04 july 2022

last week i learned about the salton sea, "the biggest environmental disaster in California history." it's a manmade lake that became a resort destination (complete with hotels and yacht clubs!) in CA during the 1950s and 1960s. But the water became salinated and contaminated with agricultural runoff and desert salt deposits. 97% of the fish died. Bombay Beach became a ghost town, although some communities survive to this day.

01 july 2022

today i learned about the square cube law from one of my students - which says "When an object undergoes a proportional increase in size, its new surface area is proportional to the square of the multiplier and its new volume is proportional to the cube of the multiplier."

also i learned the reason that cells are so small is because of the square-cube law. "when a cell increases in size, its surface area-to-volume ratio decreases," so they're just the right size, no larger!

27 june 2022

taken straight from the wikipedia page about Jennifer Lopez' green dress: "Google's president Eric Schmidt cited the massive attention to this dress as a motivation for the creation of Google Images search.[27] In 2000, Google Search results were limited to simple pages of text with links, but the developers worked on developing this further, realising that an image search was required to answer "the most popular search query" they had seen to date: Jennifer Lopez's green dress.[27][24]

10 june 2022

the other day terence told me an able-bodied person has a 80 - 90% chance of surviving a collision with a car going 20 miles per hour. that same person has a survivability rate of 10% if the car goes 40 miles per hour. which is why speed limits are important in reducing fatal traffic collisions.

also this conversation was a great critique of Simon Adler's dakou episode; https://www.theidolcast.com/podcasteps/episode-43-chinese-hackers-launch-virtual-jihad-against-south-korea-boy-band-fans

01 april 2022

today i learned that in nebraska, the age of majority is 19 not 18

12 january 2022

today i learned that twee is anything “excessively or affectedly quaint, pretty or sentimental” and it's making a comeback it reminds me of that time hugo told me he didn't like the word quirky, mostly bc of its association with a specific type of innocent but cooler-than-you whiteness.

09 november 2021

oopsies it's been a while. today i learned about the psychological weapons the u.s. used during the vietnam war by exploiting viet cong soldiers' and villagers' fear of the afterlife.

big big fan of simon adler's mixtape series.

also today i learned that most of the fresh fish in u.s. sushi restaurants is imported by this one korean company, which began out of a christian cult:


19 july 2021

today i learned about the human experimentation and torture conducted by the japanese imperial army, in harbin, china, in between 1935 and 1945, on chinese, korean, and russian prisoners and civilians. the americans granted immunity to unit 731 in order to prevent the research data from being shared with the soviets, making the U.S. complicit in the human rights violations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_731

as retold in ken liu's historical/speculative fiction piece, https://kenliu.name/binary/liu_the_man_who_ended_history.pdf

17 july 2021

today i learned about the origin story of wework, which the founder adam neumann described as a "capitalistic kibbutz." i didn't realize that both founders grew up in communes (oregon, israel), and i also didn't know there was a welive at one point ... which is essentially a co-op for single millennial Wework members. that was fascinating to me, and i wish the documentary i watched went into further details about the communities at welive.

but anyway, the story goes that wework took off and adam...

which led to a hot mess of an S1 for Wework that they eventually called off. adam stepped down as CEO, and even before the pandemic begin, wework's valuation began to plummet.

this reminded me of a conversation i had earlier in the day with peter and david: traditionally so much of public life has centered around religious institutions and the social networks that come with them. town squares in the U.S. were built with churches in the middle. but today, as people leave organized religion en masse, will we ever feel fulfilled without faith/spirituality in our lives, and if so, what would replace it as community hub? for adam, the answer was yes, in work. but in many ways, the "we" philosophy was a work-centric religion of its own with all the problems that come with any organized religion. and so, even if you believed in everything the we company said about its potential to transform the world, what adam did was nothing new; it was just another in the legacy of failed utopian communities, except this time with exceptional interior design and the backing of the saudis/softbank at one point. and for scott galloway and the other folks seeing through the smoke and mirrors, wework was just 'renting f*cking desks.'

overall this was a neat documentary! it was enjoyable to watch, and the commentators/interviews were interesting. some of the scenes/stock videos were a little over-the-top, but it wasn't too bothersome, kylie and i just chuckled.

04 july 2021

today i learned that LEVAR BURTON still reads short stories! i grew up watching reading rainbow so this is about the most exciting news possible in my literary life. i've been reading ken liu for scifi book club and this piece is breathtaking.

16 may 2021

today i learned that "fuqi feipian", this sichuanese cold dish that my parents often order for takeout, means 'HUSBAND WIFE LEFTOVER MEAT PIECES', because it was popularized by a couple in the 1930s who sold it on the streets of chengdu. the word for "leftover meat" got changed to lung many years after to appear more palatable, but the dish originally was made with beef offal, which was sold by many Muslim working-class vendors in the area.

30 april 2021

today i learned that you can use the code '5231' to get into the secret settings menu on mcdonalds softserve machines...which were more or less designed to break down ... so the manufacturer can swoop in for the repair fees

capitalism sucks


also i spent way too long reading about this hot mess of a situation


I am reminded that at the end of the day self-help authors are just humans, fully fallible like the rest of us (and even more so as they deal with fame).

also i love this song:


22 april 2021

today i learned that silverfish can go a year without eating as long as they have water.

21 april 2021

today i learned about silk punk, invented by ken liu, a kind of tech aesthetic that draws inspiration from east asian culture + engineering https://kenliu.name/books/what-is-silkpunk/ http://strangehorizons.com/fiction/good-hunting-part-1-of-2/

key differences between steam punk and silk punk: technology (draws more inspiration from nature), materials (bamboo, shells, paper, silk, feathers, etc), east asian historical romances but the punk remains the same: rebellion, resistance.

20 april 2021

today i learned that the usa today crossword puzzle probably has the most diverse clues: https://pudding.cool/2020/11/crossword/ in terms of gender and race

today i learned that snoop dogg went back to being snoop dogg (and i also learned of his other names besides snoop lion: snoop doggy dogg, snoopzilla, bigg snoop dogg, nemo hoes, among others)

today i learned from another townie (thanks joy!):

  • in potato batteries (batteries often used in kids' science projects where there's a potato, zinc on one side, and copper on the other), the energy comes from the metals rather than the potato.
  • the potato just acts as an electrolyte bridge between the metals so their ions can react to create an electric potential. as they react the metals oxidize and degrade and the the battery becomes less effective.
  • salt water would work just as well as a potato, if not better, since salt water doesn't rot like a potato would...

19 april 2021

today i learned nothing on twitter for 2 hours. logging out for the next two days.

i did find this piece on minari and its portrayal of fractured immigrant families which really resonated with me: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/16/movies/minari-korean-americans.html

in the morning i had a discussion about women in the biblical family unit and then in the afternoon i watched an esther perel ted talk on desire vs love... such different perspectives. it seems the central difference between the two views is the sense of self; do you willingly relinquish part of yourself and become "one flesh" / unit once you commit to a long-term partnership / marriage, as the bible suggests? or do you keep your whole self independent, which maintains the distance/mystery/novelty that lends itself to eroticism? put plainly, as perel recognizes, love is self-sacrificing but desire requires some degree of selfishness.

18 april 2021

today i learned about this poem by warsan shire: https://medium.com/poem-of-the-day/warsan-shire-home-46630fcc90ab

and i got to go inside a real-life do ho suh piece!!!!!!!!!!

17 april 2021

today i learned that indigenous people were murdered right around El Capitan in Yosemite.

10 april 2021

today i learned that the white part of bird poop is uric acid (their version of urine, but with less water loss) while the darker part is feces. they pee and poo simultaneously.

earlier this week i also learned that baseballs are all rubbed with a special kind of mud before MLB games.

05 april 2021

today i saw a picture of human chin anatomy:


01 april 2021

today i learned that bridgit mendler the star of Good Luck Charlie is now a phd student at MIT Media Lab studying digital governance.


so powerful

28 march 2021

today i learned that foster city is all manmade land.

also if the history of the universe was the size of a football field, human history would be the width of a human hair at the end

26 march 2021

today i learned that vaccine comes from "vaca", latin for cow. because smallpox vaccines were made from pus on cows (cowpox immunity led to smallpox immunity)

24 march 2021

today i learned about math rock.

also this paper about how messiness spurs creativity


ALSO a pin/password becomes a key once you write it down. In a legal proceeding, you may then be required to reproduce it (contrast this with a pin/combination to a safe).

04 march 2021

today i learned that the u.s. called their colonial takeover of the philippines "benevolent assimilation." listened to the latest episode of the Experiment which is about filipina nurses; so good.

also i learned about the r/LiminalSpace reddit page and I'm feeling this painting:


03 march 2021

today i learned muscle is latin for little mouse

02 march 2021

i vaguely remember learning about biosphere 2 in 9th grade biology, but today i learned about the documentary that came out last year!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/29/sunday-review/biosphere-2-climate-change.html https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jul/13/spaceship-earth-arizona-biosphere-2-lockdown

i didn't realize steve bannon was attached to the project at one point...and also how fascinating the 8 biospherians were as people (they were not scientists!!). hadn't thought about the biosphere as a communal living experiment in the ninth grade but that's the most fascinating part for me now.

27 february 2021

"oh you're the police? good, because i would like to report a theft!"

-- Mwazulu Diyabanza as he is confronted for attempting to take back a looted African funeral pole from a museum in France

what a baller. today i learned that in 2017, president macron promised the restitution of African treasures/art housed in French museums back to Africa. his commissioned report determined that 45,000 pieces should be returned, but to date, only 26 have been promised back and out of those only 1 has been physically returned (..."loaned back").

episode of Resistance, reporting by bethel habte https://gimletmedia.com/shows/resistance/awhaza6

26 february 2021


24 february 2021

today i learned about the hierarchy of competence:

23 february 2021

Manx is a type of naturally tail-less cat from the Isle of Man, where the Manx people speak the Gaelic language, Manx.

23 december 2020

today my friend billie sent me a card from australia, and i learned about the three size groups of macropods in Australia: pademelons, wallabies, and kangaroos.


i also learned about the increase in abortions of fetuses with down syndrome in denmark, which raises some questions about the value of a life, the public vs private biases against children with disabilities, and the right to choose (becoming an emotional and ethical burden mostly relegated to women).

18 december 2020

today i learned that handling live armadillos can lead to leprosy.

15 october 2020

today i learned that your senses get dulled at high altitudes, so in-flight meals are usually jacked up on spices and salt. https://apnews.com/article/finnair-airplane-meal-supermarket-travel-316ac82791219a7250cc96d2b5c86bc1

i also read the library of babel, by jorge luis borges

13 october 2020

Of all the different types of parental involvement, academic socialization (learning habits, communicating expectations, college planning, etc.) leads to the highest achievement in middle school. Surprisingly ( or maybe not ) homework help is negatively correlated with achievement. : Hill, N. E., & Tyson, D. F. (2009). Parental involvement in middle school: A meta-analytic assessment of the strategies that promote achievement. Developmental Psychology, 45(3), 740–763. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0015362

08 october 2020

today i learned that boston public library has 10 million books, and that's how many books the internet archive is trying to collect.

also i learned the phrase "by hook or by crook" which means "by any means necessary"

also i learned about these little buggers:

01 october 2020

today i learned that the zero gravity scene in inception was shot on rotating set. the whole hallway was a rotating set, and the actors would wear wires or be strapped to trolleys.

25 september 2020

today i learned that willpower is a muscle. that muscle gets tired everyday but it also grows. make decisions easier by putting some things out of sight;out of mind.
today i learned that the first hour after birth is crucial to establishing mother-child bonds. extra oxytocin is released during that time, and the bonding during that time sets the trajectory of later development of the child.

24 september 2020

today i learned that another white woman tried to pass as black. jessica krug, a professor at gwu. i am reminded that the problem is always bigger than the individual; there's a problem with black appropriation, consumption and exploitation of black suffering, and the amount of preferential power institutions have always given light-skinned people.

22 september 2020

yesterday i learned that hundreds of Venezuelans, without any government support, tried to walk home from Ecuador during the pandemic

that's 1000+ miles

today i learned that being let go is different than being laid off (it can just mean that your contract doesn't get renewed)

20 september 2020

today i learned about the power of "ren rou sou suo" (human flesh search engine) in china. i think this podcast is the best window into chinese internet culture that i've encountered. it addresses censorship, consumerism, group think, doxxing & cancel culture, lgbtq rights all by examining a fan fic page that escalated into a battle between two fan factions.

19 september 2020

today i (re)learned various scientific attempts to explain consciousness. here's a gif of dna being created and also a ted talk by david chalmers.

in the ted talk, chalmers summarizes consciousness research from the last 30 years. there are "easy" questions around consciousness (which parts of the brain are correlated with our conscious sensations like taste, touch, etc) and then there's the "hard problem of consciousness", which chalmers coined, and that's the million dollar question: why? why do we have subjective experience at all?

is there a scientific, brain-based, materialist theory of consciousness? can consciousness be explained by psychology which is then in turn explained by biology which is then in turn explained by chemistry which is then in turn explained by physics and the most fundamental laws of the universe? doesn't seem so. so chalmers presents a couple options:

as an aside, i like dan dennett's definition of postmodernism -- "there are no truths, only interpretation." also i think of reduction as "explaining away"

18 september 2020

today i learned that solar eclipses only happen during new moons while lunar eclipses only happen during full moons. because the moon moves at 1700 km/h, the eclipse can last for a maximum of 7 min 32 seconds.

17 september 2020

today i learned that do ho suh made a replica of his home out of fabric (on multiple occasions)

home within home within home within home within home, 2013

16 september 2020

hi there! this is my first entry. it is the first day we've been able to go outside safely in days, but i'm still hanging out in front of my laptop at home.