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2017-02-01 00:00:00+01:00

Links for February 2017

On Progress and Historical Change [archive]
«Is progress inevitable? Is it natural? Is it fragile? Is it possible? Is it a problematic concept in the first place? Many people are reexamining these kinds of questions as 2016 draws to a close, so I thought this would be a good moment to share the sort-of “zoomed out” discussions the subject that historians like myself are always having.»
A projection of the ISS live feed as a night light [archive]
«I always wanted the ISS live feed as a "night light" / ambiance to fall asleep to on my ceiling» how to build a "night light" that is actually a small video projector projecting the ISS live feed
Vatican Climate Forest [archive]
«The Vatican Climate Forest, to be located in the Bükk National Park, Hungary, was donated to the Vatican City by a carbon offsetting company. The forest is to be sized to offset the carbon emissions generated by the Vatican during 2007. The Vatican's acceptance of the offer, at a ceremony on July 5, 2007, was reported as being "purely symbolic", and a way to encourage Catholics to do more to safeguard the planet. No trees have been planted under the project and the carbon offsets have not materialised.» I'm fascinated by how purely symbolic "purely symbolic" can be.
eng links pdo
2017-01-01 00:00:00+01:00

Links for January 2017

systemd: Masking units [archive]
A good explanation of the three level of "stopping" a service in systemd, with a focus on masking.
How Skype fixes security vulnerabilities
«This post describes my fruitless effort to convince Microsoft employees that Their service is vulnerable, and the humiliation one has to go through should One’s account be blocked by a hacker. This is a story of ignorance, pain and Despair.»
Mapping the Shadows of New York City: Every Building, Every Block
«You’re looking at a map of all of the shadows produced by thousands of buildings in New York City over the course of one day. This inverted view tells the story of the city’s skyline at the ground level.»
eng links pdo
2016-12-01 00:00:00+01:00

Links for December 2016

German Cities Are Solving The Age-Old Public Toilet Problem [map]
«City governments are paying local businesses to open up their restrooms to the public. … The program, called Nette Toilette or Nice Toilet, is active in 210 cities and has been running since 2000. Cities pay from $34 to $112 per month to a business, and it puts a sticker in its window to tell people that they can come in and pee for free. … Bremen, a city with a population of over half a million people, reckons it saves $1 million per year by using the network, which costs it $168,000 per year. So successful is the scheme that it has given Bremen the best ratio of public toilets to citizens in Germany.»
eng links pdo
2016-11-01 00:00:00+02:00

Links for November 2016

So You Want To Learn Physics... [archive]
«This post is a condensed version of what I've sent to people who have contacted me over the years, outlining what everyone needs to learn in order to really understand physics.»
Operation Tamarisk [archive]
«Operation Tamarisk was a Cold War-era operation run by the military intelligence services of the U.S., U.K., and France through their military liaison missions in East Germany, that gathered discarded paper, letters, and garbage from Soviet trash bins and military maneuvers, including used toilet paper.»
Mortara case
Of how in Bologna, where I live, in the 1850s/1860s, when my grand-grand-granddad lived, the Papal State seized a child from a Jewish family «on the basis of a former servant's testimony that she had administered emergency baptism to the boy when he fell sick as an infant.»
eng links pdo
2016-10-01 00:00:00+02:00

Links for October 2016

Inside the Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns [archive]
«There's no telling how many guns we have in America—and when one gets used in a crime, no way for the cops to connect it to its owner. The only place the police can turn for help is a Kafkaesque agency in West Virginia, where, thanks to the gun lobby, computers are illegal and detective work is absurdly antiquated. On purpose. Thing is, the geniuses who work there are quietly inventing ways to do the impossible.»
What to do when you see harassment [archive]
«This is an illustrated guide I made as part of my co-admining work at The Middle Eastern Feminist on Facebook! It will be published there shortly. The technique that is displayed here is a genuine one used in psychology - I forgot the name and couldn’t find it again so if you know about it, feel free to tell me! Some could say: “Yes but you can use that technique for instances of harassment other than Islamophobic attacks!”, and my reply is: Sure! Please do so, it also works for other “types” of harassment of a lone person in a public space!!» (buzzfeed article) (article on noncomplementary behaviour)
Stop Stealing Dreams [archive]
«Over the last ten years, I’ve written more than a dozen books about how our society is being fundamentally changed by the impact of the internet and the connection economy. [...] In this manifesto, I’m going to argue that top-down industrialized schooling is just as threatened, and for very good reasons. Scarcity of access is destroyed by the connection economy, at the very same time the skills and attitudes we need from our graduates are changing.»
English Adjectives Order
«When we group adjectives together there is a general (sometimes flexible) rule for the position of each type of adjective». More details. I like this as a reminder that I don't need to learn gramar in order to use it. Which is why I speak much better German after fiddling occasionally on Duolingo and buying schinkenzwiebelmettwürst at the wochenmarkt, than Latin after insulting my intelligence by pointlessly studying only its grammar for 5 long years in high school.
there will be a moment when you realize you are more grown up than your parents are… [archive]
Short piece of prose on Tumblr that I related to a lot.
eng links pdo
2016-09-01 00:00:00+02:00

Links for September 2016

A Few Useful Mental Tools from Richard Feynman [archive]

«These tricks show Feynman taking the method of thought he learned in pure science and applying it to the more mundane topics most of us have to deal with every day.»

Pasta [archive]

A comprehensive introduction to pasta, to keep at hand in case I meet someone who has little familiarity with it.

MPTP: One Designer Drug and Serendipity [archive]

Abstract: Through an unlikely series of coincidences and fortunate accidents, the development of Parkinson’s disease in several illicit drug users was traced to their use of a meperidine analog contaminated with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP). The discovery of a chemical capable of producing animal models of the disease has revitalized research efforts and resulted in important new information. The serendipitous finding also prompted consideration of what changes seem advisable if designer drugs are to be dealt with more efficaciously.

The Debunking Handbook: now freely available for download

The Debunking Handbook, a guide to debunking misinformation, is now freely available to download. Although there is a great deal of psychological research on misinformation, there's no summary of the literature that offers practical guidelines on the most effective ways of reducing the influence of myths.

Faulty neon light jams radio appliances [archive]

«An apparent interference source began plaguing wireless vehicle key fobs, cell phones, and other wireless electronics. Key fob owners found they could not open or start their vehicles remotely until their vehicles were towed at least a block away, nor were they able to call for help on their cell phones when problems occurred»

Calvin & Muad'Dib

Calvin & Hobbes with text taken from Frank Herbert's Dune. It's been around since 2013 and I consistently found it moving and deep.

When Birds Attack - Bike Helmet Hacks [archive]

Australian magpies attacking cyclists has propted several creative adaptations, including attaching an afro wig to the bike helmet.

eng links pdo
2016-08-01 00:00:00+02:00

Links for August 2016

First post with the new link collection feature of staticsite!

Heavy Metal and Natural Language Processing [archived]

Natural language processing and Metal lyrics, including the formula for the "metalness" of a word and a list of the most and least metal words.

Confirming all use of an SSH agent [archived]

«For a long time I’ve wanted an ssh-agent setup that would ask me before every use, so I could slightly more comfortably forward authentication over SSH without worrying that my session might get hijacked somewhere at the remote end (I often find myself wanting to pull authenticated git repos on remote hosts). I’m at DebConf this week, which is an ideal time to dig further into these things, so I did so today. As is often the case it turns out this is already possible, if you know how.»

Why We Don’t Report It [archived]

«“Why don’t you report it?” It’s up there on every list I’ve seen of things you shouldn’t say to sexual assault survivors, yet I keep hearing it…»

Voltron, an extensible debugger UI toolkit written in Python

Multi-panel display built from various gdb outputs.

Notmuch, offlineimap and Sieve setup [archived]

Nice description of a notmuch+offlineimap+sieve setup, for when I feel like rethinking my email setup.

Wikipedia:Unusual articles

An endless source of weird and wonderful.

ZERO: no linked HIV transmissions [archived]

«The results provide a dataset to question whether transmission with an undetectable viral load is actually possible. They should help normalise HIV and challenge stigma and discrimination.»

TV pickup

Someone once in the UK told me that it was a big enough problem that so many people turn on their electric kettles during the endtitles of Eastenders, that there's an employee in a hydro plant that needs to watch it to ramp up the power at the right time. I've finally found a wikipedia page about it.

Amazon isn't saying if Echo has been wiretapped [archived]

"We may never know if the feds have hijacked Amazon Echo. … In case you didn't know, Echo is an always-on device, which, when activated, can return search queries, as well as read audiobooks and report sports, traffic, and weather. It can even control smart home devices."

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