Facts for September 19-22, 2008 – a cornucopia of triviality

I was in Baltimore this weekend (more on that later…) and didn’t have time to set these up ahead of time. So here’s a few things to retrospectively mull over:

-The Mason-Dixon line, often viewed as the dividing line between north and south in the US, is the Maryland-Pennsylvania border. As such, the city of Baltimore, sometimes viewed by outsiders as a gritty northern city, is actually a sort-of gritty southern city (and, having lived there for several years, I can attest to the fact that it’s more than just a geographical point).

-Peanuts are not actually nuts. They are legumes just like peas.

-Most of the data we share electronically is protected through encryption schemes such as public key cryptography, the Diffie-Hellman cryptosystem, and the RSA cryptosystem, all supposedly invented in the 1970s (and hence, in the latter two cases, named for their “discoverers”). However, in 1997 it was revealed that all of these were previously discovered or developed by researchers at the British intelligence agency GCHQ (see additional links to the right) in the late 1960s and early 1970s, but were, for obvious reasons, kept secret.

-Most people don’t realize this since they seem to get a different impression when playing with paint, but white is the mixture of all colors while black is the absence of all color.

-Moxie is the official drink of the State of Maine.

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