Cool stuff

ConcernedApe’s Haunted Chocolatier — Early Gameplay [short video] – ConcernedApe, of Stardew Valley fame, is working on a game called Haunted Chocolatier, and that’s almost everything I need to know. Except – when can I preorder that?

Coding Font [interactive tool] – a tool to decide what’s one’s favorite coding font. Pretty cool – and I was very amused to see that, without having the font names, I landed on the JetBrains one; I’ve been using a JetBrains IDE for the past 7 years, so maybe there’s a link 🙂

Talk – Practical Pigment Mixing for Digital Painting [medium-length video] – reasons why blue and yellow don’t make green in digital painting tools (and yes, it’s more subtle than additive vs subtractive colors) and a way to fix that. Fascinating stuff.

GPS [text with interactive widgets] – a very neat explanation of the Global Positioning System, with a lot of super well-made interactive widgets. Superb presentation.

Smirkybec’s Twitch channel [long videos] – Smirkybec edits Wikipedia on Twitch, and I need more of that type of content on my internet.

Book Renovation [text] – N.K. Jemisin (who’s a fantastic author you should read) talks about her book revision process.

Quordle [web-based game] – what if, Wordle, but guessing 4 words at a time? It also have a couple more languages, including French.

Advanced Skills through Multiple Adversarial Motion Priors in Reinforcement Learning [short video] – because it’s a transformer humanoid quadruped robot with wheels, and it’s damn cool.

A short history of Sriracha [twitter thread] – and now I want some Sriracha.

Return to Monkey Island [short video] – I started this post with a videogame announcement, I’m finishing it with another….. but RON GILBERT IS MAKING A NEW MONKEY ISLAND. Look behind you, a three-headed monkey. Some more details here: Ron Gilbert, Dave Grossman – Return to Monkey Island [text].

Cool stuff

How D&D classes use a bow [short video] – I laughed a lot. Absolutely relevant to WoW players too.

eatyourbooks [service] – a (paying) service that allows you to give a list of your cookbooks and to get a proper searchable index (often better than the books themselves) on indexed cookbooks. Not all books are indexed, but the popular ones definitely are. The interface is a bit…. quirky, but the service is very useful to me.

The Wheel Of Time – Official Teaser Trailer [short video] – I am VERY MUCH looking forward to this. The trailer is gorgeous.

Nanowar Of Steel – La Polenta Taragnarock [short video] – hilarious AND an earworm, what more do you want?

The YouTube channel of Sebastian Lague – this person does super nice coding demos (often Unity-based) on various topics, and it’s both very interesting and quite soothing in a Bob Ross way 😉 I particularly enjoyed his Procedural Planet Generation videos!

The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time [text, music] – Rolling Stone made a pretty cool playlist there – I need to update my culture a bit, there are some I don’t know (or that I don’t know I know 🙂 )

Alpha Earth from space [photos] – Thomas Pesquet’s photographs from the ISS are beautiful – and span a lot of places!

3 Unbelievable LEGO Creations [short video] – this comes from a channel called “Brick Bending” – so….. considered yourself warned. But this made me audibly gasp 😀

Is Becky Chambers the Ultimate Hope for Science Fiction? [text]- I absolutely adore Becky Chambers’ work, and this piece that talks about her, her works, and tea, was a heartwarming read. And I love that the first picture of the article is so close from my brain image of her last book!

Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA [text]- a report of a proof of concept that admittedly takes a lot of shortcuts/cheats, but the idea is fantastic and very much into the sci-fi domain. The necessity of input sanitation apparently includes whatever you put in your DNA sequencer 😀

Cool Stuff

Humans Are All More Closely Related Than We Commonly Think [text] – an article that explains that the common set of ancestors of humanity is actually surprisingly recent.

How Traditional French Butter Is Made In Brittany | Regional Eats [medium-length video] – because there’s something soothing in watching large amount of butter getting processed. And stamped.

Reverse Engineering the source code of the BioNTech/Pfizer SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine [text] – mRNA vaccines and DNA explained to software people. A FASCINATING read.

windows sound effect (acapella) [short video] – what the title says. I laughed.

Starlit Black Leopard: Capturing my dream photograph [text, pictures] – some storytelling around the behind the scenes of a picture of a black leopard against a starry sky. Very impressive.

The Silent Meeting Manifesto v1: Making meeting suck a little less [text] – some food for thought about meetings.

‘A Perfect World’ Around Every Miniature Bend [text, images] – an article about the renewal of interest in model trains (specifically Märklin) during last year

The Unlikely Rise of the French Tacos [text] – I must admit that I didn’t know (or remember?) that “French tacos” were a thing. But this made me smile in a bewildered way all along.

Text Rendering Hates You [text] – a cool piece about “why text is hard to render”.

Making a LEGO Domino Machine [short video] – a LEGO machine to place (LEGO) dominoes – incredibly satisfying to watch. And to listen to 😉

Cool Stuff

Resizing Images for a Twitter Stream [text]- this goes in the “useful tip” category. I’ve had issues with adding borders to images to get them to a certain size; I have various methods that DO work, but I really like the command line approach. ImageMagick FTW.

Announcing my new book: NOSE DIVE, coming October 20 [text] – Harold McGee, of “On Food and Cooking” fame, publishes a new book this month, and I’m there for it.

The Salty Death Of My Trusty Camera [photos, text] – Dave lost his camera in a salty water accident, which is sad, but his blog post is funny, so it’s less sad.

Tabloid:  The Clickbait Headline Programming Language [text] – because it made me giggle.

I am Allie Brosh. My main abilities include writing, drawing, caring, and hiding, but you can ask me whatever you want. AMA [text] – Allie Brosh did an AMA on r/books and I liked browsing though that.

In that AMA, she talked about Simon Stålenhag [images]- who does oil-painting-looking retro-futuristic illustrations, which I do find utterly fascinating. He happens to have a Kickstarter running right now.

LEGO IDEAS – Earth Globe [text, images]- Lego is going to make a globe from the IDEAS project. As a fan of both globes and Lego, I’m very tempted. And so much potential for random worldbuilding 😀

New Scientific Papers Predict Historic Results for Commonwealth Fusion Systems’ Approach to Commercial Fusion Energy [text] – because I still have hope to see fusion energy, and this made me hopeful that it might happen in my lifetime 🙂

Minecraft as a k8s admin tool [text, short video] – because this made me laugh much harder than a lot of things this week.

Bill Gates demonstrates Visual Basic (1991) [short video] – because that also made me giggle.

Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record [text] – there exists an easy polynomial algorithm that approximates the metric Traveling Salesperson Problem within a factor 3/2 (like, explaining the proof fully takes maybe half an hour on a blackboard?). For a few decades, it was also the best known. Apparently, now there’s a claim to do fractionally better (and it spans a few dozens of pages 😛 )

Cool Stuff

One Photographer Captures Holland’s Beautiful Tulip Gardens Without Any People Around [photos] – because I can definitely do with more pictures of pretty flowers.

Sculpt the World [photos] – the website of Jon Foreman, who creates art with stones or leaves or broken glass or sand or… It’s very geometric, very pretty, and it tickles my brain just right. I especially like his Stone gallery.

Arrows of Time [mostly text]- a series of chronologically sorted factoids about the human understanding of time.

IKEA kataloger [images] – IKEA released their catalogs from 1950 to 2020, and it’s pretty neat to look at. I did find PAX cabinets/placards in 1955 😉

A Time Leap Challenge for SAT-Solving [text, PDF] – Fichte, Hecher and Szeider decided to have a little competition: “what runs better, 20-year-old SAT solvers on modern hardware, or modern SAT solvers on 20-year-old hardware?”. Lessons learnt: archeology is hard, and both hardware and software progressed enormously for SAT solving. Also there’s an XKCD in the bibliography, so.

NSF’s newest solar telescope produces first images [images, text]- there’s been some pretty Sun images from the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

The Awesome Piano – Peter Bence [short video] – that is a very cool music video. And if you don’t know Peter Bence, I can only encourage you to have a look at his YouTube – here, have a cover of Under Pressure, for instance.

Box [short video] – “so, I have a bunch of projectors and robot arms, what could I do with them…?”. Worth watching in full-screen 🙂

Fresh Guacamole by PES [short video] – hmmm. Cooking in stop motion. Made me watch a very large set of videos on that channel, didn’t regret any of them, this is brilliant. The Deep by PES is also super neat.

Okay, the Dune trailer [short video] looks pretty good. Understatement.

Diorama: A Tutorial [text, images] – a series of 4 articles (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4) from my fellow Scavenger Dave DeBaermaeker, where he explains step by step how to make a small diorama to create a wall at scale for toy photography. That actually looks… surprisingly feasible 😉

Cool Stuff

Why Is Everyone Suddenly Obsessed With Sourdough? [text] – an interview with Robin Sloan, who wrote a very fun book called Sourdough. TW current events, but then sourdough.

Garbage Math [comic] – XKCD is tackling the problem of “what happens if you put garbage in your math”, and it’s great.

Hopepunk, the latest storytelling trend, is all about weaponized optimism [text] – an article about the term hopepunk, which has initially been coined as “the opposite of grimdark “- more about the definition and the concept in the article. As well as a list of books and series and music and and and, in which I’ll probably have to dig into the ones I don’t know yet (and maybe update for “after 2018”).

A distant quasar has the most powerful wind ever seen. And yeah, it’s a doozy [text] – here, get a dose of mindblowing scales with an article discussing a very powerful quasar. With a very large black hole.

What to Buy When Starting a French Bar at Home [text] – David Lebovitz has a new book out, Drinking French – and he’s had a lot of content lately on his blog around the topic. As a French woman without a French bar, I quite liked this “okay, where do I start” blog post 🙂

How to make Mini Oven from Mini Bricks [medium-length video] – err, what the title says. It’s cute and fascinating.

This Is Your Brain on [current events] Dreams [text] – I do try to avoid things that talk too much about current events, buuuuut I did like that article a lot – mostly because I did notice an uptick in vivid dreams lastly 🙂

How to Make A Roguelike in One Day [short video] – this made me smile. Aaaaand kind of want to program a roguelike. (No, it’s probably not happening.)

#gettymuseumchallenge [images, twitter] – The Getty museum in California challenged people to recreate famous artworks, and there’s a ton of good stuff in there – either impressive, funny, or both.

ISLANDERS [game, Steam] – I’ve been playing ISLANDERS today – it’s a minimalist city strategy game building. Think Suburbia meets Mini Metro. It’s pretty, very relaxing, cheap, and I’m going to go and start another game.

Cool stuff

I remembered I had some backlog on older cool stuff from between January and…. some time later, so here, have a few cool links.

The Deep Sea [image] – an illustration (to scroll) about what lives at what depth of the ocean on Earth. The rest of the links of that website are also pretty cool, in particular The Size of Space.

The best of 2019 wildlife photography awards – in pictures [photos] – the time for pretty wildlife pictures is now.

Eric Wastl – Advent of Code: Behind The Scenes – Leetspeak 2019 [long video] – Eric Wastl, who runs Advent of Code, talks about the experience, the puzzle writing, and why he does all that.

How to exit vim [mostly text] – literally what the title says, in a very… technically correct way.

Unit Conversion & Significant Figures: Crash Course Chemistry #2 [medium-length video] – Hank Green is a cool guy, Crash Course is great, and I really liked that video because it explains things I remember grumbling about during my studies in a very clear way.

An 18-carat gold nugget made of plastic [mostly text] – people playing with materials and doing fun stuff, like making 18-carat gold that’s far less dense than traditional mixture with silver.

This Astrophotographer Makes the World Turn and the Sky Stand Still [images, some text]- some fun animation of a long timelapse where the stars are stabilized but in the image (but the foreground… not). Pretty trippy.

The donut packing problem [text with images] – someone did math about donut shapes and their ability to fit into boxes.

Turing Trains – computational train track layouts – because making Turing machines out of model train tracks is one of the nerdiest things I can think of.

Background Matting: The World is Your Green Screen – video of a person + picture of the background = green screen. That’s quite cool – and they seem to have beautiful results.

The Computer Scientist Who Can’t Stop Telling Stories – a Q&A with Donald Knuth. Funnily enough, I reached to TAoCP book 2 this week-end 😉

Cool stuff

Let’s have a new round of #coolstuff because it’s been a while. I’m trying to keep it free of the Current Events, but I’ll still allow myself a couple of links that happens indirectly because of them, because some things are just too cool 😛

Some cool photo lense content: C-4 Precision Optics releases $39,000 4.9mm F3.5 Hyper Fisheye lens for Sony E mount – already pretty cool by itself; but even more is Assembling the C-4 Optics 4.9mm f3.5 Hyperfisheye Prototype, with a lot of pictures of the assembly of that thing. It’s lovely.

Fangs – Sarah Andersen (known for Sarah’s Scribbles, which were collected in Big Mushy Happy Lump and following volumes) has a new comics series – a romance between a vampire and a werewolf. Über-cute.

Cosmic Background – Andrew McCarthy is a super impressive and super prolific astrophotographer. His instagram is way worth a look.

Teatoucan – and while we’re on Instagram, how about some INSANELY COOL DICE? I mean, have you seen this one?

Classic Programmer Paintings – a classic, by now, but I don’t think I ever gave a link here. Take classic paintings, give them a new title that has something to do with software engineering, hilarity ensues. For instance, “Theoretical computer scientists arguing about random number generators.”, “Senior developer gets interrupted”, or “Business Analyst explains user story with persona”.

I got to bring a robot arm home from work due to the shelter-in-place order – /r/robotics delivers with a robot arm in the kitchen.

Penguins Visiting Other Animals in Aquarium is Amazing – the Shedd aquarium in Chicago is bringing a couple of penguins on field trips in the rest of the aquarium, and it brings me a smile.

Anyone here into Bionicle? – I never really understood the appeal of Bionicle LEGO, but now that I’ve seen that Space Marine, I’m kind of convinced.

Siril, a free astronomical image processing software – I just learnt about this thing, and it looks pretty neat. One day I’ll actually stop dreaming of astrophotography and DO IT. 😀

The LEGO Storage Guide – because nicely ordered collections of LEGO are very satisfying. Also, the rest of that website is cool (it’s by the author of The LEGO Architect, which is a neat book 🙂 )

F is for Food Waste – Akkana is trying to track down where assumptions such as “40% of consumer food in the US is thrown away uneaten” and “20 pounds of wasted food per person per month” come from, and I found it interesting 🙂

Cool stuff

It’s not Friday, but if I’m going to write a coolstuff blog post for the end of the week, I may as well write one for the end of the year 🙂

The Nixie Tube Story: The Neon Display Tech That Engineers Can’t Quit [text, images, video] – a colleague of mine brought a Nixie tube clock in the office, so I looked into it, because it DOES look cool.

Chernobyl Dice – A quantum random number generator with a Cold War aesthetic [text, images] – going further in previous rabbit hole, a very cool “advanced DYI” project that generates random numbers from a weakly radioactive source and displays them on said Nixie tubes 🙂

darktable 3.0.0 [text] has been released last week. I’ve been using it for all my photography processing for the past few years, and I’m thoroughly impressed by what it can do and by the people behind it.

The Motions of Kayaking and Canoeing Recorded through Light Painting on Canadian Waterways [images] – what happens when you stick leds to kayak paddle? You get pretty pictures, that’s what happens.

We Learned to Write the Way We Talk [text] – I thoroughly enjoyed Gretchen McCulloch’s Because Internet this year, where she looks at Internet communication from a linguistics perspective – this article is a nice taste of what’s in the book, and an interesting view on writing styles.

Copperplate Study Session [text, images] – I’ve been playing with Copperplate calligraphy a bit last year, and it’s in my objectives for next year to master that, and I think this series of Reddit posts on the topic may just be what I was looking for 🙂

I’ve recently learnt about figurate numbers [text, images] by way of learning about heptagonal numbers [text, images] (via some middle school math homework), and I spent enough time on Wikipedia to warrant their entry in coolstuff 🙂

Quanta Magazine has run a few articles about what happened this year: The Year in Math and Computer Science [text], The Year in Biology [text] and The Year in Physics [text]. I had seen almost everything in the “math” article, so it was a nice trip down “memory lane” on things I thought were cool at the time (and a few that I had missed); the “biology” and “physics” ones were nice entry points to stuff I had mostly missed.

Woman Pushes The Limits And Creates Unbelievable Sculptures Out Of Gingerbread [text]- if the gingerbread xenomorph is not called Gigerbread, this would be a good reason to flip tables.

Swiss Police and Star Wars Christmasspot [short video] – I did giggle a lot at this video from Bern Kantonpolizei. It has stormtroopers.

My problem with metric recipes [short video] – the title of the video let me fear the most trollful content, but that would be selling Adam Ragusea short – it’s actually quite insightful, and he’s making great points about recipe translation.

Cool stuff

A tiny pre-holidays coolstuff? Let’s.

Micro chess / DIY [video, mid-length] – a video of someone making a tiny chess set. It’s super impressive, adorable (because TINY) and generally exquisite.

Markus Reugels on 500px [images] – someone doing (among others) very cool pictures of drops and splashes.

It’s Way Too Easy to Get a .gov Domain Name [text] – there IS a quote in there that says “I never said it was legal, just that it was easy”, but I still found it an interesting read 🙂

TasteAtlas [maps]- maps are good, food is good, LET’S MIX BOTH. With subcategories, such as World Cheese Map or World Dessert Map.

The difference between a snafu, a shitshow, and a clusterfuck [text]- it’s all in the title, and I found that piece pretty entertaining, and surprisingly informative 😛

Fraktur and the psychology of type [text] – an article about the fraktur typeface and its association, in particular in Germany, with the Nazis – and the impact of that association in today’s print and calligraphy practice.

Making chocolate colourful – apparently there’s a way to make chocolate shimmer with structural properties. That’s pretty cool 😀

Happy holidays, everyone!