Previous “Links” posts

Being a Lifeguard Is Like Riding a Bike, Right? 

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

Just when she thought she was out, they pulled Robin Borlandoe back in for one last heist summer of lifeguarding. Over five decades since she last held the job, Borlandoe is once again working to keep swimmers safe, doing her part to alleviate the lifeguard shortage that has resulted in many public pools not being open for citizens to enjoy.

An Embarrassment of Riches 

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray just signed a massive $230.5 million contract extension. That’s a whole lot of money. And yet, somehow, the contract is a little bit embarrassing. It contains an “independent study requirement”, stipulating that Murray is required to spend four hours studying football each week:

The contract specifically reads: “Player shall not receive any credit for Independent Study with respect to any time periods during which any material is displayed or played on an iPad or electronic device if (a) Player is not personally studying or watching the material while it is being displayed or played or (b) Player is engaged in any other activity that may distract his attention (for example, watching television, playing video games or browsing the internet) while such material is being displayed or played,” per Rapoport.

Something tells me noted obsessive Tom Brady’s contract does not include a provision of this nature. In fact, that contract probably ought to have the reverse, provisions requiring him to spend a few minutes with his family or eat a goddamned tomato.

Anyhow, at least Murray’s contract didn’t specifically mention “viewing pornography”. It’s nice that they went with the more polite phrase of “browsing the internet”.

Intentional Intergenerational Living 

Monday, July 25th, 2022

Around the world, housing prices have been rising faster than many can afford. Rather than accidentally moving into a retirement community, some are intentionally choosing intergenerational living situations. For instance, 27-year-old graduate student Siobhan Ennis is now paying $400 a month (along with some chores) to live in the bottom level of retired physics professor Michael Wortis, who’s old enough to be her great-grandfather.

‘We’ll be friends for life,’ Siobhan Ennis said of her roommate, who is 58 years her senior.

That’s very sweet. But realistically, when talking about an 85-year-old man, that may not mean a whole lot.

AI Takes on Corporate Logos 

Friday, July 22nd, 2022

I’ve previously linked to posts on AI Weirdness that used artificial intelligence to create new candy heart messages and new cereals. Today, let’s have a look at new logos for existing corporations.

A collection of 10 mock Jeep logos, created by artificial intelligence

Buy a Jeeep! Or a Jeper!

You Can’t Even Taste the Sewage 

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

Last month, I wrote about whiskey made (in part) from invasive green crabs. It gets worse, however, with a beer in Singapore being made with recycled sewage water.

“I seriously couldn’t tell this was made of toilet water,” said Chew Wei Lian, 58, who had purchased the beer from a supermarket to try after hearing about it.

Now there’s a ringing endorsement!

“If you don’t tell people it’s made from waste water, they probably won’t know,” said Grace Chen, 52, after sampling the ale.


Introducing Quadball 

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

Many years back, while passing one or another of Boston’s many institutes of higher learning, I saw a group of students running around holding brooms between their legs. I eventually determined that they were playing a real-life version of the game of “Quidditch”, from the Harry Potter books (and movies and theme parks and…).

Instead of flying, the players run with ersatz broomsticks positioned between their legs as they jostle, catch, defend and tackle to score points and win.

College kids playing quidditch (now quadball)

I’m all for new sports, and letting people enjoy things is usually a fine idea. Nevertheless, at the time, I found this more than a little ridiculous. I still do, and I’m just not buying this as a reasonable explanation for the “brooms”:

“The broom adds a layer of skill and complexity to the sport, through a handicap which works the same way you must pass a ball backwards in rugby, or can only kick the ball” in soccer, according to QuidditchUK, the sport’s governing body in Britain.

Anyhow, “quidditch” is now “quadball”, so it’s a little less goofy than it was before.

Wordle Is Coming to Meatspace 

Monday, July 18th, 2022

Wordle was one of the highlights of 2021, a simple and enjoyable word game that was (mostly) free of the rancor and divisiveness affecting so much of the world. Now, in addition to your digital devices, Wordle is coming to your living room.

The Universe in High Definition 

Friday, July 15th, 2022

When I posted about the new James Webb Space Telescope on Tuesday, I also linked to a similar image from the Hubble. Now, there’s a fantastic site to compare images between the two space telescopes:

Two similar images, one lower quality from the Hubble, and one much higher quality from the Webb
Left: Hubble; Right: Webb

It’s not unlike the switch from standard definition television to HD. It’s a stark and astounding improvement.

I Voted For This “I Voted” Sticker 

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

In the Second Annual “I Voted Sticker Contest”, put on by the Board of Elections in Ulster County, New York, 14-year-old Hudson Rowan has my vote. He’s also got almost 180,000 other votes as of this writing, just about one vote for every resident of Ulster County, and 93% of the overall vote. It’s a landslide, and it seems certain that Rowan’s sticker is what will be passed out to voters this November. Once you see his design, I think you’ll understand why:

A crazed-looking head on a spider-like body, next to the scrawled words “I Voted”

It’s like something out of a fever dream and I can’t imagine a more fitting representation of our current era.

Bodily Autonomy in Federal Waters 

Wednesday, July 13th, 2022

“Should we put a floating abortion clinic in the Gulf of Mexico?” is also a question we must now ask ourselves in the year 2022.