The Doomsday Clock is a metaphorical clock that symbolizes a catastrophic end to the planet due to human self-destruction. Midnight represents an event and the time represents the “minutes” away from the event. The numbers are fuzzy, as you might imagine. In any case, Amanda Shendruk for Quartz used a connected scatterplot on a clock view to show how the “estimate” has changed since 1947.
My latest cartoon for New Scientist
my latest cartoon for @newscientist #science #cowboys
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January 2nd, 2023: 2023, baby! A NEW YEAR BEGINS. Who knows what it will hold? Hopefully rad things and a minimum of bogus duds. Sorry to speak like an 80s surfer I just love rad things and hate bogus duds!!
Today I have done my yearly little treat that I've done NINETEEN TIMES BEFORE and updated the little year in the bottom-left of the comic. 2023! February 1st will be the TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of Dinosaur Comics. That is wild, please email me with cool ideas to celebrate??
So handy! I really hate the newsletter trend - I literally never want another email.
I love feeds!
Maybe you’ve heard already, but I love RSS.
I love it so much that I retrofit sites without feeds into it for the convenience of my favourite reader FreshRSS: working around (for example) the lack of feeds in The Far Side (twice), in friends’ blogs, and in my URL shortener. Whether tracking my progress binging webcomic history, subscribing to YouTube channels, or filtering-out sports news, feeds are the centre of my digital life.
There’s been a bit of a resurgence lately of sites whose only subscription option is email, or – worse yet – who provide certain “exclusive” content only to email subscribers.
I don’t want to go giving an actual email address to every damn service, because:
- It’s not great for privacy, even when (as usual) I use a unique alias for each sender.
- It’s usually harder to unsubscribe than I’d like, and rarely consistent: you need to find a recent message, click a link, sometimes that’s enough or sometimes you need to uncheck a box or click a button, or sometimes you’ll get another email with something to click in it…
- I rarely want to be notified the very second a new issue is published; email is necessarily more “pushy” than I like a subscription to be.
- I don’t want to use my email Inbox to keep track of which articles I’ve read/am still going to read: that’s what a feed reader is for! (It also provides tagging, bookmarking, filtering, standardised and bulk unsubscribing tools, etc.)
So what do I do? Well…
I already operate an OpenTrashMail instance for one-shot throwaway email addresses (which I highly recommend). And OpenTrashMail provides a rich RSS feed. Sooo…
How I subscribe to newsletters (in my feed reader)
If I want to subscribe to your newsletter, here’s what I do:
- Put an email address (I usually just bash the keyboard to make a random one, then put @-a-domain-I-control on the end, where that domain is handled by OpenTrashMail) in to subscribe.
https://my-opentrashmail-server/rss/the-email-address-I-gave-you/rss.xmlinto my feed reader.
- That’s all. There is no step 3.
Now I get your newsletter alongside all my other subscriptions. If I want to unsubscribe I just tell my feed reader to stop polling the RSS feed (You don’t even get to find out that I’ve unsubscribed; you’re now just dropping emails into an unmonitored box, but of course I can resubscribe and pick up from where I left off if I ever want to).
Obviously this approach isn’t suitable for personalised content or sites for which your email address is used for authentication, because anybody who can guess the random email address can get the feed! But it’s ideal for those companies who’ll ocassionally provide vouchers in exchange for being able to send you other stuff to your Inbox, because you can simply pipe their content to your feed reader, then add a filter to drop anything that doesn’t contain the magic keyword: regular vouchers, none of the spam. Or for blogs that provide bonus content to email subscribers, you can get the bonus content in the same way as the regular content, right there in a folder of your reader. It’s pretty awesome.
If you don’t already have and wouldn’t benefit from running OpenTrashMail (or another trashmail system with feed support) it’s probably not worth setting one up just for this purpose. But otherwise, I can certainly recommend it.
Overview Year in Review 2022
In July, we received the first full-color images from NASA’s James Webb Telescope. This image, called the “Cosmic Cliffs,” shows a bright curtain of dust and gas at the edge of the Carina Nebula, approximately 8,500 light years from Earth. The James Webb Telescope has given us the deepest look into the cosmos to date, revealing previously invisible areas of star birth.
Follow along as we continue to recap key events from 2022 from the Overview perspective.
Source imagery: NASA
my fav ship dynamics
(context: this was up by far my most faved tweet I’ve ever gotten. Up to 120k)
Un-problemtic shipping discourse.
(1) Roa in London by A. L. Crego
(2) Roa in London by A. L. Crego
(3) Roa in London by A. L. Crego
Live in Layers.
An oldie-goldie from 2014.
But Cryptobros in Twitter call me emergent.
If they knew….🤭👍
Focus on the black dot in the middle and wait. The second image has no color at all, the more you try to find it, the more it disappears.
*2frames gif. Seconds Per Frame.
“When considering whether to buy yet another book, you might well ask yourself when you’ll get around to reading it. But perhaps there are other, even more important considerations, such as the intellectual value of the book in its still-unread state.”
The Virtue of Owning Books You Haven’t Read: Why Umberto Eco Kept an “Antilibrary”
Now, if I only had a can opener.
watching a video about this cargo ship that blew up in texas in the 40’s and it’s like . i know that with a lot of incidents especially older ones like this the reason that the safety standards were so shitty was because they literally did not know that these kinds of disasters COULD happen (and in many cases these disasters are what MADE the safety standards better) but sometimes you just learn about this shit and you think. how could all these people be so stupid
- cargo of the ship consisted of twine (flammable) peanuts (flammable, oily) and cotton (FLAMMABLE) from houston and POST WAR AMMUNITION (OH MY GOD) FROM CUBA
- additional cargo they were picking up in texas city was LOOSE BAGS OF AMMONIUM NITRATE that the dock workers described as being ANOMALOUSLY WARM UPON BEING LOADED INTO THE SHIP ??????
- small fire breaks out in cargo hold, instead of putting it out with water that could damage the cargo the captain decides to close all the hatches to try to make the cargo hold airtight and smother the fire (stupid but you can kind of understand how they got there)
- the heat of the trapped smoke in the cargo hold instead causes the aforementioned LOOSE BAGS OF AMMONIUM NITRATE to undergo a chemical reaction and turn into nitrous oxide, massively increasing the pressure inside of the airtight hold
- one of the hatch covers fails
- mfw all the pressure in the cargo hold is released at once causing an explosion that fucking levels everything in the port within 2000 feet
- mfw the shockwave shatters windows up to a hundred miles away
- mfw on-fire twine and peanuts and fucking grenades are raining down over texas city
- mfw some of the pieces of the ship got launched into the sky faster than the speed of sound
- mfw they found the ship’s anchor inside of a ten foot wide crater over a mile and a half away
- mfw this was one of the largest and most devastating non-nuclear explosions in world history
- mfw this could have been avoided if they’d just taken the L and put the fire out with water
also worth a mention: the SECOND boat that exploded in a very similar manner the next day which was an even more violent explosion, but less devastating because most of the port was. you know. already leveled and evacuated
someone running rescue and recovery after the FIRST boat exploded noticed that the second boat’s cargo was on fire and reported it….and this just went. ignored. for several hours. until someone was like “oh shit better get this under control” and tried to move the boat to no avail and they just gave up and evacuated
next day it started raining glowing-hot metal boat chunks all over the city. AGAIN.
Today’s problematic ships are the Grandcamp (first explosion) and High Flyer (second explosion).
Late, but not too late!
The ghost duet is here, Halloween has officially begun :D
Payless Shoe Source—Elizabeth, New Jersey
My father, a cobbler, made my shoes for me as a child. I was given new ones only as I outgrew each pair. But despite this, I felt he made the shoes reluctantly, as if he felt it wasteful. “Look at your daughter’s feet,” my mother would beseech him in dialect. “It is disrespectful for the cobbler’s daughter to go around in such a state.” Yet when I wore the new shoes, which contained the sweat of his labor, I could not help but feel grand beyond my station, as if even the ground I walked on had been fashioned only for me. Imagine then my surprise when this boutique, modest amid the splendor of The Mills at Jersey Gardens, redolent with the scent of a nearby Panda Express, offered me a pair of shoes, gratis, with the purchase of another pair. My elation was short-lived, however, because the stitching on the practical pumps I received in this bargain—BOGO, they called it—began to fray almost as soon as I put them on. My father, for all his faults, would never have allowed this, and in that moment, I missed him.
Santa Monica Pier—Santa Monica, California
I observed my daughter from a distance as she ate a $13 funnel cake, basking in the knowledge of her incipient beauty. I couldn’t help but think how my own life might have been different had I been born with her physical gifts. I wasn’t one to be pursued by the neighborhood boys. My thoughts never strayed far from the books I hoped would become my escape from Naples. Even when I met my future husband at university, he did not pursue me romantically for some time. I was bookish, perhaps mousy, and he, the handsome and clever son of a prominent magistrate. Yet where was this boy now? He spent nearly the entire day in Santa Monica, silent and withdrawn. When I asked about his sullenness, he complained about a claw machine that had taken his pocket change. The man in charge of the amusements, my husband said, was unsympathetic. It embarrassed me to see him in such a state. However, it is through the lens of my daughter’s innocent delight that I choose to remember this outing—a day in the sun before the burdens of adulthood have asserted themselves. Despite the indignity of my husband’s complaints and a slight sunburn, I had a pretty good time.
AMC Movie Theater—Los Angeles, California
I came to, suddenly, in the dark. Images flashed brightly before my eyes. Faces! Was it my mother? It was only after several moments that I recalled we’d gone to see a film about the Norse god Thor. The usher stood by my seat with his flashlight. This had a dreamlike logic or at least the qualities one associates with dreams. His mouth was moving, but I could not understand what he was saying. I felt sure he was making sounds, which would compose themselves as words, at least to others.
I recalled the feast days on which my mother would give me a few coins, which held in them the warmth of her hand and which she’d earned by taking in sewing work, much to my father’s displeasure. I would give the coins to the old woman in the pasticceria for a box of candy. The usher came into focus. He asked about the box of Junior Mints in my hand. Had I purchased it at the concession stand? No. I had bought it earlier at a dismal convenience store. Pointing to a sign that read NO OUTSIDE FOOD ALLOWED, he asked me to leave. How petty.
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum—San Francisco, California
America seems to be a place of memory. A nation having a dream of itself where there is no past and no future, only an eternal present where all its glories exist outside of time. It is a cemetery of ideas, and so what better representative than a wax museum?
But this counterfeit aroused in me also something else, something intangible. What was it? A former lover? What use are these memories? They remain incomplete and disturbing, the faces of people I once knew are washed out and ghostly. This place does not represent anything in actuality. It is evocation without substance. Except for the wax statue of Peter Dinklage. That was actually pretty cool.
Igloo Coolers Factory Tour—Katy, Texas
As a girl, my mother told me that women were born to suffer, and nothing I have yet experienced has disproved this. But this drab place seems especially lamentable. The foreman and the tour guide seemed to be two versions of the same person—short pock-marked men in starched shirts, joylessly exercising power over their small domain. They reminded me of my father—who, in addition to being a cobbler, had been a porter at the railroad as well as a drunk—and his barely concealed anger, and how, as children, we would anticipate the moment when he would fly into one of his rages at some perceived slight. The women on the large and airless factory floor worked with insect-like efficiency. There was a gift shop that offered a 15% discount to anyone who had taken the tour. This is, I think, a good deal if you are in the market for a cooler.
“Revenge of the Murderer’s Ghost” Escape Room—Boston, Massachusetts
How is one expected to find joy in paying $30 (per person!) to be subjected to an hour of ceaseless anxiety? This room was meant to be the basement dwelling of a murderer, like those violent men of my youth, the Camorrists, but in actuality was more akin to the apartment in which my grandfather lived alone after my grandmother’s death. She’d drowned while on holiday, and the sordid dwelling became his penance for the guilt he felt at not having been able to save her. It produced in me a deep sense of melancholy.
We were meant to decipher clues left by the murderer, or his “ghost,” as the brochure informed us, in order to facilitate our escape. Yet my sons, despite having chosen this activity, spent the allotted time chuckling at inane videos on their telephones. I knew any affection I felt for them had long since vanished.
But then something happened, although I cannot say exactly what. A change in the tenor of the room, a light brightened or darkened perhaps, a door opened or possibly closed. The air grew heavy with the implication of crisis. I recalled a boy I’d known in my childhood who was killed near a seaside carnival over a game of dice. How his mother cried when the police returned his body. Had we escaped? I was convinced we were in the lobby again, but the sense of melancholy persisted, as though the murderer’s basement now existed in my mind. But if this dread place was in my mind, how then was I to escape? What the fuck.
There was a government-run lottery in the Philippines with a $4 million jackpot, and two improbable things happened. First, the numbers selected were all multiples of nine: 9, 45, 36, 27, 18, and 54. Second, 433 people won. The natural reaction from the public was that something sketchy happened, especially since the government has a history of sketchiness.
However, as statisticians and mathematicians do when rare and improbable events occur, they setup hypotheses and calculate probabilities. Terence Tao calculated the odds and noted that the lottery outcome was a highly improbable event under certain assumptions. But:
So this clearly demands some sort of explanation. But in actuality, many purchasers of lottery tickets do not select their numbers completely randomly; they often have some “lucky” numbers (e.g., based on birthdays or other personally significant dates) that they prefer to use, or choose numbers according to a simple pattern rather than go to the trouble of trying to make them truly random.
Nine happens to be a lucky number in some cultures. Also, as Tao notes, the multiples of nine form a diagonal line on the physical lottery ticket, which could lend to more people just going with simple geometry.
The chances of each winning number being a multiple of nine is improbable, but any other individual number selection is equally improbable.
So if you assume one improbable event, the winning lottery numbers, paired with a less improbable event, the players’ selection of their own numbers, it doesn’t seem that unbelievable, statistically speaking.
YouTube, at one time, supported RSS feeds. Anyone could subscribe to channel feeds to receive updates in any RSS reader.
Google made it harder over the years to subscribe to channels, likely to push YouTube's own subscriptions feature. Unlike feeds, subscriptions requires that users are signed in to an account to receive updates.
While those options are great, some users prefer to use a dedicated feed reader instead. Ideally, they'd subscribe to all their favorite channels to receive notifications whenever new videos are posted. One extra benefit of that is that there is no artificial limit in place.
How to subscribe to YouTube creator RSS feeds manually
It takes a bit of code digging to reveal the RSS feed of a channel or a playlist without third-party tools.
The core URL that you require is https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=CHANNELID.
You need to replace CHANNELID with the ID of the channel, and that is where it may get tricky for some.
Most YouTube channels use personalized names in the URL and not the channel ID. While you may access a YouTube channel using the personalized name and the channel ID, you can't access the RSS feed using the personalized name.
- Mr. Beast Channel ID URL: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCX6OQ3DkcsbYNE6H8uQQuVA
- Mr. Beast Personalized URL: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrBeast6000
Reveal the YouTube channel ID
You need to display the source code of the channel on YouTube to reveal the ID. Here is how that is done:
- Open the creator channel on YouTube, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/user/PewDiePie
- Right-click on a blank part of the page and select "view page source". Depending on the browser that you use, it may have a slightly different name. Alternatively, prepend view-source: before the URL and hit the Enter-key.
- Search for browse_id. You may open the search option with Ctrl-F, or from the browser's main menu.
- The browser jumps to the first instance of browse_id in the source code. Copy the string of the value field that is right next to it; this is the channel's ID.
Create the YouTube channel RSS feed URL
Now that you have the channel ID and the default feed address, you can combine the two to create a working feed address:
- Default URL: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=CHANNELID
- Channel ID: UCX6OQ3DkcsbYNE6H8uQQuVA
- Working Feed URL: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCX6OQ3DkcsbYNE6H8uQQuVA
The easiest way to test the feed URL is to load it in the browser. The browser should display the content of the XML file. You may subscribe to the channel using that URL in any feed reader that supports it.
Create a YouTube playlist RSS feed URL
You may create RSS feed URLs of playlists on YouTube as well. Thankfully, this is easier as the IDs of playlists are already visible in playlist URLs.
The default feed address for playlists: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?playlist_id=PLAYLISTID
Here is how that is done:
- Open the playlist on YouTube, e.g., https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktxBUqy6PT4&list=PLYH8WvNV1YEnOwmzyWz4vR0HsX1Qn0PoU
- The ID begins after list=; in the case above, it is PLYH8WvNV1YEnOwmzyWz4vR0HsX1Qn0PoU
- Replace PLAYLISTID of the default feed address with the real ID to create the RSS feed for the playlist. In the example above, you get https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?playlist_id=PLYH8WvNV1YEnOwmzyWz4vR0HsX1Qn0PoU
Now You: are you subscribe to YouTube channels?
Thank you for being a Ghacks reader. The post How to subscribe to YouTube RSS Feeds without third-party services appeared first on gHacks Technology News.
The first full-color images from the James Webb Telescope were just released and we are in awe! This image shows a bright curtain of dust and gas at the edge of the Carina Nebula, approximately 8,500 light years from Earth. This view of the “Cosmic Cliffs” offers the deepest look into the cosmos to date, revealing previously invisible areas of star birth.
Source imagery: NASA
You’ve probably heard of the trolley problem, a thought experiment that imagines a trolley approaching a fork in the tracks. There are five people stuck on one path and one person stuck on the other. If the trolly continues on its current path, five people will die, but if you consciously switch the tracks, you could save them and only one person dies. Do you switch or let the trolley continue?
Neal Agarwal, who continues to gift the internet with fun projects, reframes the trolley problem with increasingly more absurd choices. You also get to see how others answered, so you can compare your own choices against the moral compass of the internet.
This worked perfectly. Design!
This whole piece is heartbreaking
Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer, for NYT Opinion, approached the one-million mark for Covid deaths with text messages. The piece starts on February 29, 2020, when the first person died because of Covid. The count to 1 million begins, and a recurring ticker reminds you of the increase over time. Thirteen text message threads between someone who died and a person who cared remind you that the numbers are real.
Scrappy and bold, this nest exemplifies the substantial field of street art-based nests, using found materials and constructed anywhere to avoid authoritative scrutiny. I once saw a masterpiece spilling out of the letter D on a sign for Donuts near my house. Breathtaking.
While praises have traditionally been sung about the sturdiness of this ubiquitous nest, I’m unimpressed. There’s just something so nest-y about it. It’s trying too hard to be a nest. Although there’s a lot to celebrate here—the roundness, the slenderness of the sticks—this nest ultimately speaks to a bygone era where nests had to be purely representational. A nest doesn’t have to look like a nest to be a nest.
The hummingbird nest had been built to impossible magnitude by my peers—to the point that I could only expect it would let me down, like Hamilton and the clothes of Eileen Fisher. But, difficult as it is to imagine, the hummingbird nest surpassed even the most lauded reviews, catapulting into a stratosphere of composition that perhaps no bird has ever previously achieved. Shiny spider web and dew-tinged fishing line form a foundation under delicate clumps of moss. I’m weeping, just remembering it.
Bald Eagle Nest
With this nest, you get what you expect, and that’s okay. Sticks jutting here and there with precise impreciseness, and that’s what eagles—bald or not—are all about. Sometimes you pay for vastness, for decisiveness, for a run-of-the-mill monolith. There is nothing to be said about this nest that the nest cannot say for itself.
A controversial bit of performance art, this “nest” is not a nest at all. Rather, the artist (brown-headed cowbird) lays her eggs in the nests of other birds and lets those birds raise her young. Some have called this approach bold and refreshing—especially when the artist chooses a nest of a much smaller bird, resulting in absurd juxtaposition. But let’s call this what it is: cheap, overdone, and frankly, boring. I didn’t come for show; I came for a nest.
This cliffside variation on a nest subverts tradition and trades standard sticks and straw for bolder, more modern mud and dirt. Not for the trypophobic, these nests can inspire awe or disgust, depending on the audience. I find them quite moving, but my teen daughter hates them.
It may surprise novice nest scholars to learn that the bowerbird’s construction is not a nest, but a courtship tactic. Nevertheless, its riffs on nestiness have earned it some analysis, and the verdict is clear: the bower is impressive. It takes seven years for the bowerbird to complete these ornate creations, filled with curated collections. The found-art allusions are not lost on this critic: it strikes me as a sort of tongue-in-cheek (and ultimately effective) way of saying, “Yes, I am cultured. Please have sex with me.”