Yisrael Kristal, Once The World's Oldest Man, Had His Bar Mitzvah At Age 113
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In March 2016, a Polish-born Israeli man named Yisrael Kristal was declared by Guinness World Records as the oldest living man on Earth. Later that same year, Kristal finally got around to something that was put off for a whole century: his bar mitzvah. In November 2016, the 113-year-old man celebrated the Jewish coming-of-age ritual exactly 100 years late. Better (very, very) late than never, huh?
The Liar Paradox Is A Self-Referential Conundrum
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The liar paradox, also known as the liar sentence, states "this sentence is false." If that statement makes you go a little crazy, you're not the first one. The liar paradox first came about in ancient Greece, and philosophers have been puzzling over it ever since. It's even said that the gravestone of scholar Philetas of Cos, from the third century B.C.E., is engraved with the words "'Twas the Liar who made me die, And the bad nights caused thereby."
Wi-Fi Doesn't Actually Stand For Anything
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Considering how much you probably use Wi-Fi, it might be pretty shocking to realize you don't even have a clue what it means. It's wireless internet, sure, but where did that term come from? Surely the "Wi" part means wireless, and the "Fi" then must mean... err... Finternet? Surprise: Wi-Fi is a nonsense word that doesn't mean anything and doesn't stand for anything.
The Verb "Unfriended" Is Way Older Than Facebook
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After one too many rants on your Facebook feed, you may decide to unfriend your annoying aunt Helen once and for all. Unfriend, which means "to remove (someone) from a list of friends or contacts on a social networking website," has become a commonly used verb in our vocabulary. But where did the term come from? According to Interesting Literature, the Middle English poem "Brut" by Layamon is the first known usage of both "muggle" and a form of "unfriend": "We sollen ... slean houre onfrendes and King Learwenden after Brenne." Here, the noun form of unfriend (though spelled slightly differently) delineates someone who is not a friend, but not necessarily an enemy either. It wasn't until the 17th century that "unfriend" was first used as a verb. Mark Zuckerberg can thank the late, great William Shakespeare.
The Norman Conquest Is Why Steak Is "Beef" and Not "Cow"
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If you've ever wondered why we call meat beef, pork, mutton, and venison instead of cow, pig, sheep, and deer, you can thank the lousy communication skills of a long dead Anglo-Saxon king. King Edward The Confessor died on January 5, 1066, and as he had no children, his brother-in-law Harold Godwin was quickly elected to succeed him. Problem was, Edward had apparently forgotten to tell anyone that he promised the throne to his first cousin once removed: William, Duke of Normandy. William was not happy about that.