Pocket reading list - Week 4.1 of July.


The Ukrainian Hacker Who Became the FBI’s Best Weapon—And Worst Nightmare - What I find most amazing about this article is what the hacker says about his fellow mates, that all they want is a job and if they found one that paid well and was stable, they wouldn't have much need to hack and make money the illegal way. This is, in my opinion, in general true for a sizable human population that defaults to stealing and cheating to make their livelihood, because they didn't have the option to work towards a legal/stable livelihood and now they're having to make ends meet one way or another.

Canada’s $6.9 Billion Wildfire Is the Size of Delaware—and Still Out of Control - Just another reminder that Nature is a force out of our control. After settling down in every remote corner or the Earth, moving to the top of any and every food chain, we humans might feel invincible. But events like this remind us that nature around us is very fragile and can be disturbed beyond the point of return.

This wasn't a man-made problem, afaik. But there have been wild fires caused by people leaving behind cigarettes, partly burnt camp fires and what not. And wild fires actually do the forest some good, in the sense that it cleans the area and leads to new growth. But the fact that people are living in such close proximity to such areas, the fact that out settlements have given rise to conditions such that a wild fire can jump from one region to the next, leveling a large swath of land than what could've been possible had humans not meddled with the ecosystem.

Refusing to Be Measured - We are in the era of big data and all around us, people are coming up with products to quantify things, in this case, quantifying the productivity of a faculty member. While such quantification can be a good thing, for the faculty member as it can help them understand whether or not they're growing year-to-year, and for the institute to understand whether it's spending its resources intelligently or if there are avenues to improve; the exercise might lead to problems if the quantification process is faulty. If one uses solely journal publications to quantify a faculty member, they are discarding their teaching abilities. This is not to say that the publishing industry is, in itself, a mess and it can take many months to the order of years and numerous revisions for a paper to get accepted in a journal.

Solving a Century-Old Typographical Mystery - One more interesting story to have come out of the world-wide web and the digitization of literature, specifically, old papers in this case. This is the account of one man who searched through old papers looking for ads from that era. The article points out, which I agree with, that ads from a bygone era throw light on some interesting things about that time, things which might not be inferred from texts or serious literary works.

How Typography Can Save Your Life - The more I've read, the more i'm interested in how typography matters in day-to-day life. I remember reading about why comic sans is hated all around, which concluded that comic sans wasn't made for HD monitors and that when it was introduced, it was in fact the most legible font. A change in font can change a reader's mood or set the tone for the article.

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