Bookmarked The Photo Book That Captured How the Soviet Regime Made the Truth Disappear by Masha Gessen (The New Yorker)
Sometimes we don’t know who is missing from a photo or why—only that someone has been elided. We are lucky even to know that there is something we don’t know.
This is an insightful look into the past:

Compared to the intentional, crude, and pervasive altering of the Soviet record, the lying currently prevalent in American politics is amateur hour, if not exactly child’s play. President Donald Trump’s routine alterations of the historical narrative, which seem to stem in equal measure from ignorance and ill intent, are ridiculed by the media even as the media reproduces them. Photographs often serve as the corrective to his distortions—as, for example, with his insistence that he had the biggest Inauguration crowd in history. Still, there can be no doubt that Trump is waging an all-out war on the media, the historical record, and the truth in general.

Bookmarked Why Revolutionaries Love Spicy Food How the chili pepper got to China. by Andrew Leonard (Nautilus)
Food historians have pointed to the province’s hot and humid climate, the principles of Chinese medicine, the constraints of geography, and the exigencies of economics. Most recently neuropsychologists have uncovered a link between the chili pepper and risk-taking. The research is provocative because the Sichuan people have long been notorious for their rebellious spirit; some of the momentous events in modern Chinese political history can be traced back to Sichuan’s hot temper.
Andrew Leonard looks at how chilies found their way to Sichuan. There is some argument that there is a correlation between risk-taking revolutionaries and the heat of the chilies. What is interesting is the history of the capsicum and the place it holds in other cultures.

The act of eating chili peppers is an acquired taste in Mexico. Children do not come out of the womb craving a scorching hot cuisine. They’re trained, by their families, to handle the chili’s burn with small doses that gradually increase.

Personally, I love chilies, but never remember been ‘trained’ when I was young. I think I like the sensation of experiencing what I eat, not just tasting it.

Via Katexic newsletter

Bookmarked Microfilm Lasts Half a Millennium by Craig Saper (The Atlantic)
Millions of publications—not to mention spy documents—can be read on microfilm machines. But people still see these devices as outmoded and unappealing. An Object Lesson.
Craig Saper discusses the rise and fall of microfilm. From its beginning in the 19th century to its demise with the rise of digital storage. It is always interesting to trace the history of particular technology, such as PowerPoint, PDF and email. It helps make sense where we are today.
Bookmarked ISP Column - June 2018 (potaroo.net)
Huston's analysis steps through the seven layers in the OSI stack, beginning with changes in the physical infrastructure (massive improvements in optical signalling, more and better radio, but we're still using packet-sizes optimized for the 1990s); then the IP layer (we're still using IPv4!); routing (BGP is, remarkably, still a thing -- on fire, all the time); net ops (when oh when will SNMP die?); mobile (all the money is here); end-to-end transport (everything is about to get much better, thanks to BBR); applications (Snowden ushered in a golden age of crypto, CDNs are routing around stupid phone companies, and cybersecurity is a worse dumpster fire than even BGP) and the IoT (facepalm).
This report into the web is intriguing and interesting to compare with James Bridle’s discussion of infrastructure and the impact of global warming on things.

via Boing Boing

Bookmarked Twenty Years of Edtech (er.educause.edu)
What has changed, what remains the same, and what general patterns can be discerned from the past twenty years in the fast-changing field of edtech?
Martin Weller looks back at twenty years of EdTech, highlighting the various moments that have stood out across the journey. This brings together many of the pieces that he has written for his 25 years of EdTech series that he has written to celebrate 25 years of ALT. As he points out in his introduction, we are not very good at looking back. This post then offers an opportunity to stop and do so in a structured manner. Another interesting take on history is Ben Francis’ post on the Firefox OS.
Bookmarked The Story of Firefox OS – Ben Francis – Medium by Ben Francis (Medium)
I remember at a team dinner once Mitchell Baker, Mozilla’s Chairwoman and “Chief Lizard Wrangler”, talked about the importance of…
This is a fascinating read about the evolution of a technology project, how ‘good ideas’ fail and what is learned. It leaves me wondering if organisations like Google and Facebook have historians and documentation keeping track of where they have come or is it all hidden within the meeting minutes and test cases?

Marginalia

The problem with competing on price is that you soon get into a race to the bottom and whoever has the biggest economy of scale ends up winning.


The web isn’t a world of monolithic apps with clear boundaries between them, it is an experience of surfing from one web page to another, flowing through content.


With no real constraints put on the ideation process and an insufficient process for evaluating them, people were coming up with all sorts of suggestions from smart watches to reinventing the concept of currency!


The premise of Ari’s talk was that Firefox OS had set out to compete with Android and iOS and it had failed. Firefox OS was too late to market, the app store hadn’t taken off and the smartphone war had been won. It was time to move onto the next big thing — the Internet of Things.


The flagship Firefox team and supporting platform team had been complaining about a lack of resources for a while, and with Firefox market share slipping the finger of blame was pointed at Firefox OS.


There was a general feeling that Mozilla had “bet the farm” on Firefox OS and it hadn’t paid off.


It’s possible that rather than being five years too late, Firefox OS was actually five years too early!