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Any articles that I have linked to, and commented on.

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5th November 2019
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Thomas A. Fine, writing at Sentence Spacing:

So I was on twitter last month when Marcin Wichary asked “Any ideas on what this key/glyph was for in the early Sholes Glidden typewriter?”

This image is from a U.S. patent, applied for before the typewriter went to market, but it was definitely there on the first models.

It’s a fascinating piece of research, and I didn’t want to spoil it here. So I’d recommend reading the full piece, to see what the mysterious ⫶ character was used for.

5th November 2019
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Matt Birchler, writing at BirchTree:

I don’t know how to blame here, Twitter or Apple, but the Twitter app for Mac is really rough in its current form. Text editing specifically is really hard to justify and is not what I would expect from any app on the Mac.

I’ve been using the official Twitter app for macOS ever since it was available, and I’ve found it to be pretty reasonable. But just like Matt shows in this video, it still doesn’t feel completely at home on the Mac.

Hopefully improvements can be made to make it fit in with the macOS ecosystem. But I’m worried that this relies on changes to Catalyst, and potentially iOS, because this is essentially the iOS Twitter app. So I won’t be holding my breath. Maybe I’ll have to switch back to Tweetbot.

4th November 2019
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Alan Macleod, writing for Fair.org:

While not labeling its own wealthy and powerful elites as “oligarchs,” US corporate media do, as noted, occasionally acknowledge that the United States itself is an oligarchy. But even those admissions are few and far between, appearing for the most part only in articles devoted to arguing exactly that point. Otherwise, the US is overwhelmingly presented as a democracy and a force for good in reporting.

And when a politician like Bernie Sanders suggests that these oligarchs influence the media, senior editors react angrily, claiming he is “ridiculous” and a “conspiracy theorist.” What a strange country the US is—an oligarchy without any oligarchs.

3rd November 2019
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Brent Simmons:

You choose the web you want. But you have to do the work.

A lot of people are doing the work. You could keep telling them, discouragingly, that what they’re doing is dead. Or you could join in the fun.

I agree, all you have to do is join in.

23rd October 2019
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Laura Staugaitis at Colossal:

The photographer tells Colossal that his work centers around the topic of the Anthropocene (the era of human influence on Earth’s biological, geological, and atmospheric processes). “In my photography, I explore the origin and scale of that idea in an effort to understand the dimensions of man’s intervention in natural spaces and to direct attention toward how humans can take responsibility.” Hegen explains that aerial photography in particular helps convey the Anthropocene because it shows the dimensions and scale of human impact more effectively.

It’s fascinating subject to focus on, and the photography is stunning.

Tom Hegen also created a short video containing some aerial shorts of the greenhouses.

I will be definitely following him on Instagram, and keeping an eye on his work.

19th October 2019
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David Thompson:

I like Git commit messages. Used well, I think they’re one of the most powerful tools available to document a codebase over its lifetime. I’d like to illustrate that by showing you my favourite ever Git commit.

This commit is from my time at the Government Digital Service, working on GOV.UK. It’s from a developer by the name of Dan Carley, and it has the rather unassuming name of “Convert template to US-ASCII to fix error”.

This is a rather funny bug fix, but at the same time there’s a lot of good points you can take from the level of detail that was put in.

17th October 2019
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BBC News:

A flaw that means any fingerprint can unlock a Galaxy S10 phone has been acknowledged by Samsung.

It promised a software patch that would fix the problem.

The issue was spotted by a British woman whose husband was able to unlock her phone with his thumbprint just by adding a cheap screen protector.

When the S10 was launched, in March, Samsung described the fingerprint authentication system as “revolutionary”.

All I can do is laugh.

30th September 2019
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Cody Delistraty, writing for The Paris Review, about the capabilities of plants:

A few years ago, Monica Gagliano, an associate professor in evolutionary ecology at the University of Western Australia, began dropping potted Mimosa pudicas. She used a sliding steel rail that guided them to six inches above a cushioned surface, then let them fall. The plant, which is leafy and green with pink-purple flower heads, is commonly known as a “shameplant” or a “touch-me-not” because its leaves fold inward when it’s disturbed. In theory, it would defend itself against any attack, indiscriminately perceiving any touch or drop as an offense and closing itself up.

The first time Gagliano dropped the plants—fifty-six of them—from the measured height, they responded as expected. But after several more drops, fewer of them closed. She dropped each of them sixty times, in five-second intervals. Eventually, all of them stopped closing. She continued like this for twenty-eight days, but none of them ever closed up again. It was only when she bothered them differently—such as by grabbing them—that they reverted to their usual defense mechanism.

It’s a fascinating read, and it’s not just a clickbait headline with minimal information. Rather he mentions research that has been done regarding how trees can share nutrients and information via fungal networks, how they react to damage and animals attempting to eat parts of them.

I’ve read about the ways that trees can communicate between each other, to notify others of possible intruders, and how a forest can provide the nutrients to an unhealthy tree to sustain it, in the book “The Hidden Life of Trees” by Peter Wohlleben. But, the idea that a plant could learn, or even just have a form of memory, would certainly alter the way we think about plants in general.

Possibly my favourite part of this article would be:

Even the slightest possibility of a proven plant intelligence would have massive scientific and existential implications. If plants can “learn” and “remember,” as Gagliano believes, then humans may have been misunderstanding plants, and ourselves, for all of history. The common understanding of “intelligence” would have to be reimagined; and we’d have missed an entire universe of thought happening all around us.

18th September 2019
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Austin Mann:

I’m here as I continue on-going work photographing The Bach Project w/ Yo-Yo Ma, a world tour where Yo-Yo is performing Bach in unconventional places around the globe. It’s been a privilege to photograph this amazing journey, and when I considered how to test the iPhone 11 Pro’s new capabilities, I thought a shoot on this project could be a great fit as many of these shoots have been in extremely low light!

Of course, I’ve also been anxious to see what this Ultra Wide lens can do, so shortly after the performance I popped out to the countryside to find some epic landscapes and have been out exploring this big, beautiful country ever since.

The iPhone 11 Pro announcement was really about one thing: camera. (ICYMI, see this video pretty much summing it up.)

The big camera features I was most interested in testing were obviously the Ultra Wide (13 mm) lens, the new Night mode, Capture Outside the Frame, and things like iOS 13 photo management, editing tools, etc.

Austin Mann’s iPhone reviews are one of the few reviews that I read every year. As the main improvements to iPhone over the recent years being the camera, I can’t think of anyone else to better it all.

And as always, it’s packed full of great photography. It’s a must read.