Sometimes you just sit back and wonder how so much data can be stored on a small DVD.

  • A DVD is a type of disc storage device, based on and similar to the CD or compact disc invention, that can hold various forms of digital information on its surface.
  • The initials ‘DVD’ were originally an acronym for ‘digital video disc’ and while it was suggested that the name should change to ‘digital versatile disc’, a now generally accepted term describing the invention, the initials became the official name of the disc, as its creators could never agree upon the extended name.
  • DVDs are the same size as CDs, a flat disc typically 12 cm (4.7 inches) in diameter, though there are some that are smaller; and they are most commonly used to store films or video files, but also games, other software and media files, among others.
  • David Gregg from the United States invented the optical ‘Videodisk’ in 1958, that was later developed into the ‘LaserDisc’ which was released for sale in 1978 with limited success, and these formats were the predecessors of the commercially successful and widely popular DVD, which was invented in 1995.
  • DVDs can come in two main forms – the read-only variants and the read-write variants, where the latter has the ability to have data written to the disc via a ‘writer’ – a machine that is often combined with a disc player, and while the data written on some discs is permanent, some writable discs have the ability to have the data removed or replaced with other data.

DVD, Shine, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Film, Movie, Back, Front, Hugo

  • Originally two different groups of companies were undergoing their own research and development to invent what became today’s DVD, with Sony and Phillips in one group and Toshiba and a number of other companies in another, however these companies joined forces on the recommendation of IBM, to avoid another format war like that of the VHS and Betamax videotapes.
  • 4.7 gigabytes is the most common data storage capacity of a DVD disc, having a one side and one layer format; though up to just over 17 gigabytes of data can be stored on a disc if it is formatted with two sides and two layers, as more formatted sides and layers equals more available space.
  • DVDs are particularly more appealing than their videotape predecessors, as they store much more data, have a significantly higher quality of sound and picture, and the data is able to be stored longer.
  • DVDs were first sold in Japan in late 1996; then in early 1997 in Central and North America; in 1998 – Europe, Africa and the remainder of Asia; and finally Australia in 1999.
  • A red laser is used to read and write DVDs, and this allows greater storage capacity than CDs, as red has a shorter wavelength at 650 nanometers, than the CD’s infrared, and therefore the discs are able to be ‘written’ in a smaller format; though Blu-Ray discs, the disc’s successor, which were first available for sale in 2006, can store up to 50 gigabytes of data by using a blue laser which has an even shorter wavelength than that of its predecessor.
DVD, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD
History of DVD, 2016, Did You Know?, http://didyouknow.org/dvdhistory/
Woodford C, CD and DVD Players, 2015, Explain That Stuff!, http://www.explainthatstuff.com/cdplayers.html



As hard as you try, your eyes cannot break free from the zoetrope illusion.

  • A zoetrope is an invention that creates the appearance of a moving picture, even when the images used are still, and while they were popular in the mid to late 1800s, they were ultimately replaced by film projectors.
  • ‘Zoetrope’ comes from the Greek words ‘zoe’ and ‘trope’, which mean ‘life’ and ‘turn’ respectively, and when combined are said to have the meaning ‘wheel of life’.
  • Zoetropes are of a cylindrical shape with vertical slits placed systematically around the side of the cylinder, above a sequence of images that are found inside.
  • If one peers through the slits on the sides of a zoetrope while the cylinder spins, the images inside appear to be animated.
  • An Iranian bowl with images of a goat leaping to a tree to forage, dating back to 4000 to 3000 BC, is the oldest known predecessor of a zoetrope.

Zoetrope, Trivia, Ten Random Facts, Invention, Animation, Spinning, Monkey, White, Slits

  • Zoetropes work due to an illusion, known as ‘persistence of vision’, as the brain sees images flashing before one’s eyes, that move at less than a tenth of a second, as continuous, and while ever there is enough speed, and an interruption in the light by a slot or black line or similar, the pictures will seem to be animated, and without the line or slot, the images will blur.
  • The modern zoetrope debuted in the 1830s, and was invented by William George Horner, an English mathematician; however slits were placed between images and he called the invention a ‘dædaleum’.
  • In the 1860s, zoetropes were made differently to the original dædaleums, which had slits placed slightly above the images, rather than between them, which were more practical as they allowed for the image strips to be easily replaceable while still functioning properly.
  • As of 2015, the largest zoetrope ever built, known as the ‘BRAVIA-drome’, spread 10 metres (33 feet) in diameter, and was made for Sony in 2008, in Italy, Europe.
  • A zoetrope is likely based on the phenakistoscope that was designed before it, which was effectively a flat disc with images and slits, spun on a stick and viewed in front of a mirror, so that the viewer could peer through a slit at the reflection of the ‘moving’ images in the mirror.
Hayes R, Pre-cinema Animation Devices, 2011, Random Motion, http://www.randommotion.com/html/zoe.html
Zoetrope, 2016, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoetrope
Zoetrope History, n.d, Zoetrope & Praxinoscope, http://zoetrope.org/zoetrope-history


The Lion King

The Lion King has left ‘Hakuna Matata!’

  • The Lion King is an 88 minute feature film that tells the tale of a young lion, Simba, heir to the throne, who is blamed for the death of the king, his father, by his uncle Scar, and thus leaving the savannah kingdom in shame.
  • The musical and mostly hand-animated film The Lion King, was designed, produced and animated by Walt Disney and released on June 15, 1994; and the full first scene of the film, ‘The Circle of Life’ song, was used on the film’s promotional trailer, and it was the first Disney trailer to do so.
  • The concept of The Lion King was first generated in 1988 through a discussion between Disney colleagues, that included the then Disney chairman Jeffery Katzenberg, who nurtured and carried the idea, and incorporated some of his personal history into the original story.
  • The original The Lion King script titled King of Beast and King of Jungle during the early stages, was written in late 1988 to early 1989 by Linda Woolverton, and it was significantly rewritten when Don Hahn was promoted as chief producer, because he perceived it to be somewhat messy and without a defined theme.
  • During the production of The Lion King, there were a number of significant staff changes due to disagreements over the film which caused some to leave, and the final directors were Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers.
The Lion King, Film, Poster, Wallpaper, Ten Random Facts, Walt Disney
The Lion King
Image courtesy of Walt Disney
  • Many Disney animators were hesitant about, or refrained from working on The Lion King‘s animation, as Pocahontas, another Disney feature film being produced at the same time, was thought to become more profitable.
  • The final animation sequences of The Lion King were required to be created at the animators homes, after the horrific Northridge earthquake of 1994 in California, that rendered the Disney studios unusable.
  • The Lion King has grossed almost $987.5 million across its release and rereleases (2002 and 2011, the latter in 3D), and earnt the title of 1994’s highest grossing film, and as of the end of 2014 it was the 3rd highest grossing animation film ever.
  • The Lion King received Academy Awards for both the Best Original Score and Best Original Song ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’, as well as Golden Globe awards for the Best Motion Picture -Music or Comedy and Best Original Score.
  • A musical production for the stage, adapted from The Lion King film, debuted in the United States in 1997 in Minnesota’s Minneapolis, and it was highly successful, leading to various adaptations throughout the world, while the film itself has spawned two sequels.
“The Lion King”, 1994, The Lion King Unofficial, http://www.lionking.org/text/FilmNotes.html
The Lion King, 2015, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lion_King


James Dean

“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” – James Dean

  • James Dean was an actor of American birth, who became a legendary teenage icon.
  • James Dean was born in Indiana’s Marion, in the United States, on 8 February, 1931, and was named ‘James Byron Dean’.
  • James Dean’s mother died in 1938 due to cancer, when Dean was nine years of age, and so his father sent him to live with his aunt and uncle who were Quakers.
  • The first commercial appearance James Dean made was in an advertisement for Pepsi Cola, in the early 1950s.
  • James Dean had a significant interest in automobile racing, had ownership of various car models, and competed in a number of races, in which he earned high placings.
James Dean, Smoke, Acting,Male, Actor, Ten Random FactsJames Dean
Image courtesy of Isomnia Cured Here/Flickr
  • The fame of James Dean arose from his work in the films East of Eden (1955), Rebel without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956).
  • James Dean died on 30 September, 1955, at 24 years of age, in a car crash at an intersection with another vehicle.
  • James Dean received a nomination for the Best Actor Academy Award in East of Eden, that he received posthumously, making him the first actor to do so; and a second nomination followed, as well as other awards.
  • Sight was not one of James Dean’s strong points, as he was short sighted and had difficulty seeing without his glasses.
  • James Dean never married, however he dated and had close relationships with a number of people, notably Pier Angeli, an Italian actress.
James Dean, 2015, Biography.com, http://www.biography.com/people/james-dean-9268866
James Dean, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Dean


Leonard Nimoy

“Live long and prosper” – Leonard Nimoy as Spock

  • American Leonard Nimoy, was an actor who was most well known for his acting in the Star Trek film and television series, as Spock, while the role received many award nominations.
  • Leonard Nimoy’s full name was ‘Leonard Simon Nimoy’, and he was born in 1931 on 26th March to Jewish parents in Boston, in the United State’s state of Massachusetts.
  • Leonard Nimoy started acting in 1939 as a young boy, performing in plays and high school productions, and later started his acting career in the early 1950s, appearing in Kid Monk Baroni (1952).
  • Leonard Nimoy was casted as Star Trek’s Vulcan (extraterrestrial humanoid species) Spock, and played this role in various Star Trek films and television series over many years between 1966 to 2009; while his performance as Spock is said to have affected Nimoy’s personality and thoughts.
  • Leonard Nimoy did extra studies in drama in 1959; had prominent skills in singing, poetry, and writing; was an accomplished photographer; and directed two box office hits, Star Trek IV (1986) and Three Men and a Baby (1987), among other films.
Leonard Nimoy, Vulcan, Sign, Person, Actor, RIP. Ten Random Facts, Flickr
Leonard Nimoy
Image courtesy of Gage Skidmore/Flickr
  • The symbolic Vulcan salute was created by Leonard Nimoy, performed using a single hand, and it was based on a sign given by priests during a Jewish blessing.
  • Leonard Nimoy performed in numerous films and television shows outside of Star Trek, and though he technically retired in early 2010, he later acted in 2011 and provided voice performances during his remaining years.
  • Leonard Nimoy was fluent is the Jewish language Yiddish, and showed much support for his fellow Jews.
  • Leonard Nimoy was married twice; once from 1954 to 1987, to Sandra Zober, and later, in 1989 until his death, to Susan Bay, both actresses.
  • Leonard Nimoy died at age 83, on 27th February, 2015, due to complications of the lung disease ‘COPD’ (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), at his residential home in Bel Air, in Los Angeles, California, United States.
Remembering Leonard Nimoy, 1931-2015, 2015, Star Trek, http://www.startrek.com/article/remembering-leonard-nimoy-1931-2015
Leonard Nimoy, 2015, Biography.com, http://www.biography.com/people/leonard-nimoy-9423757
Leonard Nimoy, 2015, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Nimoy


Marilyn Monroe

“We are all of us stars, and we deserve to twinkle.” – Marilyn Monroe

  • Marilyn Monroe was a famous actress, singer and model from America who was born with name Norma Jeane Mortenson.
  • Marilyn Monroe was born in California’s Los Angeles, in the United States, on 1 June, 1926, to Gladys Baker, although it is uncertain who her father was.
  • As a child, Marilyn Monroe had no permanent home, as her mother had mental health issues, so she lived in various foster homes and an orphanage, although at age 16 she was encouraged to marry James Dougherty, a neighbour friend, in 1942, to avoid being in another care situation.
  • Marilyn Monroe started her modelling career in 1945, for The Blue Book Modeling Agency, and was quickly signed up with 20th Century Fox, so that in 1946, Monroe performed in her first films, and her first significant role was in 1947 in Dangerous Years.
  • During her life, Marilyn Monroe was also known as ‘Norma Jean Baker’, ‘Norma Jean DiMaggio’, ‘Norma Jean Dougherty’ and ‘Marilyn Monroe Miller’ and while she was naturally a brunette, she began dying her hair blonde for work purposes.

Marilyn Monroe, Pose, White, Actress, Flaps, Dress, Ten Random Facts, Female, Stunning,

Marilyn Monroe
Image courtesy of MTA Photos/Flickr
  • Marilyn Monroe first acted in a more major role in 1948 Ladies of Chorus, for Columbia, and although she performed well, the film was not as successful as hoped and it received negative reviews.
  • Marilyn Monroe is well known for acting in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), How to Marry a Millionaire (1953), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Niagara (1953), The Seven-Year Itch (1955), Some Like it Hot (1959) and The Misfits (1961), all primarily comedy or romance films.
  • Marilyn Monroe died at 36 years of age, on 5 August 1962, from barbiturate poisoning, said to be a self-induced drug overdose, although much speculation has been made regarding the circumstances.
  • Marilyn Monroe was awarded, in 1960, the Golden Globe Award for her notable acting in Some Like it Hot (1959), and she also received two Golden Globe Awards for female ‘World Film Favourite’ in 1953 and 1962.
  • Marilyn Monroe was married to James Dougherty from 1942 to 1946, Joe DiMaggio whom she married and divorced in 1954, and Arthur Miller from 1956 to 1961, and although she was married three times, she did not have any children.
A Brief Marilyn History, n.d, Marilyn Monroe, http://marilynmonroe.com/history/
Marilyn Monroe, 2014, Biography, http://www.biography.com/people/marilyn-monroe-9412123
Marilyn Monroe, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marilyn_Monroe


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