Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #85

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Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see?

My friends: Alistair Croll (BitCurrent, Year One Labs, GigaOM, Human 2.0, the author of Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth: Deploying QOS in Enterprise Networks), Hugh McGuire (The Book Oven, LibriVox, iambik, PressBooks, Media Hacks) and I decided that every week or so the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see".

Check out these six links that we’re recommending to one another:

  • The Antikythera Mechanism. "I’m kind of obsessed with this thing. It’s a piece of machinery built in around 100 BC by the Greeks. It’s a computer that can calculate astronomical positions – a thousand years too early. It’s so awesome, there’s even a song about it. The Greeks knew all sorts of things about disease, math and science. But Emperor Justinian, and church leaders after him, made such ‘pagan teachings’ heresy and human progress was delayed for centuries. In the middle of the Republican primaries, every time I see well-proven, well-understood things like evolution or global warming or vaccination called into question, I think of this mechanism. Where would we be today if we’d had mechanical computers two thousand years ago, and if reason weren’t such a dirty word?" (Alistair for Hugh).
  • 25 Things I Learned From Opening a Bookstore – Open Salon. "The only thing rougher than being a publisher these days is being a bookstore owner. I found this list by owner J L Sathre to be broadly applicable to all manner of small businesses. It’s full of obvious — but seldom implemented — wisdom." (Alistair for Mitch).
  • A Swarm of Nano Quadrotors. "I, for one, welcome our robot overloards." (Hugh for Alistair).
  • The Caging Of America – The New Yorker. "The US is prison-mad. Why? This is a wonderful bit of writing." (Hugh for Mitch).
  • Jonathan Franzen Continues to Hate Technology – The Atlantic. "This reminds me of that old Saturday Night Live skit where the old curmudgeonly man would say, ‘back in my day, we didn’t have games! We’d just stare at the sun… and we liked it that way!’ I was never one to love sayings like, ‘back in the good old days.’ In this feature the technophobic author says things like: ‘The technology I like is the American paperback edition of Freedom. I can spill water on it and it would still work! So it’s pretty good technology,’ and ‘I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.’ Do people who think and say these things even know what they fear? You can spill water on a paperback and still read it? Huh? The last time I spilled a coffee on a book, it went straight to the recycling bin. A sense of permanence? If someone takes my book, it’s gone. If my house burns down, my books are gone. I can buy another Kindle and just re-download everything I own. Also, publishers can make available multiple editions and let consumers chose which edition they want. Digital feels more permanent and accident proof to me." (Mitch for Alistair).
  • No Joke: Alain de Botton Wants To Build Temples To Atheism – Fast Company Design. "Whether Alain de Botton is doing this as a publicity stunt to promote his latest book, Religion For Atheists, or if is he’s dead serious, it is this kind of thinking that we – as a society – should think about embracing. Everyone should have the right to believe in God (or not). That being said, none of us can deny the amazing things that humankind has accomplished in such a relatively short matter of time… whether it was with the help of God or not." (Mitch for Hugh).

Now it’s your turn: in the comment section below pick one thing that you saw this week that inspired you and share it.