July 31, 2019

A few things I learned this month

Below, a quick roundup of a few of the things I learned in July, 2019.

Ching Shih was a Chinese pirate leader who terrorized the China Seas during the Jiaqing Emperor period of the Qing dynasty in the early 19th-century. She commanded over 300 ships manned by 20,000 to 40,000 pirates. (Ancient Origins)

The inventor of the fuel filler dashboard arrow is a designer named Jim Moylan, who worked for Ford. The idea came to Moylan in 1986, who had to fill up a Ford company car in the rain, and was frustrated when he got soaked because he picked the wrong side. (Jalopnik)

Krazy George’ Henderson is (probably) the inventor of the wave, which he used as part of his cheerleading routine on October 15, 1981, while at a nationally televised Oakland Athletics American League Championship Series game against the New York Yankees. (Vice)

The printing press is often said to have been created by Gutenberg in Germany, around 1440 AD. In reality, movable type was an 11th-century Chinese invention, refined in Korea in 1230, before meeting conditions in Europe that would allow it to flourish—in Europe, in Gutenberg’s time. (LitHub)

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine have developed a system to mine social media posts for evidence of disease. In a new study, social media data outperformed demographic data in predicting diseases such as diabetes, anxiety, depression, and psychosis. (PLOS ONE)

A record 71 million people have been displaced worldwide by war, persecution and other violence, an increase of more than 2 million from a year earlier — and an overall total that would amount to the world’s 20th most populous country. (AP)

More than 7,000 dogs are registered to come to work at Amazon’s offices in Seattle. (LATimes)

2.7 million people in the US still interact with Netflix via physically mailed DVDs. (Engadget)

Vaccines against the human papillomavirus have sharply reduced infections, genital and anal warts, and precancerous lesions in young women and girls in more than a dozen wealthy countries—powerful evidence that these vaccines will ultimately cause major drops in cervical cancer. (Lancet)

There’s a link between suicide and living at a high altitude, possibly because low oxygen disrupts serotonin production. U.S. counties above 4,000 feet have twice the suicides as counties at 2,000 feet. (Vice)

If a wasp colony survives a winter, its nest can grow to be as big as a Volkswagen Beetle and can have 15,000 wasps.” (BLDBLOG)

Cars are sometimes rented in Japan not for driving, but private space—to nap, work, eat, watch TV, or eat lunch. (Verge)

The velociraptor was a bit like an odd-looking bird of prey with a toothy mouth, claws on wing-like arms and a long tail. It was about the size of a Thanksgiving turkey. (NHM UK)

The Congressional Cranberry Caucus was founded in 2012, and is made up of several elected representatives from districts where cranberry bogs are a major industry. The CCC has long pushed for very strange, very favorable laws that allow the cranberry industry to survive. (Modern Farmer)

The fastest tennis serve recognized by the ATP was delivered in 2016 by American John Isner, at a speed of 157 mph. The hardest hitters in tennis are all tall; John Isner is 6-foot-10. (WIRED)

Barrel jellyfish are the largest species of jellyfish in British seas. They typically grow up to over three feet long and weigh up to 55lbs. (CNN)

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