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Miscellany to test your memory
Sep 23, 2011
Here’s a merry melange of memorable miscellany. Perhaps some of this will be new to you, or maybe you know it all. Either way, there’s stuff here with which you can impress your friends and neighbours and maybe even convince them that you’re pretty darn smart.
What’s an “emoticon?”
An emoticon looks like this —  :-)
Or, on a less happy note, like this —  :-(
Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott Fahlman claims he was the first person to use :-) in a computer message in 1982.
“I’ve never seen any hard evidence that the :-) sequence was in use before my original post, and I’ve never run into anyone who actually claims to have invented it before I did,” he said. “But it’s always possible that someone else had the same idea — it’s a simple and obvious idea, after all.”
Ever wonder who invented Gatorade?
Dr. Robert Cade and other researchers at the University of Florida created Gatorade in 1965 to help the school’s football tean, nicknamed the “Gators,” replace carbohydrates and electrolytes lost through sweat while playing in swamp-like heat.
Cade's researchers determined that a football player could lose up to 18 pounds during the three hours it takes to play a game. They also determined 90 to 95 per cent of the weight loss was water. Using their research, and about $43 in supplies, they concocted a brew for players to drink while playing football. It tasted awful, but researchers added some sugar and lemon juice to improve it. The drink was such a hit, it sparked a $5.5 billion a year sports drink market. 
Now, instead of the original four Gatorade flavours, there are more than 50 available in 80 countries. 
The company that initially obtained the licensing rights for Gatorade hated the name, believing it would was too regional. However, after tests showed that consumers liked the name, they stuck with it.
Dr. Cade thought the use of Gatorade would be limited to sports teams and never dreamed it would be purchased by regular consumers. 
Sadly, Dr. Cade died in 2007 at the age of 80.
How did eBay start and what was the first item sold?
It was founded by Pierre Omidyar in 1995 and was first called AuctionWeb.   Like many original ideas, there was some doubt as to whether such a thing would even be popular. Omidyar is now a billionaire, so obviously he was on to something. But he said when he started  that the whole concept was just a simple “side hobby.”
Oh, and the first item sold? The founder sold eBay’s first item in 1995 — a broken laser pointer he had originally bought as a cat toy.
Amazingly, the buyer paid $14 for the pointer.
Other things you might not have known:
• A cat has 32 muscles controlling each ear. 
• An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
• An ostrich egg can be as big as 24 chicken eggs.
• Peanuts are one of the ingredients of dynamite. Peanut oil can be processed to produce glycerol, which can be used to make nitroglycerin, an ingredient of TNT.
• Rubber bands last longer when refrigerated. 
• The average person’s left hand does 56 per cent of typing. 
• There are more chickens in the world than people.