Quick Links for June 2021

How Disney mismanaged the Star Wars universe and how The Mandalorian can restore the true power of George Lucas's galaxy. "When Star Wars is bad, its galaxy feels like a thing on a screen – not a place you can go."
After decades of fighting it, the NCAA has ruled that student athletes can "start earning money based on their fame and celebrity" without affecting their eligibility.
The WHO says that China has eliminated malaria. "The eradication of malaria in the world's most populous nation offers lessons in how innovative treatments and aggressive tracking can keep the disease in check."
Don Cheadle Says Steven Soderbergh Is Closer to Coming Up with Next 'Ocean's' Movie.
David Marchese interviews LeVar Burton. "That which is mine, no one can take away. That which is not meant for me, no amount of wishing or stamping my feet will make it so."
Christ in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.
An interesting thread detailing many of the engineering tricks Disney uses in building their theme parks, e.g. using smaller bricks at the top of buildings to create "forced perspective" and make them look taller.
"Kids are cute but they're not really eco-friendly. One less baby helps the planet more than giving up meat, car." Was surprised to learn this was actually published in a real newspaper and not The Onion or something.
You Look So Serious, an entire album of songs based on looped samples from a cassette copy of Enya's 1988 album Watermark.
Women Are Having Fewer Babies Because They Have More Choices. "Thanks to feminist cultural shifts, and better access to contraceptives, more women now approach childbearing...as a choice weighed against other desires, assessed in context."
YouTube's complete disregard for the rights of people to use music that's either allowed by fair use or in the public domain really sucks. Eventually, laws will either be changed to follow YT's practice or (hopefully) prevent this garbage behavior.
According to LA's public health department, since Dec 2020, 99.6% of the city's Covid cases, 98.7% of Covid hospitalizations, and 99.8% of Covid deaths were among people who were unvaccinated. These safe vaccines work. Period.
The results of a new study suggest that the Covid-19 mRNA vaccines create a durable immune reaction in the body that may last for years or even a lifetime.
Scientists Announce Successful Experiment To Bankrupt Mouse That Can't Afford Cancer Drug.
How I Saved Enough to Buy a House With My Parents' Money. via @joannagoddard
Just sent out the latest @kottke newsletter. It includes a story I shared on Instagram earlier this week (but not on the site).
Wow, this story! "On the morning after Juliane Diller fell to earth, she awoke in the deep jungle of the Peruvian rainforest dazed with incomprehension."
Somehow, 46% of nursing home staff in the US still aren't vaccinated.
Delta variant on the rise in Missouri: "Intensive care beds are filling up with surprisingly young, unvaccinated patients, and staff members are getting burned out fighting a battle that was supposed to be in its final throes."
With the help of the internet, amateur mushroom enthusiasts are helping mycologists fill the sizable gaps in knowledge about the millions of uncatalogued species of fungi.
"In the last four years, Costa Rica has generated 98.53% of its electricity from renewable sources."
"The trends of vaccine hesitancy and refusal in the U.S. are a sign of extreme privilege."
"Critical Race Theory argues that racism is structured into the law. So, with these laws banning Critical Race theory, they're explicitly structuring racism into the law by attempting to ban discussions of it."
"Nearly every new Covid-19 death [in the US] is now entirely preventable, CDC director says."
Mets pitcher Jacob deGrom is having an off-the-charts year. "Earth is 93M miles from the sun, and Jacob deGrom's ERA in late June is 0.50: These are facts, we know them to be true, yet there is a very real difficulty in how to conceptualize them."
Black people are more likely to die in traffic accidents. Covid made it worse. "Drivers are less likely to slow down or stop for Black pedestrians than they are for white ones."
Great title: "When an Eel Climbs a Ramp to Eat Squid From a Clamp, That's a Moray".
The Largest Free Kitchen in the World: Discover India's Golden Temple Which Serves 100,000 Free Meals Per Day.
"Things you can try to do to so your kid's not a dick about other people's weight."
Study Finds American Women Delaying Motherhood Because The Whole Thing Blows.
Is America finally rethinking its disastrous, racist, ineffectual, and deadly War on Drugs? "Drugs should be handled by doctors and therapists, not cops and prison guards."
Charles Kellogg could put out fires using just the sound of his voice. Another cracking story from @tedgioia.
"We may be about to see the emergence of 'two Americas' of COVID: One with high rates of vaccination where the Delta variant poses little threat, and the other with low levels of vaccination that will be vulnerable to renewed deadly surges."
I think this is the first political ad I've ever seen that features time travel? Great commercial for @JonesForAR, who's running for governor of Arkansas.
The Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA's practice of banning "modest" education-related payments to student athletes, perhaps opening the door to paying athletes some of the billions that schools make from their sports participation.
Feels: a Where's Waldo-type find-it game but with emoji. via @waxpancake
A career waiter explains why restaurants are having trouble hiring staff. "Workers are staying away because the industry has never treated them with respect..."
What if every time Captain Picard pulled his shirt down, his comm badge popped off?
A new study indicates the high death rate of Black Americans during the pandemic was due primarily to the poor quality of the hospitals they were admitted to. "Hospitals mattered more than [...] age, income, or other medical conditions."
The first RV was made out of a fallen redwood tree and was called "Travel Log". via @legalnomads
There will almost certainly be another wave of Covid-19 cases in the US because of the delta variant (B.1.617.2) – the UK is already seeing one. How bad it gets depends on how many more ppl are vaccinated.
The secret weapon of many top European football teams is their grounds-management team. The pitch affects how fast teams can play. "When Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City in 2016, he asked for the grass to be cut to just 19mm." via @dunstan
Supporting your country's football team is complicated these days. "England is by many objective measures a terrible country ruled by terrible people with a terrible past and a terrifying future, and I support England." via @lauraolin
This is a fun & quick-to-play territory-capture game – each move not only captures a single space but a tiny bit of the spaces around it.
"A new computer simulation shows that a technologically advanced civilization, even when using slow ships, can still colonize an entire galaxy in a modest amount of time." via @themorningnews
Scottish man recreates airline meals at home for some reason. via @legalnomads
Trailer for season 2 of Star Trek: Picard.
Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood have a new band: The Smile.
Why Design Matters: Conversations with the World's Most Creative People by @debbiemillman, a book version of her long-running interview podcast Design Matters.
Gerrymander Jewelry, pendant necklaces in the shape of oddly shaped Congressional districts. They take custom orders but "some districts are too breakable" to sell because they're so gerrymandered.
Oh my this is satisfying
Just started listening to Nixon at War, a podcast about Richard Nixon & Vietnam hosted by @kbandersen. A sequel to the excellent LBJ's War and LBJ and the Great Society podcasts.
California's Last Fire Season Was a Historic Disaster. This One Might Be Worse.
"Virtually all hospitalized Covid patients [in the US] have one thing in common: They're unvaccinated."
Cycling myth: wide tires are slower than thin tires. "The increased vibrations of the narrower tires caused energy losses that canceled out the gains from the reduced flex."
Because of difficulties early in the Juno probe's now-extended mission, researchers "get to watch changes in and around Jupiter that they might have missed had the mission wrapped up sooner".
"To love someone long-term is to attend a thousand funerals of the people they used to be." (This goes for yourself too.)
"Researchers have found that Earth's energy imbalance approximately doubled during the 14-year period from 2005 to 2019." The Earth is increasingly absorbing more of the Sun's energy than it is emitting thermal radiation. via @carlzimmer
Meanwhile, MacKenzie Scott announces she gave away another $2.74 billion to "286 Teams Empowering Voices the World Needs to Hear".
A big story from the NY Times on how Amazon thrived during the pandemic, often with little regard for their employees. "Amid the pandemic, Amazon's system burned through workers..."
It's Great to Hang Out After Self-Isolating for a Year - I'm Not Acting Weird, Am I? "Say, can we talk about how when we walked in here a minute ago, I straight up screamed? I was just stunned to be inside of a business."
A video history of the Sony MiniDisc, "The (Not) Forgotten Audio Format That (Never) Failed".
The 25 greatest achievements in dumb internet video, e.g. Strong Bad, Downfall parodies, keyboard cat, etc.
Lobster diver swallowed whole by humpback whale off Cape Cod. "I was completely inside; it was completely black."
"Here's an important and (as far as I can yet tell) unaddressed question for Mare of Easttown criticism: when, exactly, did Mare Sheehan stop dying her hair blond?" via @tressiemcphd
The uncut version of Jay-Z's verse on Monster.
"Hey guys" has been the preferred greeting for YouTube vlogs for more than a decade now. via @jackisnotabird
This Is the Story of a Man Who Jumped Into Lake Michigan Every Day for Nearly a Year.
In a recent trial, the use of virus-blocking bacteria in mosquito populations reduced the incidence of dengue fever by 77%. Between stuff like this, mRNA vaccines, and CRISPR, we're set to make major progress against deadly disease in the next 10 years.
Ed Yong of The Atlantic won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize for his outstanding coverage of the pandemic. Cheers, @edyong209!
I love a good errand hang. "The errand hang dances in the sweet vulnerability that comes from the everyday."
The Shortcut. Once begun, it's difficult not to watch this all the way through. via @genmon
From the NY Times: An Oral History of the Pentagon Papers.
A trailer for the Kevin Smith-produced reboot/sequel of He-Man that's set to premiere on Netflix in July.
A portable planetarium owner shares about how they talk to people who believe the Earth is flat. "These people fold pretty quickly if you can answer 3 questions in a row. They are looking for something to believe, they want to feel smart."
The Keystone XL Pipeline Is Officially Dead. "We were not willing to sacrifice our water or safety for the financial benefit of a trans-national corporation."
"The traumas of the past year have left some people wrestling with an awful question: Am I still a good person?"
"eclipse" is a good search to scroll through this morning.
The 30 Greatest Action Movies of All Time. Great to see personal favorite Drunken Master II on here.
Watch Waddles the duck walk for the first time with his new 3D-printed prosthetic leg. via @openculture
Oh wow, this restored footage from 1901 in London is incredibly crisp and detailed compared to the original.
"We are back in the world, but the world can go to hell. It's the summer of caring a lot, but not giving any fucks."
A mid-century modern typewriter Lego set.
Errol Morris: "We can believe whatever we want to believe. And often do. But in all likelihood, what we believe is wrong. Maybe not just wrong. Even stupid."
"The best way to experience a restaurant, I have always felt, is by eating exactly what it wants to feed you. I do not want choices. I want the best thing." 100%.
A smartphone would be very tough to beat at this game – imagine handing someone living in 1991 an iPhone 12.
Adam Gopnik on the return of spending time together in public & private spaces after the worst of the pandemic. "What we call culture is basically the act of sharing air with strangers."
Whoa, a feature-length academic film about the history of supercuts, which argues that they are "the material expression of a newly-ascendant mode of knowledge and power: the database".
Lovely story about Alice Neel's painting of The Fuller Brush Man. "That's my brother. That's my brother."
England fans are booing players taking the knee in solidarity against racism in soccer. This was the most disheartening part about fans returning to stadiums in the Premier League – hearing boos as players knelt.
There's going to be an annular solar eclipse on June 10 that will be partially visible in the US, particularly on the East Coast. "From New York City, the eclipse magnitude will reach a whopping 0.80 (80%)."
N.K. Jemisin's The Broken Earth trilogy will be adapted into something (movie series? TV series?) by TriStar & Jemisin herself.
Great profile of Mare of Easttown's Kate Winslet. "But she is not Daniel Day-Winslet; she is said to be fun once the shooting wraps for the day." via @sippey
YES! A prequel to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is in the works. Rewatched M&C during the pandemic and it's a masterpiece.
People of color are wary of going back to working in offices, where they have to more often deal with racism in the workplace.
Colin Dickey absolutely dismantles Malcolm Gladwell's new book, The Bomber Mafia, calling it "a nasty, brutish book" and says that "if it's also short, it's not nearly short enough".
Silver Lining – The pandemic kept many women away from salons & hairdressers for months, allowing some to embrace their graying hair.
The National Farmers Union: Farmers Deserve the Right to Repair Their Tractors. "95% of large farm tractors are made by just three companies...which engage in the kind of resource restriction that prevents on-farm repairs."
Jeff Bezos is going to space. I mean, what's the sense in being the billionaire owner of a spaceship company if you're not going to launch yourself into space?
A look at the UI design on the sci-fi TV show The Expanse.
An oral history of WandaVision (because apparently time is moving so quickly these days that you can do an oral history of a show that only ended a few months ago).
Whoa the shoebill stork sounds like automatic weapons fire. via @mikeindustries
America's future fleet of EV vehicles can double as a portable clean-energy storage grid, using "smart-charging capabilities to slurp up energy at times of high production or low demand, then dump it back onto the grid as needed".
Pediatrician Perri Klass: vaccinate your children. "Children now account for more than 22 percent of all new COVID-19 cases, and even those children who aren't very sick may have to deal with possible long-term complications."
Now that it's proven itself against Covid-19, mRNA technology will be used to develop improved vaccines for influenza and new vaccines for HIV, hepatitis C, malaria, and tuberculosis.
Stack Overflow will be acquired for $1.8 billion.
"Synthetic Messenger is a botnet that artificially inflates the value of climate news. Everyday it searches the internet for news articles covering climate change. Then 100 bots visit each article and click on every ad they can find." via @robinsloan
The Bob Ross Virtual Art Gallery. All 403 paintings done by Ross on the Art of Painting, including an analysis and visualization of the colors he used for each one. via @sidebario
Dozens of scholars of democracy have signed a "statement of concern" over Republican efforts to transform "several states into political systems that no longer meet the minimum conditions for free and fair elections".
A Brief History of Netflix Personalization. "In twenty years, Netflix has gone from members choosing 2% of the movies the merchandising system suggests to 80% today."
An online multiplayer version of Joust.
Scientists have identified seven climate tipping points "at risk of reaching points of no return": Atlantic circulation, coral reefs, Greenland ice, Antarctic ice, permafrost, boreal forests, and the Amazon rainforest.
Rosecrans Baldwin reflects on his experience volunteering for the past year at the massive Covid drive-through testing & vaccination site at Dodger Stadium.
In NYC, "A Worker-Owned Cooperative Tries to Compete With Uber and Lyft".
I am loving Mary McGillivray's efficient art history lessons on TikTok.
Over the centuries, a poorly buried Medici stained some marble Michelangelo sculptures, which have recently been cleaned with the help of some hungry bacteria.
Why Are So Many of My Fellow Health Workers Unvaccinated? Even though eligible since December, "as of early March 2021, surveys showed that nearly half of frontline health care workers remained unvaccinated".
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