Interesting things I've bookmarked (old posts, page 45)

US terror vs gun laws

If only Americans reacted the same way to the actual threats that exist in their country. There's something quite fitting and ironic about the fact that the Boston freak-out happened in the same week the Senate blocked consideration of a gun control bill that would have strengthened background checks for potential buyers. Even though this reform is supported by more than 90% of Americans, and even though 56 out of 100 senators voted in favour of it, the Republican minority prevented even a vote from being held on the bill because it would have allegedly violated the second amendment rights of "law-abiding Americans".So for those of you keeping score at home - locking down an American city: a proper reaction to the threat from one terrorist. A background check to prevent criminals or those with mental illness from purchasing guns: a dastardly attack on civil liberties. All of this would be almost darkly comic if not for the fact that more Americans will die needlessly as a result. Already, more than 30,000 Americans die in gun violence every year (compared to the 17 who died last year in terrorist attacks).

The Art of Physics

Physics laboratories around the world house amazing machines that probe the heart of matter and unlock the secrets of the universe. Incredible as their scientific work is, these particle accelerators, heavy ion colliders, gamma ray detectors, and neutrino experiments are also beautiful. That's the takeaway from the 2012 Global Particle Physics Photowalk, a competition that looked at the intersection of art and high-energy particle physics. In September, hundreds of amateur and professional photographers were invited to take behind-the-scenes tours at 10 top-tier scientific facilities around the world and see some of the devices chasing the latest breakthroughs in physics.

The Art of Physics

NBN Government vs Coalition

The Coalition criticises the NBN as being too costly, claiming that their FTTN approach is vastly less expensive (the Coalition claims $17b less). If we work off the assumption that the copper infrastructure 'comes for free' then this might be a reasonable claim. But it doesn't. The reality is that the Australian copper network is nearing the end of its lifetime and will be in need of complete replacement in the near future followed by ongoing maintenance. To my knowledge, this cost has not been factored into the Coalition's estimates, which significantly underestimates the total long-term cost of the network. Fibre has a very long lifespan - on the order of at least half a century. This is not the case for copper, which deteriorates very rapidly, requiring constant maintenance or downright replacement. I suspect that once this is factored into the pricing, the Coalition's plan will not be quite as cheap as touted. Telstra currently spends $1b per year maintaining their copper network.

Safety Features On An F1 Car

In days of past, motor racing was an extremely dangerous sport, the drivers moulded from a combination of guts, steel and a touch of lunacy. During this early era, before safety harnesses and fully protective monocoques, the drivers had to literally hold on by the steering wheel and the seat of their pants.Death was an accepted part of what it took to win, and even though these fatalities were common, helmets weren't made compulsory until 1953.

Safety Features On An F1 Car

Safety Features On An F1 Car

Visiting All 193 Countries

As business goes increasingly global, many wonder: Is it true that people are the same wherever you go? One man has an answer. Not very many people in the world have visited all 193 countries, but one more person is about to accomplish this spectacular goal.His name is Chris Guillebeau. He's the architect of the Art of Non-Conformity and bestselling author of The $100 Startup: Reinventing the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love and Create a New Future. I've visited less than 20 countries. Every time I go someplace new, my entire perspective is radically changed. The idea of visiting 193 is so tantalizing not only for the promise of a new vision and countless thrilling, terrifying and illuminating experiences, but because it shows that anything is possible.