Page 9 - Technology Facts

One of the most influential games ever actually embraced processor lag—and it became an extremely popular game mechanic!

While programming the iconic game Space Invaders, the game's creator Tomohiro Nishikado discovered that the fewer aliens on the screen, the faster the processer was able to render them. This meant that as the player destroyed more of them, the remaining aliens would move faster. Another way to look at this is the processer being burdened and lagging towards the beginning of the game and being freed up as you get further.

Instead of changing things around to keep the speed consistent, Nishikado decided to just leave it the way it was as a challenging gameplay mechanic. In other words Nishikado, quite by accident, created a game which increased in difficulty as you progressed, an idea that almost all modern games utilize.

Today, Space Invaders is viewed as one of the most influential games of all time. Up until the release of the classic shooter in 1978, video games were just virtual representations of something else. Space Invaders was also the first shooter in which the enemies fired back. On top of that, the game popularized the idea of high scores as well, as it was the first to save a player's score.

Possibly even more importantly, multiple well-known game developers have stated that the game is what got them interested in video games in the first place. Among these developers is Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of classics such as Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, The Legend of Zelda and Star Fox.

Those are just some of the many influences Space Invaders has had on the world of video games. Indeed, it has quite the resume. Who knows where video games would be without it.


Lonnie Johnson made more than $1 billion with the invention of the Super Soaker! Now he's putting the money to good use...

If you grew up in the early nineties, you have no doubt owned, played with or wish you had a Super Soaker water gun! It was the top-selling toy in the United States in 1991 and 1992 and was invented by Lonnie Johnson, a Mechanical and Nuclear Engineer from Tuskegee University.

Johnson got his PhD in engineering at Tuskegee. He is also a former NASA scientist who became an entrepreneur in 1989. He then licensed the Super Soaker, which had $200 million in sales just two years later. He holds more than 80 patents, with 20 pending. The sales of the Super Soaker have now passed the $1 billion mark!

With the money he made from the super toy, he is developing a new kind of device that converts heat into electric current. He says it has the potential to be the best-ever method of converting solar energy into a form that we can use. "The sun is the only source that will be able to meet future terawatt levels of power demand, as more and more countries become industrialized and seek to improve their standard of living," says Johnson.

Among the potential uses for his device are at utility-scale solar thermal farms and for plug-in hybrid vehicles. In the vehicles the device would use waste heat from the car's internal combustion engine to help power the car's electric motor.


The word “Galaxy” comes from the Greek word for “milk”.

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, has actually had that name for a long time. Geoffrey Chaucer first named it “Milky Wey” in the 14th Century. Still, centuries before that, our galaxy was called “kyklos galaktikos” ( “milky circle”) back in Ancient Greece. The stars in space were thought to to be similar in appearance to milk. Other massive groups of stars started being referred to by the generic word “galaxy” based on the name of our own galaxy. As it turns out, the name “Milky Way” (the Greek version, at least) predates the word for “galaxy” and all other galaxies are technically being named after our galaxy, the “Milky Way”.

Some awesome lists!

We use more internet in 1 second than we used during the whole year of 1993!

Quite unsurprisingly, our internet usage has increased with the growing accessibility of mobile devices and supercomputers that we can buy for our homes. It has increased so much, in fact, that the world's usage in a single second surpasses that which was used by the world in the entire year of 1993. That isn't too shocking if you know the facts.

In 1993, only around 1-3% of classrooms and 23% percent of people had access to the internet, and it was not at all commercialized, though that would change completely by 1995. Now the internet is in nearly every household and every public building. You can almost get internet on any public street. It is reported that 1.2 billion people own and/or are using some kind of smartphone regularly, not to mention those who have them, but let them stay idle most of the time.

As far as numbers go, the world uses 160 Terabytes of information at any given second. In 1993 that number was as low as 100 over the entire length of the year. Today we use enough data to watch around 16 million average length youtube videos every second!


This is LAGEOS I, a disco-ball-shaped satellite full of maps that is designed to fall to Earth in 8.4 Million years!

In the far future, millions of years from now, when every inch of the planet is covered in industry and sky scrapers, with all knowledge of the beauty of earth's past gone, we will have a solution.

LAGEOS I, a spherically shaped satellite orbiting earth that is predicted to come falling back down to earth 8.4 million years from now, will touch down with a small gift for whatever beings still exist.

The object, covered in retroreflectors which are designed to reflect lasers and send information to technicians and scientists on the ground, houses tons of data on the motion of earth's tectonic plates, gravitational field, "wobble" of earth on its axis, and the accurate lengths of days. Most importantly, it hosts maps of the Earth's geography from past times, now, and what they predict it will look like in the future. Though we aren't sure quite who is expected to ever discover that information, we can hope that it will prove to be a useful tool.

Though this satellite is certainly one of the most interesting man made objects to orbit earth, there has been other aspirators towards the title. Not long ago an astronaut went outside of the space station in her suit to repair a piece of their hi-tech equipment. Unfortunately, one of the tools in her tool bag malfunctioned, spooking the astronaut, who then released the bag and had to watch it float away in space. Unlike our LAGEOS I, who should be around for aliens to find, the tool kit reentered earth's atmosphere and was burnt to ash.



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