Things I learned this week #20

This week’s post comes a little lighter, on account of it being Christmas and all. I didn’t want to break a streak, but also I want to get back to eating far too much and doing far too little. So let’s get on with it:

  • This etymology: The word apocalypse comes from the Greek apokaluptein: to uncover, or reveal. This original meaning got adopted in bible translations in the context of revelations - which makes sense. Something have been revealed or uncovered. However, most of the revelations in the bible aren’t… great news? So it started taking on a more negative, destructive tone. (source)
  • These first festive TV advert: Having a heart-warming, mini-movie of a Christmas advert has become a staple in the past decade. My personal favourite is the animated woodland scene and accompanying Lily Allen soundtrack for John Lewis is 2013. One of the pioneers of the British TV Christmas advert was OXO, the famous broth/gravy company, here’s their 1984 advert, in which our child protagonist tells of her “most wonderful Christmas ever”. From across the pond, Coca Cola’s 1995 Holidays are Coming TV Ad has now reached meme status, becoming synonymous with the festive season itself. From 2007, John Lewis started a trend of high production, narrative-driven adverts which I’m honestly really glad we have. (source)
  • This most popular nut: What do you think the most popular nut of Victorian England was? My gut reaction was peanut, all the other nuts seem a little too fancy or exotic for wide consumption. However it turns out that chestnuts were the most popular nut in Victorian England. So there’s a nice bit of trivia for you, and also it’s roughly festive themed. (source)
  • This science of snowballs: You know how some snow makes excellent, compact snowballs which are perfect for throwing, but some is either a fine powder or ice which can’t be thrown for love or money? It turns out that the underlying physics behind snowballs relies on the pressure of you compacting the snow together, with your delightfully mitten’d hands, allowing some of the snow inside the snowball to melt back to liquid water. Then when you stop compacting the snow, the lower pressure forces the water to refreeze into ice, and it acts like a cement or a glue to hold all the snow together. When it’s too cold (and powdery snow), the pressure from your hands isn’t enough to melt the snow, and if it’s too warm then the. (source)