Monday Links from Santa’s Grotto vol. DXXI Monday Links from Santa’s Grotto vol. DXXI
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    Default Monday Links from Santa’s Grotto vol. DXXI

    Christmas looms, meaning more time with your family; or you can read stuff on the Internet instead

    • Ponzi Schemes, Private Yachts, and a Missing $250 Million in Crypto: The Strange Tale of Quadriga - More cryptocurrency shenanigans: ”When Canadian blockchain whiz Gerald Cotten died unexpectedly last year, hundreds of millions of dollars in investor funds vanished into the crypto ether. But when the banks, the law, and the forces of Reddit tried to track down the cash, it turned out the young mogul may not have been who he purported to be.”

    • Creating a Pseudo-3D Racer: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (with at least one more part to come) - Pico-8 programmer Mot shows how to build a retro-style racing game: ”There are lots of different ways to write a pseudo 3D racer, but I'm just going to show you how I do it. This is the method I used for Loose Gravel, and can render corners, hills, tunnels and background sprites in an efficient manner. It doesn't need any 3D drawing hardware, just basic 2D rectangles, lines, scaled sprites and rectangular clip regions.” So now you have a Christmas programming project to get you away from the family, plus your kids can play it once you're done, giving you the perfect excuse

    • The Untold Story of the Secret Mission to Seize Nazi Map Data - As the Allies fought their way across Europe in 1944 and 1945, a special unit followed, seeking geographic data: ”The abandoned documents included tables of exceptionally precise survey data covering German territory that the Allies had yet to reach—just what Hough was looking for. His team quickly microfilmed the material and sent it to the front, where Allied artillery units could immediately use it to improve their targeting… The operation seems all the more astonishing because it was executed by an unlikely band of academics, refugees, clerks and soldiers, all led by Hough, an Ivy League-trained engineer with a passion for geodesy, the centuries-old science of measuring the Earth with utmost mathematical precision.”

    • Stone Age chewing gum holds clues to the life of a young girl who lived 5,700 years ago - ”Lola, a young girl who lived in Denmark 5,700 years ago, had blue eyes, dark skin and dark hair. Her last meal included hazelnuts and mallard duck but no milk -- she couldn't stomach dairy. And the reason we know any of this is because she chewed on birch pitch, a material that functioned a bit like an ancient chewing gum.” N.B. it was her most recent meal, though there's no reason to suppose it was her last. (Also, she may well not have been called Lola.) But at least we now know that Stone Age teens left bits of chewing gum all over the place, just like modern ones. Here's the paper on which this article is based, in Nature Communications: A 5700 year-old human genome and oral microbiome from chewed birch pitch.

    • How Mistletoe Became Everyone's Favorite Parasite - NatGeo helps you get in the Christmas spirit: ”This symbol of love is actually a vicious parasite that survives by sucking the nutrients from trees… Throw in the fact that some species are poisonous, and mistletoe starts to seem less like something you’d spy mama kissing Santa under and more like something Krampus would plant on your Christmas tree.”


    • The Art and Science of Staying Warm - Never mind those military surplus things beloved of mods - this is about real parkas, the traditional coats made by those living in the far North: ”Those garments are written over with history, Gross says, with changes expressing major events in the lives of northern peoples—not all of them good, but all of them impacting the living culture and what people wore… It’s hard to pin down, even today, exactly why individual parka styles are preferred in each region of the North. Some of it has to do with what people are doing and using the parkas for, some of it has to do with tradition, but a lot of it comes down to the styles and preferences of the individual seamstresses.”

    • A Unified Theory of the Trumps’ Creepy Aesthetic - David Roth explores the ineffable tastelessness of the Trumps: ”Unrelenting artlessness has been Trump’s signature for as long as he has been a public figure, and that is something that cannot and will not change… He’s spent most of his life doing the same things over and over again. They’re things that, as a friend once put it to me, are what a child thinks a rich person would do, like take a limo to McDonald’s or wear a suit to a baseball game.”

    • ‘Of course I was afraid’: 4 cultural figures remember 1989, the year that crushed the Eastern Bloc - Thirty years ago, Christmas was a turbulent time in eastern Europe, with Nicolae and Elena Ceaușescu being tried and executed on Christmas Day itself. Four creative people who had been on the wrong side of the authorities but the right side of history recall those times: ”In 1989, I went out on the streets and was arrested. Of course I was afraid, how could I not be? How can I explain to you just how indestructible the whole system seemed? Security was everywhere, the party sorted everything for themselves — bosses, organisations, closed borders, filtered or distorted information, and so on, and the police… Who would have guessed that in 24 hours everything was going to get crushed, like a sand castle?”

    • Two Europol StopChildAbuse Images Geolocated: Part I — Madagascar, Part II — Cambodia - ”In June 2017, it launched a crowdsourcing campaign called Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object. Through this campaign, censored extracts from explicit images are regularly published on their website and members of the public are asked to help tracing their location or country of origin… We will show how two new batches of images published by Europol, Group ImageG13 and Group ImageC20, have been respectively geolocated to Madagascar and Cambodia.” Carlos Gonzales takes us through the process of working out exactly where and roughly when two photographs were taken, by observing evidence ranging from the colours of roofs to the growth of trees.

    • Glass from Christmas Past - ”Have you ever wondered about the history of those dusty ornaments… Once you begin to explore the history of Christmas decorations, you will quickly become hooked. The traditions of Christmas, and their social history, are chock-full of questions, mysteries, and theories.” Lots of images of Christmas ornament catalogues past; this one is from 1952



    Happy invoicing!

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    Good, then spoilt by the pointless hateful Liberal attack article on Trump.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DimPrawn View Post
    Good, then spoilt by the pointless hateful Liberal attack article on Trump.
    Are you saying you think Trump’s aesthetic is tasteful?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    Are you saying you think Trump’s aesthetic is tasteful?
    No, kinda saying it is just a nasty opinion piece, will very little to offer the discerning Monday Links readership.

    HTH BIDI

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    Quote Originally Posted by DimPrawn View Post
    No, kinda saying it is just a nasty opinion piece, will very little to offer the discerning Monday Links readership.

    HTH BIDI
    NF - I think you need to appeal more to the Swindon contingent.....
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