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

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    Default Monday Links from the Bench vol. DXVII

    This is the week when I occasionally have a heart attack (27th in 2010, 30th in 2017), so I’d better get this lot posted while there’s still time

    • He Was Murdered in a Hate Crime. She Brought His Blood-Soaked Phone Back to Life. - Profile of Jessa Jones, who specialises in repairing phones that Apple claims can't be repaired: ”A mother of four with a PhD in molecular genetics, Jones has become an unlikely leader in a growing community of microsolderers. These are fixers who aren’t just swapping cracked screens and dead batteries, but who are more like physicians, diagnosing and repairing tiny electrical problems on the motherboard… But Jones doesn’t limit herself to simple short circuits. She’ll revive phones that have been through hell: phones that were run over by a car; recovered from the wreckage of a crashed airplane; bathed in the blood of a dead owner.”

    • Exploring the Yamaha DX7 - HT to NigelJK for suggesting this topic appropriate to today's Roman numerals: ”When you think of 80s music, some of the sounds that come to mind are sparkly electric pianos, metallic basses and cheesy orchestral elements. Many of these sounds came from one synthesizer: the Yamaha DX7. It was released in 1983, and was the first digital synthesizer to have an impact on popular music.”

    • How two intruders from interstellar space are upending astronomy - ”Researchers grapple with the meaning of the first objects entering our Solar System from distant regions.” Presumably the first we're aware of, rather than first ever: a look at interstellar visitors 1I/‘Oumuamua and 2I/Borisov.

    • Here’s a better way to convert dog years to human years, scientists say - The idea of dog years is a bit more complicated than multiplying by seven, but science comes to the rescue: ”The addition of methyl groups to specific DNA sequences, tracks human biological age… They scanned DNA methylation patterns in the genomes of 104 dogs, ranging from 4 weeks to 16 years of age. Their analysis revealed that dogs (at least Labrador retrievers) and humans do have similar age-related methylation of certain genomic regions with high mutation rates.” There's a calculator in the article

    • How Edward Hopper Storyboarded ‘Nighthawks’ - A look at the artist’s studies for the famous painting: ”The Nighthawks drawings reveal how Hopper choreographed his voyeuristic scene of the nighttime convergence of the man, a couple, and a server in the eerie Deco diner, refining every nuance of the countertop, the figures, the architecture, and the effects of the fluorescent lighting.”

    • The Curse of the Crying Boy - A bizarre tale from the 1980s, when the Sun went large on a story claiming that mass-produced copies of a schmaltzy painting were cursed and would burn your house down: ”Ron and May Hall blamed a cheap painting of toddler with tears rolling down his face for a fire which gutted their terraced council home in Rotherham… The blaze broke out in a chip-pan in the kitchen of their home of 27 years and spread rapidly. But although the downstairs rooms of the house were badly damaged, the framed print of the crying boy escaped unscathed… [Kelvin] MacKenzie’s stroke of genius was to spot the potential of the story buried in routine copy from a regional news agency. He announced confidently to his staff: ‘This one’s got legs.’”

    • Superslippery Toilets Squash Water Wastage - ”A slick coating, inspired by the carnivorous pitcher plant, could halve the liquid needed for flushing.” Which in turn could make a huge difference to places which lack adequate sanitation because of a shortage of water.

    • The tech of PIXAR part 1: Piper – daring to be different - How the astonishing level of detail in a beach in a Pixar short was achieved by, well, adding an astonishing level of detail: ”Every shot in Piper is composed of millions of grains of sand, each one of them around 5000 polygons. No bumps or displacements were used in the grains, just procedurally generated Houdini models.” Lots of technicalities here for the 3D modellers among you

    • Planet Zoo is, temporarily, a game about mass-producing knackered warthogs - Trying to provide a realistic economic model for your virtual world can lead to unexpected pitfalls: ”You’ll be seeing a lot of [warthogs, ostriches and Indian peafowl], because grinding out millions of them is currently the best hope of you’ve got of getting other animals. It’s very much a case of Go Pig or Go Home… Any attempt to simulate an economy risks also simulating economics, which is what we call it when millions of individual, rational decisions act together to create utter madness on a grand scale. Now, unfortunately, economics has happened to Planet Zoo.”

    • Каталог "Чай" 1956 года - Which, Google Translate assures me, means “Tea catalog 1956”. From Vitaliy Dubogrey: ”I present to your attention the catalog "Tea", prepared by the Ministry of Food Industry of the RSFSR and the Food Processing Industry MPTT USSR Food Processing Center "PROFORMING" in 1956. The catalog gives an idea of ​​the products of the Soviet tea industry - one of the youngest branches of the food industry of the USSR. The purpose of the publication is to give the necessary idea about the assortment of tea produced in the USSR in 1956 and its production.” More importantly: pretty packaging

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2

    Prof Cunning @ Oxford Uni

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    Ah, the DX7. A school band I was involved in had two keyboard players (it was the 80s) one had a DX7, the other had a Roland Juno 106.
    I'm perfect, in a very specific and limited way.
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  3. #3


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    Nighthawks one of my favourite paintings, not sure what that says about me. But thanks for the link.

  4. #4


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    The Yamaha DX7 was interesting! I repaired one of these(Yamaha TX81Z) a few years ago for a colleague. He'd cracked the circuit board!
    Old Greg - In search of acceptance since Mar 2007. Hoping each leap will be his last.

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