Links For July 25, 2014

Where Online Services Go When They Die

Whenever a user last dialed into Prodigy before it shut down in 1999, the data saved to STAGE.DAT was frozen in time like a mosquito stuck in digital amber. Carpenter found a way to tap into that amber and extract the data. His series of Python programs reads through a previously used STAGE.DAT file, generates a list of pointers to the pages or object data contained within, then directs the Prodigy client to display them one at a time so he can take screenshots.

Visit to the World’s Fair of 2014

One thought that occurs to me is that men will continue to withdraw from nature in order to create an environment that will suit them better. By 2014, electroluminescent panels will be in common use. Ceilings and walls will glow softly, and in a variety of colors that will change at the touch of a push button.

How the Space Age Imagined 2014: Asimov’s Predictions, Revisited

But it’s also worth pausing to think about how these predictions reflect the present in which they’re read. Dreams of the future are always reshaped to fit what their readers demand of them. Asimov went viral not just because he seemed to predict Google Cars and LED lights, but because his utopian dreams of these gadgets validated our own yearning for them.

Let’s Imagine a Baseball-Playing LeBron James

It’s fair to say a LeBron James baseball equivalent would be worth 42 WAR in a year. What would it take for a baseball player to be worth 42 WAR in a year? Based on our construction, we have a hybrid shortstop/starting pitcher. When playing the field, the guy hits better than Barry Bonds and fields better than Ozzie Smith. When pitching, the guy still hits better than Barry Bonds, and he doesn’t really ever get removed, and he allows an average of basically one run per nine innings.

A Pyramid in the Middle of Nowhere Built to Track the End of the World

The photos seen here… show the central pyramid—pyramid, monument, modular obelisk: whatever you want to call it—that served as the site’s missile-tracking station. Its omnidirectional all-seeing white circles stared endlessly at invisible airborne objects moving beyond the horizon.