History Schmistory: January 19. Under the Neon Lights!



1915: The Neon Tube sign is patented by Georges Claude, and later exploited by Las Vegas.
-So, you might already know that neon is one of the “noble” gases of the periodic table, which glows an orangey-red color when electrons run through it. But what about all the other colors on a typical “neon” sign? Well, sorry to say, those aren’t neon. To get shades of blue, typically argon is used with a dash of mercury. Helium can be used for a nice pink glow; xenon radiates a cool purple, while krypton yields- what? Green, you say? Nope, sorry Superman, it has more of an off-white tinge. From there, certain gases can mingle to produce colors like green and yellow, or sometimes the tubes are coated with fluorescent powders to tweak the shading. But neon typically doesn’t play nicely with others, so it’s only used to produce that one color.
(Check out Vegas Vic’s scarf. There’s your neon.)

There is another noble gas that wasn’t invited to the party: Radon. That stuff is radioactive, yo.

History Schmistory: January 4. An Elephant Never Forgets…

1903: Topsy, an old circus elephant, is electrocuted by Thomas Edison in an effort to shed light on the “dangers” of AC current, during the much publicized War of Currents campaign. More proof that Thomas Edison had no soul. Just look at the guy…

History Schmistory: December 12. Is anybody out there?

1901: Guglielmo Marconi receives the first transatlantic radio signal in Newfoundland. The Message? “What kind of name is gooey elbow macaroni?”

History Schmistory: December 7. “We’ve been expecting you”

1995: The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis. Jupiter bakes a cake.

History Schmistory: December 2. Hubble Trouble.

1993: NASA launches the Space Shuttle Endeavor on a mission to repair the damaged Hubble Space Telescope, and, of course, terminate the culprits…


History Schmistory: November 21. News from the Prince of Patents.

1877: Thomas Edison announces his latest invention, the phonograph, the first instrument able to reproduce a recorded sound, and one of the few inventions Edison might actually deserve a little credit for.

History Schmistory: November 17. Not your ordinary cat toy…

1970: Douglas Engelbart successfully patents the computer mouse. His patent for computer cheese is still pending.

History Schmistory: November 11. Coooold-snap!

1911: Apocalyptic expectations went wild the last time we saw an 11/11/11, as The Great Blue Norther, a cold snap that produced record highs and lows on the same day, barreled through the central US, leaving much of the bewildered population with contrasting habiliments.

History Schmistory: November 8. Rays of Hope.

1895: Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the X-Ray almost completely by accident. And that’s when the fun began!

History Schmistory: October 10. What about Spaceland Security?

1967: The Outer Space Treaty, signed by over sixty nations including the US, the UK and the Soviet Union, becomes official. It serves as a binding promise to keep space open for everyone to explore, and to not use it to store and/or fire weapons of mass destruction. Many feel the agreement only makes it easier for outside forces to take advantage of the opportunity.

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