Hey friends! I hope 2023 has treated you well so far. Here’s some things I’ve been reading lately:
Wikipedia is the best website
- The Fly Geyser is a particularly colourful man-made geyser, thanks to many species of algae that flourish in the extreme temperature around the rocks. It’s located in Nevada, on a ranch that has been bought by the Burning Man festival.
- Aluminium Christmas trees were all the rage in the 1960s.
- Learned from the history of AC power plugs and sockets that when electricity first arrived in homes, since it was mostly used for lighting, other appliances (vacuum cleaners, fans, irons) were plugged directly to light bulb sockets before the invention and standardisation of wall plugs.
- The Ranieri Filo della Torre literary prize is awarded for the best writing about extra virgin olive oil (from scientific theses to poetry and fiction).
- I’ve talked a few months ago about how the printing press caused the disappearance of the letter þ in English. TIL that this also happened to Welsh: “English printers, with type letter frequencies set for English and Latin, did not have enough k letters in their type cases to spell every /k/ sound as k, so the order went ‘C for K, because the printers have not so many as the Welsh requireth’”.
- There are a few twin films in existence: movies with a very similar plot or theme, released around the same time, but produced by completely different casts and studios.
- It is apparently common in the US to drop things for the new year, so here’s a list of objects dropped on New Year’s Eve.
- The concept of bootable business cards took me way back to a specific era of CDs. (Why the hell did we make them bootable?)
- The average body temperature of humans has been on a steady decline since the Industrial Revolution, from 37º to 36.5º, and nobody really knows why yet. Evolution, baby!
- Our first close-up image of Mars, in 1965, was a paint-by-numbers pastel drawing because we didn’t have the computing technology to process the images and colours.
- …and since one of the global priorities of the coming decade is checks notes lunar exploration again, scientists are trying to agree on how to define the time it is on the Moon.
- A great review and arguments over why we’re obsessed with bike helmets when they don’t really protect us that much.
- I think it missed one element of why the Dutch or Danish overwhelmingly don’t wear helmets: it’s not just that they have a quality network of segregated bike infrastructure that improves their safety (real and perceived) against crashes with cars. It’s also that almost everyone ride utility bicycles, or “omafiets”. Their geometry makes your chest stand upright rather than leaning forward: by design, this makes you slower, and more stable at slower speeds (which is great for riding in cities, where you regularly need to adjust your speed at intersections!).
In comparison, countries like the UK or the US continue to exclusively see cycling as a sport or leisure activity rather than a serious way of commuting, and so most of the bicycles available for sale are road, hybrid and mountain bikes, which are better at holding speed. Arguably, combined with the lack of infrastructure that pushes you to ride faster to earn your space amongst cars, this can increase the severity of accidents.
- Bioweapons could get very specific: if a lab got hold of a person’s DNA, like a Head of State, they could theoretically develop a virus that only targeted that specific person.
- What airports do to catch illicit radioactive cargo (which arrive more regularly than you think, apparently and worryingly).
Everything is depressing
Good to look at
In my ears
Work! Design! Tech!
Stay in your lane,