The Etymology of the “Merry Christmas” Greeting

The greeting “Merry Christmas” was created in 1534 in London, England when it was written formally in a letter sent to King Henry VIII’s chief minister Thomas Cromwell from Bishop John Fisher. The letter states, “and thus our Lord God send you a mery [sic] Christmas, and a comfortable, to your heart’s desire” sent December 22, 1534

The First Person to Weigh the Atmosphere

Italian Jesuit Evangelista Torricelli was able to definitively prove that the atmosphere has a specific weight by designing an experiment in which a tube is filled with mercury and then placed into a dish of mercury. Torricelli disovered that when performing this experiment, half of the mercury runs down into the dish and the other half stays within the tubing. Until this point, it was believed impossible to create a negative or empty space as the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once stated, “nature abhors a vacuum” believing that nature would forever fight against the creation of true and pure nothingness. This is the same reason that an object (e.g. plastic straw or an oil drum barrel etc.) crumbles when all of the air within is extracted. Torricelli was able to overcome this phenomena by using the exteme weight of mercury within a ridged glass tube. The level of mercury left within the tube was a measurement of the weight of the atmosphere, a balancing act between the weight of the mercury and the weight of air pressing down upon this mercury, balancing each other out like scales. Torricelli famously stated, “noi viviamo sommersi nel fondo d’un pelago d’aria” which means “we live submerged at the bottom of an ocean of air” in Italian, and his findings made scientists realize that air was a substance for the first time. Torricelli became the first person to invent the barometer because of his understanding of atmospheric pressure. Despite Aristotle being believed to be correct for millennia, Torricelli definitively proved that air does have weight

The Advent of Oil Paint Storage Changing Artwork and the First Artist to Begin Painting Outdoors

Tubed oil paint became available in 1841, superseding the traditional methods of storing paint in pigs bladders and glass syringes, which made traveling to a location and/or painting outside, suddenly possible, so that aspects of light and shadow would not have to be manufactured as with classical paintings, but rather they could be painted exactly as the artist laid witness to them. Claude Monet was the first Impressionist artist to start painting outdoors during the mid 19th century, often painting in the public’s view, outdoor scenery like The Manneporte which he painted in 1885

The Etymology of American Industrialist Henry Ford’s Model T Automobile and the First Mass Produced Vehicle

Henry Ford named the iconic Model T automobile as he did because of the way he built his company. Ford started with the Model A and continued to improve the design, moving through each letter of the alphabet the way modern software changes numerically with each upgrade (eg. Model A, Model B, Model C alongside software 1.0, software 2.0, software 3.0 etc.). It was Ford’s 20th design that met his stringent personal requirements allowing the Model T to become the first mass produced vehicle in 1908

The Etymology of “Tetris” and the Block Shapes Available to Players

The videogame Tetris was named as such due to its creator, Alexey Pajitnov, amalgamating the Ancient Greek prefix “tetra” which means “4”, a direct reference to the various block shapes of Tetris which always have 4 cubes, and the term “tennis” as this was Pajitnov’s favorite sport. The shapes are referred to as “tetrominoes” and consist of an S-shape, Z-shape, T-shape, L-shape, line-shape, 7-shape, and a square-shape

The 12 Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Greece

The Ancient Greeks believed in 12 gods and goddesses who were understood to reside upon Mount Olympus. These deities included Zeus (pronounced “zoose”) the king of the gods, Hera (pronounced “hare-ah”) the wife of Zeus and goddess of marriage and childbirth, Apollo (pronounced “ah-pol-oh”) the son of Zeus, sun god, and god of music and healing, Artemis (pronounced “art-em-is”) the daughter of Zeus, twin sister of Apollo, and the goddess of the moon and hunting, Aphrodite (pronounced “af-row-dye-tee”) the daughter of Zeus and goddess of love and sexual desire, Ares (pronounced “air-eez”) the son of Zeus, god of war and battle, and lover of Aphrodite, Poseidon (pronounced “po-sai-den”) the brother of Zeus and god of the sea, storms, and earthquakes, Demeter (pronounced “de-me-tur”) a lover of Zeus and the goddess of agriculture and fertility, Athena (pronounced “ah-tee-nah”) the daughter of Zeus and goddess of wisdom and war, Hephaestus (pronounced “heh-fai-sch-tus”) the son of Zeus and god of fire and art, Hermes (pronounced “hur-meez”) the son of Zeus, god of commerce and travel, as well as being a personal messenger for his father, and finally Hestia (pronounced “hess-tee-yah”) the sister of Zeus and goddess of the home and family

The Reason the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) Was Created in North America

It was the Fatality feature of the Mortal Kombat videogame series that prompted the creation of the Entertainment Software Rating Board, a non-profit organization tasked with reviewing and rating all videogames (e.g. console, online, mobile etc.) made available to North American consumers. The concept of the Entertainment Software Rating Board was created within the U.S. Congress in 1994 and the original intent of the agency was and continues to be, to provide caretakers of minors with pertinent in game information so that they are able to make informed decisions as to the type of content these minors consume

The Origin of Pogs

The game of Pogs originated in Japan during the 17th century and was originally referred to as “Menko”. The Pogs game was adopted once again during the 1960’s in Hawaii, United States of America and was played using cardboard juice and milk bottle lids. The name “Pogs” was chosen for the game due to the popular juice flavor in Hawaii of “passion fruit orange guava”, making “Pogs” more so an acronym rather than a name

How Ritalin Acquired its Name

Methylphenidate, more commonly known by its brand name “Ritalin”, was developed in 1944 by Swiss scientist Leandro Panizzon. Panizzon created the medication in part as he wanted his wife Marguerite to become more energized, play better tennis, lose weight, and help improve her hypotension. Panizzon created the term “Ritaline” (pronounced “ree-tah-lean”) for his newly invented medication, named as such for his wife Marguerite (pronounced “mar-gah-reet”) as Marguerite always referred to herself using the shortened version of her name, “Rita”. When Chemische Industrie Basel, more commonly known by the acronym “CIBA”, the company which owned the research, released methylphenidate into the marketplace, the “e” was discarded from “Ritaline” to create “Ritalin” (pronounced “ree-tah-lin”)