View Full Version : Monday Links from the Bench vol. CCCXVI

18th January 2016, 12:57
Off to the dentist this afternoon. While I suffer the torments of the damned, you can be wasting time on this lot:

Special Branch Files Project (http://specialbranchfiles.uk) - A project to create an archive bringing together Special Branch files released under Freedom of Information legislation, currently spanning periods from the Vietnam War to the undercover work of the Special Duty Section early in this millennium: ”In the early years of the Freedom of Information Act, journalists obtained various Special Branch documents from the Metropolitan Police and the Home Office. Unfortunately this openness was short-lived. The authorities now routinely refuse to disclose Special Branch files, including information which they previously released… The Met may want to prevent further access to this information but they can’t turn back the clock.”

Medieval Traffic Problems (http://www.medievalists.net/2016/01/17/medieval-traffic-problems/) - "The medieval city was seen as a crowded, bustling place, with people, horses, carts and wagons all moving around. Just as in our modern city, this would all lead to inevitable traffic problems." Children getting run over by carts seems to have been a common problem.

Why some Koreans make $10,000 a month to eat on camera (http://qz.com/592710/why-some-koreans-make-10000-a-month-to-eat-on-camera/) - "I am frequently asked why Koreans are so weird. Just as soon as I think I have an answer, some new trend materializes that subverts all previous theories. Take, for example, mukbang, a uniquely Korean trend of people getting paid to eat large meals in front of a webcam for a live-streaming broadcast. Wow, the future really is now." Possible Plan B for some on here, if the craze takes off in the West :rolleyes:

The DIY Scientist, the Olympian, and the Mutated Gene (https://www.propublica.org/article/muscular-dystrophy-patient-olympic-medalist-same-genetic-mutation) - The remarkable case of the woman with muscular dystrophy who self-diagnosed not one, but two exceedingly rare genetic mutations in herself - and went on to establish that an Olympic athlete shares one of the conditions, ending up instead with highly developed musculature: ”Her torso looks completely normal. But her arms are spindles. They almost couldn’t be skinnier, like the sticks jabbed into a snowman for arms. And her legs are so thin that her knee joint is as wide as her thigh… Priscilla is in mid-stride. It’s difficult to describe just how muscular she looks. She’s like the vision of a superhero that a third-grader might draw. Oblong muscles are bursting from her thighs. Ropey veins snake along her biceps. This is the woman Jill thought she shared a mutant gene with? I think I laughed looking at the pictures side-by-side. Somehow, from looking at pictures of Priscilla on the internet, Jill saw something that she recognized in her own, much-smaller body, and decided Priscilla shares her rare gene mutation. And since Priscilla doesn’t have muscular dystrophy, her body must have found some way “to go around it,” as Jill put it, and make enormous muscles.”

Wikipedia at 15: How the Concept of a Wiki Was Invented (http://time.com/4177280/wiki-history-wikipedia/) - Wikipedia’s 15th birthday was last Friday, but the original wiki was the WikiWikiWeb (http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?WelcomeVisitors), created in 1995 by Ward Cunningham for discussion of programming topics (particularly Extreme Programming) and is still online (though it went read-only about a year ago): ”The project had developed its defining characteristics: quick link creation, a collaborative ethos and the distinctive “write-publish-review” process that turned the “publish last” norm on its head.” I still visit Ward’s Wiki sometimes when thinking deep thoughts about programming-related stuff, or more often when bored with nothing to do at a ClientCo :)

The Strange Mystery of Alfred Loewenstein (http://coolinterestingstuff.com/the-strange-mystery-of-alfred-loewenstein) - In 1928 a famous financier vanished from his private aircraft over the English Channel. Did he jump, or was he pushed? ”At the rear of the Fokker’s cabin there was a windowless door that led into a small toilet. This room also had an exterior door – the only means of entrance and exit to the plane. The door was clearly marked EXIT and was equipped with a spring-loaded latch controlled from inside. It took two strong men to open in mid-air, due to the slipstream pressing against it… According to statements later made by Baxter, his valet, ten minutes passed and he had still not returned to his seat. Baxter grew concerned and knocked on the toilet door. There was no answer. Worried that Loewenstein might have been taken ill, he forced open the door. The toilet was empty. Alfred Lowenstein had disappeared into thin air.” Bonus linky: a contemporaneous account of Lowenstein’s career in high finance and mysterious disappearance by E. Phillips Oppenheim, published in Collier’s Weekly in 1929: Who Travels Alone: The Life and Death of Alfred Loewenstein (http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks12/1203681h.html)

I Was The Sixth Spice Girl: An on-set diary by Richard E. Grant (http://www.richard-e-grant.com/archives/i-was-the-sixth-spice-girl/) - An amusing memoir of working on the Spice World movie in 1997: ”Tomorrow is the first day of shooting, and I could not pass the most basic exam in Girl Power. Thankfully, my daughter tutors me on the salient biographical-anatomical details of each Spice, then cross-examines me by pointing at posters, cards, and assorted memorabilia that decorate her Spice shrine (formerly playroom)… Prior to the release of their number one debut single, "Wannabe," my child regularly dressed in Laura Ashley little-girl gear, but since then has transformed overnight into an eight-year-old slattern.”

The Dragnet (http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/13/10758380/stingray-surveillance-device-daniel-rigmaiden-case) - "How a man accused of million-dollar fraud uncovered a never before seen, secret surveillance device.” Good account of how Daniel Rigmaiden deduced, then proved, the existence of the Stingray, a top secret device used by law enforcement to track mobile phones by pretending to be a cell tower.

Famous Sounds (http://www.synthmania.com/Famous%20Sounds.htm) - ”’Famous sounds’ are sounds that have been created or used by somebody, liked and then copied by many others, and thus earned a ‘classic’ status." Extensive collection of sounds you’ve heard before, possibly on many different recordings.

Teletext time travel (http://www.transdiffusion.org/2016/01/07/teletext-time-travel) - Clever technique for recovering old Teletext data from VHS tapes: ”It’s now possible to feed 15 minutes of smudged VHS teletext data into a computer and have it relentlessly compare the pages as they flick by at the top of the picture, choosing to hold characters that are the same on multiple viewing (as they’re likely to be right) and keep trying for clearer information for characters that frequently change (as they’re likely to be wrong).” This approach was invented by Jason Robertson, whose sub-TV (http://www.sub-tv.co.uk/) site is well worth a visit if you’re nostalgic about ATV, BBC Schools and ITV Schools, and various kinds of television aerial :)


Happy invoicing! :wave:

18th January 2016, 13:29
Re : The DIY Scientist link. The place birth and place of living names for the Canadian Sprinter made me giggle...

Priscilla Lopes-Schliep (born 26 August 1982) is a Canadian hurdler in track and field athletic competition. She was born in Scarborough, Ontario and currently lives in Whitby.

I'd guess the early settlers in Ontario set off from the UK east coast :D

18th January 2016, 21:25
I'd guess the early settlers in Ontario set off from the UK east coast :D

Maybe they were from Newcastle Upon Tyne, and they named their new homes after the places they used to go on holiday :D