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

    Some stuff to read as you spend two weeks in seclusion because everyone thinks your minor cold is COVID-19

    • The Great Buenos Aires Bank Heist - Been a while since we've had a bank robbery story, and this one from Buenos Aires in 2006 is excellent, with some ingenious engineering: ”There were five thieves in the bank, costumed in various disguises, and now they were trapped, along with 23 hostages. Outside, the streets were swarming with police… Finally a team of special-forces officers took up position outside the bank. At 7 p.m, they burst inside. But there was no shoot-out, no commotion. And no sign of the thieves.”

    • Geologists Confirm a Staggering 2.2 Billion-Year-Old Impact Crater in Australia - ”The Yarrabubba crater is a massive indent in the Western Australian outback, roughly 70 kilometres wide (44 miles). The impact was always assumed to be ancient, but modern geological dating suggests this particular case is over 200 million years older than the next oldest impact.”

    • No supernova for you: Betelgeuse is brightening again right on schedule - After the recent excitement over Orion's shoulder getting fainter, it's bouncing back: ”Conditions inside the star's upper layers cause it to brighten and dim a bit on a timescale of a little over a year… This time, though, it dimmed a lot more, dropping down to about 35% of its usual brightness.But that appears to be over.”

    • Smithsonian Releases 2.8 Million Images Into Public Domain - Free stuff: ”For the first time in its 174-year history, the Smithsonian has released 2.8 million high-resolution two- and three-dimensional images from across its collections onto an open access online platform… Throughout the rest of 2020, the Smithsonian will be rolling out another 200,000 or so images, with more to come as the Institution continues to digitize its collection of 155 million items and counting.” And, of course, there are cats; this one photographed by Thomas Eakins some time in the 1880s.


    • Bring up the bodies: the retired couple who find drowning victims - The American couple who use sidescan sonar to find drowning victims: ”Gene and Sandy Ralston are a married couple in their 70s, who also happen to be among North America’s leading experts at searching for the dead… The Ralstons are now in their 70s and spend most of every year travelling to search sites or on the water, looking for bodies.”

    • Marsquakes and ancient magnetic fields: InSight’s first data - ”While the rovers seem to get most of the attention, they're just one part of a suite of instruments we're using to understand the history and geology of Mars… Now, in a large series of papers, the teams behind the lander's hardware have analyzed the first data to come back from InSight, which includes the first recordings of marsquakes, along with some details on the local magnetic field.” You'll be wanting the full set of papers, no doubt, which are available at Nature: InSight at Mars

    • For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland’s Official Maps - ”On certain maps, in Switzerland’s more remote regions, there is also, curiously, a spider, a man’s face, a naked woman, a hiker, a fish, and a marmot… Maps published by Swisstopo undergo a rigorous proofreading process, so to find an illicit drawing means that the cartographer has outsmarted his colleagues.”


    • The Storm - ”Six young men set out on a dead-calm sea to seek their fortunes. Suddenly they were hit by the worst gale in a century, and there wasn't even time to shout.” From 1994, this article by Sebastian Junger about the loss of the fishing vessel Andrea Gail was made into the 2000 film The Perfect Storm.

    • 25 Movies and the Magazine Stories That Inspired Them - And while we're on the subject of magazine articles that became films, Catherine Cusick has compiled this list thereof: ”Here are 25 gold-standard film adaptations of magazine articles, published over the course of half a century as cover stories, features, or breaking news, as well as direct links to read all 25 stories online.” Her list includes neither The Storm nor 2018's The Old Man & the Gun, based on a New Yorker story featured here in 2017, but there's loads of other good stuff in there

    • An odyssey into the vanishing oases: fountains amid public housing - Photojournalist Hoi Kin Fung received an Honourable Mention in the Andrei Stenin International Press Photo Contest for these studies of fountains: ”Hong Kong is a concrete jungle, where half of the residents live in public housing estates. Fountains can usually be found in those estates. The fountain areas are meant to serve as places where residents can interact with one another. However, most of the fountains are now falling into decay or even demolished. The good old days are gone.”



    Happy invoicing!

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    The Smithsonian website really is an extraordinary resource. A global treasure I think.

    I use it for painting and bookbinding references.
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    That bank robbery article was a real enjoyable read!

    Undone by a woman. If you rob a bank, don't tell your wife.

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    I read something about that couple who find bodies in lakes a little while ago. I thought it was in this venerable series but NF is far too professional to post a duplicate, leaving me confused as to where I saw it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ladymuck View Post
    I read something about that couple who find bodies in lakes a little while ago. I thought it was in this venerable series but NF is far too professional to post a duplicate, leaving me confused as to where I saw it!
    I just grepped the archive for “Ralston”, “sonar”, and “drown” and nothing relevant came up, so it’s not a dupe

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    Just got around to reading last Mondays effort. We used to use something like this the encourage long meaningless meetings.

    Gobbledygook generator

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    Quote Originally Posted by NickFitz View Post
    I just grepped the archive for “Ralston”, “sonar”, and “drown” and nothing relevant came up, so it’s not a dupe
    I had no doubt!

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