General interesting links: January 2018

Meta note: decided to change the continuing title here from “Media Summary”, which made sense to me when I first started it in 2016 but just sounds a bit odd now.

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A worker polishes the marble at Kievskaya station, in the Moscow Metro

So, some stuff I read last month that I liked:

 

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Monthly recap (January 2018)

Children's Fairyland, in Oakland
Children’s Fairyland, in Oakland

Major updates

  • I guess the biggest highlight of this month was that it turned out to be my last month at Google after nearly eight years (!) there (might write more on that separately).

Minor updates

  • Came back with a bad (week-long!) cold after vacation (but so did pretty much everyone else, from what I can tell!)
  • Tara got a ukulele and a harmonica, and likes to play them
  • I managed quite well with her for a few days when Shivi had to travel
  • Finally got a mysterious roof leak fixed after many months(!)

Watched/Read

  • Watched Dunkirk (thumbs up), The Mummy (thumbs down)
  • Re-watched an old episode of Yes Minister and The IT Crowd
  • Trying to focus my reading for this year, got a bunch of new books I’d like to go through, we’ll see how that goes.

Sci/Math/Prog Summary: January 2018

Interesting stuff I came across last month:

An old control room
An old soviet control room
  • It’s now possible to create a stable plasma ring without all the magnets

“We were told by some colleagues this wasn’t even possible. But we can create a stable ring and maintain it for as long as we want, no vacuum or magnetic field or anything,” says co-author Francisco Pereira of the Marine Technology Research Institute in Italy, a visiting scholar at Caltech.

The stream of water is an 85-micron-diameter jet blasting from a specially designed nozzle at 9,000 pounds per square inch that strikes the crystal plate with an impact velocity of around 1,000 feet per second. For reference, that’s a stream narrower than a human hair moving about as fast as a bullet fired from a handgun.