Author Archive

Elvis Presley Carried Federal Narcotics Agent Badge

By Chad Upton | Editor

The US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) was formed in 1973. Prior to that, drug laws were enforced by the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD).

In 1970, the BNDD’s years were numbered. If you’re thinking it’s because the acronym was too awkward, you’re (unofficially) wrong. The CIA was called in to eradicate suspected corruption among BNDD agents. In an apparent coincidence, and although he wasn’t an agent, Elvis Presley was given a BNDD badge by president Nixon that same year. (more…)

June 26, 2013 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Phone Area Codes Based on Dialing Speed

By Chad Upton | Editor

Telephones have been around in some capacity since the mid to late 19th century, depending on who you credit with the invention.

fisher price phone

Early dialing was accomplished by inserting your finger in the rotary disk adjacent to the number you wanted and rotating the dial to the stopping point, then you would remove your finger and the dial would rotate back to its default position. Each number it passed on its way back would induce a pulse — a short variance in current — on the phone line. This pulse communicated the number to the phone system. (more…)

June 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm 10 comments

Why Watches are Set to 10:10 in Adverts

Once a fundamental tool, the wrist watch is now an accessory more than necessity.

The ubiquity of cellphones eliminated the need for watches on most people’s wrists. However, smart watches that accompany smartphones may catalyze a revival in wrist watches. Although these new fangled smart watches can emulate the analog hands of a traditional timepiece, they lack verisimilitude.

sony-smart-watch

If you’re looking for the real thing, you may notice almost all analog wrist watches are photographed with a time of 10:10. The time doesn’t have any special meaning, it’s just aesthetics. The manufacturer’s logo is typically below 12 o’clock and the hands at 10 and 2 frame the logo proportionally and draw the readers eyes toward the logo itself.

watces

One exception is chronograph watches. Since they often have multiple dials, the logo may not be top and center and/or the hands may be moved to a position that doesn’t block other dials.

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June 3, 2013 at 2:00 am 13 comments

Chocolate Can Improve Blood Flow and Brain Function

By Chad Upton

The Kuna Indians of the Panama Islands consume large quantities of cocoa, even when compared to those living on mainland Panama.

cocoavia

A study by Norman K Hollenberg, MD and PhD of Harvard Medical School, found that the islanders have astonishingly low occurrences of hypertension and cardiovascular disease. In fact, death from heart disease is a 1280% higher risk for mainlanders. What is in the chocolate the islanders are consuming? (more…)

May 24, 2013 at 2:00 am 1 comment

The Sun is Green

By Chad Upton

I know, the sun doesn’t look green. But, keep in mind the sky looks blue and we know it’s not really blue. The sky appears blue for the same reason some people’s eyes look blue — an optical illusion known as the Tyndall effect.

sun is green

When scientists measure the wavelength (color) of the sun, the peak output is in the transition area between blue and green (about 500 nanometers). So, technically, the sun is green-blue. But, why doesn’t it look green? (more…)

May 17, 2013 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Netflix Accounts for 29% of North American Internet Traffic

By Chad Upton | Editor

YouTube was once the king of online video bandwidth. They still make a significant dent, especially in Europe where they account for more than 20% of peak downstream mobile traffic.

In North America, Netflix is the largest single consumer of bandwidth. At peak, they’re tasked with 33% of downstream internet traffic. Off peak, they’re responsible for about 28.8% of downstream bandwidth.

As Netflix continues to expand into South America and Europe, they will certainly impose a bigger footprint on networks in those regions. Interestingly, they may also have a calming effect on other local internet traffic. Analysis shows that bit-torrent traffic, sometimes used to pirate movies and tv shows, actually decreases when Netflix is introduced into a market.

Since some Internet Service Providers slow down the internet for users running bit-torrent clients, Netflix may be something they’re willing to pay for.

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sources: sandvine.com, wikipedia (Netflix), torrentfreak.com

May 8, 2013 at 2:00 am 2 comments

Bananas Emit Antimatter Almost Every 75 Minutes

By Chad Upton

Potassium-40 is a fairly unstable isotope, although the half life is nearly a billion years.

Because bananas have so much of this isotope, there is enough decay to generate one positron (approximately) every 75 minutes.

bananas

A positron is basically the opposite of an electron. It has the same mass as an electron, but a positive charge instead of a negative one. It is the electron’s antimatter doppelgänger.

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photo: keepon (cc)

sources: tertiarysource.net, wikipedia (positron, gamma ray)

April 23, 2013 at 11:09 pm 10 comments

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