Archive for the ‘Kottke’ tag
It’s snowing here today, so it feels appropriate to link to these amazing photographs. I don’t really have anything to add to Jason Kottke’s post, where I discovered them:
On second thought, one thing to add: here’s the link straight to the fullscreen slideshow. It makes a quick and beautiful pseudo-screensaver. Throw on some seasonal music, put that up on a screen and you’ve got a quick holiday party.
You’ve probably, by now, heard that bees are disappearing. It turns out, the monarch butterfly is too:
[The migrating butterflies] began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.
The article goes onto articulate the problem more thoroughly, though there’s no clear an simple solution to any of it. This wasn’t an issue I’d thought about recently, though its obviousness makes saying that a bit embarrassing:
Farm fields are not the only problem. Around the world people have replaced diverse natural habitat with the biological deserts that are roads, parking lots and bluegrass lawns. Meanwhile, the plants people choose for their yards are appealing for showy colors or shapes, not for their ecological role.
Without telling anyone I sold this blog to Grantland, and now I’m only going to link to their videos. Hope you don’t mind.
I kid, but two-in-a-row is something I’d typically avoid. But I have two and so you’re going to go watch a video about a coach of a small private Arkansas high school called Pulaski Academy whose strategy is to never — with very very few exceptions — punt away the football. He credits the strategy, along with his unconventional almost-all-onside-kick strategy, with allowing his small school to win so many state championships.
The list isn’t mind blowing, but it is interesting, as is the article that proceeds it. I valued their starting with this point:
Some questions you ask because you want the right answer. Others are valuable because no answer is right; the payoff comes from the range of attempts.
A serious Reddit thread about how people who used to be racist had their mind changed. Interesting, powerful stuff:
I thought about how his son is going to become a lousy shit and rape white women. I started to get mad and decided to beat him up, I was going to follow him when he got off the bus.
I saw him press the button and got ready at the next stop, and just before we stopped I was about to get up and the man turned to his son and said something in a heavy accent that I will never forget in my life.
“I love you my son, be good.”
For your weekend enjoyment: a very determined mouse fights to get a very large cracker back from whence he came.
The latest NSA revelations are big, far-reaching, and made me wonder at my recent “don’t do news” policy. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, Kottke’s wrap-up is as good as you could hope for.
But what actually struck me was how apt the phrase “security nihilsim” is to my reaction to all these revelations. All my looking points to the idea that it’s a coinage by Micah F. Lee in the linked article.
(via Chris Hartjes)
An interesting list: the least commonly visited countries in the world. The thing that elevates it beyond mere trivia is that they list the reasons no one goes, the reasons people might want to go, and other interesting details about the counties.
While I hardly love the idea that what’s good for business is automatically good for your life, Greg McKeown manages to get some good ideas out of this observation about companies that fail to build on their successes. The process, for both companies and people:
Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.
You really don’t know yourself until you know how other people see you. Whether or not that’s true, I really enjoyed this brief description of how travel books seek to explain my country to the world.
But maybe the topic that gets the most attention in these books is food, which they praise for its quality and variety (and portion size) in a tone of near-disbelief. As in any culture, the niceties of dining — especially at someone’s home — can get complicated. Here, from Wikitravel, is some sage advice on a ritual that even I did not realize was so complicated until I read this passage:
When invited to a meal in a private home it is considered polite for a guest to ask if they can bring anything for the meal, such a dessert, a side dish, or for an outdoor barbecue, something useful like ice or plastic cups or plates. The host will usually refuse except among very close friends, but it is nonetheless considered good manners to bring along a small gift for the host. A bottle of wine, box of candies or fresh cut flowers are most common. Gifts of cash, prepared ready-to-serve foods, or very personal items (e.g. toiletries) are not appropriate.
This McSweeney’s piece, whether or not it knows it, is about the Buddhist idea that dukkha (“suffering”) in an inherent characteristic of samsara (the flow of life). In English, it’s about how our constant seeking after passions, objects, and experiences causes us a great deal of confusion, frustration, and pain. And finally, to paraphrase Daniel Gilbert, it’s about how the things we think will make us happy rarely do.
Holy cow this Kottke post is awesome! A very well made video, and a very interesting piece of relevant information that’s not in the video.
This is another one of those stories I saw a few times before I paid attention to. My excuse is that it’s poorly titled, it’s more about the broken American system of end of life care than it is about strictly “how doctors die.” (A problem whose most visible manifestations was all the hubbub about “death panels” some years ago.)
If you’re really interested in that topic, PBS’s Frontline’s Facing Death (from about a year ago) was another worthwhile treatment of the problem.
How I Do Via Links
After I spent nearly 20 minutes looking for where I’d gotten the story I linked yesterday, I got to thinking about the somewhat arbitrary need I feel to attribute my sources. I thought some readers might be interested in it, so this is a brief exegesis of that need and an explanation of how to facilitate it.
The primary reason I care is ego. I don’t want someone coming here, stealing all my links and acting as though my time spent in curation was valueless. And so similarly, I refuse to do this to others. Even when more than half my links seem to have come from one site (today it’s The Browser, there was a time it was kottke, a time it was brijit (what was that?), and time’s it’s been other stuff I don’t remember), I’d rather you know how awesome that site is in deciding what’s valuable on the internet than that you think I’m really hardworking and great at finding stuff. (While I might like for that to be true, it’s not.)
Secondarily, I want to facilitate your finding good things on the internet, not impede it. And the single best thing I can do to help you find cool things is to disclose where I find cool things. If you want more stuff like the stuff I post here, you could do a lot worse than following along a five of the sites I attribute links to.
Now, more important than why I do it is how to do it. For me, 99% of what I read comes from four streams, so if I forget where I got something — which is true about half the time — I look at those four places. Google Reader, Twitter, Hacker News, and reddit all have serviceable search functions, so anytime I forget I just need to do 10ish searches I should be able to attribute where I got something. (Google Reader searches for URLs rarely work, so one must account for the various ways an article may have been described. The reason yesterday took 20 minutes is that I was incorrectly confident about where it came from.)
Because it’s funny, and popped into my head while typing this, I’ll wrap up with part of an old tweet from the ur-link-blogger, Jason Kottke:
As Woodsy Owl would say: give a shit, via it.
PS: If you haven’t been to an single-entry page on this site in a while, they’ve got a better looking box of recommended actions for what to do beyond a single entry. More articles, a better looking tag list, and more accurate recommendations (though I’m still not fully satisfied with those). I made the box myself, it’s also on Frozen Toothpaste.
I link to this story because beyond being an enjoyable diversion, it makes two important points that many people still don’t get.
- George W. Bush is a man who did his best to lead the United States in the direction he thought it needed to go for eight years.
- He is unquestionably well-read on a variety of historical topics. (Whether this raises or lowers your opinion of reading generally, or his reading, doesn’t make it any less true.)
This reminds me of the billion heartbeats thing (across species, that’s approximately how long all lives are — I’d thought it was apocryphal until I saw Sean Carroll mention it as fact), but I’d never heard this one:
In other words, your ears aren’t deceiving you: Spaniards really do sprint and Chinese really do stroll, but they will tell you the same story in the same span of time.