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pre-Thanksgiving links: running for Congress, avoiding accidental nuclear war, smash brothers - Greg [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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pre-Thanksgiving links: running for Congress, avoiding accidental nuclear war, smash brothers [Nov. 26th, 2014|02:04 pm]
[Current Mood |tiredtired]

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

- Mr. Miller Doesn’t Go to Washington - engaging yet depressing article about someone who decided to run for a seat in Congress. Spoiler: raising money is a huge, huge part of it.

- 20 Mishaps That Might Have Started Accidental Nuclear War - oy, this is scary. (link is to the cached version because the site is currently down) The best one:
6) October 25, 1962- Cuban Missile Crisis: Intruder in Duluth

At around midnight on October 25, a guard at the Duluth Sector Direction Center saw a figure climbing the security fence. He shot at it, and activated the "sabotage alarm." This automatically set off sabotage alarms at all bases in the area. At Volk Field, Wisconsin, the alarm was wrongly wired, and the Klaxon sounded which ordered nuclear armed F-106A interceptors to take off. The pilots knew there would be no practice alert drills while DEFCON 3 was in force, and they believed World War III had started.

Immediate communication with Duluth showed there was an error. By this time aircraft were starting down the runway. A car raced from command center and successfully signaled the aircraft to stop. The original intruder was a bear.
It's also striking (although not really surprising) that a lot of these happened during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when we went all the way to DEFCON 2. That's the really scary part about crises - not that the government will start a nuclear war, but that accidents will happen because everyone is on edge.

- The Unbalanced Design of Super Smash Brothers - in honor of the new Smash Brothers that just came out. (yes, it's good!) Pretty interesting look at how players "discover" that characters they thought were bad can be good, even though nothing has changed!

- The Group That Rules the Web - a great article about how the W3C and WHATWG determined what went into HTML5. Interesting stuff! I'm sure glad XHTML didn't become the "new" HTML...

- Texas Lawmaker Wants Constitutional ‘License To Discriminate’ Against LGBT Workers And Customers - here's what I don't understand about these kinds of laws. From the article:
Campbell’s proposal would strengthen existing protections in Texas for the “right to act or refuse to act in a manner motivated by a sincerely held religious belief,” a legal maneuver that critics have described as a “license to discriminate.”
So now the law has to determine if you have a "sincerely held religious belief"? Is that at all feasible?

- Progressives Lost the Election, but Their Ideas Are Winning - I don't 100% agree with this article, but it does paint a fairly optimistic picture about progress fighting poverty and inequality.

- The Knowledge, London’s Legendary Taxi-Driver Test, Puts Up a Fight in the Age of GPS - the accompanying video shows a driver calling out a route from memory, which kinda emphasizes how hard it is!

- Amsterdam reacts to Putin visiting - well done! (thanks Ryan!)