 100 passengers and nine crew members, as well as four people on the ground. It was the only fatal Concorde accident during its 27-year operational history.

The DC-10 involved, By, Wikipedia Commons

The Concorde makes its final commercial passenger flight from New York JFK to London Heathrow on October 24, 2003.

The TU-144 was the Soviet supersonic passenger jet to rival the Anglo-French Concorde. At the Paris Air Show in 1973, Russian pilot Mikhail Koslov was said to have boasted at a reception that he would outfly Concorde. Instead, he crashed, killing six crew and eight people on the ground. A second one was built but was only ever used to transport mail.


Impresario John Banister staged the world’s first public music concert in 1672 at Whitefriars, London charging 1s admission.

Promenade Concerts are concerts where inexpensive tickets are sold for promenaders who stand throughout in a specially designated area. They derive from open-air concerts given in the pleasure gardens of 18th-century London, where people would literally “promenade” to hear music, among other attractions.

Cyanide pills were distributed to audience members of the last Berlin Philharmonic concert on April 12, 1945 as Allied forces approached Berlin and the surrender of Germany seemed imminent.

The Moondog Coronation Ball held at the Cleveland Arena in Cleveland, Ohio on March 21, 1952 is generally accepted as the first major rock and roll concert. The concert was organized by disc jockey Alan Freed, who is considered to have coined the term "Rock and Roll," along with Lew Platt, a local concert promoter.

The Beatles played to nearly 60,000 fans on August 15, 1964 at Shea Stadium in New York,  an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.

ZZ Top played their first ever concert on February 10, 1970 at a Knights of Columbus Hall on the old U.S. 90 outside of Houston. When the curtains opened there was just one person in the audience. Billy Gibbons recalled to Q magazine: "We shrugged and pressed onwards. We took a break halfway through, went out and bought him a Coke."

The Who made it into the Guinness Book Of Records for the loudest ever gig. Their concert at Charlton Athletic Football ground on May 31, 1976 was measured at 120 decibels from 50 metres away.

Bob Dylan performed in 1978 at what was the biggest open-air concert in history for a solo artist, playing for over 200,000 at "The Picnic at Blackbushe" at Blackbushe Airport in Hampshire, England.

The record for the largest concert attendance in history is shared by Rod Stewart who performed for over 3.5 million people in Rio de Janeiro in 1993 and Jean Michel Jarre whose 1997 Celebration of the 850th birthday of Moscow show in 1987 was also attended by 3.5 million.

The Rolling Stones become in 1994 the first rock act to stream a live concert on the Internet, webcasting a portion of a show from Dallas, Texas.

On average, Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones covers 12 miles of running, walking, jumping and dancing during a concert.

In 2007, the British jazz-funk band Jamiroquai gave a performance on Boeing 757 traveling at 1017 km/h (632 mph), setting the Guinness World Record for "fastest concert."

Katie Melua holds the world record for the deepest underwater concert after performing 303 metres (994 feet) below sea level in the leg of a gas rig in the North Sea in 2009.

Director Dan Catullo set a Guinness World Record for using the most cameras (239) to record a live concert when he helmed the 2009 DVD Creed: Live.

30 Seconds to Mars earned themselves a place in the Guinness Book Of Records with their gig at New York's Hammerstein Ballroom on December 7, 2011. It was their 300th concert in support of their This Is War record breaking the world record for most shows performed during a single album cycle.

Seconds to Mars, Anfiteatro Camerini Wikipedia

The Flaming Lips made history in June 2012 by setting a new Guinness World Record for the most concerts performed in multiple cities in a 24-hour time period. The shows were required to be at least 15 minutes long, as per Guinness rules. The attempt started in Memphis, Tennessee on the afternoon of June 27th when the rock band boarded their bus, aptly named Endeavor, to zigzag across the region. Their marathon ended in New Orleans on the afternoon of June 28th, with 20 minutes to spare.

On December 8, 2013, Metallica made history when they performed a rare concert in Antarctica, becoming the first act to ever play all seven continents all within a year, and earning themselves a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.

An encore is a call for an additional performance to be given at the end of a concert. It is from the French encore, which means "again." The French themselves call une autre ('another'), un rappel ('a return') or the Latin bis ('second time') in the same circumstances.

Source Microsoft® Encarta® 99 Encyclopedia.

Computer Programmer

Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace (December 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852) was born Augusta Ada Byron, the only legitimate child of the poet Lord Byron and his wife Anne Isabella Milbanke.  She is chiefly known for her work on Charles Babbage's early mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. She is often described as the world's first computer programmer.

Watercolor portrait of Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (Ada Lovelace)
In 1833, Ada met Charles Babbage, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge and inventor of the Difference Engine, a calculating machine. During a nine-month period in 1842-1843, she translated for him Italian mathematician Louis Menebrea's memoir on Babbage's newest proposed machine, the Analytical Engine. With the article, she appended a set of notes which specified in complete detail a method for calculating Bernoulli numbers with the Engine, recognized by historians as the world's first computer program.

Lovelace's diagram from Note G, the first published computer algorithm

In 1962, a programmer omitted a single hyphen in the code for the Mariner I rocket, causing it to explode shortly after take off. This typo cost NASA the equivalent of $630 million dollars today.

On December 10, 1980, the U.S. Defense Department approved the reference manual for their new computer programming language which was christened, Ada.

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller, from Cleveland, Ohio was the first woman to earn a PhD in Computer Science in the United States in 1965. She also earned a Masters degree in Mathematics and Physics, helped develop computer programming languages, and was a Catholic nun.

CBBS, the first computer bulletin board system was created by Ward Christensen in Chicago on February 16, 1978. He explained it was conceived to mimic a "cork board and push pin bulletin board" on a computer - thus "Computerized Bulletin Board System."

Ward Christensen and the CBBS.By Jscott at the English language Wikipedia, 

In 1982, as a high school student at Mt. Lebanon High School, Rich Skrenta wrote the Elk Cloner virus that infected Apple II machines. It is widely believed to be the first large-scale self-spreading personal computer virus ever created.

British computer programmer Tim Berners-Lee, introduced WorldWideWeb, the world's first web browser and WYSIWYG HTML editor in 1991.



For centuries, “Computer” was a job title for a person who did math problems all day.

The earliest evidence of human computation consists of notches on a wolf bone found in France dating back to around 30,000BC.

In 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovered the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer. The Antikythera mechanism was used to predict astrological events such as orbits and eclipses. Its complexity wouldn't be matched until more than 1,500 years later with astronomical clocks.

Konrad Zuse presented the Z3, the world's first working programmable, fully automatic computer, in Berlin on May 11, 1941. Program code and constant data were stored on punched film. The German Aircraft Research Institute used it to perform statistical analyses of wing flutter.

Zuse Z3 replica on display at Deutsches Museum in Munich

ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose digital computer, was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia on February 15, 1946. It had a speed on the order of one thousand times faster than that of electro-mechanical machines and was heralded as a "Giant Brain" by the press.

Although ENIAC was designed and primarily used to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory, its first programs included a study of the feasibility of the thermonuclear weapon.

The first actual case of a computer bug was found in 1947 when a moth lodged in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.

The Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine, the world's first stored-program computer, ran its first computer program on June 21, 1948. Nicknamed Baby, it was built at the Victoria University of Manchester, England, by Frederic C. Williams, Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill.

Replica of the Small-Scale Experimental Machine 

EDSAC, the first practical electronic digital stored-program computer, run its first operation on May 6, 1949.

The world’s first office computer was built in 1951 in the UK by Lyon’s chain of tea shops in 1951.

On June 14, 1951 "Univac I" was unveiled. It was a computer designed for the U.S. Census Bureau and billed as the world's first commercial computer. That same computer is housed at the University of Pennsylvania.

UNIVAC I at Franklin Life Insurance Company

The concept for the integrated circuit, the basis for all modern computers, was first published in 1952 by Geoffrey Dummer.

IBM introduced the first computer disk storage unit, the RAMAC 305 on September 13, 1956. It had a capacity of 4.4 MB.

An IBM RAMAC 305 computer was used during the 1960 Olympic Winter Games in Squaw Valley USA. It was the first time an electronic data processing system was provided for the Games.

Photo below shows an IBM 305 at the U.S. Army Red River Arsenal foreground: two 350 disk drives background: 380 console and 305 processing unit

The IBM 610 Auto-Point Computer is considered the first ever personal computer. It went on sale for $55,000 in 1957.

The first computer mouse was constructed in 1964 and was made of wood.

The Icelandic word for “computer” is “tölva”, which is formed from tala (number) and “völva” (prophetess). So it means “prophetess of number”. The word was coined in 1964 to mark the arrival of the first computer at the University of Iceland.

The NLS, a computer collaboration system that was the first to employ the practical use of hypertext, the computer mouse, and other modern computing concepts, was publicly demonstrated for the first time in San Francisco on December 9, 1968. Engineer and inventor Douglas Engelbart's 90-minute 'Mother of All Demos' essentially demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor.

The computer that landed Apollo 11 on the moon had only 2 MHz of processing power, 4 KB of RAM, and 72 KB of ROM, less than that of a modern calculator. Minutes before landing, the processor became overloaded due to extra tasks performed by the landing radar.

The first mouse received its patent in 1970. In the patent application it was described as an "X-Y position indicator for a display system".

The Ethernet,  a method of connecting computers together in a local area network or LAN, was developed by Robert Metcalfe at Xerox PARC between 1973 and 1974. It has been the most widely used method of linking computers together in LANs since the 1990s.

The first mass market personal computer, the Apple II, went on sale on June 10, 1977.

Apple II computer. On display at the Musée Bolo, EPFL, Lausanne.

The first Apple II, computers on sale had a MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor running at 1.023 MHz, two game paddles, 4 kB of RAM, an audio cassette interface for loading programs and storing data, and the Integer BASIC programming language built into the ROMs.

The first gigabyte-capacity disc drive, the IBM 3380 debuted in 1980. It was the size of a fridge and cost today's equivalent of $113,000 dollars.

The IBM 5120 from 1980 may well have been the heaviest ever desktop computer, clocking in at 105 pounds.

The Osborne 1, the first commercially successful portable microcomputer, was released on April 3, 1981 by Osborne Computer Corporation. It weighed 10.7 kg (23.5 lb) and cost $1,795.00

The ZX81, a pioneering British home computer, was launched by Sinclair Research in 1981 and went on to sell over 1.5 million units around the world.

Xerox PARC introduced the Xerox 8010 Star Information System, the first commercial system utilizing a computer mouse on April 27, 1981.

The IBM Personal Computer, the original version and progenitor of the IBM PC compatible hardware platform, was introduced on August 12, 1981.

Mt. Lebanon High School student Richard Skrenta wrote the first PC virus code in 1982.  400 lines long it was disguised as an Apple boot program called "Elk Cloner" and infected Apple II computers via floppy disk.

The Commodore 64, an 8-bit home computer introduced in January 1982 by Commodore International is sometimes compared to the Ford Model T automobile for its role in bringing a new technology to middle-class households.

Time magazine chose the personal computer as its Person Of The Year on December 26, 1982, the first non-human ever.

In 1983, after five years of development, Apple released the Lisa, the first personal computer with a graphical user interface and a computer mouse. Although the Lisa was a commercial failure—due in part to its initial price tag of $9,995—it had a significant impact on the computer industry.

The Lisa is often rumored to have been named after the first daughter of Apple's Steve Jobs, though several acronyms have been ascribed to the name.

The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, was introduced during Super Bowl XVIII with its famous "1984" television commercial.

The first hard drive available for the Apple II had a capacity of only 5 megabytes.

The first computer virus was released into the wild on January 19, 1986. A boot sector virus dubbed (c)Brain, it was created by the Farooq Alvi Brothers in Lahore, Pakistan, reportedly to deter piracy of the software they had written.

Hex dump of the Blaster worm, showing a message left for Microsoft CEO Bill Gates by the worm's programmer
Early computers were usually beige because Germany initiated workplace standards that required 'light-value' colors on office computing equipment, causing other European countries to follow suit. This made it financially attractive to solely produce beige computers.

The early Macintosh models were a beige color. Although Apple switched to a desaturated gray they called “Platinum” in 1987, users began to refer to them as "beige" following the introduction of the brightly colored iMac and Blue and White G3.

The Intel Corporation shipped in 1993 the first Pentium chips (80586), featuring a 60 MHz clock speed, 100+ MIPS, and a 64 bit data path. It sold for $878 apiece.

IBM supercomputer Deep Blue became the first computer to defeat a world chess champion in a classical game, when it bested Garry Kasparov on February 10, 1996. Kasparov won the six game match 4-2, but Deep Blue got its revenge in the re-match the following year, winning 3.5 - 2.5.

Deep Blue IBM chess computer. By James the photographer - Wikipedia Commons

Ayan Qureshi took and passed Microsoft's IT Technician Exam on September 27, 2014, at the age of 5 years and 11 months, making him the youngest computer specialist in the world.

More than 190,000,000 computers were sold worldwide in 2012.


The plural of “computer mouse” has long been disputed. Some say “mice”, some say “mouses”.

The average computer user only blinks seven times a minute when in front of their screen.

The word 'byte' is a contraction of 'by eight.'

A USB memory stick is more powerful than the computer system that guided the Apollo spacecraft to the moon.

Out of the TOP500 super computers, none of them run on Windows. 498 of them use the Linux kernel. The remaining 2 use AIX, a variant of Unix.

Hackers stole about $81 million from Bangladesh Bank due to the bank’s use of $10 computer network switches and no firewalls.

The raw materials needed to make a desktop computer, including 530 lb of fossil fuels, 50 lb of chemicals and 3,330 lb of water, weigh two tons: about the same as a rhinoceros.

Source Daily Express


Francesca Caccini (1587 – 1641) finished the opera-ballet La Liberazione di Ruggiero in 1625, which was performed at a reception for Wladyslaw IV of Poland. It is widely considered the first opera by a female composer.

The first American composer is usually considered to be William Billings (1746-1800). A tanner by trade, he was a self-taught musician, who published his first collection of church music, the New England Psalm Singer in 1770. Despite his prominence, he was never able to make an adequate living and he died in abject poverty.

The composer for Looney Tunes cartoons, Carl W. Stalling, wrote an average of one complete episode score per week for 22 years.


The Ancient Greeks discovered how to make simple compasses using magnetic iron ore.

In China, an equivalent device to the compass was first produced in the third century BC, but not for navigation. It was used by fortune tellers to divine unseen forces, and  wasn’t employed for navigation until the ninth century.

Before compasses, Vikings navigated the ocean using birds, whales, celestial bodies, chants and rhymes.

Sailors in China and Europe independently discovered in the 12th century lodestone, a magnetic mineral that aligned with the North Pole. By 1190, Italian navigators were using lodestone to magnetise needles floating in bowls of water.

Any magnetic needle allowed to turn freely will always come to rest pointing in a North-South direction.

Honeybees navigate by using the sun as a compass.

Source The Independent 


The oldest company in the world was a Buddhist Temple builder that had been in business continually for 1,428 years before succumbing to financial difficulties in 2006.

The five oldest companies, still running, are in Japan, and 52.8% of the worlds 985 oldest companies (that's 520) are in Japan.

The Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie or VOC in old Dutch), was established on March 20, 1602, when the Netherlands gave a group of small trading companies a 21-year monopoly to trade in Asia. It was the first company to issue stock, one of the first multinational corporations, and possibly the first megacorporations. The Dutch East Company had the power to start wars, make treaties, make its own money, and start new colonies.

Between 1602 and 1796 the Dutch East Company sent almost a million Europeans to work in the Asia trade on 4,785 ships, and netted for their efforts more than 2.5 million tons of Asian trade goods.

The Dutch East India Company's headquarters in Amsterdam. By Amsterdam Municipal Department for the Preservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings and Sites (bMA), Attribution, Wikipedia Commons

Weighed down by corruption in the late 18th century, the Company went bankrupt and was formally dissolved in 1800. Its colonies became the Dutch East Indies which later became Indonesia.

The East India Company was formed in 1600 to pursue trade with the "East Indies" but ended up trading mainly with the Indian subcontinent and Qing China.. By 1803, at the height of its rule in India, the British East India company had a private army of about 260,000 - twice the size of the British army. It also once accounted for half of the world's trade.

The General Electric Company was founded on April 15, 1892. In 1896, General Electric was one of the original 12 companies listed on the newly formed Dow Jones Industrial Average. It is the only one of the original companies still listed on the Dow index,

General Electric in Schenectady, NY, aerial view, 1896

UPS was started in Seattle by two teenagers, James Casey and Claude Ryan, with one bicycle and $100 borrowed from a friend on August 28, 1907. Their motto was "best service and lowest rates".

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard held a coin toss in 1939 to decide whose name would go first when they set up the company. Packard won the toss and chose to put Hewlett's name first so itbecame Hewlett-Packard.

On April 8, 1946 Électricité de France, the world's largest utility company, was formed as a result of the nationalisation of a number of electricity producers, transporters and distributors.

IBM announced a loss of $4.97 billion for 1992 broke the then record for the largest single-year loss in US. corporate history.

In 1998 Mercedes-Benz bought Chrysler for $40 billion and formed DaimlerChrysler in the largest industrial merger in history.

Exxon and Mobil signed a US$73.7 billion agreement to merge on November 30, 1998, creating ExxonMobil, the world's largest company.

AOL Time Warne's loss of $98 billion dollars in 2002 was the largest loss in history. The loss was roughly the same size as the gross domestic product of Israel.

On May 14, 2008 there were 5,586 companies with over 200 years of history across 41 countries. More than 3,000 of those are in Japan and 837 in Germany.

Walmart regained the No. 1 title on Fortune’s list of the top 500 companies in 2013, with Exxon Mobil dropping back to runner-up. According to Fortune, the world’s biggest retailer has held the top spot nine times since 1955, swapping only with the oil giant (13 times) and Detroit stalwart General Motors (37 times).

Walmart Stores, Inc is the largest private-sector company employer in the world. In 2014 it had 2,200,000 employees on its books.

Inside the Walmart Supercenter in West Plains, Missouri. By 7OA - Wikipedia Commons

Nolan Bushnell, founder of the video game company Atari, also founded the Chuck E. Cheese restaurant chain.

Cisco is not an acronym. It's short for San Francisco, where the company was founded.

Compact Disc

The Compact Disc is an evolution of LaserDisc technology. Prototypes were developed by Philips and Sony independently from the mid-to-late 1970s. Philips publicly demonstrated a prototype of an optical digital audio disc for the first time on March 8, 1979 at a press conference called "Philips Introduce Compact Disc" in Eindhoven, Netherlands.

CC BY-SA 2.5, Wikipedia Commons

The first public demonstration of a CD player was on a 1981 episode of the BBC's Tomorrow's World. The CD they used was a special transfer of the Bee Gees' Living Eyes.

The first commercial compact disc was produced at the Polydor Pressing Operations plant in Langenhagen near Hannover, Germany on August 17, 1982. It was a recording from 1979 of Claudio Arrau performing Chopin waltzes. Arrau was invited to the Langenhagen plant to press the start button.

The first CD player available for sale, the Sony CDP-101 was released on October 1, 1982. Launched only in Japan, it cost 168,000 yen ($730 USD).

SONY CDP-101. By Atreyu - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Wikipedia Commons

Philips, Sony's partner in the development of CD technology, launched their Philips CD100 the following month.

Sony was finally able to sell their players worldwide as of March 1, 1983.

The first discs could play 74 minutes, on the insistence of Sony chief Akio Morita, who stipulated one disc could carry Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

The first CDs--nearly 5 inches (13 centimeters) in diameter--stored the same amount of sound on one side as a 12-inch (30.5-centimeter) LP reproduced on two sides.

The first portable CD player was the Sony Discman. It was introduced in 1984.

Mercedes-Benz was the first automobile manufacturer to offer a CD player as a factory option in 1984.

Born in the U.S.A. became the first compact disc manufactured in the United States for commercial release when CBS and Sony opened its CD manufacturing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana in September 1984. Columbia Records' CDs previously had been imported from Japan.

At one point in the 1990s, 50% of all CDs produced worldwide were for AOL.

A compact disc may be less than 5 inches wide, but if the data track were unwound, it would stretch to over 3.5 miles long.

The compact disc can hold around 700MB of info.

The very first compact disc to sell 1 million copies was Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms.

David Bowie was the first major artist to convert his entire catalog to the compact disc format in 1985.

Tony Bennett's 1987 The Art Of Excellence LP was the first album to be initially released on CD instead of the traditional vinyl format.

CDs spin counter-clockwise.

Sources The Independent, Spinner, Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

Sunday, 15 June 2014


The Communist Manifesto by communist theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels was first published on February 21, 1848.

Cover of the Communist Manifesto’s initial publication in February 1848 in London.

As a young man, the German philosopher Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was sent by his father to Manchester, England in a vain attempt to calm his ‘liberal ideas.’

The Manifesto was written over 6–7 weeks. Although Engels is credited as co-writer, the final draft was penned exclusively by Marx.

Initially ignored in the writers' native Germany, The Communist Manifesto became one of the world's most influential political tracts.

After Czar Nicholas II abdicated in 1917, Vladimir Lenin became President of Russia, the world’s first communist leader.

Between 1917-21, 10 million died during Lenin’s communist regime. Lenin felt that human rights shouldn't get in the way of the progress of the working class.

Early in Lenin's communist party reign, the Orthodox Easter coincided with the socialist May Day festival. Ten times as many Muscovites celebrate Easter rather than the socialist day. The lesson was not lost on Lenin and his fellow atheistic Bolsheviks. Between 1921-23, more than 8,000 monks, nuns and priests “disappeared,”many icons were destroyed and churches were turned into grain stores or cowsheds or simply blown up.

Abortions at the woman’s request were allowed for the first time in post-revolutionary Russia.

Following the promulgation of a 1929 law governing church-state relations, the Russian communist leader Josef Stalin launched a campaign against Christianity. All church congregations had to be registered and were not allowed to engage in any social or charitable work or hold any meetings outside of the normal Sunday service.

Josef Stalin once said. "The communist party cannot be neutral. It stands for science and all religion is opposed to science.”

The Communist Party of China was founded at the founding National Congress in Shanghai held between July 23-31, 1921. Co-founder Chen Duxiu served from 1921 to 1927 as its first General Secretary.

The Communist Party of China grew quickly, and by 1949 it  had driven the nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) government from mainland China after the Chinese Civil War, thus leading to the establishment of the People's Republic of China.

The Communist Party of Vietnam was founded at a "Unification Conference" held in Kowloon, British Hong Kong on February 3, 1930.

The Communist Control Act came into effect in the US on August 24, 1954, outlawing the American Communist Party.

U.S. anti-Communist propaganda of the 1950s

John Lennon claimed that his song "Imagine" was basically a summation of the Communist manifesto.

In 1987 Mikhail Gorbachev, the Soviet leader, introduced radical liberal reforms and churches were allowed to reopen. Despite decades of persecution by the communist regime authorities church members were outnumbering communist members in the USSR by 10:1.

After several visits to his homeland, Poland, Pope John II proved to be a rallying point for opponents of the communist regime. Democratic elections were promised. Other Eastern European countries, encouraged by this and Gorbachev’s reforming policies proceeded to overthrow their Communist regimes. The culmination of this was the symbolic breaking up of the Berlin Wall.

Of the 142 million deaths caused by an ideology in the 20th century 94 million were due to communism.

The Communist Party of China is currently the world's second largest political party with a membership of 87.79 million as of 2015.


The word commuter was first used in United States in 1865 during the early days of rail travel when reduced or 'commuted' fares were available for those travelling into the cities for work.

Britain’s first express commuter train made its debut run between London and Brighton in 1841. It took 105 minutes to complete the 59-mile journey.

Crosswords were so popular among U.S. commuters in the 1920s that the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad provided dictionaries for passengers.

Statistics from 2012 says the commute time for for the average American worker is just under 26 minutes.

The average Los Angeles commuter wastes 64 hours and $1,334 in gas sitting in traffic.

9 people died every day in 2015 while commuting in local trains of Mumbai, India.


The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 countries which were part of the British Empire before they became independent.

The Commonwealth had its origins in the British Empire but its latest members, Rwanda and Mozambique, were never part of the Empire.

The word ‘commonwealth’ comes from ‘common weal’, a 16th-century term for the common well-being.

The first British ‘Commonwealth’ was the term given to Cromwell’s government of England after the execution of Charles I in 1649.

In the 18th century, the British Empire covered 20% of the world and contained one quarter of the world’s population

Lord Roseberry in 1884 was the first to call the British Empire a ‘commonwealth of nations’ during a visit to Australia.

The "Census of the British Empire" revealed on March 24, 1906 that Britain ruled 23% of the world's population.

At its zenith in the early 1920s, the British Empire Union flag flew over 21 per cent of the planet’s land area.

Originally, it was called the British Commonwealth of Nations, which was founded in 1926 when the British Empire began to break-up.

The Commonwealth Games began as the British Empire Games in Hamilton, Canada, in 1930.

The total population of all the 53 countries of the Commonwealth is about 2.245 billion. This is almost a third of the population of the whole world.

These 53 countries cover an area of 12.1 million square miles., which is about 21 % of the total land area of the world.

Tuvalu is the smallest member, with only 11,000 people.

Sources Daily Express, Wikipedia

The Common Cold

Acute hasopharyngitis is more commonly known as the common cold.

Alka-Seltzer was introduced by the Dr. Miles Medical Company of Elkhart, Indiana, on December 3, 1931. Its origin was traced to the newsroom of The Elkhart Truth, where reporters mixed aspirin with bicarbonate of soda to ward off winter colds. A Miles chemist added citric acid for taste.

There's very little proof that vitamin C actually has any effect on preventing or treating the common cold, although after reviewing 60 years of clinical research it was found that when taken daily, vitamin C very slightly shortens cold duration, by 8% in adults and 14% in children.

When asked about a good cure for colds Sir Alexander Fleming responded "A good gulp of hot whisky at bedtime-its not very scientific but it helps."

It is pretty tough to catch a cold through kissing because the virus develops in your nose and eyes, not your mouth.


Lucius Aurelius Commodus Antoninus was born on August 31, 161 in Lanuvium, near Rome. He was the son of the reigning emperor, Marcus Aurelius, and Aurelius' first cousin, Faustina the Younger; the youngest daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius.

Commodus ruled as co-emperor with his father Marcus Aurelius from 177 until his father's death in 180.
A bust of Commodus as a youth (Roman-Germanic Museum, Cologne).

His accession as emperor on March 17, 180 was the first time a son had succeeded his father since Titus succeeded Vespasian in 79.

According to Herodian, Commodus was well proportioned and attractive, with naturally blonde and curly hair.

By CristianChirita. - Own work., Wikipedia Commons

Commodus' chief interest was in sport: taking part in horse racing, chariot racing, and combats with beasts and men.

During gladiatorial combats, Commodus sat in his royal box equipped with a bow and arrows. From there he watched the cruel spectacle of men being chased by lions and leopards, and at the very moment when a beast was about to spring on its prey, he took aim and killed it.

Commodos collected all the dwarfs, cripples, and freaks he could find in Rome and had them brought to the Colosseum where they were ordered to fight each other to the death with meat cleavers.

Physically strong, Commodus had a passion for gladiatorial combat, which he took so far as to take to the arena himself, dressed as a gladiator. He fought and won 1,301 battles in the gladiatorial arena, since his opponents always submitted to the emperor.

On December 31, 192 Commodus was strangled to death by his wrestling partner, Narcissus, in his bath.

The historian Edward Gibbon took Commodus's reign as the beginning of the decline of the Roman Empire.

The 2000 Academy Award-winner for Best Picture, Gladiator, co-starred Joaquin Phoenix as Commodus. Commodus serves as the main antagonist of the movie.

Europress Family Encyclopedia 1999., Wikipedia  


Guglielmo Marconi transmitted a commentary on the Kingstown Regatta in Ireland.. He did this from on board a steamboat, to the Irish Daily Express in Dublin.

The first sports commentary was broadcast in April 1921 by Florent Gibson of the Pittsburg Star newspaper covering the fight between Johnny Ray and Johnny "Hutch" Dundee at the Motor Square Garden, Pittsburgh.

The BBC used commentators for the first time at the 1936 FA Cup Final.

The motor-racing broadcaster Murray Walker did his first live commentary in 1949, but started in advertising, where he coined the slogan: ‘Opal Fruits: made to make your mouth water.’ 

Comic Strip

The first American color comic strip, The Unfortunate Fate of a Well-Intentioned Dog, first appeared in The World on February 4, 1894. It was drawn by Walt McDougall, in collaboration with Mark Fenderson.

German immigrant Rudolph Dirks was the creator of The Katzenjammer Kids, which debuted December 12, 1897 in the American Humorist. He was the first cartoonist to express dialogue in comic characters through the use of speech balloons.

"Katzenjammer 1901" by Rudolph Dirks (1877–1968) Wikipedia Commons
Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character created by Elzie Segar, first appeared in the Thimble Theatre comic strip on January 17, 1929.

In its early days, the strip starred Olive Oyl and her boyfriend, Ham Gravy and Popeye was just a minor character. However, Popeye became so popular that his role was expanded, and he soon replaced Ham as Olive's love interest, going on adventures with her brother, Castor Oyl.

Popeye and J. Wellington Wimpy in E. C. Segar's Thimble Theatre (August 20, 1933 )

Popeye was actually based on a real person named Frank "Rocky" Fiegel who was a tough guy who was quite similar to Popeye.

Peanuts, the syndicated comic strip by Charles M. Schulz, featuring Charlie Brown and his pet Snoopy, was first published in nine newspapers on October 2, 1950.

Schulz detested the name the comics syndicate gave his strip, Peanuts.

The last original "Peanuts" comic strip appeared in newspapers on February 13, 2000, one day after Charles M. Schulz died.

Final Sunday strip, which came out February 13, 2000: one day after the death of Charles M. Schulz.  Wikipedia Commons

With 17,897 strips published in all, Peanuts was arguably the longest story ever told by one human being.

The comic strip character "Dennis the Menace" appeared in The Beano for the first time in issue 452, dated March 17, 1951, and is the longest-running strip in the comic. From issue 1678 onwards (dated September 14, 1974) Dennis the Menace replaced Biffo the Bear on the front cover, and has been there ever since.

An excerpt from a strip in The Beano issue 3671 dated 9th February 2013.By Source (WP:NFCC#4),Wikipedia Commons

Garfield, holder of the Guinness World Record for the world's most widely syndicated comic strip, made its debut on June 19, 1978.

When the Garfield cartoon strip first appeared, it was published in 41 US newspapers. It now appears in 2,580 papers and journals worldwide and is the world’s most syndicated comic strip.

Jim Davis, creator of Garfield, named the cat after his grandfather, James Garfield Davis.