Mini Metro makes mass transportation sublime

I don’t remember much from Jeen-Shang Lin’s Soil Mechanics class. Beyond a vague inkling of his whiteboard doodles and that time he paused mid-lecture to remark on my unexpected presence, most of it remains a formula-laden blur. Except for the one time he mentioned Pittsburgh’s North Shore Connector project. I can still recall his perplexed laugh. “Pittsburgh has some beautiful bridges,” or something like that, he said. “The people know how to build them, how to fix them … so why the hell did they decide to dig a tunnel underneath the Alleghany?” A shrug. More laughter. Then back to…


Go beyond the music visualizer in today’s Playlist pick

Sign up to receive each week’s Playlist e-mail here! Also check out our full, interactive Playlist section. Panoramical (PC, Mac)  BY FERNANDO RAMALLO & DAVID KANAGA Forget the “music visualizer” that has been spinning webs of geometry on your PC since the ’90s. Panoramical finally makes it as outdated as dial-up internet or the word “gnarly.” It’s not a fleeting distraction for your boredom but an aperture into ethereal places. Here, music is transformed into bucolic alien worlds that billow into absorbing synesthesia. You can tweak the timbre, tempo, and volume and see hues warp, trees and mountains arise, clouds whiz by and moons arc.…


UCLA and Kinect just made sandboxes so much cooler

When I was a kid, I had a small plastic sandbox on my patio in the shape of a turtle. It came with a little turtle shell cover to keep the sand clean and safe when I wasn’t playing with it, but looking back on it as an adult, that stuff still probably wasn’t all that sanitary. Still, it was always one of my favorite things to play with as a child, even if it annoyed my parents, and I’m guessing I wasn’t alone in that. It could never quite replace the joy I got from videogames, but sometimes you…