Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXIX Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXIX
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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXIX

    Although I haven't been able to work since the start of December, my contract end date was actually yesterday, so I really am on the bench now

    • Languages don’t all have the same number of terms for colors – scientists have a new theory why - "People with standard vision can see millions of distinct colors. But human language categorizes these into a small set of words." For example, one Amazonian language only has words for black, white, and red.

    • Try on, tune in, drop out: the story of Granny Takes A Trip and London’s psychedelic tailors - Tom Pinnock looks back at the early psychedelic boutiques that created much of the look of the Sixties: ” I remember Andy Warhol and his troupe coming in at one time, The Beatles came in often, and the Stones. Brigitte Bardot’s sister, Mijanou, used to take our clothes back to her boutique in Paris. Sometimes she brought her sister with her, which was always very pleasant. At other times there was someone like Yul Brynner or Barbra Streisand or Ursula Andress. Brian Jones and John Lennon used to come in after hours; we used to open the shop especially.”

    • Physicists Aim to Classify All Possible Phases of Matter - "In the last three decades, condensed matter physicists have discovered a wonderland of exotic new phases of matter: emergent, collective states of interacting particles that are nothing like the solids, liquids and gases of common experience."

    • Trashed: Inside the Deadly World of Private Garbage Collection - Tony Soprano and his pals may not have so much of a hold on the industry now, but commercial waste collection in New York is still a dodgy business: ”Rushing makes the job more dangerous, and most everyone has to rush in order to finish hundreds of stops — sometimes more than 1,000 — in a night, covering a route that could easily be 85 miles. As most any private sanitation worker in New York City will tell you, the routes are often too long to finish within the 11-hour driving limit set by federal Department of Transportation regulations. As a result, many garbage truck drivers routinely drive far more than the 11-hour limit, hardly getting any time to rest before they must return to the wheel.”

    • Elephas Anthropogenus - "After the fall of the Roman Empire, elephants virtually disappeared from Western Europe. Since there was no real knowledge of how this animal actually looked, illustrators had to rely on oral and written transmissions to morphologically reconstruct the elephant, thus reinventing an actual existing creature. This tree diagram traces the evolution of the elephant depiction throughout the middle ages up to the age of enlightenment." This one from the 1400s has spots

    • The ’70s Swingers Club and the Secret Archive It Left Behind - Jack El-Hai discovers the preserved records of a Minneapolis swingers club: ”Two members preserved by-laws, newsletters, correspondence, and, perhaps dangerously, dating-app-esque profiles (with a first name but only a last initial). In the early 1990s, the records were found in a safe deposit box at First Bloomington Lake National Bank, and the papers made their way to the state’s historical agency via a Minnesota law that gives the Society first claim to abandoned historic materials. They may be the only such records preserved anywhere in the world in a historical archive, and they give a rare look into the sometimes mundane, often unexpected workings of a swingers club just trying to keep track of its sexy ongoings.”

    • Ancient Infant's DNA Reveals New Clues to How the Americas Were Peopled - "Around 11,500 years ago, at a place that is now called the Upward Sun River, in the region that has since been named Alaska, two girls died. One was a late-term fetus; the other, probably her cousin, was six weeks old. They were both covered in red ochre and buried in a circular pit, along with hunting weapons made from bones and antlers." Analysis of their genomes reveals that they belonged to a hitherto unknown group of people.

    • And Justice For None: Inside Biggest Law Enforcement Scandal in Massachusetts History - "How the system covered up tens of thousands of falsified drug tests – and how two teams of crusading lawyers exposed the wrongdoing.” Not only did two drugs lab workers falsify thousands of tests of evidence, the state legal authorities then engaged in a massive conspiracy to cover up the wrongdoing, eventually leading to tens of thousands of convictions being overturned.

    • Dude, you broke the future! - Transcript of a talk by sci-fi author Charlie Stross, in which he argues that corporations are a form of slow AI, to which we have become subservient: ”It seems to me that our current political upheavals are best understood as arising from the capture of post-1917 democratic institutions by large-scale AIs. Everywhere I look I see voters protesting angrily against an entrenched establishment that seems determined to ignore the wants and needs of their human voters in favour of the machines… Our major political parties are led by people who are compatible with the system as it exists—a system that has been shaped over decades by corporations distorting our government and regulatory environments. We humans are living in a world shaped by the desires and needs of AIs, forced to live on their terms, and we are taught that we are valuable only insofar as we contribute to the rule of the machines.”

    • A Forest of Furniture Is Growing in England - The remarkable ten-year business plan of Gavin Munro, whose first crop of furniture is coming to fruition: ”Munro’s big idea was that he would guide trees to grow into chairs, tables, and lamps that could be harvested right out of a field. The trees, selected for their ability to grow new sprouts from their stumps, would regenerate. His forest would yield furniture the way an orchard yields apples.”

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Great read that Trashed story. Got totally lost in it towards the end!
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  3. #3

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    I'm enjoying Dude you broke the future.

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    pjclarke 's job has never been outsourced

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    £5,000 for a coffee table, £450 for a lampshade.

    Quite a Plan B.
    My subconscious is annoying. It's got a mind of its own.

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