This is a great story of how one woman’s parents started to come to terms with her sexuality.
Japanese people use stamps with their names written in Kanji to sign official documents.
The sci.lang.japan usenet group’s FAQ is full of fascinating facts like this. Usenet was the reddit of its day: lots of garbage made up for by plenty of deep, interesting hidden corners.
This is a fantastic article about the failure of the media, phone hacking, banking crisis, income inequality and the spy agency surveillance society. Instead of being written as a one page news article expressing outrage it builds a narrative, along with some fascinating diversions, to allow your mind to put the elements of the story together.
Save it for when you have some time and concentration, it’s really worth reading a few times.
Link: What the Fluck?
Email encryption has been around for decades but it’s still very rarely used. If the Pakistan secret services see people using encryption software then they go and torture them as they must have something to hide even if that’s something as innocent (in the west) as converting to Christianity. Phil Zimmermann answers the eternal question perfectly here:
If you really are a law-abiding citizen with nothing to hide, then why don’t you always send your paper mail on postcards? … no one draws suspicion by asserting their privacy with an envelope. There’s safety in numbers. Analogously, it would be nice if everyone routinely used encryption for all their email, innocent or not, so that no one drew suspicion by asserting their email privacy with encryption. Think of it as a form of solidarity.
Link: Why I Wrote PGP
The Daily Mail is a remarkable institution; full of bile. It’s very interesting to see it from an outsiders perspective. I’m fascinating by how the editor of the Mail believes that people who aren’t married with children couldn’t edit the paper because they “wouldn’t understand the human condition”. I think that summarises it’s lack of perspective on the world perfectly.
Link: Mail Supremacy
Great article by Tim Harford about how to short the housing bubble in London. There certainly is a bubble and when interest rates go up there will be problems but predicting when and how dramatically things will fall is impossible and will almost certainly burn people trying to short companies with large London property portfolios. The article is a great overview of the market, common fallacies, and how a deflation of the bubble might play out.
Many of your memories are not real. Reading this article made me consider my early memories. I’ve long realised that some are formed from photos I’ve later seen of events but the article made me realise how much importance the brain places on narrative and how memories are recorded and reinforced to support those built narratives.