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2013 (Fathom this!)


For and against HS2

I stumbled across some enthralling speeches for and against HS2, recorded at a debate organised by The Spectator. Here’s Rory Sutherland against HS2 and Matthew Parris’s counterargument, for HS2. Both are somehow riveting, each in different ways.


  • Trie. Ordered tree data structure using characters as keys in the tree. Obviously pronounced "tree".
  • Devops Horror Stories. Campfire-side tales of devops nightmares.
  • Is bitcoin broken? A nicely measured response to a not-yet-peer-reviewed paper on a potential flaw in bitcoin mining.

Discovering something profound — almost

“An organization’s structure is reflected in its products,” I mused out loud to a colleague.

“Yes, Conway’s law,” he said.

The way I reflected on the shape of the thought is telling, indicating that I’ve heard it before. It is an odd sensation, however, formulating something without the sense of remembering it.


Jefferson’s scriptures by subtraction

How Thomas Jefferson created his own Bible. Jefferson cut and pasted lines of the New Testament onto blank paper, glueing “down lines from each of the Gospels in four columns, Greek and Latin on one side of the pages, and French and English on the other.”

Much of the material Jefferson elected to not include related miraculous events, such as the feeding of the multitudes with only two fish and five loaves of barley bread; he eschewed anything that he perceived as “contrary to reason.”


  • What3words. Find and share very precise locations via Google Maps with just 3 words. Very clever idea, rife with funny combinations: fool.slurs.slows, letter.risky.scare, firm.wigs.breed.

  • Extreme Boating. XKCD explores what it'd be like to boat in liquids such as mercury and helium.

  • New phylum of bacteria found lurking in hospital sink’s drain.
  • When serving fonts from a CDN, you need to set the CORS settings for Firefox and IE. A .htaccess rule or S3 bucket setting works.
  • Pacific Standard: Why Hipsters Hate On Lana Del Rey. Interesting article exploring why music communities fight to define authenticity in pop.
    In the early years, [hip hop] music was produced mainly by independent record labels, and the lyrics focused on whatever mattered to the kids writing the songs, like partying, romance, or competition between dueling bands in the scene. In 1988, however, soon after the major record labels took over the rap market, lyrics took a dramatic turn toward boasts of street credibility voiced by an array of “hustler” protagonists. Just when the industry passed fully into corporate hands, its lyrical currency shifted to favor competitive claims of gritty authenticity.

Geeks Telling Jokes

Geeks Telling Jokes.


  • NoSQL databases compared. Kristof Kovacs matches up Cassandra vs MongoDB vs CouchDB vs Redis vs Riak vs HBase vs Couchbase vs Hypertable vs ElasticSearch vs Accumulo vs VoltDB vs Scalaris.

  • LOLCAT Teh Exhibishun is a group art show purporting to explore the world of lolcats. There appears to be nary an actual lolcat in sight, and I’d argue that the pieces on show are fairly far removed from the participatory and derivative culture of lolcats, but there are some convergent and clever commonalities as well. BBC covered the opening of the exhibition. As an added bonus: Dare designer extraordinaire James Warfield has a piece in the collection! The exhibitions run until February 15, 2013.

  • For Menneskeheten. A Norwegian short film about not getting laid after the zombie apocalypse.

  • Actual Facebook Graph Searches. "Mothers of Jews who like bacon" and "Single women who live nearby and who are interested in men and like Getting Drunk". A funny and provoking look at Facebook's Graph Search.

  • Aaron Swartz, Coder and Activist, Dead at 26. When I first heard about this last week, my immediate impulse was to share this tragic news with the first person I could grab. But in our house, no one else knew who Aaron was. While I didn’t know Aaron personally, he is someone who I’ve known of for years, who’s blog I’ve read, who’s products I’ve used, someone who’s passion I’ve admired. Aaron’s passing is, indeed, a sad moment for the Web.
  • Wired: Why Spree Killers Kill Themselves.

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caught together