things I learned this week

Last week, I promised you a new series of posts called What I Learned Today. The ramp-up to gathering content for this hasn’t been quite what I’d hoped, mostly because I haven’t learned to write down the things that I have learned. But I do not return empty handed. Here are some things I learned – and wrote down – this week. I don’t think the date of each item matters.

  • In Yemen, 80% of the men and half of the women chew an indigenous herb called khat. (Pronounced cat.) I learned about this on ABC News, and you can watch the report here.

    You will hear the reporter and an American military officer say that everybody chews this legal narcotic, that it grows everywhere, and that 50% of the income in this extremely poor country goes to buy it.

    Question: if it grows everywhere, and it’s legal why do they have to buy it? Why don’t they just wander outside and pick some and chomp it up? For that matter, if somebody provided it to them free, that would free up 50% of the national economy. I mean, I can’t imagine that would result in more of them being stoned on Khat.

  • I learned how to set the default font in MS Word 2003. When you start a new document in Word 2003, the normal document template sets your default font as Times New Roman. I prefer Arial – the font in which this post is published – for my everyday writing. This little article on Microsoft Web site explains how to make that change.

  • I learned how to create and customize a new toolbar in OpenOffice Writer. If you need to know that, send me an e-mail. There’s a link in the right column.

  • I was down in the garage the other day, and a neighbor told me that much of the world’s natural cork comes from cork oak forests on the Iberian Peninsula. It’s true!

Well, that’s some things. I hope you found them informative. I’ll keep trying to learn stuff. But I don’t think I’m going to save them up anymore. If I learn anything, I’ll just post it.

Time for dinner.

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