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Ian Robinson's Weekly Digest - 26th February 2021

Ian Robinson's Weekly Digest - 26th February 2021
By Ian Robinson's Weekly Digest • Issue #4 • View online
Welcome to the latest issue of my Weekly Digest. Each issue is a collection of things that have interested me. This week has eight items and the books I’m currently reading. No new films or music pointers this week! All links from names of people or companies go to their Twitter page if they have one or their website if they don’t.

Culture
Alena Smith’s Subversive “Dickinson” - The New Yorker - Link
I binge-watched Season 2 of Dickinson this week. The finale was released today. Both seasons are so good. It takes the 19th-century source material and imbibes it with 21st-century themes. I realise now that the themes from the 1850s are much the same as today. If you haven’t seen it, then I can highly recommend it. It’s worth the cost of an AppleTV+ subscription on its own. Looking forward to Season 3!
There is an excellent interview-based article with Alena Smith, the show-runner of Dickenson, in the latest issue of The New Yorker.
The show inspired me to read some of Emily Dickinson’s poems. I bought a copy of The Folio Society’s Selected Poems last year when watching Season 1 and started reading it this week. I’ve never really been into poetry. And that’s still the case! I’m about a third of the way through the selection in the book. So far only the only one that’s grabbed me is this one about the exultation of going to sea (and other things, no doubt). Still, even if the poems don’t speak to me, they obviously speak to Alena Smith, and they inspired her to create the TV show. And that’s great news for all of us who get to watch.
It also inspired me to buy a Stephen Fry book on how to write poetry. Something that passed me by in school. I can’t recall if that’s my fault or the fault of my school. I suspect the former as my school was excellent.
How ‘Dickinson’ Creator and Music Supervisors Collaborated on a Soundtrack That Subverts Expectations - Rolling Stone - Link
And just to pimp the wonderful Dickinson show some more. The music that peppers each episode is fantastic. This article in Rolling Stone discusses how the tracks are chosen. If you are on Apple Music, there is a playlist with the songs from Season 1 and another for Season 2.
Books I’m currently reading
Janna Levin - Black Hole Survival Guide - Goodreads - Twitter
Emily Dickinson - Selected Poems - The Folio Society
Stephen Fry - The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within - Goodreads - Twitter
Technology
This demonstration video from Alvin Foo on Twitter is pretty amazing. It shows how the camera in a phone can be used to generate a very real looking avatar that mimics the changes in facial expression of a real person. This, combined with the deep fake videos of Tom Cruise that are doing the rounds, should warn us that we need to start coming up with better ways to spot and label these fake videos. The Tom Cruise ones use an impersonator for everything except the face is changed with a swap application.
Hey World - Jason Fried - Link
Basecamp, the makers of the new HEY email service (which I now use for all my email), will release a new service built on HEY called Hey World. It will allow you to write blog-like articles as if they were emails, then publish them to the world. Read the Jason Fried article here to get more details. I can see myself using this a lot when I get access to it. And, of course, there are no spy pixels or trackers on the HEY World posts.
Apple Platform Security February 2021 - Apple - PDF Link
Apple released an updated edition of its Platform Security Guide. It details how they approach and implement security on their platforms—worth a read.
STEM
2020’s Biggest Breakthroughs in Maths and Computer Science - Quanta Magazine - YouTube Link
A video from December in which Quanta Magazine outline and explain what they consider to be the three biggest breakthroughs in Maths and Computer Science. I especially liked the middle one about the Conway Knot problem. There are similar videos for Physics and Biology on their YouTube Channel.
Perseverance Rover’s Descent and Touchdown on Mars - NASA - YouTube Link
Is this the best video ever shot? Probably! The view of the Sky Crane flying away after depositing the rover is remarkable. An actual alien flying machine (it’s alien to Mars).
COVID-19
What You’ll Feel Like After Getting Your COVID Vaccine - Deviant Ollam - YouTube Link
An excellent video from Deviant Ollam on how he felt after getting his second shot of the Moderna vaccine. Well worth watching if you, or anyone you know, is hesitant to get vaccinated. The after-effects will be largely the same for the vaccinations from other suppliers. Also, you should watch the Deviant Ollam talk from the Wild West Hackin Fest on how easy it is to bypass physical security systems.
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Ian Robinson's Weekly Digest

Writer, walker, atheist, optimist, Apple enthusiast, cinema lover, hobby musician, science junkie, perpetual maths student, cricket fan, chess patzer.

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