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Palm Trees Are Not Actually Trees

Listening to the podcast 99% Invisible I learned that palm trees are not actually trees. They are kind of a super grass, according to Jared Farmer who wrote Trees in Paradise: A California History. From the podcast, “palm trees don’t make bark or branches. If you cut them down you …

The Great Horse-Manure Crisis of 1894

Seems America had an “emissions” crisis near the turn of the 20th century. Although no one had an answer to the problem it seemed to take care of it self thanks to a new mode of transportation. I first read about this in Levitt and Dubners “Super Freakonomics,” and googling …

10,000 Hours to become a Master

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” he states research suggests that it takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. He relates how well know “masters” put in the extra practice time to help them make it to the top. And they did not achieve that place until they had …

Getting Things Done

As I’ve learned I may have been practicing this new productivity method with this blog. I started this blog to make a note of one interesting thing or discovery a day. And maybe spread some of that information to others who may have similar interests as mine. I haven’t been …

Sitting US President Under Enemy Fire

In a little known battle just outside Washington DC during the American Civil War, President Lincoln came out to see the battle and became the only sitting US President to come under enemy fire during a war. In fact a surgeon standing next to him was wounded by a confederate …

Western Diet most unhealthy

Michael Pollan writes in his book, In Defense of Food that “we shouldn’t allow ourselves to be intimidated by studies of new reports or especially food labeling. Humans can thrive on all sorts of diets. Some live healthy lives on nothing but cattle or seafood. In fact, he says, there’s …

The high cost of early adoption

In James Tobin’s book To Conquer the Air, I was amazed to learn that the Wright Brothers paid a premium for their first bicycles, even in today’s money, it sounds like a lot for a bike! In the Wright family, Orville was infected first, in the summer of 1892, when …

34 words for do-do

I caught a very interesting lecture by Stephen Pinker author of The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature on CSPAN this weekend. Pinker discussed some of the interesting or in his words crazy aspects of our language. Such as why we use terms like underground and …

Robert A. Heinlein Quote

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch …