Soft drink inventions

The term “soda water” was coined in 1798. The soda fountain was patented by Samuel Fahnestock in 1819, with the first bottled soda water available in 1835. The first ice-cream soda was sold in 1874 in the US. The first cola-flavored beverage was introduced in 1881. Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 in Atlanta, Georgia by Dr. John S. Pemberton. Pepsi-Cola was invented by Caleb Bradham 12 years later. In 1929, the Howdy Company introduced  its “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Sodas,” which became 7 Up, which was invented by Charles Leiper Grigg.

Red Bull was introduced by Austrian Dietrich Mateschitz and Chaleo Yoovidhya, from Thailand, in 1987. It is based on the Thai drink called Krating Daeng which means red bull.

The first diet soft drink, called the “No-Cal Beverage” is launched in 1952. Aluminum cans were introduced in 1957 and two years later the first diet cola went on sale.

The pull-ring tab was invented in 1962 and the re-sealable top in 1965. Plastic bottles were first used for soft drinks in 1970. The Polyethylene Terephthalate bottle was introduced in 1973. The stay-on tab was invented in 1974.

The most popular beverage in the world is tea.

Choosing a mate for life

In 1976 Mrs Janine Swift of Los Angeles married a 50lb (22kg) rock in a ceremony that was witnessed by 20 people. With a divorce rate of about 50% in the West, it is doubtful that she’s still married to the rock. In fact, the chance of a first marriage ending in divorce is between 50% and 67%. The chance that a second marriage will end in divorce is about 10% higher than for the first marriage.

The reasons for divorce are many and varied but the biggest reason still is unbearable moaning (complaining) by one of both partners although it is not a reason cited in court – most courts would not grant a divorce on such grounds. The most common “legal” reason is irreconcilable differencesRead more…

Iraq war civilian casualties

While people are still debating the real reason for the Iraq war the casualty numbers for soldiers and civilians keep climbing. According to Just Foreign Policy, more than 1.3 million Iraqis have died since the military invasion of Iraq was launched in March 2003. According to AntiWar, the Iraq war has caused an estimated 100 000 US soldiers wounded and more than 4 000 killed in action.  Read more…

The middle finger and the fricative F

Before the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, the French, anticipating victory over the English, proposed to cut off the middle finger of all captured English soldiers to prevent them from drawing the renowned English longbow in the future. The famous weapon was made of the English Yew tree, and the act drawing the longbow was known as “plucking the yew,” or “pluck yew.” To the embarrassment of the French, the English won the battle and began mocking the French by waving their middle fingers, saying, “Pluck yew!” The letter “F” later crept into the symbolic gesture known as showing the finger or the highway salute – the universal sign of disrespect – because of the difficulty in pronouncing consonant clusters.

To get the feathers for the longbow arrows, one would have gone to the village plucker with the introduction “pleasant person pheasant plucker.” The result was the change of the letter P to a labiodental fricative F. Read more…

Who invented the light bulb?

Who invented the light bulb? No, it wasn’t Thomas Edison. Light bulbs were in use long before Edison applied for the patent in 1879. British inventor Humphry Davy invented an incandescent light bulb in 1801 and created the “arc lamp” in 1809.

In 1835, Scottish inventor James Bowman Lindsay demonstrated a constant electric light in Dundee. In 1840, British scientist Warren de la Rue also demonstrated a light bulb. In 1841, British inventor Frederick DeMoleyns patented a light bulb and in 1844 American John Wellington Starr filed a U. S. patent caveat for an incandescent lamp. Many others would follow suit but none of the bulbs were effective for everyday use.  Read more…

Crossing the Rubicon

The expression “crossing the Rubicon” is used to describe an irreversible decision. It originates from the Roman times where the Rubicon river marked the boundary between the Roman state and the  provinces. In 49 BC Caesar declared that crossing the river with an army meant declaring war on Rome. Which meant facing a powerful and very motivated force.

Let’s talk about the weather

As long ago as the 5th century BC the Greeks sent out weather forecasts to their sailors before they cast off. They also posted weather forecasts, called peg calendars, on important buildings. It proved to be very popular. Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) wrote the first book on weather, Meteorologica, in 350 BC – it remained the standard textbook on weather for 2,000 years.

Today, meteorological services use some of the most powerful computers available to send out millions of weather forecasts a year (almost a million forecasts are sent to airlines). How accurate are they? More than you may have imagined! One-day forecasts are accurate more than 75% of the time.

The first weather satellite, Vanguard 2, was launched on February 17, 1959. There was a problem with it’s rotation, however, so the Tiros 1, launched on April 1, 1960, is considered the world’s first successful weather satellite. Weather services rely on about 100 satellites for meteorological data.

The weather is one of the most talked about topic. It therefor is no surprise that, collectively, the weather is the most watched program on TV.

Odd-price tickets of items started by newspaper publisher

When Melville Stone started the Chicago Daily News in 1875, the price was a penny. At first, circulation was high but then dropped off sharply. Stone discovered that the problem was a shortage of pennies in the area. He brought in barrels of pennies and then persuaded merchants to start an “odd-price sale,” selling goods for a penny under the regular price. Thus goods were sold for an amount such as $2,99 (instead of $3). Pennies came back into circulation, Stone sold many newspapers, and we still have odd-price sales tickets.

A few years later Walter Deubner also had a creative idea to increase sales at the small grocery store he ran in St. Paul, Minnesota. He noticed that his customers’ purchases were limited by what they could carry. So he set about devising a way to help them buy more. His idea took him 4 years to develop. In 1912 he patented his design, and by 1915 he was selling more than a million of these shopping “devices” per year, at five cents apiece. What did Deubner design to make his customers buy more? The shopping bag!

Shopping habits:

86% of consumers do their Christmas shopping during December, 70% do not save for the Christmas period, and up to 87% decide at the point of purchase what they will buy. About 30% use their credit card as their main means of buying Christmas goodies. People with high, medium and low income groups spend about the same amount on gifts.

Whatever you put into your shopping bag, turn over your pennies twice and be careful with that credit card. Excessive use of credit is cited as a major cause of non-business bankruptcy, second only to unemployment.

Songs that were once banned

Dean Martin’s “Wham bam, thank you Ma’am” was banned in 1951. Bob Dylan’s 1976 album Hard Rain was banned in many countries because of the track “Lay Lady Lay.” In the 80s, Frank Zappa’s “I don’t wanna get drafted” was held back. Some TV stations banned Cher’s video “If I could turn back time.” Garth Brooks’s “The Thunder Rolls” was banned temporarily in 1991 and in 1995, after protests, Michael Jackson changed the lyrics of  “They don’t care about us” because it was considered anti-Semitic.

First projection of an image on a screen

Joseph Necephore Niepce developed the world’s first photographic image in 1827. In 1839 Frenchman Louis Jacques Daguerre introduce a better photographic process and in the same year Englishman William Fox Talbot discovered the process of using negatives and positives to develop photographs. American George Eastman invented the paper film roll for photography in 1885. In 1894 Americans Thomas Edison and W K L Dickson introduced the first film camera. In the next year French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere demonstrated a projector system in Paris, screening Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon, the first public movie. It was 46 seconds in duration.

But the very first projection of an image on a screen was made by a German priest. In 1646,  Athanasius Kircher used a candle or oil lamp to project hand-painted images onto a white screen.

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