Somehow these last couple of weeks have been even busier than the week before! Sorry for the delay in posting – here are the things I’ve learned every day for the past two weeks. Any cool new knowledge you’ve picked up lately?
16: In many places, we’re pumping groundwater faster than it can be replenished – in certain parts of the Ogallala Aquifer, for example, groundwater is being pumped 20x faster than the aquifer can be replenished. This can result in a lower elevation of the ground surface in the surrounding area.
17: The penny-farthing bicycle was named for this early bike’s resemblance to two coins sitting side by side – the larger penny and the smaller farthing, which was worth 1/4 of a penny or 1/960th of a pound sterling. (Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling by Christopher Koelle)
18: The Kyopo Project by artist CYJO, on exhibit until October 14, 2012 at the National Portrait Gallery in DC, explores the variety of experiences of Korean-Americans. The term ‘kyopo’ refers to a Korean who grew up outside of Korea. Well worth visiting!
19: At one point in time, you could send children through the post. Unbelievable? Well, there are stories of at least a couple of instances…
20: We’re primed to spend more when we go shopping through a number of psychological techniques that aren’t immediately obvious to most of us. Martin Lindstrom explains a few of these with the example of the Whole Foods grocery stores. Those flowers by the front entrance? Unconscious to you, their presence plants the thought of freshness in your mind, since they are so short-lived and perishable. The drops of water continually misted onto the fruits and veggies? They also call up the idea of freshness, though the extra water causes the fruits and vegetables to go bad more quickly. Lindstrom is the author of a book called Brandwashed that discusses more of these techniques of manipulation that marketers employ so effectively.
21: In New Orleans, all-day parties called boucheries are held in backyards and will often involve cooking up an entire pig – every part, including the blood, as Anthony Bourdain discovered on No Reservations.
22: Don’t wear herringbones, houndstooth or small plaids on-air. These patterns don’t capture well on TV cameras: they appear to ‘dance’ around because of the moiré effect.
23: This is probably an obvious fact to many, but South Korea has the fastest Internet speeds in the world - averaging 17.62 Mbps. The United States is in 26th place, with an average speed of 4.93 Mbps. (From a study by Pando Networks)
24: Steeling is the process of re-aligning the edge of your kitchen knife to keep it sharp. Honing steels are the steel rods that are used to hone the blade edge, and ideally, this should be done every time you use the knife.
25: Here’s a neat website called Inconspicuous Consumption - recommended for those interested in sociology, consumer culture, or product design.
26: Mosquitoes can be attracted to you by many cues, including the carbon dioxide in your breath, skin chemicals such as lactic acid, or body temperature. Basically, if you’re a breathing and sweating human being, you’re a target – though certain people seem to naturally attract more mosquitoes than others. Personally, I’ve been eaten alive by mosquitoes lately and wouldn’t mind if autumn settled in quickly.
27: Science explains: how a riderless bicycle can steer itself! Hint: it’s physics. However, the research of Andy Ruina and Jim Papadopoulos on gyroscopic torques and trail has found that these are not required to have a self-steering bicycle, as was commonly believed.
28: Eating three meals a day didn’t become the norm in the United States until as late as the 20th century. Dinner used to be the meal served at home around the early afternoon, but was moved into the evening as cities grew and more people worked further from home; the lighter mid-day meal then became known as lunch.
29: Incredible photos from the mass games in North Korea by Sam Gellman. Via Wikipedia: “Today, mass games are regularly performed only in North Korea, where they take place to celebrate national holidays such as the birthdays of rulers Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il.”
30: We’re not the only office who decided to put our geekiness on display to the world around us with Post-It Space Invaders and Mario scenes on our windows. Check out Post-It War, a project out of France.