Duck Analogies

Hello internet friends,

this email is going to be quite a task today. Most bookmarks I collected during the week are MacBook-related and honestly, it’s a bit too depressing to link to those now. Here’s one with all the links to all the articles, so… go nuts. And then there’s this one, which at least made me laugh.
And if this article is true (ugh, I do link to these articles now, do I? Sorry.) I’ll be one unhappy person in the future. If someone told me that I had to get rid of all my digital things except for one, I’d not even have to think too much to keep my current MBP.

Ugh. Kinda boring to think about these things, isn’t it, though?

I am pretty sure this dude does not think much about computers – all he wants to do is be Indiana Jones and solve the mystery of that Malaysian airplane that vanished.

Important dinosaur news! Not only did they have feathers – we can all agree on that – they also quacked and cooed. And we all know the duck test – if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

Well – if it looks like a truck and drives like a truck, it might actually be a truck. And pretty soon these things will drive by themselves. Either in a very serious way or just for a beer run.
Which is always a good way to get technology working. Maybe the pursuit of getting drunk faster might have been the driving force behind new technologies? Or maybe it was just good old competition.

Scientists often use camera traps to study wildlife – motion-activated cameras can be great to take photos of elusive animals that might be hidden from human photographers. Sometimes these animals are really strange, though.

And then there’s the giraffe.


Pigeons Everywhere

Hello internet friends,

at some point in August the internet – or at least the filter bubble I have created for myself – was happily sharing articles about a script that managed to predict depression in people based on the Instagram filters they like to use. (Strangely enough I did not mention it in these emails back then – maybe because it was too everywhere? Slightly overcado?)
Most of us just read these little nuggets of pop science, wonder how they fit into our view of the world (“I don’t use Inkwell, so that means I’m probably not depressed.”) and then forget about them. So it took quite a while until someone noticed something a bit off with the raw data – the depression rate of the people who “volunteered” for the study was much, much higher than the norm.

(I used to put these little lines here back in the days to let you know that one topic is over and the next one begins. Is that something you’d want back? Does it help? I always assumed you were all trained by the internet to jump from topic to topic anyway, but maybe not?)

Nowadays it is shockingly simple and inexpensive to get good high quality aerial photos. The hurdles are usually administrative and not technical – but that hasn’t always been the case: people used to put film cameras on pigeons.

If there is one thing that’s inevitable near airports, it is noise complaints. Turns out that these usually come from a very small number of very vocal people. (Turns out turns out: this is the case in the US, nobody really checked how it is globally. But hey, it is a better narrative and makes for easier headlines to just generalise it, right?)

While this article didn’t quite cause the “whiplash-inducing paradigm shift” it promised, it was very interesting indeed: many plants that we know today got their current shape back when megafauna roamed the earth. One of those big animals might even have been the “Higgs bison.”

Back in the 80s a flight crashed on a remote mountain in Bolivia – and there’s still no real explanation or background on what happened. Two dudes decided – more or less for fun – to climb that mountain and see for themselves what’s going on.


Intergalactic Superspy

Hello internet friends!

Did you know that being rich is boring when nobody sees you? Yeah, well, me neither. It’s the slogan of a new app called Rich Kids which is exactly as terrible as it sounds.
I don’t know. For some reason I prefer our little gathering of Smart Kids right here.

I watched Being George Clooney this weekend, a documentary about dubbing movies and featuring a whole lot of people from all over the world who are the voice of George Clooney and his female co-stars. (They could have just called it “Being Julia Roberts” – wtf?) I have linked to this article about dubbing Seinfeld before but I did not know that the Italians are crazy about their dubbers.

At some point I want to visit Shenzen. You wonder why? Wonder no more.

Before I write these emails I really need a healthy amount of the healing power of crystals. Maybe that would help Rinna as well? If not, there’s always Molly.

This story somehow gets weirder and weirder. (Warning: it’s a podcast episode, so you’ll probably have to listen to it. They do have a full transcript, but I found that a bit hard to read.)

So, these daydreams – it’s not just me?
This poor lady in the interview sounds like she’s having these a lot more than I ever did, though.

The trolley problem used to be a pretty theoretical thing to ponder – how often are we in situations where we get to decide where a trolley will roll, anyway? But these days, designers and developers of self-driving cars will have to think about that. A lot. There’s this webpage where you do a couple of decisions and see for yourself. (I have my own kind of result…)
If you’re working at Mercedes Benz, the answer to these questions is a little bit easier.

Wow. This is already a long mail. Do you still have the energy for more? Weeeell, let’s do this, in a quickfire way:

This dude has a fascinating life.

This dude is fed up with startups.

This fictional dude is a blueprint for many modern real-life villains.

This dude seems alright.

This dude did not know when to stop.

These dudes need a good slapping.

See, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Enough content for the next week to enjoy.

Until then: toodles! Be safe and maybe do some yoga.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears

Hello internet friends,

I’m a bit late today, but in exchange you’re getting an email filled with all the dread and rage that only an eight-hour non stop meeting can provide. Soooo… onwards!

I went to an high school where Latin was the first language and all the classics were really important. So, obviously my understanding of the rough timeframe between the death of the dinosaurs and 500AD is more or less this: First there was a group of monkeys, who got domesticated by dogs. A bunch of them moved between the two big streams, where they wore Hammer pants and rubbed bottles to release snarky ghosts. Another bunch of them were visited by aliens and learned how to build big stone things in the desert. The remaining people sort of spread around the globe to provide something for Tomb Raider level designers to copy.
Out of nowhere the Greek decided to be democratic, smacked the Persians around a bit, got lazy and disrupted by a bunch of Italian upstarts. Now after those stopped killing everybody and started to sing in their bathtub while their city burned down, they were overrun by people who were barely done interbreeding with Neanderthals. At this point, everybody went into crazy religious barbarism.

You can see, that very long and proper education was really successful in teaching me about history. Turns out that this is all absolutely wrong and crazy euro-centric. Oh, well.

Fun fact frid… monday! Guess which medium the youngs like to use for getting their news!

Someone like me for whom English is the second language (actually, did you read that long “history” paragraph carefully enough to notice that it’s my third one?) has to learn this crap really carefully. And I am pretty sure I still mess up all the time.
On the other hand, it could always be worse. (And yes, ha-ha, same state as where I am from, but very different people. Obviously. Just listen to them talk.)

If you have Netflix, you probably binge-watched Luke Cage. (And if you didn’t, call in sick for the next two days and do so.) The next Marvel/Netflix thing is going to be the Iron Fist and oh boy, will they have to work hard to make that one not suck. On the other hand, they have Jessica Henwick, who then managed to be cast in Star Wars, Game of Thrones and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not bad.

Here we are now. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Now Imagine Meerkat Clowns

Hello internet friends,

I used to think I was able to write these emails almost everywhere. Turns out almost everywhere in this case means almost everywhere with an okay internet connection and a proper computer.
Right now, for example I can’t really do that – my sister is staying in the living-turned-guest room and in my infinite wisdom I left my MacBook there. Based on the fact that nothing drains my will to exist as much as being woken up for no good reason and Luke 6:13 I’ll just let her sleep and experiment with how well I can write these on my phone. Turns out I ramble even more than usual.

I’ve linked to Maciej Cegłowski’s talks a couple of times before – they are pretty much always good. The one he held at the Library of Congress sounds weirdly positive. I really hope he’s alright.

Talking about weirdly positive – science realised that alcohol is an antidepressant and The Awl is ON IT.

Someone at the New Yorker finally figured out how to use Netflix and watched Ali Wong’s “Baby Cobra” comedy special. And they’re right – she is in fact really good.

It’s German Unity day today, so it’s a day off for me. But then for a whole bunch of reasons I do not understand not everybody is allowed to form that other important kind of union here. I mean, wtf?
But at least it’s possible to travel to almost every country where it’s better without having to get a visa, so… yay?

If you have a lot of time – and since you’re willing to let me fill up your inbox, I figure you do – why not look through almost all 3900 scanned pages of Paul Klee’s notebooks?

After a long search that left me broken and drifting, I think I have finally found my people on the internet.

Did you kill someone of your own species recently? (Oh wow, I sure hope you didn’t just nod and thought “yeah, sure.”) Turns out if you did, you might be a fluffy little desert animal.
Either that or one of those creepy clowns.

Remember Ello? Yeah, me neither. But someone did.

If you’re not bummed out enough yet, here, have something fun to read while you cry over your salad at your office desk.