Written by

Chris Gonzales

Happy Leap Day, everyone! And welcome to this week’s edition of our 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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🛫: Humans have been taking to the skies for over a century now, and we’ve pretty much nailed the “designing airplanes that stay aloft” aspect of things. But did you know we still have no scientific consensus on why they stay up there in the first place?

That’s right! The exact mechanism that makes aerodynamic lift function is somehow still a mystery to us, with no single theory yet able to explain every element of the phenomenon without raising more questions. No one can explain it!

Next time you’re experiencing turbulence as you hurtle through the sky in a metal bullet, let this little nugget of knowledge bring you inner peace and solace 😌

🎼🤯: In similar “crazy things I just found out” news, there’s a lot to unpack about the origin and making of the Seinfeld theme music:

  1. For one thing, it wasn’t a real slap bass!
  2. For another, the guy (Jonathan Wolff) recorded a new version of it for every episode, customized to the “tempo” of Jerry’s opening standup monologue!
  3. What!!

You can follow Wolff on Twitter at @seinfeldmusic.

💞: Illustrator Fran Meneses (aka “Frannerd”) recently did a little comic strip about self-love in the form of “leaving little gifts to your future self.” In case you’re having trouble getting around to doing that thing you know you’ll later regret putting off.

🔗💯: Redditor u/Ciiplex recently asked, “What is the coolest website you’ve visited that no one knows about?” As expected, the literal thousands of responses that followed are full of cool and interesting things that should eat up a nice chunk of your weekend.

🔌🗑: Ever wondered exactly how wasteful you’re being when you get rid of an old blowdryer, camera, or cellphone? Industrial designer Dina Amin does animated breakdowns of discarded products to illustrate all the probably-still-good parts you’re thoughtlessly throwing out with the malfunctioning ones.

🧮: This Russian multiplication trick blew my mind and might just do the same for you. I had no idea you could manipulate numbers this way.

🖼: The Smithsonian Institution has released 2.8 million high-resolution images into the public domain, a collection they’ve dubbed Smithsonian Open Access.

It sounds so simple when I write it like that, so let me be clear: This is an absolute treasure trove of archival imagery, and every single one of them is 100% free to use, remix, and share — no questions asked. Personally, I’m poring through the collection listed under “SPACECRAFT-Manned”, where you can find things like the Apollo 11 command module.

This will quickly become an invaluable resource for a lot of people, I’m certain of it. (via Jason Kottke)

📚: This past Valentine’s Day happened to be the 125th anniversary of the New York Public Library. To celebrate, they released their list of “125 Books We Love”, featuring titles for adults from the last 125 years, all chosen by the institution’s expert librarians.

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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.