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Google’s Self-Driving Car Gyre

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2021

Folks who live on 15th Avenue in the Richmond district of San Francisco report that an abnormal number of Google’s self-driving cars are ending up swirling around at the end of their street.

“I noticed it while I was sleeping,” says Jennifer King. “I awoke to a strange hum and I thought there was a spacecraft outside my bedroom window.”

The visitors Jennifer King is talking about don’t just come at night. They come all day, right to the end of 15th Avenue, where there’s nothing else to do but make some kind of multi-point turn and head out the way they came in. Not long after that car is gone, there will be another, which will make the same turn and leave, before another car shows up and does the exact same thing. And while there are some pauses, it never really stops.

“There are some days where it can be up to 50,” King says of the Waymo count. “It’s literally every five minutes. And we’re all working from home, so this is what we hear.”

(via geoff manaugh)

The 200 Best Albums of the Last 25 Years, According to Pitchfork Readers. Radiohead, Kanye, Kendrick, Lorde, LCD Soundsystem, Wilco, and Fiona Apple are all in the top 25.

A series of simulations that show how tiny differences in how women are undervalued in the workplace result in huge disparities in executive representation. It's basically the idea of compounding interest working against them.

Here are the reasons for the "supply chain issues" plaguing the global economy. "A combination of Covid and bad luck has contributed to a complex mess that has no parallel in recent economic history."

Netflix & David Fincher are releasing a new series of "visual essays for the love of cinema". I'm excited because Tony Zhou & Taylor Ramos of Every Frame a Painting are involved!

On self-managed abortion using mail order medication. "Even in states with the strictest abortion laws, pregnant people have a safe, inexpensive option to terminate their pregnancies. But few know about it."

Estimating what Covid-19 is going to look like in the coming years – "perhaps 40k or 100k deaths per year in the US from COVID at endemic state".

Some thoughts from Nick Mohammed, the actor who plays Nathan Shelley on Ted Lasso, on his character's season two arc, which some viewers didn't buy (spoilers). "in my head Nate was transforming into José Mourinho!"

The Great Escape. "Follow Aaron Rolph's 2700km bikepacking trip up the United Kingdom, taking anything but the shortest route."

Quick Links Archive

Star Wars Oil Paintings

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2021

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters and the Millennium Falcon

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters and the Death Star

oil painting of Star Wars X-Wing fighters

Check out these expressive impressionist oil paintings of scenes from Star Wars by Naci Caba. (He also does paintings of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter.) Seeing futuristic sci-fi rendered in this medium is giving me a bit of cognitive dissonance.

You can buy prints and even the original oil paintings in his shop or at Etsy. (via digg)

  listen to the latest episode of kottke ride home  

An HD Walking Tour of the Giza Pyramids

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2021

If you, like me, haven’t had the opportunity to visit the Giza Pyramid Complex outside of Cairo, Egypt, this 2-hour HD walking tour is probably the next best thing — it feels like walking around about as much as a video can. Strap on those headphones for the full immersive experience. (via open culture)

Eight Hours of Floating in Space

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 15, 2021

This is 8 hours of an astronaut floating in a colorful galactic sea accompanied by ambient music, i.e. the sort of thing you would have experienced in the chill-out room at a rave in the 90s but is now selling for $70K even though it’s free? Anyway, it’s relaxing and mesmerizing. See also Hours and Hours of Relaxing & Meditative Videos. (via moss & fog)

The Graphic Edition of “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century”

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2021

book cover for the graphic edition of On Tyranny

sample page spread for the graphic edition of On Tyranny

sample page spread for the graphic edition of On Tyranny

Originally written as a Facebook post in the wake of the 2016 election, Timothy Snyder’s On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century went on to become a bestseller and a prescient warning on what was to come for America. Now, a graphic edition of On Tyranny has been released, designed and illustrated by Nora Krug. From Steven Heller’s piece on the book in Print:

Krug’s goal for this project was to use her medium to echo Snyder’s call for action. “While it was important to me to create images that would highlight the contemporary relevance of Snyder’s message,” she writes, “the use of historic images was clearly essential. At moments in the book that refer to a particular event in time — such as this one about Hitler’s annexation of Austria, when Austrian Nazis captured Jews and forced them to scrub the streets clean — I felt that rather than showing my own visual representation of that event, it was more powerful to feature a historic photograph because of the immediacy of the medium that would make that moment in history come to life.”

Combining Krug’s drawings with historic materials gave her the license to contrast the documentary with the imagined, the factual with the poetic, and to create a narrative tension that emphasizes historical relationships. “More importantly,” she explains, “this combination of mediums allows me to admit to the fact that we don’t exist in a vacuum, that we can only exist in relationship to the past, that everything we think and feel is thought and felt in reference to it, that our future is deeply rooted in our history, and that we will always be active contributors to shaping how the past is viewed and what our future will look like.”

You can order the graphic version of On Tyranny here but it seems to be backordered in most places.

The Winners of the 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2021

a fox walking in the dark

four cheetahs swimming in a raging river

a bird flying amongst snow-covered trees

a spider weaving a web

The Natural History Museum in London has announced the winners of the 2021 Wildlife Photographer of the Year contest. Photos above are by Jonny Armstrong, Buddhilini de Soyza, Lasse Kurkela, and Vidyun R Hebbar.

Trans Dudes From History

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2021

In a two-part video series called Trans Dudes From History, Jackson Bird tells us about some historical people who were probably transgender or transmasculine.

Trans people have always existed, even if they didn’t have the same language we do now and even if most history books won’t tell you about them. In this first volume of my Trans Dudes From History series, I give an introduction to talking about people from history who maybe could’ve been trans and share the profiles of three people — a Spanish conquistador, a stagecoach driver, and a bronco buster — who all transgressed gender in some way.

The introduction in the first video (embedded above) — about history and how we even know people were trans before the language around that was even invented — is really interesting. Part two of Trans Dudes From History is right here.

The Most Important Device in the Universe

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 14, 2021

You’ve probably seen it: a dual-tubed generator console that’s appeared in movies and TV shows like Star Trek (all of them, pretty much), Knight Rider, V, Austin Powers, The Last Starfighter, and even Airplane II. This prop was originally built in the 70s and in the decades since has been placed in scenes requiring an impressive piece of high-tech equipment. The video above is a compilation of scenes in which the console has appeared (parts two & three of the compilation).

Reimagining Dinosaurs

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2021

The fossil record has provided us with so much information about plants, animals, and organisms that lived hundreds, thousands, millions, and even billions of years ago. But we are actually only seeing evidence of a tiny fraction of the species that lived then and even for those we do know about, there’s often much we still don’t know. Traditionally, dinosaurs have been depicted as drab and often terrible lizards but recent finds of soft tissues (skin, feathers, etc.) and an increased sense of imagination based on our current vibrant biodiversity has people thinking differently about how they looked and behaved.

The Trailer for The Beatles: Get Back

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2021

If you’re even just a little bit interested in The Beatles, popular music, or making creative work, The Beatles: Get Back looks really good. Directed by Peter Jackson and utilizing dozens of hours of footage shot in 1969, this six-hour series documents the Beatles recording Let It Be, their final studio album release, and playing their infamous rooftop concert. The series premieres on Disney+ on November 25 and an accompanying book is out now.

Previously: a six-minute preview of the series introduced by Jackson.

Fuzzy Moths Taking Flight in Super Slow Motion

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2021

In trying to explain what you’re about to see here, I cannot improve upon the Dr. Adrian Smith’s narration at the beginning of this video:

But sometimes I think the most useful thing I can do as a scientist is to point the fancy science cameras at some moths flapping their wings in front of a purple backdrop. I mean, whose day isn’t going to be better after watching a pink and purple rosy maple moth flying in super slow motion? This is a polyphemus moth, a gigantic species of silk moth. What you are seeing, like all the rest of the clips in this video, was filmed at 6,000 frames per second.

Most of the moths in the video are delightfully fuzzy and chonky — if these moths were birds, they’d be birbs. Shall we call them mopfs?

The rest of Smith’s AntLab videos are worth looking through — I’ve previously posted about his slow motion videos here. (via aeon)

Is the 3-Pointer Breaking Basketball?

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 13, 2021

The three-point shot has become the focus of the offensive strategy of every successful NBA team. But is it also making the game boring?

The math states that scoring one-third of your shots from behind the 3-point line is as good as scoring half your shots from inside the line. In other words: Shooting as many 3s as possible will likely lead to a higher score.

The league took notice, and teams and players followed suit. 3s have become so prevalent in recent years that fans are criticizing the league for being oversaturated with them. Critics worry that the game is on the verge of becoming boring because everyone is trying to do the same thing. And that’s led some to wonder if the NBA should move the 3-point line back.

Check out the “additional reading” in the YouTube description, like The NBA is at a breaking point with three-point shooting and Is It Time to Move the NBA 3-Point Line Back? (2014).

The Most Iconic Book Covers

posted by Jason Kottke   Oct 12, 2021

book cover for A Clockwork Orange

book cover for The Great Gatsby

book cover for I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

From Literary Hub, The 25 Most Iconic Book Covers in History. Some good ones shared in the comments as well. (thx, serge)