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So let’s say you want to give the moon an atmosphere. I’ve got you covered.
Physics professor Gregory Benford wrote a piece for Slate about how one could theoretically slam ice comets into the moon as step one of a plan to make the moon habitable for human life. It’s likely only a few of you read it — it got about 1,600 shares on Facebook and 250 tweets, which is pretty good but even with a decent multiplier effect is far short of ubiquitous. But it’s the sort of thing I tend to stumble across, sipping from the firehose of information online through dozens of RSS feeds, Twitter and friends who also like gathering interesting or bizarre links.
I’ve been in the habit of sharing interesting stuff like that with a few friends, or posting the best on my Facebook page or Twitter. Now I’m trying something new: culling the best stuff I come across into regular miniature newsletters. I call it “Internet Flotsam” and you can subscribe below to get an assortment of interesting links in your inbox on a mostly-daily basis. I try to mix it up — some history and politics, some science and statistics, some pop culture and sports.
Here’s a few excepts from my recent letters, to give you a sense of whether this is the sort of thing you’re interested in:
Having kids, keeping roommates: Two couples — one expecting kids — went in together on a joint 30-year mortgage. They’ll share the house and housework and raise their families together. The experiment is just starting, but all four people hope the experience will “curb feelings of isolation” and preserve the social living environment they loved while having roommates, even after the point (kids) when couples make their family their social focus.
Twelve Wrong Men: “12 Angry Men” is the quintessential jury drama, an idealistic look at how one man’s dogged goodness helped persuaded his comrades to set aside their biases and save an innocent man from an unjust conviction. Except, Mike D’Angelo argues, the alleged criminal in “12 Angry Men” was almost certainly guilty.
Ten years of sentences: Ever wish you could just make yourself put everything aside, sit down, and get some serious reading done? Daniel Genis found himself in just that situation and read 1,046 books in 10 years. (That’s about one every 3.5 days.) His secret? He was serving a 10-year sentence for armed robbery. ‘At first, Genis resisted “Ulysses,” but his father kept bringing it. “I argued that he wouldn’t have the willpower to get through it once he became a free man,” Alexander Genis told me.’
The LeBron James of baseball: LeBron James is a beast at basketball, someone who can single-handedly turn a terrible team into a good one just by setting foot on the court. What would it mean for someone to be as dominant at baseball as James is at basketball? Jeff Sullivan tried to find out, and the answer is that he would be about two to four times better than any player in history — the best hitter ever, who’s also the best fielder ever, and maybe who has to also be the best pitcher ever. Why? Basketball has five players on the court who play both offense and defense. Baseball has nine (or 10) at a time, and one of them does most of the defensive work — but that player only plays every five games. Each player in baseball is simply less important to their team than an NBA star.
Lifehacking: “How to make epic pancakes with your Japanese rice cooker.” I haven’t tried this yet — and don’t even own a rice cooker — but this looks amazing enough I may do both. (Confession: the best part for me at first glance is the minimal cleanup.)
Terra nullius, terra meam: A Virginia man has founded his own African kingdom as a way to shame all the other dads who invented excuses when their daughters wanted to become princesses. Surprisingly, he may have firmer legal footing here than you’d expect, because of a centuries-old piece of international law (and a unique territorial dispute between Egypt and Sudan). It’s not going to work, of course, but it COULD work. (Also, I apologize for the Google Translated Latin.)
If you do subscribe, please give me feedback. This is only valuable for me if people are enjoying the links, so tell me what kind of stuff you like and don’t like to see in these letters, and what time of day is best for you to get them.
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