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The Pipwick Papers

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It's time for the weekly wander into a would outside gaming so grab a jacket and venture forth. Think of this as a cherry tree covered in blossom to enjoy. Except it's an electronic branch and the flowers are web links what don't look so impressive on Instagram.

This is not the Sunday Papers:

  • Ben Popper's been looking into Google's Project Loon – an internet for remote or unconnected areas powered by balloons
  • When you imagine a sensitive computer system that will be subjected to the harsh conditions of the stratosphere, you probably don’t picture it inside a $2 box meant for a picnic. But in the fast and dirty ethos of X Labs, the simplest solution is often the best one — and so it was that the flight controller on early balloons was jammed into a styrofoam beer cooler and set to the edge of outer space. The team keeps that original unit around as a memento.

  • The Museum of Modern Art in New York has acquired original Mac icon sketches by designer, Susan Kare, the Creative Commons icon and more. Here's Paola Antonelli – senior curator for the museum's Department of Architecture And Design – talking about the exhibition they were acquired in relation to.
  • Elizabeth Becker, war correspondent and author, on her decision to testify against Khmer Rouge officials charged with genocide and crimes against humanity.
  • A handful of journalists have been asked to appear at tribunals covering countries like the Balkan nations and Rwanda. But it’s a difficult proposition. Many American news organizations believe that by testifying in war-crimes tribunals, reporters jeopardize their neutrality and the safety of correspondents, especially as war reporting has become more dangerous.

  • As a former trainee librarian at a student library I was curious to read Terrance F Ross's piece for The Atlantic, The Death of Textbooks? which looks at a shift towards digital learning and some of the technologies now available for teachers and students
  • ALEKS launched in 1999 and operated for more than decade on its own before it McGraw Hill purchased it in 2013 and is predicated on "completely individualized learning"; the program adapts based on an individual’s knowledge and skill set. Behind the scenes, the software builds a database detailing the proficiency of each student, information that is then used to formulate questions tailored to kids based on what they find most challenging. Essentially, the program—which is based on 20 years of research by cognitive scientists, mathematicians and engineers—can instantly assess the individual abilities of an entire class of students at a rate that would be impossible for most teachers.

  • Ooooh - Marvel's released the latest trailer for Age of Ultron:
  • Watch on YouTube

  • Discover Magazine's Elizabeth Preston on how turning hermit crabs upside down revealed shy crabs contain the largest spermatophores:
  • But instead of “live fast, die young,” they were employing a different strategy. More like “stay safe and protect your giant sperm packages.”

  • Artist Paul Friedlander makes beautiful kinetic light sculpture inspired by skipping ropes – here's Emiko Jozuka for
  • Aaaaand BBC Future's Helen Thomson has a look at auto-brewery syndrome, "a very rare and somewhat controversial medical condition in which an overgrowth of yeast in the gut turns carbohydrates from food into excess alcohol in the blood." Basically, some people might be able to get drunk on eating chips.
  • Rock Paper Shotgun is the home of PC gaming

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    About the Author

    Philippa Warr

    Former Staff Writer

    Pip wrote for Rock Paper Shotgun between 2014-2017, covering everything from MOBAs, hero brawlers and indie curios. She also had a keen interest in the artistry of video game creation, and was very partial to keeping us informed of the latest developments in British TV show Casualty.