Leap year math!
You might think that every four years is a leap year. But you would be wrong! The extra day of the leap year was added because the earth’s orbit around the sun is not precisely 365 days. You could call it 365 days, six hours (or “three hundred sixty five one fourth” if you are a Talking Heads fan), and you would be pretty close. And that would explain how that one extra day every four years keeps the seasons from shifting over time.
However! The actual time of the orbit is more like 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, 12 seconds. You can see the problem… Over centuries, those 10 minutes and 48 seconds would cause havoc. The answer is that century years (those ending in 00) are only leap years if they are divisible by 400. So, 2000 was a leap year. But 1800 and 1900 were not. And so on. This will be super handy to know if you make it to the year 2400. Good luck!
Our photo today has nothing to do with that. Instead, it is another example of me trying to catch the split second of a splash, because why not? This time we pulled back a little, used a wider lens, and dropped a quarter instead of a dime.
At first, I thought this would be an easy trivia question, but now I am not sure. I think this information may have been more well known back in the day, and may have fallen out of popular culture in recent years.
At any rate, Gatorade was created by doctors at the University of Florida for the football team. Because of this, they named it after the team mascot, the Florida Gators.
Our image is so close to being relevant to this trivia question. The one possible misstep is that I didn’t happen to have any Gatorade on hand. So what you are looking at is a full cap of orange Powerade. 🙂
A weather balloon?
Back in the day I worked a graveyard shift for several years. That job was compatible with listening to the radio while I worked. Have you listened to much overnight radio? I don’t know what is happening on the airwaves now, but back then Art Bell was the most syndicated host in the country. I listened to it for a long time, and now know much more about UFOs and UFO conspiracies than the average bear.
Which gets us to the answer to today’s trivia question, Project Blue Book. The Air Force ran the project for 22 years, from 1948 to 1969. In theory, Project Blue Book was supposed to study evidence for the existence of UFOs. The reality of what it was gets much more complicated.
The official conclusion of the project was that no evidence of extraterrestrials or extraterrestrial vehicles existed. But there are many who will say that conclusion was by design, and the real purpose of the project was simply public relations. There was never a doubt those would be the findings.
The story gets even murkier when you learn that J. Allen Hynek, the lead investigator for Project Blue Book from 1948 to 1969, late became a believer. In 1973, he founded CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies) in Chicago.
Wherever you fall on the UFO spectrum, it makes for a bunch of good stories, and Project Blue Book is at the root of a lot of them.
You might be wondering what this picture has to do with all of that? Not a lot, to be honest. Other than the fact that every time I see one of these little hairless cats it instantly makes me think of aliens. They are so bizarre. This one happened along at a photoshoot I was doing in NY, and I had to get a shot of his crazy eyeballs.
Happy Birthday to software?
Sure! Why not? It is Photoshop’s 30th birthday today. It might seem weird to send birthday greetings to a piece of software, but I’m in for it, because I love Photoshop.
The birthday post at Adobe makes note of some of the milestones along the way. Did you know the first use of Photoshop was to create visual effects for James Cameron’s The Abyss? Have you had the mind-blowing experience of seeing when Content-Aware-Fill gets it really right?
The changes have been huge over the years, but also incremental. So the biggest thing I have taken from the celebration is looking back at what it used to do, and comparing that to what it does now. It’s crazy how far things have progressed.
Our photo today is a bit of a nod to that. This is from a fake movie poster I made. What’s notable, and largely made possible by Photoshop, is that this photo was taken at 2:30 in the afternoon, on a sunny day, in the park. But we push some buttons, move some sliders, and we’ve got a horror film!
The root of all internet
ARPANET is quite the story. In simple terms, it is the foundation of the internet. That idea might seem crazy when you learn that the first host-to-host connection of ARPANET happened in October of 1969, between Stanford and UCLA.
Of course, that was only a hint of what the internet would become. But given the history that most of us have with computers and networks, it is a little amazing to think that was all happening over 50 years ago.
Our photo today is semi-related. This is a power supply for a HP Procurve switch. And there are also some Photoshop shenanigans being employed to enhance the pareidoila.
Pareidolia, for those that don’t know, is the psychological phenomenon that causes your brain to lend significance to random patterns. In this case, seeing that face. 🙂
Godzilla is, obviously, the most famous of the Toho Studios monsters. But you may be surprised to know that Mothra is number two, trailing only Godzilla in film appearances. That dates all the way back to the debut of Mothra, in 1961.
Our photo today is decidedly smaller than Mothra. I spotted this little insect on the side of a building. It’s hard to judge the scale from the photo, but for reference, it is about the size of a quarter.
Some photo shenanigans for today. This is a super close-up of something computer related thanks to our handy macro lens. It is something you have seen many many times before, but when we get those close, it becomes much harder to identify. The wide shot is down below.
Still hiding from the scroll…
Here we go!
It’s your random every day run of the mill stick of memory! The bit from the first image is highlighted in that tiny red circle. 🙂
Mice 2, electric boogaloo
So, today’s trivia question comes about precisely because I stumbled across an old mouse that still has the internal ball to track movements. That is what you are looking at in the photo, with the slightly blurred three button mouse it came out of as a background.
But the trivia is super interesting. I can’t vouch for the veracity of this theory, but it makes a whole lot of sense. As the story goes, Minesweeper and Solitaire were added to Windows to teach users mouse skills without them realizing that is what they were doing. Solitaire built the drag and drop skills, while Minesweeper drilled left and right click and precision control. I’m sure we all know the pain of slightly missing the box we meant to click and setting off the mines!
Photo tip. If you exercise your mouse skills and right click on the picture you can choose to open the image in a new window, where you can see it full size in all its linty glory.
Our old friend the CPU
The history of the CPU goes back to the 1950s when computers were the size of rooms and had vacuum tube modules. But for our purposes here, we are talking about the first commercial microprocessor. That was the Intel 4004 and it was released in 1971. Things have certainly changed since then, but the 4004 is one of the big stepping stones in our computing history.
Our picture today is not of a 4004. I have a lot of weird old computer bits hanging around the shop. But not that weird. And not that old. This is a super close-up look at the business end of a HP A6436A, a 900MHz processor for the RP7420.
56 years!!!! The computer mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1964. Does that number blow your mind a little bit? Of course, that was nothing like the fancy LED numbers we have today, with their multiple buttons, and no need for a mouse pad. Remember when mouse pads were a thing? Did you just flash to cleaning the lint off the rollerball in your mouse?
Our picture today is of an oddball rollerball mouse that I still use. It’s great for its specific purpose. That being a mouse control in a spot where the mouse can’t move. But for the general day to day, it’s hard to beat that same basic design from 1964.