Links for February 9, 2015

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  • "Monoglot science comes with a price." Michael Gordin describes how science came to speak only English.
  • "New York’s network infrastructure is a lot like the city itself: messy, sprawling, and at times near-incomprehensible. However, the city’s tendency toward flux is a strange blessing for the infrastructure sightseer: markings and remnants of the network are almost everywhere, once you know how to look for them." Find them using the website and new field guide created by artist Ingrid Burrington. (Here's a write-up.)
  • A beautifully written account of the life and career of Walter Pitts, a logician who worked at the forefront of computational neuroscience in the 1930s and 1940s. While Pitts built a model of the brain that was perfectly logical, he struggled to deal with the messy realities of biology and everyday life.
  • Cambridge-based couple Sonia Vallabh and Eric Minikel are determined to unlock the secrets of the rare genetic condition fatal-familial insomnia (FFI) before Vallabh succumbs to its effects. Their deeply personal scientific mission has inspired geneticists around the world who work on rare prion conditions like FFI.
  • Two years ago The Economist ran a story about the Doves type—a metal type face—that was lost in 1913 when one of the printers who developed it threw it into the Thames after a falling out with his partner. This weekend, the BBC reports that scuba divers have recovered some of the printing blocks. Thanks to designer Robert Green, you can now purchase a modern digital font version.

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