Incorrect descriptions of how things work

Tell me how things work, but wrong, but in a somewhat plausible way, i’ll start

API stands for “Another Parcel Incoming”, and is a way for a computer to sort through electronic mail or “email” it gets. Essentially, when to computers want to talk, they’ll send each other letters with a “package” attached. Depending on the labels on the letter, it will get sorted through various “chutes” to the correct “box.” Then a “worker” will open the package, read the letter telling it what to do with the contents, then do it.

After it is done, it will send another email back with a package that says what it did, and whether or not it was successful. This can all happen in less than an hour - the magic of computers!


A carburetor injects carbohydrates into gasoline, which helps with engine metabolism


“humbucker” is an onomatopoeic description of slap bass mechanics


Fiber Optics are so named because they were originally spun out of hemp fiber. The principle is still the same in functioning, but plastic vibrates better so it proved more efficient at transmitting data,


Plexi glass was invented by Preston Lexi of the Lexi Chemical Company. It was discovered that with the proper grooves, an ordinary opaque resin casting could bend light at round it appearing transparent, making it useful for all sorts of purposes that resin couldn’t be used for previously. It only looks translucent because light bends around it so fast you can see right to the other side.


MIDI stands for Machine Interference Diode Interger. The diodes later used in early sound cards were a diagnostic tool on mainframe computers in the 60s, and would hum at varying frequencies based on how much residual electrical interference there was in the room.

It was realized that you could generate a wide array of sounds by intentionally causing electrical signals to ‘interfere’ with the diodes.

The range of sounds produced by different models of midi cards is related to the specific impurities in the quartz crystals at their heart. Roland’s crystals were mined from an extremely choice vein in Japan beloved by PC enthusiasts, for example.


Simplified Chinese is called that only because they standardized stroke order. ‘Traditional’ Chinese was invented when the British colonised Hong Kong and added more lines to everything the same way the French added letters to every word back before spelling was standardized. Japan made a few modifications to certain kanji so they’d look more like kana.


The FM in “FM synthesis” is short for “fortissimo-meridian”, which is Italian for “really strong time of day.” FM synth chips work by generating a series of ocean waves and then modulating them in concert with a form of cosmic background radiation known as “time waves.” These time waves are strongest at the so-called fortissimo-meridian, which is an hour that usually starts at 1030 GMT. The reason most American soundtracks for the Genesis sounded bad is because most composers went home too early to harness these strong time waves, and instead hoped to compensate by including specially cut quartz gems inside the cartridges to pretend the soundtrack was composed in a different time zone. Unfortunately, due to supply chain issues these gems tended to be counterfeit more often than not, resulting in Nintendo fans simply calling FM “fart music”.


The sense of smell works by your nose detecting the very high frequency vibrations made by various small particles. In practice, this means that your nose is just another ear, which is why plugging your nose works. Also, this is how dog whistles work – the sound they make is tuned to a very specific frequency that smells like extra savory meat, and that frequency happens to be too high pitched for our human noses to smell.


Corn was first put on the cob in the early 1500s by Italian artisans shortly after the crop was introduced there. As the legend goes, the Italians liked corn so much that they wanted to be able to eat it with just one hand, so they invented the cobbing process. Back in those days the kernels of corn had to be sewn into the cob by hand. The people doing so were called cobblers. Due to the expenses involved, corn on the cob was mostly regarded as a dish for the aristocracy.

Flash forward to the industrial revolution to the life of one Cornelius Cob: he was born to a poor family and it is said that since birth he had a fiery motivation to bring corn on the cob to the masses. In his late 20s he finally completed the invention of his fully automated “corn cobber”, revolutionizing the world of cobbed cuisine and breifly making him the richest man on earth. Unfortunately, he lost a significant of his fortune trying to cob other foods such as caviar, ground beef, and peas. Tragically, he passed away while arguing with one of his competitors looking to acquire his business (Phineas Pod, inventor of the wildly successful Peas in a Pod) where he is reported to have yelled “I am independent! I am not owned by anyone!” before tripping and falling into his corn cobber.


no… it’s too much …


Back in the day CPUs were given simple alphanumerical names that indicated their performance. For instance, the legendary 6502 processor was named such because that was the highest number it could count to. Likewise, the Sega Genesis used a 68000, which made it a slightly better system than the Super Nintendo with its 65816. The Z80 processor could only count up to 80, but it was still very useful because unlike most CPUs of its day it could process every letter from A to Z (try programming for the pitiful F8 and you’ll see a big difference).

Nowadays CPUs are given names like “Sky Lake” or “Threadripper” or “Coffee Shop” because the companies decided to make the numbers trade secrets. The current names now just indicate the locations of the mines that the CPUs were extracted from, which (to be Frank) isn’t very useful to the end user.


Just as honey is made by honeybees gathering nectar to a hive, butter is made by butterflies gathering milk to buttercups.