April 2, 2023

Things I learned these past few months

Below, a quick roundup of a few of the things I learned in over the past few months.

Amazon only started their charity” initiative Amazon Smile because they didn’t want to pay Google for search traffic. (hachyderm.io)

A Dutch supermarket chain introduced slow checkouts for people who enjoy chatting, helping many people, especially the elderly, deal with loneliness. The move has proven so successful that they installed the slow checkouts in 200 stores. (Twitter)

Of the 69 rulers of the unified Roman Empire, from Augustus (d. 14 CE) to Theodosius (d. 395 CE), 62% suffered violent death. (ResearchGate)

Since 2020, the child care industry in the US has lost more than 80,000 workers — often to retail and office jobs — which has contributed to the closing of 12,000 programs. (NYTimes)

A new study shows that people from the Netherlands are the most physically active of 29 nations. On average, they report spending 12.8 hours a week (almost two hours per day) doing physical exercise or team sports, double the average of 6.1. (Ipsos)

In April 2022, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the international community to recognize his nation by its traditional name, spelled Türkiye” and pronounced Tour-key-yeh. (WSJ)

Since it assumed leadership in the effort to eradicate guinea worm disease, the foundation started by Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter has reduced cases from 3.5 million in 1986 to just 13 in 2022. (Carter Center)

Analyses have found that 12 people—coined the disinformation dozen”—are responsible for 65% of misleading claims, rumors, and lies about COVID-19 vaccines on social media. (CCDH)

The South Pole is a constant process of snow management, to the point where decades-old buildings, though still fully functional, are buried under many feet of snow. (Brr)

One factor behind the shortage and the sharp rise in egg prices is an outbreak of avian influenza. Since the outbreak was detected in February 2022, more than 57 million birds have been affected. Infected or exposed flocks are culled to prevent the virus from spreading, resulting in the depopulation of more than 44 million laying hens in the U.S. since the outbreak. (Dept of Agriculture)

NASA plans to retire the International Space Station by 2031 by crashing it into the Pacific Ocean. (CNN)

On January 31 1957, 350 Jewish bagel bakers went on strike in New York. After damaging trucks and appealing to drivers, bakers persuaded drivers to strike with them. 385 more workers joined and after 33 days, 34 bakeries agreed to improved pay and benefits. (Working Class History)

Montréal-style bagels (from Fairmount Bagels) have traveled to space, accompanying Montréal-born astronaut Greg Chamitoff on his six-month stint aboard the International Space Station. (Montreal Gazette)

The British Isles are acquiring islets” made up of wet wipes and mud, as more and more wet wipes are discarded each year. There are at least nine wet-wipe islets in the Thames, and that smaller ones may be forming in the bends of other rivers. Britons dispose of 11bn wet wipes a year. (Economist)

A 30-year-old Portuguese dog has been named as the world’s oldest ever by Guinness World Records—beating a record that stood for a century. Bobi is a purebred Rafeiro do Alentejo - a breed that has an average life expectancy of 12 to 14 years. (BBC)

The global spread of vehicle ownership has been projected to double the figure of motor vehicles on the road from one billion in 2010 to two billion in 2030. (Current Biology)

To offset inflation, Berlin gives young people €50 youth culture cards” to spend on clubbing, going to museums, attending the opera, and other cultural events. (Dazed)

Lhakpa Sherpa, who’s climbed Everest 10 times, the most ascents ever by a woman, works in a Whole Foods between expeditions. (NYT)

The US life expectancy for the year 2022 was 76.4, a decrease of more than seven months from the previous year, making it the shortest life expectancy in nearly two decades. (NPR)

According to the US National Safety Council’s analysis of census data, the odds of dying in a plane are about 1 in 205,552, compared with 1 in 102 in a car. (The Conversation)

The average daily rate of an Airbnb rental is 36% higher today than it was in 2019. (Points Guy)

In a potential game changer for the treatment of superbugs, a new class of antibiotics was developed that cured mice infected with bacteria deemed nearly untreatable” in humans — and resistance to the drug was virtually undetectable. (ScienceDaily)

Alex Baka is one of roughly 60 professional bagels rollers working behind the scenes in New York’s 250-odd bagel shops. Most shops don’t sell enough bagels to require a full-time roller; in one shift, Baka can roll 10,000 bagels—enough to supply all five of his employer’s locations the coming day. (Café Anne)

Since a 20mph (30km/h) speed limit was introduced on key roads in London, the number of collisions fell by 25%, incidents involving vulnerable road users decreased by 36%, while collisions with people walking fell by 63%. (Zag)

On October 23, 1923, Sebastian Ted” Hinton—a patent attorney—was awarded the first of a series of U.S. patents for his jungle gym,” and the monkey bars were born. (Smithsonian)

Squids create shadow clones to escape their enemies: they mix their ink with mucus to form a gelatinous fake squid that holds its shape.This type of inking is called a pseudomorph, or false body’. (Whippet)

The Carthusian monks who have made Chartreuse since 1737 have announced that they’ve started limiting the production of the liqueur to devote more time to solitude and prayer and lessen environmental impacts. (Punch)

An Indian factory is recycling cigarette butts into stuffing for soft toys, and has recycled over 300 million cigarette butts from the city streets so far. (EuroNews)

Australian wineries are using bats to keep down pesticides and costs. Researchers say moth-eating bats may be the key to dramatically reducing the use of pesticides in wineries, potentially saving the industry $50 million a year. (ABC)

Almost every letter in English speech can be silent, except for possibly V. (Dictionary.com)

The most popular purebred dog in the US in 2022 was the French Bulldog. This ends the Labrador Retriever’s 31-year reign as the most popular dog breed in America.” (AKC)

For over 100 years, the NY Times’ logo included a period until it was dropped in the 60s. (Print)

→ learning