July 8, 2016

Written by

Chris Gonzales


GukHwa Jang

Welcome to this week’s edition of our Friday Quality Linkage column. Please enjoy this week’s collection of interesting and entertaining links. Brew a fresh cup of coffee, find a comfortable place, and relax.

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Scientists Observe First Signs of Healing in the Antarctic Ozone Layer »

Jennifer Chu of MIT News delivers a rare piece of good climate news (link addition mine):

The team [of scientists at MIT and elsewhere] found that the September ozone hole has shrunk by more than 4 million square kilometers — about half the area of the contiguous United States — since 2000, when ozone depletion was at its peak. The team also showed for the first time that this recovery has slowed somewhat at times, due to the effects of volcanic eruptions from year to year. Overall, however, the ozone hole appears to be on a healing path.


As chlorine levels continue to dissipate from the atmosphere, [lead paper author Susan Solomon] sees no reason why, barring future volcanic eruptions, the ozone hole shouldn’t shrink and eventually close permanently by midcentury.

Oh hey, taking measurable action against big problems actually works. Turns out!

Can New York Be Saved in the Era of Global Warming? »

…annnnd here’s Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone to bring the mood crashing right back down:

By 2030 or so, the water in New York Harbor could be a foot higher than it is today. That may not sound like much, but New York does not have to become Atlantis to be incapacitated. Even with a foot or two of sea-level rise, streets will become impassable at high tide, snarling traffic. The cost of flood insurance will skyrocket, causing home prices in risky neighborhoods to decline. (Who wants to buy a house that will soon be underwater?)

Then the big storm will come, as it always does. It might come this year, it might come in 2018, 2029 or 20-whatever. It might be bigger than Sandy. It might be smaller. But if you add a foot or two of sea-level rise to a 14-foot storm tide, you have serious trouble.

Jupiter Has a New Moon. And We Put It There. »

Turning our attention away from Earth for a moment, Phil “Bad Astronomer” Plait on the successful entry of NASA’s Juno spacecraft into Jupiter’s orbit earlier this week:

Juno will study Jupiter’s internal composition, revealing critical clues on how it formed. Jupiter contains most of the solar system’s water, and the amount it has will tell us how it got there, almost certainly by impacts of rock and ice as Jupiter formed. The science is in the details, though, and to understand where those original rock/ice planetesimals came from we need to know better the water inside Jupiter.

We also aren’t sure how Jupiter formed. Did it go from the bottom up, as several large objects that collided and merged, growing hugely? Or did it start from the top down, forming directly from the disk of material orbiting the young Sun 4.56 billion years ago?

Related video: Bill Nye on Jupiter’s intense radiation field:

Photo: Karsten Moran, The New York Times

Photo: Karsten Moran, The New York Times

23 Basic Knife Skills »

Julia Moskin of The New York Times put together an excellent guide to knife basics:

Welcome to your new skill set. In this guide, you’re going to learn the best ways to choose knives, take care of them, and cut almost anything (without cutting yourself). These aren’t necessarily the knife skills that aspiring chefs learn at cooking school; they are the skills that we, as home cooks, consider the easiest and quickest routes to the food we want to cook. The videos are here for both inspiration and education: watch all the way through before embarking on an entirely new skill.

By the way, if you’re not already on the NYT Cooking newsletter, you should subscribe. I’m a big fan myself.

How to Smoke Ribs on a Backyard Grill »

On the topic of food, Eater’s Clifford Endo shows a quick and easy way to smoke ribs — not in an actual smoker, but using a standard kettle grill. Set aside four minutes and pick up this neat grilling trick!

Ilvermorny School of Witchcraft and Wizardry »

Harry Potter fans, you’re in for a treat. In anticipation of the November 2016 release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling published a short story about the history and founding of Ilvermorny, the North American counterpart to Hogwarts. It’s a great read:

Isolt [Sayre, born in 1603] arrived in America among the earliest Muggle settlers (Muggles are known as ‘No-Majs’ in the American wizarding community, from ‘No Magic’). On arrival she vanished into the surrounding mountains, leaving her erstwhile shipmates to suppose that ‘Elias Story’ had died of the harsh winter, like so many others. Isolt left the new colony partly because she remained afraid that Gormlaith would track her, even to a new continent, but also because her journey aboard the Mayflower had led her to deduce that a witch was unlikely to find many friends among the Puritans.

If you’ve got a Pottermore account (or decide to create one), you can be “sorted” into an Ilvermorny House, much like you can with Hogwarts.

While you’re at it, you can now read brief backgrounds of other wizarding schools, including a few that weren’t mentioned in the books: Castelobruxo (Brazil), Mahoutokoro (Japan), and Uagadou (Africa).

Adult Beginner Violinist Shares Two Years of Progress in Under Five Minutes »

Ever thought to yourself that it’s “too late” to pick up a cool new skill? This video by Therese Tollbu of Norway — who was 24 when the video was released last summer— proves that practice really does make perfect, no matter your age.

Watching her skill progression over time is pretty inspiring. She’s still going, too.

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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.