Hello, it’s Victor. Hoping your April vibes have been good, and may the sun remain where you are. Here’s some good things I wanted to share with you this month:
Wikipedia is the best website
- Devil Eyes was the codename of a failed CIA project for the development and distribution of a lifelike action figure looking like Osama bin Laden, with a face that would turn demonic when heated. The goal of the program was to “scare children and their parents, in an effort to turn public opinion against Al-Qaeda”.
- As of 2017, there were 373 women in the United States called Abcde (pronounced ab-sah-dee).
- Chaos engineering is a reliability technique developed at Netflix, where “monkeys” periodically shut down random production servers, in order to force engineers to prepare for unexpected downtime, test how remaining systems respond to the outage, and automate recovery without anyone noticing.
- During the hyperinflation in the 1920s, a new disorder called zero stroke started affecting some German people — primarily cashiers, bookkeepers, and bankers. Exhausted by having to constantly run calculations running in the billions and trillions for mundane transactions, the patients wanted to “write endless rows of zeros”; some people reportedly “became confused when referring to numbers and would state that they were ten billion years old or had forty trillion children”.
- John Harvey Kellogg, the creator of the infamous corn flakes, was also a Seventh-day Adventist with interesting views on sexuality, and an ardent campaigner against masturbation. His research around food and diet was heavily influenced by the idea that a plain and healthy meal, twice a day, would help prevent sexual arousal: and thus was born the breakfast staple.
- He is, notably, also credited for inventing peanut butter, and one of the first meat substitutes (that he called “Nuttose”).
- Speaking of which, guess what the Nut Rage Incident, aka “nutgate”, is about. (Hint: it led to a 12 month prison sentence).
- Museum fatigue is a well-studied state of tiredness caused by visiting museums or exhibitions.
- Lockdown and the Suez canal blockage have both been blamed for a garden gnome shortage in the UK; some garden centres have not seen any for six months.
- After 15 years of glorious services to the Internet, Yahoo! Answers will suffer the same fate as almost all Yahoo! products and permanently disappear on June 30th. I, too, want to go back and live on AuntKatie’s Internet.
- A fascinating history of things that beep: sound design in everyday products.
- Can you tell if someone is lying? No, but we’re still trying to convince more cops about that.
- In the Middle Ages, one of the most popular fruits was the “open-arse”, today called the medlar (nèfle for my French followers). It’s interesting not only for its name, but also because its fruits grow in winter, and are only edible when rotten.
- You’re doing your shoelaces wrong.
Everything is depressing
Good to look at
- A fascinating, deep thesis about computers and creativity, looking at how can we make computers better “bicycles of the mind” by reconfiguring how we approach tech.
- The repressive politics of Emotional Intelligence.
- How Doctors Die: often at home, having prepared ahead for it, preferring a shorter end of life to one that’s low quality, avoiding “futile care”. This article changed my perspective on a few things; it’s a bit too US-centric at times when it comes to costs, but many aspects are universal and I really appreciate the feeling of serenity coming with this outlook, and knowing the truth about spending months in intensive care.
- It resonated with me after seeing the reactions to Spain’s adoption of euthanasia laws last month. It’s certainly an emotional topic, but I think you need a sheltered life or a lack of empathy to be against the idea.
- Is walking enough to become fit? (tl;dr: yes but it depends what you call fit.)
- Webamp is a modern in-browser recreation of Winamp (skins included).
In my ears
Work! Design! Tech!
And that’s all for this month. Hope this was interesting, feel free to reply or forward this letter if you enjoyed it!