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...]

7 Book Questions

books, many

--- 1 --- In lieu of a normal Quick Takes, I'm going to glom onto the Immediate Book Meme.  It was started by DarwinCatholic, and then Betty Duffy, Simcha Fisher, Happy Catholic Bookshelf, Tom McDonald, and The Wine Dark Sea joined in.  So, here's my lineup: --- 2 --- What book are you reading now?The Martian by Andy WeirThis book was originally published as a serial about the attempts by one Mars astronaut to stay alive when his fleeing crewmates mistakenly leaves him for dead.  I thi … [Read more...]

7 Quick Takes (2/14/14)

calling card

--- 1 --- The coffee shop near my office puts up prompts on their blackboard for patrons to respond to.  This week, they went with, "Share your thoughts about LOVE"Can you spot which was my contribution? --- 2 --- But I can only take so much sappiness, so I'll alternate Valentine's Day-ish takes with unrelated ones.  I grew up on Calvin and Hobbes, so I loved this collection of disturbing snowmen at HuffPo, some of which are clearly homages to the strip.--- 3 --- The next one is a … [Read more...]

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...]