This week, we're checking out how Boeing builds a 737 in just nine days, some creepy abandoned resorts around the US, the thriving Japanese arcade industry, and why the war on drugs is a failure and what to do instead. Welcome to Lifehacker's Thinking Cap, a series where we round up interesting, informative and thought-provoking podcasts, interviews, articles and other media that will teach you something new, inspire you and hopefully cap off your week nicely.
How Boeing Builds a 737 In Just Nine Days
If you fly at all, you've probably flown in a Boeing 737 at some point or another. What you may not know is that every one of those planes is meticulously built in a matter of days — and don't think that the short build time means they're cutting corners — they're some of the safest flying machines on the planet with some of the best safety and flight records of all of the planes that every major manufacturer builds. So how do they do it?
This video from Wired, and its associated article, are a spectacular look into how it's done, the level of effort required and how Boeing managed to get this process down to a well organised science. It makes sense — around 2000 of these 737s are in the air at any given time. [via Wired]
Creepy Abandoned Hotels You Can Visit Around the United States
From the Buck Hill Inn in the Poconos Mountains (shown above) to the desolate desert of the Palms Motel in Salton Sea, California, there's something eerily beautiful about abandoned places that seem to have been barely reclaimed by nature, but still harbour traces and remnants of the humans who used to lounge, relax, sleep and play in these resorts and hotels.
The folks at Oyster have a list of abandoned hotels and resorts around the US that you can visit, each with accompanying photos and some in surprising places, like downtown Philadelphia or Detroit, that stand silently, empty, over the city blocks and streets where they once welcomed guests. The whole thing is pretty creepy and worth a look. [via Oyster]
The War on Drugs, and What We Should Do Instead
I think that by now you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would say that the "war on drugs" has been a success. What you may find however is disagreement on what we should do instead, and on the impacts of the war on drugs itself. This video from the always-enlightening Kurzgesagt is one I've been wanting to share for a while. It dresses down the war on drugs neatly, backed with numbers and data, but also doesn't shy away from the real effects.
Of course, talking about a social problem doesn't actually help anyone move towards a solution, so they also make some viable suggestions based on what we've seen elsewhere in the world with countries that have struggled with — and beat back — their own problems. Of course, no one's saying that those changes would be easy, or work overnight, but when you're presented with the status quo as an alternative, they may be worth a look. [via Kurzgesagt (YouTube)]
The 40th Anniversary of Voyager's Golden Record
I actually have a replica of Voyager's golden record hanging on my wall in my office (it was a wonderful gift), but this Kickstarter is looking to reproduce a ton of them in honour of the 40th anniversary of the Voyager mission, and the record that's currently carrying a wealth of information about humanity into interstellar space. We normally don't talk about Kickstarters around here for a number of reasons, but this topic is close to my heart, and it's already well funded with about 13 days to go.
The reproduction itself is absolutely stunning, packaged beautifully and, while like any Kickstarter it doesn't exist yet, when/if it does it will be worth owning for yourself. I very well may get in on this one myself. [via Kickstarter, thanks Kottke!]
Japanese Arcades: A Review
Japan is a place where arcades and arcade culture never died, even in light of the rise of home video game consoles and entertainment. People still go to arcades on the regular to blow off steam, play the latest games, compete with others or just hang out with friends, and they're still social hubs for the people who visit and love them.
We've long lost arcade culture in the US and Australia, so this video from YouTube gaming critic George Weidman struck a cord with me. In it, he discusses Japan's thriving arcade industry, why it's persisted so well in Japan when it floundered here, and how even today, it continues to evolve. [via Super Bunnyhop, thanks Awesomer!]
That's all for this week. If you have thought-provoking stories, interesting podcasts or eye-opening videos, share them in the comments below!
Title GIF by Nick Criscuolo. Additional photos by Jonathan Haeber.