Weekend Reading

Reading time: 4 mins
  • Fluid Dynamics: How a Wall of Lava Lamps Helps Encrypt 10% of the Internet
    Computers have a real problem when it comes generating truly random numbers, which has led one web-critical cybersecurity firm to reference an array of lava lamps to create unique and unpredictable code.
    Clever and pretty. Nothing like me then!

  • Attitude of Optimism
    “In 2018, how about cultivating an attitude of optimism? Not as a judgement, or a reaction to the world around you, but as a choice, by which you navigate and affect the world around you.”
    Much needed in the wake of 2017.

  • Inside One of America’s Last Pencil Factories
    A pencil is a little wonder-wand: a stick of wood that traces the tiniest motions of your hand as it moves across a surface. I am using one now, making weird little loops and slashes to write these words. As a tool, it is admirably sensitive.
    It’s almost enough to make me go back to using a pencil… almost.

  • Apple and the Alexa Ecosystem
    I recently read two interesting takes on the ever-growing Alexa ecosystem as it relates to Apple that made me think about the future of Siri and HomeKit.
    The future is not connected. It never will be.

  • Uber’s Secret Tool for Keeping the Cops in the Dark
    In May 2015 about 10 investigators for the Quebec tax authority burst into Uber Technologies Inc.’s office in Montreal. The authorities believed Uber had violated tax laws and had a warrant to collect evidence. Managers on-site knew what to do, say people with knowledge of the event.
    ANOTHER reason not to use Uber.

  • Salar de Uyuni is the World’s Largest Natural Mirror
    When you think about the most beautiful places in the world, you probably think of mountains or forests.
    Gorgeous (nothing like m… etc etc)

  • An Open Letter to the Box of Loose Cables in My Closet
    I know you’re hurting. The distance is killing me too. Last night, I woke up in a cold sweat to the thought of not having immediate access to you.
    Funny cos true.

  • ‘Why Am I So Lazy?’
    Why am I so lazy? As long as I can remember, I’ve always done as little as possible to still get the job done, to still get the A, to get the extra credit and be the teacher’s pet.
    This is the view I have of myself. It’s not the reality but persists. I am lazy.

  • The mystery of Jesus, the naked hippie dancer
    For decades, William Jellett danced at gigs and festivals, and told people he was the Son of God. Then, it seemed, he disappeared. It was a Saturday evening, St Valentine’s Day 1970, when William Jellett first thought he might be Jesus.
    Fascinating, if long, story of a legend I knew nothing about.

  • British tourist missing in Israel may have Jerusalem syndrome
    Israeli authorities are searching for a British man who is missing in the Negev desert amid fears that he could be suffering from Jerusalem syndrome, a psychiatric condition whose sufferers believe they are prophets or other biblical figures.
    See previous link. Baader Meinhof at play?

  • John Humphrys’ attitude to equal pay highlights the BBC’s impartiality problem
    Of the many things I have learned life is too short for – making your own puff pastry, monogamy, trying to have a proper drink in the interval at the theatre – top of my list is getting in a mobile-broadcast van outside my house in my nightie to be hooked up to the Today programme studio.
    So much wrong with this. First things first though, why is that twat still employed by the BBC?

  • Kaveh Akbar Is Poetry’s Biggest Cheerleader
    Ever eavesdropped on two poets having a conversation at a coffee shop? Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar has created an online space that lets you do that without leaving your bed. How?
    Not sure about the name, but this is pretty great.

  • Bad design in action: the false Hawaiian ballistic missile alert
    The Honolulu Civil Beat has tweeted a screenshot of the interface that was used to send an real alert for a nonexistent incoming ballistic missile on Saturday morning.
    Good. Grief.

  • Beyond the Bitcoin Bubble
    The sequence of words is meaningless: a random array strung together by an algorithm let loose in an English dictionary. What makes them valuable is that they’ve been generated exclusively for me, by a software tool called MetaMask. In the lingo of cryptography, they’re known as my seed phrase.
    Finally a bitcoin article that helps me understand (some of) what it is all about.

  • David Byrne Launches the “Reasons to Be Cheerful” Web Site: A Compendium of News Meant to Remind Us That the World Isn’t Actually Falling Apart
    Whatever your ideological persuasion, our time has no doubt given you more than a few reasons to fear for the future of civilization, not least because bad news sells.
    Hurrah!

  • The Psychological & Neurological Disorders Experienced by Characters in Alice in Wonderland: A Neuroscience Reading of Lewis Carroll’s Classic Tale
    Most reputable doctors tend to refrain from diagnosing people they’ve never met or examined. Unfortunately, this circumspection doesn’t obtain as often among lay folk. When we lob uninformed diagnoses at other people, we may do those with genuine mental health issues a serious disservice.
    Might re-read the book now, will put a different spin on things.

  • The men and women who brought curry to Birmingham
    Curry has become as much a staple of British cuisine as fish and chips or the roast dinner. An exhibition is celebrating some of the earliest curry houses in Birmingham, a city synonymous with the cuisine.
    Who doesn’t love a curry?