Friday, 23 December 2016

100 things I learned and did in 2016

  1. Ahoy! What a weird year 2016 has been. The Brits actually voted to exit from Europe, Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million votes but won the electoral college vote, Leicester City won the English Premier League beating a 5000-1 odd, Golden State Warriors also had a phenomenal run in the NBA, and even far-faaar-right nut job Geert Wilders is somehow leading in the Dutch polls. Yikes!
  2. There's actually a 4th wise monkey. In addition to Mizaru (see no evil), Kikazaru (hear no evil) and Iwazaru (speak no evil), there's Shizaru that symbolises the principle of "do no evil." Can you guess where his hands are in the statue? that's right, in the crotch.
  3. A lot of people assume that 1 GB is equal to nice round 1000 MB. But 1 GB is actually equal to 1024 MB.
  4. British author Christopher Booker argues that every single human story, and its subsequent moral stories, are based on 1 of only 7 templates: 1. Overcoming the monster 2. Rags to riches 3. The quest 4. Voyage and return 5. Comedy 6.  Tragedy 7. Rebirth. He obviously hasn't watched the Game of Thrones.
  5. Alcohol has not always been banned in Saudi Arabia. In the early days of oil boom in 1930s-1940s alcohol was a part of life in the kingdom, until one day a British oilman named Usman threw a party where a Saudi prince got drunk, got angry and managed to obtain a gun and shoot dead Usman. Ever since that episode, king Ibn Saud declared alcohol forbidden. So it's actually not about the religion.
  6. In other news, in the chicken and egg argument, scientists finally concluded that chicken came first and not the egg. Because the shell of the egg is made from protein, and the protein can only produced by a hen. Well that settles it then.
  7. If you scale down the sun to the size of a white blood cells (7 micrometers), and brought everything else down the scale with it, our galaxy the milky way would be the size of continental US.
  8. European astronomers have discovered a planet orbiting Proxima Centauri (the closest star to us) that has Earth-like features, including water which could potentially sustain life.
  9. There's a thin strip of land between Ukraine and Moldova that is home to more than 500,000 people. It has a constitution, a parliamentary government, a flag and coats of arms, a standing army and even has its own currency. The self-declared country declared independence from Moldova in 1990 when Moldova itself was declaring independence from Soviet Union, but it is not recognised by any single member of the UN. The country is called Transnistria.
  10. Russia's military bought 5 dolphins this year and it won't say why. My money is on cool dolphin assassins. 
  11. Have you ever wondered why the "teens" numbers are called thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, etc but 11 and 12 are not oneteen and twoteen? Eleven and twelve comes from old English words endleofan and twelf, which were developed from older words ainlif and twalif, with lif means "leave" (i.e. leaving after ten).
  12. Now, the next question becomes if we have ainlif and twalif why don't we have threelif, fourlif, fiflif, etc? Because when the names for the numbers were being formed humanity only counted as high as 12, using the method I (sorry, we) learned in 2013 (#63). Hence the names for numbers after 12 - which began using teens - were only formed a long time after people have gotten used to eleven and twelve. So the two names stick.
  13. There's an Islamic tribe in the Sahara Desert, the Tuareg Tribe, that have a unique tradition. The family lines are traced from the women side, women own the tents and animals, and the men wear veil, instead of the women. Such a beautiful tribe.
  14. Still in the unique tribe department, there is a tribe in West Africa where the warriors are all women. They are called The Warrior Queens of Dahomey. You do not want to mess with them.
  15. Since the 1950s the term "Third World Countries" has become synonymous with "poor countries." But did you know who are the "First World Countries" and "Second World Countries"? It's NATO (1st) and the Eastern Bloc (2nd).
  16. Human muscles are controlled by our brain and are limited by it. In fact we actually have the extraordinary strength to lift even cars if we need to. So, for our muscle to contract it requires electrical signals from our brain, but scientists discovered that the brain cannot produce enough electrical signals to contract all the muscles at once: the average human being can only activate up to 65% of their muscle cells, while a trained weight lifters can activate 80%. Even for weight lifters they can output an additional 25% more force by activating the remaining 20% of their muscle cells. In other words, it is literally about our mental strength.
  17. Of course, however, if we do push it we can tear apart our tendon. In fact, there's an organ called the golgi tendon whose purpose is to send negative feedback to the brain, to inhibit muscular movements. If the golgi tendon is pulled, it will tell the brain to explicitly stop the muscular contraction. 
  18. Mother Teresa amassed a huge sums of charity money, that in one bank account only in New York City she had $50 million. But still, when she died in 1997 her clinic was still a basic and medically backward place before she became rich and famous.
  19. The people in Kyrgyzstan know so much about their horses that Horse Whispering is officially listed as the 3rd national language after Kyrgyz and Russian. You can't make these things up.
  20. The sinking of the Titanic in 1912 helped spark the Silicon Valley. So immediately after Titanic sank US Congress passed the law that all ships are obliged to have a ship-to-shore radios, and the fledgling radio businesses in what became Silicon Valley began to boom. In other words, if the Titanic did not sink technology would have been very different than it is today.
  21. Another invention made as a response of a tragedy: The telegraph machine was invented by Samuel Morse because of a heartbreak. So one day Morse left town to paint a portrait, when his wife suddenly fell ill and died. It took days for him to finally found out that she had been sick, and he was so devastated that he abandoned his art career and focused on creating a fast method for long-distance communication.
  22. The term "holy city" was originally meant a city belonged to God, hence nobody could own it. Not even a government. Please take note Saudi and Israel.
  23. In around 120-63 BC once lived a man named Mithridates VI. He was the king of Pontus and Armenia Minor. Mithridates VI was a paranoid person, and he was so scared of being poisoned that he began to take small doses of poison throughout his life to build up an immunity. And then war broke with the Romans, and when he was finally captured by the Romans he tried to kill himself with poison, but failed because he was actually immune.
  24. We couldn't walk on the surface of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Uranus, because they have no solid surface.
  25. Nobody knows who name our planet "earth." That's very irritating isn't it? We know why it is called earth, but not who gave the name.
  26. For divers out there, there's a place in Iceland territory called Silfra. It is a diving spot where the Eurasian and North American continental plates are divided, literally become the crack or the border between Europe and North America. Each year these two plates drift apart for about 2 cm.
  27. There's actually a good reason why the east sides of cities like New York, London and Paris are poorer that the west sides. It is simply because winds in the US and Europe are typically blown from west to east, and during the Industrial Revolution the winds make air pollution in the east were much worse than the west. Hence more people from the affluent class of society tend to chose to live in the less-polluted west. 
  28. U know what the shortest joke in the English language is? It's this: "pretentious? Moi?" Get it? Because only a pretentious person whose daily life doesn't require French would actually say "moi" and mean it? Yeah, it's not funny for me too. And explaining it only making it worse.
  29. My new year resolution for 2016 was to read all of the books I've purchased on Kindle. Firstly because I have the habit of buying many books without having the time to read them all (the Japanese has a word for this: Tsundoku). Secondly, because slowly I'm repeating that habit on Kindle! Hence I forced myself to read them all, and man what a journey it has been, though in the end I only managed to finish 92% of the task.
  30. But I have a good reason for missing my goal: I blame Netflix. And when they made downloading possible for offline viewing, that's pretty much game over for me! I bet all of the historical figures who have read like 10,000 books+ in their lifetime would read much less if they already have Netflix back then.
  31. But I did have one moment of harmony between Kindle and Netflix, when I was reading the brilliant book ZeroZeroZero by Roberto Saviano (on coccaine and criminal underworld), which perfectly complements the TV series Narcos I was watching. It was like reading the back stories for what happened in the series.
  32. Do you know which famous people have the longest name? I don't either. But Pablo Picasso is definitely a serious contender: his full name was Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz y Picasso. Now try repeating them without reading.
  33. There's a village in the Netherlands, Giethoorn, that is dubbed "the Venice of Netherlands" for the obvious reason: the village has no road, it has only canals and 176 bridges. Founded around 1230 the village still use no modern transportation till today, instead the people there use "whisper boat" which have noiseless engine.
  34. 2016 is the year when the world was (briefly) crazed by Pokemon Go. A lot of hilarious stories emerge from the hype, but this got to be one of the best: Husband caught by wife in Geylang: "But you said I could go catch Pukimon." Nope, I'm not going to explain a joke for the 2nd time. Just open the link.
  35. You may have the flair for the dramatic, but you can never be Ludovico Einaudi playing a piano with glaciers crashing in the background dramatic. He's doing this to show how fast the ice in the Arctic is melting, and how alarming global warming has become. 
  36. Global warming has indeed become more alarming in 2016. For a start, 2015 itself broke all sorts of bad climate records. And in 2016 in every single month we broke record temperatures, including the hottest month in recorded history on July, which in some part of the world reached as high as 60 degree Celsius. In fact, the last time summer was that hot human beings hadn't left Africa yet. NASA even warns that the earth is now warming at a pace "unprecedented in 1,000 years."
  37. Now cloud analysis suggests that the global warming may be far worse than we have thought, and could result on the increasing of temperature by 5.3 C. This is a bad thing, because even a difference of only 0.5 degree warming could lead to catastrophic impacts. Indeed, global warming won’t just change the weather, but it could trigger massive earthquakes and volcanoes, it could also increase the risk of war
  38. For now, the first major casualty caused by global warming is the Great Barrier Reef, where 93% of the corals are dying due to warming temperature in the waters. And just in case you still think that climate change is a hoax, right at this moment there's snow in the freakin Sahara Desert.
  39. The longest train journey we can take is the 17000 KM journey from Portugal through Europe via Russia then down to China with (current) final destination in Vietnam. More railways are being built to connect Vietnam to Singapore.
  40. The "evil number" 666 is really mysterious. In Roman numerical, the number 666 translated to DCLXVI or represent every symbol in its numerical system. Furthermore, if we add every number in roulette table it will sum up to 666. In ancient Greek the number 666 translated to XES (sex in reverse). Coincidence? Yes, most likely yes.
  41. Albert Einstein have a picture of Isaac Newton in his bedroom like teenagers have posters of LeBron James. For me, during my uni years, one of the posters I had was Native American 10 commandments.
  42. The most oppressed women might not be Afghani or Saudis, but Berber. Berber women only leave their home twice in their lives: first on their wedding day when they move out from their father's house to their husband's house. And the second time is when they leave their husband's house to the grave. They don't even go out to the market to buy food, the men do all of it for them.
  43. Jellyfish and lobster are biologically immortal. They don't age and will never die unless they are killed (and then being eaten. Humans are savages, aren't we?).
  44. Doppelganger alert: Zulu king, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, looks exactly like Brazilian football legend Pele. Go on google him, I'll wait.......................... Right?! The resemblance is uncanny. Meanwhile, Pele is also the name of a Hawaiian goddess of volcanic fire.
  45. Speaking of volcanic fire, in Indonesia there's a volcano called Kawah Ijen that erupts electric-blue flames. The unusual colour can be produced thanks to the hydrochloric acid found in the water. Here are the stunning pictures.
  46. From 4 May 1970 until 17 November 1970, for 6 and a half months the banks in Ireland shut down due to a dispute between the banks and its employees. And during that period people use cash, and more interestingly use cheques as a new highly personalised credit system (without any definite time horizon for the eventual clearance of debits and credits) but it worked. That, in a sense, is how money works.
  47. The legalization of marijuana in the US has destroyed the profitability of the Mexican drug cartel in the billions of dollars. So much so that the cartel was then trying to find an alternative to make up for their losses, and found it in heroine. They increased production by almost 70%, raised the purity level from 46% pure to 90% pure and most importantly dropped the price from $200,000 / kg few years ago, to $80,000 in 2013 and finally to $50,000 today. As a result, because of the marijuana legalization, the US is currently suffering from major heroin epidemic.
  48. The microscope was founded by an unlikely inventor, a Dutch merchant named Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who began tinkering with lenses to originally check for defects in swatches of cloth. Naturally, he's also the first person to ever see sperm cells. Naturally.
  49. All of that antioxidant smoothies or meals are actually a waste of money. An investigation by the BBC concluded that from all the full amount of extra antioxidant that enters our stomach only 1% of them get into our blood system. In reality our body always regulate the proper amount of anti oxidant, and those 1% that do get through become excess antioxidants which will be thrown away wasted. The same logic applies to multivitamins, which will only make our urine more expensive. 
  50. And if it's hydration you're looking for, milk is a better long-lasting source of hydration than water. Even orange juice and coffee have similar effects on hydration as mineral water. The BBC investigation also concluded that eating healthy food have more benefits than those crazed detoxing diet. Wow, so much for those "healty living meal" crap.
  51. There's a tribe that live in the middle of ocean between Malaysian Borneo and the Philippines, they called Bajau. Also known as the "sea gypsies", the Bajau people are originally nomads, they don't know their age and don't understand the concept of reading and writing. They often live in house boats or more recently reside in wooden houses built on top of coral reefs, and some are able to free-dive down to 20 metres to search for fish, in which they have an enhanced underwater vision due to their extended time spent under the water. When they do go to land they often report feeling "land sick." This is the amazing pictures of the Bajau people.
  52. During the Roman times, soldiers were often paid by salt because salt was worth its weight in gold. That's also where we get the word "salary."
  53. Wide-spread public opinions that are just recently confirmed this year: 1. Secret memos expose link between oil firms and invasion of Iraq 2. Declassified 9/11 documents may show connections between low-level Saudi officials and a terrorist support network 3. Tony Blair will not go to The Hague and be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court for the Iraq War. But there's a reason for it: The International Criminal Court will not prosecute leaders from permanent member countries of UN Security Council 4. Indeed all war criminal that happens to be a head of state has rarely been prosecuted: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has quietly cleared Slobodan Milosevic of war crimes 5. The FBI has been developing all sorts of malware to break into digital devices for years.
  54. Now for the rich-poor inequality gap update: Now the richest 1% people (roughly 70 million people) are wealthier than the rest of the world (roughly 6.93 billion people). Among those 1%, 62 billionaires are as wealthy as the poorest half of world population combined, that's roughly 3.5 billion poor and struggling people.
  55. If the slum dwellers in India were to form a separate country, it would become the 13th most populous country.
  56. Still in India, there are more citizens in India who have an IQ  above 120 than the whole population of the US. And every year, there are more births in India than there are people in Australia.
  57. Muslim calendar year started in 622 AD, they conquered Mecca in 630 AD and began to expand their empire shortly afterwards. When they conquer a territory they didn't change the government structure, didn't force people to convert to Islam and didn't even abolish the Christian and Jewish laws. For example, when they conquered Syria they use the st John the Baptist Church for prayers on Fridays but then still let the Christians use the building for prayers on Sunday, hence these 2 religions use the same building for prayers, peacefully.
  58. Have you ever wondered about the ending of the cartoon series Tom & Jerry? They both committed suicide. Wow, talking bout anti-climax.
  59. The power of prayer: Zambia’s currency is the world’s best, six months after the president led a national prayer. Who said prayers don't work?
  60. Wanker of the year: I can't really decide between Donald Trump or his British BFF Nigel Farage (and his annoying smile). Or both. You know what, let's make it a joint-wanker-of-the-year. On an unrelated matter, the word pencil comes from Latin word that means small penis.
  61. Earlier this year a software engineer analysed the Old Testament, the New Testament and the Quran to see which is more violent. The engineer said "the project was inspired by the ongoing public debate around whether or not terrorism connected with Islamic fundamentalism reflects something inherently and distinctly violent about Islam compared to other major religions." It took only 2 minutes for the software to scan through all of the 3 books. And the result? Compared with the Quran, the Bible scored higher for anger and lower for trust. The Old Testament was more violent than the New Testament and twice more violent than the Quran. And killing and destruction occur more frequently in the Christian texts than in the Quran. Here's the complete findings.
  62. Meanwhile, a leaked ISIS documents reveal that their recruits actually have poor grasp of Islam. They even ordered "The Koran for Dummies" and "Islam for Dummies" to prepare for their jihad. This shows that these terrorists have nothing to do with the religion and Islam is only a political tool for them. Independent journalist Garry Leech also pointed out that "Islamic extremism was virtually unknown fifty years ago and suicide bombings were inconceivable. And yet today it seems that we are confronted with both on a daily basis." And don't forget, Islam has existed for more than 1400 years, not merely 50 years. 
  63. And so, is religion really to blame for all of these violence? Nobody is more qualified to answer this question than Karen Armstrong.
  64. Speaking of which, my book of the year: Fields of Blood by the one and only Karen Armstrong. In the rise of extremists attacks in the name of religion, and the rise of Islamophobia, antisemitism, even extreme-atheist attacks on religion in the whole, this book serves as a vital enlightenment. I couldn't recommend this book enough. Here's my full review.
  65. But for those who are still thinking screw this, I'm choosing a completely different religion! May I present "The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster", or Manichaeism, the only world religion to have believed in the redemptive power of farts.
  66. The stereotypical "heart shape" is actually 2 real hearts merged together.
  67. Between 1946 and 2000 the US interfered 81 times in foreign elections, and that's not including the military coups they notoriously sponsored. Moreover, US does 1/2 of all World's Arms Sales. But yet they're apparently still surprised by the awful state of global violence ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  68. Banging your head against the wall actually burns 150 calories / hour.
  69. I hate mosquitoes. They often bite when I'm sleeping, waking me up in the process and making me stay up late hunting for revenge holding an electric racket (that's a thing in Indonesia). Not to mention that they're officially the most dangerous animal in the world, which brings deadly diseases like Malaria, Dengue and earlier this year Zika. Malaria alone kill about 725,000 people a year (humans can "only" kill 475,000 people per year) So it's only natural for me to think, what if mosquitoes are wiped out off the face of the earth?
  70. As it turns out, there are 3000 different types of mosquito in the world, and only 200 of which bite, So in theory we shouldn't discriminate (but in practice, can you seriously differentiate them?). And as you have probably guessed, in a lot of environments mosquito (and more specifically, their larvae) is a vital source of food for animals higher up in the food chain, such as birds, fishes, bats, frogs, turtles, dragonfly and spiders. Well, I guess I just have to stick with the electric racket for now.
  71. Person of the year: the late Abdul Sattar Edhi.  He was the founder of the Edhi Foundation, a philanthropic foundation that do humanitarian work. They call him "Pakistan's Mother Teresa" for a good reason: between 1928-2016 the Edhi Foundation have saved 20,000 abandoned babies, housed 50,000 orphans, and trained 40,000 qualified nurses. Moreover, He founded the largest charity-based ambulance network in the world, founded 8 hospitals that provide free healthcare, founded eye hospitals, diabetic centers and surgical unit, and its Edhi Maternity centers have delivered over 1 million babies. Abdul Sattar Edhi died this year, and this is how much he is loved in his native Pakistan.
  72. Do you know how North Korea get the funding for its missile and nuclear projects? Apparently one of the ways is to literally send some guys to Japan to play Pachinko, and then bring the profits back to the Fatherland! 
  73. This year I learned one interesting theory from the internet called the Mandela Effect, which basically suggest that parallel universes exist because of the mystery that large group of people have similar alternative memories about past events. The name of the theory comes from the weird collective memory of many people that feel certain they remember Nelson Mandela dying in prison in the 1980s, and even watched his funeral on TV. Madiba was of course died on December 2013, which made some people believe that they have gone into a parallel universe, or some time traveller have gone to the past and changed the course of history.
  74. The legendary sword in the stone, often linked to King Arthur, does exist. Not in Avalon though, but in Italy, in Montesiepi Chapel. Still in Italy, did you know that there’s a Free, 24-Hour wine fountain? The fountain is located at the Dora Sarchese Vineyard in the town of Caldari di Ortona. Ah the good life.
  75. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is considered as Christianity's holiest shrine. It is located in Jerusalem's Old City, and at the heart of the church there's a rock-cut tomb where the body of Jesus Christ once lay. Interestingly, this holiest Christian shrine is guarded by two Muslim families.
  76. So the Church has been shared by 6 different Christian congregations: Roman Catholic, Egyptian Copts, Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Syrian Orthodox and Ethiopian Orthodox. But as they all are different religious sects with different customs and rituals, disputes among them were inevitable, which linger until today. The disputes include the right of walking in procession to the Edicule, on placing carpets in front of altars, on different ritual methods of sweeping of steps, etc. And it's not a rare scene for the dispute to escalate from argument to fist fighting to throwing candle sticks, crucifixes, incense burners and even woods from the sacred shrines.
  77. Hence, due to the intractable nature of the disputes among the 6 Christian congregations, since the 12th century 2 Muslim families were entrusted to be the neutral gatekeepers of the church: The Nuseibeh family who opens up the church every morning and locks it in the evening, and the Joudeh family who keeps the key.
  78. For a guy who learns his parenting methods from reading a random French book and watching Cesar Millan taming dogs, there's another theory that have become my new ammunition skill this year: Game Theory. Speaking of weird (but effective) parenting methods, for many generations Icelandic babies have napped outside in freezing temperatures.
  79. There is only one person who survived both the 2 nuclear attacks on Japan in 1945, his name is Tsutomu Yamaguchi. When the nuclear bomb strike Hiroshima he was there on a business trip and was 3 kilometres away from the explosion site, and was seriously burned but survived. 3 days later he went back to his workplace in Nagasaki, feeling low, and can you believe it the 2nd nuclear bomb exploded there! Talking bout bad luck. Or good luck since he survived both times.
  80. Antarctica was not always cold, dry and covered in eternal ice like it is today. According to some researches a long, looong, time ago Antarctica was located farther north and thus experienced a temperate or even tropical climate. This means that there's a big chance that the continent once covered in forests and inhabited by various life forms that were disconnected from our history. There's an interesting theory that people might even have lived in that kind of environment, and have developed a form of society with their own religions, temples, etc just as we did in Africa, Europe and Asia.
  81. Some conspiracy theorists even suggested that these lost civilisations still exist till this day, and all hidden beneath the eternal ice. Including an ancient alien race that have blended with these societies.
  82. 2016 is the year of fake news. They're everywhere, from blogs, fake media, Facebook posts, to hoax broadcast messages in the likes of WhatsApp. Seems to me "don't read the corporate media" is the 21st century's equivalent of book burning.
  83. For those who are constantly waiting for World War 3 to start, relax it's not going to happen. World War 1 occurred when Europe was still filled with Monarchs who fight against each others, and World War 2 occurred when Pax Americana was just forming and we didn't have the likes of UN, APEC, etc. Now every country are so interconnected in trade, formed many alliances and perhaps most significantly merged in global pop culture and world sporting events. And however big they are wars tend to occur regionally now, since there's no colonial subjects fighting in the name of their masters like in Word War 2. Worst case scenario we could have a global-scale tension between the countries, and it's most likely about water (please mind the article's title though, it's designed to grab attentions. But the content is really good).
  84. Remember that infamous Nigerian e-mail scam? Have you ever wondered who is behind all of this? Well believe it or not Interpol arrested a man they believe is the ring leader behind the massive Nigerian email scam network!
  85. Now for the story of the year. The contenders are: 1. Thai AirAsia flight delayed in Chiang Mai after sex toy mistaken for bomb. 2. A new device allows cows to text message their farmers when they're sick or pregnant 3. A nationwide blackout occurred in Kenya, after one monkey fell/jumped onto a transformer in Gitaru Power Station 4. Scientists may have found an incredibly effective, all-natural mosquito repellent: the scent of a chicken 5. The Bolivian president advised the Pope to consume coca.
  86. And the winner is: I'm gonna go with the sex toy bomb scare! Considering the level of tension occurred among the staff and with all the bomb squad delicately opening the suspected bomb, and turns out to be a vibrating dildo, man, that's gold. 
  87. This year's Grammy Awards has one interesting nominee: A group of inmates from Malawi’s Zomba maximum security prison. This is their story.
  88. "Planet" is Greek word for "wanderer." And the story of how Neptune was discovered by a mathematical deduction shows why they are called wanderer.
  89. So in 1846 a French mathematician named Urbain Le Verrier take a look at the unusual orbit of Uranus, and he and some other astronomers of the day concluded that the orbit did not comply with Newton's laws. The reason was that some unknown planet must be tugging Uranus' pattern off its course.
  90. Using Newton's law, Le Verrier then calculate the mass, the position and path of this mysterious planet, and he then sent his calculations by letter to the German Astronomer Joseph Galle. The letter arrived on 23 September 1846, and on the same evening Galle directed his telescope to the coordinates that Le Verrier gave, and there, just barely visible, he found Neptune.
  91. In the last two years, China has produced more steel than the UK has since the Industrial Revolution. If you think that's insane, a Chinese company has agreed to buy 1% of Australia, that's an area bigger than Ireland!
  92. First there's Christopher Columbus. Then the Chinese was claimed to set foot earlier than Columbus, and then Leif Ericson and the Vikings before the Chinese. Now another dude named Abu Raihan al-Biruni, an Islamic scholar from Central Asia, may have discovered America centuries before Columbus, and even before the Vikings. But this time, he discovered it without even leaving his desk. A very interesting story.
  93. You know that tiny metal button on your jeans, do you know what it is for? They are known as rivets, and rivets are placed on areas in the jeans that are prone to be ripped apart by strain or movement, and thus help hold the fabric together.
  94. The usage of rivets was actually how jeans was first created, where in 1870s labourers wore denim trousers at their hard labour work but were often ripped apart due to the physical activities. Then one day a wife of a labourer went to a tailor named Jacob Davis to ask for a work trousers that can not disintegrate so easily. Davis then use rivets on the areas that prone to most strains, and his creation worked, and became popular among labourers. Davis then contacted the supplier of the fabric that made the trousers, to team up as business partners to mass produce the trousers. The supplier's name was Levi Strauss.
  95. For those who are tired at the end of this year and are looking for an excuse to have a well-deserved break: A science backed guide to taking truly restful break. You're welcome. Or as the meme of Jesse from Breaking Bad said, yeah science bitch!
  96. Did you know that there's a some kind of Instagram for drones? They are called Dronestagram. And their pictures are awesome!
  97. So VICE started to set up shop in Indonesia this year, and continues to produce delightful and bizarre articles, now with local contents. And true to their nature, recently VICE Indonesia asked a bunch of Indonesian physics about their predictions for 2017, and the result is gloomy.
  98. No matter if the psychics' predictions are true or not, 2017 looks pretty gloomy indeed: the unpredictable Donald Trump's inauguration will kick off 2017, followed by the Brexit process that should officially begins, followed by the Netherlands that will have its election on March, with neo-Hitler Geert Wilders can surely cause some Islamophobic chaos if he's ever elected. Indeed, Europe is on the verge of shifting towards the right on this election year, with German far-right is currently gaining momentum by exploiting the Berlin lorry incident, just like French far-right is increasingly significant in the polls by exploiting the several terror attacks occurring in their country.
  99. Furthermore, the Fed has pledged to implement 3 rate hikes on 2017, so that's going to be nerve wracking, while Greece is on the verge of having yet another drama with its new bailout. Meanwhile China's quest in South China Sea + Duterte + anti-China Trump with his anti-China head of US trade council and some other cabinet members will surely make East and South East Asia a potential conflict zone. And Syria will once again become a battle ground for Proxy war for the New Cold War. Or maybe not. Trump and his choice for Secretary of State are good buddies of Putin, and due to the far-right alliance that endorses Trump in Europe, are we going to see the rise of a terrifying axis of evil?
  100. And we thought 2016 was full with challenging events, looks like 2017 is going to be more interesting! Have a great year ahead guys!
More things I learned and did over the years