Pulse Rate March 2013

The first item sold on eBay in 1995 was a broken laser pointer to a buyer who collected broken devices. Price: $14.83.

The Atanasoff–Berry Computer, successfully tested in 1942 at Iowa State College, was the first electronic computer. It was capable of 30 calculations per second—in contrast, the current record is 20 quadrillion calculations per second and climbing.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is America’s stash of high-quality crude oil only used in emergencies. The approximately 694.9 million barrels worth over $60 billion are deep underground in multiple Texas and Louisiana salt mines.

US Mint coin production during 1793: 11,178 pieces. Average yearly yield today: More than 5.4 billion.

English mathematician John Wallis created the infinity symbol, also known as the Lemniscate, in the 17th century (one Pulse editor refers to it as a “lazy 8”). This valid mathematical symbol is used in equations to indicate something that has grown beyond limits, explaining it in the simplest possible terms.

Due to a recent computer glitch, thousands of Visa cardholders from around the country were overcharged $23 quadrillion for minor purchases. Along with overdraft fees.

Birds cannot survive in space for long because they depend on gravity to swallow food.

To divert the lava and save the Hawaiian city of Hilo from an eruption by Mauna Loa in 1935, young Lieutenant Colonel George S. Patton ordered an airstrike against the volcano. It didn’t work.

The first steam-powered locomotive to move cargo and people on rails was built by English inventor Richard Trevithick and successfully tested on a nine-mile track in 1804. The average speed was 2.4 mph. At that rate, a train trip from Penn Station to Montauk would take 49 hours.

Caffeine serves as a natural insecticide and a slug and snail repellent. It can be used as a plant spray or worked into the soil as used coffee grounds.
Caution: Grounds raise the acidity of the soil.

US states in which nuclear explosions occurred: New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska and Mississippi.

The latest research indicates that the height limit for trees is around 430 feet. Beyond that, the tree cannot overcome gravity and pump water from the roots to the canopy.