Friday, May 10, 2013

Tab Dump (as Seen on TV!)

Check out these amazing pictures from A Brief History of Children’s Picture Books and the Art of Visual Storytelling - some amazing pictures here.

The Kinks are one of the best rock bands of all time, and were fueled by the tension between brothers Ray and Dave Davies. We've heard Ray's story, now we can see Dave's side in this documentary.

Is S&M anti-feminist? Um... no.

A good primer on reading Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow

Dear SciFi writers, please stop being so pessimistic.

On the subject of Stephenson, here's a fun examination of how relevant his dreams of a data haven are today. BTW, if you haven't read Cryptonomicon, what are you waiting for?

A good video explaining why "global warming" is a misnomer and explaining why yes, climate change means that your average situation may get more extreme. "The wet get wetter and the dry get drier"

Everything you need to know about culture in 10 books

A great Interview with Kim Stanley Robinson at Capitola Book CafĂ© in 2012

In other KSR news, the quantum computers that he predicted in his books (specifically in 2312) is one step closer to reality. Money quote:
The D-Wave machine, which its makers say makes use of such unusual properties of quantum physics as a particle’s ability to move in one direction and its opposite at the same time. ... While quantum properties are among the most tested and proven domains of physics, the concepts behind them — for example, suggestions that we live in one of many universes, or that objects not in direct contact can affect each other — make such properties hard to accept.
Harnessing them for the sake of computation, suggested as a possibility more than two decades ago, has proved difficult.
The optimization problem is typically something like how a traveling salesman would plan a complicated trip most effectively. Ms. McGeoch tested three problems involving optimization. In two of them, the D-Wave computer was slightly faster. In the third, it was markedly faster.
Read the whole thing. It's just fascinating.

Along those lines, Quantum Foam is just a cool thing to ponder.

My first introduction to Jack Gilbert's excellent poem "Failing and Flying"

Take the time to see the beauty in boredom.

A New Yorker report on the light pollution epidemic and an analysis of how Tucson, AZ of all places solves the problem:

Tucson’s code limits the brightness of exterior fixtures and requires most of them to be of a type usually known as “full cutoff” or “fully shielded,” meaning that they cast no light above the horizontal plane and employ a light source that cannot be seen by someone standing to the side. These are not necessarily more difficult or expensive to manufacture than traditional lights, and they typically cost less to operate. Calgary, Alberta, recently cut its electricity expenditures by more than two million dollars a year, by switching to full-cutoff, reduced-wattage street lights.
A fun, old-school Aphex Twin video interview from 1996

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