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

    Chilly out today, but who needs the real world in the first place?

    • My Life Cleanse: One Month Inside L.A.'s Cult of Betterness - Rosecrans Baldwin tried the various self-improvement schemes beloved of Los Angelenos, and found himself in a strange EST-like cult: ”All hell broke loose. Howling. Roaring. Call it mass abreaction. I started sobbing, to a point that I was bent double, head between my legs, feeling like I was about to throw up on my partner's shoes. In a moment of lucidity, I thought to myself, while a woman near me crumpled to her knees, This really isn't how this article was supposed to go.”

    • The 19th-Century Antarctic Air Molecules That Could Change Climate Models - Ice coring in Antarctica: ”The goal of this latest expedition, which is scheduled to return mid-February, is to see whether concentrations of an atmospheric molecule called hydroxyl, or OH, has changed over time since the industrial revolution. The answer will greatly affect climate models: OH is responsible for degrading molecules like methane, one of our most potent greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere.”

    • When an FDA Ruling Curbed Fecal Transplants, I Performed My Own. - ”One research trial comparing the efficacies of fecal transplantation and vancomycin in patients with recurring C. diff. had to be stopped for ethical reasons, when it became clear that participants assigned to the fecal transplant group were recovering while those in the vancomycin group worsened… A sensible doctor might have offered to refer me to one of those approved practitioners. Instead, everyone I talked to refused to even entertain the idea, seemingly out of disgust.” Susan D’Agostino sticks it up her… yes, well.

    • ‘Why didn’t we think to do this earlier?’ Chemists thrilled by speedy atomic structures - A new application for a technique previously used by inorganic chemists and material scientists: ”The structure of small organic molecules, such as those used in drugs, can be deduced in minutes rather than weeks, thanks to a technique that uses beams of electrons to quickly reveal how atoms are arranged.”

    • Kumataro Ito’s Illustrations of Nudibranchs from the USS Albatross’ Philippine Expedition (ca. 1908) - ”If you ask people what the most spectacular creatures on Earth are some might say the flamingos of the Andes, the birds-of-paradise of Papua New Guinea, or the tropical fish of the Galapagos. How many would say sea slugs?” Paintings of said slugs, made for the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries


    • The Plan to Sell Texas to Great Britain - ”Stephen Pearl Andrews, a lawyer, Houston socialite, and abolitionist, concocted a plan to free Texas’ slaves—with a hint of treason.” HT to DoctorStrangelove for this odd bit of the history of US-UK relationships.

    • Gravitational waves could solve a cosmological crisis within five years—or shake physics to its core - The search for data to determine the value of the Hubble constant may end sooner than thought: ”When cosmologist Daniel Holz took off from Hong Kong on August 17, 2017, his head swirled with the ideas he’d spent the last week lecturing on, including his hope that vibrations in space would someday settle an ongoing debate regarding the size and age of the universe. But he knew it would take time… When Holz, who works at the University of Chicago, returned to Illinois, he learned the future had arrived early. The gravitational shockwaves set off by the collision of two nearby titans had rippled through his plane—and the entire planet—while he was in the air, and observatories around the world were scrambling for follow-up optical observations.”

    • The Bitter Class Struggle Behind Our Definition of a Kilogram - As the kilogram is redefined in terms of universal constants this month, Sam Kean looks at the history of weights and measures: ”Way back when, the same units often differed significantly from village to village. A “bushel” in one town wasn’t the same as a “bushel” in another… Cloth wholesalers might use one length, cloth retailers another, and fishermen measured the width of their nets using one unit and the breadth using another.”

    • generative artistry - A collection of experiments by Tim Holman; as you scroll through the development of each technique, the code appears in the editor on the left, so you can experiment with it there and then by tweaking it.

    • New and notable in North Korea: Fall’s changes, in photos - Fast food, electric bikes, and Japanese beer are "in" in NK, but some things stay the same, such as this bridge from China which goes nowhere for "reasons": ”The road abruptly stops on the North Korean side, with Pyongyang having made no effort to connect it to DPRK infrastructure since it was completed in 2013… Jang Song Thaek, who was executed by DPRK authorities in late 2013, was thought to have been a driving force behind the project.”



    Happy invoicing!

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    At least there was only one article on poo. Unlike the Monday Links that contained three.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GreenMirror View Post
    At least there was only one article on poo. Unlike the Monday Links that contained three.
    Ah, yes. Good times…

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