Update 7

It has been 800 posts since I began this website, so it’s time for an overhaul, a redesign, and some more updates.

Website redesign

I chose the overall look and design of this website exactly 800 days ago. It took me half an hour, and I think that shows. A redesign is long overdue, and I’ve finally found the time to make some changes.

The whole site has a new look, with more prominent images and less extraneous cruft (so long social media buttons!). I have changed the tagline from “one interesting thing every day” to the punchier “learn widely.” Don’t worry, I will continue to publish one post every day, although I’m going to try something different on the weekends.

There are a lot of neat posts in the archives, and I’d like to give you all a chance to explore and revisit them. I’d also like a chance to catch a breath – I have two young children and they represent a delightful and impressive demand on my time. Each Saturday (New Zealand time), I plan to draw together and reissue four or five posts from the archives that follow a common theme. Each Sunday, I plan to explore a specific category in more detail, again focusing on four or five favourites. If you’re a new reader, I hope that this will highlight some of this website’s more surprising classics. If you’re a long-time reader, there will still be a new topic each weekday.

Speaking of the categories, I have reorganised them. I’ve renamed some (education is now education & philosophy), split others (screen and stage; modern history; Asia; the poles & oceans; plants & animals; earth & sky), and created a couple of new ones (architecture; computer science). There’s one new parent category: society (encompassing economics & business, education & philosophy, games & sport, language, military, politics & law, and religion & belief).

Finally, I’ve simplified the menu to four pages:

New friends

I recently discovered that the Fun Fact podcast used my post on surprising eponyms as the basis for a great discussion on the topic in Episode 39. It’s a cool podcast that’s right up my alley, so be sure to check it out.

The blog Mike’s Exobrain has been linking through to a few posts here too. It’s an eclectic grab-bag of a site, definitely worth a browse.

On Twitter, none other than John Allen Paulos has been retweeting a few posts from this site. I am both delighted and intimidated by this.

Yesterday, kathrynm shared a link to the religion at the poles post on Metafilter. Having a link shared to Metafilter is always a slightly terrifying experience, but (aside from some predictable static) a very informative discussion ensued. Thanks kathrynm!


Oldest winery and shoe – archaeologists in Egypt recently unearthed the oldest known brewery. But that Armenian winery is still older by a thousand years.

Deepest shipwreck – shipwreck explorers have finally managed to reach, photograph, and survey the wreck of the USS Johnston. It was a hundred metres deeper than everyone thought.

Russian hobbits – a thirty-year-old Soviet version of Lord of the Rings recently surfaced on YouTube. It is amazing.

Eight years on the Suez Canal – The Ever Given has been freed from its awkward wedging in the Suez Canal, but now legal matters have left it stranded in the same lake as the unfortunate victims of the 1967 incident. It, and its crew, may remain there for years to come.

The solid core of the Earth – more detailed analysis of seismic waves suggests a new layer to Earth’s core.

Underwater ball sports – I now have first-hand corroboration of human negative buoyancy: reader Ben R. Apparently it makes swimming much more annoying. Thanks Ben!

2 Replies to “Update 7”

  1. Refreshing ‘new look’ I eagerly anticipate weekend re-visits. Appreciate updates.

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