Thursday, May 16, 2024

The Greatest Diss Tracks of All Time Ranked


The Ringer - "The Greatest Diss Tracks of All Time, Ranked"

Open AI's Library


New York Times - "The Old-Fashioned Library at the Heart of the A.I. Boom"

"Built at Mr. Altman’s request and stocked with titles suggested by his staff, the OpenAI library is an apt metaphor for the world’s hottest tech company, whose success was fueled by language — lots and lots of language. OpenAI’s chatbot was not built like the average internet app. ChatGPT learned its skills by analyzing huge amounts of text that was written, edited and curated by humans, including encyclopedia articles, news stories, poetry and, yes, books.

The library also represents the paradox at the heart of OpenAI’s technology. Authors and publishers, including The New York Times, are suing OpenAI, claiming the company illegally used their copyrighted content to build its A.I. systems. Many authors worry that the technology will ultimately take away their livelihood."

The WNBA's Newest Team - Golden State Valkyries


New York Times - "Give It Up for the Golden State Valkyries"

"The merch was her way of announcing her team’s name, colors and logo all at once. So give it up for the Golden State Valkyries, named for the powerful female warriors from Norse mythology.

They will play in violet and black uniforms with a V-shaped logo — for Valkyries — that shows a Bay Bridge tower head-on, forming the shape of a sword. Bridge cables flaring from the tower create five triangles on either side, representing teams of five women squaring off on the basketball court."


"“Valkyries are this bad-ass group of women making change happen, making the impossible possible,” Smith explained. “These are legends to be made.”"

The Marine Layer Holding Back Batters


Seattle Times - "Marine layer menace"

"The Seattle Mariners’ home, T-Mobile Park, opened July 15, 1999, as the crown jewel of the Sodo District. On vintage Seattle summer days, you won’t find a better environment anywhere in America to take in a ballgame. The scene can be truly stunning — baseball paradise for some — and that remains as true as ever as the stadium nears its 25th anniversary.

What also remains true: The place can be a hellhole for hitters.

No ballpark in Major League Baseball suppresses offense as much as T-Mobile Park. Players bemoaned that in its early days, and new technology over the past decade has validated that reputation.

Call it a pitcher-esque park.

What’s more: Through the first month of this season, offensive output in Seattle has reached a new low, with run production values at T-Mobile Park ranking dead last among all MLB venues.

There are many factors at play.

On-field talent is one, certainly. The scarcity of runs in Seattle over the past few years, in particular, has coincided with the rise of the Mariners pitching staff as one of the best in baseball, capable of shutting down any opposing lineup.

Environmental effects are factors too, of course. Climate, humidity and wind play a part in any park, and T-Mobile Park has one weather phenomenon — the dreaded marine layer — that has become as notorious as the boogeyman for some hitters."

The End of the Chuck E. Cheese Animatronic Band


New York Times - "Farewell, Chuck E. Cheese Animatronic Band"

"Chuck E. Cheese was started by Nolan Bushnell, a co-founder of the pioneering video game company Atari. In an interview with the Smithsonian Institution in 2017, Mr. Bushnell said his background in arcade games, which sold for about $1,500 to $2,000 per machine, sparked his desire to open a pizza joint with the games, each of which would collect up to $50,000 in coins in their lifetime.

Mr. Bushnell said he was also inspired by a family trip to Disneyland, and particularly the Tiki Room, an attraction with animatronic birds, tiki gods and flowers.

“We can do that,” Mr. Bushnell recalled thinking at the time. “But it’d be nice to have a mascot.”

At first, the mascot was supposed to be a coyote, and Mr. Bushnell was going to call his new business Coyote Pizza. Mr. Bushnell, who declined to be interviewed, told the Smithsonian that he went out and bought a costume of what he thought was a coyote.

“I took it to my engineers,” Mr. Bushnell said. “I said, ‘Make this guy talk.’”

But a problem arose: The costume Mr. Bushnell bought was not a coyote, but a rat with a tail."

Sunday, May 5, 2024

Young Mike


The Athletic - "Go ahead, say it: Anthony Edwards looks a lot like Michael Jordan right now"
By Marcus Thompson II

The Hockey Origins of Vikings and Wolverine Quarterback J.J. McCarthy


The Athletic - "How hockey helped make J.J. McCarthy one of NFL Draft’s most intriguing prospects"
By Adam Jahns



Dallas Cowboy Micah Parson vs. Sumo Wrestler

New NFL Looks


The Best Pizza in New York?


New Yorker - "Tables for Two: Scarr’s Pizza"

"The restaurant’s owner and founder, Scarr Pimentel, grew up in Hamilton Heights, in a sprawling Dominican family; as a teen, he landed a busboy job at the celeb-magnet Nolita restaurant Emilio’s Ballato, where he started learning the basics of turning flour, yeast, and water into dough. He moved on to pizzerias—Artichoke Basille’s, known for its gargantuan slices, and Lombardi’s, arguably the birthplace of New York pizza—and began to refine his own sense of pizza perfection. Scarr’s Pizza opened in 2016, in a narrow sliver of a space with brown wood-panelled walls, molded Formica booths, and kitschy late-seventies ambience. It was a deliberate aesthetic, both a play to nostalgia and a subversion of it. Pimentel, a Black Latino man making moves in the overwhelmingly white pizza world, wasn’t paying homage to the pizzerias of his youth; he was claiming them.

The original Scarr’s was a classic New York pizza shop, serving classic New York pizza, except for all the ways it wasn’t. The ingredients were organic. You could buy a can of Bud Light, but you could also get a bottle of natural wine. There was no pork in the kitchen—Pimentel doesn’t eat it—and a portion of the menu skewed plant-based and vegan. The pies were thoughtful and deliberate, not high-speed, high-volume gut bombs. Pimentel is an exacting sort of person, which is a good quality in the world of pizza: when he couldn’t figure out exactly the right blend of flour for the crust of his dreams, he started milling his own, a fresh batch daily, in the restaurant’s basement prep area. The slice shop’s Orchard Street location, and its whole vibey gestalt—aesthetic deliberateness, quasi-healthfulness, nerd-level gastronomic rigor, plus a tiny bar and dining room that felt a little bit like a secret—made it a default for the hip and artsy habitu├ęs of the lower end of the Lower East Side, an area that’s since become saddled with the name Dimes Square. Social-media buzz began to build. Bon App├ętit declared it the best slice in the city. The lines were long, and getting longer.

In pizza, as in all things, trends come and go—everyone’s freaking out about sourdough crusts one minute and Detroit-style rectangular pies the next. When Pimentel opened Scarr’s, many of the city’s most lauded pizzerias were sit-down affairs that served whole pies: coal-fired, Italian American-style at old-school spots like Lombardi’s and John’s of Bleecker; minimalist, jewel-like Neapolitan pizzas from Una Pizza Napoletana; and cheffy, creative “New Brooklyn” pizzas at places like Lucali, Roberta’s, and Emily. Now, for some reason (credit the slumping economy, a collective wistfulness for a New York City that once was, or the success of Scarr’s itself), we are living in the golden age of the slice. It is the fundamental unit of New York pizza: a cheap, hot meal for a city short on time and money and space, consumed while standing, a food shovelled-in more than eaten. At places like Scarr’s (and similar new-wave slice shops, like L’Industrie and Mama’s Too), it is treated like a form of art."

Airbnb Icons


New York Times - "In Latest Stunt, Airbnb Lists the ‘Up’ House. It Floats."

"On Wednesday, Airbnb announced that it was expanding stunt promotions like these under a new permanent category called “Icons,” featuring unusual and ambitious partnerships with brands and celebrities

At a news conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s chief executive, introduced the inaugural slate of Icons listings.

It was headlined by a replica of the floating house from “Up,” the 2009 animated Pixar film, balloons and all. With the help of a giant crane, the house will be suspended high in the air over the New Mexico desert.


Only a few people have been able to stay in Airbnb’s previous fantastical listings, but the company said it expected roughly 4,000 customers to book stays in Icons listings in 2024.

Another 10 listings are slated to go up by the end of the year. Booking periods will vary. Dates for the “Up” house are open through mid-September.

With Icons, Airbnb is hoping to capitalize on the success that earlier listings have achieved as promotional tools, ready-made for Instagram selfies and eye-catching headlines, Mr. Chesky said. (Yes, we fell for it.)

He pointed to the success of Airbnb’s collaboration with Mattel last summer, which brought the Malibu DreamHouse to life ahead of the release of the blockbuster “Barbie” film. The buzz interested other brands."