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

26th June 2017, 10:48
Going to hear tomorrow if I'm getting extended, or my three-day-week reverts to a zero-day-week in a fortnight. Either way, there'll still be plenty of gubbins to read on the Internet :)

Poison in the System (https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/poison-in-the-system), From Russia With Blood (https://www.buzzfeed.com/heidiblake/from-russia-with-blood-14-suspected-hits-on-british-soil), The Man Who Knew Too Much (https://www.buzzfeed.com/janebradley/scientist-who-helped-connect-litvinenkos-murder-to-the), The Secrets Of The Spy In The Bag (https://www.buzzfeed.com/tomwarren/secrets-of-the-spy-in-the-bag) - People whose continued existence is inconvenient for Vladimir Putin keep dying in odd ways in Britain, and the British authorities keep insisting there’s nothing untoward going on. For example: ”Perepilichnyy, who faced repeated threats after fleeing to Britain, was found dead outside his home in Surrey after returning from a mysterious trip to Paris in 2012. Despite an expert detecting signs of a fatal plant poison in his stomach, the British police have insisted there was no evidence of foul play, and Theresa May’s government has invoked national security powers to withhold evidence from the inquest into his cause of death.” BTW, I still find it odd and refreshing that Buzzfeed, having achieved success with listicles about cats and stuff, has managed with such apparent ease to expand into hard-hitting investigative journalism :freaky:

The ‘time machine’ reconstructing ancient Venice’s social networks (https://www.nature.com/articles/n-12446262) - Venice has archives covering a thousand years of administrative records, and is now digitising the lot and feeding it all into machine learning systems: ”The project, which he calls the Venice Time Machine, will scan documents including maps, monographs, manuscripts and sheet music. It promises not only to open up reams of hidden history to scholars, but also to enable the researchers to search and cross-reference the information, thanks to advances in machine-learning technologies.”

Just Wait (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/frank-rich-nixon-trump-and-how-a-presidency-ends.html) - The original title of this piece by Frank Rich, revealed in the URL and <title> tag, is Nixon, Trump, and How a Presidency Ends, and it’s an excellent reminder of just how long the road was from the Watergate burglary to Nixon’s downfall: ”He had defied his political obituaries before, staging comebacks after a slush-fund scandal nearly cost him his vice-presidential perch on the GOP ticket in 1952 and again after his 1962 defeat in the California governor’s race prompted the angry “last press conference” at which he vowed that “you won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.” Might Tricky Dick pull off another Houdini? He was capable of it, and, as it happened, it would take another full year of bombshells and firestorms after the televised Senate hearings before a clear majority of Americans (57 percent) finally told pollsters they wanted the president to go home. Only then did he oblige them, in August 1974.”

Standard Ebooks (https://standardebooks.org/) - "Standard Ebooks takes ebooks from sources like Project Gutenberg, formats and typesets them using a carefully designed and professional-grade style guide, lightly modernizes them, fully proofreads and corrects them, and then builds them to take advantage of state-of-the-art ereader and browser technology." If you’ve ever been frustrated by lack of proper chapter structure or egregious scanning errors in free ebooks, this project is for you. I personally object to the “lightly modernised” bit: if I’m reading an old book I want archaic spelling, dammit! But it’s a small price to pay for quality free ebooks, and they’re also all on Github so I can reverse those specific edits and rebuild the book more to my taste if it annoys me that much, so we’re cool :)

Why the calorie is broken (https://mosaicscience.com/story/why-calorie-broken) - "Calories consumed minus calories burned: it’s the simple formula for weight loss or gain. But dieters often find that it doesn’t work. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley of Gastropod investigate." Turns out there’s more to human digestion than raw numbers.

Would Your Dog Eat You if You Died? Get the Facts. (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/pets-dogs-cats-eat-dead-owners-forensics-science/) - ”No one tracks the frequency of pets scavenging their expired owners’ bodies, but dozens of such case reports appear in forensic science journals over the last 20 years or so, and they’re the best window we have into a situation dreaded by pet owners: dying alone and being eaten.” TL;DR: Probably. A bit. But maybe it was just trying to wake you and got carried away? Also, your cats will too.

How Much Does it Cost to Climb Mount Everest? – 2017 Edition (http://www.alanarnette.com/blog/2016/12/18/how-much-does-it-cost-to-climb-mount-everest/) and How I built a business that lets me live on the beach full time (http://www.expatsoftware.com/Articles/guy-on-the-beach-with-a-laptop.html) - HT to quackhandle for both of these, which I’m putting together in order to pose the obvious challenge: which CUKker will be the first to run their Plan B from the top of Mount Everest?

Why Does North Korea Keep Photoshopping Kim Jong-un’s Ears? (https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ywzjj5/why-does-north-korea-keep-photoshopping-kim-jong-uns-ears) - There are many important questions to be asked about North Korea’s actions and motivations, and this is one of them: ”Photoshop is a critical part of North Korea's propaganda machine. The brutal dictatorship, led by Kim Jong-un, would like us to believe a lot of things that just aren't true… But the weirdest North Korea 'shops have to be the continued manipulation of Kim Jong-un's ears.”

Atlas of Hillforts (https://hillforts.arch.ox.ac.uk/) - Just that. More info at An Atlas of Hillforts in Britain and Ireland (http://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/hillforts-atlas.html): ”The Atlas of Hillforts Project has just been awarded £950,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council to try and remedy this situation. The Project will collect, collate and present data on hillforts across the UK and Ireland providing, for the first time, an integrated resource to serve research into this important monument type.”

The Corner of Lovecraft and Ballard (https://placesjournal.org/article/the-corner-of-lovecraft-and-ballard/) - Will Wiles examines correlations and contrasts between H. P. Lovecraft’s and J. G. Ballard’s fascination with corners: ”Their fiction came from different hemispheres of the century: Lovecraft’s could only have been produced before the Second World War, and Ballard’s was inextricably the product of the postwar world… No two writers, however different, are completely different. Here’s a crucial instance: Lovecraft and Ballard both put architecture at the heart of their fiction, even though neither had the slightest formal training in the subject. And it is via this interest that the two intersect in an unexpected way. They are connected, through time and space, by that most humble of architectural events: the corner, the junction between two walls.” With illustrations by Jim Kazanjian.


Happy invoicing! :wave:

26th June 2017, 11:38
People whose continued existence is inconvenient for Vladimir Putin keep dying in odd ways in Britain

Sadly he has not got round to AtW yet.

How Much Does it Cost to Climb Mount Everest?

Climbing Mount Everest is easy. More have done it than completed a triple iron man.... :rolleyes:

26th June 2017, 13:29
Excellent set of links as always.

I was slightly disappointed the hill fort site doesn't seem to include a UK map with every known hill fort indicated by a dot. (Or maybe it does and I missed it.)

26th June 2017, 14:45
The dogs eating owners faces link appealed to me this week. I now have two dogs and I'm pretty certain they would eat my face if I died or even slept in.