How Did Parents Flaunt Their Kids Before Facebook? Baby Shows.
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Regardless of how you feel about the Facebook friends who fill your newsfeed with photos of their babies, one thing is for certain: parents always want to show off their offspring. Always have, always will. No, really: before the advent of social media, parents took part in baby shows. The first baby show occurred at an Ohio county fair in 1854 with 127 infants competing for prizes—way before "Toddlers and Tiaras."According to a 2008 paper by Northwestern University professor Susan Pearson, these shows became commonplace in the 18th century at "agricultural and mechanics' fairs, urban theaters, exhibition halls, and fundraising events." Atlantic City hosted an annual baby show on its boardwalk, and the trend eventually made its way overseas to a few European cities. However, most of the world considered these shows as "a distinctly American, if slightly vulgar, novelty."
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 Internet's Filter Bubble Isn't As Strong As You Think
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Thomas Jefferson once said, "The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate." Part of being an educated citizen includes exposing yourself to ideas you disagree with, since they give you the chance to change your mind, or at least understand the other side. But in a world where everyone gets their news and information from an internet that's becoming more and more personalized, there's a fear that we're seeing fewer things we disagree with. That digital echo chamber has been dubbed the "filter bubble" by internet activist Eli Pariser. But how strong is the filter bubble, really? Are computer algorithms really to blame for political polarization?
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 First Online Transaction Was A Drug Deal
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Ecommerce is undeniably important to modern retailers. As of 2016, about 71% of shoppers made purchases online because that's where they found the better deals. But, obviously, online shopping hasn't been around very long. So how and when did it start? There's some debate around the subject, but it's generally accepted that the first ever transaction that was set up online was for some pot. Those darn college kids!