One of the early wave of blogging pioneers, web designer Jason Kottke started keeping track of interesting things on the internet as far back as 1998. Kottke remains one of the purest old-skool bloggers on the block - it's a selection of links to websites and articles rather than a repository for detailed personal opinion - and although it remains fairly esoteric, his favourite topics include film, science, graphic design and sport.


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    Putting a price on the priceless
    on Kottke on Jan. 28, 2015, 5:47 p.m.

    In their latest full episode, Radiolab examines the concept of worth, particularly when dealing with things that are more or less priceless (like human life and nature).

    This episode, we make three earnest, possibly foolhardy, attempts to put a price on the priceless. We figure out the dollar value for an accidental death, another day of life, and the work of bats and bees as we try to keep our careful calculations from falling apart in the face of the ...

    The fast-flip method of cooking steak
    on Kottke on Jan. 28, 2015, 3:38 p.m.

    Being an avid eater and cooker of steak,1 a passage at the end of Tom Junod's profile of Wylie Dufresne / obit of WD-50 caught my eye:

    "That's why I'm really proud of what we did here," he said over his cup of sake. "I'm proud of the big things, but I'm also proud of the little things we routinely did well. Do you know what made me most proud in the meal I served ...

    NYC sledding locations
    on Kottke on Jan. 27, 2015, 9:57 p.m.

    A bit late for today, but for future snow day reference, here's a crowdsourced map of good places to go sledding in NYC.

    (via @alainabrowne)

    Tags: maps   NYC

    [Sponsor] Astrologicalendar, a signs of the Zodiac wall calendar
    on Kottke on Jan. 27, 2015, 5 p.m.

    Wyatt Hull is a designer and photographer who has had this idea kicking around in his head for a while: a wall calendar that uses the signs of the Zodiac (Capricorn, Libra, Pisces) as the "months". Hull has turned this idea into a labor-of-love personal project on Kickstarter, the Astrologicalendar.

    I admit to being initially skeptical when I first heard about the project because the pseudoscience of horoscopes have given the Zodiac a bad name. But after trading emails with ...

    Yellowstone: how not to manage a National Park
    on Kottke on Jan. 27, 2015, 4:20 p.m.

    Related to my post last November about how the biodiversity of Yosemite Valley was mismanaged, author Michael Crichton shared a story at a 2005 talk about how the National Park Service has grossly mismanaged nature at Yellowstone National Park, resulting in less biodiversity, the disappearance of many natural species from the park, and catastrophic fires. Since this anecdote was part of a longer talk, I'll quote the whole thing from the transcript.

    Long recognized as a scene of great ...

    Popular Electronics archive
    on Kottke on Jan. 26, 2015, 8:42 p.m.

    Popular Electronics

    This will really appeal to a certain type of nerd: the complete archives of Popular Electronics magazine in PDF format. Popular Electronics was the most popular magazine about electronics for hobbyists and was published from 1954 to 1982. If you're interested in this, the rest of the American Radio History site is amazing as well.

    Tags: magazines

    Mapping Greenland's ice layers in 3D
    on Kottke on Jan. 26, 2015, 7:15 p.m.

    Greenland Ice Layers

    Using ice-penetrating radar and ice cores, NASA has been able to map the layers in the Greenland ice sheet.

    This new map allows scientists to determine the age of large swaths of Greenland's ice, extending ice core data for a better picture of the ice sheet's history. "This new, huge data volume records how the ice sheet evolved and how it's flowing today," said Joe MacGregor, a glaciologist at The University of Texas at Austin's Institute ...

    Replacement Suns
    on Kottke on Jan. 26, 2015, 4:34 p.m.

    From the Russian Space Agency, a video of what the sky would look like if the Sun were replaced by some other stars. It starts off with the binary star system of Alpha Centuri, but watch until the end for Polaris, which has a radius 46 times that of the Sun.

    See also the view from Earth of different planets replacing the Moon and imagining Earth with Saturn's rings.

    Tags: astronomy   remix   science   space   Sun   video

    Conscience rocks
    on Kottke on Jan. 26, 2015, 3:25 p.m.

    Removal of items from US National Parks is illegal (or at least highly frowned upon). In the case of the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, the removal of petrified wood has come to be seen by some as unlucky. Bad Luck, Hot Rocks is a book and web site containing "conscience letters" from those who are returning stolen rocks to the park.

    Conscience Rocks

    In the more than one hundred years since its establishment in 1906, however, some visitors have still ...

    100 bucket list books
    on Kottke on Jan. 23, 2015, 9:23 p.m.

    Amazon has compiled a list of 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime "to create a well-read life". Lots of the usual suspects here, including Lolita, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird. But there are also some quirkier and more recent picks like A Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Fault in Our Stars, and Unbroken. Went through and counted...I've read 29 of these.

    Tags: books   lists

    The endlessly rolling ocean
    on Kottke on Jan. 23, 2015, 6:23 p.m.

    If you'd like to relax for 80 minutes, watch this 4K video shot from the bow of a container ship navigating the South China Sea. Strangely compelling.

    If you put this on the biggest, highest definition screen you have, it really looks like you're on the deck of a ship looking out at the ocean. Pretty cool.

    Tags: video

    Transparent streaming for free tomorrow!
    on Kottke on Jan. 23, 2015, 4:24 p.m.

    Transparent Show

    All day on Saturday, Amazon will be streaming their acclaimed series Transparent for free (US-only probs) in celebration of the show's wins at the Golden Globes (best TV series and best actor for Jeffrey Tambor). Here's the press release.

    "We're incredibly proud of everyone involved in the making of Transparent-the team took a risk and it paid off," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "Big kudos and congrats to Jill, Jeffrey, and all the ...

    Matchbook Diaries of New York City
    on Kottke on Jan. 23, 2015, 3:50 p.m.

    Matchbook Diaries is an Instagram account collecting photos of NYC restaurant matchbooks. Some notables:

    NYC Matchbooks

    NYC Matchbooks

    NYC Matchbooks

    NYC Matchbooks

    Tags: food   NYC   photography   restaurants

    The Shake Shack Economy
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 11:38 p.m.

    The food is fresh. Natural. Locally sourced. Sometimes even organic. That might sound like your local farmer's market, but it's actually part of a new and growing movement in the fast-food industry. Think Shake Shack, Chipotle, Panera. While we're not exactly seeing tractors in the drive-thrus, the rise of these chains (and the pressure on their predecessors that placed a lot more emphasis on the fast than the food) tell us a lot about economic inequality, the ...

    The Hobbit: The Tolkien Edit
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 10:23 p.m.

    Someone called TolkienEditor has cut the three Peter Jackson The Hobbit movies down into a single 4-hour film and put the result up on BitTorrent. Their goal was to make the film hew more closely to the book, put the focus back on Bilbo as the main character, and to quicken the pace of the narrative.

    The investigation of Dol Guldor has been completely excised, including the appearances of Radagast, Saruman and Galadriel. This was the most obvious cut, and ...

    Richard Scarry's Business Business Town
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 9:07 p.m.

    Richard Scarry Business Town

    Richard Scarry Business Town

    Richard Scarry Business Town

    What if the Busy Busy Town Richard Scarry wrote about was Silicon Valley circa 2015? Meet the fine citizens of Business Town. Great stuff, but did someone forget to credit Ruben Bolling's comic strip Richard Scarry's 21st Century Busy Town Jobs for the inspiration?

    Tags: books   remix   Richard Scarry

    How to make almost everything
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 8:16 p.m.

    As you know, I love videos of how stuff is made. (See below.) Well, I just discovered this treasure trove of more than 300 14-minute videos from a Japanese show called The Making: playlist #1, playlist #2. Each video shows how a different thing is made, from wires to sugar to trophies to cheese and all of them are dialogue-free. Here's the one on how golf balls are made:

    I can't wait to show some of these to ...

    Extraordinary Birds
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 5:15 p.m.

    Extraordinary Birds

    The American Museum of Natural History's research library has an online exhibit of bird illustrations taken from the book Extraordinary Birds. (via @kellianderson)

    Tags: American Museum of Natural History   books   Extraordinary Birds   illustration   museums   NYC

    The journey from hobby to job
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 3:03 p.m.

    Alastair Humphreys writes about making his living as an adventurer. But really, this advice works for anyone who wants to turn their hobby into a job. For instance, this list of reasons he's an adventurer is pretty much why I did the same thing with kottke.org almost 10 years ago.

    - I love almost every aspect of what I do.

    - I love being self-employed: the freedom and the responsibility and the pressure.

    - I think I'm probably now un-employable ...

    Stephen Biesty's Incredible Cross-Sections
    on Kottke on Jan. 22, 2015, 12:23 a.m.

    Stephen Biesty

    Stephen Biesty

    Stephen Biesty is a illustrator for books who draws "illustrations that are unrivaled for their ambitious scope and attention to detail". I love this but somehow I hadn't seen any of his apparently quite popular books. Many of them appear to be out of print, but there are some available on Amazon: Stephen Biesty's Incredible Cross-Sections, Stephen Biesty's Incredible Everything, and Into the Unknown.

    Looking through these illustrations and also thinking about Richard Scarry's books, I ...

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