Posts tagged ‘square’

Square Watermelons are Smarter Than Round Ones

By Chad Upton | Editor

How much is your fridge space worth?

Traditional watermelons take up a lot of space in your fridge. So, farmers in Japan came up with a way to grow square watermelons.

Square watermelons are a better use of space in your fridge and during shipping. When you pack them together there isn’t as much “empty” space in the corners. They’re also more convenient because they don’t roll over, they stand on their own.

From a practical standpoint, they’re definitely better. But, are they worth the money? In Japan, they go for the equivalent of about $82 USD. These watermelons are available in some US specialty grocery shops as well. These Panama imports are going for $75 and up.

If you want square watermelons without the obtuse price, you might consider growing your own. You can do it just like the Japanese farmers if you pickup a polycarbonate mold to grow them in. Basically, you fit the case around the watermelon as it starts growing and the watermelon grows to fill the shape of the case. The case runs for about $110 USD, but you can use it to grow many watermelons. Once you’ve grown two, you’ve more than paid for it.

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Photo: solution_63 (cc)

Sources: CNN, slashfood, snopes,

November 16, 2011 at 2:00 am 1 comment

The Meaning of the PlayStation Button Symbols

By Chad Upton | Editor

We are surrounded by symbols and they’ve been around for a very long time.

In public places,  where people may speak many different languages, we often see symbols instead of words. Some examples include signs for bathrooms and restaurants and even many road signs.

In the West, we have a some common symbols in writing. Check marks often mean correct or yes and an X usually means incorrect or no.  In Japan, they have four symbols that are commonly used in surveys: X, Triangle, Circle and Double Circle (circle within circle). These four symbols make up a four point scale, although sometimes the double circle is omitted for a three point scale. The circle means good or satisfactory and the double circle means excellent. The X means no or bad. The triangle means average (or below average on the four point scale when the double circle is being used). These symbols are just as common as the checks and Xs in the West.

So, when Sony charged Teiyu Goto with designing the original PlayStation, he wanted the buttons to represent ideas rather than label them with arbitrary letters like everybody else. It didn’t take long for him to settle on the triangle, circle, X, square icons.

They were easy to remember because they were associated with meaning. The triangle represents a user’s viewpoint or perspective, making it a great button to launch maps or change the game perspective. The square represented a piece of paper, making it ideal for showing navigation lists and menus. The circle and the X mean yes and no, and they’re meant for navigating yes and no operations.

When asked about the impact of the design, Goto replied, “”Getting to use such simple symbols in a design is an extremely rare opportunity, and it was really a stroke of luck to me.”

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Sources: 1up, Japanese Translator

November 3, 2010 at 1:00 am 9 comments

The Meaning of “Sport” in Ritter Sport Chocolates

By Kaye Nemec

In 1912, two chocolate lovers fell in love with each other and started the Alfred Ritter Cannstatt Confectionery Factory in Bad Cannstatt, Germany.

By 1919, Alfred and Clara Ritter were ready to take their chocolate to the world. They were very successful and within 11 years, they were already at their third location, which was in Waldenbuch, Germany. In 1932, Clara Ritter had an idea for a new kind of chocolate bar: a chocolate square. Her idea was to have a square of chocolate that fit neatly in the pocket of a gentleman’s sports jacket. It didn’t extend out of the pocket and it didn’t break during daily activities that preceded chocolate eating.

It was a huge hit with consumers and gave birth to the next generation of Ritter products.

Alfred passed away in 1952 and his son, Alfred Otto Ritter, took over the business. In 1966 Clara also passed away and Alfred Otto remained in charge of the family business. By 1960 some items in their product line had begun to fizzle out and Alfred began focusing all efforts on the square chocolate bar, officially creating the Ritter Sport brand.

By 1982, the squares were available in a variety of flavors and each flavor had a uniquely colored package. The original size square had become so popular, the family decided to introduce a new, smaller version of the original. Twenty-two years later the mini chocolate square was followed up by the chocolate cube, available in 6 different flavors.

In 2001 the “RITTER SPORT Chocolate Shop” Visitors’ Center opened in Waldenbuch, Germany. At the Chocolate shop, visitors learn all about Ritter Sport’s history and watch the chocolate get produced. The Chocolate Shop is the first part of what later became the Ritter Sport Museum, which opened in the fall of 2005. The museum stays true to Ritter’s square tradition by showcasing square contemporary art. Most of the art pieces belong to Marli Hoppe-Ritter, a co-owner of Ritter Sport. One of the main collections at the museum is titled, “Homage to the Square” and consists of nearly 600 pieces.

Clara was clearly onto something when she dreamed of the chocolate square, although I doubt she knew how many nights her dream would last or how big such a small chocolate could be.

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Sources: Ritter Sport, Ritter Sport Museum

Photos: Museum Ritter

October 27, 2010 at 1:00 am 3 comments

Ball Drops Did Not Start in Times Square

Times Square beware: you’re not the oldest ball drop around. In fact, the ball drop originated in Portsmouth England in 1829. That is where time synchronization really started to take shape, in the form of a ball.

In 1833, another time ball was installed in Greenwich and has dropped at 1pm everyday since then.

The time ball was invented by Robert Wauchope, a Royal Navy officer, as a way for ships to set their chronometer before heading out to sea. The daily ball drop occurred at 1pm because at noon, observers were busy taking exact readings of solar time. Accurate time was important for ships to calculate their longitude at sea.

All over the world, time balls were installed in shipping ports for years to follow.  In 1924, radio time signals rendered time balls obsolete and they slowly began to disappear. The ball drop tradition still continues today in a handful of places.  In the United States, it happens daily at the United States Naval Observatory in Washington DC and, of course, the annual Times Square ball drop.

Photos: WKA, Berk2804 | Sources: Times Square, WP, UOTS,

December 31, 2009 at 12:56 am Leave a comment

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