236
Don't Fall for Babylonian Trigonometry Hype
Evelyn Lamb for SciAm on the recent Plimpton 322 paper: "I’d like to help separate fact from speculation and outright nonsense".
journal  mathematics  history 
6 weeks ago
Plimpton 322 is Babylonian exact sexagesimal trigonometry
Paper by Mansfield & Wildberger on the surprising accuracy of pre-Pythagorean trig tables. I was completely unaware of this.
journal  mathematics  history 
7 weeks ago
Passwords Evolved: Authentication Guidance for the Modern Era
Troy Hunt with a solid summary of where we're at, as users, with passwords.
journal  security 
12 weeks ago
Porting Retro City Rampage to MS-DOS: From PS4 to 1.44MB Floppy
Outstanding talk by Brian Provinciano on the entertaining challenges of this mad endeavour.
journal 
february 2017
Standing up to and getting along with China
If you want a clear take on the South China Sea situation, read this excellent speech by Bilahari Kausikan (Singaporean policy advisor).
china  journal 
may 2016
Seven Little Words (Daily Puzzle)
Work out which 2-3 letter groups can be used to answer each of the 7 clues. Quick coffee break puzzle with a new set of clues every day.
puzzle 
march 2016
Tsumego - Life and Death Problems of Go by Minoru Harada
New problem every Monday, along with the solutions for the previous week. Hosted on the Hitachi corporate website. Gotta love Japan.
puzzle  weiqi 
march 2016
lichess.org Daily Chess Puzzle
New puzzle every day, excellent interface.
puzzle  chess 
march 2016
Isochronic Distance Map
Click to toggle between beautiful global maps of travel time from London for 1914 & 2016. The world really is a lot smaller than it used to be.
journal 
january 2016
How the Great Firewall discovers hidden circumvention servers
Great talk (1h video) by Philipp Winter at 32C3 about DPI developments in China's GFW tech. I saw the effects of this first hand.
journal  video  china 
december 2015
The Life of Satoru Iwata
Norman Caruso's excellent documentary about Satoru Iwata, his life and work at HAL & Nintendo.
journal  documentary  video 
november 2015
What Happens Next Will Amaze You
Maciej Cegłowski's talk in Copenhagen about how the tech industry has sucked at improving our lives, and what we might do better in the future.
journal 
september 2015
The politics of China’s anti-corruption campaign
William Overholt on Xi Jinping's anti-graft drive and the chilling effect it's having on necessary economic reform.
china  journal 
september 2015
Demystifying systemd
50m presentation by Lennart Poettering & Ben Breard from last week's Red Hat conference. Solid overview, wish I'd had this when I started playing with 7 (especially the cgroups/slices).
RHEL  journal  systemd  video  linkedin 
june 2015
A reimplementation of NetBSD using a MicroKernel
1h presentation by Andy Tanenbaum about MINIX 3. In-place entire kernel updates (instead of ksplice patches) are interesting, as is the use of NetBSD.
netbsd  journal  programming 
june 2015
The Red Guard and the Landlady
Alex Ash casually chats with his 66yr old Beijing landlady about her past. "I find it difficult to connect the horrors of the Cultural Revolution as we read about it in textbooks to the people around me."
china  journal 
may 2015
Chinese Foreign Policy Database
History nerds rejoice! The Wilson Centre's Digital Archive has added ~1500 newly declassified documents pertaining to China's foreign policy since 1945.
china  journal 
may 2015
An Atlas in Cloth
A catalogue of cloth samples from Cook's third voyage around the islands of the South Pacific. "…from the headdresses of kings to the underwear of peasants, there is a place for everything"
journal 
may 2015
TMX 1795
The story of how Texas Instruments built arguably the first microprocessor, while Intel dragged its heels.
journal 
may 2015
Hubble (The Song)
What better way to celebrate 25 years of the Hubble Telescope than a parody song? I love this so much.
journal  space 
april 2015
Tokyo thanks Beijing for helping evacuate Japanese tourist from Yemen
Cynicism about their motives aside, it's nice to be able to say "bravo China" for a change.
china  journal 
april 2015
Modern Love in China: Shaking Your Smartphone To Find Your Soul Mate
7 minute NPR radio piece on a heart-warming tale of love in the time of WeChat.
china  journal 
april 2015
Meet the Chinese Maritime Militia Waging a ‘People’s War at Sea’
China Real Time report for the WSJ. The idea of a loosely-networked flotilla of 20,000+ commercial/fishing vessels is genius.
china  journal 
april 2015
Born Red
Evan Osnos for The New Yorker with an excellent & well-researched profile of Xi Jinping.
china  journal 
march 2015
Baidu’s traffic hijacked to DDoS GitHub.com
Good explanation of the recent attack from Insight Labs, with relevant data capturing while it was still in progress. The PLA offensive teams are getting bolder…
china  security  journal 
march 2015
All-seeing, all-knowing
Great piece from James Palmer for Aeon on the Chinese government's use of data mining for good and ill.
china  journal 
february 2015
Implementation and Implications of a Stealth Hard-Drive Backdoor (PDF)
Regarding the previous link, here's a 2013 paper on implementing a HDD firmware backdoor in off-the-shelf drives with a linux server.
infosec  journal 
february 2015
Equation group: questions and answers (PDF)
Thorough introduction from Kaspersky Labs to what's currently known about the Equation group. The HDD firmware attack details are interesting (and terrifying).
journal  infosec 
february 2015
Why Chinese Promote Confining New Mothers for a Month
Rachel Lu's first-hand account of the traditional "Zuo Yuezi" period of post-partum home confinement for new mothers in China. It's an intriguing, if nonsensical, cultural relic.
journal  china 
february 2015
Invincea Threat Research Report on the November Forbes.com attack
Codoso strikes again. Chained 0-day exploits on a major news site, targeting employees of a few specific US defence & financial firms (and, interestingly, political dissident groups).
journal  infosec 
february 2015
Stalking the wily hacker (PDF)
Clifford Stoll's account of the hunt for Markus Hess, a KGB-recruited hacker targeting US military ARPANET & MILNET sites in 1986.
security  journal 
january 2015
Ken Thompson's acceptance speech for the 2011 Japan Prize
How an alligator helped introduce him to the senior staff when he started at Bell Labs in the 1960s.
journal  video 
january 2015
Why the Teixobactin discovery is more important than you may think
Great explanation of how the culture problem was solved. You don't need to be a biology major to follow it, and it's fascinating.
journal  biology 
january 2015
How to tell when a robot has written you a letter
I honestly had no idea handwriting robots were this advanced or were being used in this way.
journal 
january 2015
From Gongkai to Open Source
Fascinating technical account of the process of reverse engineering an open OS for Mediatek's MT6260 SoC (powers many $10 GSM phones). Also a thoughtful essay about differences between Chinese & Western IP systems.
china  journal 
january 2015
Special Report: Fear and retribution in Xi's corruption purge
Good round-up of the current state of the official purge. It's interesting, if unsurprising, to see how openly it's now being used by businesses to attack rivals.
china  journal 
december 2014
Modern security tradecraft for journalists
Quick 20min presentation by Ross Anderson (Cambridge Security Research) for The Logan Symposium. Using TLS'd comments on an old blog post via Tor strikes me as smart plausible deniability.
journal  security 
december 2014
China’s 13 most valuable startups in 2014
Yearly infographic roundup of the big players in China's internet startup scene. Not surprised to see Wandoujia climbing up the ranks.
china  journal 
december 2014
Rural China’s economic model limps on
A Graeme Smith chapter sample from his upcoming book. Fascinating research. Read his earlier paper "Political Machinations in a Rural County" to get an idea of how corruption works in rural China.
china  journal 
december 2014
A Rare Peek Into The Massive Scale of AWS
Nice, well researched article with lots of detail. As the author says: "if you are wondering why your network performance has improved recently on AWS, now you know". The custom networking gear with <2ms latency between regions... wow.
journal 
november 2014
Chomping at the Bitcoin
Good episode of the Sinica podcast (42 mins) all about the past, present & future of Bitcoin in China now that the government has stepped in to regulate it.
journal  china 
october 2014
Mirage OS
One of the most interesting projects I've seen in a while: the "library operating system" idea re-imagined for the Xen hypervisor. The Mirage libs that provide networking etc. in a normal UNIX dev environment are compiled to actual OS drivers within a "unikernel" for deployment.
journal  programming 
september 2014
The Mess We're In
Entertainingly erratic 45min lecture by Joe Armstrong (inventor of Erlang) on where things have gone wrong with computing, the physical limits of computation and why we should name everything with hashes.
journal  programming 
september 2014
Spoils of the ‘Tiger’ Hunt
ChinaFile/Caixin interactive timeline of targets/casualties in Xi Jinping's corruption blitz. Not sure who's who? Read this.
china  journal 
july 2014
Tiananmen: How Wrong We Were
Jonathan Mirsky's remembrance on the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre. Missed this first time around, great piece for ChinaFile.
china  journal 
june 2014
Morris "2 Gun" Cohen
I had no idea that an East End character like this guy was such a close friend of Sun Yat-sen. Fascinating slice of history.
journal  china 
june 2014
Using BGP for realtime spam list distribution
Peter Hessler's talk from BSDCan 2014 on a year in the life of his bgp-spamd project. Interesting project, and some fun spam stats.
journal  bsd  spam 
may 2014
The Internet With A Human Face
I found myself nodding a lot while reading this talk about privacy by Maciej Cegłowski (owner/operator of Pinboard). His "idle words" blog is also worth a read.
journal 
may 2014
China, Cyberspies and the Moral High Ground
NYT Sinosphere Q&A with Adam Segal (Council on Foreign Relations) regarding the PLA corporate cyberespionage indictments, and the wider issue of state-sponsored hacking in China.
china  journal  infosec 
may 2014
A Long Time Ago in a China Far, Far Away...
Ever wondered what Star Wars would look like, drawn as a comic in 1980 in China? Maggie Greene has some PDFs you might like to see.
china  journal 
may 2014
Fishing for Hackers: Analysis of a Linux Server Attack
Great writeup from Gianluca Borello. Interesting that rather than using the more usual honeypot setups he did this with real, "vanilla" machine instances. It's also a powerful sales pitch for sysdig: examining bytes written to disk by a wget process and grepping tcp traffic, all from a trace file after the fact, is neat.
journal 
may 2014
A Passage from Hong Kong
Great NYRB piece in which a Harvard History Professor takes a cabin on a container ship from HK to Southampton and gets to know the crew.
journal 
april 2014
Promotion of young Chinese banker with alleged military links sparks controversy
Li ChunXiao piece for SCMP on the ABC/PLA story. Opaque nepotistic hierarchy breeds suspicion. Not exactly shocking.
china  journal 
april 2014
Visualising China
Exceptional photo archive of China from 1850-1950, nicely presented and cross-referenced.
china  journal 
april 2014
We will make you learn to love Báijiǔ
Derek Sandhaus guests on the Sinica podcast to talk about his book "Báijiǔ: The Essential Guide to Chinese Spirits". Fun episode, although I'm not sure I'm ever going to love the stuff.
journal  china 
march 2014
The Alibaba IPO and what it might mean for Western luxury brands
Elizabeth Paton's take on the Alibaba IPO rumblings - I'm not sure it's all about the luxury brands. The big hitters are already here; a US-floated Alibaba with international partners/subsidiaries seems like more of a win for the middle of the market.
journal  china 
march 2014
The Bloomberg Fallout
"Where Does Journalism in China Go from Here?" ChinaFile collects some thoughts on Ben Richardson's resignation and the recent Bloomberg goings on.
china  journal 
march 2014
Gears of war
Entertaining feature in Ars about the history of mechanical computers used in naval ballistic calculations. Includes old fire control instructional footage.
journal 
march 2014
Chinese Workers at IBM Factory on Strike Amid Company Sale
IBM's sale of its x86 server business to Lenovo isn't going as smoothly as might be hoped. Strikes aren't particularly noteworthy any more, but the last couple of paragraphs are both hilarious and depressing.
journal  china 
march 2014
The Strangers
Sadly, given yesterday's attack in Kunming, James Palmer's excellent piece from last September on Uighur-Han ethnic relations in Xinjiang has become even more relevant reading.
china  journal 
march 2014
Say Goodbye to Taiwan
According to John J. Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago, Taiwan as it exists today is doomed. This piece in National Interest is apparently adapted from a speech he gave in Taipei in December. I'd love to know how that went down.
china  journal 
february 2014
The New TextSecure: Privacy Beyond SMS
Big update. Threema has some serious competition at last - the group messaging implementation and (currently in development) desktop client in particular stand out.
journal  security  cryptography 
february 2014
Messaging: Mobile's Killer App
Ben Thompson's piece on why mobile messaging is important to consumer businesses. I think he's spot on, which is why the Facebook/WhatsApp announcement this morning makes sense. I don't like this trend but it does seem inevitable.
journal 
february 2014
Super Hexagon
Oh dear, how have I only just discovered this game? Edge put it succinctly: "Forget about VVVVVV. This is Terry Cavanagh’s masterpiece."
iOS  Android  games  journal 
february 2014
Bloomberg suspends reporter over China leak
Mike Forsythe has a long history of excellent writing on China, so while this is a shame I suspect he'll have no trouble finding other publishers. The strangest part of the story though is Matthew Winkler apparently "Godwin"-ing himself.
china  journal 
november 2013
Subor NES/SNES clones
This story combines the Nintendo consoles of my youth with Jackie Chan and (what appears to be) an IBM Model M keyboard. Forget Guangdong in the '90s, I want one today!
journal  china 
november 2013
Living in a Surveillance State
20 minute TEDx talk from Mikko Hypponen on NSA/GCHQ surveillance overreach, why people are right to be worried, and what can be done. A well-presented, non-technical summary.
journal  security 
november 2013
Attacking Tor: how the NSA targets users' online anonymity
Bruce Schneier writing in The Guardian about the current state of the NSA's Tor attacks. I've always found Tor interesting, so examining how the NSA attacks it is fascinating to me. Also, they have some great codenames: EgotisticalGiraffe and DireScallop are my favourites.
security  journal 
october 2013
Puzzle Script
Stephen Lavelle's fun combination of engine & DSL for 2D puzzle games. I know what I'll be doing this evening.
journal  linkedin 
october 2013
MetaFilter Popular
Good mix of news & miscellany, well-linked.
spark 
october 2013
Macworld News
Contains full articles which are often link-rich.
spark 
october 2013
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