7QT: Magic, Secrets, and Bureaucracy

--- 1 --- I already love Ikea, source of all my bookshelves, but I particularly like their new line of plush toys, all designed to look like actual kids' drawings.There are more examples, all delightful, at this link. --- 2 --- Another example of glorious inventiveness: the Mahler Hammer.I found this via Hello Tailor's tumblr, where there are many more gifs of the Mahler Hammer being deployed and this explanation:It’s even more awesome if you know the story behind it. See, … [Read more...]

7QT: Drunk Historians, Silly Bodybuilders, Clever Proofs

--- 1 --- I've usually avoided Drunk History (a show where heavily in their cups historians summarize a notable life or event, and then have their garbled retellings reenacted by actors) because I saw an episode that involved vomiting, which I'd prefer not to see.But this episode about Harriet Tubman's in the Civil War (about which I knew nothing, and in which she's played by Octavia Spencer) is excellent (and involves no sickness at all, no promises if you check out other … [Read more...]

7QT: Costumes, Communal Singing, and Hamilton

--- 1 --- A friend of mine is looking for good semi-pregnant Halloween costumes (she's not big enough to go as a globe, as she hoped).  I don't have that much to suggest (maybe you all have ideas for her?) but I do have a roundup of excellent parent-baby costumes.  My favorite is the child as Max from Where the Wild Things Are, and his mom as his boat!  --- 2 --- Also in the domain of, um, expressive things to do with your offspring: there's an annual reunion for people named aft … [Read more...]

7QT: Agreement Theorems and Exponential Suprises

--- 1 --- I loved this NYT piece on an Italian street whose residents created a private facebook group to get to know each other better.Mr. Bastiani took a chance and posted a flier along his street, Via Fondazza, explaining that he had created a closed group on Facebook just for the people who lived there. He was merely looking to make some new friends. In three or four days, the group had about 20 followers. Almost two years later, the residents say, walking along Via Fondazza does not fe … [Read more...]

7QT: Math Haikus and Deaf Musicals

--- 1 --- When I was googling things like "two people looking at each other," trying to find a picture for my post on why "You're perfect!" and "I love you!" aren't the same sentiment, I wound up discovering this word. Mamihlapinatapai: a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves There's a little more at the wiki page. --- 2 --- If you're trying to express other important truths … [Read more...]

7QT: Innovation in Gross Robots and Stock Photos

--- 1 --- If folks don't want to wait til next year to play in another Ideological Turing Test, one of the posters on LessWrong is running one on vegitarianism. Format is a little different -- you're asked to rate your confidence using numbers, rather than the categorical variables I usually use.Let me know if you notice anything about the way he's running his that you'd like me to adapt for mine! --- 2 --- And. speaking of adaptations, this was my favorite show mentioned in a big Fringe … [Read more...]

7QT: The Odder Errors of Computers and Humans

--- 1 --- My family tends to share thoughts on the New Yorker caption contest every week, over email, when the magazine arrives (no wins yet!). But I didn't know that our entries might be being winnowed out by a computer.  BloombergBusiness has a nice feature on the Microsoft team working with the New Yorker cartoon editor to see if they can build a program that can tell the difference between funny captions and ones that fall flat. For the study, Shahaf fed cartoons and captions from the New Y … [Read more...]


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