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

    Batten down the hatches as Storm Brendan moves in, and take refuge in the peaceful backwaters of the Internet:

    • What I did in 2019, by Alan Bennett - Extracts from Alan Bennett's diary for last year: ”1 September, Yorkshire. Driving the back way home from Settle, we run into the Lawkland cows, around forty of them, swaying along the lane en route to being milked. They are undeterred by the car, sidling past on both sides, though with the windows open they display varying degrees of interest, some shoving their heads in and sniffing round, though without finding much to detain them. None moos, the overall impression being that their lives are more absorbing than ours.” Includes audio of Mr. Bennett reading same, so you can listen to it on the way home which should make the commute a little more bearable

    • An Idea From Physics Helps AI See in Higher Dimensions - Convolutional neural networks have hitherto been restricted to interpreting planar data, but a new approach allows them to work with higher dimensions: ”The algorithms may also prove useful for improving the vision of drones and autonomous vehicles that see objects in 3D, and for detecting patterns in data gathered from the irregularly curved surfaces of hearts, brains or other organs.”

    • How a chunk of human brain survived intact for 2600 years - Speaking of brains: ”Nearly 2600 years ago, a man was beheaded near modern-day York, U.K.—for what reasons, we still don’t know—and his head was quickly buried in the clay-rich mud. When researchers found his skull in 2008, they were startled to find that his brain tissue, which normally rots rapidly after death, had survived for millennia—even maintaining features such as folds and grooves.” This article is a brief summary, but there's all the data you could wish for in the referenced paper at the Royal Society: Protein aggregate formation permits millennium-old brain preservation

    • The quest to decipher how the body’s cells sense touch - New advances in the understanding of pressure-sensitive proteins are helping improve our understanding of touch, which is involved in more of the body's functionality than you might think: ”Touch underlies the functioning of almost every tissue and cell type… Organisms interpret forces to understand their world, to enjoy a caress and to avoid painful stimuli. In the body, cells sense blood flowing past, air inflating the lungs and the fullness of the stomach or bladder. Hearing is based on cells in the inner ear detecting the force of sound waves.”

    • CamGirlBRB - ”when cam girls step out of frame” Tumblr may have banned NSFW content but these images are grabbed from cam girl feeds when the cam girl isn't there, so they should be fine

    • What It’s Like to Be a Guy Named Riley Reid - ”Dirty DMs are standard practice if you’re the world-famous porn star Riley Reid, who nears the top of Pornhub’s search results in pretty much every country the tube site operates in. Not so much, though, if you’re Riley Reid, British paramedic and father of two.” The perils of having the same name as a famous porn star ( link as there’s a banned word in the original URL)

    • Early modern humans cooked starchy food in South Africa, 170,000 years ago - ”’The inhabitants of the Border Cave in the Lebombo Mountains on the Kwazulu-Natal/eSwatini border were cooking starchy plants 170 thousand years ago,’ says Professor Lyn Wadley, a scientist from the Wits Evolutionary Studies Institute… ‘This discovery is much older than earlier reports for cooking similar plants and it provides a fascinating insight into the behavioural practices of early modern humans in southern Africa.’” In other words: ancient roast potatoes! (OK, maybe baked…)

    • Inside Hackney’s secret CCTV bunker - A night in the life of the people on the other end of municipal CCTV: ”Friday night/​Saturday morning, 3am, and I’m watching two bros scale a head-height, spiky iron fence. Even without being able to hear anything, I can tell they’re chaotically drunk. This isn’t going to end well.”

    • VVVVVV’s Source Code Is Now Public, 10 Year Anniversary Jam Happening Now! - VVVVVV is a platform game by Terry Cavanagh, originally written in Flash, which over the years has been highly praised. On the tenth anniversary of the original release last Friday, Terry open-sourced the original code, accompanied by this refreshingly honest self-appraisal: ”Even by the standards of self taught indie devs, it’s kind of a mess… I dunno, what can I say? I was young and more interested in getting something on the screen than implementing it properly. Maybe the best thing about VVVVVV’s source code is that is stands as proof of what you can hack together even if you’re not much of a programmer.”

    • IsoCity - Not so much as a link to an “About” page in this fun little thing, though Victor Ribeiro explains more at the GitHub repo: ”A simple JavaScript city builder with no simulation at all. No budget, no goals. Just build your tiny city.” The only way to save your progress is to bookmark the page, or maybe message a link to yourself, as the map is encoded in the # part of the URL. I used a few lines of JavaScript in the browser dev tools console to save this image as proof of why I shouldn’t be allowed to design urban environments; you can improve on my work if you want

    Happy invoicing!

  2. #2


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    Nice set of links, thanks.

    Wot I did in 2019: retired.

    And that's about it really.
    When the fun stops, STOP.

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