03 August 2021

Interesting video of the Portuguese Man O' War

There is no solid color in this photo

The original black-and-white photo has been "colorized" with a criss-cross pattern of colored lines.  There are no solid color areas; your vision interpolates the rest of the color.  via Reddit.

Sharks' teeth found on a river bottom

"These are all fossilized and the river has eroded down to the layer where the teeth are. I’ve got megalodons, great whites, makos, and angustidens here. Pretty much all of the east coast states used to be under water when all the polar ice was melted. We had a lot of whales and because of that a lot of large predators. For as many teeth as I find there had to have been a lot of sharks here for a very long time. This was just two scuba tanks worth of diving. I actually found a lot more than this but most were in pretty bad shape."

How to do public health

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has fully vaccinated 90 percent of its eligible adult population within just seven days, after receiving vaccines via foreign donations, its health ministry has said.

The tiny country, wedged between India and China and home to nearly 800,000 people, began giving out second doses on July 20 in a mass drive that has been hailed by UNICEF as “arguably the fastest vaccination campaign to be executed during a pandemic”.

“And if there’s anything that I hope the world that can learn, is that a country like Bhutan with very few doctors, very few nurses but a really committed king and leadership in the government mobilising society – it’s not impossible to vaccinate the whole country.” 
More info at Aljazeera.  Shame on the people of the United States.

02 August 2021

Revisiting Kottke

The more perspicacious among you will have noticed that the most recent six posts have been sourced from Kottke.org.  I'll explain by starting with a backstory.

I created TYWKIWDBI back in 2007.  That is a long time ago in internet years, but I was not a pioneer.  When I wrote that first post, I was modeling my blog after a group of blogs I had been visiting and reading for probably ten years, such as J-Walk, Nothing to do with Arbroath, Neatorama, Cynical-CPresurfer ... and Kottke.

I compiled a system whereby I would visit some daily, some on specific days of the week, some on weekends - so that I could monitor everything.  It was of course a hopelessly impossible task (as evidenced by the lengthy "blogrolls" at the bottom of the right sidebar here on the front page.

Over the years, news sites (BBC, NYT, StarTribune, Guardian etc) and aggregators (Reddit, Digg) displaced blogs from the "daily" reads.  And time limitations meant that the once-a-week blogs were visited less often.  And thus, Kottke fell through the cracks.

And that's a shame, because Kottke is very much like TYWKIWDBI in terms of content, format, and worldview.  A discussion thread at Ask Metafilter discussed the question of what blogs are like Kottke?  I was pleased to see TYWKIWDBI offered as one of the choices.

Jason Kottke started his blog in 1998 - about ten years before me.  
"Frequent topics of interest among the 26,000+ posts include art, technology, science, visual culture, design, music, cities, food, architecture, sports, endless nonsense, and carefully curated current events, all of it lightly contextualized. Basically, it’s the world’s complete knowledge, relentlessly filtered through my particular worldview, with all the advantages and disadvantages that entails."
There is an interesting interview with Jason Kottke at Rebecca's Pocket:
"Many blogs, including the most visible ones, are vertically focused on things like Web 2.0 (TechCrunch), politics (Instapundit), gadgets (Gizmodo), or celebrity gossip (The Superficial). Kottke.org isn't like that; the only unifying factor is I write about and link to whatever I find interesting. Not that I don't focus mainly on a small groups of topics I'm interested in (technology, photography, food, design, economics, science, etc.) but the day-to-day or week-to-week focus varies widely. Which makes the site an acquired taste; you actually have to read it for a bit to get the gist."
That's the backstory.  Kottke is now back on my daily read list, displacing BoingBoing.

30 July 2021

Memorable movie shots

I haven't found a compilation of the source movies, which range from the famous to the apparently obscure.  Via Kottke.

"Rogue" planets are common

As reported by Gizmodo:

Rogue planets, as they’re informally known, likely formed from a protoplanetary disc around a host star but were then tossed out into interstellar space by the gravitational perturbations of larger planets. These wanderers range in size from Earth-like through to Jupiter-scale behemoths. Fascinatingly, they might be exceptionally abundant, with some scientists estimating trillions of them in the Milky Way. Their true population size remains a mystery, however...

As Einstein famously predicted, foreground objects can warp the light emanating from background stars. This results in the temporary magnification of the incoming light from our perspective, and the effect can last from just a few hours to a few days. Microlensing events are relatively rare, and those produced by rogue planets are even rarer...

The new paper suggests the presence of a large population of Earth-sized rogue planets in the Milky Way. It’s becoming clear that free-floating planets are common. McDonald said his team is currently working to come up with a more precise estimate for how many of them might exist.
Via Kottke.

Classic paintings animated

Posted by Kottke back in 2014.
"And for those looking to supplement their GIF collections, this page contains links to an animated GIF for each painting represented in the video."

Click the full-screen icon in the right lower corner.  It was made for stuff like this. 


Zaila, who just finished eighth grade in her hometown, Harvey, La., showed a prowess for spelling at 10, when her father, who had been watching finals of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on ESPN, asked her how to spell the winning word: marocain.

Zaila spelled it perfectly. Then he asked her to spell the winning words going back to 1999. She spelled nearly all of them correctly and was able to tell him the books where she had seen them.

“He was a bit surprised by that,” Zaila said in an interview before the finals.

She also learned how to speed read and figured out that she could divide five-digit numbers by two-digit numbers in her head, a skill she said she had a hard time explaining.
Via KottkeHyperlexia was a new word for me.
Hyperlexia is a syndrome characterized by a child's precocious ability to read. It was initially identified by Norman E. Silberberg and Margaret C. Silberberg (1967), who defined it as the precocious ability to read words without prior training in learning to read, typically before the age of 5. They indicated that children with hyperlexia have a significantly higher word-decoding ability than their reading comprehension levels. Children with hyperlexia also present with an intense fascination for written material at a very early age.

Some hyperlexics, however, have trouble understanding speech. Some experts believe that most children with hyperlexia, or perhaps even all of them, lie on the autism spectrum. However, one expert, Darold Treffert, proposes that hyperlexia has subtypes, only some of which overlap with autism. Between 5 and 20 percent of autistic children have been estimated to be hyperlexic.
When I read about children like Zaila, I often wonder how many other children there are "out there" who are unrecognized in terms of their abilities.

Correlation of vaccination levels with politics

This is mostly self-explanatory, but there is some commentary at Kottke.

27 July 2021

"Humped bull with gold horns"

Banded agate and gold
Harappan period, About 1800 BC
Pur village, Bhiwani Khera, Haryana, India
Haryana State Archaeology and Museums

Several Harappan sites have yielded gold jewellery that was often found in burial contexts. Much of this jewellery was made of expensive materials, which were imported from different parts of the world. The recent discovery of the tiny bull found in Haryana reveals gold horns, which were also common in West Asia. It is made of banded agate, which was quarried in distant places such as Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Imagine the work that went into carving this amulet out of agate, which is not an easy stone to work with.  Many other interesting artifacts at India and the World.

The most yellow icterus I have ever seen

The tongue of a 12-year-old boy with jaundice, courtesy of the New England Journal of Medicine.  Most icterus tends to be greenish, in part because the yellow overlays pinkish skin (the sclerae may be more strikingly yellow).   Perhaps in this case the boy's anemia (Hgb 6.1 as a result of hemolytic anemia, shown by the hemoglobinuria in the urine specimen at the right) allows the color to stand out more.

Drop crotch skinny jeans - updated

Available from Oak (marked down from $158 to $79).  They also have drop crotch sweat pants on sale for half-price at $64:

I can't advise you as to whether the heels are part of a coordinated look, but I do know that for drop crotch jodhpurs, you'll need to go to Comme des Garçons:

Also available for half price at $298.  It would make me wonder if the wearer had scrotal elephantiasis, but then I'm not up on fashion, so I'll leave the commenting to those of you with a more enlightened and contemporary viewpoint.

Via The Stir.

Reposted from 2012 because John Farrier posted at Neatorama these "double-waist jeans" -

- apparently by the same designer as these double (?triple-) waist jeans -

- which are not the same as these upside-down jeans -

- or as interesting as these double-back shorts -

- or as cool as these thong jeans:

Uppity employees demand a day off each week

As reported by the Washington Post:
Hundreds of Frito-Lay employees are returning to work in Kansas, ending a 19-day strike with the weekend ratification of a two-year contract that guarantees them at least one day off each week and raises wages...

Workers at the Topeka plant had called on the snack food giant to end forced overtime and 84-hour workweeks, saying they had been pushed to the brink as the factory revved up operations during the pandemic, according to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union Local 218...

Frito-Lay, the maker of Cheetos, Doritos, Ruffles and other packaged foods, is a unit of PepsiCo, the New York-based food and beverage giant. The snack business has seen strong sales throughout the pandemic as people spent more time at home and continues to gain market share. It brought in $4.5 billion in the second quarter, accounting for 23 percent of PepsiCo’s revenue.
I have had seven-days-a-week, 80+ hour jobs (I think my max was over 100 hours).  It's brutal.  Good for these guys.
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