Best Facts of the Week - Page 9

The Arabic numerals were not invented by Arabs. The system was, in fact, developed in ancient India and is known as the Hindu-Arabic numeral system


What we know in the West as the Arabic numerals, were not invented by the Arabs.

The numeral system was, in fact, developed in ancient India. Historians have traced it back to the Brahmi numerals which were already in use by the 3rd century BC.

Before the rise of the Arab Empire, the numeral system was already moving west and was mentioned by Severus Sebokht in Syria in 662 AD.

French mathematician Pierre Simon Laplace wrote: "It is India that gave us the ingenuous method of expressing all numbers by the means of ten symbols, each symbol receiving a value of position, as well as an absolute value; a profound and important idea which appears so simple to us now that we ignore its true merit…”

The Arabs adopted the nine numerals from India in the 9th century. It was initially known as the Arabic numerals in the West because it was encountered through the West’s trade with the Arabs and also introduced in Europe through Arabic texts in the tenth century. Europeans therefore contributed it to the Arabs even though the Arabs themselves called it Hindu numerals.

This numeral system is now mostly referred to as the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.

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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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Contrary to a popular theory, the word 'testify' has got nothing to do with testicles. Find out why they sound as if they could be related


There is a theory that the word ‘testify’ originated because Romans placed their hands on their genitals or on another persons genitals, or testicles, when testifying.

This is very far from the truth! The Romans certainly did not swear oaths on their private parts.

The confusion can be cleared up by looking at the etymology of the word ‘testify.’ It originates from the Latin word ‘testis’ meaning ‘witness.’

Note there is a difference between testis and testes. Later the word developed into ‘testificari’, still meaning ‘a witness’. Only in late Middle English was the word ‘testify’ used, which was derived from the root Latin word ‘testificari’.

Now, you might wonder where the word ‘testicle’ originates from. ‘Testiculus’ is the diminutive of the Latin root word ‘testis’ and means ‘witness of virility.’ The plural is testes. Clearly both these refer to a witnessing of some kind, but testifying certainly did not come from men placing their hands on the testicles of others.

To clear up any further confusion (if there could still be any) ‘virility’ originates from the Latin word ‘virilitatem’ (from virilis), which means power of procreation. Therefore ‘testicles’ directly translated would mean ‘witness of (a man’s) power of procreation.’

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Some awesome lists!

There an island in a pond on an island in a lake on an island in a lake!


Moose Boulder is the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake on the largest island in the largest lake in the world.

Nature can be quite the joker and give you a splitting headache!

Isle Royale is situated in the northwest of Lake Superior, the largest lake in the world. The island is 45 miles long and 9 miles wide with a total area of 206.73 square miles.

At this size, it's the largest natural island in the lake and the third largest in the contiguous United States after Long Island and Padre Island.

On the island is Siskiwit Lake, which is the largest lake on Isle Royale at 4,150 acres in area.

No, it doesn't stop there. Inside the lake are multiple islands, including Eagle Nest Island and Ryan Island as the noticeably largest ones.

On Ryan Island there is a pond that shows up during certain seasons. Inside the pond sits our last entry: Moose Boulder, which is itself an island when the pond is present.

Now you can go ahead and go grab some asprin!

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The only country where Marijuana is 100% legal is also one of the most repressive!


North Korea's apparent stance on marijuana may surprise you.

According to multiple reports from defectors, visitors and experts, North Korea either has no law against the sale and consumption of weed, or it has a law that is largely unenforced.

A 29-year-old freelance writer from England wrote an account on his blog explaining how he purchased a grocery bag full of weed at an indoor market in rural North Korea and smoked it with impunity both at outdoor parks and monuments, as well as in restaurants and bars.

Experts explained that it's unknown whether the drug is technically outlawed, but in practice, the regime doesn't appear to take issue with it.

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