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

    Apparently people have started panic buying again. As we've been in lockdown while you lot haven't, let me assure you that the shops here still have plenty of pasta, so there's really no need

    • When Coronavirus Came to Sing Sing - Being an inmate of the infamous New york prison during a pandemic is a risky business: ”Confining the population in small cages 24 hours a day, indefinitely, is not simple. Sing Sing is an old prison. The eight-by-five-foot cells have no hot water. How would we eat? Shower? Get insulin?… Mid-April was when my fever hit.”

    • When you browse Instagram and find former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's passport number - You've probably seen news stories about an airline site leaking Tony Abbott's confidential details, but this is by Alex Hope who found the problem, and his telling of the tale is very amusing: ”For security reasons, we try to change our Prime Minister every six months, and to never use the same Prime Minister on multiple websites… At this point I was fairly sure I was looking at the extremely secret government-issued ID of the 28th Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, servant to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and I was kinda worried that I was somehow doing something wrong, but like, not enough to stop.” HT to SimonMac and eek, both of whom were good enough to send this one my way in case I hadn’t seen it

    • Old math reveals new secrets about these alluring flowers - We've already seen an article about Alan Turing's reaction-diffusion model back in August 2014; this research into monkeyflowers has identified the process in action: ”Just two genes are enough to make this deceptively simple system work, and both are crucial to producing pigmentation patterns… Yuan, Blackman, and Cooley all think reaction-diffusion plays at least a partial role in determining every visual pattern that repeats itself in nature.”

    • Project Natick - Another thing that's recently been in the news is Microsoft's underwater data centre. HT to BR14 for suggesting the project site, with loads more detail than you'll find in the news: ”Phase 2 of Natick aims to demonstrate that we can economically manufacture full scale undersea datacenter modules and deploy them in under 90 days from decision to power on. The Phase 2 vessel was deployed at the European Marine Energy Centre located in the Orkney Islands, UK in June of 2018.”


    • How Mathematical ‘Hocus-Pocus’ Saved Particle Physics - A good overview of renormalisation, the technique that saves physics from being just a mathematical game. ”In the 1940s, trailblazing physicists stumbled upon the next layer of reality. Particles were out, and fields — expansive, undulating entities that fill space like an ocean — were in. One ripple in a field would be an electron, another a photon, and interactions between them seemed to explain all electromagnetic events. There was just one problem: The theory was glued together with hopes and prayers.”

    • It’s now possible to detect counterfeit whisky without opening the bottle - ”There's nothing quite like the pleasure of sipping a fine Scotch whisky, for those whose tastes run to such indulgences. But how can you be sure that you're paying for the real deal and not some cheap counterfeit? Good news: physicists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland have figured out how to test the authenticity of bottles of fine Scotch whisky using laser light, without ever having to open the bottles.” The full paper is at the RSC's site: Through-bottle whisky sensing and classification using Raman spectroscopy in an axicon-based backscattering configuration

    • The Cursed, Buried City That May Never See The Light of Day - ”It was the biggest set ever built for a Hollywood film in the 1920s, and then it was buried in the sands of the California Coast. The real story begins when a young filmmaker embarks on a decades-long attempt to excavate it.” The search for the set of the City of the Pharaoh in Cecil B DeMille’s 1923 film The Ten Commandments.


    • ‘Viking’ was a job description, not a matter of heredity, massive ancient DNA study shows - A genetic study of Viking remains shows that the blonde-haired Nordic warrior is only small part of the story: ”The team was able to sequence 442 Viking Age genomes from as far afield as Italy, Ukraine, and the doomed Viking settlements of Greenland… The genetic details may also rewrite popular perceptions of Vikings, including their looks: Viking Age Scandinavians were more likely to have black hair than people living there today. And comparing DNA and archaeology at individual sites suggests that for some in the Viking bands, ‘Viking’ was a job description, not a matter of heredity.”

    • The Untold Story of Hurricane Harvey’s First Urban Air Rescue Mission - Hair-raising rescues were the order of the day when a hurricane hit Houston in 2017: ”When Harvey began its assault on Houston, the only help in the sky for thousands of stranded Texans were four U. S. Coast Guardsmen out of Mobile, Alabama.”

    • The runestones of Medelpad - Back to the Nordic with Andrea Freund's visit to the Swedish province of Medelpad to inspect the runestones: ”M 11 stands in the impressive grave field of Högom. As you can see, its edges are broken off, but luckily only to such an extent that almost the entire inscription remains readable.”



    Happy invoicing!

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    Last edited by DoctorStrangelove; 21st September 2020 at 12:16.
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