Teens found a trigonometry proof for the Pythagorean Theorem

Teens found a trigonometry proof for the Pythagorean Theorem

From CBS News: "Two high school seniors had proved a mathematical puzzle that was thought to be impossible for 2,000 years. Ne'Kiya Jackson and Calcea Johnson were working on a school-wide math contest that came with a cash prize. The seniors were familiar with the Pythagorean Theorem, a fundamental principle of geometry. You may remember it from high school: a² + b² = c². When you know the length of two sides of a right triangle, you can figure out the length of the third. What no one told them was there had been more than 300 documented proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem using algebra and geometry, but a proof using trigonometry was thought to be impossible."

Susan Bennett, the voice of Siri, was also the voice of the first ATM

From The Hustle: "I did jingle and voice-over work for hundreds of companies — Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Macy’s, Goodyear, Papa John’s, IBM. I am the voice you hear over the loudspeaker at Delta Airlines gates, and also on a bunch of GPS and phone systems. And then in the early ‘70s, The First National Bank of Atlanta, now Wells Fargo, started introducing some of the earliest ATM machines, but nobody would use them! People didn’t trust computers yet. So, they decided to personalize the machine by putting a little face of a smiling girl on it. They called her "Tillie the All-Time Teller," and they hired me to sing a jingle in her voice. It became the first successful ATM machine in the United States."

The lunatics and weirdos who helped create the Oxford English Dictionary

From Commonweal: "Katharine Bradley and Edith Cooper bonded over their shared enthusiasm for dictionary work. They were lovers and housemates, but also related by blood as aunt and niece. Additionally, they were cowriters who published together under a single pen name, Michael Field. Field’s poetry was compared to that of Swinburne and Shakespeare and praised in the Spectator. Frederick Elworthy was a sheep farmer in Somerset who, according to Ogilvie, “had one of the world’s largest private collections of folklore charms and amulets.” Henry Spencer Ashbee, a family man and the manager of a London trading firm, also “owned the world’s largest collection of pornography and erotica.”

Editor's note: If you like this newsletter, please share it with someone else. And if you really like it, perhaps you could subscribe, or contribute something via my Patreon. Thanks for being a reader!

Marvel Comics modeled Nick Fury on Samuel L. Jackson without asking him

Top 10 Marvelous Marvel Heroes

From Now I Know: "Nick Fury is a longstanding character from Marvel Comics, making his debut in 1963 as a white guy, typically of Irish heritage. But in 2002, Marvel released a new comic book line and writer Mark Millar wanted to go in another direction with Fury. Millar and the artist Bryan Hitch decided to use Samuel L. Jackson as the model for the new Nick Fury, in part because they believed that Jackson was “famously the coolest man alive” at the time. But they never asked Samuel L. Jackson for permission to use his likeness. Jackson told the Los Angeles Times he was a longtime fan of Nick Fury, and at one point, picked up an issue of the first issue of The Ultimates and saw himself."

Rare editions of Pushkin books are vanishing from libraries around Europe

A pair of hands in blue rubber gloves holds up a fake copy of a firsts edition of a Pushkin book. The book is held open, showing Cyrillic writing and a black and white image of a young man.

From the New York Times: "In April 2022 two men arrived at the library of the University of Tartu, Estonia’s second-largest city. They asked to consult 19th-century first editions of works by Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s national poet. They said they were an uncle and nephew researching censorship in czarist Russia so the nephew could apply for a scholarship to the United States. Eager to help, the librarians obliged. The men spent 10 days studying the books. Four months later, during a routine annual inventory, the library discovered that eight books the men had consulted had disappeared, replaced with facsimiles of such high quality that only expert eyes could detect them."

Teenager finds rare Lego octopus from a 1997 container spill off Cornwall coast

From The Guardian: "A 13-year-old boy has discovered a “holy grail" Lego octopus which spilled into the sea from a shipping container in the 1990s. The octopus is one of nearly 5m Lego pieces that fell into the sea in 1997 when a storm hit a cargo ship 20 miles off Land’s End, Cornwall. While 352,000 pairs of flippers, 97,500 scuba tanks, and 92,400 swords went overboard, the octopuses are considered the most prized finds as only 4,200 were onboard. Liutauras Cemolonskas has collected 789 pieces of the collection over the past two years, alongside numerous fossils. The Cornish teenager made the octopus discovery on a beach in Marazion on one of his regular trips with his parents."

Bird gets jealous of yellow rubber duck

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipity engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me at mathew @ mathewingram dot com