Living in the internet age, one tends to get overwhelmed with (often useless) facts on a daily basis. Fueled by hundreds of articles and studies via my RSS reader, social media, podcasts, journals and other content providers, I meet more disposable knowledge than my brain can process. In 2021, I decided to keep track of one such piece of trivia every single day.
During the Cold War, Switzerland put TNT in hundreds of bridges to remotely detonate them in case of a foreign invasion. Also, they don’t want to say if they really demined them or merely replaced the explosives for security reasons.
The very start of political theory had people worrying about ‘the power of an angry mass’. In the past decades, the times it was deployed was primarily pro-democratic (Berlin Wall, Arab spring, etc.) whereas ‘mob rule’ is now shifting toward anti-democratic sentiments.
Political parties changing their stance on a subject ‘magically’ affects that of its voters, too. Note: this research was just released, but conducted before (political) social media really blew up. One could say people follow parties/people, not ideologies.
The K-Pop world has a dark side. For a long time, it was a standard industry practice to lure aspiring idols into signing ‘slave contracts’, forcing them to earn back any costs incurred by the label in training them – sometimes taking up to a decade to fulfill.
That one time in US history when there were serious, concrete plans about reparations for slavery… it was for Kentucky slave owners – and rejected by the receivers (in exchange for continued slave labor).
The Matrix defense has been used in 4 US court murder trials, and comes down to ‘I killed because I believed I was in the Matrix.’ Interestingly, this has always helped the defendant to get placed in a mental institution rather than a federal prison.
Wine tasting is mostly BS, for multiple reasons. Most interestingly, because visual cues can effectively override our senses of taste and smell – as demonstrated in an experiment that dyed white wines and presented them to self-proclaimed experts as red.
Colors in Chinese are mysterious, up to the point where no one really knows what a certain subset (colors with the same name) means. Also, it calls certain colors after objects that don’t have that color at all. Or just ‘dark’ and ‘light’. Confusing!
Sheet music from popular television or movie scores is harder to come by than I thought.
At ages 6-17, I lived 200 metres from a former airport and never knew.
Today, I learned the hard way that there’s a big difference between hosting providers.
Follow-up on my 15/03/2021 entry: there are serious doubts if it was a deepfake after all, raising even more issues (detection on the one hand, the possibility of refuting any video evidence as fake and people blindly believing that claim on the other).
Before adopting the metric system, German-speaking countries had their own units of measurement. Those units also varied from (literally) city to city, making the need for a standard all the more pressing.
Hukuo, a concept in Chinese law, restricts citizens access to public services (such as education) and movement to the region of their birthplace in order to “maintain a healthy balance between rural and city populations”.