Welcome to this week’s [evening] edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s [slightly briefer than usual] collection of interesting and entertaining links. Pour your favorite drink, find a comfortable place, and relax.
Oh you know, just another casual week at NASA, where astronomers announced the discovery of an exoplanet system with seven temperate, potentially habitable worlds. Yeah, no biggie.
Seriously though, you read that right: The Jupiter-sized ultra-cool “red dwarf” star known as TRAPPIST-1 has been found to host seven Earth-sized planets, at least three of which — the fourth, fifth, and sixth ones — are firmly in the habitable zone, but all of which could potentially be habitable for humans. It’s quite an interesting gathering of celestial bodies, too:
All seven of the TRAPPIST-1 planetary orbits are closer to their host star than Mercury is to our sun. The planets also are very close to each other. If a person were standing on one of the planet’s surface, they could gaze up and potentially see geological features or clouds of neighboring worlds, which would sometimes appear larger than the moon in Earth’s sky.
NASA released a travel poster illustrating what the sky of the fourth planet might look like. (via The New York Times)
Here’s another interesting tidbit taken directly from the astronomers’ published findings in the journal Nature:
The six inner planets form a near-resonant chain, such that their orbital periods (1.51, 2.42, 4.04, 6.06, 9.1 and 12.35 days) are near-ratios of small integers. This architecture suggests that the planets formed farther from the star and migrated inwards.
This is the sort of thing I wish more of humanity would focus its efforts on rather than…well, I’m not going to make this political but let’s just say I’m not happy with the actions of my country’s leaders right now.
- In other space news, the SpaceX Dragon capsule arrived at the ISS yesterday, following another succesful rocket landing. (No matter how many times I watch those landings, they will always impress me.)
As part of the Anthony Bourdain-produced PBS show Mind of a Chef, Los Angeles chef Ludo Lefebvre visited the Jean-Yves Bordier butter factory in the Brittany region of France, where they customize batches of butter to the exact specifications of various chefs. He got a first-hand look at how it’s done:
Any French chef can tell you that the foundation of their cuisine is butter. So when we visited the [factory] and had chef Ludo Lefebvre help in the process, it was nothing but pure amazement in his eyes. […] Watch a full 5 minutes worth of butter heaven, you won’t believe it…
I hadn’t heard of this show until Jason Kottke linked it a couple weeks ago, and now I really want to watch the rest. Unfortunately, while the full episode this video came from is theoretically watchable on the PBS site, it says it’s unavailable for my particular area/local station (Oklahoma/OETA). Maybe you’ll have better luck?
Edit: I somehow missed the fact that all four seasons of Mind of a Chef are available to stream on Netflix! 🎉
Zach Prewitt, Fandor:
Hayao Miyazaki’s love of flight and flying machines is no secret to even a casual admirer of his work. Nearly all of his feature films contain at least one breathtaking flight sequence, and viewers can see his reverence for the sky grow more fervent as they progress through his filmography.
Miyazaki’s passion for flight has always been one of my favorite aspects about his films. The 4-minute video above is a wonderful ode to it.
Here’s something you wouldn’t necessarily expect to come out of The Walt Disney Company: Their Disney Research division has achieved ubiquitous wireless power delivery.
They call it “Quasistatic Cavity Resonance (QSCR) for Ubiquitous Wireless Power Transfer”, which is a fancy way of saying they’ve designed a prototype living room that — with anywhere between 40%–95% efficiency — can safely and wirelessly power several objects within, including the phone in your pocket.
Ricky Brigante of Inside the Magic sums up the research well:
With a properly designed room containing “purpose-built structures” made of aluminum along with a copper pipe in the center of the room circled by capacitors, around 1900 watts of free-flowing power can be disseminated into the air without risk of harming people within – as long as you keep a distance of at least 46cm away from that center pole. These restrictions are temporary, as the future of this technology may simply require “conductive paint” or “modular panels,” the research suggests.
Web developer Jeremy Keith — the guy behind Huffduffer and more — wrote a free online book called Resilient Web Design, where he explores the history of the web and the lessons and approaches to be gleaned from it:
The World Wide Web has been around for long enough now that we can begin to evaluate the twists and turns of its evolution. I wrote this book to highlight some of the approaches to web design that have proven to be resilient. I didn’t do this purely out of historical interest (although I am fascinated by the already rich history of our young industry). In learning from the past, I believe we can better prepare for the future.
You won’t find any code in here to help you build better websites. But you will find ideas and approaches. Ideas are more resilient than code. I’ve tried to combine the most resilient ideas from the history of web design into an approach for building the websites of the future.
You can read the whole thing online (which is how he intended it) or you can get it in these formats for offline reading:
Got any suggestions for articles, videos, stories, photographs, and any other links you think we should be posting in our weekly Quality Linkage? Please do let us know on Twitter.