It's almost time for the 2022 ToB!

It's almost time for the 2022 Tournament of Books, presented by Field Notes. Check out the short list today!

Six architects describe their ideal desks. "I would face a window, hopefully looking out over some tall trees."
Some experts say the cost of an espresso in Italy could rise to €1.50 this year, with climate change playing a significant role.
What to expect if you visit a national park in California, Arizona, or Utah this year.

A final blow of the machete, and the branch splinters and falls, slowed by limbs and foliage. The men rush over and lift the branch. The mother is clinging to it, eyes wide, clutching her newborn to her chest.

A hunt for the “kingpin” who’s said to dominate the Colombian trade of selling baby sloths to tourists.

↩︎ National Geographic
After Novak Djokovic dominated the news, a fan returns the spotlight to Peng Shuai with a T-shirt that becomes a cause célèbre.
Temperature Textiles offer blankets, scarves, and socks designed "to carry climate data and to provide warmth to the user."

A brief video of some polar bears at an abandoned meteorological station on Kolyuchin Island, located between Russia and Alaska in the Chukchi Sea. For more, see the photographs by Dmitry Kokh.

Via Colossal

Basic physical limitations on building height haven't changed much since the early 20th century. Why aren't we building taller?

Adventures with phone booths and answering machines

A recent visit to the Mojave desert reminded us of the great, Web 1.0 gem that was the Mojave Phone Booth: a working phone booth in the middle of the desert that became an international sensation, thanks to Godfrey "Doc" Daniels

From a 2016 "99% Invisible" episode about it:

Doc and his friends returned a year later to the Mojave Phone Booth. And the phone, once silent, was now ringing off the hook. They would take turns answering it and talking with the the people on the other end–and the instant they replaced the receiver, the ringing would start again. The callers were just part of the equation. Travelers started making pilgrimages to the site of the phone and picking it up as well, talking to whomever happened to be dialing in for hours on end. Like some accidental prototype of an internet chat room, it became a place for anonymous interaction and unexpected conversations.

Unfortunately the booth is gone, but it's fun to remember. And all of that reminded us of this article about a small-town movie theater in North Carolina, which records the owner's amusing movie reviews on its answering machine message. (The number still works: 336-226-1488.)

Matthews knew he was famous when the mail got too heavy. Years ago, he mentioned on the answering-machine message that he was sick that week and wouldn’t mind receiving a get-well card. A few days later, the postman showed up with bags. They were stuffed with cards from around the world, many of them addressed, simply, “Movie Man, Graham, North Carolina.”

Headline of the week: "At Beijing Games, hugs discouraged but condoms available."
The cost of visiting Hong Kong during Omicron can include being sent to the city's government quarantine camp.
A study finds that giving poor mothers a year of cash stipends improves their babies’ cognitive development.

If Nazi or Hitler is not seen before a depth of 100 posts, there was a less than 1 in 10,000 chance (0.01 percent) that these words would be introduced later, and the probability kept dropping the longer the thread continued.

Measuring whether Godwin’s law is true in practice.

↩︎ Slate
Meow Wolf workers are racing to unionize ahead of the company's total descent into corporate greed.
"In wildlife disease surveillance, we’re always chasing a crisis." Bird flu is back in the US.
Prayer apps—which have exploded in popularity during the pandemic—are mining and selling their users' data.

The Hydra is an electric guitar-ish instrument that combines a 12-string guitar, a bass, a seven-string guitar, and a harp.

via Laughing Squid

"Putin needs a series of victories somewhere." Tyler Cowen applies game theory to Putin's intentions.
Law enforcement prevails in a new Fight Club edit for China. This would be the complete opposite of how the original ends.