Oct 28, 2016

Random Articles - RAW 161028

Welcome to the weekend!  Here are six articles which I found interesting. Sit back and enjoy with your favourite beverage.

Thin-Slice History: Erik Larson and the Art of Storytelling

Larson’s heroes aren’t obscure — they’re important; they did stuff; they have Wikipedia pages — but they’re unfamiliar enough to surprise you and unburdened enough with Very Important Things You Must Know to be characters who are historical figures instead of the other way around.

Scientists Finally Figured Out Why Tardigrades Are So Indestructible

In a new study published in Nature Communications, geneticist Takekazu Kunieda and his colleagues from the University of Tokyo present a genetic analysis of Ramazzottius variornatus, arguably the toughest and most resilient species found in the entire tardigrade clan. Their results show that tardigrades have evolved a unique arsenal of strategies to cope with stressful conditions, including a protein that protects its DNA from radiation damage.

More Evidence for an Ocean inside Pluto - Scientific American Blog Network

One of the most visually arresting aspects of Pluto - first seen during the New Horizons flyby in 2015 - is the large 'heart-shaped' feature known informally as Sputnik Planum. This reflective plain of frozen material spans roughly 1,000 by 800 kilometers and sits on Pluto's northern hemisphere, extending from about 45 degrees latitude down to the equator. Its composition includes large amounts of frozen nitrogen, plus some frozen carbon monoxide and methane. Its texture is varied, but has areas where it appears that material has been convected upwards - welling up into remarkable polygonal features.

Through the letterbox: the secret life of an Amazon reviewer | Technology | The Guardian

Who are the people writing the thousands of ‘fair and unbiased’ reviews? Do they get paid? Not quite. There are two types of solicited reviews on Amazon. The retailer has its own Vine programme, recruiting writers of highly ranked reviews marked as helpful by others on Amazon, and then pitches them products that vendors have sought reviews of, acting as the middle man. Vine reviews are clearly marked up on Amazon’s site with Vine branding.

Bowker Now Claims 625,327 US Indie Books Published in 2015, and Other Meaningless Factoids | The Digital Reader

When Bowker released its annual report (PDF) on ISBNs used by indie authors in the US in 2015, it didn't tell us anything useful besides the fact that indie authors still weren't using ISBNs for their ebooks, just for their print editions. (This is why I didn't cover the report, but instead used it to write a more important story on the decline of Author Solutions.)

This is How Literary Fiction Teaches Us to Be Human

Think about every bully you can remember, whether from fiction or real life. What do they all have in common? For the most part, they don’t read — and if they do, they probably aren’t ingesting much literary fiction.

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