May 29, 2021

A few things I learned these past two months

Below, a quick roundup of a few of the things I learned in April and May 2021.

Of the world’s 4,000 written languages, only 100 or so can be translated by automated tools such as Google Translate. (BBC)

The last time ships got stuck in the Suez Canal, they were there for eight years and developed a separate society, a utopian communist micronation, with its own Olympic Games and its own postal service and stamps. (Vice)

Humans are the only species that can throw well enough to kill rivals and prey. Because throwing requires the highly coordinated and extraordinarily rapid movements of multiple body parts, there was likely a long history of selection favoring the evolution of expert throwing in our ancestors. (The Conversation)

Nearly two decades after it was written, the Killers’ hit Mr. Brightside” has been in the UK Top 100 for the past five years. (BBC)

A new HIV vaccine has shown promise in Phase I trials. The vaccine successfully stimulated the production of the rare immune cells needed to generate antibodies against HIV in 97 percent of participants.” (European Pharmaceutical Review)

People who cycle on a daily basis have 84% lower carbon emissions from their daily travel than those who don’t. (The Conversation)

The first genetically modified mosquitos will be released in Florida this spring. When released GM males breed with wild female mosquitoes, the resulting generation does not survive into adulthood, reducing the overall population.” (Undark)

A vaccine against malaria developed by scientists at Jenner Institute, Oxford, showed up to 77% efficacy in trial in Burkina Faso over 12 months. (Guardian)

After studying thousands of bird photos on Instagram, researchers find that the most instagrammable bird” is the frogmouth. (i-Perception)

Nineteenth-century England’s anti-vaccine movement feared that the smallpox vaccine would turn people into cows. (Public Domain Review)

In Hawaii, a shortage of vehicles to rent means tourists are driving U-Hauls. In March 2021, the cheapest car went for $722 a day. (Hawaii News Now)

Objectophiliacs are people who hold sexual or romantic attraction towards inanimate objects. (LitHub)

Andre Agassi decoded Boris Becker’s formidable service game by watching his tongue movements. (twitter)

The emoticon was invented on September 19, 1982, by Dr. Scott Fahlman, a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University, in Pittsburgh. (LitHub)

Since the novel coronavirus began its global spread, influenza cases reported to the World Health Organization have dropped to minuscule levels. The reason, epidemiologists think, is that the public health measures taken to keep the coronavirus from spreading also stop the flu. (Scientific American)

An analysis of the past 40 years shows medical schools are admitting fewer Black men and Native Americans. (STAT)

The color and flashing pattern of a lighthouse is called the characteristic. Each lighthouse has a different characteristic so that mariners can tell them apart and to indicate different water areas. (Kottke)

Male lyrebirds will do anything, even fake nearby danger by imitating sounds, to get females to stick around to mate. (Current Biology)

Despite the variety of alt-meats available, Americans’ consumption of chicken and beef has been rising since 2016. (Bittman Project)

A 78,000-year-old girl discovered near Kenya’s coast is the oldest human burial found in Africa. (Science News)

CEOs make more money when they know other CEOs, about $17,000 per connection. (SSRN)

Skinny jeans have the largest market share at 34% of total jean sales. (ModernRetail)

Working 55 hours or more in a week increases your risk of cardiovascular death—and it kills hundreds of thousands a year. (CNBC)

Dwayne Johnson accounts for a third of all Asian or Pacific Islander protagonists in Hollywood films from 2007-2019. (LATimes)

During WWII, Japan launched thousands of hydrogen-filled paper balloons with bombs attached to them, hoping they would float across the Pacific and cause damage in the US. (And some did.) (NPR)

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