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eklectica - this, that and everything

A Brief History of Beer

A Brief History of Beer | eklectica.in
Beer brewing and drinking are activities that have been part of the human experience seemingly since the dawn of civilization. Around 10,000 years ago, mankind began to move away from living life as nomadic hunter gatherers, and began settling down in one spot to farm the land. Grain, a vital ingredient in beer making, was cultivated by these new agricultural societies.

No one is exactly sure how the process of beer making was discovered or who first discovered it, but it is thought that some bread or grain got wet, fermenting into an inebriating pile of mush thanks to yeast in the air.

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Happily disgusted? 15 new "compound" emotions identified

Happily disgusted? 15 new
Until recently, scientists had only identified six basic human emotions: happy, sad, fearful, angry, surprised and disgusted.

These “emotion categories,” as cognitive scientists like to call them, are defined by the facial muscles we use to express each emotion.


In a new study published this week in the journal PNAS, Aleix Martinez, an associate professor at Ohio State University and his colleagues have identified 15 additional “compound emotions.” These are expressed by combining the basic emotions, much like using the primary colors blue and red to create purple.

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Is Rubik’s Cube the best puzzle ever?

Is Rubik’s Cube the best puzzle ever? | eklectica.in
Since 1980, when the Rubik’s Cube was first marketed by the Ideal Toy Corp – a New York company founded by Morris Michtom, a Russian-Jewish émigré and his American wife, Rose, after they had invented another famous best-seller, the Teddy Bear – this intriguing plastic Cube, has perplexed millions of people. Although some give up on the attempt, many more have been determined to solve this complex, three-dimensional mathematical puzzle.
There is even a loosely associated international group of Speedcubers whose members aim to beat the world Rubik’s Cube solving record. The current record, set last year, is held – according to the World Cube Association – by Mats Valk of the Netherlands, with a time of just 5.55 seconds. Mats was 16 years old at the time.

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Netiquette of Capitalization: How Caps Became Code for Yelling

Netiquette of Capitalization: How Caps Became Code for Yelling | eklectica.in
Typing in all caps is Internet code for shouting, and it is rude.

People have long used capital letters to set text apart and convey its importance, but upper case letters haven’t always signified loudness. The first bloggers may be responsible for that development: Linguist Ben Zimmer pointed me to old “Usenet newsgroups”—the precursors of the forums and Reddit threads that dominate the Internet today—where people hashed out what capital letters would mean online. In 1984, one user had to explain: “if it’s in caps i’m trying to YELL!”

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The Untold History of Where Barcodes Come From

The Untold History of Where Barcodes Come From | eklectica.in
A time without barcodes is hard to imagine now. But it wasn’t that long ago, and the story doesn’t start with George Laurer. It starts with an engineer named Joseph Woodland. In 1948 Woodland was trying to come up with simple symbol that, when scanned, would translate to a number that a computer could use to identify a product.

Legend has it that he came up with his design while sitting on the beach in Miami. He was puzzling over the whole thing, thinking about Morse Code and tracing circles in the sand. When finally, bulls-eye!

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Who Made That Chef’s Toque?

Who Made That Chef’s Toque? | eklectica.in
“I’ve long wondered how to change the way we wear our cotton hats,” wrote the French chef Antonin Carême in his 1822 manifesto on modern cuisine, “Le Maître d’Hôtel Français.” While working for the British ambassador in Vienna in 1821, Carême got the idea to insert a round piece of cardboard inside the floppy cap that was then standard headgear in the kitchen. “A cook should present as a man in good health,” he explained, “and our regular hat suggests a state of convalescence.”

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