Quick Links for February 2022

Amazon is starting to open checkout-free Whole Foods stores — you scan your palm, the store watches you & maintains a virtual shopping cart, and you just walk out when you're done.
Nice interview with Kenji López-Alt in the New Yorker.
A pair of recent preprints asserts that "the Huanan market [in Wuhan] was the epicenter of SARS-CoV-2 emergence" and "SARS-CoV-2 emergence very likely resulted from at least two zoonotic events". Basically: not a lab leak.
The latest IPCC report on the climate crisis is out and it warns that changes are happening faster and with greater effect than previously predicted and some of the results are now irreversible.
This is the best restaurant review I've read in ages: first-time fine-diner Kirsty Bosley experiences a £150 tasting menu and comes away moved and changed.
Researchers at MIT and in China have developed an effective prototype for a solar desalinization device that uses "really low-cost, almost household materials" that could provide drinking water for 4 people for $4. via @inevernu
You Can Have Geothermal Power Everywhere If You Drill Deep Enough. A new startup says it can access the Earth's virtually unlimited geothermal energy almost anywhere by using a microwave drilling technique that can reach 12 miles down.
Four possible evolutionary scenarios for the future of SARS-CoV-2: endemicity, altered disease and symptoms, emergence of a new recombinant coronavirus, and exploitation of antibodies.
In this brief TED-Ed lesson, we learn about the process by which Supreme Court justices are appointed. via @thekidshouldsee
The Biden administration has nominated Ketanji Brown Jackson for the vacant Supreme Court seat. Here's a short profile of Jackson and why she was chosen.
From military historian Bret Devereaux: Understanding the War in Ukraine. The invasion was planned months ago, Putin was never going to negotiate, NATO had limited options before the invasion.
My 24-Hour Experiment With Dystopian Food Units. "When you generate a square-shaped facsimile of asparagus that tastes exactly like asparagus but doesn't feel like asparagus, it's a little horrifying."
Inside the Super Positive Community of Competitive YouTube Water Drinkers. "You do kinda have to follow some rules — it's not just laissez-faire hydration out there."
"Have you ever wondered how a book becomes a book?" Great look at the printing process for Marlon James' Moon Witch, Spider King.
Yes, this, exactly: who gives a shit about plot holes in a movie when the rest of it works? Plot killjoys begone!
Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Inside the Underground Economy of Solitary Confinement. How prisoners undergoing the torture of solitary confinement "use their ingenuity, collaboration skills and a form of 'fishing' to get what they need".
Trendiest Baby Name Every Year Since 1930, in the U.S.
PBS children's show Arthur is ending after 25 seasons; here's the final episode.
How Long Covid Exhausts the Body. "Studies estimate that perhaps 10 to 30 percent of people infected with the coronavirus may develop long-term symptoms."
Tom Holland lip syncing to Rihanna always cheers me up. Instant mood lifter.
Paul Farmer, Pioneer of Global Health, Dies at 62.
Two minutes of Mel Blanc-voiced Looney Tunes characters yelling.
An American gun company is selling an AR-15 for kids that "operates just like Mom and Dad's gun". A semi-automatic assault rifle for children...this is sick.
I'm Abraham Lincoln and I Beg of You, Please Commemorate My Birthday with Mattress Sales.
The 25 best sci-fi movies of the last 15 years, including Her, Looper, WALL-E, Edge of Tomorrow, Arrival, and Inception.
Sometimes you just wanna give a building a little thwack.
"The vulva hypothesis is one of the myriad theories that have proliferated around Stonehenge..."
"You can never underestimate how terrible art can give you permission to do your own. Like, go on Instagram and look at the idiots who have a million followers. The bar is low!" –@austinkleon
A report on how the city of Montreal deals quickly and decisively with all the snow they get during a typical winter. "Sidewalks, bike paths, and streets are all cleared in a snow removal effort that is choreographed and masterful."
The dystopian Winter Olympics. "With their spectacle of extreme athletics held against a backdrop of climate emergency, public health disaster, political brinkmanship and rampant corruption, the Games reek of societal decline."
A comprehensive guide to understanding, producing, and using olive oil from a small California producer called Fat Gold. "Olive oil is best understood as the fresh fruit juice of the olive."
The Moral Danger of Declaring the Pandemic Over Too Soon. "What would it mean to move into a future in which a common fate mattered as much as our own?"
Currently about 190,000 people watching this livestream of airliners landing at London Heathrow in a whopper of a storm. Lots of sideways flying and landing.
Paris has announced their plan for a car-free zone. With exceptions, cars will not be allowed in much of 1st-4th arrondissements (and parts of the 5th-7th) starting in 2024.
Great profile of Venus and Serena Williams by @tressiemcphd. "...those braids said everything we needed to know. They were Black like how I was Black."
After 16-year-old Nicolas Montero's anti-vaxxer parents forbid his Covid vaccination, he got the shots without parental consent (per Philly law). The parents found out after they got Covid and he didn't.
"I decided to make my own version of no-knead bread by replacing a key ingredient, water, with a classic electrolyte-replenishing, thirst-quenching beverage: Gatorade." It's what bread-eaters crave!
Reader Comments for The New York Times' "Homestyle Spaghetti Carbonara" Recipe. "Is it OK to use Romano cheese instead of Parmesan? And if I don't have spaghetti on hand, can I just use fish?"
Dr. Jen Gunter on why she reported Dr. Oz to his state medical board. "We can no longer allow doctors who are driven by conspiracy theories, financial gain, and political motives to harm people by providing lies..."
I have probably mentioned this before, but I am very much looking forward to the release of Kenji López-Alt's new cookbook, The Wok.
The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo. @edyong209 writes about the millions of immunocompromised people in the US who don't have the privilege of deciding to be done with the pandemic.
Paramount has announced their intention to do a fourth Star Trek film starring Pine, Saldana, Pegg, Quinto, etc.
In January 2022 in Norway, about 84% of new cars sold were EVs. That compares to 53% in Jan 2021.
Why did the countries "most prepared" for a pandemic have the worst outcomes? "Rich countries had the policies in place [but] most refused to enact them for fear of endangering the economy they depended on, and the libertarian policies that underpin it."
"Libertarianism's attraction is based on ignoring externalities, and cryptocurrencies are no exception."
"The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it's now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said Monday, and climate change is largely responsible."
Why does the US government stockpile so much cheese in huge caves underneath Missouri? Because the US subsidizes the dairy industry, resulting in massive overproduction in an age of falling consumption.
In case you've forgotten: the Covid-19 vaccines "are a freaking miracle".
To reduce Covid-19 deaths in the US, we should more aggressively vaccinate the elderly w/ the full 3-shot series. "Even the vaccinated and unboosted elderly are still dying of COVID at four times the rate of unvaccinated adults under 49."
A ranking of all 32 Steven Spielberg movies, from best to worst. The top 10 includes Close Encounters, Jaws, ET, Jurassic Park, and Schindler's List.
A comprehensive overview of Disney Animation Studios' filmmaking process, using Encanto as an example.
Every Episode of a Television Show Written by Julian Fellowes. "BUTLER: Madame, may I please escort you quickly back to your proper household area before you get any working class on you?"
A live feed of stories of what people have done with their cash transfers from Give Directly, a non-profit that sends money directly to people living in poverty.
Super Bowl Confetti Made Entirely From Shredded Concussion Studies.
One of my favorite things about The Legend of Korra is that they referred to motion pictures as "movers" and actors as "mover stars".
Forget Your Carbon Footprint. Let's Talk About Your Climate Shadow. "I visualize my climate shadow being made of three parts: my consumption, my choices, and my attention."
This is a great rule of thumb: the Seatbelt Rule for Judgment. "My willingness to judge something should be proportional to how much I know about it."
The James Webb Space Telescope has taken its first image of something in space. The spacecraft is still in a month's-long testing mode, but everything is looking good so far.
The Phrontistery is a collection of "rare, cool, and unusual" words.
Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden. "Toxic masculinity...has left a generation of straight men stranded on emotionally-stunted island, unable to forge intimate relationships with other men."
Nintendo is releasing 48 remastered courses for Mario Kart 8 on the Switch, old courses from Wii, 3DS, N64, etc. updated for MK8.
I Gave Myself Three Months to Change My Personality by @olgakhazan. "I've never really liked my personality, and other people don't like it either."
A 70s board game called The Campaign for North Africa takes around 1500 hours (~62 days) to complete.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor's debut album, of which only 33 cassette copies were released in 1994, has possibly been leaked online in its entirety.
Photos from the turn-of-the-century pigeons that photographed Earth from above.
I have finally found them: abstract portraits that are too abstract for my taste.
Abstract New York. "Can you identify the familiar New York City sights depicted in these closeup photographs?"
"It's nerve-wracking to watch a giraffe run for the first time because the legs are all over the shop. They're not sure where the brakes are."
The Internet Is Just Investment Banking Now. "The natural endpoint of blockchains and NFTs — the golden promise of Web3 — is that every aspect of human life, as recorded by computers, will be collateralized."
A data analysis of the words used in news headlines about women. Popular themes include crime & violence and gendered language. Headlines about women also tend to be more sensational.
"The fact is that Spotify doesn't value music. Indeed, its financial success as a company depends on the perception of music as valueless... Spotify's profit requires that digital music have no value."
Hit songs on Yoda's home planet include "Big Butts, I like / Lie, I cannot", "On Me Some Sugar Pour", "Anything for love, I would do, but do that, I won't", and "On me, you must take".
"Ethan Coen" reviews Joel Coen's The Tragedy of Macbeth. "In a move that would get you kicked out [of] the DeVry Institute of Mediocrity, Coen renders the Bard's tale in B&W using a 4:3 aspect ratio, as if that makes you Akira fucking Kurosawa."
Oh yeah I like this dancing a lot.
Kevin Kelly: "I have contrarian ideas on intellectual property. I've come to think that the natural home of ideas is in the commons, that they should not be 'owned' for very long."
An interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda about his chart-topping hit from Encanto, We Don't Talk About Bruno. "I pitched this song as a way to check in with the family members who weren't going to get a solo."
Historian John M. Barry cautions that by moving on too quickly from effective public health measures, we are making the same mistake that folks made during past pandemics (esp. the 1918 influenza pandemic).
The US is seeing many more deaths during the Omicron wave compared to other large, high-income countries. "Death rates are so high in the States — eye-wateringly high. The United States is lagging."
Nice IndieWire piece on the production design, score, and costume design of Joel Coen's The Tragedy of Macbeth. Even with the amazing cinematography, set design, and music, the costume design stood out for me.
A brief history of the ampersand. "It is actually a ligature, a Latin combination of two letters: [e] and [t], or [et], which in English means [and]."
At least 17 historically Black colleges & universities have received bomb threats in the past two days, prompting cancellations and lockdowns. This comes as teaching kids about racism in America is criminalized around the country...
What the...?!! A lightning bolt almost 500 miles long flashed across US three states in April 2020. Another flash, in Uruguay & Argentina, lasted for 17 seconds.
On the practice of using a "soup mother" for a perpetual stew. "I'm always pursuing the idea that one meal can flow into the next and the next, building flavor but also feelings and memories..."
TV Dictionary: "capture the essence of a television series using a single word, by making a short video that combines the dictionary definition(s) of that word with a clip or several clips from the series".
Ask a Manager: A company interviewed and hired someone for a job...but then a different person showed up to the first day of work. (Fake job candidates are apparently a thing!)
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