A collection of shiny objects

I have a problem. I collect trivia like raccoons collect shiny objects.

I store this collection in a notebook called “Random facts and learnings”.

It’s inspired by Steven Johnson’s Spark File:

I’ve been maintaining a single document where I keep all my hunches: ideas for articles, speeches, software features, startups, ways of framing a chapter I know I’m going to write, even whole books. I now keep it as a Google document so I can update it from wherever I happen to be. There’s no organizing principle to it, no taxonomy–just a chronological list of semi-random ideas that I’ve managed to capture before I forgot them. I call it the spark file.

Sometimes you start a new thing, and after awhile, you stop that new thing. A fad diet, a new friend, a Kindle book.

Sometimes you start a new thing, and you keep doing it. In fact, you find it hard to stop.

That’s the story of “Random facts and learnings”. It’s my spark file for trivia. When I read a statistic, a study, or an acronym, and think to myself, “I’d like to remember this, but probably won’t”, into the spark file it goes. My shiny collection is now ~40 pages.

Here are 5 items that I hope will catch your eye. I’ll attempt to curate and share more each month.

1. Mountain dew was originally slang for moonshine

2. Cryptophasia is the tendency for twins to communicate in their own private language. Like so.

3. Getting married causes a 2-year increase in happiness. Once a married couple has children, happiness steadily declines until the children leave the house, then marriage happiness begins to increase again

4. We have a functional and complex neural network or ‘brain’ in the gut, called the enteric brain, and fear is mediated by this brain. The # of neurons in our gut is equivalent to that of a cat’s!

5. Where does “raining cats and dogs” come from? One interpretation: in the old days, when it rained really hard, they’d find dead dogs and cats in the storm waters

Do you collect trivia, too? I’d love to hear from you. Thanks as always.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.