Rain. Rainy rainy rain rain. Forecast: rain Still, it's a good excuse to stay on the Interwebs:
- No Evidence of Disease - "My girlfriend Diane met Stephanie last October at a free makeup event for women with cancer called Look Good Feel Better. It was one of the curious get-togethers you get invited to when you are ill. Women showed up, got a make-up kit, and listened to some instruction in how to use it, including useful tips on drawing in the eyebrows (the most visually unsettling side-effect of chemotherapy)." Maciej Ceglowski's account of Diane and Stephanie's friendship leads to a bizarre and gobsmacking twist. (Maciej has previously appeared in Monday Links having been arrested for accidentally wandering into a top-secret Chinese aerospace research centre, and with useful advice on the consumption of steaks in Argentina.)
- In Defence of Lunchtime O'Booze - John Dale laments the demise of the boozy school of journalism: "I was assistant to the Mail’s top reporter who specialised in corruption stories. He’d apply the truth drug copiously – to cops, MPs, councillors, officials, anyone we could get in a pub or restaurant. He was brilliant but sometimes he’d have too much truth drug himself. My job was to remember what beans were being spilled."
- The Honor System - "On or about March 15 of this year, Teller — the smaller, quieter half of the magicians Penn & Teller — says he received an e-mail from a friend in New York. In that e-mail, the friend included a link to a video on YouTube called the Rose & Her Shadow. Teller, sitting at his computer in his Las Vegas home, within eyeshot of a large black escape cross once owned by Houdini, clicked on the link. The video lasted one minute and fifty-one seconds. 'I had what I can only describe as a visceral reaction to it,' Teller says today. Chris Jones on skullduggery in the world of magic and illusion.
- The Deadliest Catch - "The WMD was discovered, quite by chance, lying by the side of a Bridgeville road in late July by a Delaware state trooper on an unrelated callout. Jutting out of the ground, the 75mm shell was encrusted in barnacles and pitted with rust; barely recognisable as a munition at all. The trooper called in his find and a military team took the bomb to Dover Air Force Base for disposal... When the two staff sergeants and technician walked over to inspect the failed detonation, they found a strange black liquid seeping out of the cracked mortar. Given that the shell had been under the sea for the better part of fifty years, the men thought little of the foul-smelling substance until hours later, when their skin began to erupt in agonising blisters." Frank Swain explains how hundreds, if not thousands, of chemical weapons such as mustard gas shells, dumped at sea from after the Great War onwards, are coming back to haunt the inhabitants of Delaware.
- Classic GI: I Have No Mouth, And I Must Scream - "While some younger readers might find it hard to believe, our culture’s interest in post-apocalyptic settings didn’t originate with the Fallout series. Harlan Ellison’s 1967 short story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream,” is an early landmark, offering readers an unimaginably bleak look at humanity’s future, with five desperate souls enduring the constant torture of a deranged AI. Despite its sparse characterization and lack of a traditional narrative, it was adapted into a computer game of the same name in 1995. Here’s the story of how Ellison and a pair of designers transformed the story into one of the most disturbing point-and-click adventure games of all time." Great bit of gaming history from Jeff Cork.
- What Happens to Stolen Bicycles? - "At Priceonomics, we are fascinated by stolen bicycles. Put simply, why the heck do so many bicycles get stolen? It seems like a crime with very limited financial upside for the thief, and yet bicycle theft is rampant in cities like San Francisco (where we are based). What is the economic incentive for bike thieves that underpins the pervasiveness of bike theft? Is this actually an efficient way for criminals to make money?" One imagines the market forces and processes are similar in the UK.
- 52 Ways to Screw an Artist, by Warner Bros. Records... - "Sadly, this is a story that dates back to 1969, when a young James Taylor signed a deal with Warner Bros. Records. That was the beginning of a breakout career that included numerous hit songs and tens of millions of album sales. But it also marked the beginning of a duplicitous financial relationship, one that seemed designed to systematically cheat this artist over a period of several decades... According to the allegations in the filing, these are the various ways in which Warner Bros. Records has screwed James Taylor. Keep in mind: this list of grievances only dates back to 2004..." Yet more proof that when the recording industry bigwigs talk about rewarding artists, they mean themselves.
- Caves of Nottingham - "Incredibly, there are more than 450 artificial caves excavated from the sandstone beneath the streets and buildings of Nottingham, England—including, legendarily, the old dungeon that once held Robin Hood—and not all of them are known even today, let alone mapped or studied. The city sits atop a labyrinth of human-carved spaces—some of them huge—and it will quite simply never be certain if archaeologists and historians have found them all." Mark Smout and others spend a day exploring the numerous caves under the city; the piece includes lots of good photos, and renderings of the results of 3D laser scans of subterranean passages made by the Nottingham Caves Survey.
- The Photographs That Prevented World War III - "While researching a book on the Cuban missile crisis, the writer unearthed new spy images that could have changed history." Micheal Dobbs uncovers some lost-in-the-archives images of the USSR's Cuban missile bases, which were causing such a kerfuffle this time 50 years ago.
- HTTP Status Cats - Improve your understanding of HTTP status codes like "404 Not Found" through the medium of cats: