Shared posts

27 Aug 20:06


by Minnesotastan

The graph above, found at the Charles Schwab website, shows how dramatically inflation has been curbed over the past twenty years - not just in the U.S., but globally.

I was a young adult in the 1970s, and I can clearly remember getting a paycheck and going the next day to a local bank to purchase a bank certificate of deposit yielding about 12%.  I think anyone who has managed their own money just for the past 20 years has very little concept of the influence of inflation.

Conversely, my experience through the 1970s-1990s "taught me" (incorrectly) that I could safely rely on 4-5% interest yields during my retirement.  No way, Jose.  I had no concept that fixed income returns would ever be less than 1% - and for sustained periods of time.

There is an old saying that "the market can remain irrational for longer than you can remain solvent."  There's a certain truth to that.

But if I were going to bet now and plan for a future 20-30 years from now, I wouldn't count on inflation and interest rates staying at these historic lows.
27 Aug 16:26

Hazard Symbol

The warning diamond on the Materials Safety Data Sheet for this stuff just has the "😰" emoji in all four fields.
27 Aug 15:32

Robot skal levere post

27 Aug 15:19

Mennesker har skylda for varmen

Det har aldri vært så varmt i Norge før. Månedene før august knuste alle rekorder.
25 Aug 04:47

Two perfect circles

by Minnesotastan

Top image hat tip to Alex Santoso, who found this excellent optical illusion on Twitter and posted it at Neatorama in 2012.  Reposted to add the bottom one, via.  The two illusions are based on the same principles; I believe the lower one was just modified to bring the inner circle closer to the outer one.
24 Aug 18:58

Life on the red planet

by Daniel

I’ve often imagined what it might be like to live on Mars. The Red Planet has been the subject of many science fiction movies and novels, one of the most famous of which would have to be The Martian, a novel by Andy Weir that was also made into a movie. These scenes by
Andreas Lenander do a wonderful job depicting life on Mars in the not too distant future.

HORN II Shuttle on Mars

I love the simple shape of the ship, especially the curved elements on each side, that look fragile and sleek at the same time. The greebly pipes on top feel very functional, and a bit delicate. The rover and fueling station also stand out against the stark landscape.

The post-production lighting and the overall bleak and desaturated colors set a very somber mood, while the use of simple plates and bricks for the surface don’t draw attention away from the vehicles.

VIKING Rover on Mars - at the fueling-station

The post Life on the red planet appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

23 Aug 17:35

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Captcha


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He doesn't have to use the keyboard or monitor. It's just a game all robots find amusing after we're gone.

Today's News:
23 Aug 05:51

A memory of the future

by David Alexander Smith

The shining white utopian future — so popular with the science fiction writers and illustrators of the 1960s — may well have gone out of fashion, but this hasn’t stopped builder Klaus exploring the theme. Built in microscale, his series of architectural models of a future metropolis use predominately standard bricks, similar to those found in 21050 Studio set, in smart repetitive sequences. The bustling administration complex adds stacked mudguard elements to build its towers, whilst a cigarillo shaped blimp circles overhead.


The aerospace port neatly matches a white half golf ball element to its whitewashed layout, suggesting hi-tech radar equipment; elsewhere a white technic beam provides a row of porthole windows.


Meanwhile at the agricultural plant, stacks of single green studs happily grow under perspex domes.

These and the other components of Klaus’s metropolis bring to mind that special kind of contemporary nostalgia, nostalgia for a future that never was.

The post A memory of the future appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

20 Aug 06:58

Dark Matter Candidates

My theory is that dark matter is actually just a thin patina of grime covering the whole universe, and we don't notice it because we haven't thoroughly cleaned the place in eons.
17 Aug 07:40

Human-induced global warning. 1912.

by Minnesotastan
This article’s authenticity is supported by the fact it can be found in the digital archives of the National Library of New Zealand.

Further attesting to its authenticity (and perhaps its role as a bit of stock news used to fill space) is that an identical story had appeared in an Australian newspaper a month prior, in the 17 July 1912, issue of The Braidwood Dispatch and Mining Journal, as found in the digital archives of the National Library of Australia.

An even deeper dive reveals that the text of this news item has its origins in the March 1912 issue of Popular Mechanics, where it appeared as a caption in an article titled “Remarkable Weather of 1911: The Effect of the Combustion of Coal on the Climate — What Scientists Predict for the Future”:
More information at Snopes.
16 Aug 21:44

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Event


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Why are you so favored as to get a comic drawn by Abby Howard? She has a new book out! See the blog below the comic.

Today's News:
Dinosaur Empire 2 is out!
16 Aug 11:33

Repair or Replace

Just make sure all your friends and family are out of the car, or that you've made backup friends and family at home.
15 Aug 06:10

Take it easy for a little while

by Nick

Everything appears chill and cozy in Heikki M’s LEGO scene of an attic apartment room. The attic implied with the sloped ceiling and the brick wall in the back of the room are top notch techniques in a scene full of fantastic detail to take in. I also appreciate the use of textured bricks in the rug. Is it suggesting a raised texture, or someone who walked through? You decide, but it’s great either way.

Night in the Attic Apartment

The post Take it easy for a little while appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

13 Aug 05:37


by Minnesotastan

From Twisted Sifter:
Hovenring is the world’s first suspended bicycle path roundabout. Located in the Netherlands, Hovenring can be found between the localities of Eindhoven, Veldhoven and Meerhoven which accounts for its name, Dutch for “Ring of the Hovens“.
I'll use this opportunity to start a new category for blog posts: Nice Things We Could Have Instead of a Border Wall.
13 Aug 05:36

Firestorm aftermath

by Minnesotastan

Everyone has seen photos and videos of the wildfires ravaging the western states.  What always startles me is how many of the destroyed homes are not cabins nestled in a woodland - just ordinary houses in a residential subdivision.  Also, as shown in the second photo, the startlingly narrow margin between survival and devastation.

Second image cropped for emphasis from the original, both of which credit City of Redding (California), via a gallery at The Guardian

Related: The Hinckley Firestorm of 1894
13 Aug 05:20

Return to an alternate Paris in 1889 with this sprawling steampunk scene

by David Alexander Smith

Like all great cities, Castor Troy’s steampunk Paris continues to grow. Previously we’ve featured Casotor’s models of the Colonial Office and the Louvre, both of which feature in the layout. This time around we’ve been treated to a new row of buildings running alongside Notre Dame.

Paris Steampunk 1889 V2

Each contains the kind of beautiful architectural details we’ve come to expect, from the Egyptian Art Deco building with its innovative use of ornamental fencing for doors and gold claw elements to represent two opposing sphinxes, to the new maritime office with its wall mounted ship’s wheel. Let’s hope that Castor’s passion for development continues to see new wonders being added to this splendid city.

Paris steampunk 1889 v2

The post Return to an alternate Paris in 1889 with this sprawling steampunk scene appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

11 Aug 12:16

All aboard the tiny train!

by Matt Hocker

All aboard! We’re taking the train through Taiwan, and our next stop is the Taichung train station. The station began operations in 1908 and was closed down after an elevated station was built and opened in 2016. The original station is a beautiful piece of architecture, and Maxime Cheng’s microscale rendering is superbly detailed. His model is rich in texture, right down to the ornate architectural accents along the perimeter of the roof. While the building itself is stunning, the tiny train is an equally impressive-looking feature that really helps bring this model to life. Dare I say, Cheng’s Taichung station feels like it would be a great companion to sets in LEGO’s Architecture series?


The post All aboard the tiny train! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.

09 Aug 06:31

Voting Software

There are lots of very smart people doing fascinating work on cryptographic voting protocols. We should be funding and encouraging them, and doing all our elections with paper ballots until everyone currently working in that field has retired.
07 Aug 22:08

Disaster Movie

Really, they'd be rushing around collecting revisions to go into the next scheduled quarterly public data update, not publishing them immediately, but you have to embellish things a little for Hollywood.
06 Aug 14:26

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Fortune


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You're only reading this comic to signal that you want to not be invited to parties.

Today's News:
04 Aug 21:51

Land use in the United States

by Minnesotastan

This is a schematic diagram, not a "map" - obviously.  But it's also a visually dramatic presentation of some information that is not intuitive.

The actual mapping is available in the first image at the Bloomberg source, where there are other derived graphic images.  Very interesting, with much to ponder.
04 Aug 21:43

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Gaia


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Then, Earth can wipe its nose with Enceladus.

Today's News:
04 Aug 21:42

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Quantified Self


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You really have to pity all the people who lived perfect lives without any of their peers finding out.

Today's News:
01 Aug 21:35

Big Fukang meteorite

by Minnesotastan

Slab shown above (via).  The original weighed 1,000 kg.
The Fukang pallasite contains large, gem quality olivine, or peridot, in a nickel-iron matrix. The olivines vary in shape from rounded to angular, many are fractured and they range in size from less than five millimetres to several centimetres. The main mass contains several regions of massive olivine clusters up to eleven centimetres (4.3 inches) in diameter with thin metal veins.
Here's more (via):

Very impressive.  I didn't know they could be so beautiful - thought they were just stone or metal.  More on pallasites. You learn something every day.
31 Jul 06:19

Beautiful. And sad.

by Minnesotastan
Every summer, phytoplankton spread across the northern basins of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, with blooms spanning hundreds and sometimes thousands of kilometers. Nutrient-rich, cooler waters tend to promote more growth among marine plants and phytoplankton than is found in tropical waters. Blooms this summer off of Scandinavia seem to be particularly intense.

On July 18, 2018, the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired a natural-color image [below] of a swirling green phytoplankton bloom in the Gulf of Finland, a section of the Baltic Sea. Note how the phytoplankton trace the edges of a vortex; it is possible that this ocean eddy is pumping up nutrients from the depths...

In recent years, the proliferation of algae blooms in the Baltic Sea has led to the regular appearance of “dead zones” in the basin. Phytoplankton and cyanobacteria consume the abundant nutrients in the Baltic—fueled largely by runoff from sewage and agriculture—and reproduce in such vast numbers that their growth and decay deplete the oxygen content of the water. According to researchers from Finland’s University of Turku, the dead zone this year is estimated to span about 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles).

A research team from Finland and Germany reported this month that oxygen levels in recent years in the Baltic Sea are at their lowest levels in the past 1500 years. More frequent and massive blooms, combined with warming seas due to climate change, are making it harder for fish and other marine life to thrive in this basin.

I cropped the top photo from the lower one; the tiny white dots are boats.
29 Jul 17:22

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - The Horrible Future


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'But surely not the weird butt stuff!'

Today's News:
27 Jul 20:51

Peer Review

Your manuscript "Don't Pay $25 to Access Any of the Articles in this Journal: A Review of Preprint Repositories and Author Willingness to Email PDF Copies for Free" has also been rejected, but nice try.
26 Jul 05:50

Light Hacks

Life hack: Wait for an advanced civilization to be briefly distracted, then sneak in and construct a slightly smaller Dyson sphere inside theirs.
24 Jul 05:43

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Autonomous


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From now on, if you don't like a comic of mine, just append the last panel of today's strip to it.

Today's News:
God is now available in our store:

SMBC - God from SMBC - Webcomic Merchandise

22 Jul 10:05

Pingu! Pingu!

by Daniel

Anyone who has ever watched an episode of Pingu! will instantly recognize this lovable penguin with a big heart and an even bigger knack for getting into trouble. CHUNG-HENG CHENG has captured his likeness, along with his adorable baby sister Pinga perfectly. Be sure to take a closer look, as the scale might easily fool you.


The post Pingu! Pingu! appeared first on The Brothers Brick.