What I learned this week from February 12, 2021

“The beautiful thing about learning is nobody can take it away from you.” – B.B. King

This week I learned about golf balls found on the moon, fathoms as hugs, and double-cycle snowblowers.

Finding golf balls on the Moon

Photo of Moon surface with golf balls marked

Fifty years ago, Alan Shepard blasted a golf ball from an endless sand trap and we just now found his ball. (via Pennlive.com)

All this time the resolution of the Moon images were just too poor to be able to spot a golf ball among gray rocks. However, in the last five years NASA rescanned their original negatives. A 46-year-old British imaging specialist named Andy Saunders searched these high-res images, and found the golf balls.

The golf ball in Moon’s light gravity did not travel for miles and miles. The first ball went 24 yards, the second traveled 40 yards.

Andy Saunders is releasing a book Apollo Remastered with his enhanced versions of NASA rescanned images, published by Penguin Random House. I would love to see this book when it comes out. For now, check out the article. The writer did a fantastic job explaining the story, with lots of images.

Single cycle snowblowers can be better than double cycle

Everyone talks about how double cycle snowblowers are so much better because they throw the snow farther. That much is true. However, I recently read that single cycle snowblowers are better at getting all the snow off the surface. I don’t understand exactly why, but it has something to do with double-cycle snowblowers not being able to get close enough to the ground.

Now I feel better about paying less to get a single-cycle snowblower. I wish I could remember where I read about single cycle being better at getting to the surface.

Baseball podcast about stats

The “I Draw Baseball Cards” guy (@mosley_mark) has a podcast!? And it’s about baseball stats?! I love his drawings of baseball cards. Yes, I am subscribing to their podcast “Beyond Batting Average“.

The co-partner of the show has a Twitter account, @sportscardsbacks, that talks about the backs of baseball cards. Oh man. So much good stuff!

The podcast is also on twitter, @bbba_podcast.

Peaceful song

Just one addition to my “Discovered 2021” playlist on Spotify. A recommendation from my cousin Peter: Just Us by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The entire album is quite relaxing.

Imgur can actually be good for sharing art

This week Imgur had a special theme, inviting people to post their art with the tag #artcrawl. I’ve only posted on Imgur once before (a webcomic). So I figured, yeah, why not? Let’s pull some of my art images from a particular project.

My post got only 8 upvotes, far from the viral dreams I had. But nonetheless, it’s fun looking at other people’s art under the #artcrawl tag. Most of the time Imgur is kind of a… I don’t know how to put it… lower quality collection of images. Some original, most ripped off. Lots of memes. I can never really look through imgur for very long. But this #artcrawl tag is actually enjoyable to scroll through.

Luther’s Rose predated Dutch Hex Signs

Martin Luther had someone design a seal for him in 1530. Given the year when this happened, it looks like this was before those Amish or Mennonites hex signs were developed. I’m researching this for a blog post on christiannotebook.com.

16th century art theory author (and painter) Samuel van Hoogstraten

This week I uploaded one of my high school paintings to Reverse Google Image search, and narrowed the matching results down to the Art Institute of Chicago. The first result is a painting by the 16th century Dutch artist Samuel van Hoogstraten. I learned not only did he paint, but he also wrote about art theory!

In particular his writings about imagination and the viewer are very intriguing. Blog post with details to come on spudart.org.

Data Analyst vs Data Scientist

Basically, the Data Analyst finds the trends in the data using available tools. The Data Scientist will do that too, but they will also program the tools.

Here I just thought Data Scientists were more experimentful with their approach—which is also true. But to be more experimentful, they have better control of the tools to be able to manipulate data in all sorts of ways directly through programming.

I’d LOOOOOOVE to be a Data Scientist!

Edward Tufte is on Twitter

The biggest author on noted for writings on information design and data visualization, Edward Tufte, is on Twitter. He’s simply epic in the field. When it comes to the artistic/creative field, when there is someone as epic as him, I don’t expect him to be on Twitter. But he is. And I only found out this week.

How much data does Youtube use?

600 MB per hour at 1080p quality
250 MB per hour at 480p

What does that actually mean? Here’s an example. Once a month for work, I download our website backups. Four sites totaling about 88 GB. That’s equivalent to three people watching 8 hours of video a day, for six days.

There are some really confusing baseball cards being made these days

You pull this card out of a pack, and it looks like a Mike Trout autograph! Sorry, no. This is a reprint of a Mike Trout card. Facsimilies of autographs have long been done on baseball cards. But man, when the facsimilie is done in blue sharpie on top of a blank area—that really makes it look real.

Beckett covers this recent confusing phenomenon.

Cubs and White Sox with same record

There has been four seasons where the Cubs and White Sox had the same amount of wins. 1905, 1973, 1975, 2014.

The losses were different in three of those, so only ONE season the Cubs and Sox had the same W-L record: 2014 (73-89). I might write more about this on my baseball blog. Looking at other stats like run differential. Maybe even do an attendance comparison for fun.

Saving for college is not cheap

If you are starting a college fund for your kids, wow, it’s pricey. There’s an awesome calculator that helps you figure out how much money to put into your fund every month. It figures in everything like:

  • Your current kids age
  • How much college might cost when they go.
  • If you are doing in-state college or out-of-state.
  • How much you plan on paying every month or year into the fund

Then it will spit out what percentage of their college you’ll end up paying. And how much you really do need to pay to fully fund each child.

Here’s an example. If you have two kids who are about to turn 5 years old and 2 years old, and you are going to help pay one-third of their in-state tuition, you would need to pay $2,600 and $2,350 each year respectively for each child.

Sound artist Kenichi Kanazawa

That’s the name of the artist who does these cool audio-sand artwork performances. A couple months ago, a friend shared one of his videos with me, but there was no artist attribution. Thankfully someone replied to my comment with the artist’s name.

Fathoms is related to hugs

I’m doing a fun little custom birthday greeting for my friends on Facebook this year. I look up the highest-scoring Scrabble word for my friend’s name (with a blank tile). I find a way to connect that random word to a birthday greeting.

I love this practice, because I end up researching fun facts about words. Like, Tom’s “Fathoms”. The text in this image reads:

The Ancient Greek measure known as the orguia (Greek: oργυιά, orgyiá, lit. “outstretched”) is usually translated as “fathom”. The ancient fathom is six feet.

Therefore, this “outstretched” means a pair of outstretched arms,
as about to embrace.

I wish I could give you fathoms on your birthday!

So cool that fathoms is related to hugs!

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