Sunday, September 7, 2008

- Louis Pasteur, whose work on wine, vinegar, and beer led to pasteurization, had an obsessive fear of dirt and infection. He refused to shake hands, and he carefully wiped plate and glass before dining. (I remember him... art class or something.)
- Albeit Einstein’s last words will never be known. He spoke them in German, and the attending nurse did not understand German. (Oh phooey!)

Literary Life
- After spending fruitless years looking for a story that would match his “strong sense of man’s double being,” Robert Louis Stevenson dreamt the plot of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

- David – (his last name has never been publicly revealed) has lived all his life in a sterile environment, He suffers the rare disease known as severe combined immune deficiency, and his body is unable to fight off even the most common germs. (By living in a germfree life-support system, which is enclosed in a see-through plastic bubble, he has never experienced a sick day, except for his disease, for which doctors say there is still no treatment.) On his seventh birthday, in 1978, he wasn’t able to blow out the candles on his cake – they weren’t allowed in the bubble, so he was only able to see them. About a hundred people are born with this blood disorder, and David is the oldest of five survivors. David lives with his family in Houston, and walks out of doors wearing an astronaut’s suit with a plastic-bubble helmet.
- Electrical stimulation of certain areas of the brain can revive long-lost memories.
- A study of the common cold, made b two epidemiologists at the University of Michigan, disclosed that the incidence of colds was greater among the better-educated. (Even if this is true, I only get fevers. Just my high temperature got me into medication – for weeks now. I haven’t recovered ever since I took two bottles of medicine once. )

- The pilgrims did not build log cabins, nor did they wear black hats with a conical crown and a hatband with a silver buckle. (xP I remember this assembly about thanksgiving by Year… 4 if I’m not mistaken. Radzi – if I can recall correctly, was in it.)

Numbers and Statistics
- In their encyclopedia, Elements and Mathematics, a group of French mathematician working under the collective pseudonym of Nichols Bourbaki spent 200 pages just introducing matters relating to the number 1.
- The number of possible ways of playing just the first four moves on each side in a game of chess is 318, 979, 564,000. (Fuck, that’s a lot! O-o Besides, immature as I am in chess, I was one step away from beating Mr. Hughes, the chess teacher/ my Humanity teacher, head of the Humanity department. He wrote in my end of 2007 year report that I am the darling of the humanities department. xD)
- A prime number is any number that can be divided only by itself and 1. There are an infinite number of primes. Any one of those primes (except for 2 and 3) will become evenly divisible by 6 if you either subtract 1 from it or add 1 to it. For example, the number 17, if 1 is added to it, it is evenly divisible by 6; or the number 19, if 1 is subtracted from it, it is evenly divisible by 6. (I made myself a list of all the prime numbers from 1 to 100. The primes are yellow/orange in colour while the others are dark pink. 26, however, is blue. I thought it’d be nice if the number was different from other. One in a million…~)
- Take fifteen copies of Isaac Asimov’s Book of Facts and number them “1” to “15.” If you tried to line them up in all possible arrangements, and if you made a change a minute, it would take you 2,487,996 years to do it.
- Before the computer was used in determining prime numbers, the largest known prime was 2 to the power of 127 – 1. To test suck a number on a standard calculator requires many months, and similar amounts of time are needed to check the result. In 1971, the American Mathematical Society received the highest known prime number, 2 to the power of 19937 – 1, a number of 6,002 digits. It was calculated on an IBM computer in 39 minutes, 26.4 seconds. (297th page, I’m so exhausted!!)
- There are fifty-two cards in an ordinary deck. The number of ways in which they can be arranged is just about 80,660,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! If you had that many decks of cards, each arranged a different way, and if each deck weighed only as much as a single hydrogen atom(the lightest atom), all the decks together would weigh a billion times as much as the sun.
- In 1872, the English Mathematician William Shanks calculated the value of the mathematical expression pi to 707 places. It took him fifteen years to do so. In 1949, the first electronic computers calculated it to 2,035 places in three days – and found that Shanks had made a mistake in the last hundred or so figures in his calculation were wrong. (Damn!)
- The number 2520 can be divided by 1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and 5 and 6 and 7 and 8 and 9 and 10 (as well as 12, 14, 15, 18, 20, 21, 24…)without having a fractional leftover.
- The number 37, which cannot be wholly divided by any number (except by 1 and itself [which means it’s a prime?]), has the property that it will wholly divide the following numbers: 111, 222, 333, 444, 555, 666, 777, 888, 999. [111 divide by 37 is 3; 222 divide by 37 is 6…]
- The number 10 is used as a convenient base to count with, but the Gauls of ancient France, the Mays of Central America and other peoples used 20 as a base. The Sumerians, the Babylonians, and others after used a base of 60 – convenient because 60 can be evenly divided by 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20 and 30. This 60 survives in the divisions of hours into minutes and minutes into seconds, and in the division of the circle into 360 degrees.
- One of the most famous unsolved problems in mathematics is “Fermat’s last theorem,” named for the French mathematician Pierre Fermat (1106-65). He wrote that he had found that a certain equation, x to the power of n + y to the power of n = z to the power of n, had no solution in whole numbers, except where n = 2. Thus, 3 squared + 4 squared = 5 squared [One of the famous Pythagoras theorem question in our PMR examination, one of the important exams that I am going to take this October 13 – 17.] Fermat went on to say that he didn’t have the space in his notation for the simple proof. Mathematicians have been searching for the proof for three-centuries, in vain. Modern computers have shown that the equation has no solutions for all values of n up to 2,000, but this is not the general proof we are still looking for.
- 1234567654321 is the product of 11,111,111 multiplied by itself.
- During the next minute, 100 people will die and 240 will be born. The world’s population problem increases by 140 people per minute.
- In 1978, the Center for Population Research estimated that a million teenage girls in the U.S., or one in ten between the age of fifteen and nineteen, become pregnant each year. About 600,000 actually bear children.

Of Wives and Mistresses
- Peter the Great had his wife’s lover executed and his head put into a jar of alcohol. She had to keep it in her bedroom.
- When the Elector of Hanover became George I of England in 1714, his wife did not become Queen because she had committed adultery. He placed her under house arrest in Ahlden Castle, where she stayed of thirty-two years. Those who knew of her fate called her the “Prisoner of Ahlden,” and so she remains in history. Ironically, George had arrived in England with his two mistresses. Adultery was a crime only for wives. (So sexist man…)
- The Babylonians auctioned off marriageable girls every year. Men had to bid high for the most attractive girls, and their money provided dowries so that the ugly girls, for whom no one would bid, could find husbands. Herodotus considered this the wisest of Babylonian customs.
- “An utter stranger takes the liberty of addressing you,” began a note from Shelley’s sister in law, Claire Godwin, to George Bron, whom she had not met. “It may seem a strange assertion, but it is no less true that I place my happiness in your hands… I know that you have the reputation of being mad, bad and dangerous, but nevertheless you hold my destiny…” Byron yielded to the request for assignation. He met Miss Godwin, despised her, loved her – and shucked her.
- Though popularly thought to have been an Egyptian, a Macedonian, and the daughter of Ptolemy XI. She married two of her brothers and was the mistress of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. [Which bring back memories of this play… by Shakespeare if I can recall correctly, about Mark Antony and Cleopatra]
- The forth Mogul Emperor, Jahagir, who ruled from 1605 to 1627, had a harem of 300 royal wives, 5,000 more women, and 1,000 young men for alternate pleasures. [*coughs maniacally* o-o;;;] Outside the palace, he stabled other kinds of pets: 12,000 elephants, 10,000 oxen, 2,000 camels, 3,000 deer, 4,000 dogs, 100 tame lions, 500 buffalo, and 10,000 carrier pigeons. [NOW this is not a mini zoo, but a HUGE one. ._.;;]
- After his love affair of two years with Catherine with Great, Gregory Aleksandrovich Potemkin continued to be an important adviser to Catherine. He even helped to choose her subsequent lovers.
- The Thracians were a warrior of people who lived in what is today Bulgaria, from about 1300 to 500 B.C., when they were reduced to vassals by the Persians. They practiced polygamy. When a man died, his wives argued among themselves as to which one had been his favourite. The wife who finally decided upon as the favourite won the privilege of being killed and placed next to her husband in his tomb. [Just like I’d say, “Sehidup, semati” which if translated into English, meaning “Live together, die together.” xD But really, I’d RATHER not be the favourite one. .___.;]
- In ancient Greece, women counted their age from the date on which they were married, not from the day they were born, signifying that the wedding marked the start of a woman’s life. [Then I am unborn. xP But then again, what would divorce do? O-o Be the end of their life?]

On Books
- Clement Clarke Moore (1779- 1863) – a biblical scholar, professor of Oriental and Greek Literature, and compiler of a Greek and Hebrew lexicon – wrote the exquisitely simple and easily remembered “Visit from St. Nicholas”: “T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house…” [Ooh! I remember one of the journals I had to do like a few days before Christmas. Mr. Glenn wrote this as a starter and we had to continue it and make a story. =3 I love morning journals!]
- Pi, the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, was computer-calculated to a million decimal places in 1973 by the French Mathematician and Martine Bouyer. The value was published as a 400- page book – very important, and yet surely one of the most boring books in the world. [Anyone would be crazy enough to read a 400-page book full of numbers. ~_~ I can read a 400-page book on even science fiction but NOT numbers.]

The Orient
- The astrologers in China, during Marco Polo’s visit (1271-95), would tell relatives how the dead person must be taken from the house to ward off bad luck. It wasn’t always through the door. The family sometimes would have to break through a wall.
- Because the Japanese word for “four” sounds exactly like the word “death” and because the word “nine” sounds exactly like the word “suffering,” there are no rooms numbered 4 or 9 in many hospitals and hotels in Japan. [What fun.]

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