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June Roundup

Below are things I’ve learned or found interesting in the past month:

  1. A British Super Smash Brothers player was disqualified from a North-American tournament he had illegally entered. The ruse was exposed due to British spelling when saying that defeating his opponent would be “an honour”.

  2. Cory Doctorow on how the future of Jet Packs was a ruse, with every public demonstration being performed by a single man.

  3. A study in Nature asked people of various political backgrounds to rank how much they cared about their immediate family, extended family, out through all things in existence. The results were striking:

Heatmap showing inverse results for conservatives and liberals

See also The Significance of Blind Spots in Moral Reasoning

4. In official Sar Wars canon, Obi Wan is from the planet Stewjon, which was named after Jon Stewart.

5. An estimated 1500 homeless people live in the 6,000 miles of tunnels beneath Las Vegas. The tunnels were originally created to protect against flash flooding.

6. This 2011 study showing that political orientation is strongly correlated with brain structure, with liberal individuals having a larger cingulate cortex, while conservatives have larger amygdala. Both regions are associated with memory and emotions, though the amygdala is more associated with fear and aggression, while the cingulate cortex is associated with executive function and depression.

It is unclear whether political believes impact brain structure, or if brain structure impacts political beliefs. It’s also unclear if this study would replicate today.

7. A Dysphemism is the opposite of a euphemism, figurative language with a negative connotation. These include referring to a person as a chicken or a pig, using a familiar name instead of a more respectful or familiar title (“Brian, what are you doing?” instead of “Dad”), the Twitter favorite of first-naming a stranger, and one I’ve never heard of: “puke hole for ‘tavern’ or ‘toilet’.”

8. January 20th is All Bears’ Birthday. Unlike racehorses (which have a nominal birthday of January 1st in the northern hemisphere), Most species of bears give birth right after hibernation, usually in January or February.

9. President Benjamin Harrison didn’t want either of the Dakotas to feel superior, so before and after signing the papers admitting them as states to the Union, he shuffled the papers, never knowing which order they were signed in.

10. The Barkley Marathon is an annual 100-mile unmarked race, where 40 runners are selected from a pool of applicants. The requirements are kept secret, and include a written essay. It’s considered to be one of the hardest ultramarathons in the world.

11. The Mary Celeste, or Marie Celeste, was a ship found abandoned at sea wth the alcohol intact. It was salvaged and later destroyed as part of attempted insurance fraud.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.

The Two Truths and a Lie approach to NPC design

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