Things That Didn't Suck 2012
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BOOKS & SHORT FICTION
- The Beginning of Infinity, by David Deutsch - Philosophy, Computer Science, Physics, and more. Deutsch is a physicist; his philosophy closely reflects this and nonetheless is not morally empty.
- Anathem, by Neal Stephenson - This book + The Beginning of Infinity turned me into a Platonist. Seriously.
- The Golden Apples of the Sun, by Isaac Asimov
- Dark Integers - What if the rules of mathematics were physical and were dynamical?
- The Secret Number - Did Dr. Tomlin discover Bleem, the integer between 3 and 4?
- The Source, by James Michener - I read this before, during, and after my trip to Israel. It was an important part of understanding what the hell was going on.
- The Information, by James Gleick
- The Dark Knight Rises
- The Hobbit
- Apocalypse Now
- Don’t Turn Left - Every highway intersection is obsolete.maybe
- Safety Through Asymmetry - Burt Rutan designed a plane that can lose either engine but remain completely stable.
- Fashioning Apollo - SPACE TAILORS
- Cookies, by Douglas Adams - A true tale demonstrating that quiet desperation is the English way.
- Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names - Context: G+ required your real name.
- ‘Underground Railroad’ Carries Slaves From Brooklyn To Manhattan
- Glass Works: How Corning Created the Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material of the Future
- The Heinlein Maneuver - Heinlein gives a friend ideas for stories.
- As We May Think, by Vannevar Bush - In which Vannevar Bush describes, in 1945, the internet.
- Playboy Interview: George Carlin
- Science Is Our Human Heritage
- The Bookstore Strikes Back - One can only hope.
- The Most Dangerous Gamer - Can Jonathan Blow make video games into a respected art?
- Who Is Tom Bombadil? - If you haven’t read The Silmarillion, this will not make any sense to you at all. Inside the Secret Program to Build the World’s Best Maps - The notion that Apple was going to replace or beat Google at mapping is hilarious.
- Realistic Space Combat - This guy is a nerd. His argument that belligerents in real space combat will have total situational awareness and its implications on strategy are convincing.
- The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly - Not as cool as Could Conjoined Twins Share A Mind? from last year, but interesting nonetheless.
- List of Films that Most Frequently Use the Word “Fuck” - Exactly what it sounds like.
- Unabomber lists self as ‘prisoner’ in Harvard directory - “Awards: Eight life sentences, issued by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, 1998.”
- French phone bill waved after 12qn-euro blunder - A woman was charged 11,721,000,000,000,000.00 euros. That is more than the economic output of the world, by a large margin.
- Manhattan Evacuation Plan Reveals Island’s Old Contours - It’s almost as though the surface of the Earth was shaped over eons by natural forces.
MATH & PHYSICS POPULAR-LEVEL THINGS
- Factorization Diagrams
- Divisibility by 7 is a Walk on a Graph - ÷7 is the first one where the divisibility rule is not “easy”. The complete rule is shown. The method promptly generalizes, though becomes more complex when the divisor has more digits.
- Just what do you mean by “number”? - Hmm.
- The Mystery of the Menger Sponge - Fractals at MoMath
- The Philosophy of Computer Science - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy is what Wikipedia would be if it were written by experts.
- Advice to a Young Mathematician - Sir Michael Atiyah was the president of the Royal Society and has a Fields Medal.
- Manifold Destiny - Gregori Perelman is a crazy person; he proved one of the most difficult mathematical theorems.
- Neutrino Detector Will Be Second-Biggest Human Structure - The Mediterranean itself will be part of the detector.
- Who Needs The Higgs Boson? - Raman knows what he’s talking about.
- Game of Thrones
- It’s Painting It’s Pouring - Some people make really interesting looking art by pouring paint on a thing.
- The Connected States of America - You can learn a lot by understanding who’s calling who.
- Stephen Fry on The Joys of Swearing
- Social Networking in its Oldest Form - A guy throws messages in bottles into the ocean.
- Baby birds - They grew up in the bush by my house’s stoop.
- Vi Hart - Everybody should make hexaflexagons. It’s a fun project and they are zany objects.
- What Color is a Mirror? - Surprise! It’s green.
- Paul Erdős: N is a number
- Pendulum Waves - Pendula are mesmerizing.
- What Earth Would Look Like With Rings Like Saturn - Hint: it’d be pretty.
- Dispatch - Live in concert. They were awesome. I ran into Jake Itzkowitz.
- The Cranberries had a new album.
- So did Jethro Tull.
- Punch Brothers - modern take on bluegrass.
PODCASTS / RADIO
- How Fake Money Saved Brazil - cf. the onion
- A Man, A Van, A Surprising Business Plan - Turns out you can make $500/day helping the individual defeat moronic bureaucracy.
- StoryCorps - I just wish they came out more quickly.
- Dream of Pixels - It’s reverse tetris. I can’t really explain it better than that. I paid for the app.
- Tigris & Euphrates - The Gamer’s Game.
- Agricola - I have played a handful of times and have systematically gotten destroyed.
- Maps Tower Defense - Play a tower defense game anywhere in google maps.
- Open Face Chinese Poker
- Scramble With Friends
- Kerning: The Game
THE OTHER MISCELLANEOUS THINGS
- Infrequently Used Punctuation Marks
- Tig Notaro’s “Live” set that I bought at Louis CK’s website.
- Trip to Israel
- The American Craft Beer Festival
- The National Aquarium
- Night Life at the California Academy of Sciences
- I caught a t-shirt at a Nat’s game.
- Wind Map
- Green Twilight Publication Party
- That time the Space Shuttle Discovery flew over DC.
- A 63-comment long facebook thread filled with puns that followed my quip “Are baking scholarships knead-based?”
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