Thursday, January 21, 2016

Internet Wading – art, politicy, historical and sciencey

I wasn’t going to do an Internet Wading this month, but quite a bit has stacked up. On with it, then, starting with art and pop culture:

Vox tells us “Calvin and Hobbes ended 20 years ago. Here’s how it changed everything”, suggesting:
The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes are two of the last beacons of the monoculture, when everybody pretty much watched and consumed the same things and had all the same reference points. These days, the world of comic strips is more diverse in both storytelling and form, but something's been lost all the same.
“Sinister Architecture Constructed from Archival Library of Congress Images by Jim Kazanjianby” shows us photographs by Jim Kazanjian in which he takes snippets of photos in the Library of Congress archives "to create interesting buildings". They are… interesting.

Less sinister is “The subliminal power of city fonts”. A year old now, I can’t believe I didn’t find this earlier.

Did you know that “The Super Mario Bros. theme song actually has lyrics, and they're delightfully insane”? I didn’t, and I still don’t actually know why I’d want to know, but that’s not unusual.

I ran across this two-year-old article by accident, and it answered a question I’ve long wondered about: “Why American Jews Eat Chinese Food On Christmas”. I first heard about this when I lived in Chicago.

How about a little politics? In The Atlantic, Peter Beinhart tells us “Why America Is Moving Left”. He says, “Republicans may have a lock on Congress and the nation’s statehouses—and could well win the presidency—but the liberal era ushered in by Barack Obama is only just beginning.” I find that statement strangely unhopeful.

The provocatively titled “5 Scientific Studies That Prove Republicans Are Plain Stupid” actually has links to peer-reviewed studies on conservative thinking and behaviour, which, rather than proving the relative stupidity or not of Republicans, instead provides access to some of the research that can hep us understand conservatives' behaviour. The title is rather unfortunate, though.

However, it’s certainly true that “Political Discourse is Getting Dangerously Anti-Intellectual”, which is part of what accounts for the rise of Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and, in fact, pretty much all the entire Republican presidential candidates still standing.

A little politics and history: “The First Openly Gay Person to Win an Election in America Was Not Harvey Milk”. I’m reasonably sure I heard this story before at some point, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard the whole thing. At any rate, I did know that Harvey wasn’t first—just the first in a major city.

Some history and science: “Ben Franklin’s best inventions and innovations” talks about what he invented and what he may merely have improved or popularised—and what he didn’t invent. It was published for his 310th birthday on January 17.

And, some science all by itself: “New Horizons Returns First of the Best Images of Pluto”. The video is up top. As a kid, the idea of actually seeing the surface of Pluto in high resolution was the stuff of science fiction.

Speaking of science that’s more like science fiction, “The tardigrade genome has been sequenced, and it has the most foreign DNA of any animal Water bears just got even weirder”. This critter fascinates me, in part because it does look like an alien. But, it turns out part of the weirdness involves controversy. Of course—it’s science.

And those are the bits and pieces that caught my eye—but not long enough to get a post of their own—since last month’s Internet Wading.

Until next month, then—happy wading!

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