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Nowhere Plans

Things I Learned in 2021

Learnings6 min read

Haven't really written much in 2021 and extremely late on this post, but better late than never.

This is part of a yearly thing I plan to do based on this post. Here's the 2020 post.

Without further ado, here we go...

Proximity Principle

"There is a positive correlation between the amount of time spent together and the attraction between people. For example, students who sit next to each other are more likely to become friends in a class."

  • Why didn't any of my teachers sit me next to the cool kids ☹️ If you sat next to me you didn't read this

Shrink Wrapping Dinosaurs

"The tendency to depict dinosaurs without fat or feathers, with their skin and muscle so tight against their bones that we can see details of their skulls through their skin is called the shrink-wrapped dinosaur problem, because in its own way it distorts the way the animals looked."

Cow Reconstruction

  • You're a cow. Millions of years later some artists drew you like this and everyone believed it 🐄

Modus Operandi

[noun] A particular way or method of doing something, especially one that is characteristic or well-established.

  • I had a phase where I said this about everything I did


[adjective] (Of a drink) easy and enjoyable to drink

  • First found out about this word from the movie Sideways (2004), if you haven't seen it yet go do it now

What is tofu?


  • It's coagulated soy milk, but so much more. Whenever I go temporarily vegetarian it's a staple of my fridge

Attachment Styles

Attachment Styles

"Attachment styles refer to the particular way in which an individual relates to other people. The style of attachment is formed at the very beginning of life, and once established, it is a style that stays with you and plays out today in how you relate in intimate relationships and in how you parent your children."

  • Huge realization in my interpersonal relationships this past year. The most important takeaway for me was that people can change

Bronze vs Teflon Cut Pasta

"Bronze-cut pasta is made using bronze pasta dies. Compared to regular pasta, it has a more saturated golden color and a rougher surface, which allows the pasta sauce to cling better to it."


  • As a big pasta fan, I always have to go with Bronze cut. Shout out to Rustichella D'Abruzzo

Love vs Limerance

"Limerence is a mental state of profound romantic infatuation, deep obsession, and fantastical longing"

  • Pretty important to know the difference. I may have been in a limerance once 👀

Power of Placebo and Thought

"Your brain and body don’t know the difference between having an actual experience in your life and just thinking about the experience—neurochemically, it’s the same."

  • Positive thoughts lead to more oxytocin, which leads to less stress and lower blood pressure. This ultimately leads to other positive physical outcomes. Be right back, watching motivational TED talks from now on


[adjective] Having well-shaped buttocks

  • This came up on my Mac word of the day screensaver one day - don't think I'll ever forget this one


  • A literary guide for the order of adjectives you should use that maximizes clarity of the sentence


Anthora Cup a.k.a "The NYC Cup"


  • It's like in every 90's movie and sitcom that takes place in NYC

Inner Monologue

"Psychology professor Russell Hurlburt estimates 30 to 50 percent of people have an inner monologue narrating their thoughts throughout the day"

  • Easily the most surprising thing I learned all year. Genuinely cannot imagine living my life without my inner monologue

Illegal Number

"Any piece of digital information is representable as a number; consequently, if communicating a specific set of information is illegal in some way, then the number may be illegal as well"

  • Did some time back in '87 for smashing my calculator keyboard 😔

Neotony in Humans


Doherty threshold

"If a response appears after the 400 ms threshold, users eventually become disinterested"

  • Took me this long to know about a fundamental theory of UX. This is why I'm not a frontend engineer

Tomatoes Are a New World Crop

  • This fact to be used in case an Italian gets too gatekeep-y about a recipe that uses tomatoes


[adjective] Sullen or shy in company

The Oyster Wars

"For nearly two centuries, Maryland and Virginia were embroiled in the 'Oyster Wars', a bitter conflict over a valuable resource... It was a conflict mostly of greed, with a smattering of geographic prejudice, antiauthoritarianism and class pride"

Oyster Wars

  • The year is 1959. Hawaii becomes the 50th state and the Oyster Wars finally come to an end

Gros Michel Banana Deprecation

"Today, the [Gros Michel] banana is virtually gone from the consumer market in the United States—finding it will be at best a challenge, and perhaps impossible."

Gros Michel

  • I don't know if I've ever had a Gros Michel, but a good Cavendish banana is one of my favorite fruits


"A Southern Italian code of silence and code of honor and conduct that places importance on silence in the face of questioning by authorities or outsiders"

  • You learned the two greatest thing in life, never rat on your friends, and always keep your mouth shut

Convergent Evolution

"The independent evolution of similar features in species of different periods or epochs in time"

  • Efficient is efficient - doesn't matter the time or the thing


[noun] A person's name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to their occupation


The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two

"It is often interpreted to argue that the number of objects an average human can hold in short-term memory is 7 ± 2"

The Tiffany Problem

"When somebody writing historical fiction does something that is well-researched and accurate, but the reader doesn’t buy it because of their perception of the past"

  • Probably my favorite factoid I learned in the past year. Crazy to think there was probably a Tiffany in 1189 who was worrying about how the Third Holy Crusade would affect her life

Individualism vs. Collectivism

"Collectivism stresses the importance of the community, while individualism is focused on the rights and concerns of each person."

  • Important to think about how where you grew up (the US being an extremely individualistic culture) affects almost every aspect about our decisions, and how we should all be more empathetic to other's perspectives

Women's Finger Length and Sexual Orientation

  • Unreliable finding but interestingly high correlation


Friendship Paradox

"Most people have fewer friends than their friends have, on average. It can be explained as a form of sampling bias in which people with more friends are more likely to be in one's own friend group. In other words, one is less likely to be friends with someone who has very few friends"

  • I thought about this a lot and I think it actually just explains how present the Pareto distribution is in life, a.k.a. the 80-20 distribution

The Persian Flaw

"The idiom 'Persian flaw', meaning a deliberate mistake, is said to originate from the notion that Persian weavers would intentionally leave imperfections in each rug in the belief that only God's creations are perfect, and to weave a perfect rug would be an insult to God"

Men's Underwear Index

"An economic index that can supposedly detect the beginnings of a recovery during an economic slump"

Underwear Index

  • All you guys reading this: go buy underwear

Ortolan Bunting

"There is a dish so aromatic, so indulgent, so cruel, that it is meant to be eaten with a towel draped over the diner’s head—both to keep in the smells and, perhaps, to hide one’s face from God."


  • Shoutout to Succession fans


"A stablecoin is a digital currency that is pegged to a “stable” reserve asset like the U.S. dollar or gold. Stablecoins are designed to reduce volatility relative to unpegged cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin"

  • My best performing asset in the past year and a half 🥲

Kuleshov Effect

"It is a mental phenomenon by which viewers derive more meaning from the interaction of two sequential shots than from a single shot in isolation."


Spaced Repitition

"Spaced repetition leverages a memory phenomenon called the spacing effect, which describes how our brains learn more effectively when we space out our learning over time."

  • I discovered Anki last year and it has helped me tremendously with my learning and being able to bond with med students

US Healthcare Cost Breakdown vs Similar Countries


  • I spent an entire weekend reading about why the US spends almost double on healthcare but has worse results. The common rhetoric is administration and high drug prices, but while they are high, the biggest factor is egregious in-patient and out-patient care. US doctors/nurses are the highest paid in the world for a reason

Once again, not an exhaustive list of everything I learned in 2021, but just the ones that made the cut for me to write down in my notes app.