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52 things and some useless commentary

52 Things I Learned in 2020 by Tom Whitwell, one of the best things I read this week. Some notable items in the list (and a few comments).

1. Most cities plant only male trees because it’s expensive to clear up the fruit that falls from female trees. Male trees release pollen, and that’s one of the reasons your hay fever is getting worse. 

—In my city, trees are cut to make way for highways.

2. In China, 🙂 doesn’t mean happy, it means “a despising, mocking, and even obnoxious attitude”. Use these, instead: 😁😄😀.

—Not the biggest fan of smileys. Some friends use smileys as punctuations. I think they're overcompensating, making sure the person getting the message doesn't get offended. 

9. Money makes people happier than psychotherapy.

—Having three square meals a day and a roof over one's head takes off the stresses of daily life. But too much money might give more headaches than happiness.

11. Euro English is an evolving pidgin English used by EU administrators, for example: using ‘Handy’ to mean mobile phone (from German), ‘Non?’ to turn any sentence into a question and unusual plurals like ‘expertises”.

—Reminds me of the Mindanao version of Tagalog. Lots of people in Gensan and Davao now speak a combination of Tagalog and Bisaya. Linguists should do a thesis on this. 

14. The inventor of the pixel died in 2020 aged 91. He always regretted making pixels square, describing the decision as “something very foolish that everyone in the world has been suffering from ever since.”

—Round pixels, the cause of this world's suffering.

30. In Warsaw’s Gruba Kaśka water plant there are eight clams with sensors attached to their shells. If the clams close because they don’t like the taste of the water, the city’s supply is automatically shut off. 
—Best water I've tasted: tap water at Gruyère, "service water" at Garahe (karinderya near UP Manila and St. Paul University), and the "service water" at Mary Grace—with sliced lemon and ice. Water quality in Marbel is poor. 

38. 報復性熬夜 is a Chinese term that roughly means ‘Revenge bedtime procrastination’ — when “people who don’t have much control over their daytime life refuse to sleep early in order to regain some sense of freedom during late night hours”. 

—Matulog ka na lang!

44. A micromort is a one-in-a-million chance of death. Just being alive is about 24 micromorts per day, skydiving is 8 micromorts per jump.

—Micromort sounds way better than disease free survival!


  1. "If the clams close because they don’t like the taste of the water, the city’s supply is automatically shut off."
    Hmm, not sure about this. I think I'd rather have bad tasting water than no water at all.
    I guess water purifying stations do good business in Marbel? Baguio water tastes bad, too.

  2. I checked out the article and found this hilarious: "In February, shares in Zoom Technologies rose by 50%. Unfortunately, it was the wrong company. The video conferencing company’s stock is listed as ZM not ZOOM, and the other Zoom has been out of business for years. [Luke McGrath]"


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