Saturday, March 7, 2009

This week, I learned (tres)...

  • Sulfur dioxide kills stuff. Poor protozoa!
  • Dried fruit is made that way by sucking out all the water using, in our case, a big scary machine. It's not dried by big heaters or anything, which I assumed was how it was done before the introduction of the big scary machine.
  • Doctors can tell what's in your blood by using a spectrometer, which charts the levels of elements (such as oxygen) in a material--in this case, blood.
  • Japan's urban expansion of the late sixteenth century has few parallels: In the mid-sixteenth century, only a couple Japanese cities had populations exceeding 50,000. By 1700, Kyoto and Osaka had almost 400,000 people, Edo (Tokyo) had over a million, Kanazawa and Nagoya had nearly 100,000 each, and Sendai, Okayama, Kagoshima, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki each had about 60,000. Incredible, huh?
  • During the Tokugawa era in Japan, tea-houses (doubling as places of prostitution) were located near Kabuki stages and the homes of the young boys who acted in Kabuki--so that these young boys could and for the most part, did, double as prostitutes--especially for the ruling class of samurai.
  • The "pillars" at mosques are really called "minarets."
  • Turkey's separation of church and state is much more pronounced than is ours. For example, using quotes from the Qur'an in a high-profile political speech can mean jail.
  • On a relative scale of markets, monopoly (one firm) is on the far left. Then comes oligopoly (a few firms), monopolistic competition (many firms but with product differentiation), and then perfect competition (many firms with identical products).

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