No, tailgating doesn’t get you where you need to go faster

A study published on Thursday (Dec. 14) in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems uses mathematical simulations to show that tightly following a car in front of you will only worsen traffic jams. Instead it proposes that drivers adjust their position based on both the car in front and behind to keep traffic flow smooth. This small behavioral tweak could as much as halve commute time on certain roads.

[Source: MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm for cars that could halve congestion — Quartz]

New Iranian Video Game, Engare, Explores the Elegant Geometry of Islamic Art

The intersection of mathematics and art holds out great potential for not just endless discoveries but deeply memorable creations. The 20th-century visionary M.C. Escher understood that, but so did the Islamic artists of centuries before that inspired him. They’ve also inspired the Iranian game developer Mahdi Bahrami, whose newest effort Engare stands at the cross of mathematics, art, and technology, a puzzle video game that challenges its players to complete the kind of brilliantly colorful, mathematically rigorous, and at once both strikingly simple and strikingly complex patterns seen in traditional Islamic art and design.

“The leap from the bare bones prototype to it becoming a game about creating art was a small one, given that Islamic art is steeped in mathematical knowledge,” writes Kill Screen’s Chris Priestman.

[Source: New Iranian Video Game, Engare, Explores the Elegant Geometry of Islamic Art | Open Culture]

The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook

Project Cassandra members say administration officials also blocked or undermined their efforts to go after other top Hezbollah operatives including one nicknamed the ‘Ghost The Ghost One of the most mysterious alleged associates of Safieddine, secretly indicted by the U.S., linked to multi-ton U.S.-bound cocaine loads and weapons shipments to Middle East.,” allowing them to remain active despite being under sealed U.S. indictment for years. People familiar with his case say the Ghost has been one of the world’s biggest cocaine traffickers, including to the U.S., as well as a major supplier of conventional and chemical weapons for use by Syrian President Bashar Assad against his people.

A fascinating read by Josh Meyer for Politico. 

[Source: The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook]

How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

In case you wondered how Facebook knows who to recommend on their People You May Know feature: 

Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

Source: How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You’ve Ever Met

A Salute to Every Frame a Painting: Watch All 28 Episodes of the Finely-Crafted (and Now Concluded) Video Essay Series on Cinema

Every Frame a Painting was a YouTube channel publishing video essays about cinema. Always with a twist, always interesting. Unfortunately, they closed shop. 

Here’s a playlist to all their videos:

And here’s what Open Culture’s Colin Marshall has to say about them: 

Whatever the origins of Zhou and Ramos’ rigorous process, it has ended up producing a series greatly appreciated by filmgoers and filmmakers alike. Binge-watch all 28 of Every Frame a Painting’s episodes — which will explain to you dramatic struggle as seen in The Silence of the Lambs, how the movies have depicted texting, the cinematic possibilities of the chair, and much more besides — and you’ll end up with, at the very least, an equivalent of a few semesters of film-school education. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll come away with the idea for a cinema video essay series of your own.