9 Amazing Life Hacks Most People Keep Secret

1. Ever wanted to get from a room to another room but had a door in the way?

Look for a round protrusion often about halfway up the door on one side, and simply turn it and then pull or push. Often, the door will thus just give way, and you won’t need to take a jackhammer to the door.

2. Did the door still not open when you turned the doorknob?

What a predicament. Fortunately, this can also be gotten around by finally putting that beaker of sulfuric acid you keep in your pocket to use. Apply liberally to door, and it will eventually dissolve and allow you passage, and you still wouldn’t need to take a jackhammer to the door.

3. Like to bake cookies and want to make money, but tired of how little profit you make selling cookies at 1 dollar a cookie?

Sell cookies of half the radius at .50 cents a cookie! Most your customers will be too dumb to realize they’ve been getting ripped off.

4. Want to buy some cookies marked at .50 cents a cookie, but think two quarters is too much for a cookie?

Simply cite your local law mandating that vendors charge customers the lowest of all advertised prices, and point out to the seller that this means they get the cookie for just half of a cent.

5. Want to make money but don’t even know how to bake cookies?

Enter a prediction market on the amount of time people will spend arguing over the legal ramifications of a sign. Everyone else knows nobody would ever spend time arguing over an amount of money that’s less than how much the time spent arguing is worth to them, and you don’t. Oops, you now do.

6. Running as a presidential candidate in the general election and worried about the embarrassment of possibly not winning a single state?

Be the Democratic or Republican nominee instead; then, you can even actively try to screw up your campaign, and there’ll most likely still be some dumb state giving you electoral votes.

7. See something in society you just don’t like?

Do the above, then just win the election. Now just tell Congress what you want changed in society, and before no time your societal problem is fixed.

8. Like having snowball fights, but find that snow always makes your hands cold?

I’m keeping this one a secret. Hey, I said this was a list of hacks most people keep secret; I never said I was any different.

9. Finding that the bouncy house is actually very interfering with your capability to have a quality snowball fight?

Replace it with a windmill; windmills are typically more conducive to snowball fights than bouncy houses while still engaging the airflow manipulation apparatus.


That’s the Russian word for “hedgehog”.

(It helps to allow for the really neat Russian sentence «Где ёж?», “Where’s the hedgehog?”, comprised of five consecutive letters of the Russian alphabet in order.)

One thing that quite fascinates me about the fact that this means “hedgehog” is that I would expect a strong correlation between the shortness of a word and its frequency in text, or its importance in the language. For instance, in English, the short words are mostly those that find a wide span of usage: articles like “a” and “the”, prepositions like “in” and “to”, conjunctions like “or” and “as”, words that one expects to use often. This makes sense, as one would want to express frequently-used language tokens in a short amount of space, for efficiency of ink and of breath, as well as the desire to not feel like one is spending a lot of effort to express a simple idea.

And in Russian, “hedgehog” is just a two-letter, one-syllable word. This is particularly interesting because Russian is a language of a lot of surprisingly long words that one expects to be fairly commonplace. Here are some examples of words longer than «ёж»:

«здравствуйте» (‘hello’: twelve letters, three syllables)
«нуль» (‘zero’: four letters, one syllable)
«один» (‘one’: four letters, two syllables)
«четыре» (‘four’: six letters, three syllables)
«это» (‘this’: three letters, two syllables)
«человек» (‘person’: seven letters, three syllables)
«еда» (‘food’: three letters, two syllables)
«некоторый» (‘some’: nine letters, four syllables)
«использование» (‘use’ (noun): thirteen letters, six syllables)

and some animals one would expect to require reference much more frequently and be more central in society than “hedgehog”:

«собака» (‘dog’: six letters, three syllables)
«кошка» (‘cat’: five letters, two syllables, although there is a three-letter one-syllable word for just male cats)
«медведь» (‘bear’: seven letters, two syllables)

Clearly, the conclusion to make is that hedgehogs are secretly very central and important to Russian society.

I jest, of course. One can definitely expect to find unusual cases of a word for a meaning being surprisingly short or long as a result of the very open process of the evolution of a natural language, and this happens to be a particularly stark example for Russian (in English, ‘ox’ is a two-letter word for an animal, although one could argue that oxen are definitely more germane to human civilization than hedgehogs). There’s some pretty interesting backstory about how certain words got the way they are in Russian: the word for hello, «здравствуйте», comes from “wishing good health”, for example. Still, it certainly manages to quite pique my curiosity that “hedgehog” manages to earn a two-letter spelling in Russian, and I continue to find this a special case that stands out in Russian vocabulary.

Phonetic Alphabets

A as in aisle
B as in bdellium
C as in cnidocyte
D as in djinn
E as in ewe
F as in faze
G as in gnarl
H as in heir
I as in iamb
J as in jicama
K as in know
L as in lech
M as in mnemonic
N as in night
O as in ouija
P as in pneumatic
Q as in quiche
R as in rite
S as in scent
T as in tsunami
U as in upend
V as in vier
W as in whole
X as in xi
Y as in yin
Z as in zhug

A as in Android
B as in big-endian
C as in Coke
D as in dogs
E as in emacs
F as in Firefox
G as in gif
H as in Haskell
I as in Iron Man
J as in Jacob
K as in Kirk
L as in left side of the road
M as in Mac
N as in 9gag
O as in Oxford comma
P as in physics
Q as in QWERTY
R as in red
S as in semicolon
T as in Taiwan
U as in under the toilet paper holder
V as in Valor
W as in Wolverines
X as in Xbox
Y as in Yankees
Z as in 0∈ℕ

A as in ayyy
B as in bee
C as in cede
D as in deed
E as in eeee
F as in fee
G as in gee
H as in he
I as in I
J as in jay
K as in kay
L as in lee
M as in me
N as in need
O as in oh
P as in pee
Q as in queue
R as in reed
S as in see
T as in tee
U as in unit
V as in veal
W as in why
X as in x-ray
Y as in you
Z as in zed

Which Red Line stop is closer?

Around MIT and want to know which Red Line stop is closer? Just pull out this map.


The strips between swaths mapped to stations correspond to when the difference in times to walk to the stations is smaller than the time it takes the train to move from station to station, and therefore extra time walking to a further station may be compensated by less time spent on the train.

California: Please Raze the Missions and Rename Cities Named After Them

California is home to 21 structures known as ‘Missions’ evenly spaced along what used to be known as the El Camino Real (much of California State Route 82 is named after it). These Missions were set up by missionaries on behalf of the Spanish Empire to “civilize” the indigenous population into Spanish colonial citizens. What this meant, of course, is that Native Americans in the area were treated like slaves and regularly brutalized: they were regularly murdered, raped, and beaten by missionaries to no accountability of the missionaries.

Somehow, though, the Missions are still celebrated as landmarks of a glorious project in California, and the Californian educational curriculum barely touches on the degree of violence and brutality visited by the Spanish missionaries upon the native tribes. Even when the actions of the missionaries are acknowledged, the acts are often described euphemistically, for instance saying that “a cultural bias” “caused” “missionaries to develop strong negative opinions” of Native Americans, rather than acknowledging that the missionaries were simply generalized supremacist mass-murderers.

Furthermore, California has many cities named after various of the 21 Missions. San Diego is named after Mission San Diego de Alcalá. San Francisco comes from the names of the narby Presidio and Mission San Francisco de Asís. There’s also San Jose, Santa Clara, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, San Rafael, and many others. By naming these cities in the convention of the 21 institutions of oppression, we are celebrating the plight of the Native Americans. We could find better, more germane and appropriate names for these cities. Personally, I like to refer to San Francisco as The Golden City and San Jose as The Silicon City. There are probably a lot of other good possible names for these cities, as well as for all the others.

I sense a probable objection that as structures that are hundreds of years old, the Californian Missions are more historical landmark than symbol of tyranny, and that by razing them, we would be removing a system of valuable historical landmarks. This is an often-used argument, but I’d like to suggest that it seems ludicrous that something 5 years old and an establishment of tyranny would be something people would cheer for bringing down but something 200 years old and an establishment of tyranny is considered a valuable landmark, as if the fact that time has passed has made the structure become more okay. If anything, the fact that a symbol of brutality is able to last that long should symbolize that this was an exceptional case of oppression, one that couldn’t be shut down sooner. (Of course there’s the awkward fact that the United States itself has an amazing history in mass-killing and mass-dehumanization of Native Americans, and thus even those that have beliefs against what was done to Native Americans in the Missions may fear the aura of hypocrisy, and this may have contributed to Missions not being viewed negatively soon enough.)

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JavaScript Test

For each item except 37 and 38, answer what the JavaScript expression evaluates to. If the expression throws an exception or error upon evaluation, indicate which exception or error is thrown.

Part A. One Divided by Zero

> 1/0
1. ______
> 1/-0
2. ______
> -1/-0
3. ______

Part B. Two Arrays Walk into a Foo

> []+[]
4. ______
> []-[]
5. ______
> []*[]
6. ______
> []/[]
7. ______
> []%[]
8. ______
> []<[]
9. ______
> []==[]
10. ______
> []<=[]
11. ______
> []<<[]
12. ______
> []>>[]
13. ______

Part C. Fifty Shades of Zero

> 0==””
14. ______
> 0==”0″
15. ______
> “”==”0″
16. ______
> 0+”0”
17. ______
> 0-“0”
18. ______
> 0==[]
19. ______
> []==0
20. ______
> 0==[0]
21. ______
> “0”==[0]
22. ______
> “0”==[“0”]
23. ______
> [0]==[“0”]
24. ______
> 0==[“0″]
25. ______
> [0]+[0]
26. ______
> [0]-[0]
27. ______
> [0]*”0”
28. ______
> []+{}
29. ______
> {}+[]
30. ______
> {}-[]
31. ______
> {}=={}
32. ______
> 0=={}
33. ______
> {}==0
34. ______
> 0=={0:0}
35. ______
> [0]+{0:0}
36. ______

37. What type is the result of []+{}+0, that is, adding the empty array, the empty object, and 0?
a. array
b. object
c. integer
d. number
e. this expression SyntaxErrors
f. none of the above

38. If you didn’t select e above, what exactly does []+{}+0 evaluate to? If you selected e above, what is the token that the SyntaxError complains about?

Part D. Array Operations

> var foo = [20, 5, 15, 10]
> var bar = foo.reverse()
> foo
39. ______
> bar
40. ______
> var foo = [20, 5, 15, 10]
> var bar = foo.sort()
> foo
41. ______
> bar
42. ______
> var foo = [20, 5, 15, 10]
> var bar = foo.concat([5])
> foo
43. ______
> bar
44. ______
> var foo = [20, 5, 15, 10]
> var bar = foo.concat(5)
> foo
45. ______
> bar
46. ______

Part E. Parsing to Integer

> parseInt(“10”)
47. ______
> parseInt(“1/0”)
48. ______
> parseInt(“10”,8)
49. ______
> parseInt(1/0,8)
50. ______
> parseInt(1/0,12)
51. ______
> parseInt(1/0,16)
52. ______
> parseInt(1/0,20)
53. ______
> parseInt(1/0,24)
54. ______
> parseInt(1/0,28)
55. ______
> parseInt(1/0,32)
56. ______
> parseInt(1/0,36)
57. ______
> parseInt(1/0,40)
58. ______

To check your answers (since there’s some pretty involved arithmetic here): out of your answers to items 50 through 58, the sum of your answers that are integers should be 43 mod 127 and 41 mod 151.

Part F. Putting it All Together


In case this “reassuring” disclaimer may be necessary: There are no typos in the writing of this function. Every single character (or lack thereof) is intentional for the purposes of the following items.

> quux(2,4,5)
59. ______
> quux(100,[“foo”],”foo”)
60. ______
> quux(0,0,0)
61. ______
> quux(0,0)
62. ______
> quux(0)
63. ______
> quux()
64. ______
> quux(0,0,0,0)
65. ______
> a
66. ______
> b
67. ______
> c
68. ______
> d
69. ______
> e
70. ______
> f
71. ______
> 0+quux
72. ______

As a final check of your work, exactly 7 of these 72 expressions throw an exception or error upon evaluation. You have exactly 7, right?

Continue reading “JavaScript Test”