I loved playing Rollercoaster Tycoon 2 as a kid, but I never put this kind of effort into it. Impressive.
This is a good reminder to grab OpenRCT2 to start playing again.
(Via 512 Pixels.)
In case you haven’t heard of Xerox PARC before, it’s a research center founded in the 1970’s and, particularly in its early years, provided many vital inventions to the technology community. One of the most visible inventions is the graphical computer interface with point-and-click interaction and windows.
On Quora Alan Kay, one of the original computer scientists at XEROX Parc, answers the question of what made Xerox PARC special:
There was a vision: “The destiny of computers is to become interactive intellectual amplifiers for everyone in the world pervasively networked worldwide”.
Parc was highly concentrated with regard to wealth of talents, abilities, vision, confidence, and cooperation. There was no real management structure, so things were organized to allow researchers to “suggest” and “commit” and “decommit” in a more or less orderly fashion.
It’s worth reading his whole answer to get an understanding of what was the driving force for the researchers.
Destin, at Smarter Every Day, managed to find some guys who made a transparent, acrylic cylinder head for an old one cylinder Briggs and Stratton engine. Combined with his high speed camera to slow things down, he shows exactly what engine combustion looks like.
Peter Bright at ArsTechnica has the detailed and fascinating story on how Microsoft came to have a single kernel for all Windows devices: OneCore. So far, Microsoft is the first in the consumer operating system space1 to achieve this feat:
Microsoft can now credibly speak of having one operating system (with Windows 10 as its most familiar branding) that can span hardware from little embedded Internet of Things devices to games consoles to PCs to cloud-scale server farms. At its heart is a slimmed down, modularized operating system dubbed OneCore. Windows 10, Windows Server, Xbox 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Windows 10 IoT, and the HoloLens operating system are all built on this same foundation.
It took a long time to reach this point. Along the way, Microsoft built three major operating system families, killed two of them off, and even reorganized the entire company. In the end, all that action was necessary in order to make building a single operating system practical. Apple and Google will probably do something similar with their various operating systems, but Microsoft has managed it first.
This is an incredible feat, particularly that this was accomplished while still maintaining Microsoft’s sometimes extreme levels of backwards compatibility.
OneCore comes with initial benefits for Microsoft and third party developers; however, consumers will reap the benefits indirectly in the long term:
Perhaps the biggest gains, for both developers and users, come from unexpected new platforms. When the first work on MinWin was started, nobody could have imagined that one day HoloLens might exist. But with the OneCore platform, adding support for this new hardware becomes relatively straightforward.
The past decade has been an incredible period of technological innovation, with the next decade looking just as bright as all of the technology companies fire on all cylinders. I can’t wait to see and be a part of what comes next.
Indefinitely Wild has a fascinating look into the “Rewarming Drill”, performed by Navy SEALs to prepare for extreme cold weather survival:
The troops would drop their packs on the shore and march ahead fully clothed until they were neck deep in frigid water. For 12 minutes they shivered until John gave the order. With their clothes sopping, violently shaking, they emerged from the cold lake into colder air.
It’s absolutely incredible how they recover from their swim, and a true testament to the value of having the best equipment in the worst conditions:
“With a great clothing system there’s no need to carry extra layers,” John says. “It should be able to perform as a symbiotic system in the most uncompromising situations.
This is a fascinating, anonymous account of jury duty for a homicide trial:
There are twelve of us left. The first thing the prosecutor did during voir dire was ask all the men of color whether we trusted cops. Every black man had a story: police harassment, spurious arrests, intimidation. They were all eliminated. I was asked if I had any experiences of this kind, and I said no. It was the truth. Perhaps this was the time to mention that having witnessed the murders of Eric Garner and Walter Scott on video made personal experience unnecessary. I didn’t mention it.
In the end, only two men of color make it to the jury, and I am one of them. The other is Latino. There are two Latina women, one African-American woman, and one Asian woman. The remaining six jurors are white.
Have you ever wondered why official, brand name device chargers cost so much more than the no-name ones, despite looking almost identical on the outside? Or just how they work?
Ken Shirriff has taken the time to methodically teardown a Macbook, iPad and iPhone charger with detailed pictures and descriptions of how everything works. He also compares them to a no-name charger from Ebay. It’s fascinating, and I know I won’t be buying a no name charger in the future to ensure the safety of myself and my devices.
Bonus: Ken also tore down the Magsafe connector itself, which is more complex than initially meets the eye.
Derek Sivers narrated over a short video (embedded below) to explain how a movement starts, and just how important the first follower is:
I have a small fascination with large numbers. One night when I was in university and should have been studying, I went on the search for the largest number. That search lead me to Graham’s number, and ever since I have been enamored with just how inconceivably large it is.
Tim Urban sums up Graham’s number perfectly, with the best attempt I’ve seen to present the magnitude of it
Huge numbers have always both tantalized me and given me nightmares, and until I learned about Graham’s number, I thought the biggest numbers a human could ever conceive of were things like “A googolplex to the googolplexth power,” which would blow my mind when I thought about it. But when I learned about Graham’s number, I realized that not only had I not scratched the surface of a truly huge number, I had been incapable of doing so—I didn’t have the tools. And now that I’ve gained those tools (and you will too today), a googolplex to the googolplexth power sounds like a kid saying “100 plus 100!” when asked to say the biggest number he could think of.