What I Read today July 7, 2014

After a long hiatus, what I Read Today is back with the coolest fossil bird of the decade, a piece on the disgusting prevalence of Islamaphobia, and an inspiring lecture from a visionary data scientist.

Incredibly well-preserved, paper thin bones of long extinct Pelagornis sandersi reveal it to be the largest known flying bird ever discovered.

A comparison of an ancient giant bird to the largest living bird, and a collection of disturbing looking fossils.
Image credit: Liz Bradford

 

A thought-provoking piece by Heba Said, a Muslim American woman, about her experience at the GOP convention, and the terrible lack of empathy people showed when she reported on how she was treated at the convention.

 The chief data scientist of Salesforce, J.P. Rangaswami, discusses how incredible the future could be.

What I Read Today March 24th

The convoluted not-logic of Hobby Lobby’s upcoming Supreme Court case, more creepy things about Chernobyl, Google’s latest plan towards world conquest, and pine tree DNA is pretty crazy stuff.

A cat is trapped in snow, with only its head and tail sticking out, swishing around.

MotherJones: Are You There God? It’s Me, Hobby Lobby

So basically, the Hobby Lobby case requires the court to decide whether a corporation has sincere religious beliefs that would be compromised by having its health plan cover the contraception that it once covered because it believes that contraception causes abortions, even when it doesn’t. Got that?

Live Science: Chernobyl Trees Barely Decomposed, Study Finds

Everything about Chernobyl is creepy horror movie fodder.

Wired: Google’s Bold Plan to Overthrow Amazon as King of the Cloud

Like other cloud giants, Google and Hölzle aim to make life easier for anyone who’s building a new website or new a mobile app, storing or processing large amounts of data, or just trying to see if some code will run. Rather than setting up their own infrastructure, businesses and developers can just open up a web browser and run their software on Google’s network. Many are already doing this.

Live Science: Pine Tree Yields Longest Genome Ever Sequenced

Conifers have been around since the age of the dinosaurs, and they have some of the biggest genomes of all living things.