The urge to be grateful, he said, is not a function of his faith. It’s not “the Gospel tells us” and therefore we give thanks. It is what he has always felt: grateful to be alive. “And so that act, that impulse to be grateful, wants an object. That object I call God.
What punishments of God are not gifts?
Interview with Stephen Colbert by Joel Lovell
Beautiful-simple-complexity. The universe is extremely complicated and we cannot comprehend all of it. When we reduce that complexity to invented concepts we start to be able to see and understand such discrete concepts in their entirety. Tiling is one such dramatically simplified concept that is just on the edge of our human ability to understand its complexity. That is what reductionists do, try to break down reality into intelligible ideas. Of course you can also observe the universe from way up high, which is also beautiful, but in a very different way and scope. Intelligible vs unintelligible beauty.
unknowably complicated → knowingly complicated → knowingly simple → unknowably simple ↺
Pentagon tiling – above are the only 15 ways we currently know of to tessellate pentagons
Haidinger’s brush – learn a new skill – like juggling
Cassini Images – if you’re in quick need of some minimalistic planetary beauty
List of megaprojects – this is what we have accomplished
Himawari-8 – Japanese weather satellite that photographs the earth every 10 minutes
INT – intelligence gathering
The question is whether civilization as we know it can survive a transformation from values laid down by a few (the elite) to a global auction offering different and often conflicting values and perceptions. With luck a kind of benign global civilization may emerge. The alternative is conflicts born out of values justifying violence and armed conflicts against those who think otherwise — the easy way.
A New Dark Age by Joergen Oerstroem Moeller
Guide to Dim Sum and Guide to Dumplings – hungering and informative
The Egg by Andy Weir – too chummy, but fine
Name of the Year – curated amazing names, including background on where each one came from. Some samples: Moses Regular, Win Thin, Joko Widodo, Dr. Wallop Promthong, Infinite Grover
Cloud Chamber – watch uranium decay in real time
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal – update
Andy Gilmore – update
Roger Dean creates wonderful science fiction scenery.
Recently read Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C Clarke, which is bursting with interesting ideas. Some more for thought:
Outer Space – I bet you can figure out with decent certainty your location across the entire universe just from sampling the nearest bit of space.
Heliosphere – Similar to the above; every drop of space from many AUs away to the nearest lake has a unique composition.
Deep Space Network – at the very least a catchy name
Voyager 1’s Family Portrait
New Horizons – Almost to Pluto!
Thermoelectric Effect – not directly related, but super cool