Aesthetics of Everywhere

The urban scene, its people and processes. Based in DC.

Everyday Lessons Learned: July 2011, Week 2

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11: William “Bill” James Sidis was the youngest person to graduate Harvard at age 16. In one of the lectures Bill gave at age 11, he explained four-dimensional space as “a speculative realm of incomprehensibly involved relationships.” At age 3, Bill taught himself to read Latin, learned nine languages before the age of 8, and throughout his childhood proved himself to be exceptionally smart. But he got burnt out at an early age following his early graduation from Harvard, trying to hide away from the constant storm of reporters by moving around and working menial jobs under false identities. Later in life, he wrote a number of books under an alias, including an extensive study of streetcar transfer tickets… (via The Memory Palace)

Plus beers. Alcohol may play a role in the misattribution of arousal.12: What helps keep people together in relationships may be the misattribution of arousal. For example, when we have breathtaking, novel experiences such as riding a roller-coaster with a person, we often partially attribute that heightened level of excitement to being with that person. Our minds aren’t great at distinguishing between the causes, and sometimes we aren’t aware of all the environmental or physical factors involved. There have been many experiments to explore this. Another example is an experiment in which the subjects are placed either in a cold room or a warm room. The subjects who were talking to another person in the cold room were less likely than the others to rate the conversation (or the conversation partner) positively. So it might mean you’re likely to stay with a person with whom you often have these exciting experiences – your terrifying skydiving trip gets your system pumping with adrenaline, which you attribute (partially) to your attraction to your date. This makes me wonder if maybe terms like “heartthrob” and “sweetheart” are more insightful than you’d think. (More here)

13: Over 15% of Singapore households are millionaires. I know Singapore’s a city-state, but still – unbelievable. (A million millionaires)

14: “Complete streets” are liveable, safer streets that recognize the needs of both drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, making it easier to share the road. The widening of U St’s narrow sidewalks, for example, is one related plan in DC that focuses on making the street safer, not just more accessible to vehicles. (Discussion with David Alpert of GGW on the Kojo Nnamdi Show)

15: A SnorriCam is the name for a video camera mounted on an actor’s body, facing them, so that it stably records face-on while the background moves. This was named for the Icelandic directors, with last names Snorri and Snorri, who despite their shared names weren’t related by blood.

16: Modern night vision devices as used in the U.S. Army were invented by Professor William Spicer. The technology behind night vision may be attributed to several different sources, however.

17: Lake Tahoe is the 2nd-deepest lake in the United States, after Crater Lake in Oregon. Just another one of those debates that pop up between friends on long drives.

18: Honey shouldn’t be given to babies until they reach at least 2 years of age, because of the risk of infant botulism. Botulism is caused by bacterial spores that are sometimes present in canned foods (especially self-canned foods) and are commonly associated with honey. Because infants have weak immune systems, they are at greater risk of botulism poisoning.

Written by Crystal Bae

July 19th, 2011 at 9:06 pm

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