2023 February 17


Clint Mansell - Waves Crashing on Distant Shores of Time

Saint Saens - Carnival of the Animals (the Aquarium is my favorite)

Nils Frahm - Toilet Brushes Like the previous Nils Frahm piece I linked, it is slow to build and oddly repetitive yet ends up going far from where it started.

The album Best of the Beatles was released at the height of the Beatles’ international acclaim in 1965. It was the work of an unsuccessful band led by Pete Best, who had been dismissed from the Beatles in 1962 immediately before they became popular.

A math professor retells his exploration of an unusual but elementary mathematical subject, inspired by a student’s surprising parity argument that \sqrt{5} is irrational. After trying out parity arguments for other such numbers, he finds that \sqrt{17} is strangely resistant – something anticipated by Plato! It turns out the question of what can be proven using parity arguments is formalized in “the arithmetic of the even and the odd”, a logical proof system that supplements the usual integer operations with division by two.

A short story by Joshua Zelinsky. Of course, “every nerd and engineer knew the voice of the CSB”.

Paradoxically, modernizing the New York subway system with newer, higher performance subway cars resulted in slowed service. Link from Joshua Zelinsky.

Want to expand your crosswording horizon beyond the daily New York Times? has a bevy of daily crosswords to choose from, both free and subscriber. I also suggest for collaborative crossword solving. And, as a one-of, enjoy this fun but devious (yet tiny) crossword puzzle.

Wikipedia has a short list of joke chess problems, the best of which is the promotion to a piece belonging to the opponent.

The oldest known list of games is a list of games that Buddha would not play.

A brief discussion on housing development in Somerville, and how its population has shrunk even as it has become more desirable:

A big part of that logic is that the benefits of increased housing supply, though extremely real, are also extremely diffuse. […] So lots of people who would benefit from more housing in Cambridge actually live in Somerville or Boston or Medford or Brookline, but all the costs of more housing in Cambridge fall on Cambridge residents. Since Cambridge residents get to vote on Cambridge town issues, they vote no. Then the same pattern repeats in Somerville.


Why the difference between streets and roads is important to urban planning. A valuable case study is the Netherlands, which in the 90s began to overhaul its traffic instructure under a new scheme in which traffic ways were organized into three categories (roughly, highways, roads, and streets) with clearly delineated purposes and designs to match.

A simple physics party trick to make someone appear to gain or lose their balance. Have your subject stand on one leg with arms firmly straight out in a T. If you push straight down on their arm they will inevitably fall down, whereas if you push at a slight angle towards their foot they can keep their balance, as the torque around their foot is zero.

Enjoy some chill math with Neil Sloane of the OEIS talking about various sequences. I enjoyed the “forest fire” sequence, defined by the lexicographically earliest sequence of positive integers with no arithmetic subsequence of length 3. Fun fact: implementing the sequence graphing feature of the OEIS led to the discovery that they had an error in the Fibonacci sequence!


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