Today I Learned

The 'No Space Left on Device' error from Apple Configurator does not mean on the target device, but on the Mac you're using to configure the phone/iPad

Wed, 19 Jun 2024, 10:26

It’s a game where you have a piece of time and you get to decorate it

Fri, 31 May 2024, 19:08

People with ADHD do not use available glucose in the same way as folks without

Interesting topic for discussion—although this article heavily implies that the key takeaway here is about sugar, for me the more interesting topic is actually:

And when the researchers looked closely at 60 specific regions of the brain, they found glucose metabolism in people with ADHD was “significantly reduced” in half of the regions. Those regions included areas in the brain that control attention and distractibility, movement (i.e. restlessness), and impulsivity.

To me, this looks more like the metabolism of glucose in the brain is more of a proxy for the energy requirements of each part of the brain. Seems like the 'diet' topic is a bit of a jump, even though a diet with properly controlled glucose intake is likely a good thing.

Fri, 10 May 2024, 09:44

It takes 18 minutes to get from Vienna to Budapest

If you don’t care about slowing down and landing it seems. I saw a flight from Vienna to Shanghai on Flightradar24 which was passing overhead and it departed 18 minutes ago.

Sun, 21 Apr 2024, 12:55

I’ll be 93 before the next total solar eclipse I’m likely to see

Good chance I’ve seen the only one I’m ever going to.

Wed, 10 Apr 2024, 05:38

We are closer in time to the T rex than the T rex was to the Stegosaurus

Despite the toy sets my son plays with, the T. rex was a 'late-stage' dinosaur, who lived 70 million years ago, and is one of the last new species to have existed before the dinosaurs all got wiped out.

Stegosaurus seems to have died out around 145 million years ago.

Mon, 26 Feb 2024, 11:51

The word “kuka” comes from the name of the factory owners who produced the hoppers for the dustbin lorries

The generic Hungarian word for trash cans, 'kuka', unexpectedly originates from the names of German industrialists Johann Josef Keller and Jakob Knappich. The story is quite involved, to the extent that one would be tempted to dismiss it as a folk etymology, if it wasn't ridiculously well-attested. Keller and Knappich founded an acetylene factory in Augsburg, Bavaria in 1898. They named it Keller und Knappich Augsburg (KUKA). Their venture quickly expanded into manufacturing of welding equipment, household appliances, and eventually car parts and heavy industrial robots. In the 1920s, they manufactured hoppers for Hungarian municipal garbage trucks, which they stamped prominently with their logo. This led to refuse trucks being known colloquially referred to as "kukás auto" (lit. "car with KUKA written on it"), even long after KUKA stopped manufacturing those hoppers. And the noun kuka, referring to trash cans, arose as a backformation from there! And this is how two German industrialist gave their names to Hungarian trash cans. Of course, it probably helped that a word kuka existed in the Hungarian language already at that point (as an unrelated adjective referring to a mute person), much like snowflake existed before Snow and Flake founded the town.

Thu, 22 Feb 2024, 06:20

There's a very strong tendancy for cities to cluster their road orientations along four axes.

City streets

From Geoff Boeing.

In some countries (US, Canada, Spain/Japan to a lesser extent) this is a result of deliberate planning. Outside of the US, it looks like there are a couple of key factors:

  • Where the city is coastal (e.g. Bangkok, Barcelona, Dubai, Lagos, Melbourne) the orientation is perpendicular to the coastline, with the longest roads leading away from the sea
  • Where the city has a river running through the centre (e.g. Budapest, Cairo, Warsaw)

Exceptions There are more exceptions than cities that actually support my hypothesis, but the world is a funny place:

  • Berlin, but there are potentially political reasons for this
  • Hong Kong, likely due to its topography (Hong Kong is squeezed in between mountains and the sea)
  • Moscow, but the Moskva river does not flow neatly from one side of the map to the other, it snakes its way from North West to South East taking lots of backwards and forwards turns
  • Mumbai, which is built on a peninsula, limiting the number of roads which can go perpendicular to the coastline
  • Rio, which is built on the mouth of a bay
  • Rome, which is an interesting exception. I can't really see why this is. The Tiber does meander somewhat but has a clear North/South direction.
  • Tehran is inland, but seems to pick up its polarity from the Caspian Sea to the North, so not fully an exception here
  • Venice, which is also a geographical peculiarity in lots of ways
Fri, 9 Feb 2024, 09:12

You can deduct paying ransomware fees from your taxes as a small business

I wonder if this creates any ways for businesses to artificially reduce their tax bills by paying large 'ransomware' fines and then laundering that back into the company somehow (or directly into individuals' pockets)? I mean, it sounds a lot like fraud, but I'm sure there are some people out there already doing it, and probably people providing this as a service on the Dark Web or something.

Fri, 9 Feb 2024, 08:05

Aston “Family Man” Barrett had 41 children

Barrett told the BBC in 2013 that he had fathered 23 daughters and 18 sons. Bassist for Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and for Bob Marley, died today ages 77.

Sun, 4 Feb 2024, 10:46

Airliners undergo approximately 10 000 hours of inspections per year

From Wikipedia

Check Name Frequency Time Time per year
A ~500 flight hours ~60 hours 41 · 60h = 240h
B 6-8 months ~170 hours 7/12 · 170h = ~100h
C 20-24 months ~5 000 hours 11/12 · 2 500 = ~2 300h
D 6-10 years ~50 000 hours 50 000 / 7 = ~7 100h
Total ~9 760h

1: An average 737 flies around 2000 hours per year:

Thu, 18 Jan 2024, 10:56

Apple hosts individual databases for each application for each user using Cassandra and FoundationDB to build a “data layer” for application engineers to interact with

Wed, 17 Jan 2024, 16:17

Musical notes are weird in Hungary

Let’s take a look…

Most common C C♯ D E♭ E F F♯ G G♯ A B♭ B C
Less common C♮ D♭ D♮ D♯ E♮ F♮ G♭ G♮ A♭ A♮ A♯ B♮ C♮
Rare B♯ B♯♯ E♭♭ F♭♭ F♭ E♯ E♯♯ F♯♯ B♭♭ C♭♭ A♯♯ B♯
Hungarian C C♯ D E♭ E F F♯ G G♯ A B H C

Depending on a note’s role in a scale, it may be written weirdly. For example, you rarely would refer to a B♯ on its own, but it’s the third degree of the G♯ major scale.

Tue, 16 Jan 2024, 22:15

SvelteKit's Node adapter limits incoming requests to 512kb by default.

This is documented, I just missed it. BODY_SIZE_LIMIT=100000000 will fix it for you (obviously set this to whatever you fancy. Integer numbers of bytes work, string representations of human readable file sizes such as 100mb do not seem to).

Tue, 9 Jan 2024, 14:49

Apple Music doesn't let you see the 'last played' date of any tracks which are not in your library

And given that it doesn't integrate with, it's a bit of a pain.

Problem statement: I want to have a list of all the music I've listened to on Apple Music.


  1. I listen to Apple Music on my iPhone, my iPad, my personal MacBook (using the Music app exclusively), my work MacBook (using the Music app), and my work Windows laptop (using the Apple Music web interface).
  2. Apple Music does not offer (or at least, not in a way that I've found) the possibility to get the last played date of a track which is not in your library.
  3. Apple Music doesn't integrate with tools like to be able to 'scrobble' listens in realtime (and further, is blocked on my work computers).
  4. Spotify also is blocked on my work computers, so that's not a solution either
Tue, 9 Jan 2024, 13:12

The circulation of the Hindustan Times is almost double that of The Times (of London)

Although it should be noted that that's based on data from 2020 as circulation numbers are not being reported by The Times and several other newspapers since then.

Mon, 8 Jan 2024, 12:35

There is some evidence that SIDS is preceded by seizures

This adds to the similarities between SIDS and SUDEP.

Sat, 6 Jan 2024, 21:19

Nestlé have outstanding grinding technology which means that their Nespresso pods can beat third party pods even with objectively worse coffee

They also have some patents such as a rubber gasket on the back of the pods and a paper liner to distribute the water which make it difficult for third party pods to extract as evenly and as successfully.

Sat, 6 Jan 2024, 12:36

Switzerland used to have massive problems with goitre and developmental birth defects

It turns out this was because during the ice age a permafrost layer locked iodine under the ice. This discovery ultimately led to iodising salt.

Thu, 28 Dec 2023, 11:49

The same guy helped Orbán and Netanyahu to power: George Birnbaum

He did it (unsurprisingly) by dividing people. In Hungary, demonising Soros was his idea.

Sat, 16 Dec 2023, 09:35

We have a sample of meteor rocks on earth which we can’t get into

Some of the screws broke so now Nasa are making new screwdrivers to open the container.

Sat, 16 Dec 2023, 07:44

The concept of 'steelmanning' is the opposite of 'strawmanning'

When you are arguing, building a 'straw man' is a cheap way of attacking an opponent by misconstruing their argument and destroying the 'straw man' rather than the real argument. For example, if the opposing view is something like 'I am against animal testing', the straw man argument might see a response like 'so you would prefer us to use untested drugs on people?'

The concept of 'steelmanning' is the opposite. Instead of trying to construct a weak version of your opponent's position to tear apart, build the strongest possible version of their point and then consider it based on its merits. For example, you might choose to interpret 'I am against animal testing' as 'I believe that we can avoid using animals to test cosmetics'. You can then review this with your opponent and see if this point can be supported or refuted.

There's a lot of interesting stuff in this article.

Thu, 14 Dec 2023, 11:21

A sequence of individually minor mistakes led to an engine exploding in a Qantas A380.

This was an interesting read but very long and dry. The key take away for me on this I think is that given how thorough this review was and how many minor issues it found in a process as subject to scrutiny as aviation safety, it seems as though similar problems must be hiding everywhere.

Sun, 10 Dec 2023, 13:17

Cosmic rays ruin photos in space, so Nikon built custom firmware for space cameras which increases noise reduction at low ISO/shutter speed settings

Sat, 9 Dec 2023, 16:16

The SVG spec allows you to use “foreignObject” to insert arbitrary HTML, which will display properly if your SVG is being rendered by a browser

Fri, 8 Dec 2023, 13:12

The brain may have a self-defence mechanism against epilepsy which impacts cognitive performance

This observation suggests that the cognitive difficulties—in particularly, memory deficits—experienced by individuals with epilepsy may be attributed, in part, to the brief impairments induced by these slow waves.

Sun, 3 Dec 2023, 10:07

If you want to write a video web app, you cannot avoid transcoding video if you want it to work on all browsers

Safari uses video/mp4, which other browsers can't record to.

Thu, 30 Nov 2023, 21:24

Facebook spends about 6 billion USD per month and has about 3 billion monthly active users (meaning Facebook’s monthly cost per user is around $2)

Wed, 29 Nov 2023, 19:27

There are already people calling collections of AI models “zoos”

Like here, where machine learning models are being gathered together like animals in a zoo. I’ve actually started a novel about AI, this idea of “model zoos” will for sure make an appearance.

Wed, 29 Nov 2023, 19:25

If you could 'see' all of Andromeda with the naked eye, it'd be bigger than the moon

It's the biggest and most distant thing you can see with the naked eye. It's 152 000 light years across, and about 2.5 million light years away from Earth. That's a bit surprising because it means it's only 16 times further away from us than its own diameter.


Mon, 27 Nov 2023, 15:47