Written by

Chris Gonzales


Thomas Richter

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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Behind the Lens: 2015 Year in Photographs »

Pete Souza, Chief Official White House Photographer:

One of the best and most challenging aspects of my job is whittling down a year’s worth of photographs to the final selections for my annual Year in Photographs. Every year, I attempt to keep it less than 100 photos — and every year I fail in that goal. But I am excited once again to present this gallery for the seventh consecutive year.

Incredible collection — not a bad photo in the bunch. Here are a few more of my favorites:

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Pete Souza

Photo: Bill McCullough, The New York Times

Photo: Bill McCullough, The New York Times

The Weather God of Oklahoma City »

As a lifelong Oklahoman who grew up watching Gary England accurately predict terrible weather time and time again, I’m obviously biased when I say I found this 2013 profile of the famed meteorologist fascinating. The man is good at what he does:

England pointed to a red-and-white metal broadcast tower on the building’s back lawn.

“Watch the tower,” he said.

We all watched the tower.

A few seconds later he added, with the rhythmic precision of an orchestra conductor calling in the kettledrums, “It should be coming — right . . . now.”

And then it came. The clouds accelerated, whipping past the tower as if fleeing something terrible. The rain went from a steady pour to dense, hectic, laser-targeted swarms coming at us sideways. The trees churned with new urgency.

England, having apparently seen all he needed to see, turned and left us at the door. It was unclear, to me at least, whether we had just witnessed a weather forecast or a feat of shamanism — if England was predicting or controlling the storm.

Even if you’re not an Oklahoman or never been there, I think this is worth a read. People often ask what it’s like for us when tornadoes season is in full swing, and this article paints an accurate picture.

This unrelated reddit comment is also painfully accurate:

In the event of a Tornado Warning, immediately step outside and look at the sky. If you see a funnel extending from the clouds to the ground, take cover in your standard issue Tornado Shelter (bathtub) and pray either to Gary England or the ghost of Jim Giles. If you don’t see a funnel cloud, make a comment about how green skies always make you nervous and remain outside until either a funnel cloud appears or tree limbs start breaking off in the wind.

And the first comment underneath:

You left out the part where when the tornado sirens go off, proceed outside with a camera (to take video is the storm) and some beer. It’s time to meet the neighbors because everyone’s all outside at once!

Government Revises Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Go Ahead and Have Some Eggs »

Peter Whoriskey of The Washington Post covers the US government’s new “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”:

“None of the research is definitive,” [Christopher Gardner, professor of medicine at Stanford] said. “To really know what [saturated fats] do would take the kinds of studies we can’t actually run in real life. But you can’t have no advice, so this is the best advice from the data that is available and may not be very useful.”

As the title says, just enjoy your eggs people. Life’s too short to worry about every single meal.

Somewhat related story by FiveThirtyEight: You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition

Graphic: Max Galka

Graphic: Max Galka

Half the World Lives on 1% of Its Land »

Data visualizer Max Galka mapped out the world’s population and the result was surprising:

As discussed in a previous post, by 2100, the world’s population is projected to balloon to 11 billion. Looked at in isolation, that number seems astoundingly high.

Does the earth have enough room to accommodate so many people?

Judging by this map, the answer is a clear yes. While overpopulation may be a localized problem in some of the densely population areas of Asia (see population maps of Bangladesh/India and Tokyo), the vast majority of the world’s land area is actually very sparsely populated.

So that’s why everywhere I go seems so crowded anymore. Anyone wanna go in on an apartment in Antarctica?

Photo: Zoran Zemeski

Photo: Zoran Zemeski

Research Confirms a Link Between Intelligence and Life Expectancy »

David Z. Hambrick, Scientific American:

Exactly what could explain the genetic link between IQ and mortality remains unclear. One possibility is that a higher IQ contributes to optimal health behaviors, such as exercising, wearing a seatbelt, and not smoking. Consistent with this hypothesis, in the Scottish data, there was no relationship between IQ and smoking behavior in the 1930s and 1940s, when the health risks of smoking were unknown, but after that, people with higher IQs were more likely to quit smoking. Alternatively, it could be that some of the same genetic factors contribute to variation in both IQ and in the propensity to engage in these sorts of behaviors.

My condolences, most of the people I went to high school with. Ooh, got some ointment for that buuurn?

Ensemble Staging in Films »

Tony Zhou (of the Every Frame a Painting video essay series) examines film ensemble staging by way of the 2003 South Korean crime-drama film Memories of Murder. As always, it’s a fascinating look at the subtle, artful ways films can be made.

Oscar Isaac Covers Bill Murray’s Star Wars Theme Song »

We’ll end on a fun one this week. GQ asked the guy who played pilot Poe Dameronwarning: link contains spoilers — in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to cover this song from Bill Murray’s iconic Saturday Night Live lounge singer sketch, and he just kills it. Didn’t expect that.

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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.