5 Intriguing Things: Fritz Kahn, Stuxnet, McLuhan's Son, Hard Ware, The Drop

 

1. Fritz Kahn's remarkable 20th-century infographics

"In 1933, the Nazis chased Kahn out of Germany. His books were burned, banned, and put on the “list of damaging and undesirable writing.” Fortunately, enough of his illustrations survived to show us, among other things, how the human heart could move an elevator up five floors in 40 minutes, how dessert cleans the tongue, and how Mercury is so small that it could plunge into the Atlantic Ocean without touching the continents."

 

2. Stuxnet, which nearly everyone called the most dangerous and powerful cyberweapon ever deployed, has been seriously underestimated, says a researcher.

"Stuxnet's actual impact on the Iranian nuclear program is unclear, if only for the fact that no information is available on how many controllers were actually infected. Nevertheless, forensic analysis can tell us what the attackers intended to achieve, and how. I've spent the last three years conducting that analysis -- not just of the computer code, but of the physical characteristics of the plant environment that was attacked and of the process that this nuclear plant operates. What I've found is that the full picture, which includes the first and lesser-known Stuxnet variant, invites a re-evaluation of the attack. It turns out that it was far more dangerous than the cyberweapon that is now lodged in the public's imagination."

 

3. Marshall McLuhan's son has run experiments purporting to show that people shown the same movie — one watching film projection, another on a television screen — have different reactions.

"Mention of “total involvement”: 15% for the first [film] group; 64% for the second [TV] group.

Mention of “total emotional involvement”: 12% for the first group; 48% for the second."

 

4. Russian Internet entrepreneur and investor Dmitry Grishin on why there are so many lame software startups.

"I think right now [this market] needs many more hardware innovations than software. I still think hardware is called “hard” for a reason—because it’s hard. We need to have more education and more explanation for startups on how to make hardware, because there are a lot of different difficult things. Like, you need to deal with distribution, to get physical stuff to retail [stores]. You need to make things with packaging. You need to support these devices because if they are broken, they’re going to send them back to you. You need to understand how to manufacture, which is a really, really hard process still."

 

5. The 10 heaviest dubstep drops, according to someone.

"For all of us, though, the drop possesses a unique power. It's a marker for the precise moment in a huge tune when you can lose your head and be transported to a place where bundled energy and pure release meet."

 

Bonus music coverage: This Bob Dylan music video(?) is a gift. Can't tell you more without spoiling the fun.

 

Go to the place where bundled energy and pure release meet.
Every single weekday morning.

Subscribe to 5 Intriguing Things

powered by TinyLetter

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus