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.
🦊📸: Need a little visual pick-me-up this week? A few years ago, Bored Panda community member “Skirmantė” shared a series of photos by Ivan Kislov, a Russian mining engineer who uses downtime during long work shifts to capture stunning images of wild foxes. If the third one doesn’t melt your heart, I don’t know what will.
🧤🪑: At the speed memes move these days, it’s impossible for this column to keep up with them all, so I hope you’ll excuse how “late” this one is.
Anyway, you know how the Bernie Sanders mittens thing was all over the internet for a few days there? Well, Rachelle Hampton of Slate interviewed the second-grade Vermont teacher who made them for him in 2016, after he’d lost the presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton.
It’s such a pleasant interview and she seems like the sweetest lady in the world. My favorite bit was how down-to-earth she’s been about the whole ‘sudden fame’ thing:
Honestly, I think that my slice of media is so limited because people are making these as we speak and I’m teaching reading lessons in a little rural Vermont school with the snow gently falling. I’ve had to turn everything off so I can focus on what my real life is. This is a really lovely flash in the pan, but I know that it’s not gonna last and I need to keep my day job. People have sent me legitimate offers, I’ve only seen a few of them but people have been like, “Oh I own a factory” or “Oh I’m a designer, I’m a businessperson, I could publicize your new business.” I can see that if I wanted to drop everything and pursue that path, I could do it, but who knows how long that would last? The path that I’m already on brings me a tremendous amount of joy and I think that’s the greatest symbol of success, right? This little blip of fame is sweet, and it’ll pass, and then my regular life will just be what it already is, which is kind of nice.
🥲 If only more people thought like that.
🌍🔭👽: Over the last few decades, astronomers the world over have been discovering more and more “exoplanets” — that is, planets orbiting stars other than our own. But what if a spacefaring civilization from one of those planets discovered us in return? What could they observe and glean about us? Which of them would even be able to notice us at all?
A month ago, Astronomy.com’s Nathaniel Scharping shared shared some recent research concerning those very questions:
Using data from Gaia and NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), Pepper and Lisa Kaltenegger, director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell University, went looking for planets that were aligned with Earth’s orbit around the Sun. This would let any alien observers witness the Sun drop in brightness a tiny bit whenever Earth passes in front of it. They cut off their search at around 330 light-years, and excluded some stars with poor data, ending up with a list of around 1,000 stars properly aligned with Earth’s orbit.
Watching a planet pass in front of its star, known as a transit, is currently the best way we have of looking for exoplanets, Pepper says. That made it a natural choice for how other planets might spot us.
🛰: Alien astronomers aside, there’s still plenty to learn about the new ways we ourselves can observe our own planet. For example, it’s crazy what a change in satellite camera angles makes in terms of seeing incredible details in imagery of both cities and natural surface features.
📽🎞🦙: The Emperor’s New Groove is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, and maybe movies period. I laugh hard every time I watch it, all these years later. And yet, I had no idea the history of its making was filled with so many twists and turns.
“It was probably the funniest writers’ room you could possibly have. A table of people who had nothing to lose.”
I mean, the production was a real mess there for a while. It’s unbelievable how far off the rails things got:
Williams: At some point, I was like, “My gosh, what can’t be in this movie? I need to know.” There was another meeting, back when the idea was that Kuzco would be trapped in the village, and he’s meeting all these weird and interesting people. I was suggesting a pitch like, “Hey, what if we did a split screen, where you have him in all these different scenarios and he’s being overwhelmed?” So there’s a split screen into two [frames]… then into four… then we’ll go eight and 16. But what if we just keep doing split screens? Keep doing it…until it’s all these tiny little boxes. And I said, “In one of the boxes, you put live action footage of the space shuttle taking off.” I finally got an, “Ah, I don’t know.” So I was like, “Okay. I think I know now the tonal limit.”
Like, how many films can say they threw out months of story work and half a dozen Sting songs? Sting, of all people! Sting. By the time they wrapped up, there wasn’t even a bound script to hand over to the Disney archives:
He goes, “There’s no script? What are you talking about?”
I go, “We don’t have a script. We never wrote a script. We just made the movie.”
He goes, “You’ve got to have a script. Archives has to have a script.”
“I don’t know what to tell you. Tell them to go see the movie. It’s in theaters right now.”
I’m absolutely fascinated (and yes, amused) by this whole thing; how have I never heard about it until now?? Sounds like I’ve got a lot of
bootleg behind-the-scenes documentary stuff to track down and watch!
🫑🧀🌮: Am I going to try this two-ingredient taco filling as soon as I’m able? You bet your tortillas I am.
⌚️: Ever wondered what inspired the Apple Watch’s various faces? Designer Arun Venkatesan recently published a detailed article about it that’s been going semi-viral in Apple blog circles.
🕵️♂️📺: I don’t honestly know why, but I keep going back to watch this scene of Sherlock Holmes meeting Professor Moriarty from the acclaimed 1984 British TV series:
I guess there’s just something magnetic about it to me. As fun as the newer films with Robert Downey Jr. are, Jeremy Brett (Sherlock) and Eric Porter (Moriarty) were absolutely perfect in their respective roles here; the characters felt like they’d leapt right off Sir Doyle’s pages and onto the screen.
Neat Stuff We’ve Published Recently
- The School of Life’s Big Ideas for Curious Minds: An Introduction to Philosophy is perfect for kids in the 8–12 age range who’ve started grappling with some of life’s most profound concepts. Lots of wonderful parent/kid conversation starters in here.
- V-MORO’s leather AirPods Pro case looks like luxury but doesn’t cost it.
- It won’t be the sexiest tool in your kitchen, but a good, flexible dough scraper is an essential part of any baker’s kit.
- This handmade steel fire pit is modeled after the One Ring and its inscription from The Lord of the Rings.
- Just because we’re a month into 2021 doesn’t mean it’s too late to pick up the ever-awesome NeuYear single-page desk/wall calendar.
- In only 176 pages, this little book covers just about everything you’d want to know about the origins, consumption, production, economics, and geopolitics of coffee.
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.