What I learned this week for January 8, 2021

To always be learning, and share what you learn with others.

If you are always learning and doing something with what you learn, then you are always growing.

The key behind learning is doing something with what you learn. If you just keep it in your head, then what good does it do? You have to enact what you learn. Whether that’s by practice—making something, implementing something—or by sharing what you learn.

This sharing of discoveries is what I hope to do every week on spudart.org.

A blogger I follow does a weekly “What I learned this week“. I love his summaries. Most of the items on his list, are things I didn’t know about.

Every week, I’ll go through my tweets, Evernote drafts, Reddit upvotes, and Pinboard bookmarks to pull together the weekly blog post. (Realistically, it might be more like every month. We’ll see.) Here’s the first “What I learned this week”…

The work behind making a rainbow igloo

Engineering Student Constructs Magical Rainbow Igloo 2

Mymodernmet.com writes about an engineering student constructing a magical rainbow igloo. With 500 frozen bricks, the igloo took approximately 150 hours of labor to complete.

milk cartons for rainbow igloo

The amount of milk cartons used to make this is a little mind-blowing.
Start saving up your milk cartons!

During a pandemic, if you share a car with someone, which windows should you have open?

Passenger-to-driver transmission

First, the passenger should be sitting in the back right (with the driver in the front right). Here are the best window configurations with passenger sitting in back right (from sciencemag.org):

  • Best option: All four windows open
  • 2nd best option: All windows open except the passenger’s window is closed in the back right.
  • 3rd best option: Driver window open, passenger window open in back right (other two windows closed).

That red droid that Luke Skywalker almost bought

Star Wars: The Droid Luke Skywalker DIDN’T Buy Secretly Saved The Galaxy

In Star Wars: A New Hope, the little red droid that Uncle Owen and Luke almost bought intentionally sabotaged itself to save the galaxy.

2021 resolutions

Some great tips on this blog post on modifying how you make resolutions. from leadershipfreak.blog via thehotiron.com:

  1. Not-doing is not the answer
  2. Make a new month resolution
  3. Go exceedingly small
  4. Set it and forget it
  5. Establish triggers

(Make sure to click through to the blog post to read the full explanation for each point). Under point 2 is this quote:
“It’s profane to think you will successfully do something for a year that you didn’t enjoy doing last year.”

A great summary of the 2020 trading card season

Check out My Cards covers these 13 topics from the past year:
• Kobe Bryant’s Death
• The Last Dance Effect
• Zion-Mania Takes Off
• Panini Mosaic Emerges
• The Ups & Downs of Topps Project 2020
• Baseball is Back…Maybe
• Love for Panini Prizm Continues to Grow
• Soccer Cards Surge
• Pokémon’s Return to the Spotlight
• Chasin’ Jasson
• Balling in a Bubble
• We Finally Got a Shortened Baseball Season
• Randy Arozarena

All these were good points. Some of them I didn’t even know was a growing industry like soccer cards and Pokémon cards.

Spellcheck Pokémon

I learned that spellcheck does not autocorrect Pokemon to Pokémon. C’mon, add that accent mark, please.

Sweet Cubs baseball cards

In 2013 Topps made some sweet cards for Cubs season ticket holders. (via onemillioncubs.com)

As I scrolled down the page of this post, with every card I was like, “man, that’s a nice card. Man, that’s a nice card.” Over and over. The best has gotta be the Sandberg mustache, with gold chain, on wood grain.

This blog post also shares a fun story about how he acquired these cards.

Working with MLB data

I’m working on building an automated system to create a list of similarity scores for MLB players.

This point gets a little techy, so feel free to skip over. This involves using a MySQL database of historical MLB stats. I’ll be learning how to do more MySQL queries to be able to get the data how I want.

A few things I learned along the way:

  • The application “MySQL Workbench” version 8.0.22 does not work on MacOS 10.14. When I open the DMG file, there is a circle with a slash on application icon. Instead, version 8.0.18 does install correctly, and works.
  • utf8mb4_0900_ai_ci‘ is for MySQL 8.0.
  • MAMP Pro runs only MySQL 5.7. You can’t easily upgrade MySQL on MAMP Pro.
  • Retrosheet has downloadable game logs.
  • Chadwick Bureau is a primary provider of historical statistical data for Baseball Reference.

This is 2021

Heart-Shaped Amethyst Geode Uruguay.jpg

Geodes can make a heart shape (mymodernmet)

The mineral company’s Facebook page shows what they do with these minerals. Looks like this mineral company likes sentimental rocks. This forest of amethyst is pretty amusing to me for some reason.

Also, the original post on facebook is actually from 2020.

One way to get a little bit of a read on someone

inc.com has this article: Want to read people like a pro? Ask a simple question.

The basic gist of this article is: Ask them to rate a positive (or negative) characteristic of three people.

Albert Pujols in danger of becoming Mickey Mantle

A string of years hitting under .300 may cost him the distinction of being a .300 hitter. (calltothepen.com)

Robots dancing

You’ve probably seen the video of robots dancing. It’s incredible.

The ending kinda ruined it for me with the credits saying this was written by humans. All along I thought these little death robots watched umpteen million hours of dancing video footage, and then used AI to learn dance moves. Then they scripted their own dance, and even had a robot friend video record their performance.

But no, it was humans carefully choreographing this. Some day robots will learn these dance moves through machine learning techniques. Seriously. It will happen.

A fun card of a sumo wrestler doing a flying body slam

I have a RSS feed set up to alert me of any cards that appear on comc.com that have the word “sumo”.

This card came up: 1993 Topps Street Fighter II – (Base) #20 – Sumo Splash!

This particular card is funny for a few reasons.

  1. It’s a trading card of a screenshot from a video game. Given how large the video game industry is, I’m a little surprised that today is the first time I’ve seen a trading card with a video game screenshot. This makes sense. Why not collect these fun things?
  2. It’s a sumo wrestler flying through the air. Weeee!

2021 lectionary bookmarks

Every year I update bookmarks for my family Bible. These bookmarks have the list of weekly Bible readings.

Hmmm, I don’t think I learned anything from this, but these bookmarks enable my family to learn from our Bible.

I’m keeping track of several things on Twitter throughout the year

• Every time I subscribe to a new blog
• Every time I subscribe to a new podcast
• Every time find a great song, and add it to my “Discovered 2021” playlist

In some cases, I might post some of those findings in this weekly list.


One of my favorite podcasts, The Bible Project, has a new podcast called “Reflections“. This devotional podcast runs on the shorter side, the first episode is 13 minutes long (compared to the hour-long Bible Project episodes). I’m looking forward to how these devotional podcasts will play out.

The name “Reflections” is also a little bit funny to be, because I already subscribe to a devotional podcast from Lutheran Hour Ministries named “Reflections from The Lutheran Hour”. So now I have two podcasts in my player with the name “Reflections”. Looks like I’ll be doing lots of reflecting! (something that I love to do, so this is good).

Hack Wilson was relatively short

The Cubs power hitter from the 1920s and 1930s still holds the RBI record. A user on Reddit posted this pic.

High Pockets Kelly and Hack Wilson
  • High Pockets Kelly is listed at 6’4″ (and his actual name listed on baseball-reference is indeed “High Pockets Kelly”.)
  • Hack Wilson is 5’6″.

Some day I’ll look up to see if Hack Wilson is the shortest power hitter in baseball history.

Paris Encourages All Citizens to Become Urban Gardeners

Parisians can garden anywhere in the city limits according to the “permis de végétaliser” (greenery permit) in an effort to make the French capital more green and plant-friendly.

I wonder what “anywhere” really means. Like, I can’t just pick any ol’ spot on a sidewalk and start a garden, right?

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