Friday, April 11, 2008

Word Origins: S.O.S.

History of S.O.S

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S.O.S. is a standard signal to represent that you are in trouble or you need help.

You can represent the signal S.O.S. in many ways such as by light, flag or hands. But do you know why S.O.S. What is it stands for? Why don't we use S.O.S

Actually, there is no complicate reason behind the signal.

In the old time, when Moss code was still the best telecommunication we had. Military relies on the Moss code to communicate with each other.

As we know, Moss code uses the set of dash and dot to represent the character. However, during the crisis, they don't have enough time to send the long code to say "Please help me" or "I am in a big trouble."

Therefore, the military ends up with the easiest Moss code signal set which is S.O.S. to represent the message "help" or "we are in trouble." S.O.S. can be understood by only Dash-Dot-Dash. This way they can send a help message much faster.

Since then, S.O.S. is getting popular and used in other purposes.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Word Origin: Hurricane Name

How are hurricanes named?

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Lots of people think that hurricanes were always named after women - because of our volatile nature, no doubt - and that only recently did they start alternating between male and female names because of feminist outcry.

Not true. Prior to 1950 storms weren't officially named at all.

From 1950 to 1952 they were named simply Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George...not very imaginative, but it sufficed.

From 1953 to 1978 someone decided to use only female names.

Finally, in 1979, they started alternating between male and female names.

Hurricanes are named alphabetically, years in advance and starting the alphabet over each year. (If you get a Hurricane Wanda, you know you have had a busy storm season.)