Article Diary - General Knowledge Digest

General Knowledge Facts About Technology

Aircraft Carrier

An aircraft carrier gets about 6 inches per gallon of fuel.

Airplanes
  • The first United States coast to coast airplane flight occurred in 1911 and took 49 days.
  • A Boeing 747s wingspan is longer than the Wright brother’s first flight (120ft).
Aluminum

The Chinese were using aluminum to make things as early as 300 AD Western civilization didn’t rediscover aluminum until 1827.

Automobile

George Seldon received a patent in 1895 - for the automobile. Four years later, George sold the rights for $200,000.

Coin Operated Machine

The first coin operated machine ever designed was a holy-water dispenser that required a five-drachma piece to operate. It was the brainchild of the Greek scientist Hero in the first century AD.

Compact Discs

Compact discs read from the inside to the outside edge, the reverse of how a record works.

Computers
  • ENIAC, the first electronic computer, appeared 50 years ago. The original ENIAC was about 80 feet long, weighed 30 tons, had 17,000 tubes. By comparison, a desktop computer today can store a million times more information than an ENIAC, and 50,000 times faster.
  • From the smallest microprocessor to the biggest mainframe, the average American depends on over 264 computers per day.
  • The first "modern" computer (i.e., general-purpose and program-controlled) was built in 1941 by Konrad Zuse. Since there was a war going on, he applied to the German government for funding to build his machines for military use, but was turned down because the Germans did not expect the war to last beyond Christmas.
  • The computer was launched in 1943, more than 100 years after Charles Babbage designed the first programmable device. Babbage dropped his idea after he couldn’t raise capital for it. In 1998, the Science Museum in London, UK, built a working replica of the Babbage machine, using the materials and work methods available at Babbage’s time. It worked just as Babbage had intended.
Electric Chair

The electric chair was invented by a dentist, Alfred Southwick.

E-Mail

The first e-mail was sent over the Internet in 1972.

Eye Glasses

The Chinese invented eyeglasses. Marco Polo reported seeing many pairs worn by the Chinese as early as 1275, 500 years before lens grinding became an art in the West.

Glass

If hot water is suddenly poured into a glass that glass is more apt to break if it is thick than if it is thin. This is why test tubes are made of thin glass.

Hard Hats

Construction workers hard hats were first invented and used in the building of the Hoover Dam in 1933.

Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam was built to last 2,000 years. The concrete in it will not even be fully cured for another 500 years.

Limelight

Limelight was how we lit the stage before electricity was invented. Basically, illumination was produced by heating blocks of lime until they glowed.

Mobile (Cellular) Phones

As much as 80% of microwaves from mobile phones are absorbed by your head.

Nuclear Power

Nuclear ships are basically steamships and driven by steam turbines. The reactor just develops heat to boil the water.

Oil

The amount of oil that is used worldwide in one year is doubling every ten years. If that rate of increase continues and if the world were nothing but oil, all the oil would be used up in 400 years.

Radio Waves

Radio waves travel so much faster than sound waves that a broadcast voice can be heard sooner 18,000 km away than in the back of the room in which it originated.

Rickshaw

The rickshaw was invented by the Reverend Jonathan Scobie, an American Baptist minister living in Yokohama, Japan, built the first model in 1869 in order to transport his invalid wife. Today it remains a common mode of transportation in the Orient.

Ships & Boats
  • The cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth 2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel that it burns.
  • The world’s oldest surviving boat is a simple 10 feet long dugout dated to 7400 BC. It was discovered in Pesse Holland in the Netherlands.
  • Rock drawings from the Red Sea site of Wadi Hammamat, dated to around 4000 BC show that Egyptian boats were made from papyrus and reeds.
  • The world’s earliest known plank-built ship, made from cedar and sycamore wood and dated to 2600 BC, was discovered next to the Great Pyramid in 1952.
  • The Egyptians created the first organized navy in 2300 BC.
  • Oar-powered ships were developed by the Sumerians in 3500 BC.
  • Sails were first used by the Phoenicians around 2000 BC.
Silicon Chip

A chip of silicon a quarter-inch square has the capacity of the original 1949 ENIAC computer, which occupied a city block.

Skyscraper

The term skyscraper was first used way back in 1888 to describe an 11-story building.

Sound

Sound travels 15 times faster through steel than through the air.

Telephones

There are more than 600 million telephone lines today, yet almost half the world’s population has never made a phone call.

Television

Scottish inventor John Logie Baird gave the first public demonstration of television in 1926 in Soho, London. Ten years later there were only 100 TV sets in the world.

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights were used before the advent of the motorcar. In 1868, a lantern with red and green signals was used at a London intersection to control the flow of horse buggies and pedestrians.

Transistors

More than a billion transistors are manufactured... every second.

VCR’s

The first VCR, made in 1956, was the size of a piano.

Windmill

The windmill originated in Iran in AD 644. It was used to grind grain.

World Trade Center

The World Trade Center towers were designed to collapse in a pancake-like fashion, instead of simply falling over on their sides. This design feature saved hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives on Sept. 11, 2001, when they were destroyed by terrorists.
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