Paul Ford (MeFi's Own) looks through the Social Security Death Master File, the federal government's list of U.S. citizens who have died since the creation of Social Security in 1935. (NOTE: Not everyone on the list has actually died. Also, not everyone who has died in on the list.) You can explore the database yourself: The Database of the Dead -- Are You in It?
Paul Ford (yes, yes, MeFi's Own) has created a juggernaut of an article / lived experience / beautiful time-sink about coding. At this point I'll shut up so you can pack a lunch and go immerse yourself now.
Never Better is The Awl’s goodbye to 2014. The most recent one is Last Year's Punch by Dan Nosowitz. Another notable one is Good Things of 2014, a complete list. Including: [more inside]
A day in the life, imagined 50 years from now, by ftrain: "It’s interesting when you scan old history scrolls to learn just how panicked everyone was about total global micro-surveillance. They just didn’t see it as a means of liberation, like we do now. Of course they lived in the era of giant government-run spying computers like Multivac. No one could imagine the upside of having every human interaction observed by penny sensors at all times. I’m glad to live in a world where a young woman can hop into a self-driving car with a total stranger and not feel a bit of concern." [more inside]
It’s a standardized room. "Like Diet Coke or iPhones, American rooms are a kind of product, built as quickly and cheaply as possible to a standardized specification. " Article describing the standard American room as viewed through youtube videos.
“Watching the video I thought that it was wise of Major League Baseball to combine this sort of sentimental moment with mass speculative litigation. It kept brand values strong. I felt strangely grateful that I could have a moment to remember that afternoon. Surprised by the evidence of both copyright violation and father-daughter affection.” —Paul Ford, “Nanolaw with Daughter” [more inside]
Paul Ford's Ftrain has a great piece on Micrsoft Word, writing, and the web. His stream-of-consciousness essay has hilarious nuggets like the "computer science axiom 'all software expands until it can send mail.'" There's a couple illustrations worth noting: the first looks like Word with all the tool bar icons enabled, and the other is Word's paperclip assistant interfering with an especially private moment. Great stuff.