Quick Links for March 2023

A short piece on the process for USPS stamp design and how you can submit your artwork for consideration. "On average we allow about three years from the time we begin work on a stamp until the time it's issued."
These maps provide graphic evidence of how parking lots "eat" U.S. cities. "On average, parking lots gobble up 20% of prime locations in U.S. city centers."
Most Touched, a book featuring over 1000 different kinds of door handles from around the world. via @presentcorrect
They're doing a sequel to cult-favorite Scott Pilgrim vs the World with the original cast and it's anime.
A new study shows that "horses were ridden and raised by [North American] Indigenous groups by the early 1600s", much sooner than previous studies have shown and more in line with the oral histories of Indigenous tribes.
"What if the "decline" of men's ambition is just less unquestioned access to power and privilege? [...] Men don't need ambition. They have privilege. They rise unless they work hard at sucking." via @tressiemcphd
A collective of 73 natural history museums in 28 countries has created a vast inventory of the 1.1 billion objects in their collections, in order to answer questions like "how quickly species are becoming extinct and how climate change is altering the natural world".
Donald Trump was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury today. "In the coming days, prosecutors working for the district attorney, Alvin L. Bragg, will likely ask Mr. Trump to surrender and to face arraignment."
What if stars had phone-like battery indicators for how much hydrogen fuel they have left? The Sun is at about 50% battery while Betelgeuse is about out of juice and needs to find an outlet. via @990000
The Undeniable Street View, a site that shows before-and-after views of civilian areas in Ukrainian cities that have been devastated by the Russian invasion.
If you needed to write a headline summing up contemporary American culture, it might read something like this: People Who Caused Traffic Nightmare At Pretty Tree Festival Complain Of Traffic Nightmare At Pretty Tree Festival.
Not happy with the "insanely broad" language in the RESTRICT bill (aka the TikTok ban bill) - this feels like the Patriot Act all over again. Pass individual privacy protection legislation instead!
Watch the World's First Film Made in Babylonian, the Language of Ancient Mesopotamia.
Pop-Up Magazine is doing three more live shows for their farewell tour: in Brooklyn, Oakland, and LA.
The professor of food history at the University of Parma: "the recipe for carbonara is American and the only place in the world to find bona fide parmesan cheese nowadays is Wisconsin". Spicy!
It's Not the Bike Lane's Fault You're a Bad Driver. "Pay attention to the fucking road while you're driving. It's not too much to ask when other people's lives are literally at stake."
Ooh, a new book by Lauren Groff is coming out in the fall: The Vaster Wilds. I loved her previous book, Matrix. via @austinkleon
Apple Passwords Deserve An App. Apple has a cross-platform password manager with great features but it's hidden away behind "weird little Settings panels".
The EU all but bans new sales of cars with internal combustion engines by 2035. "Countries in the European Union have approved a landmark law that will ensure all new cars sold from 2035 must have zero emissions."
Fantastic interactive piece on the physics of how bicycles work. You will 100% know what forces and torque are by the end of this. via @waxy
David Friedman suspects that someone used an AI chat bot to write one of the finalist captions for the New Yorker's cartoon caption contest. "They're not looking for the exit, they're looking for meaning."
'No Way To Prevent This,' Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.
How Two Jewish Kids in 1930s Cleveland Altered the Course of American Pop Culture. "The two spent the whole day — without taking a break, eating sandwiches that Joe brought in — creating Superman." via @legalnomads
Explainer on the "biggest protest movement in Israeli history". The right-wing govt wants "full annexation of the occupied West Bank, a rollback of pro-LGBTQ+ legislation, axing laws protecting women’s rights and minority rights..." via themorningnews.org
"Why is every action hero named Jack, John, James, or, occasionally, Jason?" via @legalnomads
Fantastic edition of Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything newsletter. So happy she's been able to keep this going while confined to bed with a spinal CSF leak.
From 2010 to 2021, the average range of electric vehicles sold globally has almost tripled (from 80 miles to 220 miles). via @clive
With three major new rules this year ("the pitch clock, a ban on the infield shift and limits on pickoff throws"), MLB hopes to speed the game up and to showcase the players' athleticism more effectively.
This recently rediscovered and deciphered stone slab is the oldest map of Europe "for which we can identify the territory it depicts". It's around 4000 years old and depicts (in 3D!) an area in Brittany, France.
An old favorite link of mine: "This is my personal account of curing my asthma and hayfever by deliberately infesting myself with the intestinal parasite hookworm."
Book Publishers Won't Stop Until Libraries Are Dead. In our current world where all views of media must be tracked and paid for, libraries are dangerous and media companies will kill them if we let them.
From the Brennan Center for Justice, A Proposal to Reduce Unnecessary Incarceration. "The federal government must reorient its grant spending to press states to end punitive policies that fail to deliver public safety."
The origin story of Ted Lasso - the character didn't originate with those NBC commercials in 2013 but much earlier in an Amsterdam comedy club.
An appreciation of the data visualization & information design of the Dark Sky weather app, esp when you compare it to the Apple Weather app. via news.ycombinator.com
Legendary record producer Steve Albini on the B-52's 1980 SNL performance of Rock Lobster. "What an incredible band. Everything about them is minimal and immediate." Be sure to watch the video; it's great.
This is unfortunate: a Holocaust-themed video game depicted in Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow includes many similar elements to Brenda Romero's game Train. "A theme in the book is how women struggle to get credit for their work."
For over 100 years, the NY Times' logo included a period - like so: "The New York Times." - until it was dropped in the 60s. "Dropping the period caused much consternation and soul-searching at the Times..."
The Humbling Tyranny Of The Photos Our Kids Take Of Us. "These pictures remind us that while we study our children, they study us back." via @tksst
I will also never tire of looking at photos of waves crashing on shore - these from Kevin Krautgartner of O'ahu's Banzai Pipeline just exude power and complexity.
A Map of Places in the US with the Same Name. "We calculated what place someone is most likely referring to, depending on where they are." For instance, in most of the country, when you say "Springfield", people think "Springfield, MA".
Poverty, By America is a new book by Matthew Desmond in which he argues that a major cause of poverty in the US is because "affluent Americans knowingly and unknowingly keep poor people poor". Here's a review in The Atlantic.
A collection of recent photos taken from the International Space Station. I will never get tired of looking at photos of Earth taken from space.
Zoos being closed to visitors during the pandemic gave scientists the opportunity to study how visitor interactions benefitted or harmed the welfare of the animals.
Oh man, Amazon is shuttering DPReview, effective early next month. I spent a lottttt of time on this site before my phone camera got too good to think about carrying something else.
US maternal mortality is more than 10 times higher than in Australia. "What do we make of a nation that has made giving birth so dangerous - yet forces more and more women to do it?" via @stevesilberman
How Loneliness Reshapes the Brain. Lonely people "tend to end up with a more negative spin on whatever information they receive — facial expressions, texting, whatever — and that drives them even deeper into this loneliness pit."
Essential Japanese Cinema: A Journey Through 50 of Japan's Beautiful, Often Bizarre Films.
This year in Serious Eats' Starch Madness bracket, rice dishes from around the world go grain-to-grain. Some personal faves: risotto, halal cart chicken & rice, sushi rice, arancini, and broken rice.
Photos of houses completely buried by snow in Mammoth Lakes, CA. If you haven't been following, more than 65 feet of snow has fallen in the area this winter.
Will Sharpe (Ethan from White Lotus s02) will direct the film adaptation of Michelle Zauner's Crying in H Mart, which I read last summer and loved.
The latest IPCC report on the climate crisis says it's the last chance for humanity to keep warming under the critical 1.5°C threshold - "only swift and drastic action can avert irrevocable damage to world".
Physicist Chien-Shiung Wu produced the first experimental evidence of quantum entanglement in 1949 but faced both sexism and racism in gaining recognition for this and her other achievements. Many scientists believe she should have won a Nobel. via news.ycombinator.com
This is lovely: a keyboard visualization of an instrumental piece from Howl's Moving Castle. The piece is instantly recognizable as Studio Ghibli - Joe Hisaishi "composed the music for nearly all of Ghibli's films".
2023 anti-trans bills tracker. "We track legislation that seeks to block trans people from receiving basic healthcare, education, legal recognition, and the right to publicly exist."
America's Test Kitchen: you can use your SodaStream to double the life of your salad greens. Carbon dioxide "slows the respiration process of the greens and in turn slows the process of ripening and wilting". via kenjilopezalt.com
Everything Is Temporary. One man stands alone against the flow of time. via boingboing.net
Cargo e-bikes are selling like hotcakes now. "It feels as if the industry and the government have simultaneously woken up to the enormous potential of cargo e-bikes to replace car trips and improve the environment." via @marcprecipice
Kenji López-Alt Spent 5 Months Studying Chicago Thin-Crust Pizza. Here's What He Learned. "Among his many revelations: a game-changing technique for yielding that crisp crust at home."
This weekend, 41-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the oldest goal scorer in Serie A history. He could have retired after a serious knee injury last year, but he did surgery & rehab and now he's back scoring goals. Incredible.
Museums Rename Artworks and Artists as Ukrainian, Not Russian. "Museums in the United States and Europe are complicit in its colonization, the critics argue, if they don't honor the artistic contributions of Ukrainians."
Deadline's chief film critic: "Not only have I never played the iconic '80s video game Tetris, I had never heard of it before encountering this new film Tetris..." How is this even possible?!
So this is a bit of a mind-bender: the release of Tetris is closer to the World War II than it is to today. WTAF? via @migurski
The Cooper Hewitt Design Museum recently announced the establishment of a digital curatorial department, "which will collect and care for born-digital work". via @overholt
Lance Reddick, who played Cedric Daniels on The Wire, has died at the age of 60.
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine, namely the forced deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
The FCC is ordering phone companies to block scam text messages. Carriers must block texts from "invalid, unallocated, or unused numbers" and those from numbers that never send text messages. Finally!
Here's the new spacesuit that astronauts will wear when they return to the Moon. The prototype is dark gray but the actual suits will be white for thermal reasons.
The Media Better Be Smart and Get Wise to DeSantis' Bad-Faith Press Operation. "If a reporter can't recognize propaganda and call it out when he sees it, then what's even the point?"
Alex Hollender led the recent redesign of Wikipedia and wrote up some notes on the project and process. "We felt confident that if we gave it some overdue attention we could make it better for both reader and editors."
From the University of Colorado Boulder, a five-week mini-course on web scraping. The syllabus and code samples are available on Github.
Interesting class from Ana Marie Cox that sounds like part writing workshop, part therapy. The Third Story Workshop is "designed to help people reclaim the narrative of their lives in an essay they can share with others".
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Jelani Cobb contrasts the central place it occupies in our culture with "the disparities of health, health care, and longevity" in America's Black and brown communities.
Most rare book librarians don't wear special white gloves when handling old books and manuscripts. "The best way to handle a rare book is with clean hands and caution."
The American Kennel Club: the most popular purebred dog in the US in 2022 was the French Bulldog. "This ends the Labrador Retriever's 31-year reign as the most popular dog breed in America."
From Wikipedia, a list of extraterrestrial volcanoes - a tally of "active, dormant, and extinct volcanoes located beyond planet Earth".
Recent analysis of images from the early-90s Magellan mission has revealed signs of active volcanism on Venus.
We're getting (at least) two more seasons of The Last of Us TV series because the "more expansive" Part II of the video game will be split into two TV seasons.
Loving these articles about the secrets of successful people. "Winners Wake Up at 4:30 a.m.: The Science of How We Can All Become Rich by Being Less Pathetic."
On the difficulty of ranking Steven Spielberg's movies (also includes several rankings of his movies). "Spielberg has dipped into every genre, flexed every cinematic muscle, and made too many classics for too many varying tastes."
A hard truth for websites who want people to log in before they can read their free content: "Not reading is easier than reading — and *way easier* than logging in."
Nebraska state senator Machaela Cavanaugh is 3 weeks into filibustering an anti-trans bill. "If this Legislature collectively decides that legislating hate against children is our priority, then I am going to make it...painful for everyone."
Cony Hawk, Pro Skater. This traffic cone is a way better skater than I'll ever be and I'm not even mad about it.
50 Years Later, We're Still Living in the Xerox Alto's World. "Using it feels so familiar and natural that it’s sometimes difficult to appreciate just how extraordinary, how different it was when it first appeared."
Almost every letter in English speech can be silent, except for possibly V. "The letter E quietly resides in the middle of the word vegetable."
It Took Me Nearly 40 Years To Stop Resenting Ke Huy Quan. "I blamed Quan, Gedde Watanabe, Pat Morita, and any number of other Asian-American actors for perpetuating these constructed stereotypes."
Teaser trailer for season two of The Bear. Always interesting to see if the lightning-in-a-bottle of shows like this can carry over into a second season.
OpenAI has introduced their GPT-4 language model. You can try it out right now if you're a ChatGPT Plus user. "GPT-4 is more reliable, creative, and able to handle much more nuanced instructions than GPT-3.5."
How to Eat Dinner Even Though You Already Watched All Your Shows. Lol, it me.
The Notre Dame in Paris is scheduled to reopen in late 2024. "The reconstruction itself started last year, after more than two years of work to make the monument stable and secure enough for artisans to start rebuilding it."
Watch Stephanie Hsu's brilliant audition for Everything Everywhere All At Once. I won't say Jamie Lee Curtis didn't deserve her Oscar, but Hsu would have been my choice.
SpaceX Crew Member Realizes He Fired After Being Locked Out Of Capsule. "Judging by the fact that I have no space shuttle access, everyone is ignoring me, and I'm floating endlessly in space, I think I can put two and two together..."
I know parents are always on the lookout for engaging tabletop games for their kids; check out these roleplaying games from AMPERSAND RPG that kids and parents can play together.
Uniqlo is selling shirts with Paul Rand's cheeky eye-bee-M logo on them.
Remember that lunar lander game from earlier in the week? Someone made an autopilot for it that makes a perfect landing every time.
Blood Money is a new book about the international for-profit blood plasma industry. "There are people doing it to buy groceries and to pay for housing. There are also people who are selling plasma to take a vacation."
What to Expect When You're Expecting to Be a Gen-X Girl. "Your parents will never, not once, wonder if you’re hydrated."
AI is being used to find formerly undetectable samples from songs by Daft Punk, Mobb Deep, etc. "Google Assistant can even detect samples less than a second long, and is usually able to detect samples that have been chopped or time-stretched."
Rosecrans Baldwin: Los Angeles Is a Fantastic Walking City. No, Really. "Probably most of Greater L.A. is awful to experience on foot. Yet there’s so much of it, radiating from multiple cores, that the amount worth walking is colossal."
From There I Ruined It, a "yeah" medley featuring Britney, The Beatles, Nirvana, Dua Lipa, Snoop Dogg, and Queen.
A recently discovered comet, C/2023 A3, may put on a show for us in September 2024 when its brightness may "rival some of the brightest stars in the sky".
How to expand solar power without using precious land. "Deployed in the right way, solar installations can boost crop yields, save water, and protect biodiversity."
"Heatmap is a new media company focused on the biggest story in the world: the great climate and energy transition."
"People on TikTok are paying elderly women to sit in stagnant mud for hours and cry." Cool dystopia we've built here...
I always enjoy reading Dennis Crowley's "open source soccer" progress reports on running Kingston Stockade FC, a small soccer club in the Hudson Valley. "I'm focused on building something that's around forever..."
The Apple II Age: How the Computer Became Personal. "If you want to understand how Apple Inc. became an industry behemoth, look no further than the 1977 Apple II." via @mwichary
The ACLU is tracking a record 385 anti-LGBTQ bills (many targeting transgender youth) filed by lawmakers in 38 states.
Still Life, a stop-motion animation from Conner Griffith "composed of over 1000 engravings from the 19th century". via @openculture
Important reminder: as of last week, De La Soul's music is finally available on streaming platforms.
I didn't know there was a Devil in the White City series in the works...and now it's dead? Maybe? Lots of boldfaced names were attached to this project: DiCaprio, Scorsese, Keanu Reeves, Todd Field, Jude Law, Jeremy Allen White.
Google and Facebook are turning over "user chat logs and search history" to police prosecuting women seeking abortions.
Oh my god, this in-browser lunar lander game sucked up way too much of my time last night. via @waxy
From The Women of Interaction Design, a short profile of the legendary Ray Eames. (Check out the other profiles while you're there too.)
"Fortunately, there already exists a long-standing alternative that provides users with what social media does not deliver: RSS."
Bad Projection Is Ruining the Movie Theater Experience. Patrons end up paying more than a monthly Netflix subscription (per seat!) for a picture that's dim & off-kilter bc theater chains are skimping on skilled projectionists.
Explore Hundreds of Exquisite Botanical Collages Created by an 18th-Century Septuagenarian Artist. Mary Delany's "realistic works are both stunning for their beauty and faithfulness to the original lifeforms".
Wow, Marcin Wichary made a typewriter simulator as part of his forthcoming book about keyboard, Shift Happens.
A24 is selling hot dog finger gloves, as seen in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
A stimulating collection of gifs of various video & film techniques like central focus, camera flip, data mosh, crash zoom, etc.
Interesting conversation with Na Zhong, translator of Sally Rooney's three novels into Simplified Chinese. "The level of interest in themselves shown by Sally Rooney's characters would risk being criticized as self-absorption in Chinese literature..."
Black AF History: The Un-Whitewashed Story of America is a forthcoming book by Michael Harriot - a "bitingly hilarious retelling of American history that corrects the record and showcases the perspectives and experiences of Black Americans."
OpenAI Is Now Everything It Promised Not to Be: Corporate, Closed-Source, and For-Profit. We really need to stop believing hardcore capitalists when they make promises like this. When someone shows you who they are...
If you had a subscription to Tweetbot or Twitterrific and want to support the awesome indie developers who made them, re-download the apps and opt-out of your auto-refund. Also: "Phony Stark" is an A+ name for that guy.
From MIT Game Lab, a game called A Slower Speed of Light that simulates the sometimes counterintuitive visual effects of special relativity.
Deepfake: The Office, but everyone is Pam. This is unsettling!
The Carthusian monks who have made Chartreuse since 1737 have announced that they've started limiting the production of the liqueur to devote more time to solitude and prayer and lessen environmental impacts.
Regarding Efforts By You, In Inferior Person, To Cancel Me, A Genius. "When you say I am contradicting myself, you fail to recognize I am in a Platonic dialogue with myself, and both sides of myself are winning."
"Looking at DNA gleaned from ancient remains, researchers identified at least eight previously unknown populations of early Europeans." The history of humans in Europe is more varied and interesting than we'd previously thought.
The pedestrian death rate in the United States increased 9x faster than population since 2019.
February 2023 Archives »