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Things I’ve learned in 2022

Wooden silk-spinning machine: cylindrical structure with several bobbins in each section. A mannequin in front of it shows it’s at least twice as tall as a person.

Inspired by a post on Kottke, at the beginning of 2022 I started keeping track of interesting things I learned. I didn’t come up with any specific criteria, except for a sudden feeling that something I read or heard should make it to my list. I was planning to also blog or tweet about the more relevant ones, but of course that happened exactly once.

Then at some point I stopped keeping track, or noticing whether I was learning something interesting, so in my notes it looks like I didn’t learn anything between May and November. I suspect the likelier story is that I was otherwise occupied, what with parents visiting, getting a new job, traveling a bunch, getting Covid again—usual stuff.

Here’s my list:

  1. Kobarid, Slovenia, is what Italians call Caporetto. One would think I should have known that, but nope.
  2. Another thing I should have known is that Bologna used to be a leader in the silk industry.
  3. There’s such a thing as grumpy/sunshine romance. It makes sense, but I’d never thought of it, and I love the name.
  4. Something called chip binning explains the differences in GPU specs in the M1 MacBook Air.
  5. You don’t need to speak Italian to apply for bloodline citizenship, while you do if you’re applying for citizenship through marriage.
  6. I knew there were different types of peppers, but I learned that some are just dried versions of others.
  7. There’s a thing called pickleball, which sounds annoying.
  8. The ship Stockholm, which sank the Andrea Doria in 1956, is still in service, after being rebuilt as a cruise ship in 1993, and is currently named Astoria.
  9. Mustard oil is banned for cooking in the United States.
  10. Related, and from the same source, the word ‘canola’ is a monster word coming from ‘Canada’, ‘oil’, and ‘low acid’. Does it sound more palatable than rapeseed oil?
  11. Charles V of Spain had a secret code, which remained uncracked for five hundred years.
  12. The last name of Emily Waltham in Friends comes from the fact that the show’s creators went to Brandeis.
  13. Some fish breathe air!
  14. There’s a (very cool) acoustic version of Franz Ferdinand’s “Jacqueline” called “Better in Hoboken”, and one of “40’” called “Forty Feet”—both in the single for “Matinée”, which is not, however and unfortunately, an acoustic version of “The Dark of the Matinée”.
  15. Undisturbed holly leaves have smooth edges.
  16. There is an ISO standard for brewing tea.