Monthly Archives: February 2017

Netochka Nezvanova (author)

Netochka Nezvanova is the pseudonym used by the author(s) of nato.0+55+3d, a real-time, modular, video and multi-media processing environment.

Besides her audio-visual software art, the fame and notoriety of ‘Netochka Nezvanova’ stems from the complex and intricate online behavior she displayed through her various identities on countless mailing lists and websites, by which she mesmerized and vexed some internet users and the operators of her software products alike.

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William Cowper Brann

He was particularly noted for his writings attacking religious conservatism. “I have nothing against the Baptists. I just believe they were not held under long enough”

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Lake Karachay

According to a report by the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute on nuclear waste, Karachay is the most polluted place on Earth.

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RAS Syndrome

RAS syndrome (short for “redundant acronym syndrome syndrome”) refers to the use of one or more of the words that make up an acronym in conjunction with the abbreviated form, thus in effect repeating one or more words.

The term RAS syndrome is intentionally redundant, and thus an example of self-referential humor.

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Cat Organ

A cat organ or cat piano (German: Katzenorgel or Katzenklavier, French: orgue à chats or piano à chats/pianno chats) is a conjectural musical instrument which consists of a line of cats fixed in place with their tails stretched out underneath a keyboard so that they cry out in pain when a key is pressed. The cats would be arranged according to the natural tone of their voices.

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Moe Berg

Morris “Moe” Berg (March 2, 1902 – May 29, 1972), was an American catcher and coach in Major League Baseball who later served as a spy for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II.

Berg was assigned to attend a lecture and determine “if anything Heisenberg said convinced him the Germans were close to a bomb.” If Berg came to the conclusion that the Germans were close, he had orders to shoot Heisenberg; Berg determined that the Germans were not close.

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Rhinoceros (play)

Over the course of three acts, the inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses; ultimately the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis is the central character, Bérenger, a flustered everyman figure who is initially criticized in the play for his drinking, tardiness, and slovenly lifestyle and then, later, for his increasing paranoia and obsession with the rhinoceroses.

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Anglo-Zanzibar War

The Anglo-Zanzibar War was a military conflict fought between the United Kingdom and the Zanzibar Sultanate on 27 August 1896. The conflict lasted between 38 and 45 minutes, marking it as the shortest recorded war in history.

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Ismail al-Jazari

Al-Jazari created a musical automaton, which was a boat with four automatic musicians that floated on a lake to entertain guests at royal drinking parties. Professor Noel Sharkey has argued that it is quite likely that it was an early programmable automata and has produced a possible reconstruction of the mechanism; it has a programmable drum machine with pegs (cams) that bump into little levers that operated the percussion. The drummer could be made to play different rhythms and different drum patterns if the pegs were moved around.

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Marshalite

The Marshalite is a form of rotary traffic signal that was designed by Charles Marshall in 1936. With the Marshalite, drivers have a clear indication of when the signals will change though the exact point of change is not clear.

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General Order No. 11 (1862)

General Order No. 11 was the title of an order issued by Major-General Ulysses S. Grant on December 17, 1862, during the American Civil War. It ordered the expulsion of all Jews in his military district, comprising areas of Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky.

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The RepRap Project

The RepRap project started in England as a University of Bath initiative to develop a 3D printer that can print most of its own components.

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Gordian Knot

The Gordian Knot is a legend associated with Alexander the Great. It is often used as a metaphor for an intractable problem (disentangling an “impossible” knot) solved easily by a loophole.

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The Falkirk Wheel

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in Scotland.   Planners decided to create a dramatic 21st-century landmark structure to reconnect the canals, instead of simply recreating the historic lock flight.

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Whipping Boy

The purpose of a whipping boy was to receive the punishment that was assigned to the young prince for general misbehavior.

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Dion McGregor

Dion McGregor (1922–1994) was an American songwriter known for talking in his sleep. An LP of his dream diatribes – The Dream World Of Dion McGregor (He Talks In His Sleep) – was released to minor acclaim by Decca Records in 1964.

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Tama

Tama (たま, April 29, 1999 – June 22, 2015) was a female calico cat who gained fame for being a station master and operating officer at Kishi Station on the Kishigawa Line in Kinokawa, Wakayama, Japan.

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Hardware Disease

Hardware disease is a common term for bovine traumatic reticuloperitonitis. It is usually caused by the ingestion of a sharp, metallic object. It is most common in dairy cattle, but is occasionally seen in beef cattle. It can be difficult to conclusively diagnose and it can be prevented by the oral administration of a magnet before the animal reaches the age of one.

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Lisztomania

Liszt once threw away an old cigar stump in the street under the watchful eyes of an infatuated lady-in-waiting, who reverently picked the offensive weed out of the gutter, had it encased in a locket and surrounded with the monogram “F.L.” in diamonds, and went about her courtly duties unaware of the sickly odour it gave forth.

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Arm-Fall-Off-Boy

Arm-Fall-Off-Boy (Floyd Belkin) is a DC Comics superhero from the 30th century.  He has the ability to detach his own limbs, which he can then use as blunt weapons.

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