Links I liked (edition #5)

Hello. Here are some things on the Internet you might enjoy reading.

Shanghai. Jesse Vincent makes keyboards. By hand. Which is clearly a niche thing to do, but that’s cool. Jesse went to Shanghai recently and wrote up a travelogue of his experiences trying to buy electronics components, consuming tasty yet unidentifiable foodstuffs with the local Linux user group, and generally being an observant westerner in the PRC. “Some of the drive from PuDong to Shanghai felt like driving through a megalopolis. Some of it felt like driving through a post-apocalyptic wasteland.”

Customs. If you’ve ever wondered whether astronauts technically leave their country of departure, the answer back in 1969 was an unequivocal yes. No idea whether it’s still true. But anyway, you can see the customs declaration form that the Apollo 11 crew filled in when they arrived in Honolulu after their multi-stop itinerary: Cape Canaveral – Moon – Honolulu.

Space. This is an engaging little piece about driving round the largest man-made scale model of the Solar System. (It’s about 100 miles as the crow flies from Eris to the Sun.)

The Second Law of Thermodynamics. Finally, here’s a heartfelt posting on the New Yorker books blog celebrating the 20th anniversary of Tom Stoppard’s sublime play ‘Arcadia’. “The play’s ingredients include sexual jealousy and poetasters and the gothic school of landscape gardening and duelling and chaos theory and botany and the perennial war between Classical and Romantic aesthetics and the maturing of mathematical prodigies.” Not to mention the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Arcadia is one of the most compelling, intellectually stimulating and slyly entertaining plays that I’ve ever seen, and this piece sums it up beautifully.

That’s all for now. Happy New Year!

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