Monday Links from the Bank Holiday Deckchair vol. CDXXXIX Monday Links from the Bank Holiday Deckchair vol. CDXXXIX
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    Default Monday Links from the Bank Holiday Deckchair vol. CDXXXIX

    Remember: take your phone or tablet to Ikea and you can stretch out on one of the display sofas to read this lot, instead of wasting hours searching with an increasing sense of panic for the exit

    • Fordlandia - The strange tale of the all-American town built by Henry Ford in the remote Amazon rainforest: "Henry Ford wanted this community — called ‘Fordlândia’ — to be more than just a huge plantation. He envisioned an industrial utopia. He paid his Brazilian workers good wages, at least for the region. And he tried to build them the kind of place he would’ve loved to live, which is to say: a small Midwestern town … but in the middle of the jungle."

    • A Slower Speed of Light - A free educational game from MIT in which you gradually reduce the speed of light to walking pace, allowing you to see relativistic effects in real time: ”These effects… include the Doppler effect (red- and blue-shifting of visible light, and the shifting of infrared and ultraviolet light into the visible spectrum); the searchlight effect (increased brightness in the direction of travel); time dilation (differences in the perceived passage of time from the player and the outside world); Lorentz transformation (warping of space at near-light speeds); and the runtime effect (the ability to see objects as they were in the past, due to the travel time of light).”

    • Top 10 Strangest Miracles of the Middle Ages - Those whacky saints: ”The reason we know of so many miracles is that church officials needed to record them when deciding if someone was to deemed a saint – you needed to have performed some miracles, during or after your lifetime… While most miracles were typical stories of healing or assistance, there were many unusual ones as well.”

    • Playing battleships over BGP - "BGP is the glue of the internet. For a protocol that was produced on two napkins in 1989 it is both amazing and horrifying that it runs almost all of the ISP to ISP interactions and is now a very fundemental part of the internet."

    • GDPR Hall of Shame - Gallery of the general fail surrounding everybody’s favourite change to privacy and consent regulations


    • Code to Joy - Andrew Smith on learning to program in middle age: ”As the line between technology and politics blurs, I wondered whether my ignorance of its workings compromised my capacity to understand what it should and should not do. Being unable to speak to these mavens in their own terms, as they encoded the parameters of my world, brought a sense of helplessness for which only I, as a citizen, could take responsibility. And two questions that embraced all the others began to form. Should I learn to code? Could I learn to code? With a trepidation I later came to recognise as deeply inadequate, I decided there was only one way to find out.”

    • What happens when an algorithm cuts your health care - Perfect examples of what Andrew Smith is thinking about from several US states, where incorrectly-configured algorithms wrongly denied long-term care to thousands of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses: ”One variable in the assessment was foot problems. When an assessor visited a certain person, they wrote that the person didn’t have any problems — because they were an amputee… Negative changes, like a person contracting pneumonia, could counterintuitively lead them to receive fewer help hours because the flowchart-like algorithm would place them in a different category.”

    • Everyone Knows a Lunar Cycle is 28 Days; or, falsehoods werewolves believe about time - In another algorithmic fail, André Arko ‘fesses up to messing up, this time causing problems for Wiccans: ”I discovered that my entire premise was hilariously wrong: 27.321661 is the average length of the lunar cycle. No individual lunar cycles actually last 27.321661 days… If I could wait decades (or centuries!) individual differences in lunar cycle lengths will eventually average out… but that doesn’t help Wiccans in the year 2018. At the moment that message arrived, the full moon in the real world arrived three days after the app’s perfectly average spherical moon in a vacuum.”

    • 'Cheers' Finale at 25: Untold Stories From Inside the Writers Room and ‘Cheers’ Team Reflects on Series Finale on 25th Anniversary, Talks Revival Potential - It’s just over 25 years since the finale of Cheers was broadcast (it was actually a week ago yesterday, but I didn’t find these until after I’d posted last week’s links) so here’s members of the cast and crew reminiscing about it: ”Frasier was the most hated character on TV. No one wanted to see someone come between Sam and Diane. After that season, he took a cross-country car trip by himself. He stopped in a bar filled with rough characters to get a beer. A big guy comes up behind him with long stringy hair and sleeves cut off, showing his tattoos. He taps Kelsey on the shoulder and Kelsey turns around and the guy says, ‘You're that pencil-necked son of a bitch trying to break up Sam and Diane!’”

    • The Refined, Scandalous Art of Japan’s Traditional Woodblock Tabloids - The Japanese equivalent of Victorian penny dreadfuls, except the Japanese didn’t have pennies and weren’t Victorians.



      ”A wicked foreigner refuses to pay a young prostitute” 1875


    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Never heard of the Amazon experiment by Ford before, interesting.

    Cheers is still my favourite comedy, nice read.

    Thanks for the links

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