Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DXLVI Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DXLVI
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    Default Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DXLVI

    The shops may be starting to re-open, but the World Wide Web never closed, so stick with that instead

    • The Doting Boyfriend Who Robbed Armored Cars - ”Beginning in 2015, Houston was plagued by a series of brutal armored car robberies that bewildered FBI agents for nearly two years. To finally bring down the unassuming mastermind behind it all, the agents had to stage an elaborate trap—and catch him in the act.” Some quite cunning stuff on both sides in this story.

    • A Surprise Discovery Points to the Source of Fast Radio Bursts - ”On the morning of April 28, a newly built radio telescope was monitoring the quiet skies over British Columbia when it caught the flash that would change everything… An ordinary burst might be seen by two to five of the instrument’s antennas. This burst triggered 93.” Getting closer…

    • Who Discovered the First Vaccine? - ”The English doctor Thomas Dimsdale was nervous. It was the evening of October 12, 1768, and Dimsdale was preparing the empress of Russia, Catherine the Great, for her procedure… Dimsdale was so concerned about the outcome that he secretly arranged for a stagecoach to rush him out of Saint Petersburg should his procedure go awry.” The history of vaccination goes back further than you might think.

    • Neurons discovered that put mice in a hibernation-like state - ”Animals that hibernate experience a huge number of amazing transformations… This week, two different groups of researchers published papers that describe the neurons that control a similar state called torpor in mice. While mice don't hibernate, these results suggest an obvious target to look at in mammals that do hibernate. And it raises the prospect that hibernation-like states might be available to all mammals—including us.” We could have done with this back in March; or, I dunno, maybe from 2016 on…

    • Transdifffusion Broadcasting System - Do you trust the government when they say it’s safe to ease the lockdown? Or would you rather stay at home and lose yourself in a vast collection of broadcasting-related material going back nearly sixty years? ”The Transdiffusion Broadcasting System was founded in 1964 by a group of school children led by Kif Bowden-Smith. They wanted to run their own radio station. They decided to collect continuity, theme music, jingles and broadcasting paraphernalia and memorabilia in order to learn about broadcasting and have enough material ready for when their radio station launched… The organisation was largely dormant from the mid-1980s until 1998, when it was relaunched as a result of the growth of the Internet as a new organisation unrelated (except for the founder, Kif Bowden-Smith) to the original Transdiffusion. Run on a not-for-profit basis and staffed entirely by volunteers, Transdiffusion is dedicated to using modern methods of communication to educate and inform on broadcasting history. We do this by making available Transdiffusion’s broadcasting archive for research and educational purposes.” TBS incorporates a number of partner sites (think of it like the regional ITV network); this 1968 ITA map showing existing VHF and projected UHF coverage for the Harlech ITV region is from

    • Secret Hellfire Missile With Sword-Like Blades Made Mysterious Strike On Terror Leader In Syria - The US military and the CIA have started using a missile that, rather than exploding, pops out a bunch of swords immediately before hitting its target: ”The weapon is designed to give the U.S. government a way to target individual terrorists and militants with an extremely low chance of collateral damage, even to individuals very close by. It was reportedly the weapon responsible for killing Al Qaeda's then-number two leader, Abu Khayr Al Masri, as he drove in Syria in 2017, a strike that clearly involved some sort of mysterious munition.”

    • Five years after Pluto encounter, New Horizons probe does a far-out parallax experiment - The probe is now far enough away to get a visibly different view of nearby stars to that from Earth: ”NASA’s New Horizons probe has measured the distance to nearby stars using a technique that’s as old as the ancient mariners, but from a vantage point those mariners could only dream of. The experiment, conducted on April 22-23 as the spacecraft zoomed 4.3 billion miles out from Earth, produced the farthest-out parallax observations ever made.” There’s more, including copies of the imagery suitable for stereoscopic viewing in various ways, at the mission’s own site: NASA's New Horizons Conducts the First Interstellar Parallax Experiment

    • Remixed mantle suggests early start of plate tectonics - ”New Curtin University research on the remixing of Earth's stratified deep interior suggests that global plate tectonic processes, which played a pivotal role in the existence of life on Earth, started to operate at least 3.2 billion years ago.” Quite a bit earlier than many people thought, it seems. More details in the actual paper: Geochemical evidence for a widespread mantle re-enrichment 3.2 billion years ago: implications for global-scale plate tectonics.

    • A White Woman, Racism and a Poodle - Cynthia Franks was sometimes stopped by the police in Michigan, but only when her large, black, curly-haired dog was sitting in the passenger seat: ”It was a Monroe County Sheriff. I thought one of my running lights was out. As the sheriff approached my van, he unfastened the top of the holster of his gun. I had not experienced this before… This officer asked where I was going. He looked in the window and flashed his light on Merlin [the poodle] and his demeanor changed. The stern look on his face disappeared, but he seemed…annoyed… I guess is the best word.”

    • NASA Collection - Ian Lloyd has just published this great collection of scanned NASA documents from the 1980s: ”35 years ago I wrote to NASA asking for some info for a school project. I can’t remember exactly what I wrote but one day I got a very full envelope through the door. Inside were loads of mission summaries and fact sheets and a good selection of large photos and photo cards. Weirdly as I think about it now, this trove - which I’ve never got rid of through many house moves and clearouts - may be the thing that I’ve owned the longest in my life. How strange.” Note the last mission on page 2 of the U.S Manned Space-Flight Log: duration 00:01:13

    Happy invoicing!

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    Black Poodle Lives Matter!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DimPrawn View Post
    Black Poodle Lives Matter!
    Damn right Dawg!
    Old Greg - In search of acceptance since Mar 2007. Hoping each leap will be his last.

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