Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXI Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXI
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  1. #1

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXI

    Having tried the alternative last week, I have to say that not being at ClientCo on Monday morning is preferable, and also makes it easier to find the time to gather this lot together:

    • ‘I Forgot My PIN’: An Epic Tale of Losing $30,000 in Bitcoin - Mark Frauenfelder’s investment in Bitcoin grew dramatically in value, so he made sure it was safe by storing it in a hardware wallet. Then he forgot his PIN: ”I looked at the tiny monochrome display on the bitcoin wallet and noticed that a countdown timer had appeared. It was making me wait a few seconds before I could try another PIN. My heart fluttered. I went to the hardware wallet manufacturer’s website to learn about the PIN delay and read the bad news: The delay doubled every time a wrong PIN was entered.”

    • How One Las Vegas ED Saved Hundreds of Lives After the Worst Mass Shooting in U.S. History - "The night that Stephen Paddock opened fire on thousands of people at a Las Vegas country music concert, nearby Sunrise Hospital received more than 200 penetrating gunshot wound victims. Dr. Kevin Menes was the attending in charge of the ED that night, and thanks to his experience supporting a local SWAT team, he’d thought ahead about how he might mobilize his department in the event of a mass casualty incident. This is his story (As told to Judith Tintinalli, MD, MS)."

    • How Facebook Figures Out Everyone You've Ever Met - Kashmir Hill explains how Facebook comes up with those unexpected suggestions of people you “may know”: ”You might assume Facebook’s friend recommendations would work the same way: You tell the social network who you are, and it tells you who you might know in the online world. But Facebook’s machinery operates on a scale far beyond normal human interactions. And the results of its People You May Know algorithm are anything but obvious… Connections like these seem inexplicable if you assume Facebook only knows what you’ve told it about yourself. They’re less mysterious if you know about the other file Facebook keeps on you—one that you can’t see or control.”

    • The Dead Man Fund - Jack El-Hai got mail for a long-dead woman who used to live at his address. It led him to discover the story of an appallingly mismanaged investment fund: ”When Steadman died in 1997 at age 83, he left behind a string of breathtaking losses that had earned him the nickname the ‘Rembrandt of Red Ink.’ His four funds regularly appeared on fund-watchers’ lists of the worst investments. By extracting from investors such high expenses, he had conned them within the limits of the law. No independent trustees of the funds had money invested in them, and Steadman himself had sacrificed only about $16,000 to them at the time of his death.”

    • Laguna Vere: Tbilisi’s Abandoned Soviet-era Sports Complex - "Vines wrapped over the street as it dropped off down the hillside, between two tall rows of rustic wood framed houses. The tendrils twisted into a canopy that hung overhead, to form a green tunnel offering welcome relief from the August sun. Down the alleyway we went, through the backstreets of Tbilisi, until the road reached the bottom of the hill and it ran broadside into a looming concrete colossus, the back end of a massive Brutalist amphitheatre: the Soviet-era Laguna Vere complex." Another triumph of urban planning in the name of sport

    • How a Glass Terrarium Changed the World - "If you’ve ever eaten a banana, changed a car tire, or accidentally killed an orchid, then you have the Wardian case to thank. Unfortunately, you can probably also blame this small, sealed container for the rapid spread of both European colonialism and invasive plant species in the 19th century." And that’s probably why your garden has Japanese knotweed

    • A Zombie Gene Protects Elephants From Cancer - "Elephants did not evolve to become huge animals until after they turned a bit of genetic junk into a unique defense against inevitable tumors." Good job it didn’t make zombie elephants instead

    • Unraveling an Ancient Code Written In Strings - On deciphering knotted cords: ”Andean cultures developed a mysterious form of writing that has never been deciphered. Scientists are teaming with locals to solve the enigma."

    • The scientists persuading terrorists to spill their secrets - "Expert interrogators know torture doesn’t work – but until now, nobody could prove it. By analysing hundreds of top-secret interviews with terror suspects, two British scientists have revolutionised the art of extracting the truth."

    • A 19th-Century Vision of the Year 2000 - "A series of futuristic pictures by Jean-Marc Côté and other artists issued in France in 1899, 1900, 1901 and 1910. Originally in the form of paper cards enclosed in cigarette/cigar boxes and, later, as postcards, the images depicted the world as it was imagined to be like in the then distant year of 2000. As is so often the case their predictions fell some way off the mark…”

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Amazing Bitcoin story.....

  3. #3


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    I think this was closest to the mark

    Not at all sure what the obsession with being underwater is all about. And as for 'fishing for seaguls'

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