jm + history   190

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 
10 days ago 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 
12 days ago 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 
23 days ago by jm
Apple ][ copy protections
Amazing how similar the Commodore 64 techniques were!
commodore-64  apple-ii  history  copy-protection  assembly 
4 weeks ago 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 
5 weeks ago 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 
5 weeks ago 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 
6 weeks ago 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 
6 weeks ago 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 
10 weeks ago 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 
11 weeks ago 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
The Titanium Gambit | History | Air & Space Magazine
Amazing story of 1960s detente via Maciej: 'During the Cold War, Boeing execs got a strange call from the State Department: Would you guys mind trading secrets with the Russians?'
via:maciej  titanium  history  cold-war  detente  ussr  usa  boeing  russia  aerospace 
july 2015 by jm
The old suburban office park is the new American ghost town - The Washington Post
Most analyses of the market indicate that office parks simply aren’t as appealing or profitable as they were in the 20th century and that Americans just aren’t as keen to cloister themselves in workspaces that are reachable only by car.
cbd  cities  work  life  office-parks  commuting  america  history  workplaces 
july 2015 by jm
Eircode - The Alternatives
lest we forget -- this is a 2014-era writeup of OpenPostcode (open), Loc8 and GoCode (proprietary) as alternative options to the Eircode system
eircode  openpostcode  loc8  gocode  ireland  geocoding  mapping  location  history  open-data 
july 2015 by jm
Git team workflows: merge or rebase?
Well-written description of the pros and cons. I'm a rebaser, fwiw.

(via Darrell)
via:darrell  git  merging  rebasing  history  git-log  coding  workflow  dev  teams  collaboration  github 
june 2015 by jm
Why I dislike systemd
Good post, and hard to disagree.
One of the "features" of systemd is that it allows you to boot a system without needing a shell at all. This seems like such a senseless manoeuvre that I can't help but think of it as a knee-jerk reaction to the perception of Too Much Shell in sysv init scripts.
In exactly which universe is it reasonable to assume that you have a running D-Bus service (or kdbus) and a filesystem containing unit files, all the binaries they refer to, all the libraries they link against, and all the configuration files any of them reference, but that you lack that most ubiquitous of UNIX binaries, /bin/sh?
history  linux  unix  systemd  bsd  system-v  init  ops  dbus 
june 2015 by jm
Google Photos - Can I get out?
what's the export policy for Google's new Photos service? pretty good, it turns out
google  export  data  google-photos  photos  archive  history  storage 
june 2015 by jm
ISIS vs. 3D Printing | Motherboard
Morehshin Allahyari, an Iranian born artist, educator, and activist [....] is working on digitally fabricating [the] sculptures [ISIS destroyed] for a series called “Material Speculation” as part of a residency in Autodesk's Pier 9 program. The first in the series is “Material Speculation: ISIS,” which, through intense research, is modeling and reproducing statues destroyed by ISIS in 2015. Allahyari isn't just interested in replicating lost objects but making it possible for anyone to do the same: Embedded within each semi-translucent copy is a flash drive with Allahyari’s research about the artifacts, and an online version is coming.

In this way, “Material Speculation: ISIS,” is not purely a metaphorical affront to ISIS, but a practical one as well. Allahyari’s work is similar to conservation efforts, including web-based Project Mosul, a small team and group of volunteers that are three-dimensionally modeling ISIS-destroyed artifacts based on crowd-sourced photographs.

"Thinking about 3D printers as poetic and practical tools for digital and physical archiving and documenting has been a concept that I've been interested in for the last three years,” Allahyari says. Once she began exploring the works, she discovered a thorough lack of documentation. Her research snowballed. “It became extremely important for me to think about ways to gather this information and save them for both current and future civilizations.”
3d-printing  fabrication  scanning  isis  niniveh  iraq  morehshin-allahyari  history  preservation  archives  archival 
may 2015 by jm
A Piece of Apple II History Cracks Open — May 24, 2015
Lovely description of cracking (ie. copy-protection removal) in the Apple-II era. Very reminiscent of the equivalent in the C=64 scene, from my experience. ;)
history  c=64  apple-ii  personal-computers  archive  cracks  copy-protection  hacking 
may 2015 by jm
Internet of 404's
"An archive of the former Internet of Things"
archive  iot  things  internet  nabaztag  startups  acquisitions  tumblr  gadgets  history 
may 2015 by jm
David P. Reed on the history of UDP
'UDP was actually “designed” in 30 minutes on a blackboard when we decided pull the original TCP protocol apart into TCP and IP, and created UDP on top of IP as an alternative for multiplexing and demultiplexing IP datagrams inside a host among the various host processes or tasks. But it was a placeholder that enabled all the non-virtual-circuit protocols since then to be invented, including encapsulation, RTP, DNS, …, without having to negotiate for permission either to define a new protocol or to extend TCP by adding “features”.'
udp  ip  tcp  networking  internet  dpr  history  protocols 
april 2015 by jm
Exclusive: Chopra says ECB's threats to Ireland were 'outrageous' - Independent.ie
The letters urged the then-government to commit to structural reforms and restructuring of the financial sector.
"That is not their job," Mr Chopra said. "Their mandate is to meet inflation. And if you lecture the ECB as to how they might go about that, they talk about their independence.
"But when it comes to lecturing others about fiscal policy or structural policy, they're not at all hesitant. I'm not surprised that the people in Ireland were very upset about these letters from [Jean-Claude] Trichet."
trichet  banking  ireland  politics  ajai-chopra  ecb  history 
april 2015 by jm
Meet the man whose utopian vision for the Internet conquered, and then warped, Silicon Valley - The Washington Post
Thought-provoking article looking back to John Perry Barlow's "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace", published in 1996:
Barlow once wrote that “trusting the government with your privacy is like having a Peeping Tom install your window blinds.” But the Barlovian focus on government overreach leaves its author and other libertarians blind to the same encroachments on our autonomy from the private sector. The bold and romantic techno-utopian ideals of “A Declaration” no longer need to be fought for, because they’re already gone.
john-perry-barlow  1990s  history  cyberspace  internet  surveillance  privacy  data-protection  libertarianism  utopian  manifestos 
march 2015 by jm
Stu Hood and Brian Degenhardt, Scala at Twitter, SF Scala @Twitter 20150217
'Stu Hood and Brian Degenhardt talk about the history of Scala at Twitter, from inception until today, covering 2.10 migration, the original Alex Payne’s presentation from way back, pants, and more. The first five years of Scala at Twitter and the years ahead!'

Very positive indeed on the monorepo concept.
monorepo  talks  scala  sfscala  stu-hood  twitter  pants  history  repos  build  projects  compilation  gradle  maven  sbt 
march 2015 by jm
Explanation of the Jump Consistent Hash algorithm
I blogged about the amazing stateless Jump Consistent Hash algorithm last year, but this is a good walkthrough of how it works.

Apparently one author, Eric Veach, is legendary -- https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9209891 : "Eric Veach is huge in the computer graphics world for laying a ton of the foundations of modern physically based rendering in his PhD thesis [1]. He then went on to work for Pixar and did a ton of work on Renderman (for which he recently got an Academy Award), and then in the early 2000ish left Pixar to go work for Google, where he was the lead on developing AdWords [2]. In short, he's had quite a career, and seeing a new paper from him is always interesting."
eric-veach  consistent-hashing  algorithms  google  adwords  renderman  pixar  history  coding  c  c++ 
march 2015 by jm
Amazing cutting from Vanity Fair, 1896, for International Women's Day
"The sisters make a pretty picture on the platform ; but it is not women of their type who need to assert themselves over Man. However, it amuses them--and others ; and I doubt if the tyrant has much to fear from their little arrows."

Constance Markievicz was one of those sisters, and the other was Eva Gore-Booth.
markievicz  history  ireland  sligo  vanity-fair  19th-century  dismissal  sexism  iwd  women 
march 2015 by jm
Halcyon Days
Fantastic 1997-era book of interviews with the programmers behind some of the greatest games in retrogaming history:
Halcyon Days: Interviews with Classic Computer and Video Game Programmers was released as a commercial product in March 1997. At the time it was one of the first retrogaming projects to focus on lost history rather than game collecting, and certainly the first entirely devoted to the game authors themselves. Now a good number of the interviewees have their own web sites, but none of them did when I started contacting them in 1995. [...] If you have any of the giddy anticipation that I did whenever I picked up a magazine containing an interview with Mark Turmell or Dan [M.U.L.E.] Bunten, then you want to start reading.
book  games  history  coding  interviews  via:walter 
march 2015 by jm
Cowen went golfing and officials dithered as country burned in 2008 - Independent.ie
Lest we forget, the sheer bullshitting ineptitude of Fianna Fail as they managed to shamble into destroying Ireland's economy in 2008:
Once that nasty bit of business was done, the Cabinet departed en masse for six weeks on their summer holidays, despite the emerging economic and financial tsunami. Cowen and family famously took up residence in a caravan park in Connemara as opposed to his 'official' residence at the Mannin Bay Hotel nearby.
When pressed by our reporter Niamh Horan as to why he was not at his station, he defensively replied: "I don't understand it. First the media have a go at me because I'm taking a holiday with my family and then they come down to see if I'm having a good time!" he exclaimed.
2008  meltdown  ireland  brian-cowen  connemara  politics  history  fianna-fail 
february 2015 by jm
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