Cross-reading #8

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Oh man, when I started this series I had planned to do the ”Cross-reading” series on a weekly basis. But you know what life is like in these crazy times. Also in the meantime, so many articles have piled up, that I decided to pick only a few that I discovered in the last weeks.

Humans are Bad at URLs and Fonts Don’t Matter (

Are we really saying we’re going to combat phishing by relying on untrained eyes to spot 6 pixels being off in a screen of more than 2 million of them?! Of course not, especially if someone has just arrived at this page after clicking on a link like NordVPN’s with the uppercase “I” and especially not if instead of a “fine real estate” website the page was a phish designed to look precisely like Google.

####Multi-screening may mess with your memory (

People who reported engaging in multiple forms of digital media at once, such as watching TV while texting and browsing social media, showed worse sustained attention just before remembering and were more likely to forget.

####The Importance of Memory (

We sometimes think of memory behaving like a muscle. It’s a useful, imperfect analogy. The power of recall can be strengthened and improved with training (to an extent), and it can weaken and atrophy with age, neglect, or injury.

####Don’t Pay for 95% (

So what motivates people to plan for occasional peaks and idealized usage, rather than actual daily utilization? Ego is part of it. A large SUV or huge house is still a sign of success to many. Your neighbours won’t congratulate you in your driveway for scaling up and down your transportation needs in a responsible, real-time fashion.

####More bad news for the Arctic: the Laptev Sea hasn’t frozen (

The Laptev Sea’s woes are part of a broader transformation in the region. In the last four decades, the amount of so-called multi-year ice—sea ice that survives the warmer months—in the Arctic has been reduced by a half. Scientists expect that soon there may be none at all.

####How 30 Lines of Code Blew Up a 27-Ton Generator (

A secret experiment in 2007 proved that hackers could devastate power grid equipment beyond repair—with a file no bigger than a gif.

####Bandwidth cost / hour for one MMORPG player (

When there are 100 users in a room and one user does something, then you receive that action once, but you need to send it to all 100 users in the room. If all users do something at once, you need to distribute 100 x 100 = 10,000 messages.

####SEO mistakes I’ve made and how I fixed them (

From 0 to 90k impressions in about a year, following Search Engine Optimization good practices was key to help to grow my blog and my audience. However, when I started it, I made terrible mistakes that some SEO literate people could almost qualify as self-sabotage.

####Why Software Developers Suck at UX (

There is too much of a disconnect between their understanding and mental framework of technology compared with the common person, and a larger amount of empathy is needed to bridge that gap.

####How to interview engineers (

There are three things you need to determine about a candidate: talent, judgement, and personality. Think of hiring an engineer as if you’re buying a race car. The first thing you must look for in a race car is horsepower, because without horsepower the car is useless for racing. The horsepower of engineers is talent. Without talent, engineers are useless for building products, so it’s the first thing you must look for in a candidate. It doesn’t matter how nice the person is, or how hard-working. No horsepower, no race.

####2.1 Million of the Oldest Internet Posts Are Now Online for Anyone to Read (

Decades before Twitter threads, Reddit forums, or Facebook groups, there was Usenet: an early-internet, pre-Web discussion system where one could start and join conversations much like today’s message boards. Launched in 1980, Usenet is the creation of two Duke University students who wanted to communicate between decentralized, local servers—and it’s still active today.

####The Coronavirus Unveiled: Microscopic Images of SARS-CoV-2 (

Thanks to the work of scientists like Dr. Li, the new coronavirus, known as SARS-CoV-2, is no longer a cipher. They have come to know it in intimate, atomic detail. They’ve discovered how it uses some of its proteins to slip into cells and how its intimately twisted genes commandeer our biochemistry.