Links of the Week (3/16/2020)

Origins of quarantine, copywriting all music ever, and a where’s waldo of swiss maps…

Quarantine just means forty. It’s a shortening of the Italian phrase quarantina giorni, which meant (and means) forty days. This was because of a policy implemented by the Most Serene Republic of Venice to protect itself from the plague. Any ship that was suspected of possibly having the plague on board would have to wait offshore for forty days before docking.

Oddly enough, when quarantine first appeared in the English language, it had nothing to do with plague. It was the place where Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights. It first pops up in a travel guide for pilgrims to the Holy Land written in 1470:

Beyond is a wilderness of quarantine, where Christ with fasting his body did pine.


Quarantine Comes Home

The problem goes way back. George Harrison turned the Chiffons’ “He’s So Fine” into “My Sweet Lord” while his former bandmate John Lennon pinched much of Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” for The Beatles’ “Come Together.” Berry’s music was also, um, “borrowed from” by the Beach Boys: Their breakthrough hit “Surfin’ USA” was nearly identical to his “Sweet Little Sixteen.” “You Can’t Touch This” by M.C Hammer was built over a phrase from Rick James” “Super Freak.”

This article take a pessimistic approach. Watch the Ted X talk though. FASCINATING.

An algorithm produced every possible melody. Now its creators want to destroy songwriter copyrights.

But on certain maps, in Switzerland’s more remote regions, there is also, curiously, a spider, a man’s face, a naked woman, a hiker, a fish, and a marmot. These barely-perceptible apparitions aren’t mistakes, but rather illustrations hidden by the official cartographers at Swisstopo in defiance of their mandate “to reconstitute reality.” Maps published by Swisstopo undergo a rigorous proofreading process, so to find an illicit drawing means that the cartographer has outsmarted his colleagues.

Who knew that cartographers had a hidden sense of humor?

For Decades, Cartographers Have Been Hiding Covert Illustrations Inside of Switzerland’s Official Maps

But the majority of visual misinformation that people are exposed to involves much simpler forms of deception. One common technique involves recycling legitimate old photographs and videos and presenting them as evidence of recent events.

A healthy dose of skepticism when reading news on the internet is probably healthy.

Out-of-context photos are a powerful low-tech form of misinformation

Author: Scott

The mountains are calling, let me grab a jacket and my kids.

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