Monday, August 1, 2011

Link roundup

1. "However, the volatile situation in Syria means that activists' methods to get documentation off the streets and onto social media are rapidly changing. Unconfirmed reports claim pen phones and small camera phones are being smuggled into Syria by anti-government expatriates and both the Saudi Arabian and American governments."

2. Fascinating article about pirates. When I read about the Barbary pirates in Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver, I thought he was greatly exaggerating their exploits. But no:

Initially, the corsairs used galleys, which were fast and easily maneuverable, but the problem of supplying their rowing crews and soldiers, which could total some 184 men, limited their range. But European renegade sailors, such as John Ward, “without any doubt the greatest scoundrel that ever sailed from England,” as a courtier put it, and Danseker the Dutchman, known as the “Divil Captain,” were on hand to supply the expertise needed for a shift to sailing ships.

They could now raid along the British and the Irish Channels — they would even reach as far north as Iceland. Throughout the century, their raids caused havoc in coastal communities, with sailors and fishermen refusing to go to sea. In the Mediterranean, whole stretches of coast in Spain and Italy were deserted.
3. Useless, but a magical idea - - it looks like a camera, but when you press the shutter it doesn't take a picture. Instead, it pulls off from the net a random photo taken by someone else at that exact moment. Via these sites.