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Six Quick Links for Monday Afternoon

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It was going to take a decade and $1-2 million to restore a dry California grassland but a group of beavers building dams did it in just three years (it cost just $58,000 to prep the land for the beavers). [amp.sacbee.com]

A bad lip reading of Dune. [youtube.com]

A long profile of legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, who is coming out of retirement (again) to make a new film. "He still draws the majority of the frames in each film, numbering in the tens of thousands, himself." [nytimes.com]

TIL that the Chevy Suburban has been in production under that same name since 1935. The concept of the "suburb" seems so tied to the 40s and 50s that the name feels almost prophetic to me. [en.wikipedia.org]

South Africa is being unfairly punished for having one of the world's best Covid variant detection systems in the world. They should be lauded for warning the rest of us about what is already out there circulating. [reuters.com]

Taking group pics with random people in public. Love this. [tiktok.com]

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huskerboy
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Two Quick Links for Friday Afternoon

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The WHO has named the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 a “Variant of Concern”. This really doesn’t look good. [who.int]

This list of "10 Things That Could Go Wrong In The 21st Century" written for Wired magazine in 1997 seems uncannily accurate, particularly regarding Russia, Covid, EU problems, and "social and cultural backlash stops progress dead in its tracks". [digg.com]

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Note: Quick Links are pushed to this RSS feed twice a day. For more immediate service, check out the front page of kottke.org, the Quick Links archive, or the @kottke Twitter feed.

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huskerboy
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Engineering a Capable Climbing Lego Car

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In this video, a simple Lego car is repeatedly modified to navigate more and more difficult obstacles until it can climb up and down almost anything. This fun exercise also doubles as a crash course in engineering and how to build a capable all-terrain vehicle as it “demonstrates what you need to consider: wheel diameter, gear ratio, 4-wheel drive, tire grip, breakover angle, weight distribution”. (via the prepared)

Tags: cars   Legos   video
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huskerboy
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1 public comment
cjheinz
6 days ago
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Neat!

Grief Is Unexpressed Love

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On The Late Show, Stephen Colbert asked Andrew Garfield how performing and art helps him deal with grief. The relevant bit starts at around the 4:05 mark and continues for three minutes — just give it a watch…there’s not much more I can add to what Garfield says and how he says it.

Update: Colbert is no stranger to conversations about grief — here’s his 2019 conversation with Anderson Cooper. (thx, david)

Tags: Anderson Cooper   Andrew Garfield   Stephen Colbert   video
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huskerboy
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The Ten Rules of Golden Age Detective Fiction

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The Golden Age of Detective Fiction describes a period between the world wars in which a certain style of murder mystery novel took hold, led by the prolific and talented Agatha Christie. Scott Stedman explains about the rise and fall of the genre in today’s issue of Why is this interesting?

It wasn’t until Agatha Christie introduced the world to Poirot that the genre shifted into its strictest and most enduring form: the garden variety murder mystery.

“I specialize in murders of quiet, domestic interest.” —Agatha Christie.

Agatha Christie is the most popular modern writer to ever live (outmatched in sales by only Shakespeare and the Bible). Christie is unrelenting in her ability to surprise — she killed children, popularized the unreliable narrator, introduced serial killers. Still, she was a fiercely disciplined adherent to a form created by her community of fellow writers, developed in the legendary Detection Club (including Dorothy Sayers, Ronald Knox, and the remarkable GK Chesterton). In an age sandwiched between two world wars — her stories brim with pride for a stiff British moral certitude that was impervious to the most heinous acts against it.

A central feature of many of these whodunits was that the reader had access to all the same information as the detective and could, in theory, figure things out before they did. In 1929, Ronald Knox wrote down 10 rules that made this possible:

1. The criminal must be someone mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to follow.

2. All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.

3. Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.

4. No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.

5. No racial stereotypes.1

6. No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.

7. The detective must not himself commit the crime.

8. The detective must not light on any clues which are not instantly produced for the inspection of the reader.

9. The stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal any thoughts which pass through his mind; his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.

10. Twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.

It’s interesting to see how these rules are applied and broken in TV and films these days. I feel like “hitherto undiscovered poisons” and “appliances which will need a long scientific explanation” (not to mention the “unaccountable intuition” of characters) are now regularly deployed, which can lead to feelings of being cheating as a viewer if it’s not done well. (via why is this interesting?)

  1. I follow Stedman here in restating this point…Knox’s original text used a derogatory term.

Tags: lists   Ronald Knox   Scott Stedman   writing
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huskerboy
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Watch an AI Break Tetris

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With nearly instant reaction times, superhuman button tapping frequency, and an inability to fatigue, an AI called StackRabbit can play Tetris better than any human player. But how much better? Well, it can play all the way to the end of the game, which…did you know Tetris ended? I didn’t. But before that happens, it plays flawlessly through hundreds of levels while the game itself is throwing up weirdo color schemes and scores from random places in its memory — the game’s creators didn’t imagine anyone or anything would get anywhere close to these levels. Also, I got surprisingly anxious watching this — it was just so fast with so much constant peril! (via waxy)

Tags: artificial intelligence   Tetris   video   video games
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huskerboy
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