New kind of society

[…] what we need is a few hints on the art of creating an entirely new kind of society, durable but adventurous, strong but humane, highly organized but liberty-loving, elastic and adaptable. In this matter Greece and Rome can teach us only negatively—by demonstrating, in their divergent ways, what not to do.

~ Aldous Huxley



This was a sample data set from 1996 through mid-2019, but maybe the most shocking number is the 2018 one: after just a year, one in every sixteen links from the Times’ website to an external source had stopped working. The Times already has an attribution problem; this just makes it worse. The researchers point out that URLs within U.S. Supreme Court opinions fare even worse, with about half of links not working as originally intended.

~ Nick Heer from,


I’m not picking on the Times nor the Supreme Court, link rot is everywhere. Heer does a nice job of laying out what’s really going on; it’s not just that the links are ceasing to work, but also that the actual contents of digital stuff is changing. (And that’s all in addition to problems with data corruption and degradation.) However, his article is really about highlighting some of the neat things people are doing to preserve things. It’s worth clicking through just for the anecdote about how “Nookd” curiously appears in one edition of War and Peace.

And on the other hand, we’re all painfully aware that our lives are becoming more public and we’re losing our privacy. If you put it anywhere on the Internet, we can generalize and assume it’s eventually going to become public. In some cases, it’d be exactly what we want for things to rot— or maybe it’d be better to say:

In some cases, it’d be exactly what we want for things on the Internet to evaporate.


Value giveaway

Fewer are aware that the PC wasn’t IBM’s only internal-politics-driven value giveaway; one of the most important software applications on those mainframes was IBM’s Information Management System (IMS). This was a hierarchical database, and let me pause for a necessary caveat: for those that don’t understand databases, I’ll try to simplify the following explanation as much as possible, and for those that do, I’m sorry for bastardizing this overview!

Ben Thompson from,


And, today this web site is a tech blog.

I’ve read, (technically I am in the process of reading,) everything Thompson has written. I skimmed through this long article since it wasn’t news to me. However, if you take about 10 minutes to read this, you’ll know more about Databases and the Big Kids who made the things which became the things you now use every day, than pretty much everyone else on the planet.



Non sequitur to Geography geekiness

Ironic, as it is actually Mackenzie who holds the distinction of leading the first recorded crossing of North America, not Lewis and Clark. In 1793, Mackenzie made a second attempt to cross the continent, over an extremely rugged section of modern-day British Columbia. He reached the Pacific north of Vancouver, and in so doing, beat Lewis and Clark by a dozen years. Mackenzie’s published memoir of the trip inspired Thomas Jefferson to send Lewis and Clark at all, and they carried a copy of the best-selling book in their canoe.

~ Brian Castner from,


If you are not following Atlas Obscura you are seriously missing out. I had an idea much like it, about 20 years ago and I never followed through. Meanwhile they have done it WAY better than I think I could have. Every day they post a couple of obscure things about our world.

This particular item is SOOOOO MUCH FUN! I thought (ie, I was told, in primary school and high school) that Lewis & Clark were these great adventurers who set out across the …. NOT. They took a copy of this other guy’s book with them.

Meanwhile, Internet for the win! As you read the story — seriously. go! — it talks about a “bend in the river” where they misjudged how much it was redirecting them. (Complicated by no maps, bad magnetic north issues in that area, etc) And TODAY you can go to this Google map link and you can see it’s like… “Yay! We’re going west on this river and we’re going to reach the Pacific ocean by going below Alaska…” *sad trombone* and the river makes this VICIOUS hard-right turn and “booooo! We’re going to the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Ocean….”

Mackenzie River


History of Parkour

Truth is, there is no consensus on this. And – which really hefts a giant spanner into the works – you can’t just go and ask the founding father because this great movement is pretty damn far from being a nuclear family, 2.4 kids and all the rest. No. This child has had a whole host of surrogate step-parents influencing its development down through the years, the centuries, indeed even through the millennia. It has drawn on many sources, supped on inspiration from all over, and drunk from a hundred different cups as it has evolved – and by no means is this process over.

~ From,


I’ve heard a mind-boggling number or ridiculous things about Parkour. If you EVER have the opportunity to talk about Parkour, please go read this. If this doesn’t fit with your view of history… great! Now you know.