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Links #87

Danilo Campos on how it’s easier than ever to build hardware these days.

Jennifer Champoux in BYU Studies on the Book of Mormon Art Catalog. I was particularly interested in the section on production patterns over time.

Ted Bushman & Kristin Perkins in The Season on weird Latter-day Saint art. I’ve thought about going in this direction, but I don’t know, I don’t think it’s me. (But I’m fine making non-religious weird art and hope to do more of that soon.)

Steph Ango on files over apps. “File over app is a philosophy: if you want to create digital artifacts that last, they must be files you can control, in formats that are easy to retrieve and read. Use tools that give you this freedom.” Agreed.

Robin Sloan on what a wizard would read. “I believe it is time, instead, for creative investigations of decency, virtue, and goodness. If that sounds boring: yes! That’s why the project is needed! Let’s learn how to render complex and compelling the characters who are trying their best to live correctly — and sometimes, gasp, even succeeding.”

Font Bakery, a command-line tool for validating font quality. Nice.

Cindy Blanco on words shared in all languages.

Steven Johnson on the return of the progress city along with Victor Gruen and Walt Disney. Interesting. This reminded me that I need to read Jane Jacobs.

NOAA on an unidentified specimen found on the bottom of the ocean. “While we were able to collect the ‘golden orb’ and bring it onto the ship, we still are not able to identify it beyond the fact that it is biological in origin.”

Bun 1.0 has been released. I haven’t actually used it on anything yet, but whenever I next work on a command-line JavaScript project, I plan to.

Sonia Fernandez on reading large letters through walls via Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has a surprising amount of other uses.

Jennifer Ouellette on scientists figuring out how to write in water, using micron-scale pens.

Matthew Inman on creativity. Vulgar as always with The Oatmeal, but some good points.

Roger Pimentel on the plan of salvation. Food for thought. This is part three of three.

Lincoln Michel on writing for your best readers. I need to remember this.

Maxime Heckel on raymarching.

VÉgA Vocabulary of Ancient Egyptian site. This is really well done. Highly recommended if you’re studying Middle Egyptian. (Though the orthography of the name is admittedly a little awkward.)

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Links #86

Matt Stevens on old-looking book covers for movies. Love these. So good.

Paul Butler interviews Bastien Dolla about Rayon, the collaborative architecture design tool. Found this interesting.

Matt Bell on training your weaknesses and lessons from running that apply to writing. “I’ve given dozens of craft talks about novel writing since Refuse to Be Done came out, and one of the most reliably reassuring things I tell people in those talks is that the task on any given day of writing a novel is never to write a novel. A day’s work might be a scene or a chapter; it might be a paragraph or a sentence; it might be outlining or research.”

Tiny News Collective. “We support the voices historically excluded from media and media ownership by providing tools, resources and community of learning to help people build sustainable news organizations that reflect and serve their communities.” This is great.

EmNudge’s Watlings, educational exercises for learning WAT (WebAssembly Text Format), similar to Rustlings and Ziglings. Looking forward to working through these.

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Links #85

2023 State of CSS results. I mostly check this for the features section, to see what I haven’t yet heard about (like line-clamp).

Matthias Ott on reading with your fingers. I do this sometimes when I want to read faster. Works fairly well.

Siderea on issues with the HTML ordered list element. “I start with a single HTML tag and end with the downfall of civilization. Not joking.” Some really good points here.

Jason Kottke on Adeline Harris’s 19th-century autograph quilt. Fun.

Spectrolite, a macOS app “for making colorful risograph prints and zines and books more easily.” I don’t have a risograph, but the posterization UI is cool and the imposition functionality looks helpful for booklet/zine printing.

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Links #84

The Flux manifesto. “We founded Flux to make atoms as malleable as bits. We want to take the hard out of hardware, to make it as easy for a teenager to build an iPhone as a website. We want to unleash the latent human potential held back by the high barriers to creating breakthrough physical products. We want to accelerate technological progress by making it possible for anyone, regardless of background or resources, to bring their best ideas to life in physical form.” It’s a corporate manifesto so take with a huge grain of salt, but the idea is interesting. Democratizing hardware creation is intriguing.

Eliot Peper on how to become a better conversationalist. “But sometimes when someone asks you a question, they don’t really care about the answer. What they actually want is for you to tell them something interesting.” A take I haven’t heard before.

Open house begins for Bangkok Thailand Temple. Lovely to see this. It feels like it hasn’t been that long since I was on my mission hoping Thailand would get a temple, and now here we are.

Anton Howes on making historical sources available. “Just as in the sciences it is considered good practice to make one’s data available, in history it should perhaps be a requirement to upload to some public repository the photographs or transcriptions of any cited archival sources that are not otherwise freely accessible online.” 100%.

Statecraft, a newsletter by Santi Ruiz and Jake Leffew about how successful government initiatives happened. “We think these interviews can serve as roadmaps for readers trying to get big hairy things done in the public sector, and illuminate the inner workings of government for the policy-curious. We also think they’re tremendous stories.”

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Links #83

Mandy Brown on energy making time. “It turns out, not doing their art was costing them time, was draining it away, little by little, like a slow but steady leak. They had assumed, wrongly, that there wasn’t enough time in the day to do their art, because they assumed (because we’re conditioned to assume) that every thing we do costs time. But that math doesn’t take energy into account, doesn’t grok that doing things that energize you gives you time back. By doing their art, a whole lot of time suddenly returned. Their art didn’t need more time; their time needed their art.” This is a really good point. I think writing does this for me. Wildlife webcams across the world. These feel magical to me.

Barbara, a live coding language for quilting patterns. Intriguing.

JSketcher, a web-based parametric 2D and 3D CAD modeler.

Adam Zewe on MIT scientists using kirigami to make ultrastrong, lightweight structures. “Using kirigami, the ancient Japanese art of folding and cutting paper, MIT researchers have now manufactured a type of high-performance architected material known as a plate lattice, on a much larger scale than scientists have previously been able to achieve by additive fabrication. This technique allows them to create these structures from metal or other materials with custom shapes and specifically tailored mechanical properties.”

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Links #82

David Pierce on Keegan McNamara’s wooden computer. When I first read about this, I hoped the computer itself was actually made out of wood, but alas, it’s just the case.

Tom Simonite on Sam Zeloof building semiconductors in his parents’ garage. I’m intrigued by the idea of tinkerer-scale computing — less powerful, but perhaps more sustainable.

Lincoln Michel on magical realism vs. urban fantasy. I haven’t read much magical realism, I’m realizing. Probably should change that. Any recommendations?

Erik Hoel on the UFO craze being created by government nepotism and incompetent journalism (his words). This does seem to be one of the more reasonable and balanced takes on UAPs.

Neil Gaiman on actual magic. Yes.

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Links #81

Jim Nielsen on disability. “1 in 5 people currently have a disability. 100% of people will have some form of disability in their lifetime.”

MoonBit, a new Wasm-first language. Still early on, but looks quite interesting. Almost as fast as Rust, too, and I like what I see on the syntax page.

Bryan Braun on good eating habits. Wise advice here.

Ronan Farrow on Elon Musk’s shadow rule. Incredibly disturbing. “There is little precedent for a civilian’s becoming the arbiter of a war between nations in such a granular way, or for the degree of dependency that the U.S. now has on Musk in a variety of fields, from the future of energy and transportation to the exploration of space.” And: “Current and former officials from NASA, the Department of Defense, the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration told me that Musk’s influence had become inescapable in their work, and several of them said that they now treat him like a sort of unelected official.”

Julia Evans on brag documents. I’ve been calling mine “work accomplishments,” but I don’t update it as often as I probably should.

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Links #80

Leah Spencer on reviving old typefaces for film and TV. Mmm.

The Church released a new version of the mobile Sacred Music app that basically has responsive sheet music, that idea I posted about years ago. (They call it “resize sheet music.”) I used the feature yesterday in sacrament meeting and it was so much easier to read the lyrics. Also see Sejiko’s responsive sheet music with CSS Grid.

Michal Krasnopolski’s minimalist movie posters. These are great.

Henrik Karlsson on publishing less frequently (because of spending more time on writing). “Each time I’ve given in to my impulse to ‘optimize’ a piece it has performed massively better (in terms of how much it’s been read, how many subscribers it’s generated, and, most importantly, the number of interesting people brought into my world).”

Dang, coconut crabs are freaky.

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Links #79

Google’s Typograms, a lightweight web-based image format for describing diagrams. “Unlike libraries like Mermaid, typograms are defined typographically (WYSWYG), rather than semantically (a transformation from a high level description to graphics), which picks a different trade-off: it gives you more control over the rendering (expressivity) at the cost of making you type more (productivity).” I’ve been thinking about using something in this vein (probably more Mermaid than typograms) to outline fiction.

Josh Collinsworth on React. “React has aged, and how I don’t think most people realize how much or how poorly.” I wouldn’t mind bidding adieu to React, though that doesn’t seem particularly likely for many more years given how entrenched it is in the industry.

David Pierce on the upcoming Slack redesign.

OFRAK Tetris, which “is like the Tetris you know and love, except the blocks are assembly instructions.” It uses Unicorn Engine (which branched off QEMU, I believe) to actually execute the instructions in an emulated CPU. I don’t think quickly enough (or know enough assembly) to play it very well, but I love the idea. The aesthetic is fun, too.

Slime Mold Time Mold on vacations and weight loss. “There are lots of stories where an American goes on vacation for a few weeks, to Europe or Asia or wherever, and loses a significant amount of weight without any special effort…. There are also some stories that are exactly the opposite: someone from Europe or Asia or wherever goes on vacation to America for a few weeks, and GAINS a significant amount of weight without any changes.” Fascinating anecdotal phenomenon.

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Links #78

Jess Zafarris on the etymology of outrage, which does not in fact come from either out or rage.

Rachel Zack on Felt’s new zoom-based styling and layer visibility. Ooh. Well done. It feels like this idea could also have application in other types of UI, though I haven’t thought about it enough to know what those might be.

Video of Naveen Kumar setting a new world record for smashing walnuts with one’s forehead. Is this a worthwhile use of a forehead? Humanity is weird sometimes.

Samuel Axon on the passing of Bram Moolenaar, the creator of Vim, at age 62. Sad.

Wikipedia’s 2023 in science so far. A fun page to peruse from time to time. For example, I didn’t know that last month they found naturally occurring graphene for the first time. The “predicted and scheduled events” section is also fun — I didn’t know Rocket Lab was sending a probe to Venus!

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