Ada Limón: “Bright Dead Things”

I’m learning so many different ways to be quiet. There’s how I stand in the lawn, that’s one way. There’s also how I stand in the field across from the street, that’s another way because I’m farther from people and therefore more likely to be alone. There’s how I don’t answer the phone, and how I sometimes like to lie down on the floor in the kitchen and pretend I’m not home when people knock. There’s daytime silent where I stare, and a nighttime silent when I do things. There’s shower silent and bath silent and California silent and Kentucky silent and car silent and then there’s the silence that comes back, a million times bigger than me, sneaks into my bones and wails and wails and wails until I can’t be quiet anymore. That’s how this machine works. 

“Bright Dead Things”

Kent Hendricks: 52 things I learned in 2022

This list of things Kent Hendricks learned in 2022 is fascinating. Here are some standouts for me:

6. You call it tea if it first came to your country via by ship, but you call it chai if it first came to your country over land. This is because speakers in the port cities of the Chinese coastal province of Fujian called it “te”, while overland Manderin-speaking traders used the word “chá.” (“Tea if by sea, cha if by land: Why the world only has two words for tea”)

7. Compared to irritant-induced crying (e.g. caused by onions), the tears you cry when you’re sad contain 24% more protein, which means they roll down your face more slowly and are more likely to be noticed by others, who, in turn, can comfort you. (“Effect of Stimulus on the Chemical Composition of Human Tears”)

13. At art auctions, people bid 18.57% more for blue-hued paintings compared to neutral paintings. A one standard deviation increase in blue hue (20%) increases the amount people are willing to pay by 10.63%. (“Colors, Emotions, and the Auction Value of Paintings”)

24. Swiss cheese tastes better when it listens to hip hop. Nine wheels of cheese aged to music for 24 hours a day for 6.5 months straight; the cheese that listened to A Tribe Called Quest’s “We Got it From Here” outperformed the other cheeses in two blind taste tests by a wide margin. (“Cheese in Surround Sound – a culinary art experiment”)

39. In addition to being the patron saint of love, St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeeping, epilepsy, the plague, fainting, and traveling. (“6 Surprising Facts About St. Valentine”)

41. Pixar almost deleted Toy Story 2 by accident, but they were able to release the movie because someone on maternity leave happened to have a copy on her home computer. They drove it to the studio wrapped in blankets. (Chris Albon)

42. 94% of the entire population of Paris lives within a five minute walk of a bakery. (@parisyimby)

48. People who grow up in cities with grids (like Chicago) are worse at navigation. They are also more likely to lose at video games. (“Entropy of city street networks linked to future spatial navigation ability”)

51. The ratio of trucks to cars parked on city streets predicts voting patterns. When there are more trucks, there’s an 82% chance the city votes Republican. When there are more cars, an 88% chance they vote Democrat. (“Using deep learning and Google Street View to estimate the demographic makeup of neighborhoods across the United States”)