All the Stations

I’ve become a little obsessed with All the Stations, in which a pair of YouTubers are journeying to all 2,563 railway stations in Great Britain. They’re not getting out at every station, but are at terminus stations and major interchanges, so in addition to a lot of footage of railways (and who doesn’t need a lot of footage of railways), you also see local people and landmarks and castles (so many castles).

That settles it. I need to visit these places.



A company called teehan+max has developed an engine for taking Google Street View images and building video time lapses — basically reconstructing what you might have seen if you were aboard Google’s car, perhaps staring at interesting nearby landmarks. The result is this:



Less Miserable Airlines (Les Misérables Parody)

I think “Les Misérables on a modern airline” is really all I need to say about this. Though I’ll add that it’s absolutely fantastic.

For example, I Dreamed a Dream begins:

I dreamed a dream that I could fly non-stop from Baltimore to Phoenix. And I’d be smiling in the sky, not down here crying in a kleenex. When I was young, flights weren’t delayed. And better in-flight food was tasted. There were no bag fees to be paid. No frequent flyer miles were wasted.

But the fees now come in spades. And you fear you’ll be blacklisted. Airlines tear your hope apart. And they turn your dreams to shame.

I kept a carry-on by my side. They made me check it in as baggage. A hefty fee was then applied! And it was gone at baggage claim.


Today’s Athletes

The New York Times looked at every athlete who’s won an Olympic medal in the 100-meter sprint since 1896, drew them all on the same track, and studied the wonderful history of sprinting. You can see just how much faster athletes are today than even a few years ago — and how often records are broken. You’ll leave for new respect for today’s athletes, and a profound sense that you will never compete anywhere near that level.

The Times also took on the 100-meter freestyle and the long jump, with each yielding a different and fascinating view of athletic history.

Hour Physics

Surely the exact opposite of Minute Physics is the Richard Feynman’s hours-long (and entirely engaging) talks given for the Messenger Lectures at Cornell. Here’s the first hour:

The whole series isn’t available from a single source, but it all seems to be available (following YouTube’s “related videos”, or just searching for “The Character of Physical Law”).

Possibly my favorite thing anybody’s ever said comes in the seventh part, Seeking New Laws:

Now I’m going to discuss how we would look for a new law. In general, we look for a new law by the following process:

First, we guess it. Then we compute the consequences of the guess to see what (if this law that we guessed is right) it would imply. Then we compare the computation results to nature — or we say compare to experiment or experience.

If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong.

In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is, how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.

He goes on to talk about how once we had confidence in the law of gravitation we were able to derive new laws (and calculate for the first time the speed of light), and in that way describes how each new discovery in science leads to exponentially more new discoveries in turn. Another gem: “We’re trying to prove ourselves wrong as quickly as possible because only in that way do we find progress.”