Hello, beautiful reader! It’s Victor. I hope you’ve all had a lovely start to 2022. I’ve not sent a newsletter in a while so this one is pretty packed, I hope it’ll keep you busy to distract you from the war around us :)))
Wikipedia is the best website
- In 1912, Japan competed in the Olympics for the very first time and sent Shizō Kanakuri, a promising marathon runner, to Stockholm. Alas, the combination of a rough 18-day journey to Sweden, his coach catching tuberculosis on arrival, and the hot weather had all taken their toll: he started the race, but dropped out halfway through. Ashamed, he never reported back to the race judges, who officially listed him as “missing”, and quietly returned to Japan. In 1967, Swedish Television tracked him down and gave “the missing marathoner” a chance to finish his run. He gladly did, crossed the ribbon, and was given an official time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds.
- A bean-feast is not, in fact, another name for an English breakfast.
- In the late 19th century, New Jersey had a boroughitis problem. When commuters started to move there, they voted en masse to break up existing counties into many new boroughs and form their separate local governments.
- Some lists:
- Songwriter and musician Matt Farley allegedly released over 22,000 songs under 80 different band names. He’s essentially brute-forcing the Spotify money-making algorithm by providing musical results for random words people search online: ”according to Farley, one song that contains only the word “poop” repeated over and over generates $500 in streaming revenue every month, likely in part because children request it from Alexa”. That, and thousands of versions of “happy birthday” sung with a different name in each.
- Jotto is an early version of Wordle.
- Free band name: Amplified Cactus.
- Found a new all-time classic of court cases names: United States v. Article Consisting of 50,000 Cardboard Boxes More or Less, Each Containing One Pair of Clacker Balls.
- You’ll be glad to learn the UK has an emergency salt reserve (and less glad to learn that we’re losing lots of it to rain).
- It’s a bit too on the nose, but the latest success of French Tech is an AI tool to identify types of cheese from a photo.
- A handful of people in the world have superpowers: those who never forget a face, smell everything, see more colours, and dive to incredible depths.
- Building a Lego-powered submarine in a food container, with a smart hack — torque is transmitted through magnets. No holes, no leaks.
- In China, Zhènlóuqì are the new broom tap: these trendy new machines make your ceiling vibrate, when your upstairs neighbour makes too much noise. Unsurprisingly this does not seem to improve neighbourhood relationships.
- Words of rationality have declined in the last few decades, shifting from ‘we conclude’ to ‘I believe’.
- The Dunning-Kruger effect is probably not real, or not as most people understand it.
- For most of history, it seems that people slept twice a night, interrupting their night in the early morning. For good reasons.
- Have you ever read a news article about something you understand pretty well, and thought the articles was full of errors, misunderstandings and glaring omissions? The Gell-Mann amnesia effect is the phenomenon where experts will recognise and acknowledge all these problems in articles about their fields… but then, like amnesia, uncritically keep reading and believing articles in the same media that are on topics outside their area of expertise.
- A good and angry argument for free culture: “That’s the tragedy of the commons”, says some fuck busy selling off all the commons.
- A fantastic (as usual) interactive explanation of how GPS works, by Bartosz Ciechanowski.
- Where did the dramatic “Dun, Dun Duuun!” of movies come from?
Everything is depressing
- It’s a vicious scam, but you’ve got to admit it’s pretty smart. Phishers are covering stickers on parking meters with their own official-looking ones, with a large QR code that lets people easily “pay for their parking” online. Obviously, the code takes people to their own dodgy page to steal their card information… on top of leaving victims with fines for unpaid parking with the district.
- It’s in the US, but I have no doubts this will badly hit the UK’s private parking system. If you’re a very occasional driver like me, the current process is: go to meter, curse that you don’t have the exact amount of coins on you and it doesn’t read cards, download the app for this specific parking conglomerate or council (I already have five others but not this one) while being on low-quality 3G in the middle of the countryside, spend ten minutes making an account on the worse interface ever imagined, pay. I personally would fall SO HARD for the (lying) promise of a single normal webpage that lets me enter the license plate and card details in a minute.
- Finding love and partners when you’re a spreadsheet nerd.
- I’m going to group these blockchain/NFTs articles, I can only say they’re all excellent reads to continue understanding what they are, and what’s wrong with them:
Good to look at
In my ears
Work! Design! Tech!
With Caribbean sand in my keyboard,