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The piece you're listening to is titled "Miserere mei, Deus" and is Latin for
"Have mercy on me, O God". It was composed by Italian composer Gregorio Allegri during the 1630s for
exclusive use in the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City. It was forbidden to transcribe or perform
this music anywhere else in the world and doing so was punishable by excommunication.
For about 150 years, the composition of this piece remained a closely guarded secret.
During 1770, 14 year old Wolfgang Mozart happened to be visiting Rome. On the 11th of April
he attended a performance at the Sistine Chapel and heard this piece for the very first time.
Enchanted by the beautiful performance, Mozart returned home and almost perfectly transcribed
the entire 15 minute long, nine-part choral work, from memory. That's 9 different melodic
lines all at once for 15 minutes straight. He did return to the chapel a second time
to make minor corrections and a few months later he gained fame for his near-flawless
reproduction. But Mozart was never punished for producing this unauthorized copy. In fact,
he was actually summoned by the pope himself who praised him for his feat of musical genius
and even awarded him with the Chivalric Order of the Golden Spur.
A few days ago, I was working on this very video and I felt my phone vibrating in my
pocket. I tried to pick it up to see who was texting me but I couldn't because my phone
was right there, on my desk, and I had not received any new messages. But I could have
sworn I felt it vibrating in my pocket. It's not the first time this has happened but this
time I wanted to know exactly why it happens. And as it turns out, this makes for a great
segment in today's episode. The sensation that your phone is vibrating in your pocket,
while in reality it is not, is aptly known as phantom vibration syndrome. It's a form
of tactile hallucination or something known as pareidolia. It's when our brain's amazing
ability to perceive patterns gets a bit carried away. For example, rock formations or clouds
can sometimes form shapes that we perceive as something more than just random shapes.
A crater on Mars or a smiley face? The face of a mountain or a face in the mountain? A
scenic photo of some clouds or a bear standing on two legs attacking a pig? This is pareidolia
and the brain is constantly scanning the environment in search for familiar patterns. Scientists
believe something similar is happening when we experience phantom vibrations. When the
fabric of your clothes rub against the skin or when you experience minor muscle contractions,
the receptors in your thigh mistake this activity for a vibrating phone. Because the brain has
learned to associate activity within this specific region to that of a phone receiving
a text or a call. It's similar to how people who wear glasses gets so accustomed to wearing
glasses that when they take them off, it will sometimes feel as if they are still wearing
them. There's been a few different studies over the years but one recent study at a college
in the US reveled that up to 90%, or 9 out of 10 students, experience these phantom vibrations.
At the height of the cold war, in 1962, US president John F. Kennedy decided to implement
new security measures to prevent unauthorized launches and detonations of nuclear weapons.
These security devices where known as Permissive Action Link controllers, or PAL for short,
and they look like something straight out of a James Bond movie. For about 15 years,
these devices were believed to function correctly. But as it turns out, this was not the case.
You see, the Strategic Air Command saw this extra level of security as more of a hindrance
because if the United States were to be attacked they would only have moments to launch a counter
attack. In their opinion, these PAL devices could potentially cost the lives of millions
as it could take crucial seconds or minutes to input the correct code. So without telling
anyone, the Strategic Air Command configured all locks on these PAL devices to 00000000.
In fact the missile launch checklist required you to confirm that the combination was set
to only zeros. So for about 15 years, codes to access nuclear weapons in the United States
where about as safe as the locks on your luggage.
There's a woman in the UK who claims to be able to identify people suffering from Parkinson's
decease simply by smelling them. And it's one of those rare cases where truth is actually
stranger than fiction because her claims has actually been verified as being true. A team
of researchers recruited 12 people. 6 with Parkinson's decease and 6 without. They were
all ask to wear a t-shirt for a day and then bring it back. The woman, named Joy Milne,
was then asked to smell each t-shirt to identify who had Parkinson's and who did not. Her accuracy
was 11 out of 12. But it gets even stranger. She correctly pinpointed the six people suffering
from Parkinson's but also claimed that one of the six that didn't suffer from Parkinson's
actually had Parkinson's. The subject and researchers assumed that she was simply wrong.
But 8 months later, the subject informed the researchers that he had just been diagnosed
with Parkinson's decease. So Joy was actually 100% correct and she could somehow identify
this disorder long before any obvious symptoms had begun to appear. Scientists believe that
changes in the skin of people with early Parkinson's produces a particular scent linked to the
condition. Hopefully, further testing will result in an easy way to identify the disorder
at an early stage as it's quite difficult to do so at the moment.
What was so extraordinary about New Years Eve 1999?
I actually want you to guess, so I'll give you a few seconds...
If you guessed that we celebrated the beginning of a new millennium, then I'm afraid you are
incorrect. The current millennium, known simply as the 3rd millennium, actually began on the
1st of January, 2001. That's because there was no year 0. Year 1 BC was immediately followed
by the year 1 AD. So because we count years from 1 instead of 0 we offset the entire system.
Which means the same is true for centuries and decades. But it all depends on how you
say it. For example, the 19th century is different from saying the 1800s. The 19th century spans
between 1801-1900 while the 1800s spans between 1800-1899. The same goes for decades. The
200th decade spans between 1991-2000 while the 90s spans between 1990-1999. Of course
this is the overly pedantic and technically correct application and terminology. In more
conventional use, like celebrating a new millennium an entire year too early, people don't really
care. And rightly so, it's an outdated and moronic counting system that only seem to
cause confusion in the modern age.
How many continents will you find on our planet? The answer is most commonly seven.
North America, South America, Antarctica, Africa, Europe, Asia, and Australia. You could also say that
there are five continents. America, Antarctica, Africa, Eurasia, and Australia. Both answers
are correct as a continent is not defined by any strict criteria but rather by convention.
And thus, by convention, there's technically another continent which is often disregarded.
The continent of New Zealand or rather the continent under New Zealand, because the vast
majority of this expansive continental fragment is underwater. It's known as Zealandia and
only 7% is landmass while 93% remains submerged. It's believed that the entire continent sank
after breaking away from Australia between 60-85 million years ago.
Kind of like a real life Atlantis.
A study from 1999 looked at over 3000 death certificates where the initials of the deceased
produced a positive or negative word. For example, the initials of a name like
Peter Isac Green would spell out P.I.G. and thus be considered negative while a name like
James Oliver Yates would spell out J.O.Y. and would thus be positive. The study found that men
with positive initials lived, on average, 4.48 years longer while those with negative
initials died 2.8 years younger. Women with positive initials lived, on average, 3.36
years longer while those with negative initials saw no difference. While it's unclear why,
it's speculated that people with negative initials are a lot more prone to experience
childhood bullying because of their name and would thus undergo a lot more stress and anxiety
than those with positive initials. This psychological stress, or lack thereof,
will in turn effect a persons life expectancy.
When most of us answer the phone we tend to say hello. It's such a common way to greet
people that it's easy to assume that hello must have been around for a very long time.
But that's not the case. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first published
use of hello was in 1826. However, at the time, it wasn't really used as a greeting
but rather to attract attention. In 1877 with the recent invention of the telephone,
Thomas Edison wrote in a letter "I do not think we shall need a call bell as Hello! can be heard
10 to 20 feet away." It wasn't long until hello became the natural and proper way to
answer the phone. However, the actual inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, had
already proposed the use of the word ahoy as a proper telephone greeting. Which did
make a lot more sense at the time as ahoy was a common greeting among sailors. While
ahoy didn't really stick around Bell was so stubborn that, for the rest of his life, he
continued to answer the phone with a stern ahoy.
Have you ever looked at a bright light, like the sun for example, and suddenly felt the
urge to sneeze. Statistically speaking, about 18-30% will say yes while the rest of you
may be a bit confused. It's known as photic sneeze reflex and scientists don't quite understand
why it happens. I am actually one of those 18-30% but in my case it's a bit different.
Just looking at a bright light has never triggered the reflex for me but when I naturally feel
the urge to sneeze, like when you have a cold, and the sneeze doesn't quite want to come
out. It actually helps to look at a light which then, almost immediately, allows me
to sneeze. I don't know if that's just me but that's my experience at least. The prevailing
theory is that nerve signals gets confused. The optic nerve (which senses vision) and
the trigeminal nerve (which, among other things, senses irritants in your nose and makes you sneeze) lies
very close together and could thus have an effect on each other. So the idea is that when you're
suddenly exposed to light with high intensity, it accidentally triggers the trigeminal nerve,
essentially telling the brain that the sun is inside your nose.
Why do we call Bluetooth technology Bluetooth and why do we use this symbol to represent
it? So let's look at the name first. The name Bluetooth is actually a nickname given to the 10th
century Danish king Harald Gormsson. So the name Bluetooth is just an Anglicization of
the original Scandinavian spelling and pronunciation which is Blåtand. But why though? That is,
why was this particular name chosen for this technology and why was the King given this
nickname to begin with? We're not entirely sure how the King acquired this nickname
but the usual explanation is that he must have had a very bad tooth that appeared "blue"
because blue cloud also mean dark. Essentially meaning a dark tooth. Now the reason Bluetooth
was chosen as a name for a wireless communications technology is because of what the king accomplished
during his reign. He managed to unite many independent Danish tribes into one single
kingdom. The implication is that Bluetooth does the same with communications protocols,
uniting them into one single universal standard. The Bluetooth symbol was created by combining
two characters found in an old Scandinavian runic alphabet. The one to the left is know
as "Hagall" and the one on the right is known as "Bjarkan". Which are the initials of Harald Blåtand.
SPEAKING SWEDISH: My Swedish finally comes into use!