Saturday, January 15, 2011

Things I Learned: 1/15/11

Last week, I came across a piece by Giles Turnbull, a British writer who set out to test the theory that we learn something new everyday by recording the one thing he learned everyday for all of 2010. His new knowledge includes vocabulary (1/8/10: Bundles of nerves inside the body are called fascicles), history (5/26/10: The Greek philosopher Chrysippus is said to have died laughing while watching a donkey eating figs), personal experience (9/10/10: You can use the word “alienate” to mean “turn into an alien”—if you’re 8) and opinion (2/19/10: Mission Impossible III is an appalling pile of shit.) He can’t guarantee that all 365 factoids are true of course—“I read them in newspapers and on the internet, after all.”

I’m going to try something similar. But if I write down one thing a day with the intent of compiling it all at the end of the year, I’ll lose interest quickly. Instead, I’ll do a weekly post starting now:

-Carrots are naturally purple. The Dutch created orange carrots in the 17th century.

-Horseradish is a root vegetable.

-A banana is an herb.

-Meraki is a Greek word used to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put "something of yourself" into what you're doing.

-Not only is it wrong to double space after a period (I learned that a few years ago), but it’s been wrong to double space after a period since the early 20th century.

-The oriental hornet gets some of its energy from its solar-powered exoskeleton. It gets the rest of its energy from food, like most animals.

-Canada is the world’s largest export producer of lentils, which have the third highest level of protein of any plant-based food (only hemp and soybeans have more).

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