7QT: Devil in the Details (of stings, languages, and surgery)

kefta

--- 1 --- Happy Sukkot, to any readers who are celebrating!  Here's a delightfully silly relyricization for the holidays.This reminds me of the last time I went to a Sukkot celebration, and after our friend celebrated by shaking the lulav in the appropriate six directions, there was a tipsy suggestion from the crowd to shake it in eleven directions like a string theorist.  (Though, I suppose, to be truly analogous, the suggestion should have been to shake it in twenty directions, su … [Read more...]

7QT: Surprises, Subterfuge, and 200 lbs of LARPing Meat

sewing machine

--- 1 --- There's no way this feature on a live-action Oregon Trail game wasn't taking top billing on my Quick Takes this week.  Trust me, you want to read the whole thing: And then there was the problem of meat. On the trail, as in the game, if you killed a bison, you could only carry 200 pounds of meat with you. In the live-action game, participants face the task of pushing 200 pounds of meat up a hill—in this case, a 200 pound man in a wagon regaling the crowd with meat facts. In our case, i … [Read more...]

7QT: Submarines, Alchemy, and Pious AI

blur face

--- 1 --- While we've discussing the virtues of counterfactual history, I ran across this interesting argument about real history from Wired arguing that U-boats in WWI marked the beginning of unrestricted warfare, starting us down the path that would lead to the firebombing of Dresden and the use of drones today: The Brits, worried about losing hugely expensive battleships to U-boats, kept their big guns near home. They formed an effective blockade of German ports using smaller vessels, s … [Read more...]

7QT: The Hat of Scotland and the Sleeves of Me

4063790568_836c3041bc_o

--- 1 --- Happy Absence-of-Scottish-Independence Day!  Perhaps you would like to celebrate/mourn by learning more about a famous Scottish monument's famous hat? THIS MY FRIENDS IS THE DUKE OF WELLINGTON STATUE IN ROYAL EXCHANGE SQUARE IN GLASGOW AND YES HE HAS A TRAFFIC CONE ON HIS HEAD NOW LET ME TELL YOU I HAVE LIVED IN GLASGOW FOR 18 AND A HALF YEARS AND NOT ONCE HAVE I SEEN THIS MAN WITHOUT A CONE ON HIS HEAD IT HAS BEEN REMOVED SO MANY TIMES BY THE COUNCIL BUT SOMEHOW IT ALWAYS SEEMS TO … [Read more...]

7QT: Brutalism and Book Covers

proceduralcroydon

--- 1 --- This Grantland profile of water parks is (as far as I can remember) the most exhilarating thing I've read this summer.  Lots of fun mechanical details about how slides and rides are built, both in terms of literal mechanics and in terms of the way they shape a park experience.  Plus, the people profiled are, well, a bunch of characters. At first glance, George Millay was an unlikely man to invent a slacker’s paradise. He was ex-Navy, a staunch conservative, a reactionary. “A lot of us … [Read more...]

7QT: Reasonable Answers to Patently Crazy Questions

costume progress

--- 1 --- My copy of Randall Munroe's What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions just arrived today, and I'm really looking forward to starting it tomorrow.  (I have an even more awesome book to finish first).  My appetite has certainly been whetted by the interview Munroe did with FiveThirtyEight:Walt Hickey: A whole set of “What Ifs?” touch on what it would be like to go to or return from space. The Curiosity rover also appears to be a recurring figure. How did yo … [Read more...]

7QT: Delighting in the Details

mooring

--- 1 --- After I wrote about seeing Macbeth last week, my mother sent me this excellent video of Sir Ian McKellan unpacking one of the Thane of Cawdor's speeches, and I figured all y'all might appreciate it as well.--- 2 --- I love it when artisans explain a little about their world, and invite me in to see how it works and to take pleasure in it, too.  That's why I really liked this essay on margins.  Yup.  Margins. The movie focuses on a Japanese publishing company’s small dictionary … [Read more...]


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