Friday, September 6, 2013

Links of the Day...

There and back again... Nick Berry has another nice brain-teaser, with a little easy algebra in the proof.  His additional examples neglect the non-linearity of speed vs. drag, but no matter – the results are the same anyway...

The more I hear about Snowden's NSA leaks, the more I think the man is a hero – and the more worried I am about what the hell is happening to my country...

Awesomely detailed drawings of animals, like the example at right...

Peggy Noonan has a good piece in today's WSJ on the Syrian issue, but the best part is the addendum at the end:
A point on how quickly public opinion has jelled. There is something going on here, a new distance between Washington and America that the Syria debate has forced into focus. The Syria debate isn't, really, a struggle between libertarians and neoconservatives, or left and right, or Democrats and Republicans. That's not its shape. It looks more like a fight between the country and Washington, between the broad American public and Washington's central governing assumptions.

I've been thinking of the "wise men," the foreign policy mandarins of the 1950s and '60s, who so often and frustratingly counseled moderation, while a more passionate public, on right and left, was looking for action. "Ban the Bomb!" "Get Castro Out of Cuba."

In the Syria argument, the moderating influence is the public, which doesn't seem to have even basic confidence in Washington's higher wisdom.
That would be a comment on more than Iraq. That would be a comment on the past five years, too. 
 On Yahoo's new logo...  General reaction from the serious business community is about like this, which could be summarized as “WTF, Marissa?”  But Megan McArdle wins the pithy comment contest (and her piece reflects my own reaction):
“Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic” has some new competition for phrase meaning pointless business activity at failing firm: “rearranging the fonts in your logo.”
Political commentary in the days of yore: Napoleon Bonaparte in a chamber pot (at right).  Awesome.  Let's bring it back!

Through reader, friend, and former colleague Aleck L.., I've discovered that one of my favorite books (Ambrose Bierce's The Devil's Dictionary) is out of copyright and available on a web site and in free eBook form.  Hooray!

Another great, short TED talk, this time on the beauty (and primal sexuality) of prime numbers.  Mathophobes, do not fear – the talk is almost entirely free of weird symbols and head-exploders.  Via reader and friend Simon M.  I've lost track of how many times I've spent an entertaining and informative few minutes watching one of the TED talks – it's a great web resource. 

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