1) The Web is dead. Long live the internet – a really interesting analysis of our changing habits in relation to Internet usage. A key point being made is that the web – thought to be universal – is being replaced in some cases by native apps running on smartphones and tablets. The internet is still the delivery mechanism for the data that drives these apps of course, but the front ends are returning to native client instead of web. I found this fascinating as it exactly mirrors how my usage of the internet has changed since owning an iPhone. In some cases (i.e. eBay) I find the smartphone app preferable to the full blown web site.
2) Push! Kiss your browser goodbye! – Ties in nicely with (1). This article from March 1997 also tries to argue that the web is dead, but this time the successor was to be push technology. Anyone who remembers the hype around this, and names like PointCast will know that this was a short-lived attempt to make the web easier to use, and quicker to mine information from. The question is, although the article turned out to be completely wrong, is it somehow proved a little more correct now that we have smartphone and tablet native apps for accessing the web?
3) Morass of Molasses Mucks Up Boston – a fascinating account of a disaster that took place in 1919 in a neighborhood of Boston. At first you might well chuckle at the idea of a torrent of thick syrup running through the streets (I did) but eventually it becomes clear that this was a deadly event – around twelve people died.
4) ‘Comets’ Debut Trans-Atlantic Jet Age and Boeing 707 Makes First Flight – two separate articles that recount the very beginning of jet-powered passenger flights, telling the story of the early success of the British DeHavilland Comet which later lost ground to the Boeing competitor due to smaller capacity and a string of metal-fatigue related crashes.
5) Love Canal Calamity Surfaces – another disaster account, although you can probably get a chuckle out of the place name. This has to be one of the most shocking cases of gross negligence ever comitted: a local authority buys a site containing massive pollution from toxic chemicals and decides to build a school on top of it. To make matters worse, a residential area grew up around the school. The business that originally owned the land warned how serious the pollution situation was and sold the land for $1, but the new owners still continued to build on the land without any form of proper cleanup. How this was ever allowed to happen is a mystery to me when you look at the effects on the people who lived there – before the place was condemned and evacuated.