Why this successful climate writer quit to become an electrician. "Instead of writing about the need to electrify everything, Nate is doing that work himself."
What Number Comes Next? The Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences Knows. Warning: I lost a good 30 minutes browsing the encyclopedia this morning...
On anger management. "Anger does not take place in a void. It is largely a moral emotion, most frequently triggered by perceived injustice, and profoundly important for social change." P.S. read to the end of this...

Making A Solar-Powered Billion-Year Lego Clock

posted by Jason Kottke Jun 01, 2023

Ok this is kind of incredible: Brick Technology built a solar-powered Lego clock that will keep time for a billion years. It's got various displays in the style of an astronomical clock so you can keep track of seconds, hours, months, centuries, and even galactical years (the amount of time the Sun takes to orbit the center of the galaxy). The clock is powered by solar energy, and the solar cell is connected to the clock so that it tilts throughout the day to keep facing the sun.

This is a) an extremely accessible explanation of how clocks work, b) the nerdiest thing ever, and c) I love it so much. Even if you're not a Lego fan, you should watch this. (For more on how clocks work, check out Bartosz Ciechanowski's excellent explainer on mechanical watches.)

The obvious thing that sprung to mind watching this was The Clock of the Long Now, a 10,000-year clock being constructed inside a mountain in West Texas. But I also thought of Arthur Ganson's Machine With Concrete, which utilizes extreme gear ratios to turn an input of 200 rpm into a gear that turns only once every 2 trillion years. That's slow enough that the final gear is actually embedded in concrete and it doesn't affect the operation of the machine at all.

See also Here's What a Googol-to-One Gear Ratio Looks Like, 20 Mechanical Principles Combined in a Useless Lego Machine, and A Lego 5-Speed Manual Transmission.

According to this analysis of excess deaths by The Economist, roughly 3 million people globally per year are still dying because of Covid-19. "At current rates, it would kill more people in the next eight years than in the past three."
From journalist & author Melissa Gira Grant, a list of recommended media about American fascism.
The Santa Clara Principles outlines standards regarding transparency and accountability in content moderation for social media platforms.
"A beluga whale long believed to be a Russian spy..." Excuse me, what?!
Seeing Beyond the Beauty of a Vermeer. Teju Cole visits the unprecedented Rijksmuseum exhibition and finds the trouble in Vermeer's paintings. What a great read.
What Happened When I Stopped Drinking. "I put down the bottle and picked up everything else."
How the U.S. Almost Became a Nation of Hippo Ranchers. "In 1910, a failed House bill sought to increase the availability of low-cost meat by importing hippopotamuses that would be killed to make 'lake cow bacon.'"
You can buy a 4-inch cube of tungsten online for only $4000. Tungsten is one of the densest metals so this small cube (about the size of a pint of ice cream) weighs a whopping 41.6 pounds.

Wonderful Animated Soccer Vignettes

  A classic post from Sep 2013

Richard Swarbrick makes these great impressionist animations of sports events, mostly soccer but also cricket and basketball. Here's one to get you started...the 5-0 drubbing FC Barcelona handed to Real Madrid during a 2010 Clasico:

It's amazing how much Swarbrick's illustrations communicate with so few strokes...Mourinho's face is my favorite. Here's the actual match for comparison purposes. And here's Maradona's sublime goal against England in the 1986 World Cup (original video):

You can find many other examples of Swarbrick's work on his web site and on his YouTube channel. (via @dunstan)

Copenhagen's Circle Bridge

posted by Jason Kottke May 30, 2023

Copenhagen's Circle Bridge, which crosses a canal and is made up of several circles

In 2015, artist Olafur Eliasson designed the Circle Bridge (Cirkelbroen) to span a canal in central Copenhagen. The pedestrian bridge was designed to slow people down a bit:

The bridge is made of five circular platforms, and it contributes to a larger circle that will form a pedestrian route around Copenhagen Harbour, where people — cycling, running, walking — can see the city from a very different perspective. As many as 5,000 people will cross this bridge each day. I hope that these people will use Cirkelbroen as a meeting place, and that the zigzag design of the bridge will make them reduce their speed and take a break. To hesitate on our way is to engage in bodily thought. I see such introspection as an essential part of a vibrant city.

Small boats can travel easily under the bridge but a section of the bridge also swings gracefully away to let larger boats pass. (via greg allen)

Wow, this report about the toxic work environment of Lost is tough to read. "I can only describe it as hazing. It was very much middle school and relentlessly cruel. And I've never heard that much racist commentary in one room in my career."