Links for July 2022

In case you aren’t already familiar: High quality horizontally spinning rat.

There is fanfic about Mr. Collins’s Exemplary Vegetables.

When filming The Return of the King, they shot the whole wedding of Faramir and Eowyn, including the kiss, but it’s never been included in any LOTR cut. 

This arXiv preprint from 2022 concludes that academic rickrolling is an “inspiring force for students and scholars alike” and is on the rise.

You may know that the Icelanders historically kept slaves and would go and raid Europe intermittently to get them. But you probably didn’t know that in the summer of 1627, pirates from Algiers ran a series of slave raids on Iceland, captured almost 400 Icelanders, and sold them into slavery in North Africa.

Comparing historical prices is hard, what with inflation and all, but looking at “hours of work required to buy it”, present-day products compare pretty favorably with the listings of the 1980 Sears catalog.

Some translation stories are more interesting than others — this one, about one woman’s quest to translate The Egyptian Book of the Dead, is more interesting than most. 

pokemon cellular automata — “we quickly see areas of fire > water > grass > fire, electric sweeping over, ground frontiers taking over etc etc … Bug is always obliterated almost immediately”

Intestinal Methane Production in Obese Individuals is Associated with a Higher Body Mass Index (h/t Bee on twitter)

explainjargon.com, a tool that converts any scientific jargon to plain English built on GPT-3 (h/t victoriacarr_)

When an essay begins “Should you eat boogers practice automucophagy?”, you know it’s going to be good about eating boogers. Seriously, it’s an interesting post, and ends with two proposed experiment designs.

The Overedge Catalog documents a list of new types of research organizations.

Vice: The Surprising Reason that There Are So Many Thai Restaurants in America

Got ya! Here’s the actual rickrolling paper.

Get tall on foods. Normal problems with correlation and causation, but pretty interesting nonetheless.

Fiddler on the Roof was well-received in London, but it was REALLY well-received in Japan. Joseph Stein, the librettist for the play, went to Japan to oversee the first non-English production. When he got there, the Japanese producer asked him, “Do they understand this show in America?” Bonus video: L’chaim in Japanese with a Japanese cast dressed as Jews from the old country.

Yes, you can hook up a 360º camera to a VR headset and get 360º vision (h/t alyssamvance), we would like this please… inb4 Cronenberg’s The Fly.

Thomas Davenport was a Vermont blacksmith who worked with his wife Emily Davenport to construct the first American DC electric motor in 1834. They first used it to operate a small car, and in 1837, received the first American patent on an electric machine. The Davenports went on to use their electric motor to print a newspaper called The Electro-Magnetic and Mechanics Intelligencer, the first newspaper printed using electricity. Based on the eccentric character of the publishers and the name of the newspaper, we’d like to culturally claim this as the first blog as well. Like most good blogs, it lasted only a few issues.

The Atlantic recently released its full archive dating back to the 1850s, and people have discovered such gems as “I Married a Jew” by Anonymous (h/t this tweet, looks like the account got suspended…). It is uh, it is a lot. Literally every paragraph. It makes it hard to know what paragraph to quote for you, but well, here’s one: “I try to tell Ben,” the anonymous author says of her husband, “that Hitler is merely writing another page in a history that will continue so long as the status quo between Jews and Gentiles remains—a status that only the willing shoulders of both protagonists can remove. But it is hard for Ben to take the long view. He looks upon Hitler as something malignantly unique, and it is no use trying to tell him that a hundred years hence the world will no more call Hitler a swine for expelling the Jews than it does Edward I of England, who did the same thing in the thirteenth century.” In this and other stories from the archives of The Atlantic, there’s a definite air of “haha oh why are the Jews so worried about antisemitism? (THE YEAR IS 1939).” Presumably The Atlantic regrets this error.

Ok, ok, here’s the actual rickrolling paper. “Based on a careful manual assessment, we confirm that there are 24 academic documents for which the intention is clearly to rickroll the reader, with no relationship between the topic of the document and the link. This means that rickrolling is significantly more practiced (33x) than studied (10x) in the academic literature.” Seriously, click on it. Go ahead. We would never let you down.

The ACX book review of Haidt’s The Righteous Mind this month was particularly interesting. We had two thoughts we wanted to share. First, we loved the political analysis, but we’re surprised that still no one has pointed out that if the purity foundation is conservative, and purity is about avoiding disease, it seems like Haidt’s model would have predicted that conservatives would freak out majorly about COVID and liberals, who lack the purity foundation, would blow it off. Clearly this was not what happened, and it seems like a strike against the theory. Second, the author of the book review expresses concern that Haidt “doesn’t show his work” and “there’s no explanation of how he got from his data to his moral foundations”. In defense of Haidt’s data, if you feed responses to Haidt’s MFQ survey items into a factor analysis, the factors really do come out into those five foundations like he says they do. Whether those items are a good selection is a thornier issue.

Claims: Queen Elizabeth II is a distant descendant of Muhammed

Air pollution in China is associated with weight gain; “Specifically, a 1 μg/m3 (1.59%) increase in average PM2.5 concentrations in the past 12 months increases BMI by 0.31%, and further increases the overweight and obesity rates by 0.89 and 0.19 percentage points, respectively.” (h/t arpitrage)

2 thoughts on “Links for July 2022

  1. In fairness to Moral Foundations Theory, the initial left/right split on COVID was initially what it would predict, with conservatives wanting to shut the borders and quarantine dirty foreigners bringing in the Wuhan Flu/China Virus, and liberals wanting everyone to carry on as normal and shut up about it to avoid stigma. And we’re seeing much the same response to Monkeypox currently.

    The interesting question is why things reversed.

    The only explanation I’ve seen advanced is that it was caused entirely by Trump deciding an outbreak of disease in his watch could look bad for him so he was going to deny it, and everyone re-polarizing around that for unprincipled reasons. But there are issues with this; Trump was and remains vocally pro-vaccine (because he can claim it as an accomplishment) yet it remains left-coded, and it seems like a stretch for Trump to affect politics outside the US so strongly (although not impossible perhaps.)

    Conservatives hating and fearing the foreign pollution of a vaccine in their bodies fits MFT well … but this proves too much, since being anti-vaxx wasn’t right-coded until COVID!

    Liked by 1 person

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