52 Things I Learned in 2022

Thomas Mallick
6 min readJan 7, 2023

--

This year, I became a dog dad, took up pottery, and learned learnings.

Here’s some of what I learned from a year in a world returning slowly to normal:

  1. A 2015 Kellogg’s survey found that 20% of Americans put orange juice in their cereal instead of milk. [Scotty Smalls]
  2. Tropicana announced this year that they are releasing Tropicana Crunch, a cereal designed to pair with orange juice. [Meaghan Kirby]
  3. The U.S. Army replaced a birthday cake that it stole from a 13-year-old Italian girl 77 years ago. [Angela Giuffrida]
  4. The largest organism on Earth is a forest in Utah that consists of ~47,000 aspen trees with a shared root system. The forest spans 107 acres, contains 13 million kilograms of wood, and is called “Pando”. [Brigit Katz]
  5. Cow burps release more methane than cow farts. [NASA]
  6. Kitty litter placed in the ventilation systems of cattle barns and coal mines could be the world’s greatest weapon against climate change. [Ryan Dezember]
  7. In Texas, it is illegal to own more than six dildos. However, there is no limit on the number of guns a person can own. [Katherine Speller]
  8. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey set new price caps on food and drink at NY/NJ airports after one man reported paying $27 for a beer. [Jessica Puckett]
  9. For the past two decades, 10% of all the electricity consumed in the United States has been sourced from Russian nuclear warheads. [Geoff Brumfiel]
  10. There is enough concrete in the Hoover Dam to build a 4-foot wide sidewalk around the Earth at the equator. [United States Bureau of Reclamation]
  11. Japanese honey bees kill Asian murder hornets by swarming and smothering them, creating a “bee ball.” The temperature at the center of the vibrating ball rises to 115 degrees Fahrenheit, roasting the murder hornet alive. [BBC Earth]
  12. When male worker bees experience very high temperatures, they uncontrollably ejaculate their abdomen-sized penis-equivalent out of their body and die from the shock. [Tom Sanders]
  13. Dogs poop in alignment with Earth’s magnetic field. [Hart et al.]
  14. The United States v. Approximately 64,695 Pounds of Shark Fins is a 2008 decision of the United States Court of Appeals regarding the unlawful seizure of 32.3 tons of shark fins from a Hong Kong-based vessel in international waters. [Harvard Law School]
  15. The U.S. government stores nearly 1.5 billion pounds of cheese in caves in Missouri. [Emily Baron Cadloff]
  16. Along with the cheese, the USDA also stores 355 million pounds of butter, 211 million pounds of pecans, 9.5 million pounds of bone-in picnic ham, 1.05 billion pounds of red meat, and just under 1 billion pounds of french fries in cold storage. [USDA Cold Storage Report and Emily Baron Cadloff]
  17. A dose of extra-virgin olive oil produces the same painkilling effect as a small dose of ibuprofen. [Michael Hopkin]
  18. El Salvador has lost about $60M on a nationwide Bitcoin mining experiment after launching last year. The experiment included attempting to harness geothermal energy from a volcano to power the Bitcoin miners. [MacKenzie Sigalos and Arjun Kharpal]
  19. There is a Scottish woman who can smell if a person has Parkinson’s Disease. [Diana Kwon]
  20. Volvo invented the now universally-used three-point seatbelt design in 1959 and gave away the patent to competitors in 1962 to save lives. [Craig Thomas]
  21. A new chip designed by Danish and Swedish researchers can transmit the entire internet’s data almost twice in one second. [Pranshu Verma]
  22. Running the internet accounts for nearly 10% of global energy consumption. [Pranshu Verma]
  23. In the 1700s, pineapples were considered so rare and exotic that wealthy American colonists would rent them for a night as a decorative status symbol. At the time, one pineapple could cost as much as $8,000 in today’s dollars. [Suzanne Raga]
  24. A Paris-based startup genetically engineered a plant to make it capable of the air-purifying work of 30 houseplants. [Joanna Thompson]
  25. After D-Day, the USS Texas intentionally flooded part of the ship to lower the starboard side two degrees. The resulting angle and increased trajectory allowed the ship to provide shelling support further inland. [Elisabeth Edwards]
  26. Apple doesn’t let villains use iPhones in movies. [Sarah Whitten]
  27. Chilean sea bass is neither Chilean nor is it bass. Through pure marketing genius, the previously tossed-back “Antarctic Toothfish” was rebranded in the 1970s to sound more appealing to American consumers. [Alex Mayyasi]
  28. Good audio quality makes you sound 19.3% smarter. [Thomas McKinlay]
  29. In 1983, Terry Bradshaw — the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history at the time — checked into a Louisiana hospital using the alias “Thomas Brady”. Tom Brady — the winningest quarterback in Super Bowl history — was an unknown 5-year-old in 1983. [Kevin Brown]
  30. The Alaska snow crab harvest was canceled this year for the first time ever after billions of snow crabs disappeared from the Bering Sea. [Rachel Ramirez]
  31. On March 3, 1876, between 11 AM and 12 PM, unexplained hunks of red meat rained from the sky in what came to be known as The Great Kentucky Meat Shower. [Bec Crew]
  32. Every day, the University of Texas makes ~$6 million from the 2,100,000 acres of land it owns in the US’s largest oil field. [Janet Lorin and Sergio Chapa]
  33. Platypuses are venomous egg-laying mammals that sweat milk from their armpits, don’t have stomachs, glow under UV light, and can sense the electricity created by the movement of muscles. [Fact Animal]
  34. Platypus milk and komodo dragon blood could be used to combat antibiotic-resistant superbugs. [Laura Romin and Larry Dalton]
  35. The US Navy swapped custom-built $38,000 periscope controllers for ~$20 Xbox 360 controllers on Virginia-class submarines. [Shannon Liao]
  36. Due to rising global temperatures, polar bears have been mating with grizzly bears, creating the hybrid “grolar bear”. [Eva Holland]
  37. A photo tweeted by a famous French physicist and supposedly taken by the James Webb Space Telescope of the star Proxima Centauri was actually a slice of chorizo. [Sophia Smith Galer]
  38. Donald Trump’s grandfather got his business start by running a restaurant and prostitution parlor in Washington state. [Evan Bush]
  39. In 2015, Nigel Richards — widely regarded as the greatest Scrabble player of all time — won a Scrabble tournament in French despite not speaking French. [Bill Chappell]
  40. Air Horse One is a Boeing 727 cargo plane used exclusively for horse transportation. [Ben Church]
  41. In the entire state of Wyoming, there are two escalators. [Ken Herman]
  42. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire. [Colin Schultz]
  43. Google Foobar is a secret invitation-only Google recruiting process for top tech talent. Searching programming terms like “mutex lock” or “headless chrome” could unlock five programming challenges that could get you a job at Google. [Turing]
  44. You can be allergic to your own orgasms. [Shanholtzer et al.]
  45. In the final months of WWII, 1,000 Japanese soldiers were separated from their unit on the other side of Ramree Island. In an attempt to rejoin the larger unit, they trekked eight miles through a mangrove swamp infested with saltwater crocodiles. Only a reported 480 survived. [William DeLong]
  46. Whitespace is a programming language that consists exclusively of whitespace characters (space, tab, new line). A fully-operational Whitespace program would look like a blank screen. [Esolangs]
  47. Four watercolors painted by Hitler himself are stored at a military base in Virginia. [Lucas Reilly]
  48. If a turtle’s eggs incubate below 81.86° Fahrenheit, the turtle hatchlings will be male. If the eggs incubate above 88.8° Fahrenheit, the hatchlings will be female. [NOAA]
  49. While recording the audiobook for Charlotte’s Web, it took E.B. White 17 takes to read Charlotte’s death scene because he kept crying. When asked if he needed to take a break, he responded “I’ve got to do it, Joe”. [Joe Berk]
  50. Women’s relative earnings increase 4.4% when their manager becomes the father of a daughter. [Maddalena Ronchi and Tyler Cowen]
  51. Most ransomware is designed not to install on computers that have Russian or Ukrainian language keyboards. [Brian Krebs]
  52. After losing his first three matches against Boris Becker, tennis legend Andre Agassi learned to beat Becker’s fierce serve by noting the position of Becker’s tongue right before he served. After identifying this, Agassi won 11 of the duo’s 12 subsequent matches. [Josh Fordham]

— —

Previous 52 things lists: 2021 2020 2019

--

--