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  Quick Links for February 2020

Mathematician, physicist, and technologist Freeman Dyson has died at the age of 96.  nytimes.com
The church in a gang-controlled area of San Salvador where ex-gang members run a bakery. "During an interview, one man remarked that I'd probably never killed someone before; I confirmed that was true."  ameliarayno.com
Simpsons characters drawn with pure CSS. The eyes blink!  pattle.github.io
A visualization of how coronavirus cases spiked in South Korea, linked to Patient #31. "Doctors at the hospital suggested she be tested, as she had a high fever. Instead, the woman went to a buffet lunch with a friend at a hotel."  graphics.reuters.com
The Opera Database: find scores, libretti, and synopses for thousands of operas free online  openculture.com
This is a really great little read by @lindsaycrouse (for reasons you probably don't expect): My Ex-Boyfriend’s New Girlfriend Is Lady Gaga.  nytimes.com
A ranking by a planetary scientist of the "ringed planet" emojis from MS, FB, Apple, etc. and how close they are to Saturn. "Tilt: 45°, should be 26.7°"  twitter.com
Are you reading Laura Olin's newsletter? It's one of my favorites, published every Thurs. Here is this week's installment.  mailchi.mp
52 interesting things, like "people who pray for hurricane victims donate less toward their recovery" and "almost nobody living in Europe 4,500 years ago was an ancestor of modern Europeans".  kenthendricks.com
RIP Michael Hertz, whose firm designed the NYC subway map. "All New Yorkers carry some image of Mike's subway map in their heads."  nytimes.com
Bob Iger has stepped down as Disney CEO, effective immediately. The company has been incredibly successful during his tenure.  axios.com
Interesting research on "megasites", ancient sprawling cities that were some of the earliest known urban areas and that were less politically centralized and more spread out than other ancient cities.  sciencenews.org
"Could a new generation of innovative propulsion technologies that harness the power of the wind help the shipping industry clean up its act?"  theengineer.co.uk
Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape. "A jury convicted Mr. Weinstein of felony sex crime and rape, but acquitted him of the most serious charges against him, predatory sexual assault."  nytimes.com
You’re Likely to Get the Coronavirus. "Lipsitch predicts that, within the coming year, some 40 to 70 percent of people around the world will be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19."  theatlantic.com
A rare bit of good news regarding climate change: a 20-year study concludes that melting Arctic permafrost is unlikely to release mass amounts of methane into the atmosphere.  scripps.ucsd.edu
NASA reports that mathematician Katherine Johnson, profiled in the recent movie Hidden Figures, has passed away at the age of 101.  nasa.gov
Season 3 of Babylon Berlin premieres on Netflix on March 1.  netflix.com
The trailer for season 2 of HBO's My Brilliant Friend series based on Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels. I loved season 1. March 16, can't wait!  youtube.com
This is sad: Michael Hughes died soon after the launch of his self-built rocket while filming a reality TV show for the "Science" Channel. He was trying to prove the Earth was flat.  slate.com
Was Leonardo DiCaprio Actually a Star Before Titanic? What an odd question. The answer is obviously yes – and Titanic made him go supernova.  slate.com
McDonald's is selling scented candles that smell like their food: "Sesame Seed Bun", "Cheese", and "100% Fresh Beef" ("This smells like Upton Sinclair's The Jungle.").  eater.com
Four Counter-Narratives for Graphic Design History  vimeo.com
Being a Hollywood assistant sounds terrible. "I don’t understand how a man can treat a person who has access to all of his bank accounts, emails, and Viagra prescriptions so poorly."  vulture.com
Oh no they're making a third season of Westworld? Spoiler alert: this show isn't going anywhere and we're going to be disappointed in the end.  youtube.com
Surprisingly frank interview with Ben Affleck about his divorce and alcoholism. "Shame is really toxic. There is no positive byproduct of shame. It’s just stewing in a toxic, hideous feeling of low self-worth and self-loathing."  nytimes.com
We worry about the effect of deepfake videos on politics & journalism, but 96% of the total deepfake videos online involve the sexual exploitation & abuse of women (e.g. "face-swap" videos & photos in which clothes are digitally removed).  deeptracelabs.com
Larry Tesler, inventor of cut & paste, passed away this week at the age of 74.  cultofmac.com
Corporate Buzzwords Are How Workers Pretend to Be Adults  theatlantic.com
Using a "nanocarpentry" technique borrowed from material science, tiny grains of Moon dust can be extensively analyzed to "find things you wouldn't find otherwise and only use up a small bit of the sample".  fieldmuseum.org
Historian and political scientist Stephen Walt: "After impeachment, the president has been passing most of the checkpoints on the way to authoritarianism." And: "There are some flashing red lights on the dashboard."  foreignpolicy.com
Robin Sloan writes about the app he built for his family to use, likening his programming style to that of a home cook.  robinsloan.com
A space tourism company is partnering with SpaceX to send 4 paying customers into orbit for 3-5 days (40-50 orbits). Price rumored to be "not dramatically less" than $50 million per person.  spaceflightnow.com
"Has Britain finally lost its marbles?" The British Museum may have to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece under the UK's new Brexit-induced trade agreement with the EU.  artnews.com
Wikipedia article titles that are singable to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme song, incl. "Microsoft Solutions Framework", "Side Impact Protection System", and "Lincoln County, South Dakota"  twitter.com
The best hike in all 50 states  outsideonline.com
Back to the Future, but with Tesla's Cybertruck  youtube.com
Almost 120 years after the invention of powered flight, no one can completely explain why planes stay in the air.  scientificamerican.com
In Focus is featuring photo stories of all 50 states this year. This week's installment is Vermont! Lots of fall foliage, water, green, and snow.  theatlantic.com
In 1974, Jack Nicholson found out that the woman he thought was his sister had actually been his mother.  snopes.com
Yale study shows that a single-payer universal healthcare system (like Medicare for All) for the US would save 68,000 lives and $450 billion per year.  thelancet.com
Backgammon legend Matvey Natanzon (aka Falafel) has died. This 2013 New Yorker profile of Falafel is supremely entertaining.  newyorker.com
Researchers have discovered a T-cell found in human blood that can target cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells alone. The hope is that it can be used to develop a universal cancer therapy.  bbc.com
This camera test provides a very short glimpse of Robert Pattinson as Batman (for a movie to be released in 2021)  vimeo.com
Printing Money, a visualization of minimum wage vs a Fortune 500 CEO's salary vs Facebook's revenue, etc.  neal.fun
I've always wondered how online fighting games maintain fairness & keep players in-sync over the network (despite lag, etc.); this is a comprehensive and fascinating explanation.  arstechnica.com
An interesting look at how Costco can "sell things for the lowest prices and step on the least amount of toes" and remain both a "crowd favorite and mothership of bottomless consumerism".  bryanlehrer.com
"Children can foster climate change concern among their parents". Daughters were particularly effective in shifting perspectives and male conservative parents "more than doubled their concern level".  nature.com
TIL that nudists refer to non-nudists as "textiles".  nytimes.com
Simulcast is an upcoming album from Tycho and is an instrumental companion to their July 2019 release, Weather.  tycho.bandcamp.com
New Nicolas Cage movie features Nicolas Cage playing Nicolas Cage. Malkovich?  deadline.com
"No person who was born blind has ever been diagnosed with schizophrenia."  vice.com
Trailer for The Jesus Rolls, a sequel (of sorts) to The Big Lebowski featuring John Turturro's Jesus Quintana character. Turturro stars & directs. Early reviews aren't great.  youtube.com
A map from Johns Hopkins showing COVID-19 (Wuhan coronavirus) cases, updated frequently.  gisanddata.maps.arcgis.com
Li Wenliang, a doctor in Wuhan, China, tried to get the word out about the coronavirus but was reprimanded at work and by police, died last week due to complications of a coronavirus infection.  newyorker.com
Superb notebooks recording 30 years of meals through gorgeous illustrations. "Kobayashi’s pen has accounted for every last spring onion and grain of rice, for the sheer pleasure of tasting life twice."  messynessychic.com
“Archaeologists believe the object, made from swirling blue and white glass with a small ‘crown’ of white glass droplets, is a gaming piece from the Viking board game hnefatafl (‘king’s table’), or a local version of the game.”  theguardian.com
Stunning Earth photography by Russian Cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin who also happens to have spend 672 days in space.  mossandfog.com
Shipping used plastic bottles sourced from remote islands seems counter productive, but an interesting manufacturing and "sustainability" experiment.  cnn.com
This has been featured on the blog in the past but it's always fun and very impressive to see Justin Obeirne's super detailed looks at Apple map expansions. This time the Jan 30th update which now covers 99.8% of the U.S.  justinobeirne.com
A Russian satellite is closely shadowing a US spy satellite, possibly to determine the aperture and resolution of the cameras, and it might have a radio-frequency probe to listen to faint signals to deduce what kinds of computer processes are done onboard.  technologyreview.com
Troubling. “Essentially, we're taking terra firma and making it terra soupy.”  wired.com
The kids are alright. "Teenagers are using group accounts to flood Instagram with random user data that can't be tied to a single person."  cnet.com
Breathtaking botanical animation with a hint of old-school encyclopedia illustrations. "Growing, blooming, rooting. Soil aeration, pollination. Enduring wind, rain, and pollution, dispersing seeds, and growing anew."  thekidshouldseethis.com
Meditation Barbie. Really. "Can it be those things? Yes. Do we need to feed kids a message that self-care looks a certain way or comes with expensive bath bombs, at an age when they'd be just as satisfied playing with the box Barbie came in? Probably not."  refinery29.com
My Culture Is Not Super Bowl Entertainment. "Chiefs fans will don headdresses and mark themselves with red paint to perform the 'tomahawk chop'". We’ve seen the best and absolute bottom-feeding worst of sports fandom this week.  nytimes.com
If you like fancypants books, Taschen has a sale on through Sunday; books are "anywhere from 25% to 75% off".  openculture.com
January 2020 Archives »