Tag Archives: Quite Interesting

Quite Interesting facts from long ago

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QUITE INTERESTING: Facts from long ago (not so general knowledge)

Quite Interesting Facts: Why do men’s clothes have buttons on the right while women’s clothes have buttons on the left?

Buttoned coatWhen buttons were first invented they were very expensive and worn primarily by the rich. Since most people are right-handed, it is easier to push buttons on the right through holes on the left. Because wealthy women were dressed by maids, dressmakers put the buttons on the maid’s right. And that’s where women’s buttons have remained since in several buttoned outfits worn today.

Quite Interesting: Why do X’s at the end of a letter signify kisses?

XO'sIn the Middle Ages, when many people were unable to read or write, documents were often signed using an X. Kissing the X represented an oath to fulfill obligations specified in the document. The X and the kiss eventually became synonymous.

Quite Interesting Facts: Why is shifting responsibility to someone else called ‘passing the buck’ ?

Poker BuckIn card games, it was once customary to pass an item, called a buck, from player to player to indicate whose turn it was to deal. If a player did not wish to assume the responsibility of dealing, he would pass the buck to the next player.

Quite Interesting Facts: Why do people clink their glasses before drinking a toast?

ToastIt used to be common for someone to try to kill an enemy by offering him a poisoned drink. To prove to a guest that a drink was safe, it became customary for a guest to pour a small amount of his drink into the glass of the host. Both men would drink it simultaneously. When a guest trusted his host, he would only touch or clink the host’s glass with his own.

Quite Interesting Facts: Why are zero scores in tennis & squash called ‘love’ ?

In France, where tennis became popular, round zero on the scoreboard looked like an egg and was called “l ‘oeuf”, which is French for “egg”. When tennis was introduced in the U.S. Americans mispronounced it “love” as in Squash as well.

Cloud 9Interesting Facts: Why is someone who is feeling great ‘floating on cloud 9’ ?

Types of clouds are numbered according to the altitudes they attain, with nine being the highest cloud. If someone is said to be on cloud nine, that person is floating well above all worldly cares.

limeQuite Interesting Facts: Why are people in the public eye said to be ‘in the limelight’ ?

Invented in 1825, limelight was used in lighthouses and theatres by burning a cylinder of lime which produced a brilliant light. In the theatre, a performer in the limelight was the centre of attention.

Piggy BankQuite Interesting Facts: Why are many coin banks shaped like pigs?

Long ago, dishes and cookware in Europe were made of a dense orange clay called “pygg”. When people saved coins in jars made of this clay the jars became known as “pygg anks”. When an English potter misunderstood the word, he made a container that resembled a pig, and it soon caught on.

Now you know everything.

More Quite Interesting Posts:

The Good Old Days

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DRUGS: Why our great grandparents were happier than we are…

HAVE you ever heard of the Great Binge? This was a period prior to WW I where drugs were in huge supply. Not only that, but they were completely legal. Soldiers could order a drug pack for their boys on the front, which contained heroine, cocaine, needles and just about any drug that is now considered as naughty.

Below are some genuine products that were available around the same period. Cocaine tablets, Opium for asthma and Bayer‘s Heroin were all too common, which possibly explains why it was called “the good old days”. Check em out:

Great Binge Drugs: Bayer’s Heroin

 Bayers Heroin

Bayers Heroin

 A bottle of Bayer’s heroin. Between 1890 and 1910 heroin was sold as a non-addictive substitute for morphine. It was also used to treat children with a strong cough.

Coca Wine, anyone?

 Coca Wine

Coca Wine

Metcalf Coca Wine was one of a huge variety of wines with cocaine on the market. Everybody used to say that it would make you happy and it would also work as a medicinal treatment.

Great Binge Drugs: Mariani wine

 Mariani wine

Mariani wine

 Mariani wine (1875) was the most famous Coca wine of it’s time. Pope Leo XIII used to carry one bottle with him all the time. He awarded Angelo Mariani (the producer) with a Vatican gold medal.

Great Binge Drugs: Maltine

 Maltine

Maltine

 Produced by Maltine Manufacturing Company of New York. It was suggested that you should take a full glass with or after every meal… Children should take half a glass.

A questionable paper weight

 paper weight

paper weight

 A paper weight promoting C.F. Boehringer & Soehne ( Mannheim , Germany ). They were proud of being the biggest producers in the world of products containing Quinine and Cocaine.

Great Binge Drugs: Opium for Asthma

 Opium for Asthma

Opium for Asthma

 No comment.

Great Binge Drugs: Cocaine tablets (1900)

 Cocaine tablets

Cocaine tablets

 All stage actors, singers, teachers, and preachers had to have them for a maximum performance. Great to “smooth” the voice.

Great Binge Drugs: Cocaine drops for toothache

 

Cocaine drops for toothache

Cocaine drops

Very popular for children in 1885. Not only did they relieve the pain, they made children happy!

Great Binge Drugs: Opium for new-borns

 

Opium for new-borns

Opium for new-borns

I’m sure this would make them sleep well (not only Opium, but 46% alcohol).

No wonder they were called The Good Old Days!

Zeitgeist Film: Your Life, Your World

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ZEITGEIST MOVING FORWARD: Your life, your world

IF you were offered an alternative society to the one we currently live within — one that could provide (not promise) a dramatic drop in poverty, a higher level of health care, a rise in education levels and a more functional society, would you fight for it? Would you fight for a self-sustainable system that supports recycling and renewable energy, and, most importantly, holds human concern in the highest regard.

Even if you currently live a relatively comfortable life at present, you’ll at least be aware of all the suffering and violence that persists in the world around us, the increasing levels of stress, illness, poverty, crime and the growing gap between the “haves” and “have nots”. You may even understand that poverty and inequality are the central causes of crime and aberrant behaviour.

Every human being does the best they can to survive and live the highest quality of life possible. The sad reality is that the highest quality of life currently achievable, in technological terms, is lived by a miniscule portion of the global population — less than one percent. This is an embarrassment for the human race which is capable of so much more. And you needn’t blame particular people for our current state of affairs, but you can certainly blame the dominant systems in place that influence such thinking and behaviour.

Zeitgeist Movement

The Zeitgeist Movement website identifies itself as ‘a grass-roots campaign to unify the world through a common ideology based on the fundamentals of life and nature’. It is a free venture that also offers ways that members can get involved. (Image: http://www.thezeitgeistmovement.com)

Every cultural paradigm is likely to assume that they are at the apex of civilisation. What’s more likely is that future­ generations will look back and cringe at the way we once lived.

Society is on the brink of revolutionary change, which I sincerely hope happens while I’m still alive to enjoy it. I have never been more convinced that the meaning of life is spending your time on this Earth, contributing in whatever way you can, towards improving it — creating a heaven on Earth so to speak. The attitude that “that’s just the way it is” and perhaps believing that everything will be okay when you die, is not only unhealthy, but painfully unproductive.

Every educated person should understand that we are in a continual process of social evolution; that the current state of affairs and systems in place are by no means finite. We are all simply doing our best to live within them. However, as global unrest rises, as inevitable economic collapse continues and as we grow increasingly fed up with our political systems, change, too, is inevitable.

Zeitgeist Moving Forward

Zeitgeist: Your life, your world

This belief system and these radical, almost­ utopian-sounding ideas, are portrayed in a simple manner by a film that is fast becoming a global phenomenon­. Zeitgeist Moving Forward is the third film by director Peter Joseph, who has been placed in the media spotlight several times in the past few years.

The film illustrates the current global state of affairs — the systems that govern our living, thinking and behaviour. But rather than just offering a bleak outlook on life as we know it, Zeitgeist­ Moving Forward proposes practical solutions to creating a better life on Earth for all to benefit from.

The central idea is that of a resource-based economy — one where resources, sustainability, technology and efficiency are at the forefront. It proposes that global stock-takes and surveys be undertaken to assess where the greatest needs exist and then acting on this information.

There is far more to the film that can be illustrated here. I can only encourage you to watch it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. It is being freely distributed on the Internet and the entire film can be watched on Youtube. Advocates are even encouraged to make copies of the film and distribute them freely.

Zeitgeist film stats and final thoughts

Since Zeitgeist Moving Forward launched on Youtube in January, it has seen over 200 000 views a day and has now passed the four million mark. Responses have been predominantly favourable and it is likely to break a world record as the most viewed film in the shortest period of time. With the amount of support that the movement is seeing, it would be erroneous to think that nothing is going to come of it.

We needn’t fear for the future. We can all collectively create a world where the relative success of a country is not measured by GDP, but happiness; a world where we do not have to worry about when out next pay cheque is coming­; where we are not divided by education or financial wealth and status­; and where self-worth is not measured by status and material gain, but rather by our contribution towards creating­ a better world in which to live.

The lunacy of language

ENGLISH LANGUAGE: Asylum for the verbally insane

Unfortunately the author of this clever poem on the English language is currently unknown. Nonetheless, here’s a quick look at the lunacy of the English language.

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is neither egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England. We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square, and a guineapig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writer’s write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham. Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend. If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English, should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? We ship by truck but send cargo by ship. We have noses that run and feet that smell. And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which an alarm goes off by going on. So if Father is Pop, how come Mother isn’t Mop? And that is just the beginning – even though this is the end.

How wine changed the course of history

INVENTION: Ideas that changed the world

THERE is one historical factoid that simply blows my neo cortex and will probably continue to astound me until the day I die. It is perhaps more of a hypothetical than anything else and begs the age-old question of “what if?”

Roman Cage Cup from the 4th century A.D. (Image: Wikipedia)

Roman Cage Cup from the 4th century A.D.

Around 100 BC European cultures started to become increasingly fond of their favourite drink, wine, as they perfected its creation and associated it with wealth and prosperity. The beautiful colour of wine, its taste and scent became such an obsession that the Romans­ started to discover better ways to preserve their fermented elixir.

Thus, glass entered our world, and resulted in a chain of invention that is still being advanced today. Glass led to lens grinding and spectacles, meaning that intellectuals and scientists had an extra 15 to 20 years of reading and active life. Microscopes came into play, which led to the discovery of micro-organisms, including the discovery and behaviour of the bacterium.

On a larger scale, telescopes gazed outwards, allowing humankind to further its knowledge of our galaxy and the Earth’s place within it. And because glass is chemically neutral — meaning that it doesn’t react to anything that’s in it — chemicals could be mixed in glass beakers and flasks. This advanced chemistry and modern medicine to new levels.

This is not to mention plasma computer screens, cellphones, light bulbs, windows, windscreens, clocks and watches, glass domes and spaceships. Glass valves have become essential in modern electronics too and can be found in several household items that don’t have a particularly glassy feel.

And all because Europeans enjoyed their wine.

Glass bottled wineMeanwhile, on the other side of the planet, one of the most inventive people to have ever lived, the Chinese­, were quite content with the teacup. They had no interest in Western wine and used paper and ceramics as glass substitutes. Chinese windows and lanterns were all made from paper­ and the potential of glass was never recognised­ in the East due to their preference for tea.

So from the 14th century right up to the 19th century­, glass did not exist in the Eastern part of the world. While the Chinese did go on to invent a myriad of other things, it can be argued that not inventing glass held back the course of Chinese history.

Of course a lack of glass did not stop the Chinese from going on to invent other things. We have them to thank for paper, printing, gunpowder, the compass, archeology, automatically opening doors, hydraulics, the bristle toothbrush, landmines, fireworks, the fishing reel, kites, the crossbow, playing cards, porcelain, the rudder, tofu, toilet paper, the wheelbarrow, and of course, China.

Yet the thought of what may have been invented if glass has existed in China for those 500 years is staggering. The world as we know it could be a lot different today if things had panned out differently. We might all be speaking Chinese and drinking tea.

Music Therapy: Tune in and chill out

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Music Therapy: Tune in and chill out – studies, research and findings

Image: musicgerication dot comMUSIC is a truly magical thing. It has the power to play on our moods, fine tune our brainwaves, pluck at our heartstrings, and unite entire nations under song. It has even proven to have a positive effect on livestock.

Last year a ten year old farm boy from Georgia won first place in a regional science fair for a project on how music improved milk production in cows. Daniel McElmurray tested the effects of classical, country and rock music on his father’s 300 cows. The experiment showed that their livestock preferred classical music over country and rock by producing 450 kilograms more milk.

Music possesses the power to reach parts of the brain that are not yet accessible to us, at least not on a conscious level. It almost makes one understand why so many artists and creatives turn to recreational drug use for inspiration.

We all know the effects that music can have on reducing stress and promoting relaxation, but music itself is becoming increasingly popular in the modern medical industry — a concept being dubbed as “music therapy”.

Music therapy studies and research

Research has shown that music has a profound effect on our bodies and psyche. Those who practice music therapy are finding it beneficial in helping cancer patients, children with ADD, helping ward off depression, promoting movement, calming patients, easing muscle tension and helping with pain management.

Guitar therapyMany experts suggest that it is the rhythm of the music or the beat that has the calming effect on us, although we may not be fully conscious of it. One theory, found at www.holisticonline.com, suggests that we were likely influenced by the heartbeats of our mothers while still in the womb. The idea is that we respond to soothing music at later stages in our life — perhaps associating it with the safe, relaxing and protective environment we once lived in.

Several studies have found that selections of Celtic, Native American as well as various music containing loud drums or flutes are extremely soothing. More interestingly, any music listened to live, even at moderately loud volumes, seems to have the most beneficial response. Equally beneficial is the effect of playing or creating music oneself.

“The entire human energetic system is extremely influenced by sounds. The physical body and chakra centres respond specifically to certain tones and frequencies. Whenever the proper sounds were experienced, an amazing right/left brain hemisphere synchronization occurs” — www.holisticonline.com

Music therapy findings

Even if you are not a believer in holistic medicine and chakra centers, music therapy has yielded several measurable results in recent years, such as:

  • An increase in deep breathing when hearing a particular tune
  • The body’s production of the happy hormone serotonin accelerates
  • Music has been found to reduce pain during dental procedures
  • music notesPlaying gentle background music while working or studying has been found to reduce stress and improve concentration
  • Music therapy can help counteract or prevent the damaging effects of chronic stress
  • It has even been shown to lower blood pressure, boost immunity and ease muscle tension
  • Music can also be used to bring a more positive state of mind, helping to keep depression and anxiety at bay
  • It can help keep creativity and boost optimism levels higher
  • Certain music has been found to reduce heart rates and increase body temperature — an indication that the body is entering a state of relaxation
  • Memorable music from our youth appears to be a very good choice.

According to stress.about.com, “the change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you’ve stopped listening.”

I can’t live a day without listening to my own brand of tunes. If you are feeling stressed out, uninspired or down in the dumps lately, don’t pop a pill; why not rather put on your favourite golden oldie.

Automated governance ?

AUTOMATED GOVERNANCE: Computer-controlled city centers

IT was predicted that in the year 2010 planes would consist of a single pilot and a dog. The job of the pilot would be to feed the dog; the reason for the dog is to bite the pilot if he or she touches anything.

artificial intelligenceMany people have developed a genuine fear that artificial intelligence could one day take over the world if it got too advanced and somehow became self-aware. Hollywood is largely to blame for this unnecessary fear. The Matrix trilogy is a prime culprit.

In truth, certain sections of society have become more automated or controlled by AI without many of us even being aware of it. Before, pilots used to quite literally guess what altitudes they were flying at, what the weather may be like higher up and use all their skills and praying power to land a plan safely. Today, we use machines to ascertain such information. No questions asked.

One could cite several examples of how our society is gradually moving closer to automated governance — where room for human error is becoming less of a worry. But why are we not making more use of AI forms of governance? We all know that power breeds corruption in governance. History has tried to teach us this for centuries. There is no need to point any fingers.

Automated governance: An artificially intelligent city

Future City

Computer-controlled city centres are the beginnings of an automated governance system

Image: CG4TV.com

Imagine, if you will, a round city that is built around a central computerized hub. In this hub would exist all forms of governance that keep the city running safely and smoothly. Citizens would be able to approach this AI hub and input questions to receive information, such as “how abundant is the city’s water supply”? If there is a water shortage the automated city-brain could offer calculated suggestions on how best to distribute what’s left.

A centralized, automated hub could constantly monitor the air, the earth and the water supply and gather all demographic information relating to a city, which could then be called up on request. Having a machine monitor the air and automatically eliminate contaminants is not new technology. We don’t all have to live in domes to experience the benefits of such. So why aren’t we making use of it?

The illusion is that AI could get dangerously out of control and start using our air and water for its own evil purposes (that is, of course, once a machine­ learns morality and the difference between good and evil).

A different argument is that a computer of that size and capacity would be very expensive to build. This is also not true. A lot of money is spent every year on sociological research — most of which could be saved by having a computer do the work for us. Quantitative research especially would also be far more accurate in an automated governance system.

Automated governance: AI for mayor?

This proposed form of automated governance is not as radical as you may think. It does not supersede all forms of human decision making. Rather, it suggests that we should no longer fear machines, but instead apply them intelligently enough to improve the standard of human living and create sustainable city life.

Sustainable round city

Sustainable round city

In such a city there would still be a need for a mayoral figure of some kind — a democratically elected person to take every citizen’s inputs into account and make the final digital commands. The rest is just paperwork really.

Of course, it would also be wise to start small when it comes to societal reconstruction. As creatures of habit, we are all set in our ways and many people fear change.

However­, I don’t see what’s stopping the powers that be from at least experimenting with such an idea. Perhaps their job security is at stake.

So if any of you are planning on building a city any time soon, please consider automated governance and understand how much better our cities of the future could be. And if that isn’t enough to make the public feel safe and secure, we could always have two guard dogs instead of one.

  • If you were intrigued by this article on automated governance, I would highly recommend giving the documentary film Future by Design a discerning watch. Alternatively, I have written five related articles based on the film, which you can find under A Resource Based Economy.
  1. Part 1: The power of the planet
  2. Part 2: A world without money
  3. Part 3: Incentive to work in a moneyless society
  4. Part 4: Future by Design
  5. Part 5: Smart Homes