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At a recent dinner with friends, the topic turned to obscure bits of information. I forget exactly how we got there, but a question came up that none of us could answer. And lo, a Top Comments Topic was born!  Follow me below the dingledoodle squigglie dKosagnocchi dividerthingie fold after a word from our sponsor...

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The question that halted us in our musings was NOT "What Does The Fox Say?"

No, it was this: Why is the STOP sign octagonal and red?

Off I went to that non-primary source of all things informational, Wikipedia. From which I learned that in 2011, the NYT ran an article on just this. And in a few hours wandering around the Interwebs, I learned lots of fun facts:

The STOP sign is approaching its centennial anniversary... the first STOP sign was placed in Detroit, MI in 1915. That first sign wasn't a red octagon; rather, it was a 2ft x 2ft sheet of metal with black lettering on a white background.

Signs proliferated, and in 1922 a committee met to recommend standards. Out of this meeting came the octagonal shape recognized worldwide today. I found two explanations as to why octagon:

1. The recommendations were made by engineers and based on the idea that the more sides a sign has, the higher the danger level it invokes. So a circle (with an infinite number of "sides") is used for railroad crossings. The octagon was next, with collisions deemed the second-highest danger level.

2. The unique eight-sided shape let drivers coming the other way know without having to see the front of the sign that the oncoming cars had a STOP. It also could be identified by shape at night, since the original signs were not reflective.

OK, so it is octagonal because it screams danger and is easily recognizable (no other road sign has this shape). But why is it red?

The 1935 Manual On Uniform Traffic Control Devices suggested a yellow sign with black letters. It remained yellow until 1954 when it was changed to a red background. Ever since the first traffic light in 1868, red and green had been used to signify STOP and GO. Changing the sign from yellow to red thereby simplified things: red meant STOP, green meant GO. I leave it to you to decide whether yellow means SLOW DOWN or HURRY UP! :) The other reason this change was possible is that thanks to new advances in reflective technology, a red color that would last became available.

So now we know. Have any other interesting Fun Facts to share tonite?




Brillig's ObDisclaimer: The decision to publish each nomination lies with the evening's Diarist and/or Comment Formatter. My evenings at the helm, I try reeeeallllyy hard to publish everything without regard to content. I really do, even when I disagree personally with any given nomination. "TopCommentness" lies in the eyes of the nominator and of you, the reader - I leave the decision to you. I do not publish self-nominations (ie your own comments) and if I ruled the world, we'd all build community, supporting and uplifting instead of tearing our fellow Kossacks down.
From yojimbo:
I wish to nominate Bob Johnson's righteous indignation. Please, won't someone think of the rock crusher's children.  
From Actbriniel:
The response from BenderRodriguez made me laugh first thing in the morning.
From blueoregon:
nominate drcraigphd's comment in Pakalolo's diary New bill is filed to split Florida's electoral votes  because it needs to be highlighted.
From elfling:
An excellent comment about spammers from Rei.

In the same spammer vein, I deleted the diary (It Is Vital To Use the Right London Escort Service?) but the comment from JamesGG was excellent.

brillig's note: for those of you who don't know elfling yes, use of the word "I" is appropriate :).

From Yours Truly, brillig:
Nominating this one by RichM because by marking it, I can see later if it comes true!

I rarely nominate comments consisting of images. But this one by JekyllnHyde in Christian Dem in NC's diary NPR: Republicans share responsibility for botched rollout of health care exchanges is an exception!



Top Mojo for yesterday, October 21st, first comments and tip jars excluded. Thank you mik for the mojo magic! For those of you interested in How Top Mojo Works, please see his diary FAQing Top Mojo.
  1) Another sign that Texas is a battleground state. by nomandates — 151
  2) Thanks, NSA. by DeadHead — 126
  3) What is twitter? by kos — 113
  4) Further to your point, a funny historical by CharlesInCharge — 95
  5) AUTOMATE MY F*CKING HASHTAGS, KOS!!1! by grubber — 92
  6) Thanks, Dartagnan, by pamelabrown — 86
  7) Could not happen by Mi Corazon — 85
  8) Going on Fox to badmouth..... by SixSixSix — 82
  9) Second that TomP. by conniptionfit — 81
10) That ad was epic. by Dingodude — 80
11) They'll fit in well at their next job by Lonely Liberal in PA — 78
12) So many guns. by political junquie — 75
13) 65, still waiting by VA gentlewoman — 72
14) The horrendous press coverage is just as big a by flitedocnm — 71
15) That would be the same CNN.... by dweb8231 — 66
16) On twitter: "prayers going out" well too damn late by merrywidow — 66
17) What??? by RichM — 63
18) This quote alone has my hair on fire by greenbell — 62
19) I would also add that our high schools aren't by voracious — 62
20) Violence tends by gchaucer2 — 62
21) The false equivalency by slipper — 60
22) Thanks for posting the additional comments by Steveningen — 60
23) And they aren't the only ones by lunachickie — 59
24) Thanks for upholding our Constitution, Europe. by Leftcandid — 58
25) I will be away from the computer for a while by Steveningen — 57
26) Don't forget the teachers !!! nfc by Josiah Bartlett — 57
27) It sucks how far CNN has fallen. by Timaeus — 56
28) I generally do not sign by gchaucer2 — 55
29) I got in this morning by BurningFeet — 55
30) The reply for that Dem Congressman should have.... by LiberalCanuck — 54
31) It still blows my mind by Avilyn — 54



Top Pictures for yesterday, October 21st.  Click any image to be taken to the full comment. Thank you jotter for the image magic!
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