Links: Late March 2014

Here are some links that I’ve seen recently and recommend. It’s an intentionally short list; I’ve shared several more on Twitter.

The big news in physics this week is the detection of polarisation patterns in the cosmic microwave background radiation that match what is expected if inflation theory is true. However, I’m not able to recommend a single best article on this topic, so I’ll leave it out.


  • The origami microscope is amazing. The TED talk will probably leave you with unanswered questions, like “Huh?”
  • LONG article involving autism and cartoons. Worth the effort.
  • The role of sponges in oxygenating the early oceans. Article could be better written, but it’s an intriguing idea.
  • You probably already know why Americans are weird (and, at the risk of spoiling the joke, so are Australians). But read this anyway; it’s a well-written overview.


  • I tried out the demo version of Osmos — a game in which you play the part of a blob absorbing (or being absorbed by) other blobs. I like it a lot, but with one deal-breaking reservation: the game saves information files in the user’s Documents folder. I feel strongly that the Documents folder should be reserved for the user’s own files, and that any software that stores files there automatically (without letting the user select an alternative location) is intruding on their personal space. (Note: At the time of writing, the most recent Windows version is 1.6.0.)
  • Hilarious clip involving a dog at a restaurant.

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