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

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. CDLXXII

    Might as well cancel that meeting now, NLUK

    • How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa - Another case of people being screwed over by incompetent use of geographical databases: ”John and Ann are not criminals… They just happen to live in a very unfortunate location, a location cursed by dimwitted decisions made by people who lived half a world away, people who made designations on maps and in databases without thinking about the real-world places and people they represented.”

    • Astronomers still can’t decipher the ‘Cow,’ a mysterious explosion in deep space - ”An unusually bright glow in the sky that appeared suddenly last June has got astronomers in a frenzy. After months of study, they still aren’t sure what the object—officially called AT2018cow, but universally referred to as the ‘Cow’—is.” And while we’re on the subject, another exploding thing in the sky: A giant interstellar bubble being blown in the Andromeda Galaxy - ”An international team of astrophysicists, including researchers from The University of Manchester’s Jodrell Bank Observatory, have discovered that a remarkable star has been continuously erupting, on an annual basis, for millions of years.”

    • Medieval Witch Hunts Influenced by Climate Change - Bad weather? Yeah, that’ll be women’s fault, then: ”August 3, 1562 a devastating thunderstorm hit central Europe, damaging buildings, killing animals and destroying crops and vineyards. The havoc caused by this natural disaster was so great, so unprecedented, that soon an unnatural origin for the storm was proposed… ‘and so many women, which it's said to have made the hail and the wind, were burned according to the law.’”

    • You Can’t Trust What You Read About Nutrition - ”We found a link between cabbage and innie bellybuttons, but that doesn’t mean it’s real.” All the excuses you need to abandon that ridiculous hokum-based diet you started for the New Year

    • The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees - ”A shocking study published in 2018 found that some of the most beautiful, and famous, baobab trees are dying. What will this mean for the people who depend on them—and for the planet?”


    • Why a Medieval Woman Had Lapis Lazuli Hidden in Her Teeth - New evidence that, when not causing storms with witchcraft, some women worked as scribes: ”What Anita Radini noticed under the microscope was the blue—a brilliant blue that seemed so unnatural, so out of place in the 1,000-year-old dental tartar she was gently dissolving in weak acid… The teeth that were embedded with this blue likely belonged to a scribe or painter of medieval manuscripts. Who was that person? A woman, first of all. According to radiocarbon dating, she lived around 997 to 1162, and she was buried at a women’s monastery in Dalheim, Germany.”

    • Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why - ”Erratic motion of north magnetic pole forces experts to update model that aids global navigation.” This must be why your satnav made you drive into the canal.

    • An Interactive Introduction to Fourier Transforms - It’s been nearly five years since we last had an interactive guide to the Fourier Transform; this one by Jez Swanson is very nice: ”We're going to leave the mathematics and equations out of it for now. There's a bunch of interesting maths behind it, but it's better to start with what it actually does, and why you'd want to use it first. If you want to know more about the how, there's some further reading suggestions below!”

    • The oral history of the Hampsterdance: The twisted true story of one of the world's first memes - Leah Collins delves into the early history of the web: ”People love nostalgia, and just like the Hampsterdance, this story started as a laugh. It was just supposed to be a quick assignment — a hit of kitschy Y2K memories for anyone who remembered a weird website or a goofy novelty song or even just some gag from Are We There Yet? But with every person who agreed to be interviewed, the Hampsterdance turned into one more thing: a hairy beast of a saga. It's the centre of so many schemes and unresolved disputes that its history is more complicated than a super-sized Habitrail.”

    • Mapping and Visualization - Rather than tormenting strangers thousands of miles away like the bozos up in the first link, Scott Reinhard uses geographical data to make beautiful visualisations This is “Antarctica Elevation and Ocean Current Speed””



    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Good stuff. Re that first one, can't see how IP address can link anyone, anyone who uses a common internet provider anyway, to true location. Mine is normally shown as a town about 10 miles from where I actually live but last week I'd moved to Scotland apparently.

    But I suppose not everyone would know that addresses are never accurate. Maybe the poor people at the place where I am supposed to be are being blamed for all my online cyber crimes.
    Last edited by xoggoth; 14th January 2019 at 12:29.
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    Quote Originally Posted by xoggoth View Post
    Good stuff. Re that first one, can't see how IP address can link anyone, anyone who uses a common internet provider anyway, can be a clue to true location. Mine is normally shown as about 15 miles from where I actually live but last week I'd moved to Scotland apparently.

    But I suppose not everyone would know that addresses are never accurate. Maybe the poor people at the place where I am supposed to be are being blamed for all my online cyber crimes.
    Last time Virgin Media changed my IP address, Google Maps was placing me in the middle of nowhere a few miles north-west of Neath for about six weeks

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    Last time Virgin Media changed my IP address, Google Maps was placing me in the middle of nowhere a few miles north-west of Neath for about six weeks
    Before BT changed my IP address Google maps was placing me at Psychocandy's moms house.
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    Might as well cancel that meeting now, NLUK
    No can do. Portfolio meetings all morning a permanent fixture now. Just have sit there in eager anticipation for lunch and my Monday read!
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