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Technology Trivia

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Don't use the on/off switch on your personal computer any more than necessary. There's a surge of electricity every time the switch is turned on. For fragile computer chips, it's much like starting the day by jumping into an icy pool. To prolong the life of your home computer, turn it on when you arrive home from work and turn it off again when you go to bed at night.

Dr. Samuel Langley was able to get many model airplanes to fly, but on December 8, 1903, Langley's "human carrying flying machine," the aerodrome plunged into the Potomac River near Washington D.C., in front of photographers who were assembled to witness the event. Reporters around the country made fun of the idea that people could fly and nine days later, Wilbur and Orville Wright proved them wrong.

During the height of the Y2K panic in 1999, the U.S. Federal Reserve released $200 billion to defend American banks from a mass cash withdrawal spurred by apocalyptic terror.

During the U.S. Civil War, telegraph wires were strung to follow and report on the action on the battlefield. But there was no telegraph office in the White House, so President Lincoln trekked across the street to the War Department to get the news.

The first satellite the United States launched into space was the Explorer 1 in 1958.

The first true calculator, the abacus, originated in China during the sixth century B.C. Its stone-like beads, shifted along vertical strings, enabled the Chinese to perform basic arithmetical operations with speed and accuracy, the test of a true computer. About 200 years after it was used by the Chinese, the abacus caught on in several Mediterranean civilizations.

Indonesia is the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas.

The first video game was Pong, introduced in 1972 by Noel Bushnell, who then created Atari.

Inside an asbestos suit coated with aluminum, a fire fighter may experience a sweaty, but tolerable, 85 degrees to 100 degrees F, while attempting to extinguish an inferno of jet fuel raging at over 2,000 degrees.

The height and width of modern American battleships was originally determined by insuring they had were able to go beneath the Brooklyn Bridge and through the Panama Canal.

ISBN stands for "International Standard Book Number." The ISBN is a 10-digit identification system that allows booksellers and libraries to easily differentiate between books and other media when ordering. The ISBN refers to the specific edition, such as trade paperback or mass market paperback, and is usually located on the back of the book and on the copyright page.

The highest man-made temperature 70 million degrees Celsius was generated at Princeton University in a fusion power experiment in 1978.

It is believed that 90 percent of all scientists who have ever lived are alive now, and that as many scientific paper have been published in the years since 1950 as were published in all the centuries before 1950.

The historic notebooks in which Marie and Pierre Curie recorded their experiments on radium, nearly a century ago, are still radioactive.

It is estimated that 1.8 billion light bulbs are manufactured each year in the United States.

The images on a computer screen are made up of more than 5,000 pixels, or dots, per square inch.

It takes about 1,100 watts to run an electric toaster.

The Kodak part of the Eastman-Kodak Company was not named after a person. That was simply the name of the company's first camera. Its slogan was "You press the button and we do the rest;" after it was used, the exposed camera and film were sent to the Eastman Dry Plate and Film Co. in Rochester for developing.

It took Henry Ford's Motor Company seven years to manufacture 1 million automobiles. One hundred thirty-two working days after this figure was reached (in 1924), the company had made 9 million more cars.

The last 12-cylinder car produced in the United States was the 1948 Lincoln Continental.

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