7QT: Brutalism and Book Covers


--- 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


--- 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...]

7QT: Hidden Messages, Legal Ghosts, and Tenuous Alliances


--- 1 --- There's no way, once I saw this part of Terry Pratchett's interview with the New York Times Book Review, that it wasn't going to take the first slot of this week's links: Sell us on your favorite overlooked or underappreciated writer.G. K. Chesterton. These days recognized — that is if he is recognized at all — as the man who wrote the Father Brown stories. My grandmother actually knew him quite well and pointed out that she herself lived on Chesterton Green in Beaconsfield, Buck … [Read more...]

7QT: Answers to Questions I Didn’t Think to Ask

geneva drive

--- 1 --- When I was in school, it wasn't uncommon for my teachers to have access to smart whiteboards and computers, but it was seldom that there seemed to anything useful to do with them.  But dy/dan, a math teacher and blogger, has a great project for students, where they designed their own vases and then tried to plot the rate at which the water level would rise in their classmates' designs.  Reading his post makes me want to putter around with the problem. --- 2 --- Meanwhile, in other fa … [Read more...]

7QT: Flipped Journals, Fake Football, and Finite Tragedy


--- 1 --- I've gotten to coast on my university's JSTOR access for alums, but the NYRB has an interesting proposal to make research journals accessible to anyone:The entire system of communicating research could be made less expensive and more beneficial for the public by a process known as “flipping.” Instead of subsisting on subscriptions, a flipped journal covers its costs by charging processing fees before publication and making its articles freely available, as “open access,” afterwar … [Read more...]

7QT: Necromancy, Vaccination, Love, and other high stakes games


--- 1 --- In the course of promoting his new book, Full Fathom Five, Max Gladstone recently did an AMA on reddit, in which someone asked him why he decided to write his necromancers as lawyerly types.  His reply: [N]ecromancy and bankruptcy law in specific have a lot in common: take something that's dead, surround it with a circle of protection, carve it up, argue with other people about what parts of the dead thing work and what don't, remove the stuff that doesn't, wire together the stuff t … [Read more...]