Wednesday, February 4, 2015


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Gulliver’s Travels, first edition

In Part 3 Chapter 3 (the "Voyage to Laputa") of Jonathan Swift's famous satire Gulliver's Travels, a fictional work written in 1726, the astronomers of Laputa are described as having discovered two satellites of Mars. This was considerably prior to the actual discovery of Mars' two moons, Phobos and Deimos, by Asaph Hall in 1877.

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221B Baker Street is the London address of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes.

At the time the Holmes' stories were published, addresses in Baker Street did not go as high as 221. Baker Street was later extended, and in 1932 the Abbey National Building Society moved into premises at 219–229 Baker Street. For many years, Abbey National employed a full-time secretary to answer mail addressed to Sherlock Holmes. In 1990, a blue plaque signifying 221B Baker Street was installed at the Sherlock Holmes Museum, situated at 239 Baker Street. Westminster City Council renumbered No 239 to 221B, thereby causing a 15-year dispute between Abbey National and the Holmes Museum for the right to receive mail addressed to 221B Baker Street. Since the closure of Abbey House in 2005, ownership of the address by the Holmes Museum has not been challenged, despite 221B being between 237 and 241 Baker Street.

221B Baker Street, London

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Laser is an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emissions of Radiation."

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Escalator is one of many words that were originally trademarks but have become ordinary words found in dictionaries. Some other words which were originally trademarks and have now passed into common use are aspirin, autoharp, band-aids, breathalyzer, cellophane, Coke (in some areas, at least), corn flakes, cube steak, ditto, dry ice, dumpster, formica, Frisbee, granola, gunk, jeep, kerosene, Kleenex, mace, nylon, ping-pong (also an onomatopoeia), popsicle, Q-tip, rollerblade, rolodex, Scotch tape, sheetrock, spandex, styrofoam, tabloid, thermos, trampoline, yo-yo, xerox, and zipper.

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The first product to have a bar code was Wrigley's gum. It was scanned in 1974 in Troy, Ohio at the local Marsh supermarket. That packet of gum is now on display at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

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A Boeing 747's wingspan is longer than the Wright Brother's first flight. The first flight of the Wright Flyer was a total distance of 36.5 meters, a standard Boeing 747 has a 59.6 meter wing span.

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