Links: Late August 2014

Here is a collection of links, several of which I bookmarked before my holiday in Sydney.

Interesting:

  • I include this article on quantum computers only because I once wrote an article of the sort it condemns as hyped and misinformed. Sorry. (I wrote the article as an undergraduate, and you can find it via this old blog post.)
  • Good and simple video showing how gravity works in general relativity. It represents my own level of understanding.
  • You have fingers for essentially the same reason that cheetahs have spots.
  • I found this nice tool for calculating apparent angular diameters. From a satellite orbiting 225 km above the earth (not quite high enough to be stable), the planet would have an apparent angular diameter of 150 degrees — the same as analogue clock hands at 7:00 or 5:00. From 2,640 km (comparable with the 2000 km outer bound of low earth orbit), it would be 90 degrees across. From 18,260 km (roughly halfway to geosynchronous orbit), it would take up 30 degrees. What else can you discover?

Delightful:

  • This mathematical question involving squares in conjunction with curves is largely solved but interesting to contemplate (and a good excuse to doodle).
  • Not delightful at all, but marking the end of something that is: I recently learned that the collaborative short story writing site ficly.com is closing its doors (but there’ll be an archive).

Awareness:

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