Linked List: April 2023

TIL: The Ten Thousand Bowls of Oatmeal Problem

Today I learned about the 10000 bowls of oatmeal problem, via a helpful clarifying comment on a thread on Hacker News:

Every bowl of oatmeal is unique, Compton explains, but that does not make them interesting or valuable. Designers use this to understand that procedural generation alone does not guarantee variety or interest, and that systems must be carefully designed to use generative methods as an expressive tool, rather than a solution in and of itself.

This led me to this post, and now I need to make my way out of yet another interesting internet wormhole and get to the stream.


Slow down selected segments of YouTube videos to help learn music by ear! A wonderful project by Brian Shano.


Walter Isaacson, in his biography of Steve Jobs:

In return for speaking at the retreat, Jobs got Murdoch to hear him out on Fox News, which he believed was destructive, harmful to the nation, and a blot on Murdoch’s reputation. “You’re blowing it with Fox News,” Jobs told him over dinner. “The axis today is not liberal and conservative, the axis is constructive-destructive, and you’ve cast your lot with the destructive people. Fox has become an incredibly destructive force in our society. You can be better, and this is going to be your legacy if you’re not careful.”

Basic Income Pilot Program Proposed for Detroit

Lets do it.

Jugding a Book by Its Cover Is One of the Wisest Judgments We Can Make

Adam Gopnik’s profile of virtuoso graphic designer Milton Glaser in The New Yorker.

Space Elevator

Flying stuff trivia between ground and outer space, 100km up.

Make Something Wonderful

A curated collection of Steve Job’s speeches, interviews and correspondence.

Laurene Powell Jobs in her introduction:

Steve once told a group of students, “You appear, have a chance to blaze in the sky, then you disappear.” He gave an extraordinary amount of thought to how best to use our fleeting time.

The book is edited well, filled with little prescient pieces like this one, from Steve’s speech at a conference in Aspen, Colorado, on June 15, 1983:

When I was going to school, I had a few great teachers and a lot of mediocre teachers. And the thing that probably kept me out of jail was the books. I could go and read what Aristotle or Plato wrote without an intermediary in the way. And a book was a phenomenal thing. It got right from the source to the destination without anything in the middle.

The problem was, you can’t ask Aristotle a question. And I think, as we look towards the next fifty to one hundred years, if we really can come up with these machines that can capture an underlying spirit, or an underlying set of principles, or an underlying way of looking at the world, then, when the next Aristotle comes around, maybe if he carries around one of these machines with him his whole life—his or her whole life—and types in all this stuff, then maybe someday, after this person’s dead and gone, we can ask this machine, “Hey, what would Aristotle have said? What about this?” And maybe we won’t get the right answer, but maybe we will. And that’s really exciting to me. And that’s one of the reasons I’m doing what I’m doing.

So, what do you want to talk about?

Games Completed Live

Consider this new section of the Streaming page a rocket booster attachment towards finishing video games or particular video game goals on stream from time to time.

🪄 First Noita Win

After 279 tries and some recent focussed playing with help from kind people in my livestream chat, I am happy to finally have my first Noita victory!

Thank you to all the wonderful stream regulars like Schippah, GalaxiaCat, Futura_Light, VampaCanora, RazWasabi, artwongt, EliasSpeaks, M0rt75, Mattrogg, TimmyThumb, Icebird4All, and CmdrSpaceDog, and also to newcomers mike239x, Niborius, Machebelli, Sokolas, and Ko0bEy for your help with crafting a game-winning pollen-firing laser magic fire stick!

Noita notes to follow.

FAA Minecraft Airport Design Challenge

During the Airport Design Challenge, students have the opportunity to design virtual airports in Minecraft based on guidance from FAA aerospace and engineering experts. Participating students meet aviation professionals, engage with other designers, and learn about the aerospace industry. The challenge offers first-hand experience in an aviation-related application of STEM concepts and helps students apply their academic knowledge and skills to professional simulations.

Purkinje Effect

The Purkinje effect or Purkinje phenomenon is the tendency for the peak luminance sensitivity of the eye to shift toward the blue end of the color spectrum at low illumination levels as part of dark adaptation.In consequence, reds will appear darker relative to other colors as light levels decrease.

User Sharlin, in the HN discussion:

Blue LEDs are so utterly annoying in the dark because even though human color vision is by far the least sensitive to blue light, in the dark the situation is reversed.

Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

A nurse caring for older people spoke with them about their regrets and wrote a book. The summary has always stayed in my mind:

  • Don’t forget your dreams.
  • Don’t work too hard.
  • Say what you think.
  • Cultivate friendships.
  • Be happy.
Everspace 2 Seems Dope

Steve Hogarty, in his review of Everspace 2 over at RPS:

Destroy an enemy ship and it will send collectible debris flying everywhere. Most of it is dull and common, which your brain will regard with complete, chemical indifference. Some of it is shiny and uncommon, which sets the first few overly-keen dopamine receptors going, like a guy in the audience who accidentally starts clapping before the song’s finished. And some of it is rare, the good stuff, which feels like sticking a finger inside your head to scratch an itch on the inside of your skull.

Die Hard Nakatomi Plaza Video Game

Apparently the engine of this find is the same one used for No One Lives Forever, one of my favorite first-person-shooters from that era.

Futura_Light should be streaming this. Via the same.