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

    It's important to rest your eyes when using a screen for prolonged periods, so remember to occasionally glance out of the window at the wretched business park in which your ClientCo resides before returning to the warm embrace of the Internet

    • The Great Rikers Island Art Heist - "For forty years, an original Salvador Dalí painting went unnoticed inside New York City’s massive jail complex. Then a gang of thieves decided it might be worth something." A strange little art theft tale from the New York jail complex.

    • Collapse of ancient city’s water system may have led to its demise - Jennifer Ouellette summarises a new study of the water distribution system of Angkor and how it may have failed: "Such a configuration, hovering at or near the so-called critical point, is ideal for the effective flow of resources, whether we're talking about water, electricity (power grids), traffic, the spread of disease, or information (the stock market and the Internet). The tradeoff is that it can become much more sensitive to even tiny perturbations—so much so that a small outage in one part of the network can trigger a sudden network-wide cascading failure." The full paper is here: The demise of Angkor: Systemic vulnerability of urban infrastructure to climatic variations.

    • Abandoned Russian Polar Nuclear Lighthouses - "Special lightweight small atomic reactors were produced in limited series to be delivered to the Polar Circle lands and to be installed on the lighthouses. Those small reactors could work in the independent mode for years and didn’t require any human interference… After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the unattended automatic lighthouses did it job for some time, but after some time they collapsed too. Mostly as a result of the hunt for the metals like copper and other stuff which were performed by the looters. They didn’t care or maybe even didn’t know the meaning of the ‘Radioactive Danger’ sign and ignored them, breaking in and destroying the equipment." Not sure I’d visit a place where a nuclear reactor has been pulled to bits and left scattered about, but Kamatoz did:

    • The Life and Death of a Mexican Hitman - Falko Ernst, a senior Analyst with the International Crisis Group, tells the story of a real sicario: ”Child soldiers like him are recruited into a system whose roots are sunk deep in Mexico’s inequalities. Then they are often trained to become ruthless killers, going from victims to victimisers. Grillo taught me about why, amid the cycles of revenge, it’s so hard to get out. He died trying.”

    • A new way to measure nearly nothing - "NIST scientists have designed a vacuum gauge that is small enough to deploy in commonly used vacuum chambers. It also meets Quantum SI criteria, meaning it requires no calibration, depends on fundamental constants of nature, reports the correct quantity or none at all, and has specified uncertainties that are suitable for its application.”

    • Seven Square Miles - There are many amazing images in this gallery taken from Google’s satellite maps: ”The following images are snapshots from Google Earth, all rectangles of the same size and scale, approximately three and a half miles (5.6 kilometers) wide by two miles (3.2 kilometers) tall—showing seven square miles (18.1 square kilometers, or 4,480 acres) of the surface of our planet in each view." This is the Badain Jaran Desert in China:

    • ‘Dallas’ at 40: The Inside Story Behind the Show That Changed Texas Forever - An oral history of the show that gave us the “I shot JR” t-shirt: ”Let’s just say that the makers of Dallas weren’t really big on doing homework. There were not herds of cattle tracing across Grand Prairie, and there weren’t fields of oil wells outside Dallas. It bore about as much relation to life in actual Dallas as Lost in Space did to the history of space exploration.”

    • Why we think giant pterosaurs could fly - ”How can any sensible individual think that animals with 10 m wingspans and body masses hovering around 250 kg were capable of flight? At most they were gliders, or flighted as juveniles and flightless as adults, right?… Among those who actually study pterosaur functional morphology – that is, those who make detailed observations and measurements of pterosaur fossils, compile biomechanical data and use computer modelling to objectively test their flight capacity – there is no controversy about the volant nature of these animals, even at their maximum size.” Dr. Mark Witton, palaeontologist and palaeoartist, explains in detail how those giant reptiles soared in the heavens.

    • Paper Airplane Designs - A slightly more down-to-earth mode of flight: this is an excellent database of paper aeroplanes, selectable by difficulty of making and properties such as time aloft, with detailed instructions on how to make them and printable pages showing the folds

    • Butterfly Wings - Beautiful close-ups by Chris Perani. He sells prints, should one of them take your fancy; his other galleries of subjects minute and large are also worth a browse.

    Happy invoicing!

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    •Paper Airplane Designs - A slightly more down-to-earth mode of flight: this is an excellent database of paper aeroplanes, selectable by difficulty of making and properties such as time aloft, with detailed instructions on how to make them and printable pages showing the folds
    OMG yes!!! My client is going to need '•A new way to measure nearly nothing ' to measure the productivity in the office this afternoon now we've got the paper planes link!
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

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