The weekly collection of random and fun facts. In this week’s edition: Gustave Eiffel’s Apartment, Intentional Map Mistakes, Saudi Arabia’s Imported Sand, Myanmar Banned Movies, and Japanese Fanta Soda.
Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower, made sure he had the best view of Paris. He designed for himself an apartment on the third level of the Eiffel Tower, 1,000 feet up in the air in 1889. The apartment was small, the walls were covered with wallpaper, and it was completely furnished. There was even a small laboratory beside it.
The elite of Paris were a little envious of Eiffel’s new pad, and he received offers to rent the apartment. Eiffel turned them all down, but today, anyone can see the Eiffel apartment as a visitor. Source, Source
Plagiarism and forgery have been around a long time, and one particular area where you might not think it would be a problem would be in the making of maps. But cartographers have been fighting forgers using deliberate mistakes on their maps called “trap streets”. These are mistakes that weren’t just an accident.
The mistakes would be anything from fakes streets to fake towns; anything that would show that the map had been copied. There was, and still is, competition in map making, and the trap streets were done to protect the work of the cartographer. Map making takes a lot of time, and a lot of work, so it’s natural that makers would want this to be protected.
One example of these deliberate mistakes was Agloe, New York. Agloe was inserted as a fake town in New York state in the county of Delaware in the 1930s. Interestingly, even though there was nothing there, a store was constructed at the fictional spot and named “Agloe General Store” in the 1950s. Another example is more recent. In 2009, an area in England in Lancashire county was said to have a town called Argleton on Google Maps. Online searches revealed there were businesses and homes there, but a drive through the area would come up with nothing, only open land.
Things for mapmakers changed in the mid-1990s when a U.S. Supreme Court case decided if maps were covered under copyright protections. The Court ruled they weren’t, and they weren’t intellectual property. An additional blow came to mapmakers when another federal court case judgement ruled that a road could not be copyrighted. Source, Source
You would think that Saudi Arabia, given its geographical location, would have no use for sand from somewhere else, but this is not the case. A group of Australian companies have been selling and exporting sand to Saudi Arabia for many years.
The reason comes down to the massive boom in construction in the Middle East, and Saudi Arabia just doesn’t have the right kind of sand. Some of the sand that is imported is used in industrial applications, such as sand blasting, where special, silica-free sand is needed, or for cutting operations where formulated sand is required. Another example is a special sand product exported by an Australian company that is used for concrete in construction. Source
Myanmar bans the colors red and yellow to be shown in movies and no one knows why. Myanmar once had a thriving film industry, but because of military rule, censorship, and global isolation, it has spiraled into obscurity. Cinemas were nationalized in the 1960s, and films went under the watchful eye of the government. Pirated films from other countries, along with the closing of cinemas in Myanmar, have only made the decline worsen. It didn’t help that the censorship board restricted movies without any explanation. The fourth Rambo movie, starring Sylvester Stallone, was censored in 2008, and probably one of the oddest blockages, “The Simpsons Movie”, was blocked because of its use of red and yellow. Source, Source
The soft drink, Fanta, which is owned by Coca-Cola, has 73 flavors in Japan, more than any other country. Some of the flavors include Funmix, Club, Hip Hop, The Mystery Fruit, and Moo Moo White. There are many seasonal flavors in Japan that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. You can see a nice selection of different Fanta drinks from Japan and other countries around the world here. Fanta is available in 188 markets around the world. Source, Source
That’s it for another edition. See you next time and remember to annoy those around you with your new knowledge.
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