Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet are the colours of the rainbow. They are the colours we use to describe the natural sequence of wavelengths of visible light in our physical world.
So where does magenta come from and fit in?
What is the wavelength in the visible spectrum of light of the colour we call magenta?
Magenta has no specific wavelength on the spectrum; it is a ‘made up’ mixture of light of two different wavelengths, red and violet/blue (containing no green) that our eyes physically recognise and psychologically perceive as a distinct colour!
Magenta took its name from an aniline dye made and patented in 1859 by the French chemist François-Emmanuel Verguin, who originally called it fuchsine because it was the colour of the fuchsia flower.
It was renamed to celebrate the Italian-French victory at the Battle of Magenta fought between the French and Austrians on June 4, 1859, near the Italian town of Magenta in Lombardy.
If you have an ink-jet printer, the four coloured inks that allow it to print all the known colours of the visible spectrum are yellow, black, cyan (a bluish colour) and magenta!
Do you want to participate in the Olympics? The Google Chrome web browser has long had a “secret” dinosaur game that appears if you open the browser when you don’t have a connection to the internet. It’s a pretty simple game, more suited for the littlies really, but you might earn some “brownie points” (and credibility) by showing it to your grandkids!
If you want to try it (even when you might not be disconnected from the internet) you should open your Chrome web browser. Now type into the search window:
If you are on a computer, pressing the space-bar will set the dino running forward, and you tap the space-bar to “jump” T-Rex over obstacles.
On a phone or tablet, tapping the dino has the same effect.
What about the Olympics? Well, the fun-loving makers of the cactus-jumping dino incorporated a range of new obstacles and activities in keeping with the “2020 Summer Olympics” while they were being held in Tokyo in 2021. At the time, obstacles and the dino attire were tailored for gymnastics, surfing, track & field, swimming and equestrian sports. (The Olympics are now over, and we’re back to leaping cacti!)
You can still enjoy the dino with the grandkids…!
The very different metric and imperial systems of measurement are a common source of confusion.
Almost all of the world’s countries now use metric measures: centimetres, kilometres, grams, degrees-Celsius for temperature and newtons of force etcetera. One notable exception is the United States of America which still widely uses imperial units of measure: inches, miles, pounds, degrees-Fahrenheit and pound-force.
In December 1998 NASA launched its Mars Climate Orbiter intended to orbit Mars and report observations back to Earth scientists. As it approached the planet, course direction and speed were measured by the spacecraft and radioed to Earth in metric units, but the software in the US read the numbers as imperial units, performed calculations and relayed back course correction instructions that were ‘out’ by a factor of 4.45 times. The intended final rocket-burn on 23rd September 1999 was calculated on where NASA thought Mars Climate Orbiter should be, but it was really much closer to Mars, already nudging the Mars atmosphere.
What was intended to insert the craft into a safe orbit, instead pushed it into an atmospheric dive and resulted in its complete destruction! The end result was the total loss of a US $327.6 MILLION spacecraft and the mission! Not only embarrassing, but a very expensive lesson! This is not the only example of a disaster attributed to mistaken units of measure, but certainly is the costliest in dollar terms.
Postscript: Myanmar has recently announced it will adopt the metric unit system, leaving only Liberia and the USA holding on to the imperial system of measures…
"Being on tenter hooks" actually reaches back to one of the processes relating to the cloth weavers of pre-industrial Northern England.
All Weavers' cottages had a third floor which was completely closed off from the main house by a large trapdoor, containing a large loom and used exclusively for producing cloth 'pieces'. These were then sent to the town's "Piece Hall" to be sold at weekly intervals; the larger the cloth, the more income they made.
In order to stretch these fabric pieces as much as possible, each weaver had, at the back of his house, a large "tenter frame" consisting of wooden rails on either side with iron hooks inserted at intervals for attaching the cloth. Each 'piece' would be dampened, attached to the hooks, and stretched out as widely as possible until dry.
So when we say that "we're on tenter hooks" we are usually stretched to the limit and in a state of suspense or agitation while awaiting the outcome of a future event.
Guest contributor: Helen Formentin
Mother’s Day is celebrated on the 2nd Sunday of May in many countries around the world, though many religions have different calendar dates recognising and celebrating mothers.
The secular Mother’s Day was founded by Anna Jarvis in Virginia, USA in 1907 and she specified Mother’s Day be written as a singular possessive to denote each individual family recognising their own mother, not a plural possessive for all mothers around the world. She decried the commercialisation of the celebration and insisted that was never her intention.
In Soviet-era Russia the award of the “Order of Maternal Glory” was bestowed upon any woman who gave birth to and raised seven or more children! The order was divided into three classes. 1st (9+ children), 2nd (8 children) and 3rd class (7 children)!
My own mother (not Russian) was one of ten siblings, but the recent trend in Australia is for mothers to have fewer children. In recent decades the average number of children being born in Australia has fallen below that needed to maintain a stable population.
Happy Mother’s Day for 9th May.
'One bad apple spoils the barrel', is usually taken to mean that a bad person, policy, etc, can ruin everything around it.
Versions of this proverb can be found as far back as the early 16th century. In “The Cook’s Tale” from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, an apprentice chef named Perkin is asked to be let go from servitude on the rationale that his habits of drinking, vice, and debauchery will rub off on his colleagues.
Some would call the phrase an “idiom” – implying that its’ meaning is different from what the words suggest.
But it turns out that from an agricultural sense it is scientifically accurate: apples emit ethylene gas when they ripen, and an over-ripe apple will emit enough ethylene gas to rapidly over-ripen and spoil the surrounding apples.
February, thanks to its generally short length of 28 days sometimes misses out on having a full moon occurring within the month. It’s rare though, occurring only about four times in a century. Much, much rarer is a 29-day February (in a leap year) without any full Moon. According to Peter Macdonald (Journal of the British Astronomical Association, December 1998, page 324), this oddity occurred in 1608 and won’t happenagain until 2572. Don’t wait up for it!
And in case you were wondering, we certainly did have a full moon in February 2021 - on Saturday the 27th, the day I published this.
How long is it since you had a “light bulb moment”?
Did you know the use of an electric light bulb as a symbol for a great idea (typically a bulb turning on over one’s head) first appeared and was popularised by the animated character Felix the Cat.
Felix the Cat was created in Australia in 1919 by Pat Sullivan (Australian) and Otto Messmer (American) and then went on to become the most popular cartoon character of the silent-film era!
The light bulb emoji (used in modern-day electronic messaging such as SMS and email) is commonly used to represent ideas, thinking, and learning.
All very fitting for MALA in 2021…
Scientifically, starfish are classed as Asteroidea even though asteroids are certainly not stars; asteroids are small rocky objects that frequently orbit around stars or planets. Starfish are also not fish; they are echinoderms, closely related to sea urchins and sand dollars. The scientific community prefer the name “Sea Stars” to emphasize their non-piscine status!
The majority of starfish that we are familiar with have 5 arms, but some have more than that. There are species of starfish with 6, 7, 10, 20 and even more than 50 arms!
Here are a few more“Did you Know” facts to tell the grandchildren:
- Starfish have one eye on the tip ofeach arm.
- Starfish have no centralised brain, but they do possess a complex nervous system with a nerve ring around the mouth and extensions into each of their arms.
- Starfish have no blood but have a circulatory system that uses filtered seawater.
- Starfish are mostly carnivores!
- Starfish are usually able to regenerate a severed arm (and there are even several species capable of regenerating a whole new body from just a portion of a severed arm!)
- Starfish normally live up to 35 years in the ocean, butvery often die afterbeing handled by humans or taken out of water for even a short time…
The message should be tolook, enjoy, marvel, but please do not touch!
The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ,” later shortened to “Christ-Mass.” The even shorter form “Xmas” – first used in Europe in the 1500s – is derived from the Greek alphabet, in which X is the first letter of Christ’s name: Xristos, therefore “X-Mass.”
Today we know that Christ was not born on the 25th of December. The date was chosen to coincide with the pagan Roman celebrations honouring Saturnus (the harvest god) and Mithras (the ancient god of light), a form of sun worship. These celebrations came on or justafter the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, to celebrate that winter is not forever, that lifecontinues, and an invitation to stayin good spirit.
Happy Xmas all.
It’s not over until the race has been won!
In 1923, horse jockey Frank Hayes suffered a heart attack in the middle of a race at Belmont Park, New York. His horse, a 20-1 outsider named ‘Sweet Kiss’ finished the race with Hayes body still in the saddle and, in the process, made Hayes the only jockey in history to win a race posthumously.
Hayes was thought to have died of a heart attack; indeed, it was only realised he was dead when officials and the horse’s owner, Miss A.M. Frayling rushed up to offer congratulations! The horse never raced again; it is alleged the mare was subsequently nicknamed ‘Sweet Kiss of Death’!
You can re-live the experience from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz by typing its name into the Google search bar?
If you don’t have a Google search bar on your regular internet home page, navigate to google.com.au first. In the search box type “The Wizard of Oz”. Over to the right you should find Dorothy’s sparkling ruby red slippers. Click on them and you will be whisked away…
If you then click on the spinning tornado, Dorothy’s Home (and all the colours on your page) will return safely.
Though Dorothy’s magic slippers appeared ruby red in the movie, they were originally described as silver in the book from which the film was adapted!
If you are going to show this one to the grandkids, make sure the sound is turned on ;-).
The phrase, “comparing apples and oranges” is well-known to describe comparing two items that are so dis-similar that any comparison is invalid. It is natural to assume the two very different fruits are iconic, well-known and as old as the Garden of Eden! (I presume the apple was certainly that old!)
Did you know the orangeis not an original fruit at all? It turns out the orange (technically a “sweet orange”)arose as a hybrid between two original citrus species, the pomelo (a native of south-east Asia) and the mandarin. The first mention of sweet orange in literature was in China approximately 314 BC.
The orange has now become easily the most popular citrus fruit in the world.
On Friday April 18th 1930 the listeners of the BBC’s radio news service were treated to something a little bit different. The BBC simply announced that there was no news for the day and played piano musicinstead! Are there some moments during this troubled year when we might wish for a similar day?
Harry Selfridge pioneered the practice of placing perfume counters near the entrance to department stores….. way backin the 1900s?
He founded the iconic Selfridges Department Store on London’s Oxford Street in 1909 and the location of perfumery was partly to make the store attractive to customers, but more importantly to mask the smell of horse manure pervading London’s streets at the time!
By 1912 the number of motorised vehicles in London had surpassed the number of horse-drawn vehicles. The proliferation of motor cars over the next decade changed London streets, and the smell of them, completely. Yet the placement of perfumecounters at department store entrances remains quite commonplace to this day, including in many Australian cities.
A bit of history this month. The royal crown of Romania is not made of precious metals as are the crowns of many countries’ royalty, but of steel harvested from a cannon captured from the Ottoman Empire during Romania’s War of Independence (1877-1878).
Do you make a distinction betweentyposand misspellings, or is that just me? For example, “regualr” is a typo while “redfridgerator” is a misspelling. The former is a mechanical error while the latter demonstrates a lack of specific knowledge. These days many of ususe word processing software that should identify possible errors. In Microsoft Word for example, common typos may beautomatically corrected, and misspellings are highlighted by a red underline. No excuses then!
Antarctica is the only land mass on our planet not owned by any country. Ninety percent of the world's ice covers Antarctica. This ice also represents 70% of all the fresh water in the world. As strange as it sounds, however, Antarctica is essentially a desert; the average annual precipitation is only about two inches. Although covered with ice (all but 0.4% of Antarctica is ice-covered), Antarctica is actually the driest place on our planet with an absolute humidity lower than thatof the Gobi Desert.
Pen knives are diminutive pocketknives with small sharp blades. They derive their name fromtheir original purpose: to slice through quill tips thus turning them into writing pens.
An initialism is a type of acronym where you pronounce the letters individually instead of pronouncing them as a word. ASIO, MALA and ABC are all acronyms, but only ABC is an initialism.
The month of January derives its name from the Roman god “Janus”,associated with transitions, the passage of time, duality, passages, doorways, gates, endings and new beginnings.The latter is particularly applicable as we launchthis new MALA website.
'Did you Know' is contributed monthly by David Thorne