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

    As predicted, no more need to look up the Roman numerals on Wolfram Alpha for a while now

    • Bundyville: The Remnant - You can experience this one as either a series of five articles, or a seven part podcast. It's about the weird right wing groupings over in the west of the USA, who commit terrorist acts yet are embraced by the current President: ”Back in 2016, when I covered the Oregon Standoff trial, I spent a lot of time talking to Patriot Movement supporters outside the courthouse. Our conversations, often, would feel normal until, quite suddenly, they’d take a hard turn; conversations about federal overreach would turn to conspiracies about the so-called New World Order, shadowy cabals of “globalist” leaders, implementation of sharia law, and supposed terrorist training camps in the U.S.… By February 2019, at a rally, Trump enthusiastically acknowledged the founder and several members of the Oath Keepers — an anti-government militia — who were standing directly behind him in the front row, grinning underneath their signature black-and-yellow logoed hats.”

    • The Science Behind “Blade Runner”’s Voight-Kampff Test - In memory of Rutger Hauer: ”At the center of the question is a fictional test designed to distinguish between replicants and humans, called the Voight-Kampff test. It elicits emotions in the test subject that replicants supposedly can’t have, then monitors physiological responses, like pupillary motion and reaction time. But could such a test really distinguish between humans and replicants? Nautilus caught up with Chris Frith, Emeritus Professor of the Wellcome Centre for Neuroimaging at University College London to find out.”

    • TV Solidarity - ”On September 14, 1985, residents of the Polish city of Toruń watching the popular James Bond ripoff 07, Call In (in which a blond and ideologically correct Citizen's Militia officer fights crime from within a series of tight sweaters) were surprised to see the show briefly overlaid with block white letters reading ‘Solidarity Toruń: Boycotting the election is our duty,’ and ‘Solidarity Toruń: Enough price hikes, lies, repression’.” Maciej Cegłowski contacted Professor Eugeniusz Pazderski who was involved in the TV hijack, who explained how it was done using equipment from an observatory, and a Sinclair Spectrum.

    • Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages - Fun with Booleans: ”A paper posted online this month has settled a nearly 30-year-old conjecture about the structure of the fundamental building blocks of computer circuits. This “sensitivity” conjecture has stumped many of the most prominent computer scientists over the years, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet.”

    • Corpus typographique français - Lots of nice typography held by the Bibliothèque municipale de Lyon. These 19th century blocks (printer’s term for illustrations) were for use in funeral announcements: ”Des séries de M et de V aux splendides attributs morbides étaient donc proposés par les fondeurs pour l’ornementation de ces invitations un peu particulières.”

    • The Launch - No, not another Apollo 11 retrospective, but a new kind of apple coming to the USA soon: ”These trees are protected under a patent as WA 38… But the rest of us will know the apple by its other, more public identity, a name that I am supposed to write with a ™ after it. You might, like I did, think this distinction to be basically academic, but you would begin to learn otherwise when the first person told you that she is able to answer only WA 38 questions, and not Cosmic Crisp ones.”

    • How Scorned Women and a Casanova Cop Caught L.A.’s ‘Dine-and-Dash Dater’ - No such thing as a free lunch, or even dinner: ”Paul Gonzales scammed his online dates into buying him expensive dinners. Then they made him pay.”

    • I Took a Dump the Same Way the Apollo Astronauts Did—and Dear God Was It Awful - OK, one more Apollo 11 retrospective: ”Ever since human beings have been jamming themselves into little metal canisters and shooting themselves off into space, there has been one thing everyone wants to know: how do you go to the bathroom?… I wanted to experience the process. I wanted to know, really know. And, in this case, knowing, really knowing, means tulipting into a plastic bag that’s stuck to your ass. So that’s what I did.”

    • How to make compressed file quines, step by step - ”You may have come across a compressed archive file (.zip, .tar.gz, .rar etc.) that infinitely contains itself and thought that looks neat. You might even want to make your own—that is, if you have suspiciously too much time on your hands and like to jump into black holes of pointless endeavours. Let me welcome you comrade. This post will explore everything you need to know to be on your merry way creating these quines.” You’ll learn a lot about file compression and self-referentiality if you work your way through this one

    • Industrial Art News - A nice collection of covers from Japanese magazine 工芸ニュース in the 1950s (roughly; my Japanese, being non-existent, isn’t up to doing a detailed translation of any dates that might be somewhere on there).

    Happy invoicing!

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    Just be careful who you test if you're not the hero:

    When the fun stops, STOP.

  3. #3

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    I used to work with Prof. Frith a few years ago when I was doing Tech Support / Sys Admin for the Dept. Nice chap.
    "Being nice costs nothing and sometimes gets you extra bacon" - Pondlife.

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