Ten Stories We Have Enjoyed This Week

20th Jan 2017

Malcolm Gladwell on ‘Writing The New America’. ‘The last experience with a true American bully – somebody who was this crass and vulgar – was Joe McCarthy. What happens is that for a number of years everyone goes along with it, and by being so coarse and vulgar and by being willing to go places that no one else will go, he has enormous political success in the short-run. And then what happens? People finally get sick of him.

Building a search engine for the parts that Google doesn’t reach. ‘The vast majority of online content isn’t available in a form that’s easily indexed by electronic archiving systems like Google’s. Rather, it requires a user to log in, or it is provided dynamically by a program running when a user visits the page.

@theeconomist adds to a very popular and worthwhile topic doing the rounds at the moment  – ‘Lifelong Learning’ – ‘Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment,

@newscientist has an interesting piece on a possible cause of ageing – ‘old blood may have a powerful effect, damaging organs and contributing to ageing. Now a compound has been developed that seems to protect against this, preventing mice’s brains from ageing…(and) while young blood can be restorative, there is something in old blood that is actively harmful.

Drones delivering packages in cities won’t take off here’s why. ‘There are already too many potential problems to let drones fly with sufficiently loose restrictions in cities to make a delivery business viable. One major issue is drones interfering with aircraft, thanks to surging numbers of near misses. Drones are also increasingly being used to fly drugs and other contraband into prisons.’

From @guardian. ‘As statistics lose their power we should fear what comes next. The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over – and putting democracy in peril’.

FiveThirtyEight’s best and weirdest charts of 2016. Some interesting stuff here, including – ‘what would the US election have looked like if only women had voted?’, ‘on-duty police officer deaths in the US by cause, since 1791’ (notice the spike in the Prohibition years) and ‘the average length of American football field goal attempts, since 2000.’ (clue – they are getting longer).

This video shows how all Pixar films are connected. It all starts with Easter Eggs.

If you are not already familiar with the highly engaging work of Nerdwriter on YouTube and you are a fan of Sherlock, this is most definitely worth a look – Sherlock : How to film thought.

Young Thug didn’t show up for his music video shoot. They shot it anyway (for $100,000) and the result is a beautiful and highly entertaining disaster (content warning –  this is a rap video, so I’m sure you’ll know what to expect…).