Posts categorised ‘Quite Interesting’

Link: “Think women have never had it so good? You should take a look at medieval days

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/mar/18/history-of-women-equality-medieval-and-modern

Interesting piece about how women in mediaeval Europe were actually much freer than we imagine them to be (and certainly than how they’re depicted in quasi-mediaeval fantasy stories), with jobs as brewers, blacksmiths, court poets, teachers, merchants, and master craftsmen, and also barbers, apothecaries, armourers, shipwrights and tailors. They owned land and controlled their own money. They were not married off as young teenagers, but instead usually got married in their early to mid-20s. Not so much noblewomen, of course, who were traded like pawns, but women of the lower and middle classes were relatively free. This all started to change during the Renaissance, when the middle classes became more anxious to mimic their social “betters”, which meant mimicking their misogyny.

Link: “Why 50% of the World’s Population Lives in This Circle?” by Tomas Pueyo

Original post found at: https://unchartedterritories.tomaspueyo.com/p/why-do-half-of-humans-live-here

Over 50% of the world’s population is concentrated in a cluster of countries spanning from Pakistan in the west, to Japan in the northeast, and to Indonesia in the south. This article goes over the geographic factors into why that’s occurred – basically, why these countries have ended up with such fertile soils, capable of growing enough crops to sustain large populations. I found it interesting 🙂

I’m very familiar with “shower thoughts”, but thanks to a couple of spiders engaged in a suspiciously copulatory activity I think today was the first time I wondered: “Do spiders have sex?” And the answer is, as I’d probably have known if I’d remembered that “female spiders eat the male after mating” factoid, yes. Male spiders have organs called pedipalps, into which they draw sperm-filled webs from their gonopores. Then, during spider sex, they deposit that sperm into the genital cavity (called an epigynum) of a female spider. Apparently among daddy longlegs (pholcus phalangioides) like the ones I saw, copulation can last up to two hours. And fortunately for the male in this case, female daddy longlegs are more likely to “act aggressively to drive them away” than eat them…

The more you know!

Link: “The science of why you have great ideas in the shower

Original post found at: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/history-and-civilisation/2022/08/the-science-of-why-you-have-great-ideas-in-the-shower

Rather than constantly grinding away at a problem or desperately seeking a flash of inspiration, research from the last 15 years suggests that people may be more likely to have creative breakthroughs or epiphanies when they’re doing a habitual task that doesn’t require much thought—an activity in which you’re basically on autopilot. This lets your mind wander or engage in spontaneous cognition or “stream of consciousness” thinking, which experts believe helps retrieve unusual memories and generate new ideas.

My life’s experience working on stories (including my current WIP) makes me not surprised at all to read this 🙂 Not only in the shower, but as a passenger on long trips, playing simple games where you switch your brain off (like Tux Racer), lying down trying to fall asleep… back when I was in high school, class time was a really great opportunity to switch off and daydream about my stories too, lmao. Always nice to learn a bit more about the WHY behind this stuff.

Link: “A moment of global darkness on December 6

Original post found at: https://earthsky.org/earth/december-6-moment-of-global-darkness/

Apparently, at 19:56 UTC on Tuesday, 6 December 2022, almost 86% of Earth’s population was experiencing “complete dark” (i.e. it was fully night). The only parts of the world not experiencing nighttime were, basically, the Americas and Oceania.

The page goes on to describe some other candidates for “moments when the most people are in the dark”. For example, on 27 December, over 86% of people will be experiencing either complete nighttime or “astronomical twilight” (which is indistinguishable from nighttime for anyone not trying to view distant objects in space with a telescope, hence the name). And on December 21 there’ll be the largest proportion of people not experiencing direct sunlight at 88%.

The page also links to this article from earlier this year(external link) about the moment at which the largest proportion of Earth’s population experiences daylight. Pretty interesting!

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.