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Technology Trivia

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As of September 2000, San Francisco was Number 1 in the United States as the city with the highest percentage of homes with Internet access, at 65.6 percent.

At a glance, the Celsius scale makes more sense than the Fahrenheit scale for temperature measuring. But its creator, Anders Celsius, was an oddball scientist. When he first developed his scale, he made freezing 100 degrees and boiling 0 degrees, or upside down. No one dared point this out to him, so fellow scientists waited until Celsius died to change the scale.

At a jet plane's speed of 1,000 km (620 miles) per hour, the length of the plane becomes one atom shorter than its original length.

Because the eyes work harder when viewing objects up close, particularly on a computer monitor, it is the proximity of the VDT screen to the eyes that causes eyestrain, not "radiation" emitted from the screen. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, using a computer or video display terminal will not harm your eyes.

In an effect to curtail crime and enhance its cities, New York keeps most of its subway cars and stations are reasonably clean and well lit. Newly developed subway-car paint, from which other paint can be easily washed, helped eliminate most graffiti. Despite such innovative technology, “scratchiti,” writing or drawings etched by vandals, cover nearly all subway car windows.

In California, on June 3, 1948, Mount Palomar's huge telescope was finally put into service. Using state-of-the-art technology, it was under construction for 20 years. Twice the size of the large telescopes of the time, it reigned as the world's largest optical telescope for longer than two decades. It was also the first to be equipped with a Pyrex lens, which weighed 14.5 tons — until then, Pyrex had only been used to make cookware. The wealthiest family in the United States, the Rockefellers, had been persuaded by American astronomer George Hallery Hale to finance the $6 million project.

In computer-ese, "wysiwyg" is an acronym for "what you see is what you get."

In December 1957, Shippingport, Pennsylvania, became the site of the first full-scale nuclear power plant in the United States. The plant was able to generate 60 megawatts of electricity after reaching full power 21 days after going on-line.

In East Providence, Rhode Island, city officials started using TV cameras in 2001 to look for holes in the sewer system. Crews lower cameras into manholes and snake them through the sewer lines to identify leaks and illegal hookups.

In Echallens, Switzerland in 1998, a 105-year-old retired Swiss teacher was ordered to attend elementary school, thanks to a computer that cut a century off his age. The mix-up happened because a list of local residents had only the last two digits of his birth date. So the man, along with sixty-five 5-year-olds in the town, received a letter ordering him to start school. The matter was taken care of, and the computer system was changed.

In February 1938, DuPont began producing nylon toothbrush bristles.

In July 1955, Arco, Idaho, with a population of 1,000, became the first U.S. town powered by nuclear energy. The town's energy was supplied by an experimental boiling-water reactor called the Borax III.

In June 1981, the first test-tube twins were born.

In New York City, Consolidated Edison has more than 80,500 miles (129,524 kilometers) of underground electrical cable in the city. Some of the power is purchased from Hydro-Quebec, a sprawling series of hydroelectric dams that harness the power of the La Grande River in northern Quebec and Ontario.

Bill Gates formed a company to sell a computerized traffic counting system to cities, which made $20,000 its first year. Business dropped sharply when customers learned Gates was only 14 years old.

Bromine, extracted from seawater, helps develop photographs.

Burning Pixel Productions created the net-famous Dancing Baby in October 1996. The popular, computer-generated, diaper-clad tot danced to many tunes, including "Hooked on a Feeling" and "The Macarena," and gave birth to many other computer-generated dancing characters in the late 1990s.

Charles Thurber patented the first successful typewriter in August 1843.

Chevrolet was founded by Louis Chevrolet in 1911, but was sold to General Motors in 1917.

Coast-to-coast direct-dial telephone service became available in the United States on November 10, 1951.

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