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The History of Tetris World Records

I know a lot of you probably aren’t going to take me up on this, but I recommend watching Summoning Salt’s feature-length documentary on the history of Tetris world records. I started watching in the other night and once I got going, I couldn’t stop. Some of plot points were familiar — Why Are Humans Suddenly Getting Better at Tetris?, A Revolutionary NES Tetris Technique Gaining Steam, The Greatest Classic Tetris Game of All Time, 13-Year-Old Becomes First to Beat NES Tetris, Another Tetris World Record Completely Demolished! What Is Going On?! — but seeing it all put together in one engaging & informative narrative was really compelling.

Watching these videos about Tetris (and also Super Mario Bros), what strikes me most is how clearly you can see, over and over again, how innovation works:

This is a great illustration of innovation in action. There’s a clearly new invention, based on prior effort (standing on the shoulders of giants), that allows for greater capabilities and, though it’s still too early to tell in this case, seems likely to shift power to people who utilize it. And it all takes place inside a small and contained world where we can easily observe the effects.

And it’s a credit to Summoning Salt and other video producers that this process is so clear to the viewer:

In the video analysis of this speedrun, if you forget the video game part of it and all the negative connotations you might have about that, you get to see the collective effort of thousands of people over more than three decades who have studied a thing right down to the bare metal so that one person, standing on the shoulders of giants in a near-perfect performance, can do something no one has ever done before. Progress and understanding by groups of people happens exactly like this in manufacturing, art, science, engineering, design, social science, literature, and every other collective human endeavor…it’s what humans do. But since playing sports and video games is such a universal experience and you get to see it all happening right on the screen in front of you, it’s perhaps easier to grok SMB speedrun innovations more quickly than, say, how assembly line manufacturing has improved since 2000, recent innovations in art, how we got from the flip phone to iPhone X in only 10 years, or how CRISPR happened.

I was talking to my son about this video yesterday and of course he’d already seen it — “I love Summoning Salt’s videos” — and I loved his take on the way in which the NES version of Tetris was unwittingly challenging these players beyond what the game’s makers had ever envisioned. Where the designers may have just kept increasing the speed of the game as the levels got higher (boring!), the game glitches and throws all these interesting challenges at players: tile colors you can barely see, game-ending kill screens that you can pick your way around, a level with 810 lines, and the game resetting after hundreds of levels. So instead of players just having to get faster (which they have definitely done), they’ve had to navigate all of these other obstacles as well. (thx, nathan)

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The History of Tetris World Records
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Here's something that I believe without any evidence to back it up: chocolate cookies taste better without chocolate chips in them. (I do...
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On Sports Parenting
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One Strange Side Effect of Parenting
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In case anyone else is on a bedside lamp acquisition journey, I got some ideas out of this Strategist post, as well as from this...
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Addicted to Exercise?
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Danny MacAskill Goes Mountain Biking With Friends in Scotland
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The 40-hour workweek isn't "a biological necessity," per a recent episode of History Unplugged. "In fact, for much of human history, 15...
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Whoa, classic console emulators work on Apple TV now? (In other words, you can play old school NES/SNES/N64 games on your Apple TV.) You...
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Trailer for Season Two of The Rings of Power
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Diary Comics, Dec. 26-28
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Scope of Work is holding a contest around the idea of "umarelling", the act of pausing to observe construction work in progress.
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“A [2022] report adds to a growing line of research showing that police departments don’t solve serious or violent crimes with any regularity, and in fact, spend very little time on crime control.” Instead: “conducting racially biased stops”.

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Here’s something that I believe without any evidence to back it up: chocolate cookies taste better without chocolate chips in them. (I do prefer CCCs with sparse chips though.)

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Whoa, classic console emulators work on Apple TV now? (In other words, you can play old school NES/SNES/N64 games on your Apple TV.) You can even connect a controller.

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Danny MacAskill Goes Mountain Biking With Friends in Scotland

Danny MacAskill is known ‘round these parts for his jaw-dropping trials riding (I first posted about him 15 years ago) but this ride is a little bit different. MacAskill and four friends take to the local mountain bike trails around Inverness, Scotland on ebikes and have a grand old time. For me, listening to the banter was just as entertaining as watching the riding — it’s obvious they’re just out there having a blast.

P.S. I was also trying to calculate how fast I would die if I tried riding some of that stuff and the answer is “almost immediately”. Yiiiikes.

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This week in crossword history (1924): Cross-Word Puzzlers to Hold [10-Letter Word Meaning Meet]. “Enthusiastic followers of tiddley-winks, jackstraws, parchesi […] have not yet announced the dates of their respective conventions.”

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In case anyone else is on a bedside lamp acquisition journey, I got some ideas out of this Strategist post, as well as from this Architectural Digest roundup.

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One Strange Side Effect of Parenting

The other day while singing to my daughter, I realized that I can, in fact, sing better than I used to. I think the sheer amount of “Wheels on the Bus” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” did the trick: I enjoy it more now and feel like I’m hitting more of the right notes. I’m still not “good,” but I’m not bad, and I’m less embarrassed to be caught singing in front of other people. It reminds me of the Terry Gross detail that she took voice lessons not to become a better singer but simply so she could sing along more pleasurably to music she loved.

Has anyone else been singing anything fun lately? For their kids, or in any other situation? I’ve been singing a lot of Carrie Anne, by The Hollies.

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Addicted to Exercise?

legsrunning2.jpg
If you don’t like exercise or are getting sick of your workout routine, a few recent essays will keep you in good company. Last fall, Aja Frost wrote I Was (Am?) Addicted to Exercise for the newsletter Platonic Love:

I never deviated from or relaxed my exercise routine; it was sacred. As long as I exercised, my body wouldn’t slip back into its old state. I’d be safe.

And last week, Rod Gilchrist wrote I Was a Running Addict for The Guardian:

The trouble is, once you’ve got the running bug, it’s hard to scale back, even when your body demands it.

And a few days after that, The Guardian also ran I Thought Fitness Was My Superpower. Then I Realized It Was a Ball and Chain, by Sam Pyrah:

I tried to push through it – until, suddenly, neither my body nor my brain could find a reason to carry on. I slowed to a walk. I stopped my watch. I sat down and had a little cry, the sweat drying on my back. Then I walked home.

The essays remind me of a concept called Positive Addiction (and a 1985 book of the same name) — the idea that it’s possible to be truly addicted to things that are good for you. I’m an almost-daily runner, and I do understand how it could be described as addiction, although for now I just love it. Maybe a key is that I don’t run especially long distances. And it’s a relatively new habit. But I guess there’s (hopefully) still plenty of time for it to sour.

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The 40-hour workweek isn’t “a biological necessity,” per a recent episode of History Unplugged. “In fact, for much of human history, 15 hours … was the standard.” I haven’t listened yet, but 15 hours sounds pleasant.

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Diary Comics, Dec. 26-28

It’s another Thursday Afternoon With Edith! In these comics from last winter, our baby was just born. (Previously.)

dec26intro.jpg
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dec27.jpg
dec28.jpg

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Cicadas and Prime Numbers

You may have heard that this year, for the first time since 1803, two different broods of cicadas will emerge at the same time.

This year, though, will be a rare event. Two groups, or “broods,” are waking up during the same season. There will likely be billions, if not trillions, of the insects.

There’s the 17-year-group called Brood XIII, which is concentrated in northern Illinois (brown on the map below), and the 13-year clutch, Brood XIX, which will emerge in southern Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and throughout the Southeast.

You may have noticed the lengths of both periodicities (13, 17) are prime numbers — and that does not appear to be a coincidence. Scientists haven’t nailed down an exact cause, but one hypothesis has to do with predator cycles:

According to the paleontologist Stephen J. Gould, in his essay “Of Bamboo, Cicadas, and the Economy of Adam Smith,” these kind of boom-and-bust population cycles can be devastating to creatures with a long development phase. Since most predators have a two-to-ten-year population cycle, the twelve-year cicadas would be a feast for any predator with a two-, three-, four-, or six-year cycle. By this reasoning, any cicada with a development span that is easily divisible by the smaller numbers of a predator’s population cycle is vulnerable.

Prime numbers, however, can only be divided by themselves and one; they cannot be evenly divided into smaller integers. Cicadas that emerge at prime-numbered year intervals, like the seventeen-year Brood II set to swarm the East Coast, would find themselves relatively immune to predator population cycles, since it is mathematically unlikely for a short-cycled predator to exist on the same cycle. In Gould’s example, a cicada that emerges every seventeen years and has a predator with a five-year life cycle will only face a peak predator population once every eighty-five (5 x 17) years, giving it an enormous advantage over less well-adapted cicadas.

See also Long-lived insects raise prime riddle.

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The movies that influenced Star Wars, from Flash Gordon & Buck Rogers to The Hidden Fortress by Akira Kurosawa to The Searchers & Metropolis.

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Trailer for Season Two of The Rings of Power

I am apparently one of the few people who really liked the first season of the Lord of the Rings prequel series, The Rings of Power. I mean, it had its rough spots and maybe there was a little too much table-setting, but in general it left me wanting to see what was going to happen next. The trailer for season two just dropped and it looks pretty action-packed and stocked with characters & events that would be familiar to those who have read the main book series. Here’s the synopsis:

Sauron has returned. Cast out by Galadriel, without army or ally, the rising Dark Lord must now rely on his own cunning to rebuild his strength and oversee the creation of the Rings of Power, which will allow him to bind all the peoples of Middle-earth to his sinister will. Building on Season One’s epic scope and ambition, the new season plunges even its most beloved and vulnerable characters into a rising tide of darkness, challenging each to find their place in a world that is increasingly on the brink of calamity. Elves and dwarves, orcs and men, wizards and Harfoots… as friendships are strained and kingdoms begin to fracture, the forces of good will struggle ever more valiantly to hold on to what matters to them most of all… each other.

And they also released a behind-the-scenes look at the production of season two:

The second season of The Rings of Power premieres on August 29 on Amazon Prime.

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I Was Shot in Vermont. What if It Had Been in the West Bank? “Why did reporters…interview our mothers and take our portraits when young men my age have been shot at by snipers, detained indefinitely without trial and treated as a statistic?”


Scope of Work is holding a contest around the idea of “umarelling”, the act of pausing to observe construction work in progress.

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Pulitzer Prize in Fiction juror Michael Chabon recommended three non-winning books that he “deeply dug”: The Ice Harp (Norman Lock), After World (Debbie Urbanski), and Dearborn (Ghassan Zeinnedine).

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On Sports Parenting

I am a sports parent but have never been the type that lived through the achievements of their kids, but even so, there are parts of Rich Cohen’s The Sad Fate of the Sports Parent I identified with.

The end began like this: One evening, after the last game of the high-school season, I asked my son if he’d be trying out for spring league. For a youth-hockey kid, playing spring league is the equivalent of a minor-league pitcher playing winter ball in Mexico — so necessary as a statement of intent and means of improvement that forgoing it is like giving up “the path.” Rather than a simple affirmative nod, as I’d expected, I got these words: “I’m going to think about it.” Think about it? For me, this was the same as a girlfriend saying, “We need to talk.”

Only later did I realize that those words were the first move in a careful choreography. My son wanted to quit, but in a way that would not break my heart. He also didn’t want me to rant and rave and try to talk him out of it.

We had reversed roles. He was the adult. I was the child.

I find the life-long child/parent role-reversal dynamic endlessly fascinating. And also this bit:

He had no inherent genius for the game, but he loved it, and that love, which was his talent, and the corresponding desire to spend every free moment at the facility — the life of a rink rat — jumping onto the ice whenever an extra player was needed, shooting tape balls in the lobby, made him an asset. A kid can have all the skills, speed, size, and shot, but if he doesn’t want to be there, if he doesn’t love the game, it’s not going to work.

It was passion that got him onto the top teams (this was tier-two and tier-three hockey in Fairfield County, Connecticut) and thus sowed the seed that eventually became, for me, a bitter plant. His love for the game elevated him to the hypercompetitive, goal-fixated ranks, where it’s always about the next tryout and the next season, who will make it and, more important, who will be left behind. Irony: His love for the game had carried him to a level where no love is possible.

Both of my kids are skiers competing on a national level and they are definitely struggling with this — how do you balance the genuine love of a sport and competition with the fixation on goals & judging? When is it no longer worth it?

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Tracing the history of emoji, surprisingly, back to the 80s. “Once you accept that emoji existed in the 1980s, more things come to light.”

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Delia Brown’s Portraits

deliabrownjustineii.jpg

Thanks to the Instagram account New American Paintings, I recently came across the work of Los Angeles-based artist Delia Brown, including the above portrait, “Jai Maa! (Justine II),” which I love. A feature on Brown in Independent Art Fair magazine also includes an awesome painting of hers from 2000 called “What, Are You Jealous?” (probably NSFW).

Someday — someday! — I want to turn down an invitation to something because “I can’t, I’m sitting for my portrait at that time.”

Elsewhere in portraits: King Charles’s, by Jonathan Yeo. “In his interview with the BBC,” the NYT’s Vanessa Friedman writes, “Mr. Yeo noted that when the king first saw the painting, he was ‘initially mildly surprised by the strong color,’ which may be an understatement.”

Many more of Brown’s paintings can be found on her website and Instagram.

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Paul Ford writing about AI is a treat. “AI is, very simply, a totally shameless technology. It does everything badly and confidently. And I want to be it.”

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“My love of farm-fresh frozen confections does not outweigh my distaste for food poisoning — or bird flu.” Interesting look at the interstate raw milk trade.

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The Trailer for Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalopolis

Francis Ford Coppola has been making Megalopolis since 1983 and has self funded it “in part by the sale of a significant portion of the director’s wine empire”. But the trailer is finally here and it premieres at Cannes in two days’ time. Here’s a synopsis shared by Coppola himself:

A man balances precariously on a ledge high above a once-grand city in the opening scene of Francis Ford Coppola’s MEGALOPOLIS, and the movie that follows is — at least in part — about an entire civilization teetering on a similarly precarious ledge, devouring itself in a whirl of unchecked greed, self-absorption, and political propaganda, while a few bold dreamers push against the tide, striving to usher in a new dawn. The man is called Caesar (Adam Driver), like the Roman general who gave rise to the Roman Empire, Cesar the labor leader who organized California’s farm workers in the 1960s, and a few other notably great men of history. But he is also clearly an avatar of Coppola himself — a grand visionary witnessing a once-great thing (call it cinema if you must) withering before his very eyes and determined to revivify it. And, after decades of planning, MEGALOPOLIS the movie is the powerful elixir he has produced: a sweeping, big-canvas movie of provocative ideas and relentless cinematic invention that belies its maker’s 84 years of age.

Coppola seems to have been born-again by a strike of filmic lightning, and the movie — no, the experience (complete with in-theater “live cinema”) — that has emerged feels at once the work of a film-school wunderkind unbowed by notions of convention, but also the work of a wizened master who knows much about life and the ways of the world. To paraphrase Coppola himself speaking decades ago about his APOCALYPSE NOW, MEGALOPOLIS isn’t a movie about the end of the world as we know it, it is the end of the world as we know it. Only, where APOCALYPSE left us in a napalm-bombed fever-dream haze, MEGALOPOLIS, surprisingly and movingly, bestows on us a final image glowing with hope for the future.

You should also watch this clip of the film shared by Coppola, which reveals another aspect of the story:

This is either going to be amazing or a beautiful disaster, but either way I’m excited to see it…if they can find someone to distribute the film.

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TIL that some tiny bits of bitcoins are more valuable than others. “Those produced in the year bitcoin was created are considered vintage, like a fine wine. Other coveted sats were part of transactions made by bitcoin’s inventor.”

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Whoa, a 5500-piece Lego set of the tower of Barad-dûr from LoTR. According to The Verge, the eye lights up, there’s a Shelob inside, and you can stack multiple sets to make your tower taller.

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Google is replacing their search results with AI answers. There’s a very simple explanation for this: it’s better/cheaper to provide potentially wrong answers to keep you clicking within Google than it is to send you away for the right answers.

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Hot Frank Summer Starts Now!

cover of Frankenstein

Hey folks. I’ve posted a couple of times about Hot Frank Summer, the group read of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1831 edition) that some folks are doing on Bluesky. Well, it kicks off today. To participate, all you need to do is follow the reading schedule. If you don’t have a copy of the book yet, check out this free ebook version by Standard Ebooks — they even have a web version you can read on your phone or tablet (or Vision Pro, I guess?).

If you’d also like to discuss the book (and/or follow along with others discussing the book), there’s this feed on Bluesky. I found this little tidbit on the feed:

Frankenstein takes place in the mid-1790s and Moby Dick may take place as early as 1830, so it’s possible Captain Walton sailed with a young Ahab.

Someone needs to write that little crossover prequel.

Anyway, you can also use this comment thread as a place to discuss the book. I’m not sure how well it will work, but we can give it a try? I’d suggest not discussing anything ahead of the day’s reading, but other than that, let ‘er rip!

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Love this phrase: decanting groceries. “Do you really want to spend your one wild and precious life putting marshmallows in jars?”

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Hey, if you’re looking for a well-designed (and free!) ebook of Frankenstein for Hot Frank Summer (starting tomorrow!), check out this Standard Ebooks edition.

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Out Sick Today

sign that says 'it's been 0 days since I've taken a sick day'

Hey folks. I’ve been battling a wicked sore throat since Saturday; it keeps knocking me down and I keep getting back up but this morning it hissed STAY DOWN and I’m just going to listen to it. Hopefully I will be back with you tomorrow, but for now, I’m going to find some soup, read my book, watch the Spurs/Man City match, and not ride my bike, which is the thing I most want to do today. *sigh*

See you tomorrow, I hope!

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This is a good piece about third places (“settings a person frequents beyond their home & work”), their benefits, how to find/make your own, and the challenges people face in finding them. Do you have a third place?

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“Just 27% of civilian workers in the U.S. get paid family leave. Workers who can least afford to take unpaid time off are also the least likely to have access to paid leave.” Happy Mother’s Day! 🥴

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The Kids Are Right (and Alright)

Osita Nwanevu on the recent US campus protests:

The student left is the most reliably correct constituency in America. Over the past 60 years, it has passed every great moral test American foreign policy has forced upon the public, including the Vietnam war, the question of relations with apartheid South Africa, and the Iraq war. Student activists were at the heart of the black civil rights movement from the very beginning. To much derision and abuse, they pushed for more rights, protections and respect for women and queer people on their campuses than the wider world was long willing to provide. And over the past 20 years in particular, policymakers have arrived belatedly to stances on economic inequality, climate change, drug policy and criminal justice that putative radicals on campus took up long before them.

They have not always been right; even when right, their prescriptions for the problems they’ve identified and their means of directing attention to them have not always been prudent. But time and time and time again, the student left in America has squarely faced and expressed truths our politicians and all the eminent and eloquent voices of moderation in the press, in all of their supposed wisdom and good sense, have been unable or unwilling to see. Straining against an ancient and immortal prejudice against youth, it has made a habit of telling the American people, in tones that discomfit, what they need to hear before they are ready to hear it.

(via @anildash.com)


Lauren Groff has opened a bookstore called The Lynx. “As book bans surged across Florida, they decided that their town needed an independent bookstore where titles that had been purged from libraries and classrooms would be on prominent display.”

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Currently listening to Atavista, a “new” album from Childish Gambino (which he says is the “finished version” of an album he released in 2020 called 3.15.20).

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Incredible fact: none of the Big Three US automakers makes a sedan anymore. “That decision is bad news for road users, the environment, and budget-conscious consumers — and it may ultimately come around to bite Detroit.”

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The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson

Demon Of Unrest

Oh man, I screwed up big-time you guys and owe you an apology. The great Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City, The Splendid and the Vile, In the Garden of Beasts) came out with a new book two weeks ago and I somehow missed it! I almost shrieked when I saw it on the bookstore front table yesterday.

Anyway, the book is called The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War (bookshop.org). Here’s the synopsis:

On November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln became the fluky victor in a tight race for president. The country was bitterly at odds; Southern extremists were moving ever closer to destroying the Union, with one state after another seceding and Lincoln powerless to stop them. Slavery fueled the conflict, but somehow the passions of North and South came to focus on a lonely federal fortress in Charleston Harbor: Fort Sumter.

Master storyteller Erik Larson offers a gripping account of the chaotic months between Lincoln’s election and the Confederacy’s shelling of Sumter — a period marked by tragic errors and miscommunications, enflamed egos and craven ambitions, personal tragedies and betrayals. Lincoln himself wrote that the trials of these five months were “so great that, could I have anticipated them, I would not have believed it possible to survive them.”

With a movie out in theaters called Civil War and southern states once again agitating for “”“state’s rights”“” (I really can’t put enough exaggerated air-quotes around that phrase) in order to control bodily freedoms, The Demon of Unrest is really timely; Larson himself connects the events of the book with January 6th in a reader’s note:

I was well into my research on the saga of Fort Sumter and the advent of the American Civil War when the events of January 6, 2021, took place. As I watched the Capitol assault unfold on camera, I had the eerie feeling that present and past had merged. It is unsettling that in 1861 two of the greatest moments of national dread centered on the certification of the Electoral College vote and the presidential inauguration.

I was appalled by the attack, but also riveted. I realized that the anxiety, anger, and astonishment that I felt would certainly have been experienced in 1860-1861 by vast numbers of Americans. With this in mind, I set out to try to capture the real suspense of those long-ago months when the country lurched toward catastrophe, propelled by hubris, duplicity, false honor, and an unsatisfiable craving on the part of certain key actors for personal attention and affirmation. Many voices at the time of Sumter warned of civil war, but few had an inkling of what that might truly mean, and certainly none would have believed that any such war could take the lives of 750,000 Americans.

History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme. So anyway, I’m 60+ pages in and can already recommend it — you can get The Demon of Unrest at Amazon or bookshop.org.

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Geologist finds setting for Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. “Art historians said Leonardo always used his imagination, but you can give this picture to any geologist in the world and they’ll say what I’m saying about Lecco.”

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A new LoTR movie is coming: Andy Serkis is starring and directing in Lord of the Rings: The Hunt for Gollum. Peter Jackson is producing and Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens are writing the script.

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The Sky Was Purple and Red and Yellow and On Fire

a photo of the aurora borealis above windmills

a photo of the aurora borealis above some mountains

There was a big solar storm this weekend and photos of the aurora borealis took over social media; it was delightful. For round-ups, check out the NY Times, the Guardian, @itsjackcohen, PBS NewsHour, Spaceweather.com, Forbes, and MSN.

The photos above are by Albert Dros and Sean O’ Riordan (prints here). O’ Riordan took his shot in Tasmania and actually had to tone it down for publication:

When the clouds are glowing red you know something is off the charts, I tried my best to desaturate this and make it look some bit like a photo and not a science fiction scene!

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Patriarchy According to The Barbie Movie

Using the Barbie movie and other media (movies, TV shows) as a guide, Pop Culture Detective delves into what “patriarchy” actually means (mirrors: Patreon & archive.org).

We’re going to use the movie as a sort of primer to help explain what patriarchy actually is, what it isn’t, and how it ends up harming everyone, including men. To have any kind of productive conversation, we have to get over that defensiveness that so many men feel whenever they they come across the word “patriarchy”. Contrary to popular belief, patriarchy is not a synonym for men, nor is it a code word for masculinity, and it certainly has nothing to do with hating men.

The bibliography in the description of the video lists three books if you’d like to do some reading on the topic:

(via waxy)

P.S. While I was watching this video, YouTube removed it after Warner Brothers “blocked it on copyright grounds”. The channel is challenging the takedown and has uploaded it to Patreon and archive.org in the meantime. (I’m leaving the embed in case it comes back to life.) This bullshit is so irritating — Google just totally letting massive media corporations decide what’s copyright infringing without recourse. And Warner (and Gerwig & Robbie too to some lesser extent)…you made the fucking movie to get a message across and to get people talking and someone posts a thoughtful video essay about the central issue of the film and you fucking take it down?


We Will Teach You How to Read | We Will Teach You How to Read. “This is our story, simplified: Life. Loss. Transformation. Love. Death. Iteration.”

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A lovely essay: Variations on the Theme of Silence. “I’ve begun to realize that you can listen to silence and learn from it. It has a quality and a dimension all its own.”

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Seabike is an “underwater mobility device” that can propel you through the water at “superhuman speed”. You pedal with your feet, driving a small propellor.

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NASA Visualization of Flying Into a Supermassive Black Hole

NASA used one of their supercomputers to model what it would look like if you flew into a supermassive black hole. (You can watch the simulation in a 360° view on YouTube. I bet it looks great on a VR rig like Apple Vision Pro.)

The movies begin with the camera located nearly 400 million miles (640 million kilometers) away, with the black hole quickly filling the view. Along the way, the black hole’s disk, photon rings, and the night sky become increasingly distorted — and even form multiple images as their light traverses the increasingly warped space-time.

In real time, the camera takes about 3 hours to fall to the event horizon, executing almost two complete 30-minute orbits along the way. But to anyone observing from afar, it would never quite get there. As space-time becomes ever more distorted closer to the horizon, the image of the camera would slow and then seem to freeze just shy of it. This is why astronomers originally referred to black holes as “frozen stars.”

At the event horizon, even space-time itself flows inward at the speed of light, the cosmic speed limit. Once inside it, both the camera and the space-time in which it’s moving rush toward the black hole’s center — a one-dimensional point called a singularity, where the laws of physics as we know them cease to operate.

“Once the camera crosses the horizon, its destruction by spaghettification is just 12.8 seconds away,” Schnittman said. From there, it’s only 79,500 miles (128,000 kilometers) to the singularity. This final leg of the voyage is over in the blink of an eye.

Black holes: so cool. (via the kid should see this)

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A neat technique to rebuild roads using a movable temporary bridge — traffic goes over and the work happens in the shade.

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A love letter to bicycle maintenance and repair. “Learning to fix bicycles has changed my outlook on manual labor, on the nature of work, and ultimately on life itself.”

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Miranda Lambert’s “Wranglers” & Chappell Roan’s “Good Luck, Babe!”

Here are a couple newish lyric videos that share a nice spirit of “Good riddance!!!”-ness. I learned of the Chappell Roan video from a comment in a post from earlier this week (comment of the week?? by my standards, anyway), and I love it. (Here’s Roan’s awesome Tiny Desk Concert, by the way.) And the Miranda Lambert reminds me of a specific situation in my own life and makes me smile. 🔥👖

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AI Copilots Are Changing How Coding Is Taught; they can “free up time for us to teach higher-level thinking — for example, how to design software, what is the right problem to solve, and what are the solutions.”

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Some tips for long walks. “We’re prone to lean forward when we walk. Over long distances, this wreaks havoc on one’s lower back and hips. As such, ‘head over hips’ is something to be conscious of.”

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