Posts filed under ‘Demystified’

Mountain Dew was Invented as Whiskey Mix

About 4000 years ago, Whiskey (or Whisky) was invented to purify perfumes and aromatics. Now, some Whiskey is aged longer than many people were back then.

Soft drinks are a much more recent invention, although perhaps still older than you may think. Soda water was first introduced to the world by Joseph Priestley in 1767 when he published his paper, Impregnating Water with Fixed Air. Yes, that’s the real name of the paper.

whiskey-mountain-dew

Through a series of followup inventions, flavored soda became popular in the late 1800s, starting with lemon and orange varieties. Large soda bottlers and distributors weren’t common back in the 1930s, so the Hartman brothers invented their own whiskey mixer: Mountain Dew. The Hartman brothers sought advice from Coca-Cola about Mountain Dew, but Coke didn’t help. Pepsi was interested, albeit 35 years later, when they bought Mountain Dew. (more…)

August 12, 2013 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Why Bars Put Ice in the Urinals

Ladies probably don’t know this, but the urinals in men’s bathrooms, usually at bars or clubs, sometimes have ice in them.

ice in urinal

Even though many men have seen this, they don’t usually know why it’s there.

Well, auto flush exists because some people don’t flush. Urinal cakes exist because some people don’t flush. So of course, ice exists in urinals because some people don’t flush. (more…)

July 31, 2013 at 2:00 am 31 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

TIME Stands for The International Magazine of Events

By Chad Upton | Editor

The first TIME magazine was published on March 3rd, 1923 and sold for fifteen cents.

Cover Credit: WILLIAM OBERHARDT

It’s the first and longest running weekly news magazine in the United States. There are also European, Asian and South Pacific editions.

TIME is well known for its annual “Person of the Year” edition. This special edition has been running since 1927 and can be controversial. This is most apparent in “Person of the Year” choices such as Adolf Hitler (1938) and Josef Stalin. Many people have earned the title multiple times, including Stalin in 1939 and 1942. Franklin D Roosevelt earned the title three times between 1932 and 1941. Nearly a dozen other presidents have been given the title too. Person of the year is not necessarily an honor or prize, it’s simply a recognition of influence.

Although it’s been called TIME for the better part of a century, the founders originally considered naming it Facts. Through an ad campaign, TIME was assigned the backronym, “Today Information Means Everything.” But, on the landing page for the official Kindle edition of TIME, it is referred to as “The International Magazine of Events.” I guess that explains why the name is always capitalized, TIME.

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Sources: everything2, time.com, wikipedia (time), new world encyclopedia

February 12, 2013 at 2:00 am 1 comment

How to Generate Credit Card Numbers

By Chad Upton | Editor

First of all, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea; although the credit card numbers you generate are valid, they’re not active and aren’t for making (fraudulent) purchases.

So, what’s the point?

red amex

Just like you may use a junk email address to sign up for special offers, you may want a junk credit card number too. That’s because free things are rarely ever free and that’s especially true of free trials.

Companies frequently offer “free” trials in exchange for your billing info. They’re betting against you — hoping you’ll forget to cancel your subscription so they can get some money out of you for at least one month, maybe a couple months if it’s only a few bucks and you’re too busy to cancel at the moment you notice the charge. Then you’ll probably forget about it until you see it again next month. (more…)

February 5, 2013 at 1:00 am 4 comments

There are 90 Seconds in a Moment

By Chad Upton

It will only take you a minute to read this post.

clock-tower

Although a minute is a precise amount of time, we often use it to mean a short amount of time. The same goes for “moment”; the difference being that most people don’t know that a moment is a precise measure of time.

Technically, a moment is 90 seconds.

The first reference comes from 1398, found in the Oxford English Dictionary. Cornish writer John of Trevisa wrote that there are 40 moments in an hour (hence 90 seconds each). Oxford has since replaced it with, “a very brief period of time.”

So go on, continue using it as a casual measure of time — now you know the real meaning.

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Photo: Peter Pearson (cc)

Sources: oxford dictionary, wikipedia (moment)

January 24, 2013 at 2:00 am 8 comments

Military Contractors Built Flying Saucers

By Chad Upton | Editor

I’ve been writing Broken Secrets for a little over 3 years and UFOs are something I wanted to cover at some point. It’s a difficult subject; there’s so much information, mostly poor or difficult to confirm information and little that seems reliable and interesting. But there are also some little gems that are compelling and enlightening.

cutaway

A UFO is simply an Unidentified Flying Object. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s alien — just that you’re not going to find someone who knows what it is or be willing identify it if they are one of the few who may know.

In May of 2011, the public got an unplanned unveiling of the US Military’s “Stealth Hawk” Helicopter when it was damaged during the raid on Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan. Technically, it’s still a UFO since we don’t know exactly what it is — educated guesses are that it is a heavily modified Sikorsky MH-60M Black Hawk. (more…)

January 16, 2013 at 2:00 am 5 comments

Shuffling Playing Cards Produces Order Never Seen Before

By Chad Upton | Editor

When you finish a game of cards, you must shuffle the deck (imperfectly) seven times before the card order is properly randomized again. Then, it’s also statistically impossible that order of cards has ever occurred before!

playing cards

Because a deck of cards has 52 unique cards, the number of different orders of those cards is astronomical and I mean that rather literally. The combinations of cards is greater than the number of observable stars in the galaxy. (more…)

December 22, 2012 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Arcade Claw Games are Rigged

By Chad Upton | Editor

The claw game (aka “crane games” or “fairground grabbers”) are pretty straight forward in appearance: put in your money, position the crane over a prize, drop the claw and hope your aim was good enough to bring home the prize.

But, winning a prize requires a lot more than skill. These machines are like slot machines, except children are allowed to play. Just like a slot machine, the operator can dial in how often the machine should pay out.

The crane game machine reduces the claw strength when the player is supposed to lose and increases its grip strength when the player is allowed to win. In that sense, they’re worse than slots because the player still requires some skill when the odds are in their favor.

The odds of the machine giving the claw enough strength to win a prize is regulated by some states and therefore varies. In California, the claw must have enough strength to win during an average of 1 in 12 games. In Nevada, it’s 1 in 15 games. In other words, during 1 in 15 games the claw will be strong enough to pickup a prize, but you still have to aim it well. (more…)

October 12, 2012 at 2:00 am 5 comments

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