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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window


cropVia boingboing (right now pretty much all my links are coming from them...) a vid by a guy investigating a math whiz's method for visualizing numbers. The prodigy sees numbers as geometric shapes that represent their prime composition. Math was never my strong suit, but every time I see math made into a visual pattern game, I get lots more excited about it. I wish I could've learned some variation of this approach for doing arithmatic!

One of the points that the narrator (Numberphile) makes is that kid is playing with math. This quality seems to be nearly universal to people who de interesting things with numbers, and I figured, given the role of triangles, I ought to link to that vihart Sierpinski vid again—except I found this halloween themed one instead, which seems completely appropriate, not only given the season, but also the extreme playfullness...



cropToday, on a rather more upbeat note, a useful tip from another one of those little, socialist countries: how a simple mind/habit hack can prevent dooring cyclists. —A little background, for those of you not commuter (or urban) cyclists: most people riding bikes to and from work, or to the grocery store/bank/post office/etc typically go from 10–20 mph (I average about 12, which by the way is evidently also average for Amsterdam). All of those speeds are too great to ride on the sidewalk, because automobile drivers backing up treat all obstacles on sidewalks as essentially stationary, which is fine, as long as they're moving 5 mph (a little faster than walking pace) or less.



cropAlthough you hear about the old joke of prisoners making license plates, in fact as I understand it, prisoners in the US make a variety of products, many of them commercial (as opposed, say, to items for the prisoners’ own use, such as uniforms, or even items for the state.)

And they're paid a pittance, well below minimum wage. This is a political movement for which I don't have much knowledge, excepting what I picked up in Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow, which can be summarized as “Well, now that segregation is illegal, we need some other way to control black and brown people (especially men).” Also, we lock up not only a greater percentage, but more people, period, than any other country (e.g. China, which has a far bigger population.)

So, via mathbabe, a link about a prison strike that has been almost invisible in the mainstream media (I had heard about it—I thought on Freethoughtblogs, or perhaps Slacktivist...)



cropI have a great fondness for Japanese aesthetics, and this link showing animations of various woodworking joins (some of which, such as dovetails or finger joints are also used in western woodworking, of course) illustrates why: extraordinary technique, spare, elegant finish, and (secret) complex underpinnings that you have to look for:)

I, of course, tend to put my visually complex stuff on the outside.


cropWell, this is a quickie, so here's a costuming link from boing that I think is pretty impressive: I especially like the dynamism of the concept, showing the shapeshifter in process, so to speak.

Also in blue and green, but nearly as dramatic, is today's dead mouse. Enjoy, & have a nice weekend.


cropAppalling as I find the GOP presidential candidate (& it's hardly an original observation on my part that were I to put this character in a novel, the editor/reader(s) would waste no time telling me to tone down someone so ridiculously over the top) I'm actually having an easier time on the internets, cuz for a while there, it seemed like one horrible terrorist attack after another and I just had to step away.

(I suppose they're still going on; it's just that the news is currently focused on the three ring circus that is USA politics.) So lemme get that crop of links out of the way—The Good Old Days (no thanks!); why a rather centrist voter happily living in GOP rural America feels the GOP candidate for president is appalling. I gather this sex tape is the final straw, which rather mystifies me, as I could not imagine anyone familiar with the guy—I mean, just listen to a few of his speeches—couldn't know he behaves like this. (Personally, I subscribe to the theory that because Trump has done so badly in the last 2 debates and looks to be losing, the republicans are using this tape as excuse to jump ship. I admit, I wonder whether my feminist friend who was a supporter all the way back to the primaries is still on board.)


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