36 things I learned in 2018

The world is a fascinating place

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash
  1. Urchin is an old English word meaning ‘hedgehog’. So sea urchin could have been called ‘sea hedgehogs’. Link
  2. The Nazi’s unknowingly selected a photograph of a Jewish baby as their Aryan poster child. Link
  3. A giant pressurized cereal gun was used to make cereal. Link
  4. Zucchini is a new-ish vegetable. It only appeared in America in the 1920’s. Link
  5. In 1972, the International Tennis Federation authorized yellow tennis balls to show up better on TV Link
  6. Lake Baikal is the largest freshwater lake by volume, containing 22–23% of the world’s fresh surface water. Link
  7. Goldfish were ‘invented’ in China by selectively breeding carp in 960 AD. Link
  8. Brooklyn Dodgers got the nickname from the local pedestrians and their quick-footed “dodging” of new electric trolley cars in the 1890s. Link
  9. Humans start with 270 bones but get down to 206 as bones fuse as we grow. Link
  10. UK doesn’t have states or provinces. It is a bit of a mess over there. Link
  11. Mobile data usage in Zimbabwe increased by 89% in 2017. Link
  12. Stanislav Petrov averted WW3 by correctly deducing that his missile alert system had a bug, and was not detecting a real attack. Link
  13. QWERTY keyboard is just as fast as the Dvorak keyboard. Link (this was really surprising to me. I have long heard about the ‘faster other’ keyboard)
  14. Biscuit is derived from the Latin words bis (twice) and coquere (to cook, cooked), and means “twice-cooked”. Link
  15. A man was banned from a hotel for 17 years after a series of unfortunate events led to seagulls trashing his room. Link
  16. Blood (animal or human) was the 12th largest export in 2012. Link
  17. Tic Tacs are sugar but list 0 grams of sugar. Serving is .49 grams and you can round down. Link
  18. Nottamun Town was a “lost song” in England not sung since early 1700s; tune was discovered in southern Appalachian early 1900s. Link
  19. Instagram # of users in 2012: 30 million. Users now: 800 million. Link
  20. The Impossible Burger is available to any restaurant in the US via Dot Foods. Link (‘No meat taste like meat burger’ I’m hyped on. Haven’t tried it yet)
  21. 7% of families in US don’t have bank accounts, not enough $. Link
  22. Biodegradable is not a regulated marketing word, so that cup might not just break down in a compost pile. Link
  23. Spacex has only raised $1.6 Billion in private VC financing. For a random comparison, Magic Leap raised $2.3 billion. Link
  24. You are more likely to die from diarrhea than from terrorist, war, or violence. Link
  25. There is one type of camel in India that can swim. Link
  26. The urban legend about daddy long legs not being able to bite because they have weak fangs if false. They are not spiders at all, and have no venom. Link
  27. There is a shoe made from (the bottom half) recycled chewing gum. Link
  28. There is a single tree in a desert in Bahrian, with no known water source known as the tree of life. Link
  29. Taco Bell was named after its founder, Glen Bell. Link
  30. India contributes 75% of global spice production. Link
  31. “seconds” are so-named for the ~second~ division of an hour into sixty pieces: first into minutes, then into seconds. Link
  32. Lhakpa Sherpa has summited Everest 9 times, she works as a dishwasher at Whole Foods. Link
  33. 35% of Rwanda’s national blood supply outside the capital city is now delivered by drone. [Techmoran]
  34. Air crews are exposed to more radiation than people who work at nuclear power stations. [Dave Mosher]
  35. Cassidy Williams had a dream about a Scrabble-themed mechanical keyboard. When she woke up, she started cold-calling Hasbro to ask for permission to make it real. Eventually, she made it happen. [Cassidy Williams]
  36. Unicode, the international standard for letters, characters and emojis, has 137,439 entries. It includes a group of ‘ghost characters’ (妛挧暃椦槞蟐袮閠駲墸壥彁) which have no known meaning. It’s believed they are errors introduced by folds and wrinkles during a paper-based 1978 Japanese government project to standardise the alphabet, but are now locked into the standard forever. [Paul McCann]

I started sharing the little interesting things I learned in a Twitter thread. Here is the start of the 2018 thread.

And here is the start of the 2019 thread.

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