February 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Great Matters of Grey Matter-10


  • The word gross (a dozen dozens) and the word grocer are related. “Grocer” used to mean “dealer in large quantities”.
  • In many Asian countries, it is commonplace to use the Chinese character 正, which means something like “correct”, instead of tally marks. Notice that the character has five strokes.
  • The world’s first computer programmer was a woman named Ada Lovelace. Her program was never actually used.
  • An interrobang is a form of punctuation that combines an exclamation point with a question mark: ‽, ?!, or ?!.
  • Researchers have hypothesized that washing your hands can reduce xenophobia. The idea is that hand-washing makes you less afraid of getting sick, and therefore less afraid to deal with people different from you, who might be carrying different germs than you are used to.
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