The Cathedral of Computation. “Here’s an exercise: The next time you see someone talking about algorithms, replace the term with ‘God’ and ask yourself if the sense changes any. Our supposedly algorithmic culture is not a material phenomenon so much as a devotional one, a supplication made to the computers we have allowed to replace gods in our minds, even as we simultaneously claim that science has made us impervious to religion.”
The disappearing Ama: Japan’s tough, topless, free-diving mermaids. “In the 1920s, a young law school graduate named Yoshiyuki Iwase left Tokyo and returned to his hometown of Onjuku, a fishing village in eastern Japan. With an early Kodak camera, he began documenting the traditions of the ama, women who dove for seaweed, shellfish, and most famously, pearls. What remains of Iwase’s multi-decade career is the most comprehensive record of a legendarily tough, beautiful female community that today is almost all but gone.”
The Beach Boys “California Girls” isolated vocals. These sorts of things pop up on YouTube every so often and they’re invariably great—see Dave Grohl’s frankly absurd drumming on ‘No One Knows’, or more Beach Boys, this time ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’—but this blog post adds context and technical things to look out for.
Assorted Quora answers:
- What is a cool mathematical thing I can do on the back of a notebook? Fun geometric drawings—sort of like what I used to draw, bored, in middle school, but many steps more advanced.
- Why did so many people starve to death during the Irish potato famine? Negative equity.
- What does the inside of a toothpaste tube look like? Like giant’s toothpaste.
- How is “uh oh” expressed in other languages?
- Why did pop music become so vulgar? “We need to protect the children from this pervert. Ban Mozart!”