Blurt!Commonplace Book

“[T]he ancient wolf genomes clustered together in time. That is, a given wolf was most likely to be closely related to other wolves alive at around the same time, no matter where those wolves lived on the planet.”

posted Sun., Oct. 2, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“[T]he fascination with humans and the failure to understand basic condor etiquette were signs of a more profound problem. Those first reintroduced birds were released too young, and had not had contact with adults who could teach them how a condor behaves.”

posted Sat., Oct. 1, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“Worse, the ‘dog-pushers’ — the lowest-level scammers who initiate conversations with victims — are often workers from around the region, tricked into indentured servitude, held captive in dormitories and offices, and beaten by the managers and bosses.”

posted Fri., Sep. 30, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“I can see you out there, skipping the pasta water steps of pasta preparation — the reserving some of the starchy pasta water, and the tossing the cooked pasta and sauce with the pasta water to bring everything together. I can see you, being skeptical of the necessity of these steps. I see it! It makes me sick.”

posted Thu., Sep. 29, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“Sauropods got considerably more massive than even the biggest harvesters — they may have approached 80,000 kg. Their weight was spread across only four limbs, with footprints roughly comparable to those of modern tires (harvesters, in contrast, often have six tires).”

posted Wed., Sep. 28, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“For papers that bomb, there was no difference; women and men ended up on papers with zero citations at equal rates. But for a reasonably successful paper (one that gets cited 25 times), women are about 20 percent less likely than men to end up on the author list.”

posted Tue., Sep. 27, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“A website is for a visitor, using a browser, running on a computer to read, watch, listen, or perhaps to interact. A website that embraces Brutalist Web Design is raw in its focus on content, and prioritization of the website visitor.”

This is how I have designed pile.org, though I hadn’t rigorously thought through my philosophy, and it springs as much from my inability and unwillingness to engage with fancier design as from a focus on readers' needs.

posted Mon., Sep. 26, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“[I]t turned out that the strain of plague that ravaged northern Kyrgyzstan in 1338–1339 was an ancestor of every other 14th-century plague genome that has ever been sequenced. The plague strain from the Lake Issyk-Kul villages also seems to be the most recent common ancestor of four Y. pestis lineages that circulate in modern rodent populations.”

posted Sun., Sep. 25, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“Many sections have their own red Enter keys, and you realize that this keyboard is so big it enters the realm of information architecture — the various islands of keys are nothing more than a graphical user interface, small dialog boxes realized in an unusual medium.”

posted Sat., Sep. 24, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“It still isn’t clear whether people experience infantile amnesia because we can’t form autobiographical memories, or whether we just have no way to retrieve them. No one knows for sure what’s going on, but scientists have a few guesses.”

posted Fri., Sep. 23, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“The pellets are filled with fish scales that match a type of ray-finned fish found in that same location. The authors determined that these were gastric pellets rather than coprolites due to their shape and the location in which they were found in association with the pterosaurs.”

posted Thu., Sep. 22, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“I looked up the address printed on it and it had come out of a casino in Vegas, which probably explained why it appeared to have personally smoked a pack of cigarettes. I put it on my balcony to air out and that seemed to help.”

posted Wed., Sep. 21, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“That left the much rarer Type Ia supernova as the strongest candidate, events that generally occur once or twice each century in a given galaxy. These supernovas are the source of most of the iron in the universe, and such an event is the best match for the Hypatia stone’s unusual chemical makeup.”

posted Tue., Sep. 20, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“I think it’s clear that his intent was to live for his full Biblical span of eight hundred years and to write a volume about Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin every year. He’d have slowly worked his way through the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, we’d have read about their adventures in sailing ships in the Great War, and rescuing people at Dunkirk.”

posted Mon., Sep. 19, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT

“Record labels are digging their own grave. They finally have achieved their dream — which is to make money while doing as little work as possible. But the end result is a world in which they add so little value that no successful musician will want them any longer.”

posted Sun., Sep. 18, 2022, 8:00:00pm PDT