Saturday, August 22, 2015

Things I learned lately - 22 Aug

  • Japanese scientists have designed a tether to pull space junk out of orbit. One end of the tether will be attached to a dead satellite or some other junk. The tether will generate electricity from Earth's magnetic field and that energy would be used to slow the debris down, which should pull it into a continually lower orbit and finally burn up in the atmosphere.
  • There are over 20,000 pieces of space junk orbiting the Earth above 800km but below 1,400km from the surface which are at risk of colliding with functioning satellites.
  • The kind of bananas grown for human consumption are bad for monkeys because of their high sugar content.
  • The Netherlands has been named as the country with the most nutritious, plentiful and healthy food.
  • Astronomers have worked out that there are 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars visible from the Earth through telescopes.
  • Rare earth elements are used in a lot of things: electric car batteries; LED lighting; surgical lasers. Most come from China right now, but not because only China has them. The US and Australia have large deposits of rare earths. China is willing to cheaply mine and process them, which can be extremely polluting. The more protections against pollution that you put in place, the more expensive the rare earths become, which is how the US got priced out of that game.
  • The concept was Sky Peer-to-peer, which morphed into Skyper, and finally the Skype we know today.
  • Adolf Dassler probably means nothing to you, but he was known as Adi. Add that to Das and you get.....Adidas.
  • Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing eventually focused on innovative products and changed their name to something with more panache... 3M.
  • 7-11 was once known as U-Tote'M.
  • August Horch wanted a unique name for a new car company, so he translated his name to Latin. Audi was born.
  • Kwanon is the Japanese name of the Buddhist Bodhisattva or Mercy. But Canon was a more acceptable international name.
  • Echo Bay Technology Group started a web site, but was already taken. So they picked ebay.
  • Leg Godt means 'play well' in Danish. And so Lego was born. Lego is Latin for 'I put together', but that's just a coincidence.

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