• Glass Works: How Corning Created the Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material of the Future
    This is a story about R&D at Corning and how Gorilla Glass was made, and general practices around making glass. Neat and interesting throughout.

    The interplay between compression and tension is best demonstrated by something called a Prince Rupert’s drop. Formed by dripping globs of molten glass into ice water, the quickly cooled and compressed heads of these tadpole-shaped droplets can withstand massive amounts of punishment, including repeated hammer blows. The thin glass at the end of the tail is more vulnerable, however, and if you break it the fracture will propagate through the drop at 2,000 miles per hour, releasing the inner tension. Violently. In some cases, a Prince Rupert’s drop can explode with such force that it will actually emit a flash of light.

  • Branded for Life
    Like being a KPop artist, being a brand actor (one of those actors that appear in commercials for a particular product) requires a lot of discipline and sacrifice in your lifestyle – you might never be cast in another role because your face is too recognizable! Although, I think that is being pessimistic from an actor’s point of view; because I’m not an actor, I wouldn’t mind being a brand actor!

    But much of his public silence over the years, Marcarelli explained, had largely been self-imposed in deference to the brand character he played and the sizable income that came with it. Once, he had even decided not to file a police report about teenagers yelling homophobic slurs outside his home out of concern about how it would be perceived publicly if news got out that the actor who played the Test Man was, in fact, gay.

  • What It’s Like To Be On Jeopardy
    Because I don’t have enough arcane knowledge in my head, I’ll never be on Jeopardy, but I do enjoy watching the show from time to time. I think going to the show, or being on the show would be fun and an experience (we can’t all live like Rick Mercer); but since I can’t do that reading about it is the next best thing.

    The show wasn’t and isn’t looking solely for smart people who test well. Rather, they want people with a combination of traits: a deep knowledge well, the ability to retrieve an answer quickly, unflappability, a decent personal presentation and personability. The 21 people in my audition slot in Seattle (including an old friend I ran into who had auditioned before) for the most part had those characteristics.

  • The Patent, Used As A Sword
    The NY Times on how patents don’t work in the software industry. Another article that summarizes the current issues and some of the attempts at fixing the solution
  • From North Korea’s Oz to its Forgotten Cities
    A short article on North Korea that looks at the dichotomy between its cities and its capital, Pyongyang.

    Today, the Pyongyang rich, spending their dollars, euros and Chinese yuan, can buy everything from high heels to imported watches. They have bought enough cars in the past couple years to cause the occasional traffic jam.