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  Quick Links for April 2020

Armed terrorists menacing legislators in state capitol buildings is pretty much what the Second Amendment had in mind, right?  twitter.com
Modern pattycake  youtube.com
Instructions for building buckyballs & "Charmin nanotubes" out of cardboard toilet paper tubes.  observablehq.com
This is fascinating: mutations in the SARS-CoV-2 genome have allowed scientists to track the spread of the virus around the world. Seattle/SF viruses came from China, but NYC's came mainly from Europe.  nytimes.com
The Nude Selfie Is Now High Art. "It has become an act of resilience in isolation, a way to seduce without touch."  nytimes.com
A group of players is building a 1:1 scale model of the entire Earth in Minecraft, aided by a mod that converts geographical map data to Minecraft terrain.  vice.com
Metallica is uploading videos of some of their past concerts to YouTube, including a 1991 show taken from "a dusty old VHS tape".  openculture.com
For his 68th birthday, Kevin Kelly shares 68 bits of unsolicited advice. "Gratitude will unlock all other virtues and is something you can get better at."  kk.org
Why the Coronavirus Is So Confusing. I found this "here's what we know so far" piece by Ed Yong on the pandemic to be helpful.  theatlantic.com
From Nature, a quick summary of the various approaches being used to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2. Over 90 vaccines are currently in development.  nature.com
A timeline visualization of how the questions that make up the US Census have changed over the years.  pudding.cool
The Pandemic Shows What Cars Have Done to Cities. "Along streets suddenly devoid of traffic, pedestrians get a fresh look at all the space that motor vehicles have commandeered."  theatlantic.com
The central bank in the Nintendo game Animal Crossing has slashed interest rates to curtail fraud, which has increased speculation in the turnip commodities market.  ft.com
How the pandemic will change American retail. "The big will get bigger as mom-and-pops perish and shopping goes virtual. In the short term, our cities will become more boring."  theatlantic.com
The cast of The Goonies reunite via video chat and are joined by special guests Steven Spielberg & Cyndi Lauper.  youtube.com
9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen. "Schools can open up, but some parents might still choose to keep their children at home."  npr.org
Missed this news last summer: Madeline Miller's Circe is being turned into a series for HBO Max. I *loved* the book.  deadline.com
New video from @TheeNerdwriter about Alan Moore's seminal Marvelman comic, which helped to usher in the "superheroes in the real world" era of comics.  youtube.com
The Boston Globe ran 21 pages of death notices in the Sunday edition this weekend. That's 3X more than last year at this time.  bostonglobe.com
Also from the Netherlands: Amsterdam will use the "doughnut" economic model to rebuild the city in the wake of Covid-19. "The goal of economic activity should be about meeting the core needs of all but within the means of the planet."  theguardian.com
A manifesto for economic change after the Covid-19 crisis by a group of Dutch economists. "2) Build an economic framework focused on redistribution, which establishes a universal basic income..."  twitter.com
Global coronavirus death toll could be 60% higher than reported. "Excess mortality has risen most steeply in places suffering the worst Covid-19 outbreaks, suggesting most of these deaths are directly related to the virus..."  ft.com
7 things we must do before we open up America, based on advice from experts who have had the most success (and learned the most from failure) in combating Covid-19. Test, trace, and isolate, but also "don't try to go back to 'normal'".  twitter.com
On this episode of Some Good News, John Krasinski enlists Guy Fieri, Martha Stewart, David Chang, and Stanley Tucci to help out with some quarantine cooking.  youtube.com
Imagineering in a Box, a Khan Academy lesson from Disney's Imagineering team on how to design theme parks.  khanacademy.org
The Manifesto of the Idle Parent. "We pledge to leave our children alone (that should mean they leave us alone too)."  instagram.com
People who survived severe Covid-19 infections will experience chronic health problems, PTSD, cognitive decline, etc. that will last for months and years. "I worry that...the virus will cast a long shadow in its wake."  newyorker.com
After closing her 20-year-old restaurant Prune due to the pandemic, chef Gabrielle Hamilton wonders if it has a place in NYC anymore. "The restaurant as we know it is no longer viable on its own."  nytimes.com
Comet 2I/Borisov is just the second known interstellar visitor to our solar system. Hubble data indicates the carbon monoxide-rich comet may have originated "from a circumstellar disk around a class of star called a cool red dwarf".  hubblesite.org
"This aggressive virus is making us confront the reality of death every day, but our culture doesn't sensationalize the elderly and immunocompromised fatalities like the younger ones."  vox.com
On the surprising intimacy of virtual communication. "The unfamiliar intimacy of online classes makes the attention to each student feel more live and personalized, not less."  newyorker.com
Dr. James Hamblin on why some people with Covid-19 get sicker than others. "There's a big difference in how people handle this virus. It's very unusual. None of this variability really fits with any other diseases we're used to dealing with."  theatlantic.com
Craig Mod wrote an account of his 8-day walk along the historic Ise-ji pilgrimage route. He begins: "Allow me to share what I love about a good walk in Japan..."  walkkumano.com
The Onion: Man Not Sure Why He Thought Most Psychologically Taxing Situation Of His Life Would Be The Thing To Make Him Productive.  local.theonion.com
Sean Woods rides around NYC during quarantine, documenting the uncomfortable silence of the city for Rolling Stone. "The city has the edge of the Seventies or Eighties — when crime and crack dominated life here."  rollingstone.com
To prevent food waste and use up leftover veggies & scraps, invent your own pesto.  seriouseats.com
Results from a working paper suggest that Fox News host Sean Hannity, who called the Covid-19 pandemic a "hoax", helped spread the disease: "approximately 30% more COVID-19 cases on March 14, and 21% more COVID-19 deaths on March 28".  vox.com
Indie production company A24 is auctioning off items from its movies and TV shows to benefit NYC orgs hit hard by Covid-19, including stuff from Midsommar, The Lighthouse, and Uncut Gems (KG's jersey and KMH merch).  indiewire.com
How to make ice cream without an ice cream machine  blog.milkmadeicecream.com
Vinyl Nation, a documentary on the resurgence of records and music fans' enduring love of vinyl.  vinylnationfilm.com
This Website Will Self Destruct. "You can send me messages using the form below. If I go 24 hours without receiving a message, I'll permanently self-destruct, and everything will be wiped from my database."  thiswebsitewillselfdestruct.com
Tracking "excess deaths" provides a more accurate picture of the toll of the Covid-19 pandemic. "In New York City, the number [of daily deaths] is now four times the normal amount."  nytimes.com
A list of Unexpected Movie Masterpieces to Watch in Quarantine.  theatlantic.com
Zeynep Tufekci writes about the problems with the World Health Organization. "It is also true that in the run-up to this pandemic, the WHO failed the world in many ways", mainly because it lacks independence.  theatlantic.com
We Are Living in a Failed State. "The crisis demanded a response that was swift, rational, and collective. [The US responded with] shoddy infrastructure and a dysfunctional government whose leaders were too corrupt or stupid to head off mass suffering."  theatlantic.com
Cellist Zack Reaves (and 4 of his clones) cover Radiohead's Everything In Its Right Place  youtube.com
The Stacks Reader is "an online collection of classic journalism and writing about the arts that would otherwise be lost to history".  thestacksreader.com
Hong Kong (pop. 7.5M) has had only 715 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 4 deaths as of March 31, all without the need for a lockdown. How did they do it? They followed WHO advice early and implemented vigorous test & trace protocols.  theguardian.com
BBC has launched a huge education initiative for students at home due to the pandemic. Guest teachers include David Attenborough, physicist Brian Cox, actress Jodie Whittaker, and footballer Sergio Agüero.  theguardian.com
This is something I've been wondering about: "in the early stages, epidemics spread at the same rate irrespective of country size" so logarithmic Covid-19 graphs adjusted for population size are unnecessary.  twitter.com
A simple site built by the Instagram founders that shows the current Rt value for Covid-19 for all 50 US states, updated daily.  rt.live
I Went to Hogwarts for Seven Years and Did Not Learn Math or Spelling, and Now I Can't Get a Job. "You may or may not be aware, but the economy has changed, and the need for my skills defying Lord Voldemort has lessened."  newyorker.com
Studio Ghibli has released 8 free images from their films to use as backgrounds for video chats.  openculture.com
This made me laugh SO SO hard. Man, I needed that.  tiktok.com
When I read stuff like this (social distancing person still somehow gets sick, non-"standard" initial symptoms), I realize just how little we still know about Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2.  twitter.com
My God these shoes are ugly. (This is coming from someone who thinks that the last ~25 years of sneaker design has been awful, so ymmv.)  printmag.com
How to build your own Nintendo Switch at home. I might have to resort to this if Nintendo doesn't figure out their supply issues...  imgur.com
Radiohead's next classic live show starts on YouTube in 7 minutes – a September 2016 performance at Lollapalooza Berlin.  youtube.com
A slidedeck of Covid-19 charts & graphs from Our World in Data (updated daily), all of which are open source and can be used by anyone who needs them.  slides.ourworldindata.org
A list of the 50 most important American independent movies, including Night of the Living Dead, Dirty Dancing, Clerks, Boogie Nights, and Lost in Translation.  film.avclub.com
Saving Apollo 13, a fascinating podcast that's been remastered & rereleased for the 50th anniversary of the mission.  podcasts.apple.com
A comparison of the number of air travellers going through TSA checkpoints in 2019 & 2020 - 100K/day now vs. 2.3M/day last year.  tsa.gov
A list of magazine stories that inspired entire movies (like Hustlers, Spotlight, Argo, Adaptation, The Fast and the Furious (!!), and Boogie Nights).  longreads.com
Advice from a scholar who studies distrust of science on how to talk to coronavirus skeptics. "We reject scientific findings because we don’t like their implications."  newyorker.com
A simple explanation of why the Covid-19 pandemic is not "just the flu". "Coronavirus is so much more dangerous than the flu that anyone who suggests they're roughly equivalent is either lying, or does not know what they are talking about."  mailchi.mp
Singapore had a seemingly very organized & thorough response to the Covid-19 pandemic and still had to lock the country down. How does that inform our thinking going forward?  nytimes.com
A great review of Halt and Catch Fire, still an underrated gem of a show. "One of my favourite things in the show is how the characters age, how they escape their old loops, how they become more themselves, and where they end up."  infovore.org
Stephen Wolfram is claiming that he's found "a path to the fundamental theory of physics"  writings.stephenwolfram.com
How long does the SARS-CoV-2 virus last on surfaces? The answer is complicated and depends on several factors. "We really don't want people to think there's a binary threshold between when things are dangerous and when they're safe."  twitter.com
A collection of the world's weirdest stock photographs  demilked.com
Scientists have found evidence of the cultivation of crops (squash & cassava) in the Amazon over 10,000 years ago.  bbc.com
Google Doc of dozens of board games, card games, and puzzles that you can play online.  docs.google.com
Informative thread about Wuhan emerging from lockdown. People are getting tested to be able to travel & return to work, most are still afraid to go out to eat/shop, ppl are buying cars to use instead of public transport.  twitter.com
On episode #3 of Some Good News with John Krasinski, Joe Buck announces some quarantine sports and some Boston doctors & nurses go on a little Red Sox field trip.  youtube.com
Director Sarah Polley complains about the awful, trope-filled movie we are all living through right now. "So much heavy handed foreshadowing. The apocalyptic footage from Wuhan, the super villain American president, the whistleblower dying..."  twitter.com
Everywhere School: "A calendar of educational livestreams for kids during the COVID-19 pandemic".  everywhereschool.live
Mathematician John Conway, inventor of the Game of Life, died of Covid-19 yesterday at age 82.  twitter.com
In lieu of the NBA season, ESPN will televise a HORSE tournament beginning April 12. Among the competitors are Chauncey Billups, Chris Paul, and Paul Pierce.  espn.com
Some preliminary research by economists on the 1918 flu pandemic indicates that locations that locked down sooner & longer did better economically after the pandemic passed.  arstechnica.com
Ezra Klein writes about something I've been pretty depressed about this week: "[For the US] there is no plan to return to normal."  vox.com
"The Republican Party does not believe in free and fair elections, where free means equal access to the ballot and fair means equitable rules and neutral procedures." They just want to win.  nytimes.com
Loved this Fran Lebowitz interview about being quarantined in NYC. "The only thing that makes this bearable for me, frankly, is at least I’m alone."  newyorker.com
A look at how aggressive testing and contact tracing helped South Korea control the spread of Covid-19.  youtube.com
Gary Hustwit's free film for this week is his documentary on design legend Dieter Rams. I'm gonna set some time aside to watch it this weekend.  ohyouprettythings.com
Austin Kleon made 30 "quaranzines" over the past month. You can read them all here and watch instructions on how to make your own tiny zines.  austinkleon.com
The official NASA Acronym Dictionary is 256 pages long. "LASSO: Laser Synchronization from Stationary Orbit" (p. 124).  ntrs.nasa.gov
From Jigsaw Junkies, a comparison of puzzle brands on several different criteria (piece fit, image quality, presence of "puzzle dust").  jigsawjunkies.com
Colornames is a collaborative effort to name all 16.7 million colors in the RGB color space. Recent names include Spray Painted Grass, Surfing On A Sunny Day, and Red Enough To Not Be Pink.  colornames.org
The Physics Travel Guide explains dozens of physics concepts in 3 levels of difficulty (intuitive, concrete and abstract).  physicstravelguide.com
An Unimaginable Toll, a collection of photos from around the world of mass graves, overwhelmed morgues, busy cemeteries, and rows & rows of coffins due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  theatlantic.com
Dave Eggers imagines a briefing by the White House Coronavirus Task Force. The twisted joke here is that surprisingly little of this is actually made up. "MAN WHO MAKES PILLOWS: I am a man who makes pillows."  mcsweeneys.net
A look at how jigsaw puzzles are made. Demand for puzzles has shot up with so many people looking for pandemic quarantine activities.  nytimes.com
This week, Bob Dylan scored his first ever #1 single on a Billboard chart at the age of 78.  pitchfork.com
Hahaha "Every room in Drake's house looks like he lives in the third best hotel in Qatar"  twitter.com
Dozens of instructions for making paper models of 3D geometrical figures (polyhedra, prisms, stars, pyramids, etc.)  polyhedra.net
Parasite is now available to stream on Hulu  twitter.com
This Woman Can Smell Parkinson's. Fascinating, people with Parkinson's disease give off a distinct odor that some "super-smellers" can detect (even ahead of symptoms). The women in this article even predicted a diagnosis just by smell.  discovermagazine.com
The rise of quarantine UX: How COVID-19 has upended the very idea of convenience. "Much of the last decade of smash-hit UX has been more or less abandoned in the wake of COVID-19."  fastcompany.com
Reminder: wearing a mask or staying six feet away from people is not an invitation to continue your normal routine or to gather regularly with groups of friends. The best advice is still to stay home as much as possible.  vice.com
This Video Has 5,152,061 Views (and counting). The clever title is just a hook for a discussion about the pros & cons of online platforms & their APIs.  youtube.com
For the past few weeks, I've been sharing selections from my daily work playlist in this Twitter thread. Think of it as a kind of soundtrack for @kottke.  twitter.com
Watch as Jeremy Blake makes a track on the Teenage Engineering OP-1 portable synthesizer. What a fun little machine.  youtube.com
This is one of the best DIY mask designs I've seen. Two thin layers of cloth with a pouch to insert a paper towel or tissue. Tested with a single paper towel, the mask achieved "73.7% filtration efficiency at 0.3 micron".  diymask.site
Film release delays caused by the pandemic. Black Widow, Wonder Woman, The French Dispatch, Top Gun, Indiana Jones, Bond, and Minions have all been pushed back months.  variety.com
List of live streams from around the world, courtesy of The Social Distancing Festival  socialdistancingfestival.com
Original artwork from a high school aged Kanye West shows up on PBS's Antiques Roadshow.  youtube.com
A personality quiz that will tell you which fictional characters you most resemble. This got me pretty well: Sam Tarly from GoT and MCU's Bruce Banner. Lisa Simpson, Lester Freamon, and C-3PO all in my top 25.  openpsychometrics.org
Four measurable effects of the pandemic on the natural world: less air pollution, less seismic activity, cities are quieter, oceans are quieter.  theatlantic.com
Really interesting thread from virologist @PeterKolchinsky about how SARS-Cov-2 goes about its business in the human body. SARS-Cov-2 "is stealthier [than SARS-1], spreading first before revealing itself (and causing harm)."  twitter.com
I baked a loaf of this white sandwich bread last week and it was delicious. Flour + yeast + water is an ancient magic – no wonder so many folks have gotten hooked on bread baking.  splendidtable.org
The podcast You Look Nice Today (with Scott Simpson, Merlin Mann, and Adam Lisagor) is back from a long hiatus  youlooknicetoday.com
The Vermontilator: Scientists, engineers, and doctors at the Univ of Vermont "have developed a new design – and built a working model – for a simple, inexpensive ventilator". They're seeking FDA emergency approval.  uvm.edu
This is one of the many horrifying stories of what dealing with a Covid-19 infection is like, but what struck me is the 4 sick people in NYC who weren't tested and aren't part of the official infection count. How many others are there?  thecut.com
This could be helpful for researchers and media: aggregated and anonymized foot traffic data from Foursquare showing where people are & aren't going in different parts of the country. Raw data available, updated daily.  enterprise.foursquare.com
A look at how restaurateur Tom Colicchio shut down his business due to Covid-19. As Colicchio says, he was luckier than most, but this same thing, at different scales & degrees, happened all across America.  marker.medium.com
NASA is reintroducing its 70s "worm" logo. It'll be displayed on the side of the Falcon 9 rocket that will take astronauts to the ISS.  nasa.gov
Ching Ming Stories is encouraging families in the Chinese diaspora to observe the tradition of Ching Ming (remembering ancestors) virtually this year. Includes a discussion guide to help get you & your family started.  chingmingstories.com
From a pair of Harvard professors of epidemiology/immunology: "Navigating the Covid-19 pandemic: We're just clambering into a life raft. Dry land is far away."  statnews.com
How South Korea Solved Its Face Mask Shortage. "Neighborhood pharmacists and government intervention were the secret weapons." Good government matters.  nytimes.com
Sent out the latest @kottke newsletter last night: virtual travel, mask wearing advice, and baking bread w/ 4500-year-old yeast.  mailchi.mp
Data visualization of 30 years of the Hubble Space Telescope's discoveries  physicstoday.scitation.org
Stop Trying to Be Productive. "Staying inside and attending to basic needs is plenty."  nytimes.com
Wimbledon has been cancelled due to COVID-19. First time since WWII. "There will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July."  bbc.com
Interesting thread on how Fox News makes money and where they might be vulnerable (cable revenues & pandemic liability lawsuits)  twitter.com
Damon Lindelof is writing a serialized story for Nextdraft called Something, Something, Something Murder. "I heard them whispering... I heard them say murder and then the floorboard creaked and they stopped."  nextdraft.com
Overly descriptive color palettes. Colors include "isotopic light periwinkle", "unstatesmanlike reddish grey", and "acanthoid bubble gum pink".  colors.lol
March 2020 Archives »