Best Facts of the Week - Page 7

The fact that the sum of odd numbers starting at one is always a square number, is easily explained by this image


As with many things mathematical, understanding a concept is much easier if one finds a way to visualize it.

While we see numbers and letters, perhaps mathematicians can transform them into a two or three-dimensional visual image, helping them see the answer to questions that baffle many of us.

An example of this can be seen by using this simple picture to prove that the sum of the first n odd numbers is always the square of n.

Of course you may not know that n, translated from mathematics into English, simply means "any given number".

As you can see from the illustration, if we start with one square (one being an odd number) and simply add another layer of little squares to the top and right of the existing square or squares, one effectively always adds an odd number.

If we want to know how many little squares there are in total, we follow a simple principle. We multiply the number of little squares on each side.

Not surprisingly, this results in the square of the number of layers or, in simple English, n multiplied by itself. This is how what may seem to be a difficult concept, can easily be understood by creating a picture!

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Martine Rothblatt made millions by inventing satellite radio. When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare, fatal disease, she earned a PhD in bioethics & formed a biotech company.


Martine Rothblatt is the founder of Sirius Satellite Radio, from which she earned millions of dollars.

Her daughter Jeni, however, was diagnosed with the rare, fatal disease pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) which is caused when the artery between the heart and lungs is damaged.

Martine felt useless, stating “I was an expert in satellites, and I didn’t know anything about medicine.”

She didn’t let this feeling of helplessness last long, however. She sold her stock and started a $3 million foundation to fund research. Unfortunately not much came of this, so Martine started her own biotechnology company United Therapeutics and went for her Ph.D. in bioethics.

Investors weren’t easy to convince, but eventually she got the support she needed. The company ended up doing extremely well, with shares up 800% from the time the company went public.

The medicine had to be sold at a high price which she was not happy about at first, but that changed when she realized what other affects her company had on the market for rare disease medicine.

There were 75 specialists in PAH in the U.S. when Jeni got sick. Now 10,000 doctors treat it and a few major pharmaceutical companies carry the drugs needed to treat it. It’s still a fatal disease, but people can last a lot longer with it now.

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Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the USA' is about the negative effects of the Vietam War on Americans, but is often misunderstood to be a patriotic or nationalistic anthem


‘Born in the USA’ is one of Bruce Springsteen’s most famous songs, but it’s often completely misunderstood. At first it may seem like a patriotic song, but in reality it’s anything but.

The song is both a tribute to Springsteen’s friends who went through Vietnam, some of which didn’t make it back, and a protest of the hardships veterans faced when returning home.

The song is a narrative, following a fictional protagonist from his working-class origins to his introduction to the armed forced to his return home.

Some scholars have looked a little more deeply into it and claim that the song is a metaphor that the imagery of the Vietnam War could be read as metaphor for "the social and economic siege of American blue-collar communities" at large, and that lyrics discussing economic devastation are likely symbolic for the effect of blind nationalism upon the working class.

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Some awesome lists!

Boys were the first telephone operators, but they were rude and swore. Young women were hired soon after as they didn't swear as much (and were faster).


The telephone was a revolutionary invention.

Within a year of the Alexander Graham Bell introducing his device, 230 phones were installed by Bell, and he had established the Bell Telephone Company. In four years the number of phones was at 60,000!

When the telephone was new, it required switch operators to connect callers. At first they were all male, but that soon changed. Boys earned a reputation for being rude and abusive to each other as well as to the customers.

In response, young women replaced them, and by 1910, New York Telephone had 6,000 women working on its switchboards. The women didn’t swear as much and were faster as well.

These women had to adhere to strict codes for dress and conduct, though. They could only use certain phrases, while customers could say whatever they wanted. This led to the occasional rude customer yelling and swearing at them to which they would reply “thank you.”

Still, this was important because besides teachers, there weren’t many women in the workplace. This was one of the first steps towards equal work opportunities for women.

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The company that owned the World Trade Center had scheduled a meeting for 9/11/2001 on the 88th floor of tower 1 to discuss what to do in the event of a terrorist attack, but rescheduled the night be


September 11th was a devastating time in the United States and around the world. I

t is, of course, most important to recognize the people who lost their lives that day, but there were other effects as well.

For one, what happens with the people who owned the buildings? The Port Authority owned the World Trade Center buildings but were in the process of selling them at the time of the attacks.

The new owners were actually supposed to meet in one of the buildings on September 11th to discuss what would happen in the event of a terrorist attack.

The meeting was cancelled the day before because one of the participants couldn’t make it.

Luckily, the site was insured, as overall damages were in the trillions. The attacks cost insurance companies $39.5 billion, including property, business interruption, aviation, workers’ compensation, life and liability insurance claim costs.

About two thirds of these losses were paid for by reinsurers, companies that provide insurance for insurers.

For some perspective, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing resulted in insured losses of $125 million and the Los Angeles riots of 1992 resulted in insured losses of $775 million.

At the time, September 11th was the costliest disaster in American history. It was surpassed a few years later by Hurricane Katrina.

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