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Technology Trivia

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Modern pewter is about 91 percent tin, 7.5 percent antimony, and 1.5 percent copper. Pewter used to contain high levels of lead, and the absence of it now makes pewter safe to use for dishes and drinking vessels.

The most common uses of computers on the job in 1996 were: Bookkeeping and invoicing (45 percent), word processing (44 percent), communications (39 percent), analysis/spreadsheets (36 percent), and data bases (35 percent).

Most of the information available now is created by individuals instead of businesses. With e-mail transmissions alone, people are creating 500 times as much information as is contained in the total of all Web pages in existence.

The oldest operating carousel in the United States can be found in the resort town of Watch Hill, Rhode Island.

Mylar is a trademarked name for a certain type of polyester film, and should not be used when referring to all foil balloons.

The Osprey is the U.S. Marines' tilt-rotor transport that takes off and lands like a helicopter, but flies like an airplane. It is also known as the V-22.

Nail polish distributors Charles Revson and his brother Joseph, along with nail polish supplier Charles Lachman, who contributed the "L" in the Revlon name, gave birth to the Revlon cosmetics company in 1932. Starting with just one nail product a nail enamel unlike any before it the three men pooled their paltry resources and developed a unique manufacturing process. Using pigments instead of dyes, Revlon was able to offer to women rich-looking, opaque nail enamel in a wide variety of shades never before available. In only six years, the company became a multimillion dollar organization, launching one of the most recognized cosmetics names in the world.

The profile of the average computer virus writer is age 14-24, talented, bright, and driven by a rebellious, adolescent need to call attention to himself.

Nanotechnology has produced a guitar no bigger than a blood cell. The guitar, 10 micrometers long, has six strummable strings.

The rare metal gallium melts at 86 degrees Fahrenheit. It is safe to touch; if you hold a piece of it in your hand and wait, it will melt.

Natural gas has no smell. The odor is artificially added so that people will be able to identify leaks and take measures to stop them.

The spaceship in the sci-fi classic The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) was 25 feet high and was built on a studio backlot. It had to show no visible openings or hatches, yet had to open at certain times. The film's art directors incorporated an invisible split in its sides that was sealed over with soft plastic and coated with silver paint. Every time the dome of the ship was opened or closed, film crew members had to reseal the split. It was an innovative design for the era.

Nearly 60 percent of women say they receive at least eleven e-mails a day, whereas only 49 percent of men say they do.

Nevada's National Automobile Museum's oldest car is an 1892 Philion Road Carriage with a 2-cylinder steam (slide valve) engine. The Road Carriage is one of the oldest, existing American-built automobiles.

Gold salts are sometimes injected into the muscles to relieve arthritis.

Henry McKinney, an advertising agent for N.W. Ayer & Son, coined the word "sneaker." The unique-for-the-time term was significant because the shoe's rubber sole made it quiet when worn. All other shoes, except moccasins, were noisy when their wearers walked.

Herman Hollerith used a computer-like device named "The Hollerith Tabulator" to take the U.S. Census in 1890, long before UNIVAC.

Honey is used as a center for golf balls and in antifreeze mixtures.

Horn & Hardart opened the first U.S. automat in Philadelphia in 1902.

Hospitals make money by selling the umbilical cords cut from women who have given birth. The cords are reused in vein transplant surgery.

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