Saturday, June 13, 2015

Things I learned lately - 13 Jun

  • Coca Cola has manufactured a soda bottle made from plastic based entirely on sugar cane plants. They should be the standard by 2020.
  • The vocoder originated as a means of encrypting (scrambling) voice communications in WWII. In modern times it turns the voice into a musical instrument.
  • Google’s self-driving cars have been extensively tested, to make sure the public isn't concerned that the technology is unsafe. Amid reports that they've been in minor accidents, Google has released reports detailing traffic incidents involving its driver-less cars. Google says most of the reported incidents involve other cars rear-ending the driver-less vehicles, while other collisions involved cars side-swiping Google vehicles or hitting them after failing to stop at stop signs, the reports says. None of those prior accidents have been its car’s fault, Google says. "In 6 years of testing, we've been involved in 12 minor accidents during more than 1.8 million miles of autonomous and manual driving combined," Google writes. "Not once was the self-driving car the cause of the accident."
  • The answer to a question that many "Star Wars" fans have debated for decades was hidden in a Canadian university. While digitizing the UNB Library's science-fiction collection, Kristian Brown stumbled upon the 4th draft of the Star Wars script, dated March 15, 1976. Han Solo shot first.
  • Netflix is courting the trio from the UK show Top Gear.
  • Many companies are trying to tweak the corporate budget and work culture by abandoning voicemail. The justifications include not forcing people to listen to rambling messages that don't concern you or won't get to the point (a form of spam); wasted money on resources; another password you have to remember and change every few months; there's already too many 'send and forget' communications channels at work (email, text).
  • Amazon is now selling advertising space on their shipping packages.
  • Zoe Saldana's husband Marco took her last name instead of keeping his own.
  • The business that would eventually become Taco Bell started out as a hot dog stand called Bell's Drive-In in San Bernardino CA. He was pressured in 1952 to venture into Mexican fast food (unheard of at the time) because of the increased competition from McDonald's.
  • Around 85% of humans only breathe out of one nostril at a time. The pattern of switching from breathing out of one nostril to the other happens in a cyclical fashion, with about 4 hours or so between switches; varying from person to person and based on body position or nasal congestion.
  • Eating turkey doesn't actually make you drowsy.

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