Afternoon Inquisition

Afternoon Inquisition 4.16

Masala Skeptic’s post yesterday about the Georgia Aquarium reminded me of how much most of us here enjoy learning. I personally try to learn something new each day. Oh sure, there are days where I don’t learn anything, or perhaps I do and it just doesn’t register, but for the most part, I try. And I’m guessing each of you takes some satisfaction in gaining knowledge in some capacity, too.

So today’s Afternoon Inquisition is an easy one:

What have you learned today?

(If you haven’t learned anything today, you can answer later. Or you can simply share your thoughts about learning, if you’d like.)

Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. Today I learned how to pasteurize milk thanks to the Rogues Gallery and the time traveler’s handy poster.

    Next lesson: how to rustle a dairy cow!

  2. I learned that I’m a lot smarter than a certain vendor when it comes to their products.

  3. Do you mean learn as in “now I know something that I didn’t know before”… because in that case I learned a bit about the world via the news and a few blogs this morning.

    First step taken toward high speed rail, NY has a bill about same sex marriage, The Examiner is hiring, my friend Meg is going to SF this weekend,

    Also, if I forget to pay for breakfast at the café, I feel guilty but not guilty enough to go back before my regularly scheduled lunch hour.

    @IBY: Share!

  4. I learned that our FCoE card sends FIPs whether I want it to or not. Now I just need to learn what FCoE and FIP mean.

  5. Sometimes I like to listen to lectures by the Teaching Company while working. Today I learned a little about King Pyrrhus of Epirus and how he enjoyed serving as a hired general for other states, most notably Tarentum in their war against the Roman Republic (280BC ish, I think). But it was the King’s death that I found particularly interesting. After numerous campaigns in Italy and Sicily he was paid to use his army to settle a dispute in the city of Argos. A battle erupted there and a woman hiding on a rooftop threw a roofing tile that clobbered Pyrrhus right on the head and killed him.

    So, In conclusion: Random Woman + Roofing Tile > The King of Epirus.

  6. @kaylia
    It is hard to explain in words, but I will try.
    It is very simple, draw a circle with a compass, and maintaining the same radius in your compass, draw another one in which its circumference touches the center of the first circle. It should look like a venn diagram. Draw a line from the center of the first circle to the center of the other circle, or another way to say it, draw a line in the thickest part in the parts in which the circles intercept. Finally, from the center of each circle, draw a line that goes to the top of the intersection. You will notice that because each of these lines are equal to the radius of the circles, the triangle is equilateral.

  7. I just learned that using a tourniquet when drawing blood raises the potassium level of the blood drawn.

  8. Hey, Jojo, what do you say?
    We all want to know what you learned today.
    We’re all here*, so come on, take it away…
    Step right up, and tell us what you learned today.
    We all want to know; tell us what you learned today!

    * – Could perhaps be “We’re all ears”.

    Today I learned there’s Diet Grape soda in 12-packs at Meijer. I haven’t tried one yet – they’re still warm – but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for tasty diety grapey goodness.

    ‘Cause nothing much beats a good can of Welch’s grape soda or even Grape Crush (though Welch’s > Grape Crush).

  9. I learned:
    – Kepler published its first images
    – somebody built a giant rhinoceros beetle robot
    – a lot of people on Twitter follow that guy from “Dude, Where’s My Car?”

  10. Today I have learned that life is indeed short and that from time to time we must all stop a moment and think about our lives. Today I have been diagnosed with stage 4-bowel cancer. I am an atheist and have no fear of death although until now I have never really given it any thought.

    The other thing I learned today is that despite the severity of the news it is not necessarily a death sentence. Why? Science. Science discovered the tumor and the skill of my surgeon removed it and everything affected by it and has therefore greatly improved my chances.

  11. Doing a Google search on “dear diary, today I learned” brings up some interesting responses on the first page…

    Dear Diary: Today I learned why it’s bad to eat a two-pound bag of baby carrots in one sitting.

    Today I learned that Gerry Byrne and Jerry Byrne are not the same person.

    Dear Diary: Today I learned that I am in the originating country of the walnut.

    Dear Diary, Today i learned that i am allies with a man who does scary strip dances.

    Dear Diary: Today I learned how to spell “quahog.”

    Dear diary. Today I learned how to remove a tampon while snorting a line of coke…

    OK, I had to go to the second page of results for that last one.

    Clearly, there’s much learning I need to do!

  12. tarrkid :

    ‘Cause nothing much beats a good can of Welch’s grape soda or even Grape Crush (though Welch’s > Grape Crush).

    Did you know Thomas Bramwell Welch was a Wesleyan Methodist, and as they were opposed to the consumption of alcohol in all forms, he invented a method of pasteurizing grape juice so that it would keep without fermentation? That’s how Welch’s grape juice got started.

  13. Dear Diary: Today I learned why it’s bad to eat a two-pound bag of baby carrots in one sitting.

    Did you know that cooking the carrots will break down the complex carbs, enabling you to eat more of them without discomfort, and enabling you to get more calories from the carrots?

  14. Today I learned that people try to scam you in the stupidest, most-catchable, easiest-for-them ways. My orthodontist scratched out the original money figure on my contract with him to make my braces $2000 more expensive. What’s great is he didn’t even use the same pen. So there’s the light black ballpoint $100/per month for 1.5 years that I agreed to with my signature in the same ink and then the $4100 that replaced it in a dark black felt pen later. I didn’t think people actually tried those things! I guess now I know…

  15. I (re)learned that if you conducting a stress test of a software application it’s probably best to set the logging option to “ERROR” rather than “DEBUG”. Otherwise all you’re doing is testing the ability of the server to store *large* volumes of meaningless text.

    Mike the Still a Programmer.

  16. While doing a report on utopian societies and religions my daughter taught me all about the bazaar sexual practices of the Oneida Community. (actually she pointed at a web site and said. OOooh my GUAAAD) This is not the Oneida Native American Tribe but the silverware making enterprise which is about all that is left of the 19 cen. Religious communal cult.

  17. I learned that credit collectors are ASSHOLES and will YELL AT YOU on the phone at work even if you are trying to just get information out of them. You know, like what creditor they work for.

    (I had to leave a nasty, flooded, black mold ridden apartment 4 years ago, and now they are trying to get money from me. Bitches, I have pictures and a legal document I submitted saying it was inhabitable.. You ain’t gonna win. If I get in front of a judge and show him those pictures, he will barf, and you will lose. SO TRY ME.)

    I also learned that legally they can’t yell and harass you, but I don’t think she cared much about that.

    Anyway, that was a fun morning.

  18. I just now (thanks to io9) learned that Lacey Underalls from Caddyshack was played by the same actress as Lora / Yori from TRON, and I thought you should know.

  19. Several things from reading the comments. Other than that, I have researched amphitheaters today, and learned a few things about Pompeii. Wikipedia articles about moats and the Forbidden City have also had a visit from me today, and I learned something new about The One Ring and its history.

    And I just found out that Fox News finally figured out why we have been laughing at them for the last week or so, and now knows what teabagging implies.

    I’ve learned a lot today.

  20. Don’t put anything in a presentation you’ve giving to a room full of experts in a field if you don’t know *exactly* what you’re talking about.

    Which, I knew that already, but I got to see my mentor crucify someone over that today, to the point the speaker’s mentor had to intervene because the speaker had started to lock up from being unable to answer his questions.

  21. I learned that all asparagus makes your urine smell bad, only some people apparently can’t detect the smell. – via Harold Mcgee, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  22. If by “today,” you mean, “the last 24 hours,” I learned João Gilberto’s introduction to Sò danço samba on my ukulele last night. That was fun.

    (I just now learned that my memory for HTML extended character codes is better than I thought. Not to mention my Portuguese spelling is getting better.)

    Today at work, I learned how to use a Nastran SOL200 to optimize the vibrational modes of sheet metal parts. That was not particularly fun.

    I learned that attending a webinar in a warm conference room right after lunch is more effective than most OTC sleep aids. That was not fun at all.

    I came to realize today that I am a good planner. 10 years ago I was a lousy planner, but now I am good at it. This was never previously part of my self-image, and now it is. I blame George W. Bush.

  23. @Howard:

    I learned that attending a webinar in a warm conference room right after lunch is more effective than most OTC sleep aids. That was not fun at all.

    Had a 3-hour webinar after lunch today myself. Woke myself up several times with the jimmy leg and also with drooling on my chin.

  24. Today I learned how to draw any size arc on the ground using a compass and a hundred foot measuring tape.

    I need to know this for may land surveying certification test and I doubt I will ever use it, but it’s kinda cool to know.

  25. Today, I learned that bash changed its syntax for regular expression patterns with the =~ operator with version 3.2. It broke several of my scripts that I wrote for bash 3.1.

  26. I learned that it can be difficult to do an echocardiogram on a very skinny person. I found it even more frustrating than scanning a very large person, which really surprised me.

    On the depressing side, today someone crashed in the cardiology department. It was the first time I’d heard code blue called since I started my practicum a couple of weeks ago, surprisingly enough. Even though I know these things happen, it’s weird and sad to realize that someone walked in to the hospital for a test, crashed twice and then died all in the course of less than an hour.

  27. I learned something about Mormonism. One of my students is a Mormon, and as I tutor him in his home (he’s 13) I often see him without a shirt. When I found he was a Mormon, I asked, ‘How come you don’t wear the underwear?’ He said, ‘I will when I’m married.’

    I’ve often heard people make fun of the Mormon underwear, and didn’t think much about it, didn’t know the background. Now that I know that it’s a symbolic pledge of fidelity, I think those jokes are really a cheap shot.

    I’m 56 and still growing. Whaddayaknow.

  28. I learned a new way to teach the special segments in a triangle using the smart board.

    I learned that a ‘courtesy’ interview can come in and move to the top of the pile, as long as we keep an open mind.

  29. @Chakolate:

    I don’t get this. Because something bizarre is a pledge of fidelity joking about it is a cheap shot? If it was a pledge of vanilla pudding after dinner would it be more mockable? I think people who think their god cares about what kind of panties they wear are silly enough to earn some derision. Choosing not to deride them I is a tribute to your good character, but I still can’t make fidelity fit into this especially with mormons. Mormons don’t so much prohibit infidelity as codify it. Man, mix the concept of the three-hour marriage with polygamy and I’d put on the bunny suit too.

  30. @davew: Not just because it’s a pledge of fidelity – I just wonder why we (atheists) keep snickering about something so innocuous when there are so many real issues to address.

  31. @Chakolate: A pledge of fidelity would be a modern reinterpretation of the garment. Traditionally, they were believed to be magical, as in they could stop bullets, knives, protect you from fire, and serve as a talisman that prevented horrible accidents… if you were faithful enough. The mockery isn’t about them wearing symbolic clothing, it’s about magic underwear stopping bullets. Though that’s not as commonly believed anymore, the belief in garment magic isn’t entirely gone, either.

  32. @James Fox:
    A sexual practices bazaar would definitely be a candidate for a utopian society, especially if it included bizarre sexual practices.

  33. @Pinkbunny:
    I don’t know how many vets are on Skepchick, so I will thank you on behalf of all of us.
    I have been trying to learn more about exotic pet medicine, since there was not much training on that in vet school. Today I learned that snakes have anal sacs (Sacs! I said “sacs!”) and do not have urinary bladders.

  34. I learned (realized, or had it brought to my attention, or had the idea consolidate in my mind) that humanity as a whole is unlikely to put long term interests before short term gain, and so will destroy the biosphere and selfterminate.

  35. @Chakolate: Speaking of Mormons, I learned recently that the LDS church spent a large sum of money campaigning in support of Proposition 8, and that doing so is a clear violation of the terms of their tax exempt status.

  36. I learned that if you want to upgrade your manure lagoon, you first have to drain it… and find a place to put the liquid that’s in it now.

    This is, in retrospect, obvious.

  37. @Briarking: Do you think anything will come of that? I read that it wasn’t being pursued, although I don’t remember by whom or why not.

  38. @Chakolate: I’m sure nothing will come of it. I received an invitation to sign an online petition against the church … I’ve lost the link now. It already had around 10,000 signatures. I signed it but knew it was futile.
    But damn, if we could tax that church, it just might help the US out of this recession! Or if we could cry foul and rescind Proposition 8, that would be hilarious!

  39. @Briarking: I don’t think we can get Prop 8 rescinded, at least, not on that basis, but we could fine them and use the money to subsidize a recall or override for Prop 8. That would be so delicious. :-)

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