Billie Jean
06 Dec 2019
Cup 'O Noodles
05 Dec 2019
Clive James
28 Nov 2019
Chevron
27 Nov 2019
Marlboro Man
12 Nov 2019
James Cagney
08 Oct 2019
Tiger Woods
03 Oct 2019
Tiger Woods
15 Sep 2019
Historical Events  Science
Historical Events  Science
Engine

Who invented CVT transmission?

MMDE: Leonardo Da Vinci did not invent CVT transmission

Current: Leonardo Da Vinci invented CVT transmission

The CVT - Continuously Variable Transmission - design, also known as a shiftless transmission, is an ingenious gearbox system often applied in advanced engineering situations such as car gearboxes, gas and oil field drills and various other forms of plant and machinery. In other words, a modern phenomenon.

Many people are surprised to hear where it's design first originated: Leonardo Da Vinci.

They are fundamentally different to regular gears because they are designed around a cone pulley system, making the gearing a smooth transition across all torques rather than the set of fixed ones in traditional designs.

Historical Events  Science
The Chicago Cholera Epidemic

The Chicago Cholera Epidemic of 1885

MMDE: The 1885 Chicago Cholera Epidemic was devastating

Current: The 1885 Chicago Cholera Epidemic didn't happen

Hear about the Chicago Cholera Epidemic of 1885? Most who have heard of it recall it being reported as catastrophic, killing thousands and decimating life there for years.

Except ... it's now being reported as a myth. There actually was a disaster at the time, a huge storm, but it was apparently somehow then connected with a fictitious cholera outbreak, that just co-incidentally meant the public works committee could then commission, for the good of the people, after this devastation. Not only that, but these works only really began in the 1950's, which is when the story of the cholera outbreak began.

Historical Events  Science
Leonardo Da Vinci

Not the contact lenses we know today

MMDE: Leonardo Da Vinci did not invent contact lenses

Current: Leonardo Da Vinci invented contact lenses

The idea of contact lenses seems like a modern medical advancement.

As it happens, in 1508 none other than Leonardo Da Vinci described the concept in great detail in his "Codex of the eye, Manual D".

They weren't the small modern eye lenses we know today, but the description proves he was perfectly well aware of the properties of light refraction, and the mechanism required to tune it for vision using a contact substance, his case water.

He wasn't doing this to correct faulty vision, but to enhance what the eye could already see, much in the same way a telescope does.

Historical Events  Science
London Bridge

What made the dodos extinct?

MMDE: Humans ate them

Current: Humans introduced animals which ate their eggs and food

The poor dodo lived for many thousands of years on its island paradise of Mauritius, where it had no natural predators. This meant being flightless was not a problem, but unfortunately this was it's downfall, because within 100 years of humans settling, it was extinct. The widely agreed date for this extinction is 1681.

The popular idea is that humans ate them, and this myth is so widespread it comes as quite a surprise to many to find out it's meat was terrible to eat, and this wasn't the cause of their extinction. In fact it was down to the pigs, rats and even monkeys which humans introduced to the island which then went and ate the eggs, and competed for food, of the birds. 

Historical Events  Science
Apple mouse

Steve Jobs and the Mouse

MMDE: Steve Jobs stole the idea for the mouse from Xerox

Current: Steve Jobs did not steal the idea for the mouse from Xerox

There's a story going round in tech circles that Steve Jobs got the idea for the mouse when he saw a clunky prototype on a visit to Xerox labs in 1979. 

In fact, when the first Apple mouse became available commercially in 1984, a Xerox computer featuring one had been on sale for years. Since you can't steal an idea for which products are aleady available, because they are in the public domain, the notion he did so is incorrect.

He definitely did improve on the physical implementation, making them much easier to use, more reliable, more stylish and much more affordable, but that's a different argument.

Historical Events  Science
British teeth

How do British teeth compare?

MMDE: Amongst the unhealthiest in the world

Current: Amongst the healthiest in the world

There's a popular feeling, outside of Britain for obvious reasons, that British teeth are amongst the unhealthiest in the world.

The BBC covered this and found the results to be surprising.

It found that as far back as 1963 the figure for the average number of missing or filled in teeth was 5.6, but since then the figure has steadily dropped and actually passed that of the US in the mid-1990's.

Movies and TV shows poking fun at this stereotype, such as Austin Powers or The Simpsons, haven't exactly helped the British cause in this respect.

Historical Events  Science
Frog

Will stay in water till boiled

MMDE: Yes

Current: No

Often, you'll hear people describing the pattern of a set of small, incremental changes being made to something, without that something realising they all add up to unnoticed disaster, as the "boiling frog" scenario. Examples might be many small tax changes or laws introduced by a government, which, if it were to do tham all at once, would cause panic. Instead it does them slowly, with each change having very little effect on it's own.

This is said to be how a frog behaves in cold water when you slowly heat it up. The frog stays in until it's too late, whereas if it were to have jumped in when the water was getting warmer, it would have jumped out immediately having seen the danger.

Except it's not true.

Experiments, hopefully which never actually got to hot for our little green friends, show in fact they jump out very early in any case.