Ben Franklin Needed a Sarcasm Sign

Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings Time as a joke

Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his interests that he spoke into virtually every area of human interest, and the world continues to feel his influence today in the arts, medical science, economics, cartography, and much, much more.

For those countries that observe Daylight Savings Time, Franklin’s influence is often remembered with resentment twice each year as the nation adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. Remembering to change all the clocks is almost as bad as the feeling of jet lag for a few days as the body tries to catch up with the extra or missing hour. We have Franklin to thank for this phenomenon.

The problem is that he wasn’t really being serious.  Continue reading

Some Light Reading

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The world record for the longest novel ever published goes to A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. It was published in 13 volumes beginning in 1912. With an estimated 9,609,000 characters (each letter counts as one character. Spaces are also counted, as one character each), it came out at 4,215 pages in length.

The title translates to “Remembrance of Things Past.” The second part of his work won international awards as soon as it was published and with them, an international reputation.

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I’ll Take My Winnings By Check, Mate

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The longest tournament chess game, in terms of moves, ever to be played was Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic in Belgrade, Serbia in 1989 The game lasted for 269 moves and took 20 hours and 15 minutes to complete. It ended in a draw.

The longest decisive tournament game was Viktor Kortchnoi vs. Laurent Fressinet, Villandry, France in 2007, which Kosteniuk won in 237 moves and lasted a little more than two hours. Fressinet could have claimed a draw under the fifty-move rule, but did not do so since neither player was keeping score, it being a rapid chess game.

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Next Time, Please Show Your Work

The Equation for Which Fermat Discovered the Long-Elusive Proof
The Equation for Which Fermat Discovered the Long-Elusive Proof

Pierre de Fermat (1605-1665) wrote in the margin of a book, “I have discovered a truly remarkable proof of this theorem which this margin is too small to contain.” He then died.

It took 357 years before his proof was rediscovered by Andrew Wiles in 1994.

The theorem was noted by Guinness Book of World Records as “The Most Difficult Mathematical Problem.”

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