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Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DLXXXIV

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    Monday Links from the Lockdown vol. DLXXXIV

    • Cat and Mouse - ”With dozens of felines turning up dead around London, a pair of pet detectives set out to prove it was the work of a serial killer.” Phil Hoad on the hunt for the Croydon Cat Killer.
    • Decades-Long Quest Reveals Details of the Proton’s Inner Antimatter - ”Twenty years ago, physicists set out to investigate a mysterious asymmetry in the proton’s interior. Their results, published today, show how antimatter helps stabilize every atom’s core.” Quantum mechanics remains weird
    • Unlocking history through automated virtual unfolding of sealed documents imaged by X-ray microtomography - ”Computational flattening algorithms have been successfully applied to X-ray microtomography scans of damaged historical documents, but have so far been limited to scrolls, books, and documents with one or two folds. The challenge tackled here is to reconstruct the intricate folds, tucks, and slits of unopened letters secured shut with ‘letterlocking,’ a practice—systematized in this paper—which underpinned global communications security for centuries before modern envelopes.” So successful has this project been that they’ve also created a site all about various letter locking techniques, Letterlocking.org.
    • Did She Really Say What I Saw Her Say? - ”Who knew? The actors in those century-old silent movies were actually cussing up a storm. The lip readers knew about it, of course, and some were in high dudgeon as a result, demanding censorship. And who can blame them? While watching the hero profess his undying love to his maidenly ingenue, for example, it would be a bit disconcerting to discover he was actually swearing like a lumberjack on Saturday night.” Something to bear in mind next time you watch a silent movie.
    • Gum Wrappers World - As the name suggests, a site devoted to chewing and bubble gum wrappers. ”Welcome to the site of the chewing gum and bubble gum wrapper collector. If you came across this place accidently, please, do not just turn around and go away. You might think that my infatuation is interesting: I collect chewing gum and bubble gum wrappers.” This one is from the vintage cars series by Anglo Confectionery Ltd. of Halifax.
    • Bottling the world's coldest plasma - ”Rice University physicists have discovered a way to trap the world's coldest plasma in a magnetic bottle, a technological achievement that could advance research into clean energy, space weather and astrophysics.”
    • Close Encounters of the Worst Kind - Conflict in New Jersey between those who would hunt black bears and those who want to see them conserved: ”Only 75 feet away, a male black bear—capable of speeds up to 35 mph, but not yet in full pursuit—trudged toward them. What happened next is believed to have occurred just this once in New Jersey since it entered statehood in 1787. What happened next, hunting advocates say, demonstrates precisely why the state’s dense bear population needs to be continuously culled. What happened next, conservationists and animal rights activists say, might have been circumvented if the state had poured more resources into education, signage and trash management instead of leaning so heavily on the hunt to keep bears at bay. But, unquestionably, what happened next was violent. And painful. And gruesome. An interaction beset by blood and an anguished cry.”
    • Clever Cuttlefish Have Passed the Marshmallow Test - ”A new study suggests that cuttlefish can display self-control. When given the choice, some individuals opt to forgo instant gratification if it means they can get a better reward down the line. In humans and other species, this ability, known as delay maintenance, is thought to have been an important step on the evolutionary road to complex decision-making.” The full paper is available online: Cuttlefish exert self-control in a delay of gratification task.
    • Germanium transistors: logic circuits in the IBM 1401 computer - Ken Shirriff gets his hands on more old hardware: ”How did computers implement logic gates in the 1950s? Computers were moving into the transistor age, but transistors were expensive so circuits were optimized to minimize the transistor count. At the time, they didn't even use silicon transistors; germanium transistors were used instead. In this blog post, I'll describe one way that logic gates were implemented back then: diode-transistor logic.”
    • Céramiques de la Lys (1940s) - Images from the catalogue of a 1940s French tile manufacturer.


    Happy invoicing!

    #2
    Hurrah!
    "I can put any old tat in my sig, put quotes around it and attribute to someone of whom I've heard, to make it sound true."
    - Voltaire/Benjamin Franklin/Anne Frank...

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      #3
      Originally posted by NickFitz View Post
      [LIST][*]Decades-Long Quest Reveals Details of the Proton’s Inner Antimatter - ”Twenty years ago, physicists set out to investigate a mysterious asymmetry in the proton’s interior. Their results, published today, show how antimatter helps stabilize every atom’s core.” Quantum mechanics remains weird
      We take the stability of protons for granted, but it is truly amazing that a tiny ball of fantastically rapidly seething energy can be so utterly stable for literally billions of years, most having been formed in the first seconds after the Big Bang.

      Not one has ever been observed to decay spontaneously (by observing large collections of them), and they will probably last for quadrillions of years more until some unimaginably distant future time when all atoms will have fallen into the black holes that by then will be the only things left.
      Work in the public sector? Read the IR35 FAQ here

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by NickFitz View Post
        [LIST][*]Bottling the world's coldest plasma - ”Rice University physicists have discovered a way to trap the world's coldest plasma in a magnetic bottle, a technological achievement that could advance research into clean energy, space weather and astrophysics.”
        :
        It is the first time an ultracold plasma has been magnetically confined, and Killian, who's studied ultracold plasmas for more than two decades,
        Twenty years in and them some spotty liberal student comes along and bottles it, albeit briefly for the first time. He must be pissed.
        'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

        Comment


          #5
          Geranium transistors? Pah, the Ruskies were using pulse transformers and ternary logic in some of their creations.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Setun


          It's good to know that cuttlefish have more self control than I do.

          Do bears tulip in the woods after eating someone? The best advert for shotgun slugs ever.
          Last edited by DoctorStrangelove; 10 March 2021, 09:30.
          When the fun stops, STOP.

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