The eclipse seen from an airplane, time lapse:
This proposal is modest compared with the space programme, and may seem unrealistic only because little effort has been devoted to it. The time has come for action.
Will the paternoster be reborn?:
(HN Comments.) This could alleviate a serious limiting factor for extremely tall skyscrapers, which use a surprisingly large fraction of their square footage for elevators.
Rent…is…a payment for a resource in excess of its opportunity cost, one that instead reflects market power. There has been, for the last few years, a “big idea” floating around the economics conversation that these rents are growing — that unearned gains are eating up an larger share of income. Let’s call it “the rent hypothesis.” It’s an appealing idea from a certain perspective. It seems to explain a lot.
Trying to spot rents is, in this sense, a bit like trying to spot a black hole… the idea is to spot rents by what is missing, by the presence of a contradiction where only rents can fill the gap. This is a fun game to play, but it ends up being pretty unconvincing.
What, then, might a more convincing analysis show in support of the rent hypothesis? Here are four ideas….
- The physical appearance of the ISS, from first principles: Why Does The International Space Station Have Such A Weird Shape?
National Science Foundation to require open access after one year:
NSF will require that either the version of record or the final accepted manuscript in peer-reviewed scholarly journals and papers in juried conference proceedings or transactions must:
- Be deposited in a public access compliant repository designated by NSF;
- Be available for download, reading and analysis free of charge no later than 12 months after initial publication;
- Possess a minimum set of machine-readable metadata elements in a metadata record to be made available free of charge upon initial publication;
- Be managed to ensure long-term preservation; and
- Be reported in annual and final reports during the period of the award with a persistent identifier that provides links to the full text of the publication as well as other metadata elements.
- It appears that the childhood cause of myopia (near-sightedness) has finally been pinned down: it’s probably outdoor light exposure, not focal distance. (HN comments.)
Cubic robot that walks purely with inertia:
A tour of the British accents:
On the heritability of entrepreneurship:
We find that parental entrepreneurship increases the probability of children’s entrepreneurship by about 60%. For adoptees, both biological and adoptive parents make significant contributions to this association. These contributions, however, are quite different in size. Postbirth factors account for twice as much as prebirth factors in our decomposition of the intergenerational association in entrepreneurship.
- More on modular construction in China.
Witten on consciousness:
I can’t conceive of [consciousness] not remaining a mystery, unless there’s some modification of the laws of physics that’s relevant to understanding the functioning of the brain. And I think that’s very unlikely.
(H/t Sean Carroll. Like Sean, I think Witten is too pessimistic.)
Is there a pattern to when mathematical terms derived from the names of mathematicians are capitalized?
Having one’s name an uncapitalized mathematical adjective is the highest honor a mathematician can get
- Psychology journal takes stand against p-values. Here is some good commentary.
Skydiver has seizure in middle of jump. (Warning: distressing.)
- Sabine Hossenfelder has some excellent discussion of public criticisms of scientific research, and some of the incentives at play.
A 2,000-atom-wide bacteria:
- Raytracing, and an explanation for the appearance of the accretion disk of Gargantuan in Interstellar.
Weinberg on quantum mechanics:
There’s something I’ve been working on for more than a year — maybe it’s just an old man’s obsession, but I’m trying to find an approach to quantum mechanics that makes more sense than existing approaches. I’ve just finished editing the second edition of my book, Lectures on Quantum Mechanics, in which I think I strengthen the argument that none of the existing interpretations of quantum mechanics are entirely satisfactory.
It is becoming more acceptable to admit that quantum mechanics might be unsatisfactory even as new experiments do nothing but confirm it. Why?