An ancient bacteria revived by an industrial accident

An ancient bacteria revived by an industrial accident

From The Economist: "New species are generally found rather than awakened. And they are typically discovered in remote places like rainforests or Antarctic plateaus. But not so a species of bacterium described in a paper just published in Extremophiles. The bug is new to science, but it is not new to Earth. In fact the microbe may have been slumbering for millions of years before being awakened. It lives below Lake Peigneur in southern Louisiana, which in 1980 had a salt mine and an oil-drilling rig run by Texaco. Then the two operations came together accidentally—and spectacularly, when the oil rig’s drill penetrated the third level of the salt mine, creating a drain in the lake’s floor."

Magic Alex, the Greek TV repairman who convinced the Beatles he was a genius

The Enduring Mystery of "Magic Alex" - CultureSonar

From Wikipedia: "The 23-year-old Yannis Alexis Mardas first arrived in England on a student visa in 1965, and moved into a flat on Bentinck Street, where he first met John Lennon. He found work as a television repairman, but also exhibited light-based artwork at the Indica Gallery, where he impressed Lennon with the Nothing Box: a small plastic box with randomly blinking lights that Lennon would stare at for hours while under the influence of LSD. Lennon later introduced Mardis as his "new guru," calling him "Magic Alex," and he told the Beatles he was working on a number of inventions, including a flying saucer. He became one of the first employees of the newly formed Apple Corps, earning £800 a week and receiving 10% of any profits from his inventions."

They managed to "read" a 2,000-year-old carbonized scroll without unrolling it

From Kottke: "A team of three students were able to virtually unroll a 2000-year-old papyrus scroll that was carbonized during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in Herculaneum, thereby winning the grand prize in the Vesuvius Challenge. These scrolls are little more than lumps of ash, carbonized by the intense heat of the volcano's pyroclastic flows. This took place over an extremely short period of time, in a room deprived of oxygen, resulting in the scrolls’ carbonization into compact and highly fragile blocks. They were then preserved by the layers of cement-like rock. Using high-resolution CT scans of the scrolls, machine learning, and computer vision techniques, the team was able to read the text inside one of the scrolls without actually unrolling it."

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These divers are trying to figure out just how deep human beings can go

From MIT Tech Review: "Two hundred thirty meters into one of the deepest underwater caves on Earth, Richard Harris knew that not far ahead of him was a 15-meter drop leading to a place no human being had seen before. Getting there had taken two helicopters, three weeks of test dives, two tons of equipment, and hard work. Harris felt the familiar pull—maybe he could go just a little farther. Instead, he and his diving partner, Craig Challen, turned back. They weren’t there to exceed 245 meters—a depth they’d reached three years earlier. Nor were they there to set a depth record—that would mean going past 308 meters. They were there to test what they saw as a possible key to unlocking depths beyond even 310 meters: breathing hydrogen."

Chile reopens investigation into the death of Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda

From Reuters: "A Chilean appeals court ordered the reopening of an investigation into the death of the leftist poet and Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda in 1973 soon after the military seized power in a coup. Last year, a panel of international experts delivered a long-awaited report on the death of the author of "20 Poems of Love and a Song of Despair" to the Court of Appeals of Santiago. Specific details of the experts' report were not made public. In 2017, a group of foreign forensic experts suggested that Neruda had not died only of cancer, as officially stated, and did not rule out unnamed third parties being involved in his death in the first days of Augusto Pinochet's 17-year dictatorship."

Her photographs are a time machine taking viewers back to 1970s New York

From the NYT: "A nondescript locker in a Lower Manhattan storage center is a portal to a New York City still plagued by crack, AIDS and rampant crime. A drug user squats for a fix in a squalid Manhattan heroin den. A man wearing a Savage Riders biker gang jacket holds a yawning baby. A child straddles a stripped bicycle on a trash-strewn street in Spanish Harlem. A smiling, bikini-clad bodybuilder flexes next to a Hasidic rabbi on a Queens beach. These images and countless others are crammed into hundreds of boxes left behind by street photographer Arlene Gottfried. The archive had remained in limbo and disarray since her death in 2017, but archivists are trying to resurrect it."

How to film a truck and car crash scene without using CGI

Acknowledgements: I find a lot of these links myself, but I also get some from other newsletters that I rely on as "serendipty engines," such as The Morning News from Rosecrans Baldwin and Andrew Womack, Jodi Ettenberg's Curious About Everything, Dan Lewis's Now I Know, Robert Cottrell and Caroline Crampton's The Browser, Clive Thompson's Linkfest, Noah Brier and Colin Nagy's Why Is This Interesting, Maria Popova's The Marginalian, Sheehan Quirke AKA The Cultural Tutor, the Smithsonian magazine, and JSTOR Daily. If you come across something interesting that you think should be included here, please feel free to email me.