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Technology Trivia

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Coffee used to be decaffeinated with dichloromethane, CH2Cl2. Dichloromethane selectively dissolves caffeine without removing sugars, peptides, and flavor ingredients. However, it is somewhat toxic, and when evidence suggested that it might be carcinogenic, its use was halted in the United States.

Colonel Waring, New York City Street Cleaning Commissioner, was responsible for organizing the first rubbish-sorting plant for recycling in the United States in 1898.

Computer crime has quadrupled over the past three years, according to a 2000 survey by the FBI and San Francisco's Computer Security Institute. Seventy-five percent of the hacking victims most often corporations and government agencies have found that it costs an average of $1 million per intrusion to investigate, repair, and secure their systems once they've been hacked.

Computer monitors need to stay cool. Unfortunately, they make handy resting places for various items. But if papers, manuals, and other miscellany are piled on top of the monitor, the cooling vents are blocked. Internal heat shortens the life of monitors.

In October 1994, Jeff Bezos wanted to name his new Web venture "Cadabra" as in "abracadabra." But his attorney convinced him that this magical moniker sounder a bit too much like "cadaver." Reluctantly, Bezos went with his second choice: Amazon.com.

In Rome, the world's first paved streets were laid out in 170 B.C. The new streets were popular as they were functional in all types of weather and were easier to keep clean, but they amplified the city's noise level.

In Saudi Arabia there are solar-powered pay phones in the desert.

In the military world, EGADS is an acronym for Electronic Ground Automatic Destruct System.

In the United States, Mercedes-Benzs of the 1920s and 1930s were very popular. With the exception of Rolls-Royce, more were imported into the United States than any other foreign car at the time. The first Mercedes classic was the "K" series, begun in 1924 and produced until 1927.

In the United States, people play on their home computers more in the East and work more on them in the South and West, according to a survey from the NPD Group, Inc. market researchers.

In the United States, the standard width between railroad tracks is 4 feet, 8 inches.

In web site addresses on the Internet, "http" stands for "hypertext transfer protocol."

In years past, spermaceti oil from the sperm whale was used as transmission oil in Rolls-Royce automobiles.

Individual people, rather than publishers, generate most of the world's original material. For instance, about 2,7000 photographs around the world are taken every second.

Computer viruses are bits of software code that either overwrite or attach themselves to programs and replicate themselves. While some are merely annoying, taking up valuable disk space, others can wipe out an entire hard drive. If the Michelangelo virus is on your computer, it activates on March 6, the artist's birthday. Viruses were first discovered in the late 1980s, and since that time, IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center has collected more than 10,000. It is estimated that six to nine new viruses are found daily. About 1,200 computer viruses are in circulation.

Computers and hard drives aren't as fragile as they were a few years ago, but you're asking for trouble if you move your PC around while it is running. While your computer is running, its hard disk is very vulnerable. A tiny magnet literally floats less than a hair's breadth above a platter where data is stored. A minor bump can send the magnet skittering into the disk's surface. The damage can't be repaired. Not only will you need a new hard disk, but you'll likely lose the information the disk held.

Cooking and salad oils could lubricate machinery, such as cars and boats, according to Penn State chemical engineers. Tests found that when blended with an additive developed at Penn State, some vegetable oils perform as well as or better than commercial oils.

Dating back to the 1600s, thermometers were filled with brandy instead of mercury.

Despite the outcry from some anti-gambling lawmakers over the explosion of gambling on the Internet, fewer than one percent of American adults had used the Internet for gambling within the year of 1999.

Developed in 1950 by the then-called Zenith Radio Corporation, the first TV remote control was christened "Lazy Bones." Lazy Bones used a cable that ran from the TV set to the viewer.

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