Things That Didn't Suck 2015
← December 27, 2015 →
I was delinquent in 2014, so this contains approximately twice as much as it should.
BOOKS + SHORT FICTION
- Thinking In Pictures, by Temple Grandin - Explains what it’s like to be autistic. Helped me figure out that I’m not autistic.
- What is Life? (1944), by Erwin Schrödinger - Tries to explain what it could mean to be alive.
- American Gods, by Neil Gaiman - Weaves a story whose premise is that all the gods of the Old Country migrated to America with their believers.
- In The Beginning… Was The Command Line, by Neal Stephenson - covers the history of computers.
- The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - A story about an unreliable narrator orphan who goes to magic school and (maybe?) nothing really happens, but it’s really fucking good.
- A Canticle for Liebowitz (1960), by Walter M. Miller Jr. - Tracks a post-nuclear-apocalypse society coming out of a technological dark age. Motivated me to give to the Internet Archive.
- Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (Snow Crash, Cryptonomicon, Anathem (TTDS 2012)) - What happens if the moon suddenly explodes? Went to a reading / Q&A and got my copy inscribed.
- What If?, by Randall Munroe - Tackles bar-room speculation with research and physics
- Our Mathematical Universe, by Max Tegmark - Proposes a serious and compelling form of Mathematical Platonism.
- The Secret Number (TTDS 2012) was made into a 15 minute short.
ARTICLES + SERIOUS VIDEO
- The Greatest Juggler Alive Drops Everything
- The Knowledge - Uber Ruins Everything.
- Sisyphus Kinetic LEGO Sculpture
- Update to Could Conjoined Twins Share A Mind? (TTDS 2011)
- The Moral Character of Cryptographic Work - Seriously, though, all this nonsense about outlawing strong crypto is scary.
- The Great Paper Caper - Counterfeiting is legitimately interesting. Canadian man counterfiets $250M USD and essentially gets away with it.
- The Great Chain of Being Sure About Things - This title sucks, but it’s about the consensus technology behind bitcoin
- 8 Adults, 3 Kids: Modern, Intentional Families are on the Rise
- The Secret Life of Yo-Yos
- The Case of the 500-Mile email bug - Computers are hilarious.
- One Man’s Quest To Rid Wikipedia of Exactly One Grammatical Mistake - This article is comprised of hilarious anecdotes, grammatical arguments, and Wikipedia palace intrigue.
- John Horton Conway: The World’s Most Charismatic Mathematician
- The Wall of Sound - The Grateful Dead’s crew were sonic pioneers.
- How the Talmud became as Best-Seller in South Korea
- Nick Offerman at the Congressional Radio and TV Correspondent’s Dinner
- The Press Your Luck Scandal (1984) - Unemployed Ice Cream Truck Driver beats Press Your Luck
- God, The Universe, and Everything Else (1988) - Hawking, Sagan, and Clarke shoot the shit.
PHYSICS - SERIOUS
- Stealth Dark Matter - What experimental constraints can we place a particular kind of strongly-interacting dark matter?
- Axions - We offer the first constraint the mass of the hypothetical QCD axion from SU(3) Yang–Mills, and I show that constraint should get tighter with a complete calculation from QCD by studying properties of the strong force at Big Bang temperatures.
- Nucleon-Nucleon Scattering - We calculate how protons and neutrons interact, in a modified version of reality. We employ new techniques to go beyond the spherically-symmetric interactions previously studied, crucial for studying parity-violating interactions.
- LATTICE 2014
- Bay Area Science Festival
- Organized LLNL Beyond the Standard Model Workshop
- LATTICE 2015, Kobe, Japan
- Numerical Approaches to the Holographic Principle, Quantum Gravity, and Cosmology, Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
- INT-15-3 Intersections of BSM Phenomenology and QCD
- INCITE Proposal was funded (Page 20)
PHYSICS - FUN
- Is The Universe A Simulation?
- I got an acknowledgement in second printing of Quantum Computing Since Democritus (TTDS 2013)
- Best Math Puns Contest 2014
- Fermat’s Little Theorem
- Computational Hydrographic Printing - The with-computers version of The Art of the Marbler (TTDS 2015).
- The Best (and Worst) Ways to Shuffle Cards
- LISP as the Maxwell’s Equations of Software - Swim in the purity of quantified conception and of ideas manifest.
- In Mathematics, Mistakes Aren’t What They Used To Be
- This philosopher has a new definition of “nature,” and it includes traffic jams - At once totally trivial and deep. I’d go further and put culture inside of nature, too.
- Too Many Worlds - The absolutely dumbest possible objections to the Many Worlds Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics, but the author doesn’t know that.
- The First Light of Trinity
- A Career In Science Will Cost You Your Firstborn - Seems about right.
- A Few Goodmen - Goodman, Goodman, Goodman, and Goodman explore the phenomenon of coauthorship by economists who share a surname.
- Truth, Provability, and the Fabric of the Universe
- Our Mathematical Universe (also under BOOKS)
- Physicists and Philosophers Hold Peace Talks
- SPECTRAL GAP is Undecidable - And Aaronson’s take
- Man in the High Castle
- Would I Lie To You? - I don’t understand why there isn’t an American version of this. Could be a podcast. Also I identify with David Mitchell.
- Black Mirror - The Twilight Zone for the technological era.
- Only Connect - Another British show that could be a podcast.
- Silicon Valley - Seems eerily accurate.
- Connections (1978)
- The Lego Movie
- Particle Fever
- Tim’s Vermeer
- The Theory of Everything
- The Martian
- Ex Machina
- Stripped - Feature-length documentary about comic strips, with a good interview of Bill Watterson.
- Ecstasy of Order - Tetris is the best video game ever.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens
- I went on a kick of listening to Tuvan throat singing for like two weeks. I was in a weird place. I still can’t do it. I think you probably have to be alone on the steppe with only your herds to get really good.
- Miles Davis improvises over LCD Soundsystem
- Fredrika Stahl
- Merry Clayton’s part in Gimme Shelter
- 2015-05-01 The Decemberists at The Greek Theater - They can really put on a show.
- 2015-07-03 and 05: Grateful Dead’s Fare The Well Concerts, in Chicago - This was really unbelievable.
- 2015-12-27 Dead & Company at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium - THIS IS TONIGHT!
- Improv 4 Humans Live Taping at SF Sketchfest - 2014, 2015.
- Nerd Nite (both East Bay and SF) - The best one I went to included a guy who draws realistic dinosaurs for scientific publications and museums using the best knowledge available.
- Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine - A historial interpreter gives walking tours of SF as an 1800s San Francisco eccentric who proclaimed himself Emperor of the United States
- Festival of Bad Ad-Hoc Hypotheses (SF 2014)
- Festival of Bad Ad-Hoc Hypotheses (Seattle 2015)
- Kye (1992)
- Portal - I know, I’m late to the game on this one.
- Mini Metro
- Super Mario Maker
- Ducktales Remastered - The NES game was remade for Wii U
- Terra Mystica - Only played it once, but liked it.
- It might be that I didn’t Settle Catan once this year, which would be the first time since… 2004?
- Dominion expansions
- Twilight Struggle - I’ve only played as the USSR.
- Space Alert - It’s a real-time board game. It’s kind of like the Space Team App (which is also super fun) but more serious and gamer-esque.
- Betrayal at House on the Hill
- Last Will - This was very fun, and it’s extremely confusing that the goal is to get rid of as much money as you can as quickly as possible.
TRAVEL - 2014
- Minnesota for a wedding. - Nye’s Polonaise Room with live piano karaoke and The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band. I sang Charlie on the MTA, to tremendous applause.
- Big Sur
- Zion National Park for some excellent canyoneering. I ran into a rock climbing instructor I had in college in Springdale.
TRAVEL - 2015
- DC ⟶ Boston ⟶ Fermilab / Chicago - Organized around going to the Fare The Well Dead50 concerts.
- Japan for a month - Kobe ⟶ Kyoto / Nara ⟶ Fuji ⟶ Tokyo ⟶ Osaka ⟶ Mineyama ⟶ Nagano Prefecture ⟶ Tokyo
- Backpacking at Devil’s Postpile
- Road trip to Seattle for INT 15-3 workshop - Berkeley ⟶ Lassen Volcanic NP (2 days) ⟶ Crater Lake NP (2 days) ⟶ Mt. Rainier ⟶ Seattle ⟶ Cape Disappointment ⟶ Eugene ⟶ Redwood NP ⟶ Berkeley
FOOD + DRINK
- Sushi Dai, Tsukiji fish market
- Russian River Brewing Company
- Mammoth Brewing Company
- Falling Sky, Eugene OR
- Growler USA, Eugene OR
- Steak and brussel sprouts at Mikkeller Bar
- Umami Burger
- A one-off glassblowing workshop that was fun.
- I tried to bike to work, and discovered a crucial mistake in Strava’s maps at the top of an 1000+ft climb instead.
- Bay to Breakers was zany.
- Master Blacksmith Forges a Knife
- Meet the Mennonites Behind One of the World’s Best Syrups - I still don’t really know what sorghum is, but I want it.
- Weird Canadian Guy Works Wood
- Physics GirlSometimes she goes by Girl and sometimes by Woman. , especially Crazy Pool Vortex - Apparently she and I were at MIT at the same time? How did I not know her then?!
- How Money is Made and Printed
- What if Episode III Were Good? - The final installment of What if the Star Wars Prequels Were Good (TTDS 2013) - If Star Wars is ever rebooted, I hope they do it like this. Also I hope that Jar Jar is actually a Sith master.
- The Seinfeld Situation - Indian Comics make a Seinfeldesque video about Seinfeld’s Mumbai Performance being cancelled. It’s spot on. It helps to know that Tatkal is an Indian website for booking train tickets.
- The Engineer Guy - Especially his dive into aluminum cans
- The 8-Bit Guy - Especially the Graphics episode Learn how old tech works.
- Truth or Drink - It’s a whole series (people dating, parent/child, exes, etc.)
- Adam Sandler’s Channukkah Song (Part 4)
- Coldplay’s Game of Thrones: The Musical
- Jožin z bažin (1978) (Joey the Swampthing) - I don’t know. I like it. Made me realize I dance like a Soviet from 1978. Also why does that guy show us the inside of his mouth?
- Crows Understand Water Displacement
- Hot Bagels
- Satanists Unveil Statue - The best acting I’ve ever seen is in this video.
- The Triangle - Macarthur Genius Michael Moschen juggles inside a triangle.
- Treehouse Bicycle Elevator - Some day.
- Nick Offerman’s Shower Thoughts - Once you have a PhD, every meeting you go to is a doctor’s appointment.
- Serial Parody
- Synchronized Juggling
- The Art of the Marbler
- Amelymeloptical Illusion - Beautiful contact juggling.
← December 27, 2015 →