Monday Links from the Bank Holiday Deckchair vol. CCCLXXXI Monday Links from the Bank Holiday Deckchair vol. CCCLXXXI
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    Default Monday Links from the Bank Holiday Deckchair vol. CCCLXXXI

    Grey day today, due to the Bank Holiday. You might as well cancel your day out and stay in with this lot instead

    • A Thousand Pounds of Dynamite - "By the ambient glow of the instrument panel, Rowley read the second letter from the extortionists whose giant bomb currently sat in the second-floor offices of Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino, 20 miles away, back in Stateline, Nevada. The bomb was silently counting down to an explosion that the nation’s best technicians still had no idea how to prevent. The author of the letters was given to grandiose turns of phrase and idiosyncratic language and had provided complex instructions for the ransom drop: a helicopter, a lone pilot, a flight along Highway 50 into the mountains, a signal from a strobe light, a clearing for a landing zone, the $3 million in used bills. No weapons, no one riding shotgun." Adam Higginbotham tells the story of a bizarre extortion attempt in 1980.

    • Who Goes Nazi? - In 1940, before the USA had entered the war, Dorothy Thompson considered which of her acquaintances would fall into line under Nazi rule: ”I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis.”

    • The Coming Amnesia - "As the universe expands over hundreds of billions of years… there will be a point, in the very far future, at which all galaxies will be so far apart that they will no longer be visible from one another. Upon reaching that moment, it will no longer be possible to understand the universe’s history—or perhaps even that it had one—as all evidence of a broader cosmos outside of one’s own galaxy will have forever disappeared. Cosmology itself will be impossible."

    • The World's First Ransomware Came on a Floppy Disk in 1989 - Before the Internet, there were still gits: ”A free disk stuck to the front of a computer magazine changed Eddy Willems' life forever… a few days later his computer locked itself down and demanded he sent $189 to a PO Box in Panama. The printer even churned out an invoice.”

    • Picasso in 3D: Famous Paintings Transformed Into Physical Objects - Well, modelled using software, actually: ”[Omar] Aqil used Photoshop, Illustrator and Cinema 4D-Ray to reimagine six of Picasso’s most dynamic, angular paintings.”

    • The Fire Last Time - "An elite police squad was supposed to clean up the streets of 1970s Detroit. Instead, it terrorized African Americans, and turned the city into a battleground."

    • When Pixels Collide - HT to d000hg for this one: ”Last weekend, a fascinating act in the history of humanity played out on Reddit. For April Fool's Day, Reddit launched a little experiment. It gave its users, who are all anonymous, a blank canvas called Place.” Bonus linky: Reddit have blogged about the technical side of the project.

    • Why Is the Pentagon a Pentagon? - ”It is one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, and not just because it symbolizes America’s military… The Pentagon has also one of the more unique shapes ever assigned to an office building. So how did it come to be that way?” I always assumed it was because the number 5 is associated with Mars in the Qabalistic system of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, but the real (or at least the official) explanation turns out to be more prosaic

    • A Soviet Fighter Plane’s Tragic Error Brought Us Google Maps - "The April 1978 shootdown of Korean Air Lines Flight 902 by a Soviet Su-15 fighter plane—which killed two passengers but spared 107 others—distressed the Soviet air force, not because it had shot down a civilian airliner, but rather that it had gotten so far into Soviet airspace before being intercepted. Five years later, a second encounter between Su-15s and a Korean airliner would result in far heavier loss of life."

    • A Town Forgotten - Photojournalist Chris Arnade visits Cairo, Illinois: ”It is a small (population 2,450), mostly black (roughly 65%), town in a long slow decline (it peaked at 15,200 in the 1920’s). It looks like a town cleaned up following a natural disaster — entire neighborhoods are grids of boarded-up buildings, empty lots, and car-less streets.”

    Happy invoicing!

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    Great set of links - thanks Nick.

    Cairo looks like the American Dream needs some work!

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