Day 262~366

If you need an illustration of the accelerating speed of technological change, look no further than the electronic calculator, that modest little device that does the most complex sum instantly and that you hold in the palm of your hand. Or more likely don’t any more… for the pocket calculator, which took more than four millennia to evolve and only reached its current form in the 1990s, is already obsolescent, if not actually obsolete. It had taken 3,700 years to move from the abacus to the first mechanical calculators and a further 250 years for mechanics to give way to…

Day 261~366

Many public bus services are run to a specific timetable giving specific times of departure and arrival at waypoints along the route. These are often difficult to maintain in the event of traffic congestion, breakdowns, on/off bus incidents, road blockages or bad weather. Predictable effects such as morning and evening rush hour traffic are often accounted for in timetables using past experience of the effects, although this then prevents the opportunity for drafting a ‘clock face’ timetable where the time of a bus is predictable at any time through the day. Predictable short term increases in passenger numbers may be…

Day 260~366

A clock is an instrument to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately (via Dutch, Northern French, and Medieval Latin) from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning “bell”. A silent instrument missing such a striking mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece.In general usage today a “clock” refers to any device for measuring and displaying the time. Watches and other timepieces that can be carried on one’s person are often distinguished from clocks. The clock is one of the oldest human inventions, meeting the need to consistently measure intervals of time shorter than the…

Day 259~366

Settle down, and don’t fall asleep. Honest there’s some interesting bits 🙂 The first speed limits in the United Kingdom were set by a series of restrictive Locomotive Acts (in 1861, 1865 and 1878). The 1861 Act introduced a 10 mph (16 km/h) limit (powered passenger vehicles were then termed “light locomotives”). The 1865 ‘Red Flag Act’ reduced the speed limit to 4 mph) in the country and 2 mph in towns and required a man with a red flag or lantern to walk 60 yards ahead of each vehicle, and warn horse riders and horse drawn traffic of the…

Day 258~366

Well class, if you are sitting comfortably, I will begin 😀 The avoirdupois system is both an updated modern as well as an historic measurement system of weights (using units such as pounds and ounces) that became commonly used in the 13th century, but was updated (1959) to represent, (by law) mass in line with SI based units. The rise in use of the measurement system corresponds to the regrowth of trade during the High Middle Ages after the early crusades, when Europe experienced a growth in towns, turned from the chaos of warlordism to long distance trade, and began…

Day 257~366

The universal product code (UPC) is the official name for the pattern of black lines on the side of almost everything you can possibly purchase. Simply put, the bar code. What makes the bar code interesting is that the lines as well as the 12-digit code have meaning. The white spaces between the black lines are also meaningful. The bars are for machines to “read,” the numbers for us unsophisticated humans. We’ll get to the bars in a bit. The first six numbers are related to the manufacturer and the type of transaction, the next five describe the product or…

Day 256~366

Fahrenheit is a temperature scale based on one proposed in 1724 by the Polish-born German physicist Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit (1686–1736), after whom the scale is named. It uses the degree Fahrenheit (symbol °F) as the unit. There exist several accounts of how he originally defined his scale. The lower defining point, 0 °F, was established as the temperature of a solution of brine made from equal parts of ice and salt. Further limits were established as the melting point of ice (32 °F) and his best estimate of the average human body temperature (96 °F, about 2.5 °F less than…

Day 255~366

Alcohol proof is a measure of the content of ethanol (alcohol) in an alcoholic beverage. The term was originally used in the United Kingdom and was equal to about 1.75 times the alcohol by volume (ABV). The term proof dates back to 16th century England, when spirits were taxed at different rates depending on their alcohol content. Spirits were tested by soaking a pellet of gunpowder in them. If the gunpowder could still burn, the spirits were rated above proof and taxed at a higher rate. Gunpowder would not burn in rum that contained less than 57.15% ABV. Therefore, rum…

Day 254~366

The pound sterling commonly known as the pound, is the official currency of the United Kingdom, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, the British Antarctic Territory, and Tristan da Cunha. It is subdivided into 100 pence A number of nations that do not use sterling also have currencies called the pound. At various times, the pound sterling was commodity money or bank notes backed by silver or gold, but it is currently fiat money, backed only by the economy in the areas where it is accepted. The pound sterling is the world’s oldest…