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

    If somebody's nicked your gold toilet, you'll just have to sit on one of the permies' normal ones to read this week's selection of irrelevancies

    • Cop Diary - ”Over the past year, more than a hundred people have worn my handcuffs… Once they’re on the correct pair of hands, no one should get hurt. Barring an unexpected kick or a bite, the story’s over: no one’s going to lose any teeth or blood, we’re both going safely to jail, and at least one of us is going home tonight.” Edward Conlon's 1997 piece on walking a beat in New York.

    • Long-Lived Stellar Blast Kindles Hope of a Supernova We’ve Never Seen Before - An unusual explosion a billion years ago was observed by the ESA's Gaia satellite in 2016: ”This wasn’t a typical supernova, the fireworks at the end of a massive star’s life. This event came from a star so gigantic — at least 100 times the mass of our own sun — that its death was unlike almost anything scientists had ever seen.”

    • Experimental replication shows knives manufactured from frozen human feces do not work - Legend meets reality: ”The ethnographic account of an Inuit man manufacturing a knife from his own frozen feces to butcher and disarticulate a dog has permeated both the academic literature and popular culture. To evaluate the validity of this claim, we tested the basis of that account via experimental archaeology. Our experiments assessed the functionality of knives made from human feces in controlled conditions that provided optimal conditions for success. However, they were not functional. ”

    • Where Lenin Lives: Inside Latvia's VIP Nuclear Bunker - ”Deep in a Baltic forest, some of the Soviet Union's most hard-line leaders prepared to survive the apocalypse in a secret bunker.” Although Western commentators generally concentrated on the Moscow government during the Cold War, the USSR was made up of a number of quasi-independent states whose leaders made their own provisions for hard times. This health spa in Ligatne concealed a nuclear shelter beneath, and also showcased the very best of Soviet interior decor.


    • Could you survive an Edwardian dinner party? - ”Which fork is which? When can't you talk to your spouse? And what are the rules about tiaras?” Apparently this ties in with a forthcoming Downton Abbey film; I've never seen the show, but I gather it's like Wodehouse's Blandings Castle stories sans the humour, characters, or pig husbandry. Anyway, if you want to conduct yourself appropriately at dinner in either the abbey or the castle, you'll need to know all this.

    • Total recall: A brilliant memory helps chickadees survive - ”Despite weighing less than half an ounce, mountain chickadees are able to survive harsh winters complete with subzero temperatures, howling winds and heavy snowfall. How do they do it? By spending the fall hiding as many as 80,000 individual seeds, which they then retrieve — by memory — during the winter.” An interview with Vladimir Pravosudov about his research into the remarkable abilities of these small birds.

    • Here's why you shouldn't stand at the base of a Martian cliff in spring - ”In the spring, as the temperature warms and sunlight hits these cliff faces more squarely, the ice in them weakens. This can cause small landslides: Avalanches, if you will.” The HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured not one but two landslides on Mars at the same time. There's more information and imagery at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory HiRISE site.


    • Famous Viking Warrior Was a Woman, DNA Reveals - Gendered assumptions about social roles don't work out so well for other times, it seems: ”Since the remains were found alongside swords, arrowheads, a spear, and two sacrificed horses, archaeologists had considered it a warrior’s grave—and, thus, a man’s… [A team led by Uppsala University archaeologist Charlotte Hedenstierna-Jonson] didn’t detect any Y chromosomes in the bones, and the mitochondrial DNA from the various bones all matched. The remains represented one person—and that person was a woman.”

    • Applying Artificial Intelligence to Nintendo Tetris - ”In this article, I explore the deceptively simple mechanics of Nintendo Tetris. Afterwards, I describe how to build an AI that exploits them.” The amazingly deep dive into precisely how the game works is worth the price of admission alone. Brush up your hexadecimal and get stuck in

    • The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards: 2019 Finalists - HT to northernladuk for this lot. This northern crested caracara and its capybara posse, photographed by Susan Knowler, are not here for your tulip



    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    this ties in with a forthcoming Downton Abbey film; I've never seen the show, but I gather it's like Wodehouse's Blandings Castle stories sans the humour, characters, or pig husbandry.

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    What a tulipty way to make a knife.



    And Yet Another Funny Star: there seems to be a lot of them about.

    It is theorised that oak forests spread because jays and squirrels don't have total recall re the acorns they buried.
    When the fun stops, STOP.

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    The cop thing was worth the read, thanks Nick.

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    WPTGS.
    When the fun stops, STOP.

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    Couple of noteable pics from the wildlife thread that made me giggle...

    MS getting her grove on.



    AtW just before hitting that wall



    and many others.
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