Cool stuff

Short one this week, and late on top of that, but oh well 🙂

This problem seems hard, then it doesn’t, but it really is. (2011 IMO, P2) – a video solving a problem from the International Math Olympiads that stuck a lot of the students. The problem is pretty fun and the solution is very pretty 🙂

Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 Takes The Intense Restaurant Sim On The Road – Cook, Serve, Delicious 3 has just been announced and I’m ready for it. I’ve played the first one A Lot, the second one a lot (that’s a bit less than A Lot :P), and I’m looking forward to the third one 🙂

The Best Way to Thaw Meat – my husband showed me a few of Adam Ragusea’s videos, and they’re indeed very enjoyable and informative. As for this specific one, since my microwave oven decided to die on me probably for good this time (and I’m waiting for its replacement to be delivered), I actually tested what he’s saying, and it indeed works pretty well. Not as fast, but less risky too… so definitely something to keep in mind if I’m not in a hurry 🙂

iamthemorning – The Bell – iamthemorning has a new album 🙂 And since I’m even more useless a music critic than a book critic, I’ll just say I like it a lot.

Alternative non-spherical Earth theories – I will admit I have personal (and non-explainable in polite society) reasons for laughing a lot at this one, but it’s still good 🙂

Baba Is You – a VERY neat puzzle game (available for many platforms) where the rules of interaction with the world are part of said world (and hence can be interacted with as well). Beware: melting brain.

Cool stuff

Japanese D&D Rules Cyclopedia – this is not the kind of illustrations that come to mind first when talking about Dungeons&Dragons around here these days 🙂

Around the World in 125 Melons – a short article about a book about melons. I don’t even like melon much (and watermelon is basically pink cucumber, so it’s awful), but the pictures are cool.

Tiny robot leaps around carrying its own battery, electronics – what the title says, essentially. Small robots a few centimeter high, that can be combinable as groups, and that are pretty fun to watch moving 🙂 The video in the article is worth a watch.

Plant Parenthood – an opinion piece about caring for plants – possibly the first time in a long while I got the impulse of getting house plants 🙂

Shooting and Seeing Art in Automobiles – nice article, cool pictures.

XKCD: Spreadsheets – well, that was a surprisingly educational XKCD (with regards to Google Spreadsheets capabilities) 😛

The French Bastards – if you’re up for some bakery porn (and who wouldn’t be?)

What the #@*% Is a ‘Grawlix’? – because I use them a lot, and I never know they had a name.

User Inyerface – A worst-practice UI experiment – if you ever wondered how bad UI can get, this is probably a fairly good example. It’s hilarious, but you might die a little bit inside too – consider yourself warned. And the level of detail is actually quite impressive 😀

Cool stuff

‘Botanical Sexism’ Could Be Behind Your Seasonal Allergies – apparently, at least in the US, planting male trees (when the trees themselves don’t have male and female flowers on the same plant) is a thing, mostly to avoid the littering of seeds. But then, male trees send more pollen in the air. I find both the reasoning and the consequences quite interesting – and I wonder if it’s also the case in Europe 🙂

Cooking for Engineers…recipe infographics! (and interview) – a short interview of Michael Chu, who runs (ran?) Cooking for Engineers, where he talks about his recipe format. I had seen that recipe format a (long) while ago, and I was looking for it on Monday evening (because Pierre was asking if I had ever seen recipes written as a schema/graph/tree). And on Tuesday morning, I saw a reference to it on my Twitter feed via a romance author I follow. I’m very amused by the coincidence – and I really like the recipe representation 🙂

AIs named by AIs – what happens when you feed a neural network with Culture ship names? Hilarity, that’s what happens.

Mighty Networks Live Interview with Host Lauri Novak, Host of The Photography Scavenger Hunt – when Google+ shutdown, the Photography Scavenger Hunt had to move, and we moved to Mighty Networks. Lauri talks about the move, our community, and the community building that goes behind the scenes, and it’s pretty neat. Also, there’s a sign-up for the 26th round tomorrow (July 12th 2019), so if you feel inclined to join… join us! 🙂

Wizards Unite – if you remember (or still play!) Ingress or Pokemon Go, that’s the third iteration of that principle of “playing in the real world” from Niantic. The general idea is that you’re part of the Ministry of Magic and your goal is to avoid weird stuff being seen by the Muggles – and so you need to send that back to where it belongs using spells. It’s thematically strong, there’s more mechanics than Pokemon Go (at least at the time I played it), and it’s cooperative (so far). It’s free to play, there’s a bunch of stuff you can buy there of course, but I resisted so far, which for a week+ of play shows that they’re not pushing that too much.

Magic The Gathering Arena – uh-oh, another rabbit hole 😉 It’s a free-to-play implementation of Magic The Gathering, it’s pretty well done on the “keeping you playing” front (this is a nice way of saying “they’re pushing the right buttons to get you hooked” :P), and they’re up-to-date with the set that gets available for play today, Core Set 2020. There’s also ways of giving them monies, but I have also resisted that so far, so it’s definitely not essential for newb players to have fun. (People who know what they’re doing may want to be able to get specific cards faster, though.) I also believe that you can unlock everything by grinding the rewards and by playing well enough (a few modes are only available through a currency that I don’t have yet, for instance), but I would have to double-check that. I may or may not have physical cards on order right now. Oops.

A few cool announcements on the LEGO side: a Harley Davidson which looks gorgeous, an Apollo 11 Lunar Lander (sad: not at the same scale as the Saturn V; cool: at a larger scale than the Saturn V), and a T-Rex.

BU researchers develop ‘acoustic metamaterial’ that cancels sound – using the shape of objects to get noise-cancelling effects of lightweight structures, that definitely enters the “cool stuff” realm.

Cool stuff

I’ve been remiss in my “cool stuff” posting, so let’s try to get that running again 🙂

Andy Weir’s Best Seller ‘The Martian’ Gets a Classroom-Friendly Makeover – as someone who swears A Lot, it makes me a bit sad that editing swearwords is deemed necessary; but I still find the whole concept of “wait, that book is actually usable in a classroom, except for the swearwords, let’s see if there’s a way to get an expunged version” pretty neat 🙂

Mambo mit den Schlümpfen – yes, it is Mambo Nr. 5, in German, with Smurfs. Things I didn’t know I needed in my life.

Manim – an animation engine, in Python, for explanatory math videos. I haven’t tested it, but it’s used by 3Blue1Brown – and their videos are cool.

Living Proof: Stories of Resilience along the Mathematical Journey – a collection of short articles about people in math, whose path may not have been as straightforward as it could have been. This sort of things is important – it normalizes the struggle that many people go through, and I believe that it makes it less likely that some people just give up on things because “it shouldn’t be that hard, if it’s that hard I’m not meant for it”.

Sensitivity Conjecture resolved – Aaronson’s post was the first I saw, but all the theoretical CS blogs I follow talked about a very pretty paper that just arrived on ArxiV: Induced subgraphs of hypercubes and a proof of the Sensitivity Conjecture. I didn’t know about the problem, but the paper is very readable (as long as you have some notion of matrix eigenvalues, basically) and the proof is very pretty. I cannot say that I have a good understanding of it (at least not in my definition of understanding maths), but I do understand enough to see that it’s very elegant. So that definitely enters “cool stuff” (if only for the reason “hey I read a (short) paper and I still understood ‘enough’ of it for my own satisfaction” 😉 ).

Cities:Skyline – The Board Game – actually, everything’s in the link title. It’s planned for October (Essen release?), it’s a cooperative, and that’s already enough to get me interested/curious 🙂

SMBC about mind privacy – since my own brain is particularly vulnerable to that attack, this made me laugh a lot 😉

XKCD about predictive models and about coordinate precision – both made me laugh a lot too 🙂

Cool stuff

Why ‘ji32k7au4a83’ Is a Remarkably Common Password [text] – a neat thing that’s been making the rounds on the internets recently

For the Easiest Duck Confit at Home, Go Sous Vide [text with images] – I like duck confit. I have a sous-vide water circulator. I sense experimenting in my near-ish future. (Just need to find duck legs around here…)

Awe-Inspiring Winners of the 2019 Underwater Photographer of the Year Contest [images] – some nice underwater pictures

Why Synergies are the Secret to Slay the Spire’s Fun | Game Maker’s Toolkit – some analysis of what makes Slay the Spire so good 🙂

Before Envelopes, People Protected Messages With Letterlocking [text] – a cool article about the research around letter folding.

Top 20 things likely to be overheard if you had a Klingon Programmer[text] – because I chuckled.

NASA Captures First Air-to-Air Images of Supersonic Shockwave Interaction in Flight [text, images] – those are pretty images. And a cool achievement.

Angry Metal Album Art Neural Networks [text with images] – neural networks classifying metal album art, I found that thing hilarious 😀

Google Cloud Topples the Pi Record [text] – “oh, we accidentally computed 9 trillion digits more than the previous record”

Lessons learned: writing really long fiction [text] – a post from Charlie Stross where he talks about writing (long) series of books.

Who the fuck is my D&D character [text] – a profanity-filled background generator for D&D characters. Goes with HERE IS SOME FUCKING D&D [text, GDrive folder with PDFs in it], a micro-RPG, because why not 😛

Cool stuff

Photographer follows red squirrels daily for six years: here are 30 of his best and cutest shots [photos] – because we can all do with more cute squirrels.

The real reason the sound of your own voice makes you cringe [text] – apparently, hearing one’s own voice also makes us hear the “extralinguistic content” of what we say, and that’s the cringeworthy part.

Under Pressure (Piano Cover) – Peter Bence [video, music] – that guy does piano covers of various stuff and I really enjoy his stuff. And I can’t resist a good Queen cover.

A List of TPK’s Free Printable Calligraphy Practice Sheets [files, images] – my primary school teachers may laugh a lot if they saw me working on calligraphy drills 😉 But still.

Why programming is hard [text] – what the title says 😛 And a nice (and funny) reminder.

Strange Planet [comic] – a funny comic with aliens. Or… are they?

Differentiation and Integration [comic] – XKCD made me chuckle on that one. “It’s funny ‘cuz it’s true.”

Flightradar24 — how it works? [text] – a neat article that explains the real-time tracking of airplanes, including how to roll your own receiver for the planes in your area.

Cool stuff

Elemental haiku [interactive text] – a periodic table with haiku associated to every element. Cute 🙂

Juno image gallery [images] – images from the NASA Juno mission, orbiting Jupiter. I sense some of these will eventually end up in my desktop wallpaper images.

Winners of the 2019 International Garden Photographer of the Year Competition [images] – some very pretty garden-related pictures. Slightly larger res pictures (and more of them) are available on the contest website: International Garden Photographer of the Year.

A robot that teaches itself to play Jenga [text, video] – I like robots that do cool stuff. Playing Jenga is cool. (Or, at least: watching a robot playing Jenga is cool.)

Divisive factorials! [text] – some fun considerations about the question “what happens if we replace the multiplication by the division in the definition of the factorial?”. Part of the answer is: “it depends how you do that.”

Opportunity did not answer NASA’s final call, and it’s now lost to us [text] – Opportunity was declared lost this week, and it’s strangely emotional. I actually learnt it via XKCD: Opportunity Rover [comic], which may be the most moving XKCD in a while. Generally speaking: I think that’s the first time I read an obituary for a robot.

Bohemian Git-sody [text] – a re-writing of Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics around Git. Very relatable.