The Quick 10: The Scoop on CDs

It was 31 years ago today that the compact disc was first introduced to the public. It took a few years to get that technology out to the public, but on March 8, 1979, the Philips company held a press conference called "Philips Introduce Compact Disc" to tell the world what was going on. Although CDs seem like they might be headed the way of the 8-Track, they definitely have their place in pop culture history. For old times' sake, break out your favorite disc and give it a listen while you enjoy these facts.

1. The first mass-produced CD manufactured was ABBA's The Visitors. However, the first album to actually be released to the public on CD was Billy Joel's 52nd Street. It came out on October 1, 1982.

cd player2. Coinciding with that Billy Joel CD was the first-ever CD player: Sony's CDP-101, a sleek, streamlined device (pictured"¦ ain't she a beaut?) for the bargain-basement price of just $900.

3. The first CD to sell a million copies was Dire Straits' Brothers in Arms, released in 1985.

4. Can you imagine having a collection of Mini Racks? That was just one of the many names considered for the format when it was still in early development stages. Other possibilities included MiniDisc and CompactRack. The developers decided to go with "compact disc" because they figured it would make people think of the success of the compact cassette.

beethoven5. We have Beethoven to thank for how much data a CD could hold when it was first released. The CD was intended to be just 11.5 centimeters in diameter, but when Philips teamed up with Sony to release the CD and CD player, Sony was adamant that a compact disc had to have enough space to hold Beethoven's Ninth Symphony (about 74 minutes). In order to do so, the size of the disc had to be increased to 12 centimeters in diameter instead.

6. If you could take all of the data a CD holds and place it end-to-end, it would stretch out for more than four miles.

7. David Bowie was the first artist to have his entire catalog converted to the CD format. Although CDs were commercially available since 1982, the Bowie conversion (if you're looking for a band name, feel free to steal that: The Bowie Conversion) didn't take place until 1985.

8. CDs are made up of pits and lands. The data on the discs is stored as little tiny indentations called "pits," and the area between the pits are the "lands." In case you're wondering why you've never seen little holes all over the back of your old Jagged Little Pill or In Utero disc, that's because they're virtually invisible to the naked eye: each pit is about 100 nanometers deep by 500 nanometers wide (one nanometer is a billionth of a meter). Plus, this is all embedded in one of the layers of the CD, and the pits and lands are actually closer to the label side than the back side.

9. The data on a CD starts on the inside and spirals outward.

expensive10. Do you hate how easily CDs seem to scratch and warp and totally mess up the sound of your tunes? Well, there's a solution to that"¦ if you're willing to pay about $883 for a single disc. The glass CD was invented in 2007 by a Japanese recording engineer and provides the highest quality sound out there. It's expensive, but there's probably another deterrent to buying CDs in glass format "“ can you imagine cramming them all into a portable CD case and casually tossing them into the backseat of your car? Yeah"¦ probably not the best idea.

My first CD ever was Ace of Base's The Sign. It came with my first CD player "“ they were both presents for my 12th birthday (I think). At the requisite birthday sleepover that night, we accidentally hit the shuffle button without realizing that the shuffle button even existed and were temporarily convinced that a ghost in the house really loved the song "All That She Wants." Do you remember your first CD?

10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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