Fred Roger’s recorded a message, shortly before he died, to those of us who grew up watching his neighborhood:

Fred Rogers recorded this message for those who grew up with “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” It aired on PBS to mark the one-year anniversary of 9/11, about five months before he died. #bemyneighbor

His company posted it on Vimeo yesterday.

February 28, 2015

Phil Plait, Slate’s Bad Astronomer, notices something strange about The Simpsons:

… Until a scene came up that chilled me to the bone. I was so shocked that I had to rewind and watch it again, then freeze frame it to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.

This is the moment that changed everything for me. The frozen moment of time when I realized that for 26 years, The Simpsons has been lying to us.

This totally jives with the theory that Homer has been in a coma for 20+ years.

February 23, 2015

Matchbook: Bar Americain

February 22, 2015 at 9:00am • Zero comments

Daniel Engber at Slate makes the case to get rid of wind chill:

As the use of equivalent temperatures spread, people started to notice inconsistencies between real temperatures and their wind chill counterparts. For some reason, a day spent in a minus-40 wind chill was a lot easier to handle than a minus-40-degree day with no wind. Around 2000, two researchers—Randall Osczevski in Canada and Maurice Bluestein in the United States—began looking closely at this problem. Before long, they discovered that the adapted Siple-Passel equations grossly overestimated rates of heat loss.

I didn’t realize it was calculated using a 5-foot man…that seems strange. Weather services and weathermen (weatherpeople?) will never get rid of it because it’s a grand number that they can trot out in teasers to get viewers/listeners.

February 18, 2015

Scientists used a high-speed camera and sound recording to figure out why a popcorn pops:

Using a high-speed camera, which took 2,900 frames per second, the researchers also show that the kernel is propelled into the air by a “leg” of expanding starch. Previously, scientists had speculated that escaping steam might boost the kernel upwards in a “rocket” effect. But in a freeze-frame analysis, the researchers show the dynamics of a jumping piece of popcorn are similar to an acrobat performing a somersault.

Next time I make popcorn, I’m going to start giving those little acrobats a number grade.

February 17, 2015

Matchbook: Bouley

February 15, 2015 at 9:00am • Zero comments

Andrew McMillen at Medium brings us a look at the person who edits Wikipedia articles correcting just one grammatical error.

“[…] Like, one of my favorite Wikipedians of all time is this user called Giraffedata,” he says. “He has, like, 15,000 edits, and he’s done almost nothing except fix the incorrect use of ‘comprised of’ in articles.”

A couple of audience members applaud loudly.

“By hand, manually. No tools!” interjects Pinchuk, her green-painted fingernails fluttering as she gestures for emphasis.

“It’s not a bot!” adds Walling. “It’s totally contextual in every article. He’s, like, my hero!”

This takes pet-peeves to a whole new level.

February 10, 2015

Matchbook: Rue 57

February 8, 2015 at 9:00am • Zero comments

The Times tackles the important question of why using a treadmill seems more difficult than exercising outdoors or on a track:

In a 2012 experiment, runners were asked to jog on a track while rating how difficult the exercise felt. Then they hopped on treadmills without speed displays and were told to set the machine to a pace that felt the same as what they had just run. Almost all chose a speed that was much slower. On the treadmill, this gentle pace felt as difficult as swifter running on the track.

For me, it’s the combination of having the same scenery and the lack of a finish line that makes it so tedious. It feels like work.

February 7, 2015

Slate brings us some photos from Reinier Gerritsen who photographed people reading books on the NYC subway.

Gerritsen was struck by the incredible diversity of books he saw in the subway system. He was also interested in observing how an individual’s choice of book was as much an expression of identity as an item of clothing. Gerritsen found the L train’s reading material especially interesting.

“The L is the most intellectual line, I think. A lot of people are going to Brooklyn. They read certain books. There is a difference,” he said.

The main thing I dislike about ereaders on the subway is that you can’t tell what the person is reading.

February 4, 2015