Quick Links for July 2021

Oh of course Google scientists have demonstrated a genuine "time crystal" for the first time ever. "The consequence is amazing: You evade the second law of thermodynamics."
The next month or two is a really great time to see Saturn in the night sky (esp. if you have a telescope).
The US poverty rate is expected to be *cut in half* this year due to pandemic relief efforts from the federal government. Presumably after those efforts end, poverty levels will go back to "normal".
What if the Unvaccinated Can't Be Persuaded? ~15% of Americans just won't do it unless forced and it'll take many months (if not years) of education & outreach to reach another 15% who aren't. *sigh*
Surrealist stock illustrations. via @sidebario
The always excellent Margaret Sullivan on how the media is "equalizing the unequal": "Our democracy is under attack. Washington journalists must stop covering it like politics as usual."
From the first time, scientists have been able to observe x-rays coming from the back side of a black hole, which were bent around the hole and toward us. Einstein's general theory of relativity remains undefeated.
Huh, Gawker is back? RIP that old rainbow logo.
"Two bartenders floated in and out of the conversation, dropping comments like 'what's Covid?' to laughter. Just recently, a beloved cook at the restaurant had died from the virus, they said." This is a horrifying portrait of contemporary America.
So interesting to read about the ritual & tradition among Dominican families living in NYC of heading to the beach to eat empaguetadas, a spaghetti dish. via @waxpancake
"Almost everybody still yells at their kids sometimes, even the parents who know it doesn't work. Yelling may be the most widespread parental stupidity around today."
An entertaining thread arguing that most pickup trucks in the US are purchased as status symbols and aren't practical. "Owning a truck the size of a WWII Sherman tank serves no practical purpose."
A timeline of digital nomadism. The term "digital nomad" was first used in 1997, but the concept originated perhaps as far back as the 60s. via @legalnomads
The trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Looks fun.
The CDC is going to change their mask-wearing guidance for vaccinated people. Good.
Wow, Taschen is coming out with a massive 624-page "XXL" book of all of Frida Kahlo's paintings and promises it's "the most extensive study of her work and life to date".
What a find! This short clip from 1974 is the earliest known footage of Prince playing live music. He was just 16, performing before the demolition of a YMCA building. via @anildash
Grace Loh Prasad and her son Devin folded 465 origami cranes during the pandemic, one for each day. "As the number of cranes grew it also gave us some perspective on the magnitude and strangeness of our ongoing experience."
'Long Covid' patients will be covered by federal disability law, Biden says.
Today's rabbit hole was a search for "Can you harvest electricity from lightning?"
The upcoming The Tragedy of Macbeth, based on Shakespeare's play, is directed by Joel Coen and stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. Yes please.
Beach reclamation projects in Europe, where offshore sand is dumped on coastlines, are yielding artifacts of lost civilizations of Neanderthals & other modern homonids from fertile lands now underwater.
What It Feels Like to Lose Your Favorite Season. On top of everything else, the climate crisis is disrupting seasonal rhythms. (I can't get outside for exercise today because the air quality is "unhealthy for all groups" here in VT.)
4 Reasons I'm Wearing a Mask Again. "The Delta variant is spreading fast, so I'm supplementing the protection offered by my vaccine."
Sundown Towns Are Still A Problem For Black Drivers. "It's when you veer off to the back roads that don't connect to the highway, that's when you find yourself in trouble."
The Simplest Tool for Improving Cities Is Also Free. "We can creatively reorganize our collective hours and days in ways that help more people enjoy our cities and institutions."
This guy has gone 20 years without spending any money. He even goes so far as burning bills when he gets them. (It seems like he still causes a substantial amount of money to be spent on his behalf though...)
The Last Duel, a historical film set in medieval France starring Adam Driver and directed by Ridley Scott? Sure, yeah.
A fantastic interactive feature from the NY Times on Adam Ondra, the world's best rock climber.
"If nothing slows their momentum, Amazon will control nearly 80% of the consumer book market by the end of 2025. Every single book lover should worry."
"Bonding over a 'joking' disdain for your spouse is more than an innocuous social phenomenon – it's become a bandaid for the broad simmering resentment in so many American marriages."
Great interview with Jane Goodall, who is still going full-tilt at 87. "I don't know what the meaning of life is. The meaning of my life is to give people hope because without hope you give up."
Low Pay, No Benefits, Rude Customers: Restaurant Workers Quit At Record Rate. "It was almost like there was this unplanned, unorganized general strike."
Anti-vax groups have invented their own alternate vocabulary to avoid being kicked off Facebook for misinformation — e.g. "dancing" = "getting vaccinated", "Pizza King" for "Pfizer", "oxygen thief" for "mask".
Pornhub has created guides to "Classic Nudes" for several museums. "I had thought I might feel a little pervy visiting The Met just for nudes; instead it made the museum's collection come alive in ways I'd forgotten it could."
The Is This Prime? game. I got tripped up by 87 because I forgot my divisibility rules (if the sum of the digits is divisible by 3, the number is also.)
The Internet Archive turns 25 years old this year. One of the cornerstones of the open, living web.
"A new study lays to rest the tired argument that electric vehicles aren't much cleaner than internal combustion vehicles. Over the life cycle of an EV...it will release fewer greenhouse gas emissions than a gas-powered car."
High school basketball player Hansel Enmanuel lost his left arm in a childhood accident and it doesn't slow him down on the court at all.
What the fuck is going on with the FDA? Why haven't they given full approval to the Covid-19 vaccines? It's been *months* and people are dying of preventable disease.
The first part of the Civil Rights documentary Eyes on the Prize is now available on HBO Max. They are also making a follow-up series that will "reflect on the legacy of the movement...and tie it to the present day."
This is a sobering thread about the realities of Covid & the Delta variant. Vaxxed or no, we're in for a long haul. "With Delta, it's unlikely that Covid will ever go away, or be held at low levels."
What are Jeff Bezos & Blue Origin up to? Maybe, @tcarmody supposes, they aim to "harvest, contribute, and (if possible) control the energy, material resources, and industrial tools and knowledge that enable human spaceflight".
This flooding in China is unbelievable – it rained 7 inches in an hour in Zhengzhou (pop. 10 million).
To assess the risk of Covid for you & your family, Dr. Katherine J. Wu recommends "checking virus conditions like you check the weather" before you go out into the world and do things.
After a testing & shakedown period, NASA's Perseverance rover has settled in on Mars and is now embarking on its main mission of "probing rocks and dust for evidence of past life".
Today is Apollo 11 day and as usual, you can watch the coverage here "live" as it happened 52 years ago. The TV will flicker to life at 4:10pm EDT for the landing and again at 10:51pm EDT for the moon walk.
After his short flight into space, Jeff Bezos thanked "every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all this". Which is true, but usually you don't say the quiet part loud?
This sounds interesting... Cultish: The Language of Fanaticism is a book about "how cultish groups from Jonestown and Scientology to SoulCycle and social media gurus use language as the ultimate form of power."
Kids are using acidic drinks like cola and orange juice to fake positive Covid antigen tests – here's how it works.
Japan's oldest surviving cookbook is from 1643 and includes recipes for sashimi, sushi, udon and yakitori.
Oh, nostalgia! This site has Print Shop running in an Apple II emulator and it outputs a PDF of your creation when you print. via @waxpancake
In March 2022, the Baltimore Museum of Art will host an exhibition called Guarding the Art, curated by the museum's security guards.
This is something I've noticed recently as well: "YouTube comments are not nearly as awful as people say they are."
"Cat Person" and Me. "Kristen Roupenian's viral story draws specific details from my own life. I've spent the years since it published wondering: How did she know?"
Robots in Italy "with an artistic sensitivity" are carving marble sculptures commissioned by artists around the world. "We don't need another Michelangelo. We already had one."
NASA recently corrected a fault on the Hubble by switching to the backup hardware. The space telescope is fully operational again and will continue its incredibly productive 31-year mission.
"Though technically U.S. currency is accepted, the New York City economy runs on everyone Venmoing around the same hundred and fifty dollars."
Play Hard Hat Mack, a Donkey Kong remake/ripoff for the Apple II that was Electronic Arts' first video game.
The headline here is that 66% of polled southern Republicans want to secede from the US, but really everyone wants to get the hell away from everyone else.
Ahead of the season 2 premiere of Ted Lasso, a GQ cover profile of series creator/star Jason Sudeikis.
New from Taschen: an "XXL edition" of Hokusai's Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which includes the iconic Great Wave Off Kanagawa. via @openculture
The forthcoming new cookbook from Kenji Lopez-Alt is called The Wok, a book about "the most versatile pan in the kitchen". A must-buy for me; anytime I'm looking for a recipe for something to cook, I google "kenji [name of dish]".
A study using fitness tracker data shows that people w/ Covid often had elevated heart rates for months. "It took 79 days, on average, for their resting heart rates to return to normal, compared with just four days for those in the non-Covid group."
Magically Turning Into Random Objects. This is really well done. via @waxpancake
A collection of the worst volume control UIs.
20 simple sauces "that will transform any meal", including nuoc cham, Buffalo sauce, tartar sauce, and whipped cream.
The Well-Tempered Traveler is a single serving site from Google (??) that shows year-round temperatures & precipitation levels for dozens of cities around the world.
MetaFilter celebrates 22 years of community on the web.
"Cryptocurrency is an inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents through a combination of tax avoidance, diminished regulatory oversight and artificially enforced scarcity."
"The unreasonable effectiveness of just showing up everyday" <--- 1000X this.
"Unlearning the things we have learned is deeply important if we ever want to evolve in life."
Watch Blondie Perform a Classic Concert During The Breakout Year: "Dreamin," "One Way Or Another," "Heart of Glass" & More (1979).
The Best Movies of 2021 (So Far), including Summer of Soul, Zola, No Sudden Move, and Bad Trip.
Watch 13x female world champion arm wrestler Irina Gladkaya take on all muscle-bound comers at Muscle Beach Miami. These matchups are all over in a comically short amount of time.
A compilation of the title animations used in Star Trek movie trailers.
A NASA study is predicting a surge of coastal flooding starting in the 2030s. The cause is rising sea levels due to climate change amplified by a wobble in the Moon's orbit.
"Worsening inequality, as poorer people and nations lose years of gains in the battle against hunger and poverty, is likely to be one of the lasting legacies of the pandemic."
Instant new favorite weather app: Weather Strip. As @craigmod notes, the weather timeline is the best weather visualization around.
Lego is a releasing an official Seinfeld set.
Speculative video on how humans could terraform Venus to be inhabitable in several thousand years.
Instagram Has Become SkyMall. "These days when I open up the app, every ad customized for me is some decidedly loopy gewgaw."
A thread of tips on gender inclusive icons and signage (e.g. for bathrooms).
Oh, and you really can clean your cast iron pan with dish soap. No need to be so precious about it...
The Myth of the Cast Iron Pan. "Having sprung from the core of the earth, it will die a tragic death if exposed to the tiniest soap bubble. The mortal gently cleanses the cast-iron with water, like a doting river nymph."
Mr. @glennf is hosting the Kottke Ride Home podcast this week while @jackisnotabird is away on vacation. Listen in! (Also, Jack and I finally met in person recently – so good to chat w/ him about the evolution of social media & many other things.)
Here's a good rule of thumb for how and when to pepper a dish you're cooking, taken from recipes for steak au poivre: you want pepper to be toasted, not burned
The White House has a new executive order it says will encourage competition in the US economy, including right to repair, broadband markets, drugs and medical equipment, agriculture, consumer banking, and more
Cuttlefish don't live a long time like corvids or have highly social lives like chimpanzees. They don't even perform magic tricks squeezing into caves or holes like octopi. But they're smart. How do they do it?
A 20th anniversary oral history of the Reese Witherspoon star vehicle / unexpected cult classic Legally Blonde
Nintendo and Tag Heuer appear to be teaming up to make a Mario-themed wristwatch
The director's edition of Star Trek: The Motion Picture is going to be restored and rereleased in 4K within 6-8 months
37 US state and district attorneys are suing Google for antitrust violations related to the use of the company's Play Store for Android
The White House is issuing an executive order offering a limited Right to Repair for farmers to fix their own equipment. Earlier reports had predicted the order might extend to other electronic devices as well
Over a billion animals off the coast of British Columbia may have died in the recent heat wave there, according to a UBC marine biologist
From @Seinfeld2000 and @hoodinternet: a supercut of the Seinfeld theme mixed with a hit song from each year of the show. (The Daft Punk works surprisingly well!) (ht @UnlikelyWords)
This weekend, some Texas-based white supremacists marched through Philadelphia's Center City. Then they started engaging Philly residents. "Somebody threw a smoke bomb to cover their retreat, and they literally ran away from the people of Philadelphia"
Concrete construction lasts 50-100 years, so "a multi-trillion-dollar bill is coming due right around now, in the form of concrete construction that needs noisy, dirty, expensive repair".
Scientific American, The Guardian, and a number of other publications decided earlier this year to start using the term "climate emergency" when covering climate change. "It's time for journalism to recognize that the climate emergency is here."
Dream Crushed Over Trivial Bullshit Represents Nation Better Than Gold Medal Ever Could.
It's Time for the FDA to Fully Approve the mRNA Vaccines. "Others may not get immunized unless their employers require it, and many organizations...are waiting for the vaccines to be fully approved before instituting such mandates."
"Rumsfeld was the worst secretary of defense in American history. Being newly dead shouldn't spare him this distinction."
Sha'Carri Richardson has been banned from running the 100-meter race in the Tokyo Olympics because she tested positive for marijuana. This is totally totally shitty.
The shitty trend of police officers playing copyrighted music to keep the resulting videos off of social media continues. "You can record all you want. I just know it can't be posted to YouTube."
A record number of anti-trans bills (131 of them) are moving through the legislations of 36 US states — explore them & their potential impact here. "The goal across these bills is simple: to keep transgender people out of public life."
Listen to the original songs that inspired the Super Mario Bros. theme music. Whaaaat. WHATTT??! via @waxpancake
Oooh, new book from Oliver Burkeman -> Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals, "an entertaining, humorous, practical, and ultimately profound guide to time and time management".
The danger of the Delta variant of Covid-19. "Vaccinated people are safer than ever despite the variants. But unvaccinated people are in more danger than ever because of the variants."
"Every manager/executive we interviewed for our book who is good at their job and works at a company with employees who aren't broadly miserable employs a similar strategy: they listen to their employees."
June 2021 Archives »