Links for May 11, 2014

NYC is turning their pay phones into free wifi hotspots. What a great use of existing infrastructure. Article

I'm a huge fan of Threes on iOS. An interesting thing that happened in the wake of it's success is the huge number of clones of the game. The creator of the most successful clone, 2048, talks about the struggle he faced with it. Article

Alton Brown shows us how to use a saber to open a bottle of champagne. Video

I sound like a broken record sometimes explaining to people that correlation is not causation. This wonderful website gives a number of great examples to prove that… Article

Jimmy Fallon is doing some good work on the Tonight Show. Here's a fun bit about science. Video

I'm a bit of a Kevin Spacey fanboy. I'm intrigued by his interpretation of Richard III. Article

It's common to get sponsor information in many of the RSS feeds I subscribe to. This one for Jetpens is worth a read. Article

Here's a great idea out of The Netherlands for improving night time driving conditions. The lines of the road are painted with a glow in the dark paint which absorbs energy during the day. Article

Some more great street art, this time out of Greece. Article

Esquire interviews Roger Christian, the man who built Star Wars. Article

I like the way the dial is offset from the escapement on this watch. Article

I've posted about Kintsugi before. It's a Japanese art where broken pieces of pottery are reassembled using lacquer, and the lacquer seams are covered in gold. Article

Facebook recently bought the makers of the Occulous Rift, a new VR headset in the early stages of development. There are some developer models out in the world, and one of them was used to make a simulator for flying like a bird. Article

Dangerdust has been getting some great attention online over the past few weeks. Here's a video documenting one of their guerrilla chalk drawings. Video

Previous link posts can be found here

Link list for May 4th, 2014

Video footage from London 1924 is superimposed over footage from 2014. Video

An excellent dissection of the arguments put forth supporting the use of torture. Article

Some more good news from the US on patent trolls. The Supreme Court has ruling allows fees to be transferred entirely to one party in the case of a frivolous suit. This is an important tool in dissuading patent trolls from launching hundreds of suits using questionable patents. Article

The fascinating story about the oral history of the IRA, and the legal issues it caused Boston College and the potential ramifications for peace in Ireland. Article

I've been looking into mics for recording work recently. The Wire Cutter has an excellent review of what to buy. Article

Mashable has some excellent coverage of the fighting going on in Ukraine right now. Article

Radiolab recently aired an excellent episode where they dissected the resolution which has given the US President the authority to launch and continue the "War on Terror". Podcast

A great video from Leica showing how they hand finish one of the cameras. This gives a brief idea of what is involved in hand finishing a high end product like what custom jewellers make. (If you can't make it through the video, don't ever take a job making high end pieces of metal work) Video

Well this is embarrassing… Article

Genetic anomalies in butterflies make for some interesting photos. Article

Run An Empire looks like an interesting running game coming later this year. Article

A great video from Japan showing 50 amateur fencers up against three experienced fencers. Video

With a dead whale in the news recently, Tested looks at how to prevent them from exploding. Article

Here's a great looking woodworking conference practically in my backyard. Of particular interest is Chris Schwartz who writes some of the best books on woodworking I've come across. Article

Nice short video showing off a 5 axis mill. Video

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for April 27th, 2014

Intellectual Ventures is perhaps the biggest patent troll out there. Fortunately the judge in their most recent case sent them packing. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Article

The story of the last of the Japanese Mermaids. Article

We live in rural Ontario (even though we're only 50Km from downtown Ottawa), and have to live with miserable infrastructure. Most of the issues are thanks to lack of funding. Article

Great little video of spending an afternoon with your AT-AT. Video

The World Cup is coming. I'm sure there will be plenty of links, but the first is from Nike. Video

How Audemars Piguet makes their watch bracelets. Video

A bit of history about invisible ink. Article

I love the clean look of Nomos' watches. Article

I do a lot of work with moire patterns in my engine turning, and love the effects possible. These animals from moire patterns are quite clever. Article

The Internet in the US took a hit this week with the FCC's change of direction on net neutrality. This ruling highlights one of the major issues with appointing people who have, or will, work for major telcos. Marco Arment has a good write up on the bullshit of the current language being used to support the new direction. Article

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for April 20, 2014

I've had the pleasure of visiting Warwick castle a number of times. A castle has stood on this site since 1068 when William began fortifying the countryside. It was also instrumental in the War of the Roses during the 15th century. A few years ago they built the world's largest trebuchet as an example of what medieval war machines look like. It's still in operation today. Video

I have a great deal of respect for people who are able to make a family business work well, and particularly transition from one generation to another. The Globe takes a look at the pros and cons of working in a family business. Article

Sara Sagan writes about the lessons she learned in mortality and immortality from her father, Carl Sagan. Article

The Atlantic talks about the perception of genre fiction. Article

I'm a big fan of Banksy, and this week he posted two new pieces on his site. (BTW, if you've never seen Exit Through the Gift Shop, make some time this week to watch it). Article

Brad's writes about his 2014 Atlanta Pen Show experience, and comes to the same conclusion I have about what makes these shows great. Article

The article is a bit sparse on details, but the idea of converting sea water to fuel is intriguing. Article

Rachel Sussman's project to photograph the worlds oldest living things before they die. Article

Neil deGrasse Tyson is one of our premier science communicators, and he discusses his latest project, the continuation of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, in this interview. Video

I love woodworking, but I hate the noise and mess of power tools. Chris Schwarz writes excellent books and articles on hand tool only woodworking. This week he published what he considers the minimal tools required in your tool chest. Article

I've been very tempted to build a Ruben's tube for parties, and this week Derek at Veritasium ups the ante with a group of science educators who have made a 2d Ruben's tube. Video

Freedom of speech is the core of a free society. A number of high profile people have said some particularly dumb things lately, and been attacked for it (and in a couple of situations run out of their positions). Some have defended them saying they are just exercising free speech. While freedom of speech is important, it doesn't protect you from the consequences of what you've said. Article

I love these marble vases which are made to be broken and transformed into a new shape. Article

Slovakia has an innovative way to increase the number of businesses paying VAT. Since tax collection is a major issue in a number of countries, we might see this becoming more common. Article

With BBQ season now upon us in the Northern hemisphere, I recommend watching some of the great videos over on the Kamado Joe cooking channel on YouTube. John has some excellent tips and recipes to keep you well fed this summer. Video

The brilliant Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie are reunited. I love these two. They heavily informed my sense of humour while growing up. Once you've finished watching this, go find Jeeves and Wooster, and A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Video

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for April 13, 2014

Halley Docherty takes famous paintings with street views, and superimposes them onto Google street view images. Article

A look at making a Nomos Glashüette watch. Video

CGP Grey asks are Hong Kong and Macau countries? Video

Phones are making significant leaps in image detection. DeepBelief SDK looks to improve that ability by teaching your phone what an object looks like, and then detecting it later. Some interesting possibilities here for store apps, museums, and tourism. Article

Men's only sewing classes are on the rise in London. Article

'Dealt' is a documentary coming next year about magician Richard Turner. He was fortunate, and good enough, to study with Dai Vernon (Vernon is probably the best slight of hand magician to live). His card handling skills are unbelievable. Oh yeah, and he's completely blind. Video

An offensive fiddle, appropriate for rowdy audiences. Article

Some impressive contact juggling with juggling rings. Video

A closed garden sealed in 1972 is still thriving with nothing more than sunlight. I love science. Article

The NSA is claiming they have never exploited Heartbleed to get secure data. They're going to have a difficult time convincing anyone they didn't know about this exploit, and chose to capitalize on it instead of revealing it to the world. You'd think that someone at the NSA would have learned as a child what happens to habitual liers. Article

The whole idea of tipping for service is a bit odd. I'm not really a big fan of it for various reasons (personally I think servers should be paid a fair wage for the work they're doing instead of being paid below minimum wage, and then being forced to make it up in tips). This is the most recent piece I've found on the success of tip less restraurants. Article

I hear a lot of people moaning about poor battery life on their iPhone. Most people blame the latest version of iOS for their battery woes, but in reality it's usually one of their apps misbehaving (I'm looking at you Facebook). If you're having issues with battery life, go through this guide. Article

Some great looking tattoos by Jan Mráz. Article

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence have recently finished a 6300 page report on the CIA torturing prisoners since 9/11. Apparently its findings include that the CIA did in fact torture prisoners, they lied about the scope of the program, and lied about the effectiveness of the torture (spoiler, torture is ineffective for intelligence gathering). Unfortunately the public will never see this report. Only a small portion will be made public, and the CIA get to redact it before it's published. Barry Eisler discusses the issues with the situation in an interview with a German publication. Article

Xkcd perfectly explains Heartbleed. Article

Feynman is one of the best presenters I've seen. A friend relates a few Feynman stories. Video

I've been finding plenty of cool street murals lately. Article

If you are going to invest in bespoke pens and watches, it makes sense to have a bespoke safe to protect them. Article

We've heard plenty of stories about Steve Jobs, but these from Don Melton remind us that he was a normal guy. Article

If you're not familiar with Brad Dowdy's penaddict.com, he collects and reviews a wide range of pens and paper. Every week he posts his link list of reviews for pen and paper around the web in Ink Links. Article

I'm not sure how practical this is, but this prop driven train looks very cool. Video

During a recent chat with friends, the topic of amazing guitar work came up. I've always been impressed with people who can play Bach's Toccata and Fugue in Dm on the guitar. Here's a great example. Video

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for April 6, 2014

For many years, we've heard amazing stories of people surviving for extended periods of time during hypothermic conditions. A new experimental treatment for extreme trauma patients will attempt to use the same principles to save people previously thought lost. Article

Last weekend the UK experienced the barbaric practice of changing the clocks for daylight savings time. Computerphile takes a look at the issues with timezones. Video

It was difficult to make it through this video entitled The Expert. This was my life for 15 years. Video

Last week I shared The Pen Company's blog post on removing ink stains from carpet and hardwood flooring. This week they have a follow up on removing ink stains from leather and silk. Article

Good tutorial on how to make an accurate planet cake. Article

It's sad to see watchmakers retiring with nobody to replace them. Article

If you've ever wondered about how a slapshot differs from a regular shot in hockey, here's and excellent video. Video

If you're reading my blog there's a chance you are keen on pens. If you are, you should be listening to the Pen Addict podcast. Episode 100 came out this week, and is worth a listen. Podcast

It's sad how little reaction there is from the media when a white guy gets arrested for terrorism. Article

Week three with something related to the game Threes. This week it's a computer playing Threes. Video

Matt Schofield will be in Kitchener for their blues festival in August. That makes it a very tempting trip this summer.

I'm the last person to judge if this is accurate, the science behind what women want on the dance floor. Article

These maps showing mobile platform use of twitter are fascinating. Article

I've never been a fan of Rolex watches, but the Cellini collection looks great. Article

I'm always keen to find new ways to make a great burger. The smashed burger looks like it has some potential. Article

I'm impressed these guys can paint lettering on the road by hand. Video

We've recently lost a few of the classic voice over guys for movie trailers. Here is a great look at the history of the movie trailer. Video

The conservators at the Staffordshire Hoard are working on making a few replicas of some pieces from the collection. They are providing a great look at how they are doing it. I wonder if they would be willing to made that 3D model available to those of us studying these pieces… Article

A voice actor demonstrates some of the accents of the UK. Video

Here's a great promo video for a stone setting class in the UK. It gives a great sense of the skill and detail involved in stone setting. Video

Doublespace give us a bit of an architectural tour of Shinzen. Article

Jack is trying to make the rest of us look bad…

What to watch and play

I recently watched the 2013 movie 47 Ronin staring Keanu Reeves. What a horrible mess. For those unfamiliar with the story of the 47 Ronin, it is a true story about a daimyo being murdered, and 47 of his retainers taking revenge. It is a perfect story, and gives a window into Japanese culture (it is said that to understand this story is to understand Japan). Some idiot at the movie studio decided it would be a good idea to turn the movie into a fantasy film and ruin a perfect story. Instead of supporting and rewarding this insulting attack on Japanese culture, here are some alternatives.

The best rendering of the 47 Ronin is a recent comic published by Dark Horse. It is available on the iPad using the Dark Horse app, and looks great. Article

While looking into a few of the Japanese actors in 47 Ronin, I found out about the 2003 film Twilight Samurai. This film is stunning. The look and feel of 19th century Japan is perfect, and the story is beautiful. Find a copy of this film. It may be the best thing you watch this year. Video

Speaking of beautiful and stunning, the guys at Ustwo Games released Monument Valley this week for iPad and iPhone. I don't normally recommend games to non-gamers, but this is one you need to play even if you're not a gamer. It is a short game (it should only take a few hours to finish), but each and every screen could be turned into a gallery print. The game play is also inovative, using optical illusions to alter the game environment. As close to a perfect game as I've ever played. Article

One of my favourite films from the 70's is on iTunes at a great price. The Conversation with Gene Hackman is worth a watch if you've never seen it. Video

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for March 30, 2014

During the 2012 London Olympics, David Burnett shot with a 4x5 large format camera. I wouldn't want to see all sports photography like this, but it gives a wonderfully different feel to the games. Article

Stephen Fry narrates an excellent video on how humanists find happiness in life. Video

Jennifer Raff does an excellent job of linking to credible material debunking the excuses the anti-vaccination crowd use to justify their social crimes. Article

A pitch perfect generic video which could be just about any marketing video put out these days. Video

BaselWorld is on this week, so there will be plenty of watches in the list. We start out with a dead beat second chronograph from Arnold & Son. Article

This is why vaccination is important: India declared polio free. Article

I love the simple elegance of this watch from H. Moser & Co watch. Article

I would love to see beautiful murals like these in Montreal appearing around Ottawa one day. Art doesn't need to be contained within an art gallery or museum. Article

Documentary on the dying neon sign industry in Hong Kong. Article

I don't know if the end goal is to fire this pottery, but the video footage of the patterns is stunning and mesmerising. Video

My favourite architectural photographers, Doublespace Photography, spent some time in Hong Kong and mainland China recently. They've started posting photos from the trip on their blog. Article

Why not add a bit of whimsy to your next reno project with some smiley face screws. Article

I've heard good things about this series of books by Kate Ascher. The latest is The Way to Go book about transportation. Looks like a great series of books to help explain the world to kids. Article

St Petersburg is on my list of must see cities primarily because of the Fabergé work on display. In Focus shows off some of the city's beauty in St Petersburg from Above. Article

I don't travel as much as I used to, but I recognize some great tips on becoming a better traveller from Michael Lopp. Article

Etienne Lavis shows us what the world would look like if outdoor ads were replaced with classic art. I would be so happy if we could make this happen in real life. Article

It takes less than 9 minutes between the time the solid rocket boosters light, and the space shuttle reaches orbit. But of course you don't just jump in a space craft like that a few minutes before launch. How do astronauts spend the hours leading up to launch? Article

I'm a sucker for cushion shaped watches like this Longines Heritage watch. Article

I'd never heard of Strandbeests before this video from Adam Savage. I must dig into them further… Video

More watch porn in the form of a chronometer from L.U. Chopard. Article

This is an interesting watch feature I don't think I've seen before. The Hermès L'heure masquée has a hidden hour hand which presents the proper hour when a button is pressed. I'm not sure how useful it would be in practice, but it leads to a clean dial. Article

Occasionally accidents happen with fountain pens. Some good tips on removing ink stains from carpet and wood. Article

I have no problems with my 12lbs house cats jumping on me and playing, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about a lion doing the same thing. I love the incredible footage we can get using GoPro cameras today. Video

Multi peer connectivity is a new feature in iOS 7 which has been introduced with little fanfare. You would think a feature with this little media attention would be uninteresting, but this one has the power to dramatically change the way we connect to the Internet in areas with little or no exisiting infrastructure. Thanks to this feature, devices can use a nearby device to create a mesh network until it eventually reaches an Internet connection. Article

Unlimited resources are often the bane of creators. A blank page can be death to a writer. An unlimited source of materials can cause a jeweller to be unable to create new work. Often being forced to work within tight constraints leads to innovative ways of creating incredible things (I'm always amazed at what people are able to write in 140 characters on twitter). Article

I linked to one of the sketches for this online class about lettering last week. The course is now available to take. Article

One principle in New Zealand talks about reducing school yard injuries by removing rules. Article

Derek at Veritasium explains the recent discovery of gravitational waves at the start of the universe. Video

And people think cargo pants go overboard…

16 immigrants share the surprising things they learned about America. You'll find many of the usual things we think of (large meal portions, big cars and houses), but there are a number which surprised me. Article

This is hardly new, but Dieter Rams' 10 design principles is always worth linking to. Article

A stunning photo collection of manhole covers in Japan. Article

How google responds to search warrants. Video

As I mentioned last week, I'm addicted to Threes. Here's what went into making it. Article

I remember watching many of the games when Deep Blue bested Kasparov at chess back in the 90's. Now a computer has beat a high ranked human at Go for the first time. This is an incredible achievement considering the level of complexity of Go compared with chess. Article

A great use of iBeacon to automatically take attendance in class. Article

I came across these wonderfull mechanical belt buckles from Roland Iten. Article

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for March 23, 2014

Those of you outside Ottawa will have no idea what the NCC is. The National Capital Commision is supposed to help protect and guide the image of Ottawa as it grows. They've made a number of horrible decisions over the years and have the power to lock up land, regardless of what the municipality wants to do. It has lead to issues with roads not being expanded, and difficulty getting services into new areas of the city. Recently they released a survey asking for input on current plans. As you'll read, it's a bit of a joke. Article

I'm totally addicted to Threes on my iPad. It is a deceptively simple game which is more challenging than it appears. I'm up to a score of 66,000, and I've unlocked the 1536 tile. If you decide to get it, I highly recommend Serenity Caldwell's excellent article discussing strategies for it. Article

My favourite quote of the week: "There is no problem so bad you can't make it worse". Chris Hadfield's recent TED talk entitled "What I learned from going blind in space". Video

The big news in the art world this week was the sale of a Fabergé Imperial Egg which was previously thought lost. The House of Fabergé made a total of 50 eggs for the Russian Imperial family, and seven are still lost. This one was discovered in a flea market years ago, and was originally going to be melted down for its gold content. Fortunately it wasn't, and was recently sold to a private seller. If you have an impressive gold egg lying around the house, please don't melt it down. Drop me a line first ;) Article

Canada has some of the most expensive wireless rates in the world. The carriers say the high cost is due to our low population density (which is difficult to believe since more than 80% of Canadians live in urban areas). They also claim they provide the most competitive rates possible, and there is no need for additional competition from international carriers. It's difficult to believe they are trying to compete with each other when all three carriers raise their prices by the same amount, at the same time. Article

Periodic videos has an amusing video on how to extend the range of car remote. Video

If you've ever been curious about what is involved with picking a prison lock, or how a lock works, check out this video. Video

If you aren't yet listening to the Hello Internet podcast, what exactly are you waiting for? Podcast

Painting pin stripes by hand requires amazing skill. This guy isn't the best I've seen, but his choice of canvas makes it challenging. Video

Andrei Linde is responsible for the inflationary theory of the universe. Chao-Lin Kuo surprises him with the news that his theory has been confirmed by observations. A viral video which is worth going viral. Video

Quill & Pad get to take a look inside Breguet's watch factory.Article

I love what the Brits have been doing with their coins lately (the current set creates a the country's coat of arms when laid out properly). The new Pound coin, which will enter circulation in 2017, looks mighty sexy. Article

More on how we got to the place we're in with the mattress racket I mentioned last week. Article

Most people think 3D printing makes it easy to just print out whatever you want. The reality is very different from the fantasy. Building the 3D model takes time and skill. Tested.com have a good article on some best practices when building models for printing. Article

It looks like helping your kids with their homework is doing them more harm than good. Article

A few beat boxers came onto my radar this week. Kawehi's version of Closer by NiN. Video. KRNFX covers Get Lucky by Daft Punk. Video. Finally Jimmy Fallon and Billy Joel use the same tech to do a doo-wop number on The Tonight Show. Video. (Their version of You May Be Right is pretty damn good as well Video).

This week I've been rewatching Game of Thones in preparation for the fourth season. The story has some serious issues, and Martin isn't as clever as he'd like to think, but the high production value makes it worth a watch. A word of warning, it is violent, and everyone dies (don't get attached to any of the characters).

A more light hearted pick if violent fantasy isn't your cup of tea, QI with Stephen Fry and Alan Davies. It is one of the great panel shows which are popular in the UK, and combines great comedy with intelligent topics. It assumes you enjoy being treated like an intelligent adult, so don't expect Jersey Shore.

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for the week ending March 16th, 2014

I have some serious concerns about Obama's loose understanding of the US constitution with respect to privacy, but he and his team have done a great job showing him as being human. Video

This ad campaign is interesting. All of the models either have, or are working on, their PHd. It has come under attack because the models are still attractive. But perfect is the enemy of good, and this kind of campaign is a good thing. Article

The NSA are using malware to get information as well. What happens when someone figures out how to control their botnet? Article

The physics of curling are a bit odd. I've played a few times, and suck at it. Here is what is happening to the stones, and some theories on why. Video

The course this typographic drawing is for looks interesting. I suck as a calligrapher, but I've always found letter forms fascinating. Article

When the Snowdon leaks revealed the NSA had been monitoring everyone's communications, one of the often sighted defences was they are only collecting meta data. No big deal right? This study looks at how powerful meta data can be on a small scale. On the scale of what the NSA is collecting, it is terrifying. Article

Every month there's a new story about some kind of disease which had been previously contained causing problems. The most recent one is an outbreak of measles in BC. I realise some kids are allergic to the transport liquid used (I think it's usually an egg based allergy that's cause for concern), and those kids may not be able to get vaccinated. But anyone without a legitimate medical reason to bow out of being vaccinated should not be allowed in a school. They present a very real danger, not only to their classmates, but the younger siblings of those classmates who may be too young to be vaccinated. Article

If you're interested in medieval things, here are 50 blogs to check out. Article

I love what Richard Brandson is doing with Virgin Galactic. Commercialisation is the best way to accelerate our exploration of space. The first VG flights should happen by the end of 2014, and within the first year, Brandson will be responsible for putting more people in space than every nation since the beginning of the space race. Article

Rubic's Cube was a staple toy of my childhood. I was only able to solve mine a few times. These guys have made a robot which can solve it in seconds. Article

If you know anyone who has, or thinks they have hearing loss, they should watch Adam Savage talk about his hearing loss and hearing aids. The rate of advancement in hearing aid technology is impressive. I can see a day in the near future when able hearing people choose to have hearing aids implanted to get access to wireless audio. In the mean time, we need to fight the stigma of wearing hearing aids. Video

I had never heard of Reign Wolf before last night. I ended up watching a few videos of him playing. I love what he's doing with the blues. Video

What happens when you sit the four most important independant watch makers down at the same table? Article

I was very fortunate when learning math as a child because my brain easily finds complex patterns. But not everyone figures those patterns out on their own. Here are some thoughts on how we can better teach children to learn complex math at a younger age. Article

If you've been following along with my link list for any length of time, you'll notice I regularly link to Adam Savage's work. Few people are doing more to educate and encourage than Savage. His SXSW keynote discusses art and science, but I think the Q&A afterward up is the best part of the talk. Article

Neil Young has been promoting a new high rate music format for a while, and the project has just hit kickstarter. I have a number of issues with high bit rate music (it doesn't actually sound better than the current standard AAC files common on itunes). There are many arguments by audiophiles on why formats like Pono are improvements on the lossless compressed formats in use. Marco Arment collects some of the best links which disprove these theories. The one place where all music can improve, and would under the Pono system, is the original masters would be better quality. Many of the complaints about modern music can be traced to the masters, not the end format. Article

True Detective finished up last week. I've mentioned it a few times already, and believe it is worth your time to watch. One of the most fascinating things about the eight hour season, it was all written by one person, and directed by another. Normally shows are written and directed by a staff of people. The fact True Detective was written and directed by two people gave it a very smooth and cohesive feel. Often one or two episodes in a season feel off, and don't fit the character of a show. Hopefully this kind of collaboration becomes more common. Article

You've seen the Leidenfrost Effect in action without realising what it's called. The simplest example of the effect is when water is dropped on a very hot skillet, and a layer of steam forms between the water drop and the hot surface. It serves to levitate the drop, and insulate it from the hot metal. On top of being a very cool effect, it can be used to make water move up an incline. Article

Derek over at Veritasium shows us some of the awesome side effects of gyroscopes. Video

This Time interview is mediocre, but we get few chances to hear from Jony Ive. Article

Tesla Motors has been in the news this past week thanks to the state of New Jersey preventing them from selling directly to customers, instead of through a dealer network. Car dealers have an incredible amount of power and influence, as well as impressive legislation backing them up. Planet Money replayed a great podcast looking at the history behind this power. Article

Previous link posts can be found here

Links for March 9, 2014

Canada changed it's clocks this past weekend as part of the torturous process of daylight savings time. CGP Grey has an excellent video explaining the idiotic process, and some excellent reasons why it no longer makes sense. Video

I've read about this story in the past, but stumbled across it again this week. The story is about an Indian man's struggle to bring sanitary napkins to the poor, and remote areas of the world. Article

If you made this up, people would accuse you of guilding the lily. The man who championed the UK government to introduce porn filters to ISPs was arrested for possession of child pornography. Article

When I buy movies and TV shows, I tend to buy them from iTunes. The system is just too convenient not to. One feature I wish was available was a discount when purchasing something previously rented. I regularly see movies listed which I'm unwilling to pay $20+ for sight unseen, however, I don't want to pay $5 to rent it, and then discover I want to buy it. I've done this a number of times, and often end up waiting for them to appear on Netflix instead. Article

Significant objects is an anthropological experiment designed to explore the power of narrative. Simple, common objects were given detailed stories, and then put for sale online. The results are impressive. Article

I'm not particularly fond of Business Insider, but they have a good guide to starting a watch collection. Article

With the recent revelations that the CIA is spying on the Senate Intelligence Commitee which oversees it, perhaps now US lawmakers will do something about the intelligence community. Article

Speaking of the US and human rights violations, the Chinese have grown tired of the US claiming moral superiority in the world while trying to police it. They have released a paper outlining some of America's transgressions. Article

In the current age of world travel, and instant access to information, learning about other cultures has never been easier. Cultures and language change and grow thanks to interactions with the outside world, and attempts to keep culture "pure" lead to stagnation (just look at Quebec). A recent article in Salon attacked white women for "putting on Arab face", and appropriating Arab culture by taking up belly dancing. The Daily Banter has an amusing rebuttal. Article

Last week I posted a series of new paintings by Steven Strang. Here is a late addition.

When a group of artists see their own shadow while drinking on a patio, does that mean spring is coming?

My introduction to comic books was Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Sadly most comics are a disappointment after that. It didn't stop me from collecting for years, but Miller was always a favourite. I was ecstatic when he and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to bring Sin City to the big screen. Miller's visual style and story telling work perfectly as a movie storyboard. The sequel to Sin City is due for release in August. It may be one of the few movies I make an effort to see in a theatre. Video

There have been a few attempts to introduce election reform in different countries recently. The Republicans tried to introduce a voter ID law to prevent low income citizens from easily voting. More recently, the Conservative government here in Canada is trying to railroad through the Fair Elections Act in an attempt to increase their funding, and make it more difficult for citizens unlikely to vote for them. This bill has very few upsides, and needs to be stopped. (As an aside, naming something The Fair Elections Act isn't going to fool anyone. Just like calling yourself the Democratic or People's Republic of somewhere isn't fooling anyone into believing you're not a dictatorship.) Article

Male modeling is one of the few industries where men are paid significantly less than women (the others are porn and prostitution). The Guardian talks with a male model about the business. Article

I have a couple of Pegs in the shop, and use them as stands for my iPhone and iPad. The Federal's scratch and dent sale is a great chance to buy the Peg at a discount. Article

Vellum was the medium of choice for book making for over a thousand years. The process of making it is no longer broadly known. This is a great article discussing the details and giving excellent sources to find out more. Article

Really, who needs freedom of the press anyway? Article

You can probably name a dozen famous male scientists with ease, but are unlikely to be able to name many women scientists. Here are a few you should know more about. Article

This two wheeled car is impressive. Using a pair of gyroscopes, the car can be kept upright, even when hit or pulled. I'd love to see these on the road in the near future. Article

For those of you who are fans of the 90s classic, Hackers, XKCD has a great comic for you. Article

Apple has recently published a white paper on iCloud security details. The paper gives me even more confidence in using iMessage as a secure communications method. Article

I can't eat sushi, but this laser engraved seaweed makes for some striking food. Article

Nuclear energy has been attacked by peace and environmental activists for decades, but the reality is, nuclear energy is our best choice as a sustainable energy source (Pandora's Promise is a good documentary which dispels the myths behind nuclear power). Fusion reactors are the long term dream, but the development process is unnecessarily slow. Article

Love this image from The Canary Islands showing a waterfall of clouds. Article

When you assert, you make an ass out of an emergency response team. Article

Bitcoin has been in the news lately, and is coming onto the radar of non-tech people. The latest episode of The Talk Show with John Gruber discusses Bitcoin and its underlying technology with Glenn Fleishman. The whole episode is 2.5hrs long, but is worth listening to if you want to understand the technology better Podcast

What to watch this week:
I've mentioned HBO's True a Detective already in my link list. The first season ended last night, and if you haven't seen it, the whole season is worth your time and attention. I've also been watching S2 of Line of Duty. It's a Brit police drama, worth a watch. I can also recommend the documentary The City Dark on Netflix. It discusses the issues with light pollution in our modern world.

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