Random stuff

A random turtle
(Wikimedia Commons)

Who invented the light bulb?  Everybody knows Thomas Edison did, right?  Nope, not even close.  He, or rather his team of researchers, developed the first commercially successful light bulb, but light bulbs were in existence before Edison filed for a patent in 1879,  (Details)

OK, let’s go on to something simpler:  the telephone.  Alexander Graham Bell did it right?  Well, sort of.  Once again, it was one of the first practical versions of the telephone, but other telephone-like devices existed before his.  It’s not like the idea for the telephone came out of the blue.  (Details)

And how about the American that invented Basket Ball?  Well, okay, he was a Canadian for 29+ years of his life before he got a job in Springfield, Massachusetts, where after a few months he created Basket Ball.  So, was he American?  Kind of? (Details)

That all American favourite the Barbie doll?  An Americanized version of the German doll Bild Lilli.

Boston Pizza that iconic American pizza joint?  Nope, an Edmonton company.

Did the Wright Brothers invent the airplane?  No.  They invented the first self-powered airplane, but man was in the air, in an airplane like craft 25 years earlier in France.  And their work was based on some groundbreaking ideas on the theory of flight done seventy years prior.  (Details)

History is written by the winners and sometimes those winners are the right people.  For instance, have you ever photocopied something?  For the longest time, the phrase was that you needed to “Xerox” something because the developer of the first photocopying machine – Xerox – had made such an impression that everyone knew what a Xerox machine was.  (OK, Xerox didn’t really invent the process, they helped the original inventor, Chester Carlson, commercialize the process.)

Kleenex sort of borders the line.  They took something that had been in use in Japan for centuries and adapted it for Western use.

At last, but not least, do you know why the QWERTY keyboard was invented?  To slow down typists.  Back in the old days (way before my time) typing quickly caused the typewriter to jam, so Christopher Sholies developed a keyboard that would result in fewer jams as the metal arms that held the letters would be less likely to hit each other.  Are there other keyboard layouts?  You bet.  Dvorak is probably the most common and is designed to reduce the amount of traveling that your fingers need to do in order to type a word.  The most common letters are on the home row, vowels on the left and consonants on the right.  Is it faster?  No one knows but Christopher Sholies will go down in history as Mr. QWERTY.  (By the way, qwerty is also one of the more popular passwords used by people around the world as well.)

Random stuff for a random day.

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