• "I saw that by going down into that huge fissure in the face of the earth, deep into the space and the silence and the solitude, I might come as close as we can at present to moving back and down through the smooth and apparently impenetrable face of time." [NY Times]
  • One obvious answer: great writers are simply less athletic than your average human. But this theory crumbles upon closer inspection. John Muir walked a thousand miles, from Kentucky to the Gulf of Mexico, while Vachel Lindsay walked from Illinois to New Mexico, Matsuo Bashō walked the length of Honshu and back, Rory Stewart walked across the mountains of South Asia, Robyn Davidson walked across Australia, and Patrick Leigh Fermor walked across Europe. In fact, I would argue that the loneliness and skull-bound nature of a long-distance hike fits quite nicely with the thinking out, if not the actual writing, of books. [New Yorker]
  • The failure of a lava dam 165,000 yr ago produced the largest known flood on the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. The Hyaloclastite Dam was up to 366 m high, and geochemical evidence linked this structure to outburst-flood deposits that occurred for 32 km downstream. Using the Hyaloclastite outburst-flood deposits as paleostage indicators, we used dam-failure and unsteady flow modeling to estimate a peak discharge and flow hydrograph. Failure of the Hyaloclastite Dam released a maximum 11 × 10^9 m3 of water in 31 h. Peak discharges, estimated from uncertainty in channel geometry, dam height, and hydraulic characteristics, ranged from 2.3 to 5.3 × 10^5 cubic meters per second for the Hyaloclastite outburst flood. This discharge is an order of magnitude greater than the largest known discharge on the Colorado River (1.4 × 10^4 cubic meters per second) and the largest peak discharge resulting from failure of a constructed dam in the USA (6.5 × 10^4 cubic meters per second). Moreover, the Hyaloclastite outburst flood is the oldest documented Quaternary flood and one of the largest to have occurred in the continental USA. The peak discharge for this flood ranks in the top 30 floods (greater than 10^5 cubic meters per second) known worldwide and in the top ten largest floods in North America. [link]
  • Both muscle tissue and neurons are considered electric tissues of the body. Muscles and neurons are activated by electrolyte activity between the extracellular fluid or interstitial fluid, and intracellular fluid. Electrolytes may enter or leave the cell membrane through specialized protein structures embedded in the plasma membrane called "ion channels". For example, muscle contraction is dependent upon the presence of calcium (Ca2+), sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+). Without sufficient levels of these key electrolytes, muscle weakness or severe muscle contractions may occur. [Wiki]
  • One hazard of reviewing books long after they come out is that, if the book was truly great, it starts sounding banal. If its points were so devastating and irrefutable that they became universally accepted, then it sounds like the author is just spouting cliches. I think The Black Swan might have reached that level of influence. I haven't even bothered explaining the term "black swan" because I assume every educated reader now knows what it means. So it seems very possible that pre-book society was so egregiously biased toward the Platonic theoretical side that it needed someone to tell it to shift in the direction of empiricism, Taleb did that, and now he sounds silly because everyone knows that you can't just declare everything a bell curve and call it a day. [Slate Star Codex]
  • I am at an age in which I often dream about my dead parents. They are fully restored and not infirm in my dreams. They are in their vital years, as is my grandfather. This is my small, personal communion of the saints. I cannot imagine that my grandfather would have allowed the country club to be razed, or the old high school, or the house my mother grew up in, or the grade school where my wife and I both went to kindergarten and where we took our children, in their earliest years, on visits home, to swing on the swings. [link]
  • Blue Bird Corporation (NASDAQ: BLBD) announced today that it is commencing a tender offer to purchase up to $50 million in aggregate value of shares of its (i) Common Stock at a price of $28.00 per share , and (ii) 7.625% Series A Convertible Cumulative Preferred Stock, at a price of $241.69 per share, which is equal to the common stock offer price multiplied by 8.6318. [link]
  • I was inspired by the news that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill, and subsequently saddened by the news that the Trump administration was walking back that plan. So I created a stamp to convert Jacksons into Tubmans myself. I have been stamping $20 bills and entering them into circulation for the last year, and gifting stamps to friends to do the same. [link]
  • I was recently on the phone with Doug, our editor here at Oversteer, and he asked me how many vehicles I currently own. Honestly, I didn't know the answer. It's gotten that ridiculous: I have cars scattered around four different locations in two states. I had no plans on picking up 4x4 number four, but when "The Next Highly Collectible Old SUV" was offered to me for only $300, I found it impossible to resist. [Auto Trader]
  • Old SUVs are rising in value. I wrote about this back in November, and I told you that aging SUVs are starting to get noticed by people looking to escape the boring world of the look-alike family hauler. So old SUVs -- like the Toyota Land Cruiser, the Range Rover Classic, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and the Land Rover Defender -- have all shot up in value over the last few years as SUVs have become more desirable. [Auto Trader]
  • Back when National Review first allowed comments on their posts, they would post all sorts of things in their group blog. Readers would respond to all of it. For example, when they were looking for a receptionist, they posted the job on the blog. Hilariously, one of the requirements was a four-year degree. Why anyone with a college degree would take a receptionist job was a mystery, but an even bigger mystery was why National Review would require it. The comments on it were the best things posted that week. Of course, Rich Lowry was not really thinking about the requirements of the job when he posted it. What he wanted was someone from his world, the world where everyone goes off to college and sends their kids off to college. In other words, he was signalling to potential applicants that he did not want Rosie from the neighborhood, who likes to file her nails while on the phone. [Z Man]
  • More impressive than season five's BoJack-centric story lines are the stand-alone episodes devoted to supporting players. In one, Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) is struggling to accept the end of his marriage to Diane Nguyen and getting into a new relationship. In another, the cultural whiteness of Diane — a Vietnamese-American character who is problematically voiced by Alison Brie — is folded into a Vietnam-set story that's structured as entries in a bullet-pointed article she's writing. [Vulture]
  • Hatches on either side of the main deck lead down narrow ladders into the catamaran's dual hulls, where the engine room would be found in conventional craft. On the Future, it's called the battery room, because it holds seven tonnes of lithium-ion batteries and a 600-horsepower electric motor—the other hull holds the same. The ship's batteries are charged from the stationary, wharf-side battery pack in Flåm and a floating charging dock in the old Viking village Gudvangen, both of which are charged several times a day from Norway's public power grid. [link]
  • Parents in these schools are submitting a form called a "personal belief exemption," which states that they are not vaccinating their kids due to "a diffuse constellation of unproven anxieties, from allergies and asthma to eczema and seizures," reporter Gary Baum writes. In some schools, up to 60 to 70 percent of parents have filed these PBEs, indicating a vaccination rate as low as that of Chad or South Sudan. [Atlantic]
  • This opinion may not be very popular or New Age, but I certainly prefer training over spending time with people. Any day. My exercises have done more for me than any of my 'friends.' In my life, I've met hundreds–thousands–of people who wanted to attack me, steal from me, bully me, humiliate me, or even kill me. But my training has given me nothing but benefits. It gives far more than it takes. I've wasted great chunks of my time on human beings who I now wish I'd never even met. But training? I don't regret a single second of the time I spent working out. Every moment of effort, every drop of sweat was worthwhile. [link]