Links for November 3rd, 2013

Links for the week ending on Nov 3rd, 2013

I've seen plenty of greatest invention lists over the years, but this is one of the better ones. Instead of just presenting a list without context, the Atlantic has written to explain who they contacted for opinions, and explained the rationale behind the choices. As with any list I disagree with some of the choices, and am surprised by how good a few others are (I hadn't considered corrective lenses to be as important as they are). There are two missing, and one misplaced items as far as mY top 50 list is concerned. The transistor (which they refer to as semi-conductor electronics) should be number 2 on the list. Every human advancement after the 1940's relies on transistors in some way. The first glaring omission from the list is double entry accounting. Invented in the 15thC by Luca Pocioli, double entry accounting is now relied upon by every corporation and country to provide accurate records of business and the economy. The second omission is the Harrison Marine Chronometer. In the 18thC, John Harrison competed for the Longtitude prize. The goal was to create an accurate time piece to allow ships to accurately navigate using longtitude. Prior to the Harrison Chronometer, ships would have a difficult time accurately navigating when not in sight of land. The result was massive loss of life and cargo in the many ship wrecks which occurred. The use of highly accurate time keeping is still relied upon today for navigation, and is the basis for the Global Postioning System. And just to be a bit of a pedant, Gutenburg didn't invent the printing press in the 15thC (the Chinese did that centuries earlier). He invented the moveable type printing press. The moveable type part is the real key to why the discovery was revolutionary. Article

We've known why a kettle whistles when water boils, but only recently have scientists discovered the how. Article

Perseus with the head of Medusa is one of my favourite sculptures from one of my favourite Rennaissance artists, Benvenuto Cellini. It is currently undergoing a restoration in Florence. Article

I'm a big fan of the work and commentary of Banksy. He spent the month of October in NYC trying to improve the culture in the city. Of course not everyone appreciated his efforts. In Focus put together a photo essay of his project. Article

John Gruber's review of the new iPad Air. I'm going to try the new iPad Mini this time around, but the Air looks very appealing. Apple hasn't made the decision between devices easy this time. Article

Improved keyboard Article

I've been experimenting recently with bread making. I've been using the excellent Tartine bread book as my guide. Of course this has led me wanting a wood fired oven as well. From the Wood Fired Oven looks like a worthwhile read once I get the oven built. Article

One of my eventual goals is to build a watch from scratch. Here is a look at what's required to make a hairspring for a wrist watch. Article

I love the work Amanda and Younes are doing over at Doublespace Photography. Here are some of the photos they took of Kings Cross Station. Article

It seems counterintuitive that hot water freezes faster than cold, but researchers in Singapore may have discovered why this happens. Article

The New Yorker provides an entertaining look at the invention of the calendar. Article

And then Steve said, "let there be an iPhone". Article

An amusing physics joke thanks to my friend Treena. Tweet

The first part of Steph Willem's look at the state of power in Ontario. Article

The best hangers for hanging paintings. Article

The FAA are officially allowing electronics to be used during all stages of a flight.Article

The impressive tale of setting the new Cannonball Run record. Article

My friends at The Federal have launched a new Kickstarter campaign: The Peg.

Your chicken can now safely cross the road thanks to these hi-vis jackets. Article

As many of you know, I'm a fan of abolishing the ridiculous practice of daylight savings time. Here's an excellent alternative. Article

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