Archive for the ‘Kottke’ tag
Selected by The American Scholar, Roy Peter Clark explains why these sentences are so great. An interesting perspective, the list. Here’s their first, from The Great Gatsby:
Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
Jason Kottke recently pointed back to an old post he loved. And I’m so glad he did, it’s such an amazing and novel perspective on human history.
Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., one the United States’ great historians, is less than two lifetimes removed from a world where the United States did not exist. Through Mr. Schlesinger, you’re no more than three away yourself. That’s how short the history of our nation really is.
A nice little story about a boy, his motorcycle, his grandfathers, and his mother:
Monopoly is a terrible board game — - I thought I’d linked to one, but here’s a great post about that. These rules wouldn’t make it any better, but they’re a nice use of the common understanding of the game to highlight the strangeness of the world of modern finance:
One-thousand dollars invested at a 20% discount with 5% interest (calculating interest every 3 turns, but simple, not compounding interest) means a player will have starting debt of $1000. After three turns the debt is $1050, 6 turns is $1100, 9 turns is $1150, etc. Totally manageable. The banker is your friend and wants you to succeed.
Unfortunately there is almost no explanation provided on this site for any of the maps on it, but it is quite a collection.
Jason Kottke calls our attention to a great Wikipedia list, that of brands that died from being overused as the common name for their property.
I’ve not listen to it in a while, but it reminded me of this episode from the old CBC radio show The Age of Persuasion, which covered the topic of genericide.
Jason Kottke put together a great little summary of a phenomenon I’d never heard of: “slow TV.”
Slow television is the uninterrupted broadcast of an ordinary event from start to finish. Early efforts included burning Yule logs on TV around Christmas and driver’s views of complete British rail journeys (not to mention Andy Warhol and the pitch drop experiment), but Norwegian public television has revived the format in recent years. The first broadcast was of a 7-hour train trip from Bergen to Oslo, which was watched at some point by ~20% of Norway’s population.
The most lasting thing I took away from the news of the discovery that gravity waves exist — still an idea I’m not sure I fully comprehend — is Jason Kottke’s enthusiasm for this video in which the creator of gravity waves theory discovers it has been discovered:
The commentary Jason has added, about what exactly the revealing scientist is saying, is great too:
Many people have asked what Kuo is saying to Linde on the doorstep. Let’s start with “5 sigma”. The statistical measure of standard deviation (represented by the Greek letter sigma) is an indication of how sure scientists are of their results. (It has a more technical meaning than that, but we’re not taking a statistics course here.) A “5 sigma” level of standard deviation indicates 99.99994% certainty of the result…or a 0.00006% chance of a statistical fluctuation. That’s a 1 in 3.5 million chance. This is the standard particle physicists use for declaring the discovery of a new particle.