Let's have an open discussion question/topic, as @machado suggested. How about:

What is something you've learned in the last 3 months? A fact, an insight, a technique - it can be something small.

As for things I've learned in the past few months, here's a thread with some things that came to mind.

Emus like sprinklers! There is webcam evidence. 😆


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Lapis Lazuli is used by some modern porcelain artists to create a bright blue colour. It is a gemstone, not a heavy metal like cobalt which is more commonly used to make blue ceramics and kitchen items. I knew it was possible to use lapis lazuli to make things blue, but I hadn't realized people were still doing it.

Lapis Lazuli is mentioned in the Epic of Gilgamesh.


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White pepper and Chinese black vinegar (also known as chinkiang or zhenjiang vinegar) are two key ingredients that contribute to the distinctive flavour of hot and sour soup.


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Hospitals don't allow visitors during a pandemic, not even close family members. When a patient is feeling well enough to text and has a way to charge their phone, they can convey some minimal information.

If someone you care about is in the hospital, there can be long stretches of time lasting days with no information about how they are doing.


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The ventrogluteal site for intramuscular injections is considered to be the safest site.

The dorsogluteal intramuscular injection site is no longer recommended, due to proximity to major nerves and blood vessels and variation in the location and depth of the muscle in different people.

However, most nurses are trained to use the dorsogluteal site since the ventrogluteal is smaller and trickier to find, and their instructors weren't aware of the newest research.



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I learned why rice from Texas, Louisiana and other southern states contains much more arsenic than rice from California or most parts of Asia.


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I've been thinking about some things for more than a year, but they've been relevant in the past few months.

For example, I've been pondering how much geology affects what's in the air, how a place smells.

It is often the single most important factor in determining what's in the background air! Soil types, geographic formations, the types of plants that grow there, and then animals that live there, it all comes from the geology.

Each geological zone I've visited smells different.


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In addition to geology, topography is pretty important too.

At times, I can walk along and smell where a stream changes direction, or where a space between hills funnels air, without directly seeing it.


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People like to burn things. They like to burn things so much.

Some people who have geothermal heating will set wood on fire every day.

It is ridiculously difficult to find anywhere in the countryside, suburbs, or city that doesn't have wood smoke, or other smoke, in the air, a lot of the time. Especially in the winter when some people use wood furnaces, but even in the summer when people burn wood for fun.


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It can be valuable and worthwhile to find out whether something exists.

Realizing something doesn't exist can be important.

Sometimes it means the assumption or expectation stops taking up space in my head. Sometimes it leads to shifts in points of view or plans.

This life lesson has applied to a few things in the past few years. It seems to be at least somewhat generalizable.


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One example is when I read @vgr's GUTS post in Breaking Smart Season 2 and realized that I live mostly in the KNOW WHY BUT NOT HOW quadrant. I'd been expecting there to be a single critical path, and feeling down that I wasn't finding it. It was eye opening to realize that a global critical path only is relevant in the KNOW WHY AND KNOW HOW quadrant.



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Another was reading Lisa Feldman Barrett's book about emotions and realizing there are no universal biomarkers of emotions, and no cross-cultural studies of emotion that indicate universality that withstand scrutiny.


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@strangeattractor I find it both funny and frustrating how nonsensical american sources on emotion seem to me. For example, gratitude as an emotion. In the culture I was raised in, gratitude is about etiquette and obligation, and the language reflects that. If you start talking about gratitude as an emotion people think you're in a cult.


How interesting. As a Canadian, American emotions also seem to me to be hard to understand at times. For example, when some Americans talk about their intense feelings for their flag, it's not something I relate to.

Canadian culture does have gratitude as an emotion though. Although, yes, sometimes the people talking about gratitude do seem a bit cult-like.

@strangeattractor The flag think is part of what is called a civic religion. Ancestor worship directed at the founding fathers, soldiers as a colective of religious martirs, lots of civic ritual and idols like the flag.

On gratitude, I blame protestants. Catholics would rather make you hate your self so much you want to vacate your life, and then the priests take control (of your thoughts, finances, and genitals).

@strangeattractor Think about heaven hard enough and you barely notice the hand in your wallet or the dick up your ass.

It's a fairly advanced bit of mindfuck, really. Use hell as a pre-trauma to make you dissociate before the real abuse starts. Like pre-drinks before a party.


Yes, an excessive focus on the afterlife can make tunnel vision excluding so many important things.


Huh, I suppose the flag is sort of like a religious idol.

In Canada, the Catholic church was historically more prominent in Quebec and French-speaking communities. The strongest Quebecois swear word means tabernacle. There are more cutesy swear words based on whatever the church said was holy.

In English-speaking Canada, the Protestants were more prominent and more varied and you can call something a Tabernacle Choir and it isn't rude. Swear words are mostly bodily functions.

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