Sunday, June 15, 2014

Things I learned lately - 15 June

  • This year (2014) marks the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz.
  • They make hybrid electric hot water heaters now. They include a heat pump built on the top, which does most of the heating. The electric element is only needed once in a while.
  • Bill Gates has enough money ($77.5 billion) to theoretically buy every house (all 114,212 of them) in Boston. The Walton family could buy all 241,450 homes in Seattle.
  • At least 20 states have laws or regulatory barriers that make it extremely difficult, if not illegal, for cities and communities to offer fiber internet access to their residents. That list includes Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada, California and Florida. And even in states without explicit public broadband laws, cable companies often have non-compete agreements with the local governments. 
  • Minimum wage in Seattle is now $15/hr. In Alberta, it's $9.95 (about to go to $10.20). $15USD = $16.37CAD
  • Psychiatrist Michael Hunter and fellow researchers at the University of Sheffield in England monitored the brain activity of 12 men as they listened to voice recordings and found they process male voices differently from those of females. Women's voices stimulate an area of the brain used for processing complex sounds, like music. Male voices activate the "mind's eye," a region of the brain used for conjuring imagery.
  • Guess what group doesn't hate Trudeau's pro-choice stance? Women.....
  • Several countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain have bike-to-work schemes, with different kinds of incentives such as tax breaks, payments per kilometre and financial support for buying bicycles. Now, some 20 companies in France are going to pay their employees 34 cents per kilometre to bike to work.
  • China goes through 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks per year, which requires 20 million trees.
  • In two years, China produced more cement than the U.S. did in the 20th century.
  • Half of the world's pigs reside in China.

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