links I find interesting
Useful ExcusesA list of excuses for getting out of sticky situations. The whole site is full of fun pages - I also recommend the "not too bright" and "oxymorons" sections, visible in the sidebar.
Methodology of "Six Degrees of Separation"Many people are familiar with the concept of "six degrees of separation", derived from renowned psychologist Stanley Milgram's finding that Americans are separated by (on average) 6 social links.
The experiment's methodology is amusing enough to link here, it's a very simple solution to what seems a complex problem in experimental design. A following section on the page, Criticisms, is also a cool read that covers the flaws in this delightfully simple solution.
Lamest Edit WarsThis page summarizes some of the funniest and longest-running "edit wars" on Wikipedia, a situation in which two (or more) people keep editing the same pages to disagree with one another recounting of events. I suppose it's a record which proves that even in the most hallowed halls of community, there is still the obscenely petty and the sourest of grapes. Enjoy!
The Man Who Loved Only NumbersThe first chapter of "The Man Who Loved Only Numbers" gives a unique snapshot of Paul Erdös, a wonderful, highly influential, and (above all) adorably quirky mathematician.
Crackpot IndexHave you ever read a paper or article on some new marvel of the information age that seemed a bit out there? Well with this handy guide, you can now definitively rank them!
Hexaflexagons - Vi HartVi Hart's upbeat and torrential videos always manage to put a smile on my face. This is one of my favourites by her, on hexaflexagons, a very soothing kind of paper toy and topological curiosity.
Every OS Sucks - Wes BorgA ballad to the suckiness of every OS. As one verse eloquently puts it, "Everything since the abacus is just a bunch of crap."
We Will All Go Together When We Go - Tom LehrerTom Lehrer is a mathematician & musical satirist who was active in the 50s & 60s.
He has so many great songs that it's hard to choose, but I've settled for "We Will All Go Together When We Go", an uplifting celebration of nuclear holocaust.
The Bob Emergency (Part 1)Jon Bois is a sports writer who has a knack for finding great stories, telling them beautifully, and backing them up with encyclopedic sports stats knowledge.
This is part 1 of his two-hour video series about the disappearance and legacy of the name "Bob" in sports.
PaperclipBased on a thought experiment where an AI, when given the innocuous order to create paperclips, proceeds to convert the world (and beyond) to wire to meet its goal. Play the stock market, develop autonomous swarms, and armor your Von Neumann probes to become the undisputed paperclip maker of our universe.
Nested by OrteilOrteil is better known for his idle game, Cookie Clicker, but I'm much more fond of his infinite, recursive, super-meta universe exploration game.
Who would've thought clicking trees of tabs could be so fun!
Typing the Technical InterviewA great witch comes to an interview at a mortal company and solves n-queens with her type magic. What's especially funny is some type-magicians actually are this eccentric.
Real Programmers Don't Use PascalA funny, tongue-in-cheek piece on what makes and unmakes the True Programmers among us.
That SR-71 Speed Check StoryThe SR-71 Blackbird was a (very) fast US spyplane deployed during the Cold War. This is a fun story that lots of people will recognize as "That SR-71 Speed Check" story, in which a couple of Blackbird pilots show off their multi-million-dollar marvel of engineering to the Whole West Coast.
Peter Watts's Shorts & BacklistPeter Watts is the harshest, bleakest scifi author I've ever read. He especially loves beating you over the head with your general insignificance on a cosmic scale and your eventual obsolescence as we enter the century of singularities & killer robots. Good stuff!
This is a backlist he keeps of some of his works and short stories, free to read! I particularly enjoyed "The Island", for which he won the Hugo Award.
Politics & the English LanguageIn this essay, Orwell illuminates his very pragmatic, terse approach to political writing & the English language in general. Especially fun reading if you do any public speaking or writing of your own and sometimes struggle to get your point across.
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