SV Argo

Tropical Cyclone Oma currently (or maybe not) bearing down on the Queensland coast from the Coral Sea had me thinking about my friend Kate, a journalist at sea on a sailing vessel named Argo. So I went back and read her latest dispatch and was pleased to remember that at last word they were 'staying put' in New Zealand. I highly recommend subscribing for an infrequent, but always good, dose of nautical adventure.

On to the random assortment of reading that has captured my attention this fortnight.

Wired has a fascinating long-ish read about the woman whose image has been the test of image compression software since the JPEG.

I've been off work this fortnight, so when this out of office email generator popped into my feed I couldn't resist giving it a whirl. And I've also been brushing up on my caring less about work skills.

Apparently Google is still sometimes not evil.

Brexit is, unsurprisingly, still a disaster for everyone involved. But one thing that's been really interesting is how it manages to cut across party lines and prompt new political loyalties and rivalries. This exploration and visualisation of the new factions puts community detection algorithms and force directed graph plots to use for their best effect.

Will regulators finally get serious about the unregulated social and political power of Facebook, et al? A recent report from the British parliament gives some cause for hope, but honestly, did you read the previous paragraph? They have bigger problems. For another deep dive into this, have a read of this Twitter thread by Jason Kint.

While we're on algorithms, Vox published a look at how they think various dating app algorithms work. I'm always keen to see how the inner workings of an algorithm gets explained by journalists. And I'm always disappointed when there's no visualisation involved.

Finally, bringing to mind all the terribly embarrassing opinions that have most certainly been opined by me on this website (among other places), New York Times has a story about Esquire's cover boy.