Hi babes, it’s Victor! I hope you’re having a meaningful day. We’ve moved into our new house a couple weeks ago! It’s been a journey and a half, but I’ve learned many things from it already (for example, that I’m much worse than I thought at DIY).
Here’s some of the things I read in the last couple of months and wanted to share with you:
The possibly first online webcam was looking at the Trojan Room coffee pot, as great innovations always come from… researchers needing to be caffeinated.
Potato Parcel is a website that lets you send someone a potato with a custom message.
A list of pizza varieties by country (with some truly… fascinating variants).
The Demon Cat was purported to haunt the US government buildings in Washington. Security guards have reported seeing it wandering around the Capitol in the nights before the assassinations of JFK and Abraham Lincoln.
2011 saw many things, including the birth of an Avril Lavigne replacement conspiracy theory. (“Lavigne herself has denied the theory on multiple occasions”, which is a bit suspicious if you ask me.)
A museum security expert explains how it’s pretty hard to protect a painting from somebody throwing a can of soup at it.
For aesthetic reasons, the scissors emoji wouldn’t actually close if you tried. ✂️
An incredibly clear and fascinating explanation of how the energy infrastructure market actually works — making it suddenly clear why your supplier has been begging you to switch to a smart meter.
The state of Utah allows non-US residents to get married. When they introduced Zoom wedding ceremonies during the pandemic, same-sex couples from China started getting married remotely, as they cannot do so back home.
If you don’t fully get cryptocurrency — what it is, or how it works, or why it’s maybe important or whether it’s really a big Ponzi scheme — I highly recommend reading The Crypto Story by Matt Levine.
Big nerds have recently added new prefixes to all SI units, so you now know the Earth weights six ronnagrams (that’s six with 27 zeroes after), and that a quectometer will mostly be useful for particle physicists.
Barilla has decided to anger all Italian nonnas at once to promote the passive cooking technique for pasta, an energy-saving hack where you cut off the hob after two minutes and let pasta cook in the residual heat for a bit longer. I wonder whether that can be combined with the already more energy-efficient (and starch-maximising) method of starting in cold water.
On the BuzzFeedification of mental health, conditions, and identities.
A great rebuttal to the fallacy that displaying real names provide better discourse in online communities. (It always struck me as an odd argument to make; have these people never been on Facebook?)
The truffle industry is a big scam and pretty much every truffle-flavoured thing available to you tastes nowhere near like real truffles.
A great insight on who gets quality leisure, and why. I’ve never seen it presented this way, but it now seems so obvious that the traditionally women-coded hobbies (crafts, baking, gardening, knitting) happen to be done at home and are easily interruptible by childcare and domestic tasks, whereas men-dominated hobbies and sports are more time-intensive and can be enjoyed away from home responsibilities.
I’m not exactly one for devouring US Supreme Court papers, but The Onion's amicus brief defending the right to parody is a masterclass in legal writing and comedy. Even if the fact it had to be written is pretty depressing.
I love this art piece that lets a plant wield a machete, using sensors that translate electrical signals of the leaves into robot movements.
Another fantastic interactive post from Bartosz Ciechanowski explaining how sound works. I cannot explain how game-changing it’d be to have had those at school.
Using AI style transfer to make a flower woman by 1500+ artists.
Are urban foxes ‘fantastic’ or a growing menace? A bit of both, and a bit of neither.
A fun tool to (maybe) improve your writing: Lose the Very.
Joseph Ford’s invisible jumpers project makes real camouflage with knitwear, and it is glorious.
The key to learning and mastering things is variability, not repetition.
How to plan as a product or engineering team, with this important nugget about the core of what we actually do: “trade-offs are the very heart of engineering and engineering leadership. Software as a medium is so malleable that functionally anything can be made to work. Any language, architecture, approach, style, process, etc can be made to work given sufficient effort. Meaning we find ourselves not asked to choose between right and wrong answers, but between trade-offs.”
Some refreshing and insightful thoughts on improving product quality.
Everyone hates MVPs; try SLCs (Simple, Lovable and Complete) instead.
Wix have an excellent piece on how to write better error messages for your users.