Posts categorised ‘Quite Interesting’

Link: “Animated Changes in Population 10000 BCE to Present”

Original post found at: https://www.reddit.com/r/dataisbeautiful/comments/b3frhb/animated_changes_in_population_10000_bce_to/

This Reddit post spawned some super interesting discussion and really I just want to go through it all with a fine-toothed comb and learn everything about what these population booms and busts over time tell us about the history of the world 😇 The graphic itself may not be super accurate (as you can imagine, we don’t exactly have reliable census figures from 10,000 BCE) but the discussion is great.

Link: “Melbourne suburb names etymology”

Original post found at: https://maps.philipmallis.com/melbourne-suburb-names-etymology/

A couple of interesting maps showing the etymology of Melbourne suburb names (one map is “what language did the name come from”, the other is “what did the original name refer to (a person, a place, etc.)”. One thing that boggles my mind is just how far Melbourne’s metropolitan boundaries extend to the east – I already knew the Mornington Peninsula is included which is ridiculous because most of it is rural, but all those mountains and national parks to the east too?? Just absurd 😛

One “sports history” tidbit that I quite like is the fact that cricket and ten-pin bowling ultimately derive from the same sport. It makes sense if you think of the wicket in cricket as analogous to the pins in bowling. At some point during the Tudor era, people had the thought, “Hey, wouldn’t bowling be even more fun if there was some guy standing in front of the pins trying to defend them?” The whole sport of cricket evolved out of that. Supposedly this is also why underarm bowling wasn’t banned until Trevor Chappell (under instructions from his captain) infamously deprived NZ of the chance to tie a 1981 match by bowling underarm on the last ball(external link). I don’t think you could argue that that bad sportsmanship was justified by the (very!) historical origins of the sport. Still, I think it’s cool how two games that seem so utterly dissimilar today are in fact related.

Link: “A Surprising Number of Kids in The US Think Hot Dogs Are Actually This”

Original post found at: https://www.sciencealert.com/a-surprising-number-of-kids-in-the-us-think-hotdogs-are-actually-vegetables

Modern American children have become so disconnected from the source of their food that many kindergarteners think bacon comes from a plant, not a pig, according to a small new survey.

According to this article, 41% of 4–5 years olds thought bacon came from plants, while “just under half” thought that French fries were an animal-derived product. What it goes on to suggest, furthermore, is that one of the main reasons they have so much confusion is that their parents are reluctant to tell them the truth for fear of upsetting them, saying:

Researchers suspect young humans start out placing a high value on mammal lives, but as they grow up, those values begin to decline in favor of food.

I remember being on one of my teaching placements, and the chaos that broke out one afternoon when one of the grade 1s let slip to the others that meat was dead animals. Of course it was a Catholic school, so the teacher managed to calm them all down by saying that while it is sad, God put those animals on this Earth to be eaten 😜 Don’t think you could get away with that kind of cop-out in a state school.

The article finishes by making the point that reducing global meat consumption is one of the things that would reduce global carbon emissions, and if children are freaked out by the idea of eating dead animals to the point that adults feel the need to “shield” them from reality, maybe it’d be better to not shield them and let a natural transition to a more plant-based diet happen. It kinda makes sense to me 🤷🏻‍♀️

Link: “How Los Angeles Annexed the Port on a Shoestring”

Original post found at: https://www.lamag.com/citythinkblog/citydig-how-los-angeles-annexed-the-port-on-a-shoestring/

As an Australian we don’t really have a concept of “city limits” in the first place, so when I visited Los Angeles and saw its quirky shape on a map, with all these enclaves cut out of it and that long corridor southwards out to the port, it certainly sparked a lot of curiosity. This is a neat little article explaining the history of how Los Angeles acquired that corridor to the south and its port.

Link: “The Following News Release Contains Potentially Disturbing Content: Trigger Warnings Fail to Help and May Even Harm”

Original post found at: https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/trigger-warnings-fail-to-help.html

Interesting finding about trigger warnings. This study found that their use doesn’t seem to help survivors “brace” for upsetting info, and can long-term aggravate PTSD by increasing their sense of identification with their trauma (preventing healing). On the other hand, I feel like content warnings (more broadly) can be useful as just a “content you might wish not to see” filter. Like, I find stories of animal cruelty or neglect really distressing, not due to personal trauma, I just do… I’m sure a trigger warning wouldn’t help “soften the blow” of such content for me, but that’s not really the point, the point would be giving me something to filter out so I never have to see it. Hon­est­ly, I think it’s that ability to filter stuff out that’s key, so you don’t even need to see the content – but that applies more to social media feeds than uni lectures I guess.

Is It a Wrap or a Flour Tortilla?

The other day I caught myself wondering what is actually the difference between a wrap and a flour tortilla (you know, other than wraps being in the “bakery” section of the supermarket and tortillas in “international foods”). I did a web search, and found to my surprise that there actually are some differences… at least in theory:

  • wraps contain yeast, while tortillas do …

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Wiki: corn

Corn, or maize, is a plant that I always knew growing up as a vegetable (in the form of sweet corn), but is actually a grain.

The plant is native to the Americas, and first began to be cultivated by Mesoamericans in southern Mexico.

  • sweet corn: this is when the plants are harvested well before ripeness, so the seeds are still soft and juicy
  • field corn: this is when the plants are harvested long …

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Wiki: amaranth

First got onto this topic via “amaranth wafers”, which are popular in Mexico and, increasingly, the US. You could think of them as similar to those puffed rice crackers, I guess, but they are instead made of amaranth. So what is amaranth? well…

Amaranth is a “pseudocereal”, like quinoa or buckwheat. It has been cultivated in Mesoamerica for its edible, starchy seeds for at …

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