Posts tagged ‘secret’

Credit Cards Reveal Hidden Symbols Under Black Lights

By Chad Upton | Editor

Many people know that paper money has markings that illuminate under a black light. These markings make it more difficult to counterfeit and thus easier to spot counterfeit money. Also, regular paper glows wildly under a black light, while currency paper does not, another dead giveaway. The same also applies to credit cards.

For this demonstration, I rounded up one card from each of the major issuers and tore my basement apart looking for my standard issue college black light. I eventually found it, but only after creating a small pile of retro items for this year’s halloween costume.

The black light’s strong purple glow catalyzed the American Express card to reveal “AMEX” spelled across the card, with a picture of a globe between “AM” and “EX.”

MasterCard was hiding “MC” on theirs:

The Visa card revealed the V logo.

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August 12, 2011 at 2:00 am 4 comments

Real Names of Celebrities

By Kaye Nemec

It appears as though no one is really who we think they are…

  • Lady Gaga – Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
  • Pink – Alecia Beth Moore
  • Tiger Woods – Eldrick Woods
  • Alicia Keys – Alicia Augello Cook
  • Jamie Foxx – Eric Bishop
  • Portia Di Rossi – Amanda Rogers
  • Hulk Hogan – Terry Gene Bollea
  • Fergie – Stacey Ann Ferguson
  • Jay-Z – Shawn Carter
  • Elton John – Reginald Kenneth Dwight
  • Meat Loaf – Marvin Lee Aday
  • Larry King – Lawrence Ziegler
  • Chuck Norris – Carlos Ray Norris
  • Mr. T – Lawrence Tero
  • LL Cool J (“Ladies Love Cool James”) – James Todd Smith III
  • Stevie Wonder – Steveland Hardaway Judkins
  • Jon Stewart – Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz
  • Muhammad Ali – Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Ferdinand Lewis “Lew” Alcindor, Jr
  • Woody Allen – Allen Stewart Konigsberg
  • Jennifer Aniston – Jennifer Linn Anastassakis
  • Tony Bennett – Anthony Dominick Benedetto
  • Judy Blume – Judy Sussman
  • Lil Bow Wow – Shad Gregory Moss
  • Garth Brooks – Troyal Garth Brooks
  • Julia Child – Julia Carolyn McWilliams
  • Eminem – Marshall Bruce Mathers III
  • Whoopi Goldberg – Caryn Elaine Johnson
  • Pee Wee Herman – Paul Reubenfeld
  • Liberace – Wladziu Lee Valentino
  • Ralph Lauren – Ralph Lipschitz
  • Katy Perry – Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson
  • Charlie Sheen – Carlos Irwin Estevez

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Sources: NBC Los Angeles , IMDb.com, MSN, Babynames.com

March 2, 2011 at 2:00 am 5 comments

How They Make Burgers Look Perfect In Ads

By Chad Upton

It’s rhetorical and cliche, but why doesn’t the food you order ever look like the food in the picture?

I’ll bite — it’s because your food took a few minutes to make and the food in the picture took a few hours to style. Yes, style.

I’ve rounded up some videos that show you some of the secrets of food advertising. The first video is about burgers and it’s pretty old, but still relevant.

The next video is about pizza and it’s part of a current Domino’s promotion to send in pictures of your pizza for everyone to see.

It’s a pretty well known fact that what you see is not what you’re going to get. But, Burger King recently canceled an advertisement where they misled viewers about the size of the burger. After watching these videos, it’s no surprise how they do it.

If you want to see a nice set of side-by-side photos of what they advertise and what you get, click here.

If you are reading this post on a device that does not support videos, I’ll tell you a bit about what they contain.

The burgers are cooked very little. To make them look grilled, they are brand them with thin skewers. Then they apply food dye for color. A layer of cardboard is placed on the bottom bun so the bun doesn’t get soft. The burger patty is split on the back side, so it can be widened from the front view — this makes the burger look larger. Vegetables are piled on top of the bun and pinned in place so they don’t move. A small shot of condiments are added on the front of the burger (the side the camera is on).

The second video is all about making perfect cheese strings when a slice of pizza is removed from a pizza pie. They go through all of the cheese to make sure every piece is perfect and use a heat gun to perfectly melt the cheese around the star slice, this makes it very stringy when the slice is lifted. The rest of the pizza is screwed down, except for one slice, so the pizza doesn’t move when the one slice is lifted.

There you have it, secrets from fast food advertising.

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Photo: jasonlam (cc)

July 22, 2010 at 5:00 am 5 comments

The Magic Kingdom is Built on a Series of Tunnels

By Chad Upton

Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando Florida is the largest resort in the world at 100 km squared (39 sq miles).

It started off as mostly swamp land. In fact, there were many people who owned pieces of that land before Walt Disney secretly bought it all up. He didn’t want people to know he was buying the land because he feared prospectors would buy it up and hold out for exorbitant figures.

In order to secretly buy this land without attracting attention, a number of dummy corporations were formed. Some of the company names included M. T. Lott Real Estate Investments (“empty lot”), Ayefour Corporation (“I 4” because the resort is near Interstate 4) and many of them were owned by “Mr. M. Mouse.” In hindsight, it seems pretty obvious. But, nobody caught on until someone leaked the information to the Orlando Sentinel in October of 1965. Many of these names can be found on a window on Main St in the Magic Kingdom.

Walt Disney World Resort includes a number of theme parks, but the oldest and most well known is The Magic Kingdom. It’s crown jewel is Cinderella’s Castle.

The castle is directly across the park from the front gate. In fact, if you look at the castle from inside the front entrance, you can tell the castle is built one story higher than the gate — Main St gradually slopes up to the castle. This gives the castle a grand presence and it also accommodates a big secret below the park.

If you look at the picture of the Magic Kingdom Railroad Station (below) which is just beyond the front gate, you can see that it is one level above ground level. The elevation of the train station and the castle exist because concrete utility corridors (“utilidors”) are built at ground level and the rest of the park is built on top of these tunnels.

The Seven Seas Lagoon, in front of the Magic Kingdom, is a man made lake. 1.5 million square meters (5 million square feet) of dirt was excavated to create the lake — that dirt was used to build up the ground around the utilidors to make the Magic Kingdom seem like it is at ground level. The main tunnel starts just on the other side of the railroad station and runs below Main St, leading directly to Cinderella’s Castle.

There are entrances into the utilidors all over the park (see the attached map). The main entry is behind “It’s a Small World” at the back of the park where there is a large loading area for people and supplies to enter the tunnel system. There are 2.5 km (1.5 miles) of tunnels below the park. They’re not just for moving around, there are many other features built in to the tunnels: break rooms, restrooms, locker rooms, “Kingdom Kutters” (hair cutting), “Mouseketeeria” (cafeteria), makeup room, first aid facility, money room and training rooms.

The tunnels make it efficient for cast members and utility crews to move around the park without disrupting park guests. It prevents guests from seeing characters in parts of the park where they don’t fit in, although visitors can pay for a tour that includes a look behind the scenes of some shows and a trip through the utilidors. This is an all day tour of Walt Disney World Resort called the Backstage Magic Tour and it costs $238 per person. If it’s just the tunnels you want to see, watch this video for free.

Guests under the age of 16 are not allowed in the Utilidors because Disney is worried about ruining the magic if a child sees two of the same character together or two characters from different stories talking together. The walls of the tunnels are labeled and color coded to make navigation easy.

Just like other places, Disney World has it’s own secret language, including terms such as “Protein Spill” (vomit) and “Alpha Crew” (first aid). These codes allow them to communicate on radios without spoiling the magic for guests within earshot.

There are many secrets that make the Magic Kingdom seem so magical — I’ll share more again soon.

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Sources: Hidden Mickeys, Wikipedia, Explore the Magic

Photos: Daryl Mitchell (cc), John Corigliano (cc)

July 19, 2010 at 7:48 am 4 comments

Secret Codes in Public Places

By Chad Upton | Editor

I was at Walmart today and I realized, I absolutely love that place — I feel like a supermodel in there.

While there, I heard an announcement for “Code C” and I had to know what it was.

You see, airports, retail stores and hospitals all have secret codes to announce information to staff without causing alarm to the general public.

Walmart actually has a lot of these codes and for good reason. Perhaps the most well known code is “Code Adam.” It was invented by Walmart 1984 and it’s now used by many different companies, all over the world.

It’s named after Adam Walsh, son of America’s Most Wanted TV host John Walsh. Adam was kidnapped from a Sears store in 1981 and murdered. Walmart actually has a very strict policy about this code. All employees drop what they’re doing, some watch the doors and other sweep the store looking for the child. Employees do nothing else until the child is found.

Other Walmart Codes:

  • Code Black – Severe weather (ex. tornado warning)
  • Code Blue – Bomb threat
  • Code Brown – Shooting
  • Code Green – Hostage situation
  • Code Orange – Chemical spill
  • Code Red – Fire
  • Code White – Accident
  • Code C – Customer service or cashier needed
  • Code 300 or Department 51 – Security

Walmart also has color coded pillars in their stores:

  • Blue – Telephone
  • Red – Fire extinguisher
  • Orange – “Spill-O-Magic” station

Boat/Ship/Vessel Codes

  • Code Oscar or Mr. MOB – Man overboard
  • Bravo, Bravo, Bravo – Serious incident such as a fire
  • Mr Skylight – Minor incident
  • Code Blue – Medical emergency

Hospital Codes

  • Code Blue, Code 90, Code 45 – Cardiac arrest
  • Code Red, Dr Red, Dr Pyro, Dr Firestone – Fire
  • Code Grey, Code Silver – Combative or violent person
  • Code Orange – Mass casualty incident
  • Code Black, Code Brown – Extreme weather warning

These are the most common codes, obviously some of these codes will be known by other code names in certain places. Some countries such as Australia, Canada and the United States have standards for these codes, but they differ from each other and many other countries do not have standards.

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Sources: Wikipedia, Google Answers, Wal-mart Info, UPHAA, Vessel Emergency Codes, Hospital Codes

July 12, 2010 at 5:00 am 52 comments

YouTube URL Secrets

It used to be, when you wanted to share a video, you’d attach it to an email and send it out to your friends.

Now when you want to share a video, you find the video on youtube and send a link — that keeps everybody’s inbox from filling up.

Change the Starting Position

Sometimes, you’ll want to make sure your friends see exactly what you’re talking about. To start the video at a specific spot, you can append “#t=MMmSSs” to the end of the url (link). You’ll replace the uppercase Ms with the number of minutes and the uppercase Ss with the number of seconds in the video where you want playback to begin.

For example, if I want to jump to the 2 minute, 39 second point in a video, then I would add “#t2m39s” to the end of the URL (example:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HkH8huuzA#t=2m39s)

This trick also works for embedding a video. Although, when embedding use “&start” instead of “#t” and it’s in seconds only. (example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HkH8huuzA&start=159). Try playing the following video, it will start near the end.

High Definition

Many YouTube videos are now available in HD. To ensure you link to the HD version, append “&fmt=22” to the end of the url. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L_HkH8huuzA&fmt=22)

Download Video

Maybe you want to transfer a video to your iPod or laptop for offline playback. If you load a video in youtube, you can swap out “youtube” for “keephd” in the URL. If there is a forward slash “/” after “watch” then you may want to remove that as well. This new url will take you to keephd.com and it will give you links to download the youtube video.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Make Use Of, Ampercent

June 30, 2010 at 5:00 am 3 comments

A Secret Government Spaceship is Circling the Earth

The US government recently launched a secret space plane called the X-37B. You’ve probably never heard about it and that’s because nobody is really talking about it.

We do know that the X-37B was launched on April 22, 2010. It was originally a NASA project in 1999, but was transferred to the department of defense in 2004. It looks very similar the space shuttle, but it’s unmanned and about a quarter of the size. It also operates very similar to the space shuttle, it is launched by powerful rockets and it lands like an airplane. It has a small cargo bay, about the size of a pickup truck bed.

For safety and security, a little over 14000 space objects are cataloged and tracked. The objects include satellites, debris and rocket bodies. Tracking these objects reduces the chance of a collision between them. In fact, there are a few public websites that let you view this information, some will even plot satellites on a map so you can try to spot them when they’re over your area. The location and orbit of the X-37B spacecraft has not been announced by the government.

However, a group of amateur astronomers and sky watchers believe they have enough sightings to identify the craft and it’s orbit. The space plane has been tough to spot since it seems to be operating in a low orbit, similar to the height of military spy satellites. There are a lot of satellites in the sky, 75 military satellites plus 15 search and rescue; 37 gps and 19 Navy navigation satellites. Then, there are thousands of other satellites for communications, science and entertainment uses.

China and Iran are both on edge about what this space plane is capable of. According to China, it may signal the start of a space arms race.

Experts believe the X-37B is just another spy plane, except it can stay in the air for 270 days before returning for fuel. The sky watchers who are tracking the space plane have seen it over Iraq and Afghanistan and believe it is currently testing surveillance equipment. Because it can return to earth and be redeployed very quickly, it’s likely that it will serve a number of different roles as needed.

As for the name, it’s just a test plane series number. For example, the X-24A was the model of the plane used in 1963 to test the re-entry heat-shields that would end up on the bottom of modern day space shuttles.

When the X-37B does return to earth, it will land on a runway in California. If it veers too far off course, it will self destruct. Seriously.

Broken Secrets | By: Chad Upton

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Sources: Yahoo, Space.com, Wikipedia 1 2, n2yo

May 31, 2010 at 5:00 am 4 comments

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