Words and Pictures - December


  • Professor, You’re Dividing My Nation - Sophie Hardach (Chronicle Review). The political complexities in defining a national language (in this case, Kurdish). If you enjoyed the Urdu piece last month, you’ll enjoy this too.
  • Pursuing the Platypus - Maciej Cegłowski. A funny and entertaining narrative that introduces you to Australia’s native fauna as the author has a holiday in Queensland.
  • Stuxnet’s Secret Twin - Ralph Langner (Foreign Policy). A very readable technical explanation of how Stuxnet damaged the Iranian nuclear program. (Reading in Instapaper bypasses the free registration requirement)
  • How the Bitcoin protocol actually works - Michael Nielsen. Informative and easy to follow. It’s technical, but if you understand public key cryptography and cryptographic hashing, you’ll be fine.
  • Threat Vector - Tom Clancy with Mark Greaney. I read this on holidays and had low expectations after seeing Tom Clancy’s quality decline in the last decade, but I was pleasantly surprised. The combat sections are top-notch, as usual, but in this case the plot was quite reasonable and not wrecked by unnecessary sex.