Miscellaneous

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“these are words” [1]

“This sentence contains thirty-six letters.” [2]

“This pangram tallies five a’s, one b, one c, two d’s, twenty-eight e’s, eight f’s, six g’s, eight h’s, thirteen i’s, one j, one k, three l’s, two m’s, eighteen n’s, fifteen o’s, two p’s, one q, seven r’s, twenty-five s’s, twenty-two t’s, four u’s, four v’s, nine w’s, two x’s, four y’s, and one z.” [3]

“The terms ‘pentasyllabic’ and ‘seventeen-lettered’ are autological, meaning they describe themselves.” [4]

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“Introducing more pigments into a paint mix will sully its appearance, and browns, greys, and ultimately black will result. But doing the same with light will merely create a paler light, and ultimately white will result.” [5]

“With additive color mixing, mixing all colors produces white. With subtractive color mixing, mixing all colors produces black.” [6]

“What does the brain do when our eyes detect wavelengths from both ends of the light spectrum at once (i.e. red and violet light)? In a sense, evolution had two options. The first would be to sum the input responses to produce a color halfway between red and violet on the spectrum, which in this case would be green. The second option would be to ‘invent a new color’ halfway between red and violet. Magenta is the evidence that evolution took the second option ― it’s apparently constructed a color to bridge the gap between red and violet. Unlike all the other chromatic colors, magenta has no single wavelength attributed to it and doesn’t appear anywhere on the visible light spectrum.”i[7]

From Wikipedia’s articles on the colors, gold and silver: “The visual sensation usually associated with the metal gold/silver is its metallic shine. This can’t be reproduced by a simple solid color, because the shiny effect is due to the material’s reflective brightness varying with the surface’s angle to the light source. Similarly, there’s no mechanism for showing metallic colors on a computer without resorting to rendering software which simulates the action of light on a shiny surface. This is why, in art, a metallic paint that glitters in an approximation of real gold/silver would often be used.” [8] These two color articles stood out as special compared to all the others.

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“The classical elements refer to the concepts of earth, water, air, fire, and (later) aether, which were proposed to explain the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances. Ancient cultures in Greece, Japan, Tibet, and India all had similar lists, sometimes referring in local languages to ‘air’ as ‘wind’ and to the fifth element as ‘void’. The Chinese Wu Xing system lists earth, water, fire, wood, and metal, though these are described more as energies or transitions rather than types of material.” [9]

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“As of the early 20th century, Western scientists believed there were four basic tastes: sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and bitterness. At that time, umami or savoriness wasn’t identified, but now a large number of authorities recognize it as the fifth taste. (The sensation of spiciness is sometimes incorrectly thought to be one of the basic tastes, but it actually results from the activation of our senses of heat and pain. Similarly, the sensation of mintiness results from the activation of our sense of cold.)”i[10]

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Hierarchies of precious substances, in popular culture, are systems conventionally used to express perceived relative value. The best known example is perhaps the hierarchy of bronze, silver, and gold medals awarded at sporting events. This echoes conventional coinage systems, in which bronze/copper denominations could aggregate to silver, then to gold. Ancient Greek cosmology depicted a decline from a golden age to a silver age to an iron age (with some variants including a bronze age between silver and iron), and the ‘golden age’ metaphor has since been extended to a number of disciplines. Modern music recording certification, used to award number of sales, has a hierarchy of gold, platinum, and diamond. Credit card companies often offer a ‘gold card’ and a ‘platinum card’ (many formerly had a ‘silver card’, but due to the similarity in appearance between silver and platinum, these were often discontinued). Anniversaries have a hierarchy of years: silver for 25, ruby for 40, gold for 50, diamond for 60, and platinum for 70 (in general, though, no precious stone outranks diamond). In Japan, the Sho Chiku Bai ranking system is commonly used by restaurants to indicate how elaborate and expensive meals are ― it has a hierarchy from pine to bamboo to plum.” [11]

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Vatican City is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. It’s the smallest sovereign state in the world by both area and population.” [12] It shares similarities with “the city of Washington, D.C., which isn’t a part of any U.S. state.” [13]

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“Viruses are considered by some to be a life form, because they carry genetic material, reproduce, and evolve through natural selection. However, they lack key characteristics (such as their own metabolism, cell structure, and the ability to naturally reproduce outside a host cell) that are generally considered necessary to count as living. Because they possess some but not all such qualities, viruses have been described as ‘organisms at the edge of life’.” [14]

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“The four-leaf clover is a rare variation of the common three-leaf clover, traditionally thought to bring good luck. A survey of over 5 million clovers found the frequency to be about 1 in 5,000. Clovers can also have more than four leaves. Five-leaf clovers (also known a ‘rose clovers’) are even less commonly found, and in Ireland especially they’re regarded by some collectors as a particular prize. (I once found a five-leaf clover!) In exceptionally rare cases, clovers in nature are able to grow with six leaves or more.”i[15]

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“Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States, the only president in American history to serve two non-consecutive terms in office.” [16]

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“Matter is usually classified into three classical states ― solid, liquid, and gas ― with plasma sometimes added as a fourth. Plasma was first identified in 1879 by William Crookes, who called it ‘radiant matter’. Like gases, plasmas don’t have definite shape or volume. Unlike gases, plasmas are electrically conductive, produce magnetic fields and electric currents, and respond strongly to electromagnetic forces. Examples of plasmas include lightning, fluorescent and neon lights, sufficiently hot fire, and stars. Consequently, of the four classical states of (ordinary, non-dark) matter, plasma is the most abundant in the universe.”i[17]

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“A person born on February 29th is sometimes called ‘leapling’ or a ‘leap-year baby’. The chance of being born on Leap Day is about 1 in 1,461, as February 29th only comes around about once every 1,461 days. In non-leap years, some leaplings celebrate their birthday on either February 28th or March 1st, while others only observe birthdays on the authentic intercalary date. The effective legal date of a leapling’s birthday in non-leap years varies between jurisdictions. For instance, in England, a person born on February 29th will have legally reached 18 years old on March 1st; in Taiwan, on February 28th, a day earlier. There are many instances in children’s literature where a person claims to be only a quarter of their actual age due to counting only their leap-year birthdays.” [18]

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“In the United States, the denominations of bills currently in print are $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. The highest bill ever printed, however, was a $100,000 note that was printed from December 18th, 1934 to January 9th, 1935. It was used for transactions between Federal Reserve Banks and had Woodrow Wilson pictured on the front. The following bills haven’t been in print since 1946 and were removed from circulation in 1969: $500 (William McKinley); $1,000 (Grover Cleveland); $5,000 (James Madison); and $10,000 (Salmon P. Chase).” [19]

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“The SI base units are the standard units of measurement chosen for the seven base quantities. They’re notably a basic set from which all other SI units can be derived. The units and their physical quantities are the second for time, the meter for length, the kilogram for mass, the ampere for electric current, the kelvin for temperature, the mole for amount of substance, and the candela for luminous intensity. With the 2019 redefinition, the International System of Units became wholly derivable from natural phenomena. It’s built around seven defining fundamental physical constants, allowing all units to be constructed directly from them.” [20] The mole and the candela are the odd ones out. “No one would miss them if they were gone.” [Pannenkoek]

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“Honey has been called ‘the only food that truly lasts forever’, since it never spoils. In fact, archaeologists have even sampled honey found in 3000-year-old Egyptian tombs. Maple syrup also has similar properties.” [21]

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“The reason that the set of vitamins skips directly from E to K is that the vitamins corresponding to letters F through J were either reclassified over time, discarded as false leads, or renamed because of their relationship to vitamin B, which became a complex of vitamins.” [22]

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“Diamond has the highest hardness of any known natural material. The hardest diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds.” [23]

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Citations

  1. ~masochisticcannibal
  2. (various sources)
  3. (unknown source), collected by Hofstadter
  4. Wikipedia’s Autological Word article
  5. (source lost)
  6. Wikipedia’s Color Mixing article
  7. Liz Elliott
  8. Wikipedia’s Gold (Color) & Silver (Color) articles
  9. Wikipedia’s Classical Element article
  10. Wikipedia’s Taste article
  11. Wikipedia’s Hierarchy of Precious Substances article
  12. Wikipedia’s Vatican City article
  13. Wikipedia’s Washington, D.C. article
  14. Wikipedia’s Virus article
  15. Wikipedia’s Four-Leaf Clover article
  16. Wikipedia’s Grover Cleveland article
  17. Wikipedia’s Matter & Plasma (Physics) articles
  18. Wikipedia’s February 29 article
  19. Wikipedia’s Large Denominations of United States Currency article & uscurrency.gov
  20. Wikipedia’s SI Base Unit article
  21. mashed.com & mentalfloss.com
  22. Wikipedia’s Vitamin article
  23. Wikipedia’s Diamond article
  24. Andy Norman

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