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The Pipwick Papers

Idea Magic

Last week I was in Iceland observing the international internet spaceship convention that is EVE Fanfest. It was fascinating stuff but ALAS meant an absence of Pipwick Papers on account of me not looking outside videogames for, like, five out of seven days. This week, however, I've taken a day off and have confirmed that the outside world is still doing things you might find interesting. Here's this week's roundup. Think of it as a geothermic spring, covering you in curious soothing warmth except the warmth is weblinks and the spring doesn't exist and I'm making no guarantees about warmth or being soothed.

This is not the Sunday Papers.

  • The Week has a history of British Summer Time which also features DOUBLE British Summer Time
  • The Washington Post's Tom Jackman explains how two George Mason University students have come up with a way to extinguish fires using low frequency sound waves
  • The basic concept, Tran said, is that sound waves are also “pressure waves, and they displace some of the oxygen” as they travel through the air. Oxygen, we all recall from high school chemistry, fuels fire. At a certain frequency, the sound waves “separate the oxygen [in the fire] from the fuel. The pressure wave is going back and forth, and that agitates where the air is. That specific space is enough to keep the fire from reigniting."

  • The Princeton Review tries to take Taylor Swift to task for crimes against grammar. The Princeton Review gets the lyrics wrong and is then wrong once it gets them right, as Steven Poole points out in The Guardian
  • Pictures of a newly described frog species capable of turning its skin from spiky to smooth in The Scientist
  • 3D printed ants using teamwork to move large objects
  • The Guardian's Eric McCann on why Utah has brought back firing squad executions
  • Though it may seem a relic from the distant past, it was only 10 years ago that the state actually did away with the shooting people to death. Inmates sentenced before 2004 were given the option to choose the firing squad over lethal injection, which is how in 2010 Ronnie Lee Gardner became the last person executed in the US by firing squad.

  • Vince Beiser writes for Wired on the deadly global war for sand – it's something I knew nothing about, despite the amount we use in construction and manufacture every year
  • Aaaaand if you wanted to know about a group of biohackers trying to give themselves night vision by dribbling a chlorophyll analogue into their eyeballs Mic's Max Plenke has you covered
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