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Alexander Becker
Lux ex tenebris
Lux ex tenebris

Alexander's posts

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I'm not here to say please...

If I'm curt with you it's because time is a factor. I think fast, I talk fast and I need you guys to act fast if you wanna get out of this. So, pretty please... with sugar on top.


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Building a Nuke? You Need Snake Oil

In April 2009 it was reported from Saudi Arabia that rumors that Singer sewing machines contained "red mercury" had caused the prices of such machines to massively increase in the Kingdom, with some paying up to SR 200,000 for a single machine which could previously have been bought for SR 200. Believers in the rumor claimed that the presence of red mercury in the sewing machines' needles could be detected using a mobile telephone; if the line cut off when the telephone was placed near to the needle, this supposedly proved that the substance was present. In Medina there was a busy trade in the sewing machines, with buyers seen using mobile phones to check the machines for red mercury content, while it was reported that others had resorted to theft, with two tailors' shops in Dhulum broken into and their sewing machines stolen. There was little agreement among believers in the story as to the exact nature or even color of the red mercury, while the supposed uses for it ranged from it being an essential component of nuclear power, to having the ability to summon jinn, extract gold, or locate buried treasure and perform other forms of magic.


The beauty about that kind of hoax is that attempts to debunk it are seen as cover-ups, hiding the secret in plain sight...

Tomorrow's NYT Magazine has an interesting feature about "red mercury" as well:

(The picture is an actual picture of legitimate red mercury, copying that picture constitutes WMD proliferation.) 

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(Bullet)-proof against the third kind, it makes you look bad

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Solar Eclipse

Picture taken with a Nexus 5 through a CD in Berlin.

(Reposted after G+ botched the first upload.)
Solar Eclipse March 2015
3 Photos - View album

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How to Comment on PDF Files (with the Free Version of Acrobat Reader)

If you are using my services and we are creating a book together; at some point, we are exchanging PDF files of your manuscript with my layout for you to review and annotate with comments and edits.

Otherwise, and always, if you have a book project, I'm available to help you:

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"Software that can publish every draft of a book simultaneously shows the true beauty of the creative process"

How an author uses a versioning system to preserve states and hence history and evolution of his prose.

If you are interested in experimenting with technologies such as this one and publish versioned ebooks, or want to stay traditional in print, working on real paper, let's talk:

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War Archery

If someone is able to make it look that easy and elegant, they achieved mastery. 

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Taking books into the future?

The book format on the Economist site nicely illustrates the difference between a tangible book and a digital prop. While the message may or may not be devalued, it is certainly altered, a fact that needs to be taken into account; you cannot arbitrarily change the medium without adjusting the message.

When I'm making books (, it always yields better results to invest in the extra work to adapt the printed book's content to the ebook, instead of merely copying and forcing what was created for one medium into the respective other medium. 
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