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

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDXXVIII

    Grey and rainy out there, as befits the day we lost Ken Dodd

    • The Lottery Hackers - Detailed account of several people who found loopholes in various American state lotteries, and made millions of dollars: "Right there, in the numbers on the page, he noticed a flaw—a strange and surprising pattern… written into the fundamental machinery of the game. A loophole that would eventually make Jerry and Marge millionaires, spark an investigation by a Boston Globe Spotlight reporter, unleash a statewide political scandal and expose more than a few hypocrisies at the heart of America’s favorite form of legalized gambling."

    • Fizzlefade - "Every once in a while I come across a solution to a problem that is so elegant, and so creative that there is no other word but 'beautiful' to describe it… Fizzlefade is the name of the function in charge of fading from a scene to an other in Wolfenstein 3D. What it does is turn the pixels of the screen to a solid color, only one at a time, seemingly at random." Fabien Sanglard reads the source to discover the ingenious maths behind the effect.

    • The Rubik's Contraption and Rubik's Solver Software - Ben Katz and Jared Di Carlo have built a machine that can analyse and solve a Rubik's Cube in 0.38 seconds: "The time is from the moment the keypress is registered on the computer, to when the last face is flipped. It includes image capture and computation time, as well as actually moving the cube. The motion time is ~335 ms, and the remaining time image acquisition and computation."

    • Bones Discovered in 1940 Could Have Been Amelia Earhart’s - "A new forensic analysis suggests that skeletal remains found on a remote island belonged to the famous pilot." A previous analysis concluded the bones were those of a man, apparently because those responsible didn't realise that Earhart had quite a sturdy build.

    • What Happens When You Put Evolution on Replay? - "A team of scientists from the University of Arizona have engineered an instant replay switch for evolution. The technique, known as ancestral gene resurrection, inserts ancient genes into modern E. coli bacteria. It gives researchers the opportunity to watch evolution unfold again and again, providing insights into how life evolved on early Earth, and what it might potentially look like on other planets." Looking at the state of the world, perhaps we should grasp this opportunity to start again and hope it turns out better next time

    • What scientists found trapped in a diamond: a type of ice not known on Earth - Deborah Netburn on a recent finding published in Science: "The finding… represents the first detection of naturally occurring ice-VII ever found on Earth. And as sometimes happens in the scientific process, it was discovered entirely by accident."

    • Kigumi: The Japanese Museum of Interlocking Wooden Joints - "In a nondescript building in Tokyo there is a little-known museum that celebrates on of Japan’s most distinctive crafts: kigumi, or interlocking wooden joints." There's a Twitter account that tweets animations showing examples of the craft: @TheJoinery_jp (though it seems to have gone quiet just over a year ago). This version's a bit small because I had to rip the video off Twitter then convert it to an animated GIF, and the full size version came out to about 40MB, which seemed a tad excessive for an image embed

    • Clearing the Radioactive Rubble Heap That Was Fukushima Daiichi, 7 Years On - "The water is tainted, the wreckage is dangerous, and disposing of it will be a prolonged, complex and costly process." So, a work in progress then?

    • A star is about to plunge head first toward a monster black hole. Astronomers are ready to watch. - Phil Plait on the adventures of S2: "It's a bit of a bruiser, a B-type star about 15 times more massive than the Sun… There are likely upwards of a billion stars like that in our galaxy, but S2 is special: It orbits very, very close to the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way."

    • The Disney Artists’ Strike of 1941 - "On May 29, 1941, 334 employees of the Disney animation studio walked out on strike (303 employees remained on the inside). The events that led up to the strike are too numerous to recount here, but suffice to say, tensions had been building at the studio since the runaway success of the studio’s first film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937, and employees of the studio had a litany of grievances from low wages and salary cuts to arbitrary layoffs, arcane bonus distribution systems, and oppressively long hours (including mandatory work on Saturdays)." And whatever the rights and wrongs of the dispute, they made the most awesome placards ever seen on a picket line

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

    Nice But Dim

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    If they get to Ice IX we'll be in trouble.

    Edit : turns out we are up to Ice XVI already. None of them with the capacity to cause the end of life as we know it
    Last edited by DaveB; 12th March 2018 at 13:05. Reason: For Science!
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  3. #3

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    Good lottery story. Now for the Japs one - I hope it features their badly named mascot, Fukuppy.

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