The Internet is surrounded by mysteries, curiosities, fun facts and even bizarre. Despite being known for having accessible answers to any questions, some information about the world wide web is not popular. Among these features are the reason for creating the webcam, changing Twitter names and guarding Internet keys.
Stories like these have been part of the web's trajectory over 49 years of existence. See, in the list below, more little-known information about the technology that revolutionized the way of communicating.
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1. Internet has the same weight as a strawberry
The calculation of the weight of the Internet was made by researcher Russell Seitz, in 2006. The bill is based on the amount of electrons (or electricity from a volume) moved due to the sending and receiving of data. Despite the absurd amount of energy, when considering servers and computers in general, the total weight of the network would be only 50 grams, the equivalent of a strawberry. This is because electrons have a minimum weight, very close to zero.
The amount of energy used is estimated at 40 billion watts, which is equivalent to 50 million horsepower. By way of comparison, some Formula 1 cars have up to a thousand horses.
Internet has the same weight as a strawberry Photo: Barbara Mannara / dnetc
2. Spams dominate the Internet
About 240 million emails are sent per minute and each consumes around 2 billion electrons. However, 81% of them are spam. That is, they are malicious strategies with the objective of stealing data online.
The term spam has several origins. One points to a famous skit by the British humor group Monty Python, which would have become popular in the early 90s as an internal joke on the Usenet service. The joke was the result of an error: 200 identical messages sent on one of the company's forums.
3. Webcam was born to watch a coffee maker
The camera's aim was to keep an eye on the coffee. That was how, in 1991, the webcam appeared. The equipment was installed at the Computer Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, with the intention of transmitting the images on the internal network. Thus, it was possible to know if there was still coffee in the jar without having to move.
With the development of the World Wide Web (acronym in English for world wide web) and the possibility of spreading images, from 1993, the camera also started to be connected via Internet for anyone in the world to watch. Unfortunately, the service ended in 2001.
First webcam was not used to chat with friends Photo: Reproduo / Pond5
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4. Twitter already had another name
The debut of the Twitter microblogging service was made by Jack Dorsey, one of the company's founders. The message written on March 21, 2006 said: Just configuring my twttr. It may seem like a typo, but no. At the beginning of the operations, the service was actually called "Twttr", since the twitter.com domain was already in use and they preferred to wait a few months before buying it.
First tweet was made by Jack Dorsey Photo: Reproduo / Twitter
5. History's first website is still live
European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) researcher Tim Berners Lee created the first Internet history site in December 1990, when he worked at the organization. The link still works today. The "info.cern.ch" contains information about the functioning of the network, with explanation of technical details and functionalities, in addition to telling the story of the project. All of this in the classic HTML interface, that is, only texts and links.
Tim Berners-Lee considered the father of the internet Photo: Tim Berners-Lee
One of the most used email services, Gmail was connected to Garfield, the orange cat who loves lasagna and hates Mondays. From 1998, fans of the character could create their own virtual address in Garfield Mail, or G-mail for short.
The idea changed on April 1, 2004, when the technology company announced its new email service and, since then, Gmail has become associated with Google. But, unlike many rumors, the character's creator, Jim Davis, never owned the gmail.com domain.
Gmail was from Garfield Photo: Carolina Ochsendorf / dnetc
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7. Librarian created the term surfing on the internet
The term "surfing" is no longer "on the crest of the wave". Expression as synonymous with using the Internet has fallen out of favor, but there is a reason why it became popular in the 1990s. In 1992, Master of Library Science Jean Armor Polly wrote an article for the University of Minnesota, in the United States, with the title Surfing the Internet. In it, she described her own experience with the then new tool.
According to Jeana, the idea was to use a simple metaphor to symbolize the fun of exploring the web, but also chaos, randomness and even the dangers behind it. Since then, she started writing children's books on the subject and became known as Net-Mom (or "Net-Mame").
There is a reason for the term "surfing the internet" Photo: Divulgao
8. Emoticon was born to avoid misunderstandings
Chatting through emoticons (and especially their emoji variation) is now the most modern form of communication. However, this way of expressing oneself virtually started thanks to Professor Scott Fahlman of Carnegie Mellon University in the USA in 1982.
The academic participated in an online group of colleagues in the institution's Physics department. A joke posted in the group was misinterpreted as true and caused some problems. So Fahlman proposed to use the sign ":-)" in situations of irony and joke, and the sign ":-(" for more serious matters.
Message that gave rise to Smiley Photo: Divulgao / Carnegie Mellon University
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Most of the information traffic on the world wide web is done by robots, according to a report by the technology company Incapsula. According to data from 2016, about 52% of accesses on websites are made by bots, against 48% of humans.
The study, however, makes a distinction between "good" and "bad" bots. The "good" are linked to search engines and indexing and monitoring services with the aim of improving the performance of the sites. They represent 23% of the total accesses. The "bad ones" are related to hackers, responsible for DDOS attacks, services that simulate access to gain artificial views and, of course, robots that interact on social networks. These account for 29% of traffic.
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10. The seven keys that protect the Internet
The entire Internet has been controlled by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) since 1998. This is a non-profit organization linked to the US government, in charge of regulating domains and IPs around the world. With so much power in hand, it is natural for ICANN to be targeted by hackers as it was in 2014.
To protect yourself from possible intrusion, there are seven secret keys that together allow access to the institution's database. In this way, it is possible to restore the system in case of any breach. The keys are kept by 14 people who live in different parts of the world. This distance is purposeful to prevent them from staying in a single country and thus make any theft difficult.
To keep track of the keys, a ceremony is held every three months for verification. The entire procedure is done in a maximum security room located in the ICANN offices in Los Angeles and in Culpeper, Virginia, where only a few people can enter.
Image of the room where the ICANN key ceremony is held Photo: Divulgao / IANA