For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II

A Russian scientist’s report, upon discovering the family:

The silence was suddenly broken by sobs and lamentations. Only then did we see the silhouettes of two women. One was in hysterics, praying: ‘This is for our sins, our sins.’ The other, keeping behind a post… sank slowly to the floor. The light from the little window fell on her wide, terrified eyes, and we realized we had to get out of there as quickly as possible.

Can’t even imagine what that interchange must have felt like – from either side.

The Verge’s Blackberry Z10 Review

Joshua Topolsky:

The Z10 is a fine device, well made, reasonably priced, backed by a company with a long track record. But it’s not the only device of its kind, and it’s swimming against a massive wave of entrenched players with really, really good products. Products they figured out how to make years ago. Products that are mature. The smartphone industry doesn’t need saving.

Interplanetary Cessna

XKCD:

Unfortunately, X-Plane is not capable of simulating the hellish environment near the surface of Venus. But physics calculations give us an idea of what flight there would be like. The upshot is: Your plane would fly pretty well, except it would be on fire the whole time, and then it would stop flying, and then stop being a plane.

Mind Your Nanoseconds


Grace Hopper, inventor of the compiler.

Sexism in Vintage Ads

Yikes.

TV: Where Taking It Too Far Is Never Far Enough

Neil Genzlinger:

Was 2012 a nadir for reality TV? Can the offerings possibly get any worse in 2013? Is “The King of Pain” (Sukuma Books), amusing as it is, the last satire that will ever be written about reality television because the genre has become too ludicrous to parody?

Yup.

Snow Fall: The Avalanche at Tunnel Creek

A New York Times special project.

The snow burst through the trees with no warning but a last-second whoosh of sound, a two-story wall of white and Chris Rudolph’s piercing cry: “Avalanche! Elyse!”

Absolutely ghastly. And beautiful design by the Times as usual.

Facebook Poke iOS App

Sure, it’s like SnapChat, but isn’t that always the dynamic in this industry: the Feature Qua Product (simplicity, focus) vs. Feature Qua Feature (integration)? Some folks, like those who use Buffer, for example, simply prefer tightly-focused, standalone apps while others prefer ones that do more, that integrate many features into a (sometimes) cohesive product a la HootSuite.

While I’d have been tempted to compare them to Apple or Google in the past, Facebook’s turning out to be a lot more like Microsoft for the web, appropriating features or buying companies to Do Everything, even if they’re not the best in each vertical. Something to keep an eye out for.

Ray Kurzweil Joins Google

Ray Kurzweil confirmed today that he will be joining Google to work on new projects involving machine learning and language processing.

Kurzweil is a force. Google’s already excellent voice search stands only to get better with the help of his big brain and unmatched experience in NLP.

Scary day for Siri engineers.

Gruber on AppleScript

Gruber for Macworld:

And in a very real sense, modern AppleScript has quietly achieved its original goal of enabling non-programmers to create their own software—not through AppleScript scripting but instead through Automator, which is built on the same underlying technology and is arguably more popular than its predecessor.

Moral of the story: Automator and AppleScript are a powerful combo, and they don’t get enough love. Thanks, Apple, for keeping the dream alive.