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

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. DII

    Fun fact: no matter how early on a Monday morning I start putting these things together, I always finish up realising it's gone noon and I've spent the morning reading a bunch of stuff that didn't even make the cut

    • The Almost Great Bank Robbery - Must be a few weeks since we had a bank robbery story: ”It was September 21, 1991. Hunt rushed to the scene to begin investigating what would turn out to be the biggest bank robbery in San Antonio history. Grim bank officials told Hunt that someone had gotten away with almost $250,000… The robber had reached the vault—another rarity—and then made his escape so efficiently that a customer waiting several yards away for the bank to open did not even know there had been a robbery until police cars started screaming up around him.”

    • The first people to live at high elevations snacked on giant mole rats - ”Life at high elevations is tough… But around 47,000 years ago, people apparently lived (at least for a while) in a rock shelter 3,469 meters (11,400 feet) above sea level in Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains.” That's around 30,000 years earlier than we previously thought humans settled at high altitudes. Here's the original papers at Science: Clearing the (high) air and Middle Stone Age foragers resided in high elevations of the glaciated Bale Mountains, Ethiopia.

    • This Is Why Two Higgs Bosons Don't Have The Same Mass As One Another - ”If you take any stable quantum particle, like an electron, you'll find that it shares a certain set of properties in common with all the particles that are like it… But not all particles are like the electron. For some of them, even their mass is inescapably uncertain.” Quantum physics continues to be weird

    • The New Ruins of the Melting Alps - ”Climate change has left a graveyard of abandoned ski resorts on the Italian Alps—and a dwindling population of gravekeepers.” This is the chairlift in the Alpe Giumello Resort in Lombardia in January, photographed by Tomaso Clavarino.


    • The Last of Its Kind - ”Sometime on new year’s day, as the people of Hawaii recovered from a night of revelry, in a trailer on the outskirts of Kailua, Oahu, a 14-year-old snail named George died… Sischo and his team had spent years caring for George. He was a daily constant, a familiar friend. He was also the last known snail of his kind, the final Achatinella apexfulva. It is said that everyone dies alone, but that was doubly true for George—alone at the end both in his cage and in the world.” Ed Yong on the biologists who work with animals that are going extinct.

    • How a Revolutionary Technique Got People with Spinal-Cord Injuries Back on Their Feet - Electrical stimulation of the spine is proving unexpectedly effective, at least to some degree: ”When Harkema and her colleagues implanted a strip of tiny electrodes in his spine in 2009, they weren’t trying to restore [Rob Summers'] ability to move on his own… So, when Summers intentionally moved his toes, Harkema was dumbfounded.”

    • ‘Welcome to Fear City’ – Raw and Gritty Snapshots of NYC From the Mid-Seventies - ”Visitors to New York City in the summer of 1975 were greeted with a pamphlet that said ‘Welcome to Fear City’ on the cover… People were warned not to leave midtown Manhattan, not to take any subways at all. And not to walk anywhere after six in the evening.” The pamphlet was actually propaganda produced by police unions protesting threatened layoffs, but as anyone who’s seen Taxi Driver knows, NY was a less than salubrious place in the 1970s. This photo, by Andy Blair, shows the West Side Elevated Highway, which was closed and abandoned after an overloaded lorry fell right through it; ironically, the excessively large load was of asphalt for repairing the highway itself


    • Ants, Humans, and the Lessons of War - ”Only humans and social insects have large enough populations to engage in all-out warfare. How do such conflicts arise?” Mark W. Moffett argues that various forms of social organisation, including warfare, only arise among extremely large populations.

    • 365 kids books in 365 days - ”Imagination trumps violence. Reading is a doorway to wisdom, understanding, adventurous minds. And the world is so full of stories and ideas! As an ode to my daughter, I am writing 365 children’s books in 365 days, giving each one art direction, and putting them on the internet for free.” Matt Zurbo’s project will be complete this Wednesday. So if you have young children and you need something to keep them occupied during the holidays, just let them pick one of these, give them crayons and paper (or an iPad with a drawing app nowadays, I suppose) and let them get to work illustrating their own book

    • An Obscurum Of Secrets: The Lost Art Of Robin Isely - Robin Isely’s work was on Tumblr, but fell to a combination of a hack and Tumblr’s stupid censorship rules. Until he finds a new home for his work, S. Elizabeth has posted some of it here, and also has an email interview with him: ”I do not post the pictures beyond tumblr but I know they have wandered off on their own adventures. Perhaps one day I will find a more permanent home to provide them with.”



    Happy invoicing!

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    Bank Robbery is a long but compulsive read. Wow!

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    George and Martha, a pair well met.

    Martha (passenger pigeon) - Wikipedia

    At one time the flocks of passenger pigeons darkened the skies.

    Passenger pigeon - Wikipedia

    Then they were all gone.

    The American Bison very nearly went the same way.

    This pile of skulls indicates why:

    American bison - Wikipedia

    With a population in excess of 60 million in the late 18th century, the species was down to 541 animals by 1889.

    Recovery efforts expanded in the mid-20th century, with a resurgence to roughly 31,000[5] animals today, largely restricted to a few national parks and reserves.
    As someone said in 1984:

    To hunt a species to extinction is not logical
    And, of course:

    Last edited by DoctorStrangelove; 12th August 2019 at 14:02.
    When the fun stops, STOP.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bank Robbery Story
    FBI SPECIAL AGENT CURT HUNT
    It's a good job he's not a government minister - the BBC mispronunciation apology team would have their work cut out.

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