Things That Didn't Suck 2017
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BOOKS + SHORT FICTION
- The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick
- The Ice Dragon and Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, by George R.R. Martin
- The Three Body Problem and The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu
ARTICLES + SERIOUS VIDEO
- A Bigger Problem Than ISIS? - The Mosul Dam is failing, and a breach would cause a colossal wave that could kill as many as 1.5M people.
- What Charlie Hebdo Taught Me About Freedom of Speech
- The Birth of An Ocean - How did I not know that in 2005 a giant rift 60 km long and 8 m wide opened in the Earth over the course of 10 days?
- Steve Wozniak Was My Computer Teacher in 1995
- 12 Letters that Didn’t Make the Alphabet
- How Do People Get New Ideas?, by Isaac Asimov
- The World’s Worst Skier
- The Future of Not Working - Give Directly experiments with guaranteed basic income.
- What Writers Do When They Write
- Product 19 Is Discontinued
- Norway’s graphic identity is killing it: new banknotes and new passports.
- London Bridge is Down - the plan for when Queen Elizabeth dies.
- What It’s Like to Watch Your Life’s Work Blow Up on a Rocket SPOILER: it’s kind of the same as watching American science implode!
- Secrets of the Magus - a profile of Ricky Jay, magician.
- Five Minutes Early is On Time; On Time is Late; Late is Unacceptable - if you respect someone else’s time, show up early.
- Is an Open Marriage a Happier Marriage?
- In Lieu of Money, Toyota Donates Efficiency to New York Food Bank and Meals Per Hour
- The Selfie Monkey Goes to the 9th Circuit
- How Checkers Was Solved
- Doctor Elaborates on New Study Showing Prevalence of CTE in Football Players - one of my good friends who studies CTE on All Things Considered. Also received the greatest honor available to scientific work.
- Sfyrizo - a whistling language goes extinct.
- Better Business through Sci-Fi
- The Legion Lonely
- Arks of the Apocalypse
- Where Are the Brave Military Voices Against Forever War?
- Branded in Memory - a study on how well corporate logos are remembered.
- SPORT DEATH: The end of Senior House and the spirit of the Institute
- I invented Baileys
- Left-Handers Struggle to Mate
- Scientists Aren’t Stupid, and Science Deniers are Arrogant
- If Your Vibrator Is Hacked, Is It A Sex Crime?
- Can Germany Fix Facebook?
- The Last of the Iron Lungs
- Curvature Blindness
- Faster, Faster, Must Go Faster
- Don’t Make Fun of Renowned Dan Brown
- Poor Millennials
- Queens has more languages than anywhere in the world
- Enlightenment Principles Emerged in Africa before Europe
- Möbius Domain-Wall fermions on gradient-flowed dynamical HISQ ensembles
- METAQ: Bundle Supercomputing Tasks
- An Accurate Calculation of the Nucleon Axial Charge with Lattice QCD
- Sampling General N-Body Interactions with Auxiliary Fields
- Towards Holographic Reconstruction of Bulk Geometry from Lattice Simulations
- Job Management and Task Bundling
- Calm Multi-Baryon Operators
- Hubbrd-Straonovich-like Transformations for Few-Body Interactions
- Extracting the Single-Particle Gap in Carbon Nanotubes with Lattice Quantum Monte Carlo
- Nucleon Axial Coupling from Lattice QCD
TRAVEL & CONFERENCES
- UMass Amherst, for an interview.
- Matter over Antimatter: The Sakharov Conditions after 50 Years
- Bochum and Mainz for talks.
- OLCF User’s Meeting
- LATTICE 2017 in Granda, Spain.
- Neutrinoless Double Beta Decay INT-17-2a and INT-17-67W in Seattle, WA.
- Computational Sciences and Reality, Bad Honnef, Germany
- Axions at the Crossroads: QCD, Dark Matter, Astrophysics in Trento, Italy
- Technical Advances in Lattice Field Theory
- What Does Any of This Have to do with Physics? Reflections on pursuit of a life in theoretical physics.
- The Principle of Sufficient Reason - The PSR seems to miss the possiblity of logical fixed points. That is, that the “deeper” reasons and explanations can be nontrivially isomorphic to the thing you wish to explain—much as happens under the renormalization group flow—so that the system pulls itself up by its own bootstraps.
- Maryam Mirzakhani’s Pioneering Mathematical Legacy
- The Scariest Nuclear Threat May Be Coming from Inside the White House
- The Art of Teaching Math and Science
- Why I Left Academia - in which a professor plagiarizes their student.
- R.R. Wilson’s Congressional Testimony, April 1969
- Don’t Fall for Babylonian Trigonometry Hype - I mean, seriously, there’s no way “the wisdom of the ancients” was going to go beyond the understanding of modern mathematics.
- The CIA Staged Sham Academic Conferences to Thwart Iran’s Nuclear Program
- Science Denier, House Science Commitee Chairman, National Embarrassment Lamar Smith Retires - let’s see what regressive reality-denier will take his place!
- Astronomy Prepares for a Flood
- uses every digit 1-9If you want to include 0 just add “0+” basically anywhere in there. and is ALMOST equal to e. How close? It gets the more than 18 TRILLION TRILLION digits right.
- Richard Feynman on the True Meaning of Physics
- Unexpected Mathematical Images
- Reuters’ World’s Most Innovative Research Institutions - 2017I've worked at two!
- Self-Referential Aptitude TestI now have a headache
- The Best Demo of Gravitational Waves Yet
- Whispers of String Theory
- How Quantum Theory is Inspiring New Math
- Enhacement of human color vision by breaking the binocular redundancy
- Creating the Never-Ending Bloom
- Mass Extinction and the Structure of the Milky Way
- The TSA Asks: How do you milk a fur seal? and Carrying your Nobel Prize through Airport Security
- Double-blind testing
- Math vs. Physics - I object to some of his characterizations of quantum mechanics, including his glossing over of important aspects of the sum-over-histories idea that makes it sound dumb rather than specific and consistent.
- The Librarian Who Guarded the Manhattan Project’s Secrets
- Visualizing Algorithms: Sampling, Shuffling, Sorting, and Maze Generation
- On The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in Science - a podcast where smart people discuss Wigner’s famous question.
- Aronson’s Sequence - “‘T’ is the first, fourth, eleventh, sixteenth, twenty-fourth, twenty-ninth, thirty-third…”
- The Eclipse Conspiracy
- On Crackpots
- Mathematical games interesting to both you and a 5-year-old
- Black Art: On the History of Mathematical Typography
- Marjorie Rice’s Secret Pentagons, her website Intriguing Tessellations, and the ultimate classification of convex pentagons that tile the plane
- Sorting algorithms, visualized
- Chalkboards and whiteboards.
- The Well-Tempered Clavier - I bought a mechanical keyboard (Das Keyboard 4 Ultimate). It’s great. Phenomenal tactile feedback and sound, and the blank keys look bad ass.
- The Sword - I bought two nice pens from Faber-Castell. Heavy, good grip, cartridges write like a dream. Still wish left-handed people could use a fountain pen.
- Left-Handed Scissors - I can make a clean cut without applying an absurd amount of torque.
- Left-Handed Ruler - No longer do I have to do subtraction to measure.
- A Lizard With Scales That Behave Like Cellular Automata
- Timeline of the Far Future - “Sorry, did you say ten million or ten billion?”
- Man in the High Castle
- Stranger Things - Oh man, I loved this. I started listening to The Adventure Zone podcast (TTDS2016), and I think this plays to the same predilictions. But the production quality is substantially higher.
- Arrested Development - I hadn’t seen season 4 before. It’s a tangled-up mess, trying to pull off over the course of a whole season what an individual episode in the previous seasons accomplished. I’d love to see it re-cut into chronological order, or something. Maybe a movie?
- Penn & Teller: Fool Us
- Master of None - This show is awesome. My biggest problem with it is the happy ending. Buncha bullshit.
- Game of Thrones? - Honestly… while this season had a few great moments, the plot and storyline has become too predictable and less dangerous. When Jon falls into the lake and doesn’t die I no longer fear for any character’s safety from repercussions.
- Rick and Morty - simply hilarious.
MOVIES / DOCUMENTARIES
- The Day Prince’s Guitar Wept the Loudest - I never noticed that at the end he just throws his guitar straight up into the air.
- The Lego Batman Movie
- The Man Who Knew Infinity
- One of Us
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- I absolutely loved reading about Fyre Festival. “Let’s just do it and be legends, man.”
- In the Air Tonight, cover by Chris Daughtry
- Grateful Dead Fan Sends Women Unsolicited Dick’s Picks
- Happy Birthday, Jerry Garcia
- The Story of the DuckTales Theme Song
- Despacito but it’s played on two calculators
- Tiny Desk Concert Podcast
- All Songs Considered
- The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir
- Fredrika Stahl: Tributaries
- Mark Gillespie: Real to Reel and In Your Hands
- Astrud Gilberto’s Finest Hour
- Long Strange Trip Soundtrack
- Paramore: After Laughter
- Darrell Scott & Tim O’Brien: Real Time
- 30 Days of Dead
- In B Flat, a collaborative music / spoken word project combining 20 youtube videos.
I longed to join the various protest groups in the US. From abroad, the only thing I could help organize was my local March for Science.
- Science in America
- Bill Nye Answers Science Questions
- Ein Zeichen gegen Fake News
- Raus aus dem Elfenbeinturm auf die Straße (English version)
- “Nor can it be ‘extremely historic’“
- How Carl Sagan Ruined Science
- Photos from MFS Bonn
AUDIO / PODCASTS
- S-Town - 7-hours dropped all at once. I listened over a weekend. It felt much more like a novelization than journalism. Consistently held my attention, substantially more than Serial Season 2. Might be worth a re-listen now that I have the whole picture.
- The West Wing Weekly
- What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law
- The Allusionist
- The Adventure Zone concluded its first campaign.
- The Tobolowsky Files came back for a 12-episode season.
- What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law
- The Adventure Zone
- More Perfect
- My Brother, My Brother, and Me
- Reply All
- Every Little Thing
- The Indicator from Planet Money
- Most Complicated Board Game Ever
- Mad Science Foundation - a gamified version of “I cut, you choose” that’s quite fun.
- Just Make Paperclips - a parable on artificial intelligence.
- Dutch Blitz, which I played with some hostel friends in Copenhagen.
- Super Mario Run!
- Tag 1: Pyramis, Nonaga, Hack Trick, Cthulhu: Rise of the Cults, Enchantment, 27. Purchased: Nonaga, Hack Trick
- Tag 2: Sector 6, Dragon Keeper, Qango, Vortex, Ringfield, Paco Saco, Captains of the Golden Age, “the pipe game”. Purchased: Dominion promotional swag card, Paco Saco, misc. small expansions from BGG.
- Tag 3: Outlive, Il Diagonale, Azul. Purchased: Alien Artifacts, Imperial Settlers, Azul, green dice.
- Tag 4: Merlin, watched some of the Carcassonne World Championship, Urbino
The experience of air travel has improved tremendously since I got Global Entry, an EU Aufenthaltstitel, and my credit card gave me free entry into many airport lounges. Except that the one time I really needed a shower the lounge’s showers were under construction.
- Cornwall, for New Years.
- Boston-Amherst-NYC for an interview at UMass Amherst.
- A weekend in Brussels.
- A day Antwerp to see my great aunt and uncle.
- Leiden, NL for a week-long workshop. Also visited Amsterdam and the Hague (mostly for the Escher Museum).
- Mainz for a talk.
- Vienna for a long weekend.
- Oak Ridge, Tennessee for a computer users’ group meeting and to give a talk.
- A long weekend in Luxembourg and Koblenz with my mom and her boyfriend.
- Granada, Spain for LATTICE 2017, with an amazing visit to Alhambra, and a day in Malaga on the way home.
- Bochum for a talk.
- Seattle, for a workshop on neutrinoless double beta decay.
- DC, for a wedding and to visit with friends and my colleagues.
- Essen, for SPIEL 17.
- Trento, for an axion workshop at ECT*.
- München, for ex-pat Thanksgiving
- Odense, for Technical Advances in Lattice Field Theory at CP3 Origins.
FOOD + DRINK
- Oral Allergy Syndrome - I finally have a name for this extremely annoying allergy.
- The best true dive bars in the DC area.
- Parody is the truest mirror.
- How to write like an architect
- Raymond Smullyan on Carson, 1982 - it’s not too often a mathematician gets on a late night show. Especially one who sounds like the Tin Man. Or maybe the Cowardly Lion?
- Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire Geek-Out Channels: Alt Shift X really draws a lot of material and evidence together. Also their April Fool’s Day episode covering GoT porn parody “Game of Bones” was inspired. Secrets of the Citadel goes deep and covers a LOT of canonical material that is not explored at all in the show or even in the main text.
- Nerdwriter - I got hooked after watching his disection of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower”
- Extremely good version of the cups and the balls
- P-Town - S-town parody brought to you by the guy who did the Serial parody (TTDS2015).
- Brothers of Climbing - fixing the primary thing wrong with climbing.
- Biisuke Ball’s Big Adventure Part 2
- Downward Dog
- Rick and Morty do State of Georgia vs. Denver Fenton Allen
- Does Bob Mortimer Do His Own Dentistry?
- Space Shuttle Launching
- 2017: A LEGO ODYSSEY
- Slow-motion LEGO Porsche Crash Test
- LEGO Saturn V
- Hajj to Billund, staying at Hotel LEGOLAND and visiting the Lego House
2017 was a waking nightmare in many ways. We’ve witnessed a war on truth, the undermining of public institutions, attempts to roll back civil liberties, and a resurgence of white nationalism. It was impossible to engage with every outrageous action, simply because there were too many.
- Washington Post changed its motto to the most metal motto of any paper of record: “Democracy Dies in Darkness”.
- Billy Goats Gruff: 4chan: the Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump - “Support for Trump is an acknowledgement that the promise is empty.” See also Trolling Scholars Debunk the Idea That the Alt-Right’s Shitposters Have Magic Powers, a strong critique of the previous article.
- Milo. Oh man I love to hate this guy: I’m With The Banned, The Lost Boys of America’s New Right
- Vice: What Nuclear War Would Look Like
- How to Beat Trump
- Trackdown Shakedown - an episode of the 1950s western TV series ‘Trackdown’ featured a character named Walter Trump who claimed he would build a wall in order to protect a town from the end of the world.
- Correction: Republican Bloodsuckers who Sentenced Poor to Die Didn’t Drink Bud Light
- Blue State Exit
- His Kampf - a discussion with and profile of Richard Spencer, American definitely-not-a-Nazi.
- It’s just the nonsense that it seems - PM May gets ready to censor and fundamentally break the internet.
- Hannity on NSA Surveillance
- Stephen Fry, Blasphemer
- People Outside a Trump Rally Told Vice Why They Hate the Media
- The Mooch is a crazy person
- The Republican’s Guide to Presidential Etiquette
- The Witch-King of Angmar was an Insignficant Volunteer in the Great Army of the Dark Lord Sauron
- Schmabeas Schmorpus
- One way to stand up to the experts is to eliminate them
- Nobel, Schmobel
- The problem with Article VI is that who has an attention span long enough to get through the first V Articles?
- Trump Dismisses Accusers as Women
- The Nationalist’s Delusion
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