jm + history   211

Decoding the Enigma with Recurrent Neural Networks
I am blown away by this -- given that Recurrent Neural Networks are Turing-complete, they can actually automate cryptanalysis given sufficient resources, at least to the degree of simulating the internal workings of the Enigma algorithm given plaintext, ciphertext and key:
The model needed to be very large to capture all the Enigma’s transformations. I had success with a single-celled LSTM model with 3000 hidden units. Training involved about a million steps of batched gradient descent: after a few days on a k40 GPU, I was getting 96-97% accuracy!
machine-learning  deep-learning  rnns  enigma  crypto  cryptanalysis  turing  history  gpus  gradient-descent 
19 minutes ago by jm
"This War of Mine" review by survivor of the siege of Sarajevo
'Big Kudos to designers of this game. I can't imagine how much research it was for them to make this. It is as if they were in Sarajevo during whole Siege of Sarajevo, and they weren't doing anything else but taking notes. Will you like this game? Well, I do not know. If you want to know how a siege works, then YES. If you want to play great game with theme that is a bit dark, YES. If you want to play amazingly heavy solo or coop game, YES. But, also, I can see why someone would never play this game. My board game collection, before This war of mine, was just “The wall of fun”, and now, amongst other boxes, there is this one that is also fun, but different than any other. This is one really unique game.'
reviews  siege  sarajevo  history  war  boardgames  this-war-of-mine  heavy 
3 hours ago by jm
Burning Fossil Fuels Almost Ended All Life on Earth - The Atlantic
“what I like to talk about is ‘the Great Weirding’ and not just the Great Dying because the Great Dying seems to have been a relatively quick event at the very end. But if you just talk about the Great Dying you’re missing all of this other crazy stuff that led up to it,” he said. “The Earth was getting really weird in the Permian. So we’re getting these huge lakes with these negative pHs, which is really weird, we don’t know why that happened. Another thing is that the whole world turned red. Everything got red. You walk around today and you’re like, ‘Hey, there’s a red bed, I bet it’s Permian or Triassic.’ The planet started looking like Mars. So that’s really weird. We don’t know why it turned red. Then you have a supercontinent, which is weird in the first place. Plate tectonics has to be acting strangely when you have all the continents together. Eventually it rifts apart and we go back into normal plate tectonics mode, but during the Permian-Triassic everything’s jammed together. So there has to be something strange going on. And then at the end, the Earth opens up and there’s all these volcanoes. But we’re not talking about normal volcanoes, we’re talking about weird volcanoes.”
extinction  history  geology  permian-era  earth  climate-change  carbon-dioxide  scary  pangaea 
13 days ago by jm
La història del gran tauró blanc de Tossa de Mar
Amazing pic and newspaper report regarding a great white shark which washed up on the beach at Tossa de Mar in the Costa Brava in the 1980s
tossa-de-mar  costa-brava  spain  sharks  nature  great-white-shark  1980s  history  photos  wildlife 
17 days ago by jm
Letters and Liquor
These are lovely! (via Ben)
Letters and Liquor illustrates the history of lettering associated with cocktails. From the 1690s to the 1990s, I’ve selected 52 of the most important drinks in the cocktail canon and rendered their names in period-inspired design. I post a new drink each week with history, photos and recipes. Don’t want to miss a single cocktail? Click here for email updates.
cocktails  text  letters  typography  graphics  history  booze 
19 days ago by jm
"BBC English" was invented by a small team in the 1920s & 30s
Excellent twitter thread:
Today we speak of "BBC English" as a standard form of the language, but this form had to be invented by a small team in the 1920s & 30s. 1/
It turned out even within the upper-class London accent that became the basis for BBC English, many words had competing pronunciations. 2/
Thus in 1926, the BBC's first managing director John Reith established an "Advisory Committee on Spoken English" to sort things out. 3/
The committee was chaired by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, and also included American essayist Logan Pearsall Smith, 4/
novelist Rose Macaulay, lexicographer (and 4th OED editor) C.T. Onions, art critic Kenneth Clark, journalist Alistair Cooke, 5/
ghost story writer Lady Cynthia Asquith, and evolutionary biologist and eugenicist Julian Huxley. 6/
The 20-person committee held fierce debates, and pronunciations now considered standard were often decided by just a few votes.
bbc  language  english  history  rp  received-pronunciation  pronunciation  john-reith 
27 days ago by jm
London's Tube has been running so long it's literally raising the temperature of the earth around it | CityMetric
London has been running tube trains so long that the ground beneath parts of the city is now as much as 10°C hotter than it was in 1900.
london  tube  underground  tfl  engineering  history  temperature  ventilation 
4 weeks ago by jm
A Brief History of the UUID · Segment Blog
This is great, by Rick Branson. I didn't realise UUIDs came from Apollo
history  distributed  distcomp  uuids  ids  coding  apollo  unix 
6 weeks ago by jm
The inventor of dynamic programming, had to hide the fact he was inventing it from the Secretary of Defense
"His face would suffuse, he would turn red, and he would get violent if people used the term "research" in his presence. You can imagine how he felt, then, about the term "mathematical". [....] I felt I had to do something to shield Wilson and the Air Force from the fact that I was really doing mathematics inside RAND"
rand  funny  history  insane  dr-strangelove  1950s  dynamic-programming  mathematics  algorithms 
6 weeks ago by jm
The Forgotten Story Of The Radium Girls
'The radium girls’ case was one of the first in which an employer was made responsible for the health of the company’s employees. It led to life-saving regulations and, ultimately, to the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which now operates nationally in the United States to protect workers. Before OSHA was set up, 14,000 people died on the job every year; today, it is just over 4,500. The women also left a legacy to science that has been termed “invaluable.”'
osha  health  safety  radium  poisoning  regulation  history  us-politics  free-market  cancer  radiation 
11 weeks ago by jm
Reverse engineering the 76477 "Space Invaders" sound effect chip from die photos
Now _this_ is reversing:
Remember the old video game Space Invaders? Some of its sound effects were provided by a chip called the 76477 Complex Sound Generation chip. While the sound effects1 produced by this 1978 chip seem primitive today, it was used in many video games, pinball games. But what's inside this chip and how does it work internally? By reverse-engineering the chip from die photos, we can find out. (Photos courtesy of Sean Riddle.) In this article, I explain how the analog circuits of this chip works and show how the hundreds of transistors on the silicon die form the circuits of this complex chip.
space-invaders  games  history  reverse-engineering  chips  analog  sound-effects 
11 weeks ago by jm
Stiff Upper Lip by Alex Renton review – the damage boarding schools have done | Books | The Guardian
Holy shit:
Stiff Upper Lip is studded with startling stuff. Discussing the importance of football, for instance, in 19th-century public schools, he drops in the line that “in Charterhouse’s version a small boy was the ball”. I blithely went over that one, thinking he meant “a small boy was [expected to crouch on] the ball” or similar; but it was no typo. In a cheery kickabout on Good Friday, 1924, the Earl of Sussex’s son died from his injuries – _having been [used as] an actual football_.


(via Eva Wiseman)
football  public-schools  uk  school  history  murder  insanity  charterhouse  alex-renton  education 
april 2017 by jm
Fans of chess were outraged when the queen piece was added
"scacchi alla rabiosa" ("madwoman's chess") faced a backlash from 16th-century gamergaters
gamergate  funny  16th-century  history  chess  gaming  games  queen 
april 2017 by jm
Who Discovered Why The Challenger Exploded?
Everyone knows Richard Feynman’s famous televised demonstration that the Challenger had exploded because its O-rings got stiff when they were cold -- but it wasn’t Feynman’s discovery. It was Sally Ride’s.'

(via Tony Finch)
richard-feynman  sally-ride  history  space  challenger  o-rings  science  engineering  nasa 
march 2017 by jm
Bakeneko - Wikipedia
'The bakeneko (化け猫, "changed cat") is a type of Japanese yōkai, or supernatural creature. According to its name, it is a cat that has changed into a yōkai. It is often confused with the nekomata, another cat-like yōkai,[2] and the distinction between the two can often be quite ambiguous.'

Reportedly, Totoro's catbus is a bakeneko, as is the Maneki Neko good luck totem.
superstitions  cats  catbus  totoro  bakeneko  yokai  japan  history 
march 2017 by jm
Colm O'Gorman, on societal responsibility for Mother & Baby Homes, Magdalene Laundries & various other church atrocities in Ireland
Excellent twitter thread on the topic. Pasted:

It is often said that everyone knew what was happening in such places, or about the rape of children by priests. That is not true.
It is true that deep veins of knowledge existed across Irish society, at all levels, but not everyone knew. Or were allowed to know.
Just like is always the case, the terrible things that were done were possible only because they were tolerated. They went unchecked.
They were tolerated by those in positions of authority who either dared not, or did not wish to, challenge the power strictures that existed
They were tolerated by those without power or position because they feared what speaking up might do to them and to their families
That was an Ireland where challenging such vile abuse by power would see you become its victim. It was brutal and vicious.
If you did not, or could not, conform to the demands of the powerful, you were in real danger. At best, ostracisation and excommunication.
But many experience far worse than that. They found themselves in the very places we now acknowledge as hell holes. Locked up in institutions
I always remember the late, great Mary Rafferty exposing the scale of such abusive institutionalisation. She pointed out that at one point
in our relatively recent history, we led the world in one regard. Per capita, we locked up more people in psychiatric institutions than
any other country on the planet. Only the Soviet Union came a distant second to us. That was how Ireland treated dissent or difference
That what was happened to many who could not conform to a brutal demand to be somehow 'acceptable' to dogma & unaccountable power
And it wasn't some ancient Ireland either. The last laundry closed in 1996. In 2002, when fighting for inquiries into child rape by priests
and it's cover up by bishops, cardinals and popes, those same princes declared themselves above the rule of the law of this Republic
insisting that the law of their church was superior to the law of this state. And their position was taken seriously by many.
It took months of dogged battle by me and others to get past that bullshit. For our political and legal system to assert itself.
The Ireland where the lives of women & children were controlled & brutalised by people who felt they had a God given right to do so is not
some other country that existed back in some other time. It is this Ireland. We have changed a lot - but it is still this Ireland.
The difference now is that we ALL know. That the truth is out, and that more is being revealed. And yes, undoubtedly there is more to come.
So it is NOT true all past members of society, or even anything close to a majority, colluded with such abuses. That is a falsehood.
It is also a falsehood to suggest that the church did what the state would not do, and provided as best it could. That is a lie.
The Catholic Church captured control of what should have been arms of the state. Health, education and social care. And it exploited them.
It used them to drive its own agendas, to enforce its own dogma. And at every turn it resisted any 'intrusion' into those realms by others.
including the state. Look at the Mother & Child Scheme for eg, or the response to the first multi-denominational schools, and much more.
Catholic orders defended themselves against accusations of appalling abuse of children in their institutions by claiming that
the state did not give them enough money to feed, clothe and properly care for the children they detained in those places. This was a lie.
in the same institutions where children went starving, clergy were well fed and housed. They went for nothing. Funded by the state and the
forced labour of the children or women they detained. The Ryan Report debunked that lie in its entirety.
Ryan found that religious orders maintained "bloated congregations" by bringing in more and more children, and therefore more and more money
And now we know. Now the threat of brutal reprisal is lifted. Now is the time for truth, to own what has been done to so many vulnerable
people in our Republic. To learn from it and ensure we identify how that same corrupting tendency manifests today. Because it does of course
It may not be quite as vicious, but it prevails.Look at how power still treats a reasonable demand for accountability: Maurice McCabe for eg
Look at how our education and health systems still allow religious dogma to exert extraordinary power over people's lives.
We are a different Ireland, but are we different enough?
mother-and-baby-homes  tuam  ireland  catholic-church  abuse  colm-o-gorman  twitter  history  priests 
march 2017 by jm
Martin Fowler's First Law of Distributed Object Design: Don’t
lol. I hadn't seen this one, but it's a good beatdown on distributed objects from back in 2003
distributed-objects  dcom  corba  history  martin-fowler  laws  rules  architecture  2003 
march 2017 by jm
The State already knew about Tuam. Nothing ever changes in Ireland
Forensic archaeologists are combing through the soil in Tuam. Perhaps justice might be better served if forensic accountants were combing through the accounts of the Bon Secours Sisters. They sold healthy babies and let the rest to die.
nuns  bon-secours  history  ireland  tuam-babies  tuam  horror 
march 2017 by jm
Phoenician Sun God in Eighteenth-Century Ireland? - Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog
It is the most extraordinary inscription. This mill-stone rock, which once stood on the top of Tory Hill in County Kilkenny in Ireland, has been taken as proof of Carthaginian contact and settlement or at least trade with Ireland in antiquity. The words clearly read (give or take some distorted letters) Beli Dinose, a reference to the Carthaginian god Bel or Baal Dionysus. Extraordinary to think that Phoenicians, in the early centuries B.C. brought their nasty child-killing faith to the green hills of Ireland. Only of course they didn’t… At least not on this evidence. The stone celebrating ‘the lordly one’ actually has a rather different origin.


excellent tale.
phoenicia  dionysus  baal  history  tory-hill  kilkenny  carthage  gods  typos  fail  archaeology  graffiti 
march 2017 by jm
In 1914, Feminists Fought For the Right to Forget Childbirth | Atlas Obscura
Wow, this is creepy.
Tracy and Leupp described twilight sleep as “a very fine balance in the states of consciousness,” which required “special knowledge of the use of drugs that cause it.” Once a woman had gone into labor, she was given a combination of morphine to dull the pain and scopolamine to dull her memory of the experience. (Today, scopolamine is sometimes called the “zombie drug” because its users become susceptible to suggestion but retain no memory of their actions.)

These drugs had been used in the past as anesthetics, but few doctors had adopted them with enthusiasm. But the German clinic, the McClure’s article reported, had reached a technical breakthrough with scopolamine, which allowed the doctors to administer it with more precision and therefore with more success. Women who they treated with these drugs would retain muscle control and would follow orders from doctors, but would remember none of it.

There were some strange conditions that went along with the use of these drugs. Because the women’s state of suspension was precarious, women in twilight sleep were kept in padded, crib-like beds, with eye masks blocking out the light and cotton balls in their ears blocking out sound. Sometimes they were fitted into straight-jacket-like shirts that limited the movement of their arms. When the birth was over, women also often experienced a moment of dissociation, as Carmody did: Had they really had a baby? Was the baby they’d been handed really theirs?
twilight-sleep  childbirth  history  freiburg  morphine  scopolamine  anaesthesia  birth 
february 2017 by jm
4chan: The Skeleton Key to the Rise of Trump
This is the best article on chan culture and how it's taken over
4chan  8chan  somethingawful  boards  history  internet  trump  alt-right 
february 2017 by jm
Mail-Order Kit Houses
could be ordered by mail and built by a single carpenter. Pretty cool
architecture  history  housing  us  kit-houses  mail-order  houses 
february 2017 by jm
Inuit Cartography
In Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), the Inuit people are known for carving portable maps out of driftwood to be used while navigating coastal waters. These pieces, which are small enough to be carried in a mitten, represent coastlines in a continuous line, up one side of the wood and down the other. The maps are compact, buoyant, and can be read in the dark.
maps  inuit  history  sailing  navigation  coastlines  greenland 
february 2017 by jm
An energy drink that contained radium was actually a thing in the 1920s
People who enjoy playing the cult post-apocalyptic game franchise Fallout are surely familiar with “Nuka Cola”. For those who don’t know, Nuka-Cola is a fictional soft drink that is omnipresent throughout the game.

It glows with a sickly radioactive glow, and it satirizes America’s fascination with radium from the beginning of the 20th century. It may seem downright crazy, but a radioactive energy drink actually existed in the 1920s and people believed in its magical properties. [....] “RadiThor”, an energy drink produced from 1918 to 1928 by the Bailey Radium Laboratories in East New Jersey. William J. A. Bailey, a Harvard dropout, created the drink by simply dissolving ridiculous quantities of radium in water.
radithor  radiation  nuka-cola  drinks  soft-drinks  history  1920s  radium  fallout 
january 2017 by jm
Apple ][ copy protections
Amazing how similar the Commodore 64 techniques were!
commodore-64  apple-ii  history  copy-protection  assembly 
january 2017 by jm
Building the plane on the way up
in 1977, Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) scientists packed a Reed-Solomon encoder in each Voyager, hardware designed to add error-correcting bits to all data beamed back at a rate of efficiency 80 percent higher than an older method also included with Voyager. Where did the hope come in? When the Voyager probes were launched with Reed-Solomon encoders on board, no Reed-Solomon decoders existed on Earth.
reed-solomon  encoding  error-correction  voyager  vger  history  space  nasa  probes  signalling 
january 2017 by jm
Final Fantasy 7: An oral history
Pretty amazing, particularly for this revelation:
Tetsuya Nomura (Character and battle visual director, Square Japan): OK, so maybe I did kill Aerith. But if I hadn’t stopped you, in the second half of the game, you were planning to kill everyone off but the final three characters the player chooses!

Yoshinori Kitase (Director, Square Japan) No way! I wrote that? Where?

Tetsuya Nomura (Character and battle visual director, Square Japan) In the scene where they parachute into Midgar. You wanted everyone to die there!
games  history  gaming  aeris  final-fantasy  square-enix  ff7  stories 
january 2017 by jm
The Irish Ether Drinking Craze
Dr. Kelly, desperate to become intoxicated while maintaining The Pledge, realized that not only could ether vapors be inhaled, but liquid ether could be swallowed. Around 1845 he began consuming tiny glasses of ether, and then started dispensing these to his patients and friends as a nonalcoholic libation. It wasn't long before it became a popular beverage, with one priest going so far as to declare that ether was "a liquor on which a man could get drunk with a clean conscience." In some respects ingesting ether is less damaging to the system than severe alcohol intoxication. Its volatility - ether is a liquid at room temperature but a gas at body temperature -dramatically speeds its effects. Dr. Ernest Hart wrote that "the immediate effects of drinking ether are similar to those produced by alcohol, but everything takes place more rapidly; the stages of excitement, mental confusion, loss of muscular control, and loss of consciousness follow each other so quickly that they cannot be clearly separated." Recovery is similarly rapid. Not only were ether drunks who were picked up by the police on the street often completely sober by the time they reached the station, but they suffered no hangovers.

Ether drinking spread rapidly throughout Ireland, particularly in the North, and the substance soon could be purchased from grocers, druggists, publicans, and even traveling salesmen. Because ether was produced in bulk for certain industrial uses, it could also be obtained quite inexpensively. Its low price and rapid action meant than even the poorest could afford to get drunk several times a day on it. By the 1880s ether, distilled in England or Scotland, was being imported and widely distributed to even the smallest villages. Many Irish market towns would "reek of the mawkish fumes of the drug" on fair days when "its odor seems to cling to the very hedges and houses for some time."
ether  history  ireland  northern-ireland  ulster  drugs  bizarre 
january 2017 by jm
Raising the Roof: Comments on the recent Newgrange ‘roof-box’ controversy
Instead of discussing recent site visits or photographs we’ll be looking at a recent controversy sparked by comments about the reconstruction of Newgrange and, in particular, three claims made in the media by an Irish archaeologist; 1. That the “roof-box” at Newgrange may not be an original feature, instead it was “fabricated” and has “not a shred of authenticity” 2. That two vitally important structural stones, both decorated with megalithic art, from Newgrange were lost after the excavation and 3. That the photographic evidence that backs up the existing restoration is either inaccessible or never existed at all. I hope to show why we can be sure none of these claims are sustainable and that in fact the winter solstice phenomenon at Newgrange is an original and central feature of the tomb.
history  newgrange  archaeology  solstice  ireland  megalithic 
january 2017 by jm
A Yale history professor's 20-point guide to defending democracy under a Trump presidency — Quartz
Good advice -- let's hope it doesn't come to this. Example:

'17. Watch out for the paramilitaries: When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching around with torches and pictures of a Leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-Leader paramilitary and the official police and military intermingle, the game is over.'
trump  activism  government  politics  us-politics  right-wing  history  hitler  nazis  fascism 
december 2016 by jm
Hi-tech caves bring prehistoric Sistine chapel back to life
ooh, Lascaux 4 is finally opening:
St-Cyr added: “It’s impossible for anyone to see the original now, but this is the next best thing. What is lost in not having the real thing is balanced by the fact people can see so much more of the detail of the wonderful paintings and engravings.”
lascaux  cave-art  history  prehistory  caves  replicas 
december 2016 by jm
the origins of bike-shedding
'bike-shedding', or needless arguing about trivial issues, actually dates back to 1957 as C. Northcote Parkinson's 'law of triviality'
triviality  bikeshed  bikeshedding  management  arguments  decisions  history 
november 2016 by jm
Docklands Print Commission 2016: Colin Martin
I love Colin's work. just may spring for this one
colin-martin  art  prints  etchings  dublin  history  vinyl 
november 2016 by jm
Alarmism saved my family from Hitler: Why I won't tell anyone to calm down about Trump
My grandmother’s fear saved the family. My grandfather’s sweet confidence and optimism would have killed them. So when you tell me, a noted soother and calmer of others, that I should tell Muslims and women and people of color that they have nothing to fear from Trump, I think that perhaps you want me to be like my grandfather. And I think that perhaps for once in my life, I am not going to counsel calm and preach perspective and rally the kids for sixteen comforting verses of Kumbaya.
fascism  politics  history  fear  alarmism  nazi-germany 
november 2016 by jm
'Jupiter rising: A decade of Clos topologies and centralized control in Google’s datacenter networks'
Love the 'decade of' dig at FB and Amazon -- 'we were doing it first' ;)

Great details on how Google have built out and improved their DC networking. Includes a hint that they now use DCTCP (datacenter-optimized TCP congestion control) on their internal hosts....
datacenter  google  presentation  networks  networking  via:irldexter  ops  sre  clos-networks  fabrics  switching  history  datacenters 
october 2016 by jm
The ultimate off-site backup

So assuming the mission continues well, in 2014 the Rosetta Probe will land on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where it will measure the comet's molecular composition. Then it will remain at rest as the comet orbits the sun for hundreds of millions of years. So somewhere in the solar system, where it is safe but hard to reach, a backup sample of human languages is stored, in case we need one.


As jwz says: 'The Rosetta Disc is now safely installed on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.'
rosetta  long-now  history  language  comets  solar-system  space 
october 2016 by jm
Commodore 64C going strong after over 25 years in production
C64C used in Polish auto repair shop to balance driveshafts, working non-stop for over a quarter of a century. I'd like to see a Spectrum do _this_ ;)
c64  c64c  commodore  history  poland  auto-repair  production 
september 2016 by jm
did Google blacklist their own site?

The leading theory that I've seen going around is that Google is actually blocking all links in any FeedBurner feed, because it's a violation of its own terms of service. Seriously.

The link-shortener "goo.gl", run by Google, is blocking all URLs generated by Feedburner, run by Google. pic.twitter.com/IR7wrlv6xj
— Great Again Also (@agentdero) September 6, 2016

That's because Google's URL shortener's terms of service bans "URL re-directors" and it appears that the genius engineers at Google have decided that Google-run FeedBurner is nothing more than a URL re-director and killed off everyone's links without notice or explanation. This despite the fact that they're the same damn company and that FeedBurner unilaterally moved everyone's RSS feed to use Goo.gl links in the first place.
urls  url-shorteners  history  goo.gl  google  feedburner  redirectors  rss  links 
september 2016 by jm
The sweat houses of Leitrim
I never knew we had a native take on the sauna, the “teach alluis”:
Sweathouses were used for the treatment for a wide range of ailments up to the late 19th and early 20th centuries, primarily rheumatism but also including sciatica, lameness, sore eyes, gout, skin disorders, psychiatric disorders, impotence and infertility. Surviving records indicate that treatment was often a group activity for 4-8 persons. The sweathouse was heated by filling the interior with fuel (turf, heather, wood etc. as available), and firing the structure for a period of up to two days to heat the stone structure, the hot ashes were then raked out and the interior floor lined with bracken, grass or straw. The bathers entered and blocked the entrance with turves, clothes or some other means. The sweating period could last a number of hours while the structure retained heat. Some authors note that water was thrown on hot stones to create steam. Afterwards, the “patients” would either take a cold plunge in the nearby water source, or go home and rest for a few hours, or simply return to their normal daily activities.


(via Aileen)
via:aileen  sweating  sweat-houses  irish  history  saunas  heat 
july 2016 by jm
The Apollo 11 AGC source code was uploaded to Github, and someone opened an issue
For the famous Apollo 13 near-fatal failure scenario:
'A customer has had a fairly serious problem with stirring the cryogenic tanks with a circuit fault present. To reproduce:

Build CSM;
Perform mission up to translunar coast;
During translunar coast, attempt to stir cryo tanks

If a wiring fault exists, the issue may be replicated. Be aware that this may be hazardous to the tester attempting it.'

Sample response: 'Does it happens only with translunar coast (sol-3-a), or any moon coasting? It may be a problem with the moon. Just trying to narrow down the issue.'
lol  funny  apollo  apollo-11  apollo-13  agc  history  space  github 
july 2016 by jm
The History of the Irish Internet
This site is a companion effort to the techarchives website, except it is less well-researched, and is primarily a personal view of the development of the Internet in Ireland by your humble author, Niall Murphy.
niallm  internet  ireland  history  networking  heanet  ieunet 
june 2016 by jm
TechArchives
I need to get in touch about the early days of the Irish web!
an online home for stories from Ireland – stories about the country’s long and convoluted relationship with information technology. It aims to gather information on the most significant aspects of this relationship, to compile archives on the selected themes, and to store the assembled records for the benefit of future generations.
web  ireland  history  internet  www 
june 2016 by jm
The Irish Internet in the 1980s
from Dr Mark Humphrys in DCU:
A collection of bits and pieces of Internet history. Focusing somewhat (but not exclusively) on: (a) the 1980s, when I first started using the Internet, and: (b) Ireland.
mark-humphrys  dcu  history  tcd  bitnet  ireland  internet  web  www  1980s 
june 2016 by jm
The more I clean... - mlkshk
"Here," by Richard McGuire. Amazing piece of comic art from 1989
richard-mcguire  art  comics  graphic-novels  history  time 
june 2016 by jm
Before the World Forgets Antarctica's First Great Author: The Fascinating Life and Death of Nick Johnson
RIP. "Big Dead Place" is a fantastic document of "M*A*S*H on ice", as the London Times called it, and one of my favourite books. See also http://feralhouse.com/nick-johnson-rip/ for another eulogy from his publishers
big-dead-place  nick-johnson  rip  eulogies  books  reading  history  antarctica  exploration  raytheon  bureaucracy 
may 2016 by jm
Historic computers look super sexy in this new photo series by Docubyte and Ink
Wow, these look amazing:
The IBM 1401 and Alan Turing’s Pilot ACE (shown below) are among the computers featured in the series by photographer Docubyte and production studio Ink.
ibm  computers  history  tech  docubyte  ink  bletchley-park 
may 2016 by jm
Rebel Without A Call.
Purpose-built in 1898, the telephone exchange in Temple Bar was Dublin’s first automatic telephone exchange. Much like its newer neighbor, Internet House, it stood as a technological beacon shining through the luddite fog.

With this in mind the Irish Citizen Army targeted the Telephone Exchange in 1916 as one of the communication hubs for the island. While many of us grew up learning of a history of ‘blood sacrifice’ and the futility of the Easter Rising, the truth is that the attack was meticulously planned both militarily and logistically.

Sixty communication points around Dublin were hit in an effort to cut off all contact between British military forces within Ireland and to the ‘mainland’. The hope being that reserves and reinforcements would be delayed or misinformed.[...] Unfortunately for the rebels they could not take the Temple Bar exchange. A failure that would prove disastrous.
temple-bar  history  dublin  telephones  communications  1916 
may 2016 by jm
Some great factoids about Glasnevin Cemetery
local landmark and significant chunk of Dublin history. I like this one:
Another odd thing was that people from Dublin had to be buried before noon. This was due to the fact that many funerals stopping at the gate would end up so late in the pub the gates would be closed. A number of times the sextant would open up in the morning to find a coffin or two aganst the gates. For years I thought this was made up but it turns out to be true. A friend had a copy of the cemetary bye laws from (I think) around 1908 and it was in there. I think the rule was if you lived within 7 miles of the GPO you had to be buried before 12 noon.
death  burial  graveyards  glasnevin  dublin  history  d11 
april 2016 by jm
Typeset In The Future: Alien
Amazing deep dive into the graphic design of 1980s sci-fi classic, Alien, in particular Ron Cobb's_Semiotic Standard For All Commercial Trans-Stellar Utility Lifter And Heavy Element Transport Spacecraft_ and its application aboard the Weylan-Yutani Nostromo
fonts  typography  movies  cinema  alien  sf  history  1980s  ron-cobb  graphic-design 
april 2016 by jm
The Rise of Pirate Libraries
The history of this is fascinating:
Today’s pirate libraries have their roots in the work of Russian academics to digitize texts in the 1990s. Scholars in that part of the world had long had a thriving practice of passing literature and scientific information underground, in opposition to government censorship—part of the samizdat culture, in which banned documents were copied and passed hand to hand through illicit channels. Those first digital collections were passed freely around, but when their creators started running into problems with copyright, their collections “retreated from the public view,” writes Balázs Bodó, a piracy researcher based at the University of Amsterdam. “The text collections were far too valuable to simply delete,” he writes, and instead migrated to “closed, membership-only FTP servers.” [....]

There’s always been osmosis within the academic community of copyrighted materials from people with access to scholar without. “Much of the life of a research academic in Kazakhstan or Iran or Malaysia involves this informal diffusion of materials across the gated walls of the top universities,” he says.
pirates  pirate-libraries  libraries  archival  history  russia  ussr  samizdat  samizdata  academia  papers 
april 2016 by jm
The Melancholy Mystery of Lullabies - NYTimes.com
Fascinating article on lullabies:

One way a mother might bond with a newborn is by sharing her joy; another way is by sharing her grief or frustration. We see this in songs across time. A 200-year-old Arabic lullaby still sung today goes:

I am a stranger, and my neighbors are strangers;
I have no friends in this world.
Winter night and the husband is absent.

And an old Spanish lullaby from Asturias, written down by the poet Federico García Lorca, goes:

This little boy clinging so
Is from a lover, Vitorio,
May God, who gave, end my woe,
Take this Vitorio clinging so.

We assume the sound of these songs is sweet, as no lullaby endures without being effective at putting babies to sleep. Think of ‘‘Rock-a-bye Baby,’’ the way it tenderly describes an infant and its cradle falling to the ground: The singer gets to speak a fear, the baby gets to rest; the singer tries to accommodate herself to a possible loss that has for most of human history been rela­tively common, and the baby gets attentive care. In the Arabic and Spanish lullabies, the singers get to say something to the one being — their new burden, their new love — who can’t and won’t judge or discipline them for saying it. When even relatively happy, well-supported people become the primary caretaker of a very small person, they tend to find themselves eddied out from the world of adults. They are never alone — there is always that tiny person — and yet they are often lonely. Old songs let us feel the fellowship of these other people, across space and time, also holding babies in dark rooms.
lullabies  songs  singing  history  folk  babies  children 
april 2016 by jm
Inside the GPO in 1916: Desmond FitzGerald’s eyewitness account
'First published 50 years ago, this first-hand account by the father of the future taoiseach Garrett FitzGerald created a storm by claiming that the rebel leaders sympathetically discussed the likelihood of the Germans putting a prince of their own on the Irish throne.'

This is amazing -- the dispair and confusion is palpable. This is the first realistic-sounding account of what went on inside the GPO during the Easter Rising I've read, and the "German prince" gambit is pretty astonishing too.
easter-rising  1916  history  gpo  germany  ireland  desmond-fitzgerald  royalty 
march 2016 by jm
A shot that rang round the world
The international impact of the Easter Rising has rarely been acknowledged. This rebellion did not only rattle British rule in Ireland — it inspired radical movements in Britain itself and across the globe, and it shook colonial rulers and states worldwide.
history  easter-rising  1916  ireland  revolution  colonialism 
march 2016 by jm
Modern Irish genome closely matches pre-Celt DNA, not Celtic
Radiocarbon dating shows that the bones discovered at McCuaig's go back to about 2000 B.C. That makes them hundreds of years older than the oldest artifacts generally considered to be Celtic — relics unearthed from Celt homelands of continental Europe, most notably around Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

For a group of scholars who in recent years have alleged that the Celts, beginning from the middle of Europe, may never have reached Ireland, the arrival of the DNA evidence provides the biological certitude that the science has sometimes brought to criminal trials.

“With the genetic evidence, the old model [of Celtic colonisation of Ireland] is completely shot,” John Koch, a linguist at the Center for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies at the University of Wales.
celts  ireland  history  dna  genetics  genome  carbon-dating  bronze-age  europe  colonisation 
march 2016 by jm
Before the Split
Good post on Dublin City Council's atrociously revisionist 1916-commemoration banner, celebrating
Henry Grattan, Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell and John Redmond:
The banner is not showing parliamentary nationalists who might be included in a history of 1916 (Redmond might have been joined by John Dillon and Tom Kettle, for instance), but displaying the parliamentarian tradition in Irish political history. The people chosen all worked for change via political means, whether obtaining an independent Irish parliament from 1782-1801 (Grattan), working for Catholic Emancipation (Grattan and O’Connell), land reform (Parnell), or trying to repeal the Act of Union and obtain Home Rule (O’Connell, Parnell, Redmond). All were MPs in Westminster at some point. None openly espoused physical force. None aimed at establishing an independent Irish Republic. Putting the history of parliamentarianism on a banner labelled 1916 suggests that 1916 was in the parliamentarian tradition. That suggestion is very far from the truth.
parliamentarianism  1916  history  revisionism  dcc  dublin  politics 
march 2016 by jm
There’s Something Fishy About The Other Nefertiti
The last possibility and reigning theory is that Ms. Badri and Mr. Nelles elusive hacker partners are literally real hackers who stole a copy of the high resolution scan from the Museum’s servers. A high resolution scan must exist as a high res 3D printed replica is already available for sale online. Museum officials have dismissed the Other Nefertiti model as “of minor quality”, but that’s not what we are seeing in this highly detailed scan. Perhaps the file was obtained from someone involved in printing the reproduction, or it was a scan made of the reproduction? Indeed, the common belief in online 3D Printing community chatter is that the Kinect “story” is a fabrication to hide the fact that the model was actually stolen data from a commercial high quality scan. If the artists were behind a server hack, the legal ramifications for them are much more serious than scanning the object, which has few, if any legal precedents.
art  history  3d-printing  3d  nefertiti  heists  copyright  data  kinect 
march 2016 by jm
Protect me, I am the Donnybrook laundry
Mannix Flynn makes a persuasive case to preserve the last remaining Magdalene Laundry still standing:
Memory is something that fights an eternal battle with the passage of time and forgetfulness.  Time is a great healer for those who can heal and those who are offered healing.  There is no healing here. Time stands still like a festering wound in a well-to-do suburb as somebody attempts to erase a grave and mortal wrong. The McAleese report, the Justice for the Magdalenes, the hundreds of women still alive and their families should know of this place.  Should be present here to witness what can only be witnessed by them.  So that they can understand what’s lost, what cannot be given.  What was taken from them for generations.
magdalenes  injustice  ireland  history  catholic-church  abuse  mannix-flynn 
march 2016 by jm
Lasers reveal 'lost' Roman roads
UK open data success story, via Tony Finch:
This LIDAR data bonanza has proved particularly helpful to archaeologists seeking to map Roman roads that have been ‘lost’, some for thousands of years. Their discoveries are giving clues to a neglected chapter in the history of Roman Britain: the roads built to help Rome’s legions conquer and control northern England.
uk  government  lidar  open-data  data  roman  history  mapping  geodata 
february 2016 by jm
The Nuclear Missile Sites of Los Angeles
Great article by Geoff "bldgblog" Manaugh on the ruins of the Nike air-to-air missile emplacements dotted around California. I had absolutely no idea that these -- the 1958-era Nike-Hercules missiles, at least -- carried 30-kiloton nuclear warheads, intended to be detonated at 50,000 feet *above* the cities they were defending, in order to destroy in-flight bomber formations. Nuclear war was truly bananas.
war  history  la  sf  california  nike-missiles  missiles  nuclear-war  nike-hercules  cold-war  1950s 
february 2016 by jm
Fairytales much older than previously thought, say researchers
Analysis showed Jack and the Beanstalk was rooted in a group of stories classified as The Boy Who Stole Ogre’s Treasure, and could be traced back to when eastern and western Indo-European languages split – more than 5,000 years ago. Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin to be about 4,000 years old. A folk tale called The Smith and the Devil was estimated to date back 6,000 years to the bronze age.

The study employed phylogenetic analysis, which was developed to investigate evolutionary relationships between species, and used a tree of Indo-European languages to trace the descent of shared tales on it, to see how far they could be demonstrated to go back in time. Tehrani said: “We find it pretty remarkable these stories have survived without being written. They have been told since before even English, French and Italian existed. They were probably told in an extinct Indo-European language.”
history  mythology  stories  folk-tales  jack-and-the-beanstalk  rumpelstiltskin  language  phylogenetic 
january 2016 by jm
Tim O'Reilly vs Paul Graham: fight!
'In his essay on Income Inequality, Paul Graham credited me for pre-publication feedback. Because he didn’t do much with my comments, I thought I’d publish them here.'

... 'Mostly, I think you are picking a fight with people who would mostly agree with you, and ignoring the real arguments about what inequality means and why it matters.'
inequality  silicon-valley  tech  paul-graham  tim-oreilly  piketty  politics  economics  wealth  startups  history  work  stock-options 
january 2016 by jm
David Bowie: Father Of The Sleng Teng Riddim
A great theory!
I don’t have contact information for Hiroko Okuda, but I am positive that the track she is referring to [as the source of the Casiotone MT-40 "rock" preset] is “Hang Onto Yourself” by David Bowie.
david-bowie  sleng-teng-riddim  riddims  reggae  casio  presets  samples  history  music  trivia 
january 2016 by jm
The Guinness Brewer Who Revolutionized Statistics
William S. Gosset, discoverer of the Student's T-Test. Amazon should have taken note of this trick:
Upon completing his work on the t-distribution, Gosset was eager to make his work public. It was an important finding, and one he wanted to share with the wider world. The managers of Guinness were not so keen on this. They realized they had an advantage over the competition by using this method, and were not excited about relinquishing that leg up. If Gosset were to publish the paper, other breweries would be on to them. So they came to a compromise. Guinness agreed to allow Gosset to publish the finding, as long as he used a pseudonym. This way, competitors would not be able to realize that someone on Guinness’s payroll was doing such research, and figure out that the company’s scientifically enlightened approach was key to their success.
statistics  william-gosset  history  guinness  brewing  t-test  pseudonyms  dublin 
january 2016 by jm
Why Static Website Generators Are The Next Big Thing
Now _this_ makes me feel old. Alternative title: "why static website generators have been a good idea since WebMake, 15 years ago".

WebMake does pretty well on the checklist of "key features of the modern static website generator", which are:

1. Templating (check);
2. Markdown support (well, EtText, which predated Markdown by several years);
3. Metadata (check); and
4. Javascript asset pipeline (didn't support this one, since complex front-end DHTML JS wasn't really a thing at the turn of the century. But I would have if it had ;).

So I guess I was on the right track!
web  html  history  webmake  static-sites  bake-dont-fry  site-generators  cms 
november 2015 by jm
The Okinawa missiles of October | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
'By Bordne's account, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Air Force crews on Okinawa were ordered to launch 32 missiles, each carrying a large nuclear warhead. Only caution and the common sense and decisive action of the line personnel receiving those orders prevented the launches—and averted the nuclear war that most likely would have ensued.'
okinawa  nukes  launch-codes  pal  cold-war  cuban-missile-crisis  history  accidents  ui  security  horror  via:mattblaze 
october 2015 by jm
Brand New Retro – The Book, November 2015
YESSSS. Joe and Brian have delivered -- going to be giving a lot of copies of this for xmas ;)
brand-new-retro  blogs  friends  retro  history  dublin  ireland  books  toget 
october 2015 by jm
How the banks ignored the lessons of the crash
First of all, banks could be chopped up into units that can safely go bust – meaning they could never blackmail us again. Banks should not have multiple activities going on under one roof with inherent conflicts of interest. Banks should not be allowed to build, sell or own overly complex financial products – clients should be able to comprehend what they buy and investors understand the balance sheet. Finally, the penalty should land on the same head as the bonus, meaning nobody should have more reason to lie awake at night worrying over the risks to the bank’s capital or reputation than the bankers themselves. You might expect all major political parties to have come out by now with their vision of a stable and productive financial sector. But this is not what has happened.
banks  banking  guardian  finance  europe  eu  crash  history 
september 2015 by jm
The Alternative Universe Of Soviet Arcade Games
Unlike machines in the West, every single machine that was produced during Soviet-era Russia had to align with Marxist ideology. [...] The most popular games were created to teach hand-eye coordination, reaction speed, and logical, focused thinking. Not unlike many American games, these games were influenced by military training, crafted to teach and instill patriotism for the state by making the human body better, stronger, and more willful. It also means no high scores, no adrenaline rushes, or self-serving feather-fluffing as you add your hard-earned initials to the list of the best. In Communist Russia, there was no overt competition.
high-scores  communism  russia  cccp  ussr  arcade-games  games  history 
september 2015 by jm
Spot Bid Advisor
analyzes Spot price history to help you determine a bid price that suits your needs.
ec2  aws  spot  spot-instances  history 
september 2015 by jm
Sweary Australian Mountains
This is great. Featuring Mount Buggery:
There were no tracks of any sort until they reached Mt Howitt and Stewart, perhaps not quite as fit as he could have been, was finding the going tough after the descent from Mt Speculation. Faced with the prospect of yet another laborious climb he exploded with the words 'What another bugger! I'll call this mountain Mt Buggery.'


and Mount Arsehole:
"We always called it Mt Arsehole... Then they came along with all their fancy bloody maps and ideas. Changed it to Mt Arthur. Christ knows why. Bastard of a place anyway!"
swearing  australia  mount-buggery  mount-arsehole  nsw  victoria  places  history  names  mountains 
august 2015 by jm
Reddit comments from a nuclear-power expert
Reddit user "Hiddencamper" is a senior nuclear reactor operator in the US, and regularly posts very knowledgeable comments about reactor operations, safety procedures, and other details. It's fascinating (via Maciej)
via:maciej  nuclear-power  nuclear  atomic  power  energy  safety  procedures  operations  history  chernobyl  scram 
august 2015 by jm
How .uk came to be (and why it's not .gb)
WB: By the late 80s the IANA [the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, set up in 1988 to manage global IP address allocations] was trying to get all those countries that were trying to join the internet to use the ISO 3166 standard for country codes. It was used for all sorts of things — you see it on cars, “GB” for the UK. [...]

At that point, we’re faced with a problem that Jon Postel would like to have changed it to .gb to be consistent with the rest of the world. Whereas .uk had already been established, with a few tens of thousands of domain names with .uk on them. I remember chairing one of the JANET net workshops that were held every year, and the Northern Irish were adamant that they were part of the UK — so the consensus was, we’d try and keep .uk, we’d park .gb and not use it.

PK: I didn’t particularly want to change to .gb because I was responsible for Northern Ireland as well. And what’s more, there was a certain question as to whether a research group in the US should be allowed to tell the British what to do. So this argy-bargy continued for a little while and, in the meantime, one of my clients was the Ministry of Defence, and they decided they couldn’t wait this long, and they decided I was going to lose the battle, and so bits of MOD went over to .gb — I didn’t care, as I was running .gb and .uk in any case.
dot-uk  history  internet  dot-gb  britain  uk  northern-ireland  ireland  janet 
july 2015 by jm
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