The Gong Blog

Science!: HodgePodge for Feb. 12

ObLIGOtory space item

You may have heard this week that a laboratory named LIGO proved Einstein right about gravitational waves. The New York Times has a video illustrating the waves and how they were detected and The Atlantic called it “the dawn of a new era in science”:

“More than a billion years ago, in a galaxy that sits more than a billion light-years away, two black holes spiraled together and collided. We can’t see this collision, but we know it happened because, as Albert Einstein predicted a century ago, gravitational waves rippled out from it and traveled across the universe to an ultra-sensitive detector here on Earth.”

Quartz is out with a pretty clever way to get news on your iPhone in the form of an app with a news chat bot:

“Quartz for iPhone has all of that. It’s an ongoing conversation about the news, sort of like texting: We’ll send you messages, photos, GIFs, and links, and you can tap to respond when you’re interested in learning more about a topic. Each session lasts just a few minutes, so it’s perfect for the train, elevator, grocery store line, or wherever you have a spare moment to catch up on the news.”

Pee-wee’s small adventure

Did you know that Pee-wee Herman has a new movie coming to Netflix next month? It’s the first in almost three decades. The New York Times talks with Paul Reubens, the man behind the once-inexplicably omnipresent yet subversive character:

“Arriving in the thick of the Reagan ’80s, ‘‘Playhouse’’ offered a funhouse-mirror vision of the Eisenhower-era United States that Reubens grew up in — its excess, its materialism, its hypocrisy, its racism, its hairstyles — with an added slathering of Los Angeles punk.”

Nom nom nom

The Super Bowl is a fun diversion, but the real show is in a couple weeks when the Oscars hit a network near you. In true sporting style, FiveThirtyEight has a power ranking of the nominees:

“There’s no way to know how much booze and swag the studios and producers are using to beg, borrow and steal votes for their films at the Academy Awards. And there’s no way to ask the 7,000 Academy members what they’re thinking. But we still like to try to predict who will win anyway.”


I hope you got your free “raincheck” burrito from Chipotle this week, unlike the unfortunate souls who sent their SMS messages to a number one off from the official number and instead reached a lawyer in Maryland:

“Hank Levine, a 64-year-old Bethesda, Md., lawyer, received more than 300 text messages Monday containing just one word: raincheck.”

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Tony Scida

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