Hello! It’s Victor! Long time no email. I’ve been very busy with work and the (definitely not stressful) process of trying to buy a house, but I’m still finding time to send you some links to keep you busy surfing the high waves of the web while the sun is playing hide and seek.
( 🏴 a note for Scotland pals: I’ll be up there at the end of June!! If you’re around reply to this email and let’s catch up!)
Wikipedia is the best website
- Elizabeth Line? Yes, she’s a gymnast.
- Unobtainium is a placeholder name in engineering and fiction, given to an ideal material that doesn’t actually exist (or exists, but is not practically obtainable).
- A list of games that Buddha would not play. (Includes an early version of blindfold chess.)
- Phosphene is the phenomenon of seeing light when there isn’t actually light coming into your eye — for example through pressure or electrical stimulations.
- Help I got lost on linguistics Wikipedia again and I found some good jargon:
- 999, 420, 24/7, 411, and in France, 3615, are examples of numeronyms: they’re numbers that have become semantic words. Some of them are composed from a mix of letters and numbers to form abbreviations: K9, a11y, sk8r.
- Fossil words are obsolete words that aren’t used by themselves anymore, but still live on through some idioms (much ado about nothing, lo and behold, eke out).
- Many of those are part of a big family called irreversible binomials: two words forming an idiom which no longer “work” if you swap their order. You can say loud and clear, mac and cheese, rise and fall, in and out, first and foremost, wear and tear, but you will sound unhinged if you flip the two sides — even though it’s still syntactically and semantically correct.
- Unpaired words aren’t the opposite: they’re orphaned from the counterpart you’d expect from their prefix or suffix. You can improvise, postpone, be innocent or ruthless, but you can’t provise, prepone, be nocent and ruthful.
- There is a Wikia about aesthetics, and they have a list of aesthetics, and yes I have also lost several hours learning about them.
- Clocky is an alarm clock on wheels that runs away when you try to grab it, forcing you to get out of bed.
- To help people with amputated limbs deal with phantom limb pain, some doctors use mirror therapy to regain a sense of control.
- Phallic architecture. Need I say more?
- Why it’s so hard to catch your own typos (it’s not because you’re stupid).
- We’ve collectively stopped believing people can change — and we’re losing forgiveness in the process. (I’m very guilty of thinking this — as would anyone who spent enough time on the internet, quite frankly, but perhaps there’s hope to be had).
- Turns out Bailey’s was invented in 1973 as a ‘girly drink’ by English guys taking advantage of government export subsidies.
- The title is a bit clickbaity, but the article is a fascinating and digestible read: some researchers claim to have found a key problem underlying all cryptography. (That looming threat will be remaining as long as quantum computers are looking like a viable possibility.)
- Tripods is a fun puzzle game.
- If you’re bored of Wordle variants, my friend Leo got me into Knotwords, another fun and addictive word game.
- Can’t remember how I ended up on it, but I found lots of wisdom in comedy writer Jane Espenson’s old blog.
Everything is depressing
Work! Design! Tech!
Everything eats and is eaten,