Served Cold

Hello internet friends,

I am still not sure how to react to the news that some asshole nerd – who is most famous for telling people not to go to college – used his dot-com-money to hire Hulk Hogan to punch someone who wronged him ten years ago in the face.
Obviously that’s not exactly what happened, but, wow.

Guess who said it?

Weapons are always used for a wider purpose such as saving the world, and are part of a child’s development.

Hm? Hm? You probably guessed wrong.

When we move around ~the internet~ we have cookies dropped on us, because advertising. (Yes, sorry.)
Advertising companies try to use the data collected with these cookies to understand who we are. Given that the company who probably knows me better than any other – Amazon – is still trying to get me to buy a second TV after I bought my first one, I am not so sure how smartly they actually use their data. But of course the whole thing might be slightly weird because they can never know the real us – besides, who can? – but only a ghost of us.

“You took away the fire roads” – map making is serious business and not everybody just uses turn by turn directions.

I have never even heard of the Luwians but then I’m not really a bronze age scholar. Other people are and they decided that the Luwians are a thing.

So, I watched the new Top Gear and oh boy, do I have opinions. So does everybody else.
idk, I’ll give it a bit more time. It is also quite amusing to pretend that Matt LeBlanc, who already was the best part of that first show, is the Matt LeBlanc character from Episodes. Which is a TV series you might want to watch – it is really funny and you have probably not heard of it, yet.



Hello internet friends,

if today’s email seems to be even more disjointed than usual it might be because last night I discovered the joys of crack cocaine.
Well, let’s have a coffee and get going.

So, how’s that thing with the self-driving cars going to happen? Why don’t we just ask someone who knows what she’s talking about and look at Johana Bhuiyan’s complete timeline to self-driving cars?
One data point from China: Baidu is actively testing their self-driving cars in the city of Wuhu. And no, I also haven’t heard of Wuhu before, it seems to be pretty small by Chinese standards, only 3.5 million people live there.

Meanwhile the plans to railgun people around are progressing, which might even be fun once we figured out how to stop people from throwing up all the time.
And while that’s all fun and obviously the future, maybe someone should tell these people about the Aérotrain and the Transrapid – two other rail-like transportation systems that are objectively very cool and obviously the future but never quite managed to be put into service. (Well, yes, except as airport train in Shanghai, which is all well and good but not the future I was promised.)

We might think that it is pretty weird that Kalashnikov wants to start making menswear but then I am sure that other arms manufacturers do these things already. (Don’t let me down on this one, ’murica. Of course you don’t.)

I haven’t even properly looked at Windows 10, yet – still, it is pretty interesting that Microsoft will finally, after all these years, have a common operating system for all their different platforms.

Well, that was a nerdy one. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Magical Trousers

Hello internet friends!

Sometimes I have suspicions that maybe – just maybe! – you are not my really my friends and just use me for my superior internet content curation skills.
Ahh, nah. I am sure I’m just paranoid.

Heard about that kid that managed to find a lost Mayan city by matching up a star map with the known Mayan cities? Yeah, turns out he didn’t.

A topic that we can’t just escape from seems to be – emoji! Last week we learned about the damage they do to scholars of medieval punctiation. (These links were just for a refresher. You don’t need to click them if you read the article last week, duh.)
Now this week we actually learn something interesting! Straight from the blog of an engineer who worked on Chrome an explanation how emoji work.
And if you think “a software engineer talking about the intricacies of unicode rendering is probably dry as hell” you are so, so wrong. Read it – she’s funny and writes well. You’ll be entertained while reading it and be a lot smarter afterwards.

North Korea content!
Now some of us might think it’s a good idea to travel to North Korea. If you are one of those people you probably booked your trip through Koryo Tours. A fascinating, if someone limited look (sounds familiar?) behind the scenes of that agency.
Once you’re back from that trip you might then be able to score big on this internet quiz: North Korean Slogan or TED Talk Sound Bite?

Exoskeleton news!
I am very excited about the news that scientists are working on something that the author of this article calls magical pair of trousers.

As you probably know I am a big fan of Jurassic Park (Don’t mention the sequels. Any of them.) so this story wasn’t new to me but it might be new to you and it is super fascinating: When they started to make the movie, stop motion animation was still the way to do these monster effects – but while they were working on it, computer effects started to look realistic enough to be put into a movie. (Seriously. Watch it again – except for a few weird scenes, the effects hold up.)
So what did they do? They didn’t just want to fire their highly trained animators, instead they built them a rig that allowed them to animate computer generated dinosaurs. Brilliant.

And since it’s public holiday over here, there are a few bonus links for you:


Uber, but for tangents

Hello internet friends,

it’s 8am on a Monday morning and I could already do with a nap.
But maybe that’s because I only had about five hours of sleep instead of whopping eight months?

It appears the study’s methodology has been accused of being not statistically sound. Furthermore, data and findings appear to have been extrapolated in order to support the authors’ original hypothesis.

So what, who needs the scientific method and boring stuff like facts? First Class Passengers Are Ruining Air Travel is still a fun narrative. Read it, shrug, then read this one.

But then, you know

The purpose can never be to enable everyone to travel because that would create imbalance.

Good god.

Probably a bit more scientific – and who am I to judge? I hope it is, wouldn’t want to have instapapered two articles that support my world view and then turn out to be wrong. But then the article I’m about to link to is from a publication with the tagline “Academic rigour,” so… I guess? Anyway, tangent. Sorry. Let’s start again!
Scientists say: People don’t get brain cancer from cellphones.

We talk a lot about emoji here at Irregularity – and do you notice how I also tend to jump around between first person singular and the editorial we and give a running commentary on my own writing? Sure signs of a quality publication. Anyway.
We have seen how the Unicode Editorial Committee works – and now we get a little insight into how much this committee is torn apart by what they themselves call Emojigeddon.

As someone who consumes a lot of podcasts – and sometimes even makes some, but that’s a whole different topic – I am quite interested in what is happening in that space. One of my favourite podcasts just announced they’d move exclusively to Spotify (fuck that, ugh) and now a bunch of ~leading podcast professionals~ are sitting around at Apple, complaining that they can’t get rich quick.
Okay, I know – a bit too harsh – a better summary (and shockingly again: an article that supports my world view!) is here: A Podcasting Divergence

But if you think podcasters have a problem, imagine being the “Uber, but for flowers” in a world, where people who grow flowers suddenly realize there are better ways to make money from growing plants.
Or – buried deep down here, even though it is probably the best article I link to today – imagine you’re in your early twenties and someone tells you your parents are Russian spies.


Ugh. But true.

Hello internet friends,

did you manage to read all the articles I linked to last week? Hm?
If you didn’t, you might want to instapaper them and take them on that trip to Cuba that you want to take before it’s ruined.

If you read this chances are that you have given me your email address at some point for exactly that reason: that I can send you these letters. But what happens if someone asks for your email address just because he wants it?

I wanted to link to this article for the pretty funny last paragraph, but then I realized it’s not actually that funny and it’s about some marketing stunt for a band that I don’t particularly care about. So… meh.

Talking about meta-commentary – a lot of people tweeted that Why So Many Smart People Aren’t Happy article and oh boy, is it obvious why. Because it lets people look at their own miserable sad lives and go: “Hmm, well, that must be because I am so smart!”
Of course that’s not true for all of you, you are all very smart, but try to keep it in mind – it’s a fun little pattern to observe.

Now I am not so sure, though – does that mean that Danes are not very smart?

Another article that everybody linked to last week was Uncanny Valley and oh boy, this is a great one. Very well written and amusing if you think that “Silicon Valley” is a too positive look at the internet industry. (You are watching “Silicon Valley”, right?)

Now a link for people who make websites: The history of ‘this website is well-crafted’ hints – well, true. I might need to look into the whole serviceworker thing.
Now a link for people who (play and) watch StarCraft II: The life of Life: Chronicling the rise and fall of Lee “Life” Seung Hyun – this one is pretty sad. An extremely gifted player, stopped by his addiction.
Now a link for people who think about Social Media: The Feed Is Dying – ugh. But true.
Now a link for people who use batteries: Researchers have accidentally made batteries that could last 400 times longer – by “last longer” they mean “more cycles” and not “only need to be recharged every month.”


PS: Ahem. Why did no-one tell me I have written “Vol.2” for the last couple of emails?