"Why is a typeface named Jim Crow? In the digital era we use typography effortlessly, scrolling through hundreds of options, serif and sans serif, bold and thin, choosing fonts for their aesthetics and legibility. Oftentimes software makes font choices for us, and we go along with the default. It can be easy to think of typography as neutral, disassociated from politics and culture. But of course, typography is made by people, and thus cannot be separated from human history." Sarah K. Kramer on typography, race and the story of J for Jim Crow
(The Believer). [more inside]
"The thousands of hikers who brave Hungary’s Blue Trail each year must face down unexpected obstacles, a bureaucratic, socialist-era stamp system, and a litany of rules. Which begs the obvious question: why bother at all
?" [more inside]
Next thing I know I have this 50 ton whale coming right at me, and I'm thinking "Oh my God. Stop, I just saved you." Yeah, she's rising up towards me. And I'm just thinking this is going to hurt, and, uh, when she was only inches away from my chest... She stopped. And pushed me on the chest backwards, and then released me, and then kind of pushed again, and then release, and pushed again, and again. And then she swam up right next to me, puts her head up above the water so that her eye was above the water, and then came up and looked directly at me... for what felt like 30 seconds, she just stared...James Moskito's account [more inside]
is a 2021 studio album by British electronic musician Sam Shepard, aka Floating Points, and American jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders. [more inside]
The Biography of the Pixel - The Elementary Particle of Pictures
"I have billions of pixels in my cellphone, and you probably do too. But what is a pixel? Why do so many people think that pixels are little abutting squares? Now that we’re aswim in an ocean of zettapixels (21 zeros), it’s time to understand what they are. The underlying idea – a repackaging of infinity – is subtle and beautiful. Far from being squares or dots that ‘sort of’ approximate a smooth visual scene, pixels are the profound and exact concept at the heart of all the images that surround us – the elementary particles of modern pictures." An essay by Alvy Ray Smith, one of the early founders of Pixar. [more inside]
The Snowflake Mystery
- "I've done a lot of my career in astronomy and astrophysics. Nobody ever asks you what it's good for, I mean, never. Not even once did anyone say, 'What are those black holes gonna be used for?' No, 'Saturn's rings, why do you care about Saturn's rings? What's the motivation for studying Saturn?' nobody asks that. Every time I give a talk, people are like, 'What are you doing? What on earth is this for?' I'll tell you the real reason, the real reason that I got into this. You look at a snowflake and you kind of go, 'Um, actually, (laughs) we don't have any idea how that works.' Well, that doesn't work. We have to know how that works, dammit!" [more inside]
American photographer Steve Schapiro has died. Never heard of him? You've probably seen his work: MLK
, Robert Kennedy
, James Baldwin
, the American Civil Rights movement
, John Lewis
, Midnight Cowboy
, Warhol and Sedgewick
, De Niro
, Ike & Tina Turner
. [more inside]
Marcel Duchamp archives
have been put online by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and two international institutions.
; over 20,000 documents and nearly 800 museum exhibits all zoomable. Enjoy.
Economists Behaving Badly.
A senior economist at Stanford submits a paper to the Journal of Political Economy. It gets rejected. The story doesn't end there. Featuring: the University of Chicago free speech policy, "I do not negotiate with terrorists," uncertainty quantification. Via Andrew Gelman's blog
Australian university teacher Tegan Bennett Daylight on student mental health issues:
"....20-something student Tom Paech described his generation as being “agonisingly well-informed” – a perfect phrase to describe young people who have “no means of remedying the situation, like the captain of a sinking ship who knows exactly where the hole is in the hull but has no way of plugging it”. Note his use of the word “captain”, which I know was partially unintentional. These young people don’t just feel like the crew on a sinking ship. They feel like they’re the captain, which suggests they are helplessly responsible while the ship goes down."
"...I had to remember to breathe, and to blink. Hours passed. I stopped to finish my water and looked ahead to see our destination, a lake glittering in the far distance. Almost all Robinson’s novels involve an experience of this kind—a long, difficult, rocky journey through a mountain landscape, on Earth or elsewhere, accomplished through sustained concentration that lifts one out of time. The main thing is to start, then to keep going, finding your way one step at a time. It never occurs to you to stop. Even if the path isn’t set, the job before you is clear: you have to get down the mountain before dark."The Best Case Scenario
It slaps, it's funny, it's sharp as hell, and there's a cowboy and a Sims
character in it. What more could you want? It's Love Online
, by Bungalow Jonathan.
is a no-frills way of following your favorite authors. You provide a list of writers you like, and Bookfeed generates an RSS feed with their new books. [more inside]
Line Goes Up
is a very long, highly detailed, and meticulously researched investigation into and polemical take-down of the NFT and crypto scene by Dan Olson
. [more inside]
Denton Welch -- restorer of immaculate doll houses
-- wrote for only eight years before passing away in his thirties. And yet in his short life, which stretched from England to Shanghai, he found himself at the heart of a web of writers from Roald Dahl
to William Burroughs
, crafting an acutely observed, quasi-colonialist, literature of personal and emotional displacement
that ties together a sub-canon of the subaltern, sexually complex, and aesthetically charged. A role model to John Waters
and influence on Auden, Forster, and Sitwell,
his melancholy and dyspeptic presence seems right to recommend for a winter's read.
He's been seen on screen since 1950, starting with an appearance on Groucho Marx's 'You Bet Your Life' and at 92, is showing no signs of stopping now. The TCM host chatted with the actor with 445 credits on his IMDB page, for CBS Sunday Morning
"....[Github's] Copilot doesn't just limit itself to code. It also likes to insert itself into my writing. So, as an experiment, I decided to let Copilot write a post for me."
Software is a complex business. It's a lot like a food industry. You can make a lot of food, but you can't make a lot of food without a lot of people. Software is the exact opposite. You can make a lot of people, but you can't make a lot of people without a lot of software.
It's a fourth Free Thread and this is the one that has Alicia Silverstone in it I guess? I really hadn't planned this whole thing around the Warner Brothers run of Batman movies but it just sort of happened. Anyway, no link, no topic, just come on in and chatter about stuff. Oh, and if you're newish or lurkerish on MetaFilter or just feeling friendly, you should also stop by the Introduce Yourself
thread over on MetaTalk and give a wave. [more inside]
A notorious sloth cartel kingpin vanished.
I will admit that the headline is what hooked me, but the article is very worth a read - SLNatGeo story about how the pet and tourist trade is damaging the sloth population in Colombia and fuelling criminal cartel activity.