Links for May 2019

The New Yorker reports on the fascinating discovery of a site which may preserve the day of the Chixculub impact, often blamed for the K-T extinction. Of course there are criticisms and doubts, but I’m sure that this is an important site regardless.

What does that famous black hole picture actually represent? Matt Strassler explains.

This (non-video link) is one of the most perverse uses of a computer I have ever seen. The insane mind behind it, Tom 7, has also produced a number of other mind-melting projects, including a C compiler which produces executables consisting only of ASCII printable bytes.

Super Tux Kart, a totally original game that is in no way inspired by any other kart racing games, which I used to play when I first got into Linux about 10 years ago, is apparently still being developed and just had its 1.0 release which includes netplay.

Slate Star Codex recounts the theories of human population modeller Heinz von Foerster’s 1960 paper and postulates mechanisms around the interactions of population growth, technological progress and the economy. The real interplay is no doubt far too complicated for us to understand, but this seems like a reasonable approximation.

Lashon Hara is the proscribed Jewish concept of ‘Evil Tongue’ (link via David MacIver). Especially in the context of modern social media, mindfulness about what one is saying and, more importantly, what purpose saying it serves is vital, especially since we haven’t really internalised the dynamics of a massive public discourse arena.

Readers may have heard of the 3750-year-old Babylonian tablet complaining of a copper merchant’s inferior quality ingots and rude treatment of his messenger. What is less well-known is that (perhaps inevitably) this has led to a certain amount of slash fiction (NSFW text) being written about Ea-nasir and Nanni. AO3 has no fewer than 6 other stories inspired by this tablet. (This one via Mark Dominus.)