52 Things I Learned in 2020

Thomas Mallick
7 min readDec 23, 2020

This year, I graduated from college in my pajamas from a living room in Montana, bonded with a cat through quarantine, traveled across seven different states to be reunited with that cat, and learned about the subtleties and quirks of a crazy 2020 world.

Here’s some of what I learned:

  1. Poorly ventilated rooms negatively impact cognitive ability and decision-making. [Joe Romm]
  2. Only two individuals have their own zip code in the United States: the President and Smokey the Bear. [Matt Gray]
  3. Hummingbirds enter a state of hibernation each night to avoid starving to death in their sleep. [James Gorman]
  4. When given identical slices of pizza, $8 pizza tastes 11% better than $4 pizza. [Bourree Lam]
  5. To slow the spread of COVID-19, the Chinese central bank destroyed millions of dollars worth of cash that may have come into contact with infected individuals. [Jessie Yeung]
  6. Three weeks after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Library of Congress orchestrated a top-secret mission to transport the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, Gettysburg Address, and four other “utterly irreplaceable” documents inland to Fort Knox in Louisville, Kentucky. [Stephen Puleo]
  7. In the wake of the 2019-2020 Australian bush fires, Australian National Parks and Wildlife Services officers dropped thousands of pounds of carrots and sweet potatoes from a helicopter to feed threatened wallabies on the brink of starvation. [Matthew Abbott]
  8. Refusing to profit on his celebrity as a former president, Harry Truman left the White House in 1953 with only his $112 a month army pension to live on. He subsequently moved into his mother-in-law’s house in Missouri. [Jeff Jacoby]
  9. Broccoli is a human innovation — the vegetable is the result of selective wild cabbage breeding thousands of years ago by Italian farmers. [Encyclopaedia Britannica & Anupum Pant]
  10. In a behavioral economics study, Virgin Atlantic saved 6,828 metric tons of fuel, £3.3 million, and prevented the emission of 21,507 tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by simply mailing pilots information on their fuel use. [Chris Mooney]
  11. Casper — a mattress startup — lost $80 million on…



Thomas Mallick

🚀 SRE dev @CapitalOneTech. @VanderbiltU alum. 🦖