Category: History

Jakob Nielsen’s Dishonesty

I’ve always disliked Nielsen’s holie-than-thou attitude and painful-to-look-at website, so I’m only too delighted to highlight his admission that in 1997 he suppressed research that demonstrated that users respond to dialog-box style ads on websites.

Now hold your horses before you dive in to defend his honour. Yes he’s admitted it now, and there’s no denying that that’s a step forward. But ask yourself, when did you start admiring him, recently or ten years ago? Would you now, with the same information?

Neilsen is a dinosaur. Move on people.

Did you know?

That the phrase “By Hook or by Crook” originated when William the Conqueror swore that he would take Waterford by Hook Head to the east of the harbour, or Crook head to the west. I didn’t (until a few weeks ago).

IBM 704

IBM 704

Shorpy: This network of black magnetic beads, smaller than a postage stamp, is one of a number of input-output “memory” units in the new “704” electronic calculator built by International Business Machines. This particular “memory” unit of the 704 instantaneously strips all information off a slow-moving punch card, stores the data momentarily in the form of magnetic charges, and passes along the individual items, one at a time, to a lightning-fast calculating section, which can handle around 10 million operations an hour, theoretically replacing 3,000 hand-operated adding machines. Orders are in for over thirty 704’s, which I.B.M. will rent at some $20,000 a month each.

Creation Museum’s ‘Adam’ runs porn site

You couldn’t make it up.

WTOL-TV Toledo: The man picked by the Creation Museum to play Adam leads quite a different life outside the Garden of Eden. Records show that Eric Linden owns a pornographic web site called “Bedroom Acrobat.”

Useless Info #1: Tesco’s Name

I’m renowned for my vast stocks of useless information, so thus begins the first in a series of useless fact posts. Probably the last too, given my proclivity for “first in a series” posts. Maybe this could be the first in a series of posts about my first in a series posts… hmm….

Aaaanyway, I was gazing into space in a traffic jam at Mahon Point the other day, as I’m sure we all do regularly, and it occurred to me that I had no idea what the name on the sign my gaze happened to fall on actually means. TESCO. This happens quite regularly, but this time I actually looked it up, and if Wikipedia is to be believed on this occasion, here’s the explanation:

The Tesco brand first appeared in 1924. The name came about after Jack Cohen bought a large shipment of tea from T.E. Stockwell. He made new labels by using the first three letters of the supplier’s name (TES) and the first two letters of his surname (CO) forming the word “TESCO”.

So there you have it. Boring, but you’ll still tell people in the pub the next time the name comes up. And your bonus fact today, which I have to confess prompts a confused WTF moment for me, is:

Group profit before tax was £2.653 billion for the 52 week period and £2.648 billion after tax.

£5m tax on £2.6b? I know my grasp of high finance is shite, but again: WTF?

What’s in a name?

No doubt some of these will turn up False on Snopes, but most are probably true.

Did you know why is called I have to confess, I didnt.

Here’s the full source list, from Wikipedia.

SUCH a nerd

Incredibly nerdy and ridiculously expensive, but I so want one of these.

manic miner

Dr. Ruth Was Israeli Sniper

No, seriously. Snopes says so.

“When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager, they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded.”