7 Quick Takes

The downhill course at Rosa Khutor Alpine Center, stretching across Central Park

--- 1 --- This week, I had the pleasure of going to a talk at the Folger Shakespeare Library on the discovery of Richard III's body.  They had one of the archaeologists and one of the geneticists talk about how they knew where to look and how they verified the skeleton's identity.  I could probably fill most of the Quick Takes just with facts from their lecture and the Q&A, but here are some highlights:It turns out you unearth a skeleton from both ends at once, so they'd uncovered up t … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/31/14)

splash dragon

--- 1 --- This week's theme, beautiful, beautifully made things.  And we're starting with a sports article.Grantland's Zach Lowe walks us through the problems with the current NBA draft system (it incentivizes teams to tank seasons to snag a draft pick) and explains an alternate proposal. Grantland obtained a copy of the proposal, which would eliminate the draft lottery and replace it with a system in which each of the 30 teams would pick in a specific first-round draft slot once — and ex … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/24/14)


--- 1 --- This weeks links are all about love and storytelling (as if there's a difference).  First up, a story I found charming about a geek who decided to datamine his way to OkCupid success: OkCupid’s algorithms use only the questions that both potential matches decide to answer, and the match questions McKinlay had chosen—more or less at random—had proven unpopular. When he scrolled through his matches, fewer than 100 women would appear above the 90 percent compatibility mark. And that was … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/17/14)

math with bad drawings

--- 1 --- This week's theme is made things and the delight that people take in making them.  First up, a game that requires you to use forced perceptive to resize the objects around you to solve spatial puzzles.  I'll take a crack at explaining, but, believe me, it's faster to just check the video below:Forced perspective is the name of the illusion that lets you look like you're holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa or trapping your friend in a bucket.  The game lets you reposition obj … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/10/14)

nyc isolines

--- 1 --- The theme for this week is distortions or odd perspectives on space and time.  First up is photographer Adam Magyar, who repurposes a photographic technique.  As described by Matter: Digital photography, first developed in the 1970s, gave rise to two types of image-capturing devices: standard digital cameras and scanners. The former captures an entire subject in a single exposure. The latter, by contrast, captures an image in a sequence. The sensor moves over the subject—a printed doc … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (1/3/14)

"Our doubts are traitorsAnd make us lose the good we oft might winBy fearing to attempt.”-Lucio, Measure for Measure, 1.4

--- 1 --- First, just a reminder that today I'm reading the first meditation in Cardinal Bergoglio's (Pope Francis's) Open Mind, Faithful Heart: Reflections on Following Jesus for the year-long book-club I'll be running here.  It kicks off Monday, so get reading, if you're interested! --- 2 --- And if you're looking for something delightful to read, perhaps you'd like to check out the extraordinary Christmas present that my friend Nicola made for her husband, Will.  His patron saint, St. Wil … [Read more...]

6 Quick Dragons


--- 1 --- I had a lot of fun making my Christmas present for my gentleman caller this year, and, since it's no longer a secret project, I think I can share it now.  The first thing I quite admired about him was his Dungeons and Dragons worldbuilding (he ended up using me as the basis for a major villain, which I think was a compliment), so when I saw io9's post about Dice Dragons (ornamental dragons that hold your DnD dice), I took a crack at a full set.  (By the way, in the course of writing th … [Read more...]