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Monday Links from the Overcrowded Desk in the Middle of the Studio vol. LXXXVI
A new producer has appeared and needs to use the desk I was at, so I've been shunted off to the middle of the room with only a WiFi network connection. Luckily it seems to be working at the moment, meaning I can get this lot to you in time for lunch:
- Civil disorder and looting hits Britain: We have been here before - The Economist's Bagehot examines the history of British riots and political responses thereto: "Parents at this time, unfortunately, do not take sufficient care in bringing up their children. They expect someone else to be responsible." (1951); "The passing of parental authority, defiance of pre-war conventions, the absence of restraint, the wildness of extremes, the confusion of unrelated liberties, the wholesale drift away from churches" (1932); "it is melancholy to find that some parents are not ashamed to confess that children of seven or eight years old are entirely beyond their control" (1898). Oh, and "fears about... popular songs that treated criminals as heroes" - not gangsta rap; that one's from the sixteenth century.
- When Reality-TV Fame Runs Dry - What? Riots are old news, now Big Brother is back on the telly? Good job I've got this one then: "Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag made millions via MTV’s hit docusoap The Hills. But they admit to Kate Aurthur that they were wrong—being famous for nothing can’t last forever."
- Chicken a la The King - "Long before cooking at Google, I worked in the kitchen of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel with a Southern gent named Robert Brown. Story was that at one time in his life, Mr. Brown had cooked for Elvis Presley. Mr. Brown never gave us the details, but he did let us know that the King loved his fried chicken and biscuits." Here's the recipe for Elvis's favourite fried chicken, courtesy of Charlie Ayers, "Google Executive Chef"
- Evolution Right Under Our Noses - Evolutionary biologists have taken to studying the urban jungle: "White-footed mice, stranded on isolated urban islands, are evolving to adapt to urban stress. Fish in the Hudson have evolved to cope with poisons in the water. Native ants find refuge in the median strips on Broadway. And more familiar urban organisms, like bedbugs, rats and bacteria, also mutate and change in response to the pressures of the metropolis. In short, the process of evolution is responding to New York and other cities the way it has responded to countless environmental changes over the past few billion years. Life adapts."
- the collected jwz bicycle wisdom - Jamie Zawinski (he who became a very rich man in the Nineties by being one of the creators of Netscape Naviagator) offers advice to urban cyclists: "Your bike will be stolen, so don't get too attached to it... It doesn't matter how crappy your bike looks: any bike is worth stealing for $2 worth of crack. Your bike is temporary. Accept this and move on." (It isn't all that negative.)
- Case Study: How a notorious spammer was brought down via Twitter - "I really want to focus on the events of the last week, but to understand why so many people were so upset by this case, you have to know a bit of history, which goes back more than 15 years. This is not the story of an over-reaction to a garden variety troll. This person was the source of epic levels of spam, disruption and threats since the mid 1990s." Yes, the troll calling himself "David Mabus" has been arrested, and scientists around the world are getting used to waking up with no death threats in their Inbox
- Inside North Korea - "Earlier this year, David Guttenfelder, chief Asia photographer for the Associated Press, along with Jean H. Lee, AP bureau chief in Seoul, were granted unprecedented access to parts of North Korea as part of the AP's efforts to expand coverage of the isolated communist nation. The pair made visits to familiar sites accompanied by government minders, and were also allowed to travel into the countryside accompanied by North Korean journalists instead of government officials. Though much of what the AP journalists saw was certainly orchestrated, their access was still remarkable. Collected here are some of Guttenfelder's images from the trip that provide a glimpse of North Korea."
- How Browsers Work: Behind the Scenes of Modern Web Browsers - "Web browsers are probably the most widely used software. In this primer, I will explain how they work behind the scenes. We will see what happens when you type google.com in the address bar until you see the Google page on the browser screen." Tali Garsiel has made an exhaustive study of the source of WebKit (Safari and Chrome, et al.) and Gecko (Firefox et al.); here she gives what is certainly the most detailed explanation I've ever seen of every step in the process of retrieving, parsing and displaying a web page.
- That truck driver you flipped off? Let me tell you his story. - "Let me tell you a little about the truck driver you just flipped off because he was passing another truck, and you had to cancel the cruise control and slow down until he completed the pass and moved back over." Dan Hanson, a fleet manager, shares the true story of one of his truck drivers.
- Your awful dates, in 140 characters - "I was walking through Clapham on Tuesday evening. A pub near the common reminded me of a bad date I went on. I tweeted about it. This is what ensued... " Rhodri Marsden, writer and musician, got an excellent response as people shared their own crap dating experiences, such as "met a bloke for what was supposed to be lunch. He told me he didn't like what I was wearing and said I should go home and change" or "Guy came to get me in his new Porsche. Before I got in, he put a towel on my seat because 'girls can sometimes be sweaty down there'"