Week of July 5, 2020



WD-40 stands for “Water Displacement, 40th formula,” since the the creators’ 40th experimental recipe fulfilled its intended purpose of preventing corrosion on the Atlas rocket.


The globally-ubiquitous AK-47 rifle is named for it’s Russian designer Mikhail Kalashnikov (AK = “Avtomat Kalashnikova” or “Automatic device by Kalashnikov”) and 1947, the year of its first manufacture.


In the US, a non-profit company is called a “501(c)(3)”, and a tax-advantaged type of retirement account is called a “401(k)” because those are the sections where they’re described in the US Tax Code.


G20 or “The Group of Twenty” is a forum of the world’s major economic nations, and also the European Union, together representing 85% of the world’s economic output.


V8 is both the Campbell’s drink made with 8 vegetables and also the name of a very common combustion engine with 8 cylinders arranged in a V shape.


Men of drafting age during WWII and the Vietnam War wondered if their local draft board might label them “1-A” (available and fit for military service) or “4-F” (unfit for military service) or any classification between. These labels were part of a statutory classification system for would-be soldiers that eventually went up to 5-A.


License plates use letters and numbers, and a given state, province, or country will likely never run out of random combinations for their license plates. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet, and ten single numbers (0-9). Hence, for a plate with just 6 character spaces available, the possible combinations for that plate are 36 x 36 x 36 x 36 x 36 x 36, or 2,176,782,336. With “only” 15 million cars registered in America’s most populous state, California, there are plenty of plates to go around, even if the spaces, number and letter positions were more restricted.