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

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXXV

    Dull weather today, or it is here at any rate

    • Sex, Pong, And Pioneers: What Atari Was Really Like, According To Women Who Were There - Some people have been asserting that sexism was rife at Atari in the 1970s, as they apparently have nothing more pressing to be worried about. Here, the women who actually worked at Atari back then have their say: "The culture they told us about was certainly, as Playboy described it, one of “sex, drugs, and video games,” but one in which all 12 employees say they freely participated, if they participated at all. Many interviewees said it was the best job they ever had, adding that news of Bushnell’s rescinded award struck them as shocking or unfair."

    • That Time Apollo Astronauts Detonated Explosives on the Moon - "Apollo astronauts did a lot when they made it to the moon in the 1960s and 70s. They drove cars, they hit golf balls, they planted flags, they ran experiments and they launched mortars … wait, what?" It was supposedly to keep the seismologists happy; nothing to do with being attacked by little people with TV aerials sticking out of their heads

    • The Dreams of an Inventor in 1420 - "Bennett Gilbert peruses the sketchbook of 15th-century engineer Johannes de Fontana, a catalogue of designs for a variety of fantastic and often impossible inventions, including fire-breathing automatons, pulley-powered angels, and the earliest surviving drawing of a magic lantern device."

    • The Professional Mourners of Mani, Greece - "The sound is indescribable, a primal howl. If I’d not seen the source of the wailing with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it. Hunched over my grandfather’s body were three slight, elderly women dressed all in black, heads covered so that their eyes and mouths seemed to be lit like an El Greco painting." Ro Kalonaros encounters the moirologists (professional mourners) whose traditions date to at least 800BC.

    • The Sound and the Fury: Inside the Mystery of the Havana Embassy - "More than a year after American diplomats began to suffer strange, concussion-like symptoms in Cuba, a U.S. investigation is no closer to determining how they were hurt or by whom, and the FBI and CIA are at odds over the case." In case of sonic attack on your district…

    • Guy Spends Almost A Year Gluing 42,000 Matches To Make A Giant Sphere, Sets It On Fire - HT to d000hg for this excellent way of spending one's time: "I used that 0.82 degree angle to help me find the circle that the matches would create based on their shape. According to the program, if all matches are created equally (which they are not) then I would get a circle comprised of 439 matches that is 17.643″ in diameter. The surface area of a sphere can be found with the equation 4πr2 and since r=8.8215″ we get 977.405 square inches… I modeled the damn thing but my computer couldn’t render it. I had to keep cutting away parts until I stopped running out of memory."

    • DNA seen through the eyes of a coder - Bert Hubert's collected thoughts on the similarities between the genetic code and software: "This is just some rambling by a computer programmer about DNA. I'm not a molecular geneticist… DNA is not like C source but more like byte-compiled code for a virtual machine called 'the nucleus'. It is very doubtful that there is a source to this byte compilation - what you see is all you get."

    • Romeo Spies - "Because of the war, many women of marrying age had taken jobs in business, government, parliament, the military, and the intelligence services in West Germany, and they often had access to highly classified government secrets. With the shortage of eligible men—another consequence of the war—single West German women, eager for male companionship, became frequent targets for East German male spies who were only interested in them for one thing: secrets." The CIA reveals (at least some of) what is known about this long-running programme of espionage by the DDR.

    • Finding the Exhaust Ports - "The internet I love is hidden behind layers of the internet that I detest… In time, it became easier for small groups of humans (or even individual humans) to create applications on the internet; to string together a few lines of Ruby and manifest a nice, friendly little slice of the internet in which to welcome our friends for whatever niche social dynamic we wanted to foster. This went a little bit pear-shaped when the people who read Ayn Rand with a straight face realized that these things should probably make unreasonable amounts of money and that rather than charging people to use services they loved, it would be much better to figure out ways to get them hooked on services and then sell their attention to advertisers." Jon Gold laments the impact of the industry's ridiculously narrow view of online business.

    • Forgotten Images: Before Aldwych and Kingsway and Destruction & Construction in Aldwych & Kingsway - "In October 1905 King Edward VII officially opened Kingsway and Aldwych; 'The largest and most important improvement in London since the construction of Regent Street in 1820.' London County Council produced a special souvenir programme for the event."

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

    Contractor Among Contractors

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    Excellent links as usual Nick.

    The giant flaming match sphere is great, especially the slo-mo footage. It's like a DIY eye of Sauron

    The Exhaust Ports article is very close to my heart..
    Last edited by Dark Black; 19th February 2018 at 15:08.
    Do what thou wilt

  3. #3

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    d000hg - scorchio!

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    Featured in Monday Links; it's all downhill from here.

    Thanks for the links NF
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    I'd still not breastfeed a nazi
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    Urine is quite nourishing

  4. #4

    Prof Cunning @ Oxford Uni

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    Quote Originally Posted by d000hg View Post
    Featured in Monday Links; it's all downhill from here.
    You're telling me... I featured in them in 2016 and ended up a moderator.
    I'm perfect, in a very specific and limited way.
    Hands... out infractions
    Face... the music
    Space... between the ears

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