By Clinton Nguyen, Multimedia Editor
@voxels

Hello, dear readers. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Clinton, The Daily Free Press’ multimedia editor, the fellow who pushes the happy blue publish button. I usually don’t contribute editorial content, but this is set to change.

A little background: Quick Fixations started out on TinyLetter, a newsletter platform that sets out to plague your inbox every week with Good Shit. If you follow good writers and journalists on Twitter, you’re probably already subscribed to a few newsletters. For the sad majority who aren’t, you’re obliged to subscribe to the sassramblings of Rusty Foster, Anne Friedman, Erin Griffith, and, of course, Everybody Snacks.

It’s been two months dead, but I figure it’s time for me to start writing and finding Good Shit for you to read weekly or biweekly. It all depends on what my schedule’s like, but expect this to be a Sunday post. Expect the following: good short reads, a good long read, a gif or two, some good music I’ve been listening to. Without further ado: Quick Fixations.

I. The Atlantic Archives: The physics of gridlock

“In science, Germans tend to come up with things like the uncertainty principle. Americans tend to come up with things like the atomic bomb… Traffic can be flowing freely along, at a density still well below what the road can handle, and then suddenly gel into a slow-moving ooze.

Under the right conditions a small, brief, and local fluctuation in the speed or spacing of cars – the sort of fluctuation that happens all the time just by chance on a busy highway – is all it takes to trigger a system-wide breakdown that persists for hours after the blip that triggered it is gone. In fact, the Germans’ analysis suggested, such spontaneous breakdowns in traffic flow probably occur quite frequently on highways.”

Traffic happens. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

II. Information is beautiful: A breakdown of Islamic sects

Sunni vs Shia Distribution

It goes much further beyond Sunni and Shi’a—there are multiple schools and movements in Islam. This graphic by David McCandless shows the geographic distribution of sects in Islam as well as the relative sizes of other religions. It is big and beautiful and you should gawk at it.

III. An interview with Jeff Staab, a guy who makes action figures of the recently deceased

After an initial reaction that was something along the lines of “oh HELL no” and a swift x-ing out of the browser window, a minute later I found myself back on the page, scrolling through all of the options: “Trendy Male,” “Casual Female,” “Male Grey Suit,” “Nice Nurse,” “Karate Male/Female.”

All things considered, grieving folks do strange and incomprehensible things. Post-mortem photography was normal when daguerreotypes were first invented – it was even convenient for photographers because film exposure times ran up to a minute at the time and there’s nothing that moves much less than a corpse. There’s something very eerie and uncanny about imagining people dressing and propping up the dead bodies of their loved ones to, well, remember what they looked like after their immediate death. This, however, is next level. Grandma action figure in a Superwoman getup? CLOSE THAT TAB.

IV: Thom Yorke distributes his newest album via BitTorrent, shames streaming services

Thom! What did I tell you about being edgy with computers? Remember when “In Rainbows” was released like seven years ago? And that its distribution model totally predated Bandcamp’s flexible pay-what-you-want shtick? That was cool. And it did pretty well, by all accounts, even though most fans downloaded the album through BitTorrent. But they knew that was coming.

This time Yorke released “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes” through BitTorrent, removing the need to rent out less-trafficked web servers to distribute his music. The novelty in this is twofold: Yorke gets to measure all of the free downloads if it’s on an unlocked torrent and he gets to evangelize the concept of a BitTorrent Bundle, a paygated torrent network. Which is weird.

V: turn down for the weekend because oh my god i need sleep

VI: didn’t you know football was a public good?

Can you believe the NFL is, on a corporate level, a nonprofit organization, and that they leverage about $91 million a year from taxpayers as a result? Me neither. And the closest that Congress has gone to close the loophole has been finger-wagging, essentially. Good job, America.

VII: from the fav pile