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

    The last Monday of February. Soon be spring!

    • The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See - Michael Finkel meets Daniel Kish, whose eyes were removed before he was 13 months old and who navigates the world using echolocation: ”He is so accomplished at echolocation that he’s able to pedal his mountain bike through streets heavy with traffic and on precipitous dirt trails. He climbs trees. He camps out, by himself, deep in the wilderness. He’s lived for weeks at a time in a tiny cabin a two-mile hike from the nearest road. He travels around the globe. He’s a skilled cook, an avid swimmer, a fluid dance partner. Essentially, though in a way that is unfamiliar to nearly any other human being, Kish can see.”

    • Physics undergrads crunched numbers for Star Trek’s tribble problem - ”A group of undergraduates at the University of Leicester in the UK calculated the growth rate of the fictional Star Trek critters known as tribbles. They published their results in a short paper in the university's undergraduate-centric Journal of Physics Special Topics, estimating just how long it would take for there to be enough tribbles to fill up the USS Enterprise.” Nice to see my alma mater doing useful research

    • Garbage Language: Why do corporations speak the way they do? - Molly Young considers the strange language of business: ”[It] hides a deeper anxiety about our relationship to work — a sense that what we’re doing may actually be trivial, that the reward of ‘free’ snacks for cultural fealty is not an exchange that benefits us, that none of this was worth going into student debt for, and that we could be fired instantly for complaining on Slack about it… Do CEOs act like jerks because they are jerks, or because the language of management will create a jerk of anyone eventually?”

    • Remainders of the Chernobyl Disaster - Photographer Arkadiusz Podniesiński, who you may remember from his visits to an abandoned game show set in the Jordanian desert and to the DUGA over-the-horizon radar in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, explores areas of the CEZ that tourists rarely or never find: ”The floor in the room next door is covered by a layer of books and magazines over half a meter high. Among them, I notice a bunch of extremely rare posters. Some of them have never even been unpacked. All of the posters feature Lenin, communist symbols and propaganda slogans. Lenin’s legacy, blind trust in the state and the mechanisms of Soviet authorities supporting the falsification or concealment of information significantly increased the tragic consequences of the disaster.”


    • Naming the Universe - ”How the quick thinking of internationally minded astronomers avoided stamping the solar system with petty European rivalries.” Stephen Case on the history of the naming of our solar system’s planets and their moons.

    • The Secrets Behind The Eyes of ‘Blade Runner’ - ”When we talk about Blade Runner’s visuals, we have to talk about eyes. More specifically, about the eerily luminous pupils of the film’s bioengineered androids, the replicants.” Meg Shields on eyes, not only in Blade Runner but also Westworld and 2001: A Space Odyssey

    • Soviet Calculators History - Sergei Frolov on the various forms of calculator technology in the USSR, from the abacus to the Elektronika MK-85, which included an implementation of BASIC: ”The MK-85 came in two variants - with one (MK-85) or six (MK-85M) kilobytes of memory. The calculator allowed to work with numbers which exponents were as large as +/ - 4096. Although it is also true that finding the sine of a number with a power close to 4096 could not only take quite some time, but also cause the loss of programs entered previously.”


    • Glasgow vs Edinburgh for hill walkers - John Tullis applies geodata analysis techniques to work out whether Munro-baggers, those who try to climb every Scottish hill or mountain over 3,000 feet, are better off living in Glasgow or Edinburgh, both theoretically and practically: ”So far we've just looked at straight line distances from Edinburgh and Glasgow to the summit of each of the 282 Munros. We sometimes use the term 'as the crow flies' to describe straight line distances. They're quite useful for getting an overview of a geographic distribution, but they're less meaningful when it comes to climbing Munros. Why? Because people don't fly like crows. Instead, they typically drive to the car park and then walk up the hill.” On 12 March he’s giving a talk at Edinburgh’s DataFest 2020 in which he’ll present the results of expanding his analysis to determine the best town or village for a Munro-bagger to live in, so if you live that way, please go to it and report back

    • Columbia University Computing History - Frank da Cruz has compiled, and still updates, this history of the place that saw many advances in computing: ”Who am I and why did I write this? Starting around 2000, people popped into my office all the time to ask ‘when did such-and-such happen?’ — the first e-mail, the first typesetting, the first networking, the first PC lab, the first hacker breakins, etc -- since I was there for most of it. So I took some time and wrote it down, and in so doing became fascinated with the earlier history. I was a user of the Columbia Computer Center from 1967 until 1977 in my various jobs and as a Columbia student, and I was on staff from 1974 until 2011.”

    • Pati Makowska Photography - ”I'm a passionate photographer who fell in love with beauty of surrounding me world and space. Couple of years ago Iceland became my home. I admire impermanence of the nature, world and people around me that's why traveling became my hobby. I'm in love with unique sunrises and sunsets as well as with heavy and powerful storms.” Lots of beautiful photographs of the Icelandic landscape



    Happy invoicing!

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    [*]Pati Makowska Photography - ”I'm a passionate photographer who fell in love with beauty of surrounding me world and space. Couple of years ago Iceland became my home. I admire impermanence of the nature, world and people around me that's why traveling became my hobby. I'm in love with unique sunrises and sunsets as well as with heavy and powerful storms.” Lots of beautiful photographs of the Icelandic landscape

    [/LIST]

    Happy invoicing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    [*]Physics undergrads crunched numbers for Star Trek’s tribble problem - ”A group of undergraduates at the University of Leicester in the UK calculated the growth rate of the fictional Star Trek critters known as tribbles. They published their results in a short paper in the university's undergraduate-centric Journal of Physics Special Topics, estimating just how long it would take for there to be enough tribbles to fill up the USS Enterprise.” Nice to see my alma mater doing useful research
    I did like the episode of DS9 where they time-travel back to the "trouble with the tribbles" episode

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    Edinburgh. The Pentlands are a fine range and there's the peripheral Arthur's Seat and surrounding stumps if you fancy a shorter stroll.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platypus View Post
    I did like the episode of DS9 where they time-travel back to the "trouble with the tribbles" episode
    I thought it was just me that shouted 'tribbles' when there was one a desk or some reference was made.
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    Half inch mag tape on a 10" reel.

    That brings back memories of the 3M QA dept.

    Not to mention the punched cards.

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    Last edited by DoctorStrangelove; 24th February 2020 at 14:30.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platypus View Post
    I did like the episode of DS9 where they time-travel back to the "trouble with the tribbles" episode
    They also estimated that it would take 18.4×109 tribbles to entirely fill the USS Enterprise.

    How did they work that out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrilloPad View Post
    They also estimated that it would take 18.4×109 tribbles to entirely fill the USS Enterprise.

    How did they work that out?
    FTFY

    For the “how”, try the original paper: A3_6 Tribbling Times | Hodnett | Physics Special Topics

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrilloPad View Post
    They also estimated that it would take 18.4×109 tribbles to entirely fill the USS Enterprise.

    How did they work that out?
    Mafs init.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    FTFY

    For the “how”, try the original paper: A3_6 Tribbling Times | Hodnett | Physics Special Topics
    Which gives a link to How Much Does the Enterprise Weigh? | WIRED

    Which has more assumptions in than a daily mail article. At least in a daily mail article it would say how much a Tribble's house is worth - and how they should go back to TribbleLand....

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