January 30, 2021

A few things I learned this month

Below, a quick roundup of a few of the things I learned in December, 2020 and January 2021.

Coast redwoods are among the oldest living organisms in the world. They can live for more than 2,000 years. (Treehugger)

Archaeologists have found thousands of paintings from people who lived in the Amazonian rainforest 12,500 years ago. (Guardian)

All of the ten best-selling books of the last decade had female protagonists. (Tyler Cowen)

10% of the GDP of Nepal comes from people climbing Mount Everest. (Zachary Crockett)

The richest 1% produces twice the carbon emissions of the poorest 50%. (WaPo)

Honeybees in East Asia are coating their hives in animal dung to repel giant hornets. (NatGeo)

A rocket booster used to take an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in 1966 has re-entered Earth orbit after 54 years. (arstechnica)

Experiments on the ISS find that without gravity, spiders need a light source as a frame of reference when weaving webs. (Gizmodo)

Swedish tax laws allowed the cost of musicians’ costumes to be deducted against tax, but only if they were wild enough that they could not be worn for everyday use. (99pi)

Globally, 2020 ties with 2016 for warmest year recorded. This makes the last six years the warmest six on record. (Copernicus)

The most commonly assigned book in US colleges is Frankenstein, according to Degree Query, which used information from the Open Syllabus Project to compile lists of the most commonly assigned books across disciplines. (LitHub)

The old story that NASA spent millions of dollars developing a pen that could write in space is untrue; the Fisher Space Pen was created by an American entrepreneur who then sold the pens to any space agency. (99pi)

With 242,000 acres, Bill and Melinda Gates are America’s largest private farmland owners. (Land Report)

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