7 Quick Takes (4/11/14)


--- 1 --- This week, the theme for the links is experimentation and innovation.  First off, Josiah Neeley of The Federalist has a great example of the joys of exploring empiricism, even at very small scales.  Frustrated by traffic, and the endless temptation to switch lanes (even though they mysteriously slow), he starts theorizing: Just as the Efficient Market Hypothesis says that you can’t beat the market, the Efficient Traffic Hypothesis says that you can’t beat the traffic. If you see a lan … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (4/4/14)


--- 1 --- Scott of Slate Star Codex posted a short story this week which I greatly recommend and do not want to spoil.  It's called "The Study of Anglophysics."  Go enjoy yourselves. --- 2 --- Scott's story is science-fictional, but there's a possible deity lurking in it (of an odd sort).  Meanwhile, back here at Patheos, Will Duquette has an interesting essay up on fantasy writing, specifically Christian fantasy. Much fantasy fiction, perhaps counter-intuitively, also assumes the na … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/28/14)

shark girl

--- 1 --- I keep being pleased by the things I read at Nautilus.  Most recently, they had a feature on how light bends and how dogs chase balls through sand and water (and what these two questions have in common).  It's a very lay-friendly explanation, but hard to excerpt, so please click through. --- 2 --- Fermat's Principle of Least Time turns up in that Nautilus piece, which I first ran across in Ted Chiang's "Story of Your Life" where xenobiologists are trying to communicate with aliens.   … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (7/21/14)


--- 1 --- Turns out I have enough "clever engineering" links for that to be the theme for all seven takes.  First up, a story I've been itching to link to since the Olympics: the  New York Times  put together an awesome interactive spread on the design of pads, helmets, skates, and other accouterments of the Winter Games.Here are some of the cool things I learned just about the shoes:Biathlon: Only the toe of the boot attaches to the ski. The free heel allows athletes to take full str … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/14/14)


--- 1 --- Happy Pi Day!  Let's celebrate with Vi Hart, Shakespeare, and Borges:--- 2 --- I've seen plenty of photos of the Cristo Redentor statue in Brazil, but it wasn't until I read the BBC's feature on this Art Deco icon, that I ever paused to wonder what it was made of.  Take a moment and make a guess, and then highlight the text below for the reveal:It's reinforced concrete covered in tiny stone mosaic.The article is full of that kind of neat technical detail, everything f … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (3/7/14)

timeline posts

--- 1 --- The most delightful thing I read this week is probably this post from The Toast: "Sherlock Reviews Musicals He Was Forced To Attend With His Parents."  In the most recent season of Sherlock (no important spoilers, I promise) we meet Sherlock and Mycroft's parents and learn that the boys are none to eager to accompany them to the theatre.  I was pleased to find that, in the opinion of this essayist, the Holmes parents liked to drag the boys to Sondheim shows and other musicals, pr … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (2/28/14)


--- 1 --- I enjoyed the heck out of this collection of famous first lines from classic novels, diagrammed by the Reed-Kellogg method.   And that link wound up leading me down a very enjoyable rabbit hole on the history of linguistics and sentence diagramming. --- 2 --- Perhaps this is the appropriate time to mention that, when I was in high school, I wanted to start a nerdy band called The Strict Grammarians that would sing pop-y love songs that were really just excuses to make grammar jokes. … [Read more...]