The Safe Space That Became a Viral Nightmare | New York Times
There are “some Nazis located within the Multicultural space,” one of the staff members present later told a university investigator Tekola said, though Tekola doesn’t remember using those words. What they remember saying was this: “What are y’all going to do about it?”
Chase Beckerman was the one with the Police Lives Matter sticker. He was 24 that day, though he looks younger in the video: an undergraduate studying biological medical science, recently married with dreams of becoming a doctor. Beckerman’s parents are both nurses, as were two grandparents, and he hoped to be the first in his family to get his medical degree. Going to college was always part of that larger plan, and A.S.U. had long been where Beckerman hoped to go. He grew up attending university football games and said A.S.U. felt like a home years before it became one.
Beckerman works as a medical scribe doing clerical work at a local emergency room, and the evening before he had another night shift; that morning, he came straight to campus from work. He had a biology lab at 7:30 a.m. and afterward, he stuck around to study for an upcoming test on the human skeletal system. He met up with a student named Garrett Niles, who was wearing his “Did Not Vote for Biden” T-shirt, and the two went in search of a quiet place to study. They eventually found a table in a room on the third floor of a building called the Student Pavilion that Niles previously knew as a tutoring center. Beckerman said he didn’t notice the new sign out front, the one now designating it as a space for “Multicultural Communities of Excellence.”
“We study in that building daily, and it’s mostly just where you find a spot,” he told me when we talked over Zoom a few weeks after the video went viral. It was an explanation that would be questioned later by those convinced that Beckerman and Niles had intentionally trolled the multicultural space that day, but it squared with what I had noticed about the room when I met Tekola there for an interview: how nondescript it was, how little signage the university had put up to mark it and how many other students also seemed to be using it more as a study hall than as a cultural space.
The Accusations Were Lies. But Could We Prove It? | New York Times
By the same author as the piece above, from 2020:
When the university told my wife about the sexual-harassment complaints against her, we knew they weren’t true. We had no idea how strange the truth really was.
8.5 Miles Per Hour, on a Road With No Limits | Sports Illustrated
Ian Mackay was paralyzed 14 years ago in a bike accident, but he’s come to see there’s happiness in finding new ways to experience old loves. In his case, that meant getting back on the road, in a record-setting way.
I Wish I Was a Little Bit Taller | GQ
A growing number of men are undergoing a radical and expensive surgery to grow anywhere from three to six inches. The catch: It requires having both your femurs broken. GQ goes inside the booming world of leg lengthening.
Siting bank branches | Bits about Money
In general, bank branches are new construction, because banks have functional requirements that few other businesses have.
You might think “Aha, they have security concerns and need a vault. How many commercial spaces have drill-proof rooms in them?”, and if you think that you are creative but not well-calibrated. Physical security drives surprisingly few decisions about bank branches; vaults have gone from the defining feature of a bank to a bit of an anachronism.
The things which a bank needs which are difficult to retrofit into a space that was previously a dentist office are numerous. One example is “a drive-through window with, ideally, a specialized pneumatic system for conveying cash and documents between the customer and the teller”, for many deployments. (You’d think that ATMs would have largely obviated the utility of these, but the businesses which build and service them remain extremely healthy.)
Another example is parking. Banks have extremely weird behaviors by the standards of parking engineers; the typical user behavior is to stop in for only a few minutes but the behavior the bank wants to optimize for, new account opening, can take half an hour to several hours. Through what turns out to be a simple result of queuing theory, bank branches end up with a lot of parking that appears mostly underutilized almost all of the time, and this is close to optimal.
No, the U.S. didn't outsource our carbon emissions to China | Noahpinion
But there’s another uncomfortable reality of climate change that many Americans still strongly resist: The problem is less and less under our nation’s control. The majority of the world’s carbon emissions now come from Asia, with China releasing by far the biggest share. […]
One common idea that allows people to cling to the notion that America is still the world’s top climate polluter is the idea of offshored emissions. Many people believe that the U.S. offshored much of our manufacturing to China and other countries. And thus, they believe, the U.S. is still responsible for the lion’s share of global emissions, because China emits the CO2 to create products for American consumption.
This is not a straw-man argument. Many people believe this! […]
In other words, offshoring of emissions just isn’t that big of a deal. For most countries it just doesn’t change the story at all. For the EU it’s a somewhat bigger factor — about 18% of total emissions outsourced — but this amount hasn’t changed much in the last three decades, even as the EUs emissions have plummeted. As for the U.S., our emissions drop is more due to falling emissions consumption than to falling emissions production.
In other words, the idea that we cut our emissions by offshoring manufacturing to China is a total myth.
The AI Unbundling | Stratechery
Newspapers liked to think that they made money because people relied on them for news, furnished by their fearless reporters and hard-working editors; not only did people pay newspapers directly, but advertisers were also delighted to pay for the privilege of having their products placed next to the journalists’ peerless prose. The Internet revealed the fatal flaw in this worldview: what newspapers provided was distribution thanks to infrastructure like printing presses and yours truly.
Once the Internet reduced distribution costs to zero, three truths emerged: first, that “news”, once published, retained no economic value. Second, newspapers no longer had geographic monopolies, but were instead in competition with every publication across the globe. Third, advertisers didn’t care about content, but rather about reaching customers. […]
What remains is one final bundle: the creation and substantiation of an idea. To use myself as an example, I have plenty of ideas, and thanks to the Internet, the ability to distribute them around the globe; however, I still need to write them down, just as an artist needs to create an image, or a musician needs to write a song. What is becoming increasingly clear, though, is that this too is a bottleneck that is on the verge of being removed.
Livin' Large | Basketbawful
This is from 2009, but it was entertaining enough that I read the entire 31-part series. Apparently this is internet-famous, but I’d never heard of it before:
This is the first installment of a multi-part story about the first semester of my freshman year in college. During that semester, I lived with a member of the men's basketball team. That team was nationally ranked and featured a future NBA All-Star. […]
When we got to the room, it was unlocked, which I found strange. (Upon check in, I was informed that Safety Rule #1 was "Always lock your door, even when you're in the room.") I walked in and immediately turned to my mom, told her to wait, and closed the door. I wasn't prepared for what I was seeing, so I was pretty sure she wasn't ready for it either.
There was a man laying in one of the two beds. Actually, he was more man-monster than man. He was a giant. And, within the confines of this tiny little room, he seemed beyond enormous. The best way to put it is he was Shaq-size: 7'1", almost 300 pounds. I think sometimes, as an NBA fan, it becomes all too easy to take for granted the sheer bulk of a muscled seven-footer...but not when they're right in front of you, and certainly not when you're trapped in a room the size of a large closet with them. To make matters even stranger, he had a shaved head (something that I had never seen in my hometown) and he was wearing nothing but a pair of bikini-brief underwear.
It was too much for me to take in. I just stood there, staring at him for several long seconds. He was reclined with his hands behind his head, and he didn't seem remotely alarmed or even interested in my arrival. Finally, I stammered out, "Uh, hi. Er, are you, uh, Chad Riggle?"
He sat up slowly and it was like watching a glacier move. He stuck out a hand the size of bucket and, in a low, booming voice, said, "No. I'm Mat [only one "t" because he was Dutch]. Are you Matt McHale?"
Ye Gods! The beast knew my name!
I shook his hand and admitted that I was indeed Matt McHale. He said, "Cool. I'm your roommate."
"No, you're not," I said, almost reflexively.
"Yeah, I am," he said with an air of complete finality. That settled that.
The Mystery Behind the Crime Wave at 312 Riverside Drive | New York Times
This piece got a ton of hype this week. I thought it was good, not great. Still worth a read:
For years, the police have received thousands of 911 calls reporting fights, murders, bombs and hostage situations at the same address. But officers never find victims or make arrests. Why?
Review Drift | The Splintered Mind
Before COVID destroyed travel, I kept having this same experience. I’d be in some new city. I’d do a little online research and hear about some new donut shop that everybody was raving about. I’d go, wait in the enormous line, see all the stickers about winning awards, and admire the gorgeous donuts in joyous anticipation. And then I’d eat the donut — and it would turn out to be some horrible waxy cardboard thing. Each bite was, like, some kind of pasty mouth-death. And then I’d sit there on the curb, with my sad half-eaten donut, watching the line of people out the door, all chattering about their excitement to finally get to be able to get one of these very famous donuts, everybody carefully taking donut pics the whole while.
And weirdly, totally different cities would give me the same kind of bad donut. These donuts all had a similar kind of visual flair: they were vividly colored; and they were big, impressively structural affairs — like little sculptures in the medium of donut. But they all had that weird, tasteless, over-waxy chaw. My theory: these donuts were being optimized, not for deliciousness, but for Instagram pop.
Ancient Ice-Making Machines Found In Persian Desert, The Yakhchāl | YouTube
This is very cool.
What you need to build a Greek Temple | Antigone
If, like me, you have ever wondered what goes into building a Greek temple, then fear not: I here present a list of everything you will need. […]
The first thing you are going to need is an architect (that sounds obvious, hopefully). “Architect” is in fact a Greek word (ἀρχιτέκτων, architectōn). In essence, his job is to manage the other craftsmen or carpenters (the Greek word for “command” is ἀρχή and the word for carpenter, i.e. builder, is τέκτων). The architect will also draw up plans of the building, determine the specifications of materials needed and generally advise committees of lay citizens appointed to oversee the project. […]
The job of painting might be given over to painter-decorators (ἐνκαυσταί, enkaustai). Painters of figures (ζωγράφοι, zōgraphoi) might also be employed to produce sumptuous murals (as in the case of the ‘Painted Stoa’ in the Athenian agora, the work of the star artist Polygnotus of Thasos, fl. Mid-5th cent. BC). Even less colourful interior surfaces still needed to be sanded down, plastered and whitewashed.
But stone is just the beginning. Large quantities of wood are also required, as well as a new set of artisans (there is no overlap between stonemasons and carpenters: you either work in one medium or the other). As with stone, the work of finding wood and turning it into your door, roof or couch is divided into several stages. Timber is cut in the countryside and then sold to dealers of wood, who provide the construction workers with beams and slats cut to specified lengths (you are not going to have time to go find the trees yourself!). These beams are then worked on site by a different band of specialist carpenters. Wood is needed for doors, windows, the ceiling (including ceiling rosettes) and the beams of the roof.
The Services iPhone | Stratechery
What this means is that in real terms Apple’s products actually got cheaper. Apple did, to be sure, raise prices around the world, but this is better explained by the fact the company runs on the dollar, which is the strongest in years; to put it another way, those foreign prices are derived from the U.S. price, and that price stayed the same, which means the price is lower.
This doesn’t make much sense for the product company Apple has always been thought to be, and doesn’t fully align with the approach I laid out in Apple’s Middle Age. It does, though, make all kinds of sense for a services company, which is focused first-and-foremost on increasing its install base. Indeed, this is the missing piece from that Update I wrote about Apple’s changing metrics. To measure its business based on users, not products, was to measure like a services company; to lower the prices of the products that lead to services revenue is to price like one.
Earliest evidence of amputation found in Indonesia cave | BBC
The earliest evidence ever of surgical amputation has been discovered in an Indonesian cave.
Researchers found the buried 31,000-year-old body of a young person that shows evidence of leg amputation.
The find pushes back the origin of this complicated surgery by more than 24,000 years.
After the procedure the person was cared for by their ancient community for years until their death, archaeologists say.
American workers need lots and lots of robots | Noahpinion
For about five years now, I’ve been seeing people argue that vast numbers of American workers are on the verge of being automated out of a job. Bill Gates suggested a tax on robots to prevent this from occurring. Other tech figures also worried, but went with UBI as their preferred solution. It’s not just tech magnates, though — the economists Daron Acemoglu and Pascual Restrepo have been writing quite a lot of research papers warning of danger from automation. And many research reports from think tanks and corporations over the years have warned that a huge percentage of American jobs are at risk of automation. […]
Frankly, every time I’ve read about this “rise of the robots” fear, I’ve felt the urge to tear my hair out. Because there were always two huge, huge problems with the thesis. The first is that while it makes a great science fiction story, so far there just aren’t any signs that it’s happening. And the second problem is that if we really want to change our economy in all the ways we’ve been hoping — reshoring manufacturing from China, securing supply chains, preventing inflationary bottlenecks, and so on — we’re going to need quite a lot of automation. Indeed, if the progressive project is to be revived in America, it will need robots to carry it forward.
What's the deal with all those weird wrong-number texts? | Read Max
Even though it was clear this message was the lead-in to a swindle of some kind, I had to pause and admire the craft that went into its composition. Like everyone else, I get scam text come-ons pretty frequently, and they’re always poorly pitched and low-energy. In contrast, this text opened up a rich world, animated by detail and alive with mystery. I didn’t care about packages missing their intended destinations, or Bitcoin investing advice, or whatever scammers usually texted me about, but I was interested in Tony: How many charity galas did he go to, anyway? And why hadn’t he seen his/my unknown interlocutor in such a long time? Before I reported the number to WhatsApp, I took a screenshot of the message to better remember it.
What will self-reliance mean for China? | Andrew Batson’s Blog
The phrase conventionally translated here as “self-reliance” is zili gengsheng (自力更生), which has historical resonances in Chinese that the neutral English translation fails to capture. Zili gengsheng was a key slogan during the Mao era, and Xi’s repeated use of the term in recent years is one of the things that make people think he wants to return to the autarky of the 1950s.
But like many good political slogans, zili gengsheng works to elicit an emotional response–who doesn’t want to be self-reliant?–without necessarily referring to a specific set of policies.
Pinochet's economic policy is vastly overrated | Noahpinion
In the U.S., Pinochet is often a talking point in economics debates. He was a brutal dictator, who killed thousands and who tortured, imprisoned, and/or exiled tens of thousands more. It’s very understandable that Chileans would want to expunge any portion of his legacy. But in the U.S., it’s his economic policy that continues to be debated decades later. Some libertarians believe that despite the brutality of his regime, he implemented economic policies that were wildly successful in raising Chilean living standards.
Milton Friedman, a leading economist and libertarian thinker of the time, referred to this as the “Miracle of Chile”. In fact, Pinochet was advised by a group of Chilean economists known as the “Chicago Boys”, a number of whom studied under Friedman at the University of Chicago. For decades later, and even to this day, a number of folks on the political right believe in this miracle.
World's oldest heart found in prehistoric fish | BBC
Researchers have discovered a 380-million-year-old heart preserved inside a fossilised prehistoric fish.
They say the specimen captures a key moment in the evolution of the blood-pumping organ found in all back-boned animals, including humans.
The heart belonged to a fish known as the Gogo, which is now extinct.
The "jaw-dropping" discovery, published in the journal Science, was made in Western Australia.
Elizabeth II, Churchill and links to the past | Wrong Side of History
She was a link to the past. It’s been remarked on many times that Elizabeth’s first prime minister was born in 1874 and her last in 1975, and the connection between Churchill and Truss seems strange as to defy our ideas of history being compartmentalised. Few people connect different eras, and in a rare venture into the listicle format I present some other examples for my historical listicle, or histicle.
Winston Churchill himself took part in a cavalry charge in the Sudan in 1898 and survived into the era of nuclear weapons and Beatlemania. […]
Queen Mary, the late queen’s grandmother, knew seven British monarchs, from Victoria to Charles III. […]
Likewise, Prince Philip in his youth met Prince Arthur, the last surviving son of Queen Victoria, who was baptised by Archbishop John Bird Sumner, born in 1780.
The same painting in 1 hour, 10 hours and 100 hours! 🖼 CT@Nerdforge | Reddit
There is a 16min version of this on YouTube that I didn’t watch, but I’m sure it’s great; the 4min version linked here is very impressive regardless.
If English Was Spoken Like German | YouTube
We finally know why we grow wisdom teeth as adults | Popular Science
Other primates have them too, but ours come in a lot later in life.