Links for August 2019

Again I’m a few days late with these links. I hope nobody has been kept up all night worrying.

The Fediverse is a network of mostly-compatible software that got a big spike a couple of years ago as part of a Twitter backlash; the software that runs my instance, recently hit its 1.0 release.

GPG/PGP has long been derided for its complete failure to penetrate the mainstream. This is mostly due to its terrible UX, bending over backwards to support old crypto, and trying to be jack of all trades, master of none, as explained in this excellent blog post. Some of the recommended alternatives are better than others. Magic Wormhole, new to me, seems like an extremely useful tool to have in one’s back pocket.

‘Caution! Functor! Keep 2m back.’ A common response to category theory.

General Butt Naked sounds like he should come from a Far Cry game or something, but was actually a horrifying Liberian warlord who claimed to have killed over 20,000 people and fought nude because he believed it would protect him from bullets. However, in 1996 he converted to Christianity after a vision of Christ told him to repent and his since become a preacher, even at one point expressing his willingness to be tried at the Hague. While this might give hope that anyone can be reformed, he still claims that he was under Satanic influence during his rampages, which probably takes something away from it.

In 1809, a man made a bet that he could make any house in London into the most talked about address in a week. The result was the Berners Street hoax, in which he requested more or less every tradesman in London come to 57 Berners Street to provide their services to a Mrs Tottenham. Even the Lord Mayor of London turned up!

A slightly less famous English mayor is that of High Wycombe. This is a shame, because due to some historically corrupt, drunken and generally useless incumbents, each outgoing mayor is ‘tolled out’ by the ringing of the city bells, and subsequently weighed to ensure that they have not gained any weight at the taxpayers’ expense.

Today’s feel-good story to end: the world of competitive dog surfing.