I've got a cooker being delivered in about an hour, so I'd better get this lot posted now, then shift the junk out of the hall
- Two sisters, one house, and a mystery - "Sheryl Hope Waldman grew up in a big and bustling house here in the 1950s, an attractive, cheerful girl with many friends. After attending Brookline High School and the University of Wisconsin, she returned to her childhood home to live with her older sister Lynda. Then, over the years, Sheryl Waldman faded from view until she vanished. And no one seemed to notice." The strange, sad story of two reclusive sisters from Boston, Ma.
- The 'Tapper' videogame patent - A look at a patent granted for a bartender-themed 1983 video game, which probably shouldn’t have been, but which goes in some strange directions in its attempt to appear as a new invention: ”The need for a patent to describe a general invention rather than just a specific game contributes to this abstraction push, not least resulting in the excellent title, worth repeating: ‘Video game in which a host image repels ravenous images by serving filled vessels’.”
- United Kingdom budget - Neat visualisation of the UK national budget, allowing you to zoom in on specific details. It currently has data for 2014 to 2016; try double-clicking on branches and following arrows, and click on specific items for more detailed breakdowns.
- Maybe, He Thought, He’d Wind Up At Entebbe - From David Simon, former journalist and co-creator of The Wire: ”Forty years ago this week, my father was taken hostage when the Hanafi Muslims, a breakaway sect from the Nation of Islam, took over the District Building, the Islamic Center and the B’nai B’rith headquarters in Washington D.C. As the 56-year-old public relations director for B’nai B’rith, a Jewish service organization, my father was selected by the Hanafi sect’s leader as one of eight older men who would be the first killed if police stormed the building… In the days after his release my father serviced all the media inquiries of reporters, but also found enough time to pen the following essay that ran on the op-page of the march 15, 1977 New York Times.”
- So You Want Continuous Time Zones - "In general, time zone offsets are chosen so that local time roughly agrees with solar time in that time zone. For example, when local clocks say 12:00, the Sun is at or near its zenith. With continuous time zones, local time is instead derived directly from the position of the Sun, as captured using, for example, a sundial… Let's look at some of the consequences which arise from this proposed change.” As Sam Hughes shows, things rapidly become unworkable
- The Manual by the KLF - ”Be ready to ride the big dipper of the mixed metaphor. Be ready to dip your hands in the lucky bag of life, gather the storm clouds of fantasy and anoint your own genius. Because it is only by following the clear and concise instructions contained in this book that you can realise your childish fantasies of having a Number One hit single in the official U.K. Top 40 thus guaranteeing you a place forever in the sacred annals of Pop History.” HT to DaveB for this one - but also, my checks show, to Freamon, who posted a link to it in a comment four years ago last November
- The Architecture of Evil - Roger Forsgren examines the life of Albert Speer: ”An article in Life magazine during the [Nuremberg] trials noted, ‘Whereas most of his fellow prisoners are unmitigated thugs, Speer, by contrast, is a charming, cultivated and intelligent man. It was these qualities, combined with a conscience that subordinated everything to ambition, that made him one of the most dangerous of all the Nazis.’”
- How I found a $5,000 Google Maps XSS (by fiddling with Protobuf) - Marin Moulinier explains how a bit of digging around in the Chrome developer console led to Google awarding him five grand: ”A few months ago, I used Google Maps. Or maybe Google Street View, I love Street View, it’s like a retrofuturistic way to teleport. Routinely, I looked at the address bar. Since sometime in 2014, parameters are not the mere query string they used to be. Instead, it’s a weird mash of alphanumeric characters separated by exclamation points. It’s abstruse, it has no public documentation whatsoever, it’s used by people everyday, it’s a reverse engineerable protocol. That’s the kind of code I want to break.”
- He Killed 140 Men in the Electric Chair. Then He Took His Own Life. - The life and death of John Hurlburt, State Electrician and executioner at Sing Sing: ”Hurlburt’s disposition betrays nothing as he carefully checks the electrode strapped to Miller’s right leg. The electrode is in working order, and the sponge it contains is soaked in brine, just as it should be… He doesn’t want to do this, to keep on doing it. But he has no alternative. He also doesn’t know that this, his 140th execution, will be his last.”
- Guy Takes Characters from Renaissance Paintings and Photoshops Them Into the Present - He’s actually called Alexey Kondakov, not “Guy”: