As the movie and children’s phenomenon that is Transformers continues to take the world by storm it has suddenly become apparent that there are a lot of technical words that have traditionally meant one thing but which have slowly but surely started to assume other meanings in new contexts. 

 

Namibian Cash Machines 

Strange but true, in Namibia the devices known as machines that power things like ATMs are known as a SEPHCO load bank. Visitors to Africa’s least densely populated country are generally met with blank stares if they ask for a cash point. But to the rest of the world it is something completely different. Without getting too technical it is a very fancy piece of equipment that simulates the production and dissemination of electricity.  

 

A group of Japanese cars 

When cars or boats travel together the standard term is a convoy. That’s certainly what the word means to most of us. But in Japan, Convoy is something else. Convoy is what the good people of Japan call Optimus Prime. It’s unclear why he came to be known as such but if you tell a ten year old Japanese boy that you are going to travel to Tokyo in convoy, expect a very excited reaction. 

 

Antiguan Jail 

Legend has it that many years ago there was a rich landowner of the small island of Antigua who had the surname of Faraday. Mr Faraday was said to me a tough man who tolerated no nonsense from his workers and slaves. Those who upset him were allegedly thrown into a jail, something that the people of Antigua named the Faraday Cage. The name stuck and to this day badly behaved people on the tiny Caribbean island are said to be sent the Faraday Cage. Which is strange, because to the rest of the world a Faraday Cage is something completely different. Named after the English inventor Michael Faraday, the faraday cage is a shield that protects people from electricity. For example if you were in a car that was struck by lightning, you would be absolutely fine, because the metal of car which surrounds you completely, acts as a Faraday Cage. Who knew? 

 

California Power House 

German physicist Georg Ohm is the man after whom the SI unit electrical resistance is named. And well played to him. For a while though, back before the First World War, it looked as though Ohm was going to be more famous as the name of a city than anything else. In northern California a power plant was built near the Nevada Border and the town that sprung up around it was named Ohm. But while some towns grew and prospered, probably off the back of the electricity generated at Ohm, the town itself never developed into a power house. Today it is forgotten and almost completely erased from history.   

 

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