Wednesday Walk Around the Web – 10/17/2018

Welcome to the Wednesday Walk Around the Web, where we weave & wind through weblinks weekly. Hopefully you will find the links on offer amusing, interesting, or, occasionally, profound. Views expressed in the Wednesday Walk do not necessarily reflect those of anyone but the writer.

  • Here’s some advice you don’t have to wait for the Spectacular Advice show to hear: If you’re out on the water and a bunch of whales swim up to you, all you have to do is 1) shut off the boat’s motor and b) enjoy the majesty of nature. Under no circumstances should you call 911, what is WRONG with these people.
  • This Week in Argumentation: It’s useful to remember the bullshit asymmetry principle, which states that the amount of energy needed to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it. It’s the principle by which the Gish gallop operates.
  • This Week in Journalism: It’s hard to overstate the importance of fact-checking rather than just plainly reporting the statements of industry leaders.
  • Some fitness trackers are reading heartbeats from toilet paper, coffee mugs, and other inanimate objects. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how anyone could use a roll of toilet paper after a heartbeat’s been detected.
  • This Week in Maps: It’s relatively common knowledge (at least, among those of us who watched The West Wing) that the Mercator projection we use to jam the round globe into a two-dimensional map vastly inflates the size of countries in the northern hemisphere. This animation makes the difference really stark.
  • This Week in the Internet of Things: I kind of understand how people would think tying their door locks to keyfobs and apps would be convenient, but even if they don’t wind up as part of a Russian botnet (they definitely definitely will), you still have to deal with things like a spot of server maintenance disabling your locks.
  • Winamp keeps threatening to come back and whip the llama’s ass again, but I’m pretty sure I’ll still be happy with the version I’ve been using all this time. Then again, I’m not exactly the target audience for a program that collects audio files and makes them searchable — I do that by painstakingly organizing and archiving them personally, by my own idiosyncratic standards.
  • This Week in Anime: I can’t wait for the US release of I Want to Eat Your Pancreas.
  • This Week in Self-Driving Cars: A couple of dudes from Google literally admitted to taking an automated car out on a non-approved route, causing an accident, and then fleeing from the scene. That’s still, like, a crime, right?
  • It took a long time and a long development chain to bring us a potato peeler that actually feels good while you’re using it.
  • Googly eyes will make almost anything better. Even, or especially, statues of 18th-century generals.
  • At one California school, students may have been given cookies baked using, in part, human ashes. You know, I’d hardly go with ashes for a flavor boost.
  • I can’t comprehend why people do ribbon-cutting ceremonies with scissors when turtles are available.

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