> Hello
> I am Clay
> I keep a /timeline and have a monthly /newsletter
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January 2021

This newsletter is a collection of things I have found in the last month that I enjoyed, found interesting, or simply wanted to share.

You can follow me more closely at my personal website or if you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a home, you can point them to my real estate website.

Announcement

Tending this website keeps me sane. I think of it as a digital garden, a kind of sanctuary. I recognize this in Ethan Marcotte’s eloquent suggestion that we “let a website be a worry stone.” And if my site is a kind of garden, then I see myself as both gardener and architect, in so much as I make plans and prepare the ground, then sow things that grow in all directions. Some things die, but others thrive, and that’s how my garden grows. And I tend it for me; visitors are a bonus. — Simon Collison

  1. I’d invite you to check out the redesigned website. I suppose the only real excitement is the timeline. For some time now, and increasingly in the future, I have been and will be tracking movies, tv shows, books, quotes, thoughts, photos, and travels (RIP *sobbing*).

    I think the details behind the timeline are kind of cool. I use Airtable and Zapier to create new posts. All I have to do is update the spreadsheets I already use to track everything and a new post is created on the site.

    If you see something weird or that doesn’t look right, please let me know. I’ll add it to my list.

  2. The newsletter is moving from being self-hosted to Mailchimp. You might see a welcome or confirmation email, or if things go horribly (horribly, horribly) wrong you might need to opt-in again. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

And now, as we were…

“…rip your individual cells apart” * blink, blink *

What Would We Experience If Earth Spontaneously Turned Into A Black Hole?

In order to approach the actual event horizon itself, you’d have to somehow shield yourself from these tidal forces, which would rip your individual cells apart and even the individual atoms and molecules composing you before you crossed the event horizon. This stretching effect along one direction while compressing you along the other is known as spaghettification, and it’s how black holes would kill and tear apart any creature that ventured too close to an event horizon where space was too severely curved.

As spectacular as falling into a black hole would actually be, if Earth spontaneously became one, you’d never get to experience it for yourself. You’d get to live for about another 21 minutes in an incredibly odd state: free-falling, while the air around you free-fell at exactly the same rate. As time went on, you’d feel the atmosphere thicken and the air pressure increase as everything around the world accelerated towards the center, while objects that weren’t attached to the ground would appear approach you from all directions.

But as you approached the center and you sped up, you wouldn’t be able to feel your motion through space. Instead, what you’d begin to feel was an uncomfortable tidal force, as though the individual constituent components of your body were being stretched internally. These spaghettifying forces would distort your body into a noodle-like shape, causing you pain, loss of consciousness, death, and then your corpse would be atomized. In the end, like everything on Earth, we’d be absorbed into the black hole, simply adding to its mass ever so slightly. For the final 21 minutes of everyone’s life, under only the laws of gravity, our demises would all truly be equal.

Ob-ey-I

The Modern World Has Finally Become Too Complex for Any of Us to Understand

The captain of the container vessel would regularly receive automated emails telling him to slow down the ship. It’s impossible to know why the shipping company’s algorithms decided this was for the best — the captain himself didn’t know. But he could speculate: Maybe the staff or systems at the terminal ahead reported delays with off-loading, or a mechanical hitch. Or maybe the algorithm saw the delays coming in advance because the GPS trackers on other containers showed delivery trucks stuck in gridlock outside the port. Maybe it decided to slow everything down because a customer de-prioritized their order. Or that a change somewhere else in another link of the supply chain meant that getting their shipment from another source became a cheaper or quicker option. Or the cost of oil fluctuated just enough that burning it at the ship’s current rate became inefficient. Or maybe it was all of these reasons simultaneously, or none of them. The point is that we don’t know, the captain of the ship itself didn’t know, and that nobody may know — but that didn’t stop the decision being made.

“McDonald’s is the place we eat when we’re taking a break from being virtuous.”

My Hunt for the Original McDonald’s French-Fry Recipe

My hunt for the lost McRecipe took me up the corporate ladder and to obsessive corners of Reddit. I spoke to fast-food experts, super-fan museum curators, and a 79-year-old former employee of the very first McDonald’s. After weeks of digging, I procured a recipe for the original fries that one fast-food historian believes to be the real deal, one I recreated several times to ensure its legitimacy. I sweat over hot tallow, bled from cutting perfect shoestrings, and literally got pulverized salt in those wounds. But according to at least one expert, I have reason to believe the recipe I’ve uncovered is authentic.

Links

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Do not hesitate to reply to this months email to share links, wisdom, or thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Have a great month,

Clay

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