Friday

Friday 5/07/2002 Our Internet Fridge is settling in, and has become a firm friend of all. We particularly enjoy its speakers and Webcam, as distant workers can connect to these over instant messaging and chat to colleagues.

Friday 5/07/2002
Our Internet Fridge is settling in, and has become a firm friend of all. We particularly enjoy its speakers and Webcam, as distant workers can connect to these over instant messaging and chat to colleagues. The fact that many of us are now spending a good deal of time listening to voices from a fridge and replying would normally be referred to competent medical authorities, but I think we can get away with it for a while yet. Here are ten fridge facts: 1. The noted Balkan band 3 Mustaphas 3 escaped from their home town of Szegerely by being smuggled out in fridges, and regularly made use of a fridge in their live shows and songs. To many a Mustapha fan, the cry of "Take it to the fridge!" is a signal for particularly energetic dancing. It is normal. 2. The fridge magnet was invented in 1971 by a Canadian called Jaron Summers, who made a tiny magnetic pig with "Remember Your Diet" on it. Thanks, Jaron. 3. The refrigerator is normally the biggest consumer of electricity in the household, although modern fridges are much better. One made in 1990 uses as much energy in a year as a hairdryer would if left on for a month. 4. Magnetic fridge poetry was invented by Dave Kapell, a songwriter with hayfever. To cure his writer's block, he wrote a load of words down on paper and cut them out. To prevent his sneezes from scattering the verses he made with the words, he glued the paper bits to magnets. Then he went to the fridge for a snack while juggling some words, and left them there. His friends couldn't leave them alone, and the rest is history. 5. Albert Einstein and fellow physicist Leo Szilard patented numerous refrigeration technologies in the mid 1920s. Electrolux bought the rights to use some of these patents for $750. 6. The first known artificial refrigeration was demonstrated by William Cullen at the University of Glasgow in 1748. 7. The word 'refrigerator' was coined in 1800 by Thomas Moore, an engineer from Maryland in the US. He invented a butter transporter -- a metal container surrounded by a rabbit-fur insulated cedar tub filled with ice. 8. Early refrigerators used ammonia, sulphur dioxide or methyl chloride for refrigerants, which were very toxic, very combustible or both. Horrific accidents were not uncommon. Freon was invented in the 1920s to replace these -- it was inert, non-toxic and cheap. It also destroys ozone, a problem not discovered for another fifty years. 9. Many basic advances in refrigeration technology were made in the US in the late 19th century, after increasing pollution had contaminated the lakes and ponds that supplied natural ice and a series of warm winters had reduced the amount available. 10. The refrigerator is the commonest household appliance, being found in more than 99.5 percent of homes in the developed world. To have your say online click on TalkBack and go to the ZDNet UK forums.

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