Roger Federer as a Religious Experience →

Bill Gates recommends a book of compiled David Foster Wallace articles called String Theory. Wondering if I’d enjoy the book, I stumbled upon this 11 year old article that examines an already experienced Federer whose career we still enthralled with today.

The metaphysical explanation is that Roger Federer is one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws. Good analogues here include Michael Jordan, who could not only jump inhumanly high but actually hang there a beat or two longer than gravity allows, and Muhammad Ali, who really could “float” across the canvas and land two or three jabs in the clock-time required for one. There are probably a half-dozen other examples since 1960. And Federer is of this type — a type that one could call genius, or mutant, or avatar. He is never hurried or off-balance. The approaching ball hangs, for him, a split-second longer than it ought to. His movements are lithe rather than athletic. Like Ali, Jordan, Maradona, and Gretzky, he seems both less and more substantial than the men he faces. Particularly in the all-white that Wimbledon enjoys getting away with still requiring, he looks like what he may well (I think) be: a creature whose body is both flesh and, somehow, light.

A Relentless Rivalry With Brother and Caddie, Austin, Has Propelled DJ to the Top of the Game →

At the Ryder Cup every little detail becomes an obsession, from the pleats in the golfers’ pants to how the pin positions favor the collective ball flights of the home team. No minutia is insignificant … unless you’re Dustin Johnson and his brother-caddie, Austin, golf’s most laconic characters. During last year’s event at Hazeltine, Dustin faced a sloping mid-length putt that plainly had two or three feet of right-to-left break. After conferring with his brother, he started his ball a yard left of the hole, missing the putt by at least six feet. Had the tension short-circuited his stroke or perhaps clouded his vision, even though this was just a practice round? In his soft South Carolina drawl, Dustin offered his caddie a different explanation: “Awwwww, man, I had the [green-reading] book upside down.”

This Is the Best Section in Every MLB Stadium if You Want to Catch a Home Run Ball →

A study by SeatGeek — in collaboration with ESPN — does just that: it combines seat locations with where home run balls land to determine where fans should sit if they want to catch a home run ball. To determine if a home run was “catchable,” SeatGeek overlaid data from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker with their custom seating charts to figure out an approximate location of where each ball landed. Stadiums that have spots where fans are not sitting weren’t included in the catchable total. SeatGeak, which sells tickets to sports and entertainment venues, then created a measure to determine what sections will give you the best chances of catching a ball for the lowest average ticket price.

The Death Star and the Final Trench Run →

At the end of the original film, Rebel ships fly along the Death Star trench in an attempt to blow up the space station. Look at the photo of the Death Star at the top of this post: can you point to the trench that Luke and the Rebels flew down to fire upon the exhaust port that would ultimately destroy the space station?

Nearly everybody points at the equatorial trench of the Death Star. I asked dozens of die-hard fans, including many co-workers at Industrial Light & Magic, and nearly every single person pointed to the equatorial trench. If you asked me, I would also have said the equatorial trench.

I Just Spent $139 On This Book Because I Am A Weirdo →

I have a rule that has helped me a lot in life, particularly in my education: If there is a book I am interested in, I buy it. Regardless of the cost. Regardless of whether I have a stack of other things to read. Regardless of whether I have any sort of certainty about whether it’s any good. If I want it, I buy it. And when I buy it, I don’t care how much I spent on it or how rare it might be. I treat it just like every other book (which means marking up and writing in it).

How to Write a Thank You Note →

I’m not going to go all Miss Manners on your ass and get into the social intricacies and delicate situations that surround thank-you note writing, as I was taught that a solid thank-you note will transcend all complicated situations—and I have seen no evidence to the contrary.

There is a six-point formula to the proper thank-you: Learn it, know it, memorize it, and it will never fail you.

An American Tragedy →

There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted.

How Boeing Builds A 737 In Just 9 Days →

If you fly, you’ve almost certainly found yourself packed into a Boeing 737. This workhorse of commercial aviation accounts for one of every three commercial flights, and there are around 2,000 of them in the air at any given time.

Every one of those planes rolled out of Boeing’s Renton Production Facility, where workers build a 737 in just nine days. The factory, near Seattle, pump them out at the rate of 42 per month, and Boeing claims the 1.1-million-square-foot facility is most efficient airplane factory in the world.

Boeing faces fierce competition from arch rival Airbus. The 737 is the best-selling jet ever, with more than 9,000 delivered since its introduction in 1967, but the Airbus A320 is no slouch. The company has delivered about 6,700 of them since the airliner entered service in 1984.