Further Reading: A Legendary Pony, Plasma Rock Drills, & 3D Egyptian Pyramid Tours

Jan 7, 2023 at 15:19
by Mike Levy  

Further Reading is a monthly tangent of definitely-not-bike-related reads that have nothing to do with riding but are just too good not to share. While there aren't any 'hard-hitting' stem reviews below, you will find long-form reads, thought-provoking stories, interesting videos, and other non-bike content that we've been following from across our network and beyond. This one's a bit late, but we'll blame it on the holidays.

Found something interesting that's worth sharing and has nothing to do with bikes? Post it in the comments below.

The Giza Project / Harvard University

"The Giza Project is a non-profit international initiative based at Harvard University. Through digital archaeology, we assemble, curate, and present archaeological records about one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, the Giza Pyramids and surrounding cemeteries and settlements. The Project manages arguably the world’s largest digital archive of Giza material. We use this data to build immersive 3D model reconstructions and other media as we develop powerful new teaching technologies and research tools."

What year do we live in again? Thanks to the folks at the Giza Project, you can take a virtual walk through the Great Pyramid of Giza while sitting on your couch, which you should absolutely do right now. You can go through the Grand Gallery up to the King's Chamber, back down to the Queen's Chamber, and even down the narrow tunnel to the strange pit dug deep beneath Khufu's purported tomb.

Oh, and have you heard about the void discovered in the Great Pyramid by measuring cosmic rays? Unfortunately, the anything-but-straightforward nature of Egyptian archeology means that it'll likely be many years or even decades before we know more, but I can hardly wait.


Tim Weiner / Penguin Random House

"With shocking revelations that made headlines in papers across the country, Pulitzer-Prize-winner Tim Weiner gets at the truth behind the CIA and uncovers here why nearly every CIA Director has left the agency in worse shape than when he found it; and how these profound failures jeopardize our national security."

If you're looking for some IRL reading, Tim Weiner's Legacy of Ashes tells the frightening and very real story of the Central Intelligence Agency, from its strangely timed beginnings to its many failures and outright crimes that have been mostly ignored. The list includes murder, of course, as well as the usual domestic wiretapping, torture on US soil and abroad, plenty of poisonings, decades of outright lies to Congress, covertly steering public opinion on everything from politics and voting to the news you watch, literal drug trafficking, and so much more.

If you think that sounds crazy, you should hear about the stuff they planned that didn't end up happening. And don't forget that the CIA is the same outfit that's supposed to be providing intelligence and information that US leaders use to make important decisions, which makes Weiner's book even scarier. I'm nearly through Legacy of Ashes and can't recommend it enough, especially if you're still trusting a system (and the news) that depends on organizations like the CIA to get things done.

Tim Neville / Outsideonline.com

"Born on an island off the coast of Virginia, home to a wild herd that inspired the classic children’s novel ‘Misty of Chincoteague,’ this gentle, blue-eyed gelding enjoyed an adventurous life with a family in New Mexico. After his death, a mother and daughter went on a mission: to lay him to rest amid the sand and the waves."

Possibly the descendant of a group of shipwrecked Spanish horses, Legend lived up to his name in life and death. You might want to have the tissues close for this one.

Frontline PBS

"In 2020, the journalism nonprofit Forbidden Stories and Amnesty International gained access to a leaked list of more than 50,000 phone numbers. They suspected it contained numbers selected for potential surveillance with Pegasus. The Pegasus Project reporting consortium — which was led by Forbidden Stories and included 16 other media organizations, FRONTLINE among them — found that the spyware had been used on journalists, human rights activists, the wife and fiancée of the murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, and others."

Israeli cyber-intelligence company NSO built and sells their Pegasus Spyware to governments around the world where it's used to monitor citizens' phones without them knowing. It can access keystrokes, text messages, e-mails, and even private messaging apps like Signal and Whatsapp.

Tim Zimmermann / Outsideonline.com

"At the bottom of the biggest underwater cave in the world, diving deeper than almost anyone had ever gone, Dave Shaw found the body of a young man who had disappeared ten years earlier. What happened after Shaw promised to go back is nearly unbelievable—unless you believe in ghosts."

Bushman’s Hole is one of the deepest freshwater caves in the world, and diver Dave Shaw was 800 feet below the surface when he spotted Deon Dreyer's body stuck in its muddy bottom.

Maria Gallucci / IEEE Spectrum

"A vast supply of heat lies beneath our feet. Yet today's drilling methods can barely push through dense rocks and high-pressure conditions to reach it. A new generation of “enhanced" drilling systems aims to obliterate those barriers and unlock unprecedented supplies of geothermal energy."

Today, the fastest tunnel-boring machines can munch through roughly thirty-seven meters of rock over twenty-four hours, which is pretty impressive when you think about it. But imagine a device that could bore through twenty meters of rock in just a single hour, turning it into plasma and vitrifying the walls to seal and stabilize the tunnel in the process. Spectrum's linked article explains how the technology could be used to access geothermal energy, but it also seems like a clever way to build a bunch of secret tunnels.

Previous Further Reading Articles:
F1 Data, Ski Town Challenges, & Neil Armstrong's Search for Gold Tablets
Motorola's Secret EV, Saturation Divers, Stone Skipping & More

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 41 1
 OK thanks. Kazimer's turn now
  • 9 0
 He's going to post 7 Dinosaur Jr. music videos
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I support this.
  • 17 1
 Damn, those cave divers just straight up have a death wish, no matter how much they gloss over it with ideas of heroics or exploration.
  • 4 0
 They seem to be aware of the dangers, even explicity telling the support crews to never deviate from the dive plan even if it means saving the diver they're supporting. I can't say I understand why these people cave dive, but I get why they do it. Because it's there.
  • 11 0
 I'd totally go cave diving.... As long as it was in the Varibbean the water was 28 degrees, the walls were tiled, there was no roof, and a bar I could sit at at the far end.
  • 3 1
 just watched THE ALPINIST, THE RIVER RUNNER and LONG LIVE CHAINSAW Death is always near, especially choosing these lifestyles. But none of us would have it any other way hug a kitten today
  • 4 1
 Many say the same about mountain bikers.
  • 4 2
 @BobbyHillbomb: also, what quite often can seem to someone who is inexperienced as insanely risky (because it would be for them), for someone who is experienced is a calculated risk. eg going off large drops on a mountain bike.
  • 1 2
 @bigtim: As an American, I couldn't quite understand your desire to swim in sub frozen water for a moment. -2 C water doesn't sound too pleasant
  • 1 0
 I just read "Into the Planet" by Jill Heinerth and found it to be really good if anyone is looking for more cave diving books.
  • 9 2
 I know of at least one bike related topic that might cheer a few folks up while we're in the middle of winter, especially the prize winners. Razz
  • 9 1
 The doldrums have officially been hit.
  • 1 3
 Levy giving clickbait a try, visible in the headlines..

"At the bottom of the biggest underwater cave in the world, diving deeper than almost anyone had ever gone, Dave Shaw found the body of a young man who had disappeared ten years earlier."
  • 4 0
 I'm a little surprised there wasn't more outcry about that Pegasus thing. I didn't even see it in the regular news, just on Youtube when it popped up in my recommendations.
  • 33 3
 That’s because the regular news is bullshit.
  • 4 7
 @mikelevy: Bell has a new helmet for you. It's made of tinfoil. Wink
  • 2 0
 @rrolly: He is exactly right, I worked over 10 years in a newsroom. The reporters are basically told what stories to cover...
  • 8 1
 @rrolly: I’ll proudly wear my tinfoil hat.
  • 2 0
 Is it not on PBS?
  • 1 2
 Public outcry seems to have zero effect on what a government with state sponsored media have decided to do these days. All they have to do is say the protestors are racist and call it “the so called Pegasus”, and everyone labels those in disagreement as fringe conspiracy theorists. Done.
  • 12 5
 @oskarsig: Good reporters are not told what stories they write, way to throw yourself under the bus.

The pegasus spyware exposure has been covered by nearly every major news network, even the misinforming Fox News has done a couple articles on it. The reason it didn't get alot of attention is because there was never much interest in it. The New York times has done the most reporting on it. Take off the tin foil hat and replace it with one that says "I'm actually uniformed but pretend to be enlightened."













  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: perhaps you have a link for those hats? Would make for good gifts in 2023!
  • 12 2
 @DoubleCrownAddict: There’s lots of Pegasus coverage out there, but you nailed it: the news covers what gives them ratings, period.

My tinfoil hat has nothing to do with Pegasus, I should have been clearer. And I definitely know nothing and am not enlightened - I would never say that about myself. But I am aware of (a little) history and am blown away when people think they’re being told the truth about certain things. I don’t know the truth, but blindly following your government and even cheering for them, the same one that’s done incredibly horrible things and is still doing them, is insane to me. It’s not a tinfoil hat, it’s healthy bipartisan skepticism based on previous events and a track record that’s hundreds of years long Smile
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: If it bleeds it leads.
TV news is an entertainment-oriented affair...for the most part.
  • 6 2
 @mikelevy: Fair enough. Skepticism is good, but conspiracy theories are the root of internet evil because people these days are so easily misinformed. Regular news does not come close to approaching the bs level of conspiracies, but they often don't go very deep into things because it's too hard to explain it or there is little interest.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Legacy of Ashes is an eye-opener.

If you don't want to read the book, this interview with a former CIA agent summarizes the agency: www.youtube.com/watch?v=NK1tfkESPVY
  • 2 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: Thanks for the response with all the links. I did a bit of an eye-roll at the implication that Pegasus wasn't covered. There's this general belief that "If it didn't pop into my news feed, the news didn't cover it" that I find really frustrating with some people
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy If you're looking for another great NSO/Pegasus interview check out this podcast podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9mZWVkcy5tZWdhcGhvbmUuZm0vZGFya25ldGRpYXJpZXM/episode/ZWRiZDc1MmUtODIxNC0xMWViLTg2MmUtNDc5MGIyNjJiYzk2?sa=X&ved=0CAUQkfYCahcKEwj47K3Z0s38AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQLA It's a general cybersecurity podcast and the host gets some great interviews.
  • 2 1
 While the plasma tunnel boring is a neat idea you still have to remove the material from the tunnel, plasma can be a bit hard to transport. Rock and dirt crushed up into smaller bits is fairly easy to handle
  • 12 0
 Third sentence in the article (emphasis mine):
AltaRock Energy is leading an effort to melt and *vaporize* rocks with millimeter waves

Also, boring wells is different enough in scale from boring tunnels that you can get away with a lot by simply pushing things to the side. Granted, it's only for geotechnical investigations, but things like direct-push cones do exactly that: punch holes in the ground, typically soil (but sometimes not!), without removing any material. DPT isn't directly comparable to going deep enough for geothermal, but you get the idea.

Now what I want to know -- what happens to all of that vapor and what kind of health and safety precautions are necessary for the crew.
  • 1 0
 @pmhobson: Exactly. I was picturing all that vaporized rock in our air. It has to go somewhere...
  • 1 0
 Misti of Chincoteague is a great book to read to your kids or yourself I guess. Really enjoyed that article about The Last Ride of A Legend. Cool to have something I could share with my daughter. All great stories.
  • 4 0
 Wow, Raising the Dead was a good read, wasnt ready for that. Thanks
  • 1 1

Oh yeah? How many reporters and new crews have you personally worked with ? I’ve seen first hand people get fired and shows been cancelled cause they was digging up dirt on the owners of the network or their friends. I’ve worked with independent reporters covering stories regular breed networks won’t touch, so gg throwing yourself under a bus.
  • 3 0
 I loved reading about Legend. Definitely needed some tissues for that one.
  • 2 0
 You could use that drilling technology to build secret underground trails for ebikes where they are banned.
  • 1 0
 So now Pink”bike” is becoming more diverse, no longer bikecentric, now we represent all things “interesting”.

Umm, there are interesting things other than bikes ?
  • 2 0
 Thanks Levy! I have just bought Weiner's book following your recomendation!
  • 1 0
 If you like Tom Weiner's book then you're going to love the Twitter Files and all the hard evidence they present of US Intelligence tampering in elections.
  • 2 0
 Can I request autoplay for this article?
  • 2 0
 I love this stuff.. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!
  • 3 0
 Pyramids are wild
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 Thanks @mikelevy, I like these articles - just bought the book from your recc
  • 1 0
 Same as me.
  • 2 0
 Bye Bye little Sebastian!
  • 1 0
 If this is your attempt at try to tidy up the comments section of pink bike.. you’ll need to try harder
  • 1 0
 Whose library is that, with all those czech / slovakian books? Smile
  • 1 0
 It is (weirdly) a photo from Peter Miller Architecture and Design Bookstore in Seattle, Washington. No clue how it ended up on Pinkbike.
  • 1 0
 @cmurider: I find it hard to believe Big Grin there are just czech/slovak poetry, fiction, folk etc. books… Must be from CZ/SK. Probably just a random stock-images photo Pinkbike bought because it looked nice? Smile
  • 1 0
 legacy of ashes was sad enough to make me laugh
  • 1 0
 Is it worth a read?
  • 2 0
 @BarneyStinson: I thought it was really good.
  • 7 10
 Very good point about trusting the news, digging deep into the main stream media will reveal that the CIA pretty much controls the major news outlets, and the CIA helped start google. www.organicconsumers.org/newsletter/googles-motto-was-dont-be-evil/how-and-why-cia-made-google
  • 11 2
 Snopes says "FALSE" that CIA controls news outlets.
  • 3 7
flag Bomadics (Jan 13, 2023 at 18:49) (Below Threshold)
 @hellanorcal: Snopes, not exactly a reputable source!
  • 5 4
 @hellanorcal: haaaaaahahaha
  • 5 2
 @hellanorcal: With many US media outlets acting as uncritical stenographers for the State Dept and DOD etc, it’s entirely plausible that intelligence agencies are currently manipulating mainstream news. The CIA’s shady relationship with the press has been well-documented by the US Senate’s own Church Committee, Carl Bernstein, Seymour Hersh, and many others in the past. Even the more recent Senate Intelligence Report on CIA Detention Program documented how the CIA intentionally misleads everyone from the president to the press. It’s definitely a thing.
  • 7 2
 @sabo-cat: Exactly. This isn't a conspiracy theory, but they depend on people to believe that's the case. It's absolutely insane to me that people watch any major news outlet, regardless of it's left or right, the NYT or the NYP (both are trash), and expect to be hearing the truth about anything, from the war to corona to geo-politics, medicine, voting, the food we eat, and everything else. And then people base their opinions on these lies, me included.
  • 2 2
 @mikelevy: based! Lotta uncritical media consumption out there.
  • 1 1
 @hellanorcal: Interesting that the CIA would say that it doesn't control news outlets
  • 2 1
 @mikelevy: The only difference between conspiracy theory and conspiracy fact is 18 months.
  • 1 1
 @sabo-cat: It's likely that news agencies are strongly influenced by intelligence agencies. My bets are on the Russian ones....
  • 2 0
 Wiener Dog Art - Larson
  • 1 0
 The NSO video says it's not available
  • 1 0
 I heard the pyramids were the world's most inefficient power generators.
  • 2 1

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