Archive for the ‘Kottke’ tag
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.
A photographer takes real pictures of buildings, and then makes them looks as if they are merely thin facades builts as if for a single photograph or movie scene.
As Jason Kottke explains, this is an unintentionally excellent sales pitch that just happens to be hugely interesting on its own. If you’re interested in learning and accomplishment, Paul Tough’s How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character looks absolutely essential. If you’re not convinced, read Shane Parrish’s exploration or an excerpt which starts with:
Sebastian Garcia made a mistake but he couldn’t figure it out. At the 2011 National Junior High Chess Championship he was looking strong and heading towards a victory. Then he made a mistake, squandering his advantage. A few moves later the collapse was complete. Sebastian shook hands with the boy who had beaten him and walked back to Union B, the conference room down the hall. Union B was the makeshift home for his chess team from Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn.
The Weight of Mountains
A short video explaining the basic geology of mountains with some beautiful photography. Watch it with HD on:
Another case where someone else did a great job summarizing a great Reddit thread. Kottke’s distillation is too good not to pass on, this one is a the most crazy to me:
When pilgrims were landing on Plymouth Rock, you could already visit what is now Santa Fe, New Mexico to stay at a hotel, eat at a restaurant and buy Native American silver.
An artful video tour of the facility with the most highly-accurate clock in world with Dr. Demetrios Matsakis, Chief Scientist for USNO’s Time Services.
Oliver Emberton talks about life as it if is literally a video game. I don’t necessarily love all parts of this post, but it’s definitely cool enough — especially the art — to take a look at. This I liked:
Attraction is a complex mini-game in itself, but mostly a byproduct of how you’re already playing. If you have excellent state and high skills, you’re far more attractive already. A tired, irritable, unskilled player is not appealing, and probably shouldn’t be looking for a relationship.
When you get a kidney transplant, they usually just leave your original kidneys in your body and put the 3rd kidney in your pelvis.
Mammoths were alive when the Great Pyramid was being built.
This is a pretty fun little game, and can help train you to recognize languages, which is a skill I’ve always been vaguely interested in.
Stephen Hawking, who’s perhaps the most famous physicist of black holes, believes that it’s inaccurate to think of them as objects from which nothing can escape. Because of “Hawking radiation”, things escapes eventually. The idea that black holes have a boundary from within which nothing can escape, but that they also leak radiation, is a paradox Hawking attempts to reconcile in a new paper:
In place of the event horizon, Hawking invokes an “apparent horizon”, a surface along which light rays attempting to rush away from the black hole’s core will be suspended. In general relativity, for an unchanging black hole, these two horizons are identical, because light trying to escape from inside a black hole can reach only as far as the event horizon and will be held there, as though stuck on a treadmill. However, the two horizons can, in principle, be distinguished. If more matter gets swallowed by the black hole, its event horizon will swell and grow larger than the apparent horizon.
This is a neat little time suck. It’s not the simplest browsing experience, but people from all over the world read the same paragraph. I pulled out some examples:
- Native Cantonese speaking woman, 23 years old, from Hong Kong who has lived in Canada for 15 years
- English man, 19, from Chester
- Indian woman, 28, who spent seven years in the US
- Israeli man, 24, whose spoken English since he was ten
- Lithuanian woman, 24, who lived in the US for a bit over a year
- Somali woman, 50, who has spent five years in the US
- Male, 23, native Mandarin speaker who lived in Singapore and the UK all his life
- Zimbabwean woman who speaks four languages, and lived in the US seven years
- 42-year-old man from Pittsburgh who also speaks Mandarin
A really neat videos — probably more cool than instructive, unless you already understand more than I do about sorting theory — of various different ways computers can sort data.
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.