Today I Wonder

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

54(115): I wonder what studies have been done about what people consider ‘common sense’ and how well they actually reflect what most people understand as sensible.

54(113): I wonder how people cut nails before the coming of the nail cutter.

54(110): I wonder about McGurkifications of “om nom nom”.

54(109): I wonder what amount of people have a fetish for nonconstructive proofs of P=NP.

54(106): I wonder if there are integers n>2 for which a pushdown automaton with n stacks can recognize a context-free grammar that one with n-1 stacks cannot, and for which the analogous increase in power is not the case for n+1 and n.

54(104): I wonder how feasible it is to make an alarm clock that reliably wakes one up through direct mental stimulation, rather than via vibrations or waves in the surroundings.

54(102): I wonder why most humans seem to be perfectly fine with chat abbreviations but not fine with abbreviated variable names in code.

54(98): I wonder how reasonable it is for civilization to develop on a tidally locked planet.

54(97): I wonder if crackers that are darker than the other crackers in their batch (in the cases of Ritz, Club, etc.) were intentionally made that way.

54(96): I wonder what proportion of spam filters have come to understand the presence of the word “spam” as indicative of an e-mail not being spam.

54(95): I wonder given a particle in two-dimensional Brownian motion what the expected amount of steps before the first intersection of its own path occurs, and if this query even makes mathematical sense.

54(91): I wonder if there is any language or script, or if there ever will be, that supports literature on a transparent Klein bottle.

54(90): A classic thing that I wonder about: what is the optimally difficult mine density in Minesweeper, as the board become arbitrarily large? (Historical note: over a year before I posted this TIW, I posed the question to David Yang, who said that he will try to make an IMO problem out of it. Watch out for minesweeper invading your coming IMOs. Or not, because I’m pretty sure he’s forgotten about it.)

54(89): What varieties of interchange are most viable in a three-dimensional interstate system, in cases of triple axis interchange?

54(88): I continue to wonder just what value colleges see in the SAT, a test which I have still found utterly nothing of value in its ability to reliably discern anything of value about the abilities of a student, despite many times trying.

54(87): I wonder what of many possible results we will end up proving upon applying the Pigeonhole Principle on the number of neurons, synapses, or other features in a human brain.

54(86): I wonder if taller people are generally more aware of what can be found on ceilings due to having to be wary of bumping their heads in more areas.

54(85): I wonder what the optimal sets of serviced floors assignments to elevators are in a significantly tall building with n elevators.

54(83): I wonder how whether adjectives occur before or after nouns they describe affects the treatment and usage of elements of suspense in writing in a language.

54(82): I wonder in what context privacy became an important concept in civilization.

54(81): I wonder what prominent cultural elements would be likely to arise in a civilization on a planet with a ring.

54(78): I wonder, given any flat polygonal shape with adhesive on precisely one whole side, if it is possible to fold the shape into a flat shape such that no adhesive is exposed and no flap that touches another flap has no adhesive on its entire surface. If so, I wonder how well this can be generalized beyond polygonal shapes.

54(77): I wonder if ever one met a being who claimed remembering a previous life what methods of proof are possible for demonstrating the existence of a previous, linked lifetime.

54(75): I wonder if ever in history a country has claimed a slice of land with also a specification in the vertical dimension; this might make more sense in claiming water.

54(73): I wonder what exactly it is that makes a blank stare perceived as blank.

54(71): I wonder if there are buildings in the world with a square of hallway that gradually spirals upward, so that one could enter on the ground floor and gradually walk up through many stories without taking stairs or elevators and pass many floors to eventually end up at the top; I wonder if such a building will necessarily violate certain common building codes.

54(70): I wonder what the story behind Epsilon Theta’s location is.

54(67): I wonder when, if ever, MIT will get course 25.

54(65): I wonder if people whose native languages have longer words develop to become better at reading code with low amounts of spacing.

54(64): I wonder if coastlines are generally and significantly more jagged as one moves towards a pole of the Earth, and I wonder what a good metric for measuring jaggedness is given the coastline paradox.

54(63): I wonder given a randomly chosen civilization to develop, what the chances are that a portion of the species that becomes the first to find the ability to perform long-distance space travel decide to not reveal their discovery to the rest of their kind and secretly build a new civilization out of contact of the first civilization, possibly out of dismay at what their species in general has come to and a hope for a better world from a clean slate.

54(62): I wonder which currently existing alphabetic language has the smallest ratio of length of the shortest RegEx representing the set of valid words in the language to number of words in the language (alternatively, the such when the words of any language are represented in IPA and RegExes are made over IPA).

54(61): Before scanning and dissection, was there anything beyond where it feels like it is that prompted people to think that thought happened in the head?

54(60): I wonder what the distribution of knowing the names of subunits of dorms in other dorms at MIT is.

54(58): I wonder if we can learn something linguistically interesting from the distribution of peoples whose languages contain a ‘th’ sound.

54(56): If a person had six fingers on both hands, does the best fingering for a piano passage become on average 20% easier, less than 20% easier, or more than 20% easier?

54(55): I wonder why the lower floors of the Stata Center when compared in stair deviations across various staircases don’t line up.

54(54): I wonder if any countries have ever had a center of population outside the country’s borders.

These items are labelled with time format [years after year of humanity’s first entrance to outer space(days after aphelion)].

I am, and therefore I’ll think. And I shall wonder for my mind the wanderer.

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