Today I Learned

Today I Learned and Today I Wonder are from here discontinued. I do not really have the time to maintain them.

54(125): MIT ESP once tried to use a broken microwave scavenged from Simmons after highly sketchy repairs.

54(124): Today, I learned what V for Vendetta is about.

54(123): The person Building 39 is named after administrated Building 30.

54(122): Elongated clams are known as razor clams, and one of them is known as the sword razor (Ensis ensis).

54(121): In Massachusetts, Suffolk County is generally north of Norfolk County.

54(120) (November 01): There exists a figure known as the Klee-Minty cube, specifically designed to demonstrate poor worst-case time complexity of common linear programming algorithms.

54(119): MIT had a first building 20 before the more famous building 20 built during World War II.

54(118): The ‘No true Scotsman’ fallacy was named less than 100 years ago.

54(117): The ‘p’ in ‘doxp’ actually stands for ‘predicate’, not ‘punt’.

54(116): Sipser writes Φs with very slanted slashes (they actually look closer to empty set symbols to me).

54(115): There exists an internet act called ‘doxxing’.

54(114) (October 26): MIT’s Gradebook does not allow the inputting of negative grades.

54(113): Lake Choctaw is in Pennsylvania, even though the Choctaw lived around modern-day Mississippi.

54(112): Ello, an ad-free social network, exists.

54(111): “Rocket Boys” and “October Sky” are anagrams.

54(110): One can specify which folder downloads go to in Firefox preferences.

54(109): MIT’s people directory doesn’t handle letter accents correctly.

54(108) (October 20): Today I Realized: ‘Denebola’ contains ‘ebola’ as a substring.

54(107): The triangles on the flag of Saint Lucia represent two volcanic plugs on the island.

54(106): In India, toll-free numbers are only necessarily toll free if dialled from a mobile phone.

54(105): The Cards Against Humanity card “______: kid tested, mother approved” has a possibly nastier completion than “coat-hanger abortions”: “an Oedipus complex”.

54(104): South Carolina is actually one of the states with the least gap between percentage of African American and percentage of Caucasian population below the poverty line.

54(103): Contrary to what my guess would have been, Shell sort is named after Donald Shell, and not an allusion to the implementation of shells.

54(102) (October 14): Today I Realized: The word ‘password’ contains the word ‘sword’. Thanks to the meteor in the login background passing through the word ‘password’ like a sword that made me realize this.

54(101): The National Weather Service sometimes writes discussions that are not in ALL CAPS.

54(100): Bash aliases can be ignored by adding a backslash before a command.

54(99): Today I Realized: The term describing systemic inflammation from infection and the term describing a seventh-degree equation are the same word: ‘septic’.

54(98): Mankind has achieved the successful mapping of an entire neural network in an animal, a sea worm.

54(97): I-74 gets south of I-40 in North Carolina.

54(96) (October 08): The “Le” part of “Lenovo” stands for “Legend”.

54(95): Contrary to what I thought, the Post Correspondence Problem is named after Emil Post, not not named in reference to physical posts for an analogy.

54(94): f(x) = \frac{1}{\pi (1+x^2)} is called the Cauchy distribution.

54(93): The AIDS epidemic started in Kinshasa.

54(92): The Decade Volcanoes do not erupt every decade, and are instead named after the United Nations-sponsored International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

54(91): A more accurate abbreviation for “ISIS” is “Daesh”, an abbreviation for the name in Arabic.

54(90) (October 02): The name of the file type ‘tar’ stands for ‘tape archive’.

54(89): Today I Realized: ‘Reif’ anagrams to ‘fire’.

54(88): Ellen Swallow Richards was the first woman to be admitted to MIT.

54(87): The term ‘phreatic’ refers to water below the water table.

54(86): Tom Cruise is one smoot tall.

54(85): The square knot is unstable.

54(84) (September 26): Wikipedia does not, as of this day, have an article on J. S. Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fugue.

54(83): In 2013, Aaron Jackson, an LGBT rights advocate, purchased a house near the Westboro Baptist Church and painted it rainbow colors.

54(82): The demonym of Mozambique is ‘Mozambican’.

54(81): There exist bears in New Jersey.

54(80): N-acetylglucosamine is also known as GlcNAc, pronounced phonetically in English if one inserted an ‘i’ between the second and third letters.

54(79): There’s an experiment for detecting interactions between dark matter and normal matter called LUX (Large Underground Xenon experiment).

54(78) (September 20): In addition to being a region of España, Galicia is also the name of a region in modern-day Polska and Україна.

54(77): There is a letter of the Shona alphabet that is frequently transliterated as ‘dzv’.

54(76): The visible part of the ear is called the pinna.

54(75): There is a sophomore TAing 6.046J this semester that hasn’t even taken 6.046J.

54(74): MIT is officially a corporation.

54(73): The slow movement of Beethoven’s Hammerklavier Sonata is also usually played too slow (in relation to Beethoven’s provided metronome marking).

54(72) (September 14):  The ❦ symbol is called a fleuron.

54(71): There is no known polynomial-time algorithm for computing the discrete logarithm.

54(70): Building E51’s second floor has green room number signs.

54(69): There used to be a bash command rcp, like scp except sending passwords via plaintext.

54(68): The iPad camera points outward, but its videorecorder points inward.

54(67): There was a human, Ben Underwood, who became blind at the age of three and eventually learned echolocation for the purposes of navigation.

54(66) (September 08): Java supports non-global constants.

54(65): The Haida Gwaii earthquake in 52 was only VI on the Mercator scale despite being 7.8 on the Richter scale.

54(64): ‘import’ and ‘export’ are both bash commands, but they have barely anything to do with each other.

54(63): A piece of jade, often called the ‘Heirloom Seal of the Realm’, managed to survive at least nine dynastic transitions of power and over 1100 years, passed down among rulers of China, before it was lost.

54(62): I have for quite a few months incorrectly known the name of the archipelago in dispute between Korea and Japan as ‘Dodko’, when it is actually ‘Dokdo’.

54(61): For a span of about 40 years around 200 years ago, Qatar was annexed by Bahrain.

54(60) (September 02): A New Mexico woman tried selling her soul on eBay in the start of 54.

54(59): There is a door at the basement junction between 26 and 32 that can be pulled down.

54(58): Nine thousand years ago, the Baltic Sea and connected gulfs were the freshwater Ancylus Lake, disconnected from the Atlantic Ocean at the Skagerrak/Kattegat connection of nowadays and connected instead by the Svea älv, thus making it so that geologically southern Sweden was once connected to Denmark instead of Sweden, in parallel to how in human history Denmark has at times controlled Scania, a portion of this part of Sweden that was south of the Svea älv.

54(57): The optical illusion that involves a cube or set of cubes that have two different directions that they could look like they’re pointing has an aural analogue: the tritone paradox.

54(56): The states of Deutschland are called Länder.

54(55): Error messages that JavaScript give back depend on the browser used.

54(54) (August 27): Lemony Snicket is Daniel Handler’s pen name.

54(53): OCW offers 6.001.

54(52): Contrary to my former intuition, Arial and Helvetica are remarkably similar.

54(51): Assuming a 2000-calorie diet, one ounce of basil contains an entire day’s worth of Vitamin K.

54(50): Despite being a fairly large organic compound, cyclizine has no chiral carbons.

54(49): LZW encoding and RNA translating are intriguingly similar processes.

54(48) (August 21): French Guiana is actually less densely populated than even Australia.

54(47): Nearly 2000 years ago, Emperor Wang Mang of the short-lived Xin Dynasty abolished slavery in China as soon as he usurped the Chinese throne, but slavery was reinstituted after his assassination six years later.

54(46): Britain went to war with Afghanistan three times, and Afghanistan was never conquered by the British.

54(45): Despite being the non-communist side, the flag of South Vietnam was also red and yellow.

54(44): Glue doesn’t stick to the inside of a glue bottle because it needs air to become sticky.

54(43): Tchiowa (sometimes known as Cabinda) is actually Angola’s second largest city, despite it being an exclave.

54(42) (August 15): Potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, bell peppers, and chili peppers are actually all nightshades—that is, they are categorized in Family Solanaceae, and characterized by the presence of alkaloids.

54(41): In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, some scientists discover two moons around Mars that orbit at unusually low radii. Gulliver’s Travels was published 150 years before the discovery of Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos by Asaph Hall.

54(40): Carl Sagan wrote a thesis on the origins of life with Harold Urey.

54(39): Lufthansa is ultimately named after the Hanseatic League.

54(38): Upon 54 Tropical Storm Genevieve’s second reorganization after dissipation, conditions were favorable enough for it to strengthen to Category 4, and to Category 5 as a typhoon after it crossed the International Date Line.

54(37): Contrary to my former intuition, Pakistan does not actually border Bod (Tibet/Xizang), but only if one considers Jammu and Kashmir Indian territory. If one recognizes Jammu and Kashmir as Pakistani territory, then Pakistan borders both Bod and Xinjiang. K2 is actually on the Pakistan-Xinjiang border and not in Bod at all.

54(36) (August 09): The name of the açaí berry comes from the Portuguese adaptation for Tupian for ‘fruit that cries water’.

Like my friend phenomist, I have decided to maintain a ‘Today I Learned’ page on my blog. I will post something that I learned once each day, labelled with time format [years after year of humanity’s first entrance to outer space(days after aphelion)].


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