Things I learnt today VI – Bonus

I was very, very bored today and so I ended up on Wikipedia for various reasons. I figure the day deserves a learned post:

  • South Africa has 11 official languages, English only being fourth with under 10% of people speaking it.
  • Nigeria consists of 50% Muslims, 48% Christians and some animists
  • There are 2.18 billion Christians, 1.6 billion Muslims, and at least 3.78 billion idiots.
  • Many African countries seem to divide their religious citizens with the Muslims in the north, Christians in the south, which is also true when you look at Africa as a whole.
  • Nigerian Capital of Lagos has over 5 million people and their official language is English. They often subscribe to a form of Pidgin English.
  • The Nigerian political system is based off the US system, although there are only a noted 2 election years that were considered at least moderately untouched by utter corruption and fraud by each and every party since the 50’s.
  • Nigerian climate, lovingly means that the entire year rarely deviates its temperature from 22-27C. Sounds perfect.
  • Kenya has 2 official Languages – Swahili and English, and English is expected in all official documentation
  • The word for phone in Chinese is Dian4 Hua4
  • My internet can torrent at 4mb/s on a good day. In China.
  • The Queen’s Speech originated from George V through the ‘wireless’ and it became so immediately popular that he simply had to repeat it every year until the end of his reign, at which point George VI (The King’s Speech guy for those who don’t know) would take over and become tradition.
  • The Queen will likely hold the record for the most Christmas speeches for a very long time, if not ever, having done more than the last two rulers combined, only having missed out on one occasion in the 60+ years.
  • Shanghai’s weather is heavily influenced by the nature of its urban sprawl as well as its location around the Yangtze river
  • Picasso often over-painted paintings to save on canvas resources
  • The word ‘deign’ means to do something you consider beneath you
  • 99%, if not all of British citizens with Anglican roots, and likely more than just those, are descended from King Edward III (1312-1377)



Things I learnt this week I

  •  My name is available as a website address
  • Internet in Shanghai is faster than in my home town of Blaby, Leicester, UK
  • You have to pay for your losses if an airline in China loses your luggage
  • The day of the winter solstice is not a signal for the sunrise to start earlier, nor the sunset to start later
  • Not many philosophers are religious
  • Sometimes it’s actually worth spending good money on good food
  • You can have surgery to remove the floaters in your eye which involves replacing the juice of your eye with salty liquid
  • A good pair of pajamas can seriously save on heating bills
  • Pajama is a really weird word
  • Pajama is an early 19th century word from Urdu and Persian, from pāy ‘leg’ and jāma ‘clothing.’
  • The word Pajama has been increasingly used since the 1900’s
  • Fake snow is made of the same stuff used in Nappies and period…nappy things, due to its excellent liquid absorption capabilities
  • The smallest Christmas tree in the world is made up of 42 atoms
  • The voice actors for Naruto and Edward Elric (Full Metal Alchemist) in Japanese are both middle aged females, the latter being Korean-Japanese.

It’s come to my attention that almost all of this was today. My memory is too poor to look back a whole friggin’ week. Maybe I’ll make notes next time.

Things I learnt today Pt V

  • There are exactly 866 atheists in Egypt. According to Egypt.
  • 50,000 people have been killed in South Sudan in the last 12 months of fighting. Compare that to anything we’re hearing on the news and what the US/EU are paying attention to.
  • I know all the tones for numbers 1-10 in Chinese, without having learnt them
  • China’s wealth is spread more unequally than that of Europe, with some locations being equivalent to Switzerland, and others Uganda
  • In the movie Home Alone, the snow was in fact Potato
  • The word Degust means to carefully taste something to fully appreciate it
  • My Uncle Chris, who I haven’t spoken to since I was about 5 used to listen to Durutti Column, a 70’s band I’m only just getting into.
  • China is now the richest country, if taken in a particular statistical way
  • The USA is the largest producer of oil
  • You can walk on lava

The Best Question


Isn’t it fascinating how many paths each individual fails to take? Could they be calculated?

Regardless of illusion, will, fate or any other aspects of choice, you wind up taking only one, and the others vanish forever. This happens constantly at every point of every living creature’s life. There’s no savegame, re-load and check the other route. Should you be lucky enough to try out both, the very act of going back changes the fate of both choices due to unrelenting forces such as time.

If one was to try and calculate, the growth would be exponential as time passes, and by my age, the results would barely fit in a book the size of the Universe. It’s interesting how we are so rested on each choice we make, for the most part.

I often wonder ‘what if’. It’s a great question. Perhaps the best question. What if I stared back at the girl on the train a few seconds longer? What if I spoke to her?

What if, instead of coming home from work, I took all the money from my account and started to walk South indefinitely?

What if I learnt to accept people for who they are at a young age? What if I drank more water? What if I was more proactive with my beliefs? What if my dad was more conservative, my mum more religious?

What if my sister died, or never existed? What if I never went to Korea? What if I never befriended this or that particular person? What if I held in my vomit a little longer that fateful night?

What if I could live forever?

It’s the best question because there are more unanswerable ones than there are answers. What if, by its very nature, is asking about a situation that didn’t, and can never happen. It’s the question of the illusion of choice.

I find myself asking this at least once a day. Maybe this is a sign that my direction in life isn’t what it could be. Maybe the illusion isn’t that of choice, but of awareness. Maybe we all feel mostly content with our choices reluctant to accept the possibility of being wrong, blinding ourselves from what would otherwise be obviously superior.

Maybe the girl you saw on the train isn’t a raging feminist and actually turns out to appreciate your approach and you end up married on a cruise ship. Maybe your endless walk south leads you into a bar where a burgeoning entrepreneur is in desperate need of your passion for the stars. Maybe that glass of water leads you to a life healthy enough to see your grandchildren. Maybe your proactive attitude saves the lives of endangered families in Venezuela.

Fascinating, huh?

Things I learnt today IV

  • Fluoroantimonic Acid is basically the most dangerous chemical ever, although there are several shockingly horrifying contenders, arguably worse in various ways (Corrosive, carcinogenic, poisonous etc)
  • The breaking bad scene with the bathtub being melted through when they tried to dissolve… stuff… was not only inaccurate, but very inefficient, something no real chemist would suggest. A much better option to HF (Hydrofluoric acid) would be Hydrochloric acid (HCI), which would also be less dangerous to humans messing around with it.
  • The Saturn V rocket that got us to the moon was the equivalent of 3,000 tonnes of bombs being set off in one direction.
  • ‘Where is ____’ in Chinese is ‘______zai4 na3?’ – I have a habit of never learning the most fundamental, basic aspects of a language. Like how I never learnt left or right in Korean.
  • Some cosmetics use cultivated cells from the foreskin of babies. That does not mean they mush up foreskins and you rub it on your face. It’s no different to taking cells from your arse and putting them on your head to get your hairline back. You’re not literally putting arse on your head.
  • One foreskin can produce a decade of useful material worth about $100,000, or 4 acres of new skin for needs like burn victims among other stuff
  • As many as 99 percent of Hindu girls who are converted to Islam and forcibly married are under 13 years of age in Pakistan.
  • Locals of Shanghai can be surprisingly helpful and friendly.
  • Line 1 in Shanghai Metro, like Line 1 in Seoul, is a dirty, gross line.
  • Jim Carrey is a Grandfather, and his mothering daughter divorced.
  • David Attenborough is still making shows at 88!

Things I learnt today III

  • My sister supports Eugenics
  • More people than I thought lack the critical thinking skills to figure out just why people in poor countries don’t ‘just move’, stop breeding or simply boil their water
  • I’m a meager 14kyu – a pretty n00b level in the board game Go, compared to my golden age of about 11-12k back in the day
  • The temperature of the Orion space capsule was about twice that of Lava when entering Earth’s atmosphere
  • It takes thin-consistency snot about 1/4 the time to soak through tissue drilled into your nostrils when I have a cold compared to the thick, later-day snot
  • You can, as a foreigner at least, only send a maximum of $500 abroad per day
  • The theoretical ‘age of humans’ is unofficially called the Anthropocene age.
  • The first time humans numbered 1 billion was in 1804
  • Bali, Egypt, Paris, Venice and Los Angeles were among the voted most disappointing holiday places to visit around the world, mostly due to tourists traps, con men, rude people and dirty surroundings
  • There are some states in the US in which you cannot hold public office if you do not believe in God
  • Dogs can play pool
  • Thanks to the controversial Korean cloning scientist, you can clone your pet for $100,000, even though it won’t look like or behave like the original dog. People still actually pay the money to do it.
  • A general more complete understanding of how speakers produce sound
  • The CIA really did/do torture people like in the movies
  • The writers of the newspaper The Guardian are barely more able in written English than the average Facebook user, using ‘Your’ and ‘who’s’ incorrectly, writing ‘titbits’, which is objectively the worse version of ‘tidbits’ and other basic errors.

Ideas I Have

This post won’t have many – about 3 that springs to mind right now – since I never made a mental note to remember each idea, but since it occurred to me that I almost perpetually come up with ideas and concepts in my head walking around or riding the subway, I figure I should write them down somewhere where I can check back and use them one day, or anyone can steal them if they feel it’s a good idea and I can see it come to fruition.

Usually these ideas are written but also musical ideas pop up from the way I walk, scanning sounds of gates and so forth. These are the ones I just happen to have remembered in the last 3 minutes:

  1. A series of stories/comics that are sequels to various famous fables.One example would be the ugly duckling turning beautiful, but the sequel comic strip would be that everyone was jealous and bitter about its beauty and ostracised it. Particularly the ostriches.

    Another example was with the help of two friends – Tyler and Navin – since this spawned from the basis of a silly conversation on cold weather; a sequel to the Emperor’s New Clothes, in which the angry, resentful king grew vengeful of the mockery of his nude state, and banned clothing. Over time, clothing becomes scarce and part of a black market system – a very lucrative business. Eventually, in a distant dystopian future (perhaps the illegal clothing law was passed down over generations, or this is a king of the future? Who cares for now) where all resources are scarce, a small battalion of scientists manage to clone me, somebody who wore the same unwashed trousers for 4 years which resulted in my DNA being imbued with cotton. As they continued to clone, they had a new, vast resource of cotton. Easy to domesticate, thousands of me’s are found in secretive fields where we are shaved frequently for our priceless commodity.

  2. A comedy scene I’m not even sure is funny, but at the exit gates of a subway station, someone could stand at one of the busy gates with their hand in a perpetual rummaging state of their pocket for as long as it takes until someone comes to see what the hell is going on, and then easily removes the card. This is because it happens to me in real life, except the person helping.
  3. I forgot the third one again, but the point of this post is that I will be doing this in later weeks to fully solidify the creative ideas I come across. I can’t portray the 2 or 3 musical ideas unless I actually create them so unless I actually post those, it will just be written ideas I guess.