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

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXX

    Another day of wretched weather, another bunch of things to look at as you pretend to be working:

    • NASA test proves pulsars can function as a celestial GPS - "A NASA experiment has shown how future missions might navigate their way through deep space. Spacecraft could triangulate their location, in a sort of celestial Global Positioning System (GPS), using clockwork-like signals from distant dead stars." The technique promises to allow a spacecraft to determine its position to within a couple of kilometres, which is pretty good when you consider how big space is.

    • Projection Bombing - You've probably seen examples of messages being projected on to American buildings recently, and this article explains in detail how to go about it, including important safety precautions: "There are inherent dangers to hooking up a battery. Connecting multiple batteries in parallel can increase this danger and add other complications. Doing so inside a car could cause injury or even death if the battery were to leak, explode or make the NYPD think you are terrorists and shoot you 40 times."


    • Every Woman Her Own Bodyguard - From the late nineteenth century on, women increasingly suffered harassment on the streets of American cities. In response, they turned to self-defence training, including boxing and jiu-jitsu: "When, in 1909, a woman stenographer in New York turned the tables on a masher, punching him in the face, she told authorities, 'The police can’t be everywhere at once, I decided to take care of myself.' She explained to a newspaper reporter that she had taught women boxing in Alabama, where she came from, and she would teach New York women boxing as well."

    • Omoshiro Block: A Memo Pad That Excavates Objects as it Gets Used - These are very cool, but you'll have to go to a particular shop in Japan to buy one: "The Omoshiro Block (loosely translated as ‘fun block’) utilizes laser-cutting technology to create what is, at first, just a seemingly normal square cube of paper note cards. But as the note cards get used, an object begins to appear. And you’ll have to exhaust the entire deck of cards to fully excavate the hidden object."


    • What Really Happened with Vista: An Insider’s Retrospective - Ben Fathi follows up on Terry Crowley's What Really Happened with Vista, posted here last June, to explain the tangled engineering management processes in Microsoft at the time: "By far the biggest problem with Windows releases, in my humble opinion, was the length of each release. On average, a release took about three years from inception to completion but only about six to nine months of that time was spent developing 'new' code… the main tree was almost always in a semi-broken state as large pieces of functionality were being integrated or replaced."

    • How Big Hair Got These Runners on the Cover of Sports Illustrated - In 1964, a Texas coach got his team of female runners on the cover of Sports Illustrated through ingenious use of fashion: "Janis Rinehart (foreground), Paula Walter (middle), and Jeanne Ellison (now Jeanne Ellison Biggs, right) became the first female track athletes from the U.S. to grace the cover. Their look was no joke. They were part of the Texas Track Club, a small group of high school-and college-aged female sprinters based in Abilene, Texas, led by a dedicated coach as obsessed with beauty as with winning races."


    • Mangilaluk’s Highway - In 1972, three Inuit boys fled an abusive government school and attempted to walk 140 kilometres across Arctic terrain to their home town. Only one survived. Now, a new highway on the same route he followed may be named after him. "For Nasogaluak, the road to Tuk represents more than an all-weather route to their hamlet: it’s a long-awaited path that he and many others in the town of 900 hope will help their community prosper… Many of the town’s elders are residential school survivors. None of them have forgotten that day in June 1972 when three of their classmates ran away. Back when the road was still a dream, those boys attempted to walk it."

    • On Tour With the Sex Pistols - "In 1978 Punk magazine sent photographer Roberta Bayley to Texas to chronicle the band’s tour through the South. Her photos of the two Texas shows capture the surreal collision of two radically different cultures." Bonus linky: Saving the Longhorn Ballroom, Texas’s Most Historic Music Venue, on the resurrection of the famous venue.


    • Xerox Alto's 3 Mb/s Ethernet: Building a gateway with a BeagleBone - "The Alto was a revolutionary computer designed at Xerox PARC in 1973. It introduced the GUI, high-resolution bitmapped displays, the optical mouse and laser printers to the world. But one of its most important contributions was Ethernet, the local area network that is still heavily used today. While modern Ethernets handle up to 100 gigabits per second, the Alto's Ethernet was much slower, just 3 megabits per second over coaxial cable… I built a gateway using the BeagleBone single-board computer to communicate with the Alto's Ethernet."

    • The Drive of Our Lives – The Heyday of the Motorway Service Station - "The first motorway service stations were at Newport Pagnell and the infamous Watford Gap, where for many southerners, “The North” indicated on Richard “Jock” Kinneir’s white-on-blue sign, starts. In 1959, Charles Forte employed smiling hostesses to take hats and overcoats from M1 pioneers who could then sit on colourful bar-stools and eat two shilling hot dogs or, if you were a part of the “gin’n’Jag set”, “large fillet steaks” for 12s 6d (72p)." A number of these images come from the excellent trainsandstuff Flickr account.



    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Loved the sex pistols and motorway services.

    The women's self defense seems to go in and out of popularity. A great pity it is needed - however I would like to see more of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrilloPad View Post
    Loved the sex pistols and motorway services.
    Some friends of mine lived near Leicester Forest East services years ago. When they had a party, those of us who survived to about five in the morning would head off, over a stile and a bit of a field then over a fence, and into the café there for a proper breakfast

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    There was a documentary on before christmas marking the 40th anniversary of the Sex Pistols 1977 Christmas Day gig in Huddersfield for the benefit of striking firefighter's kids. Here's a linky about it all.

    Re projection. I think we can all agree it peaked here:


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