In 1979, the Fastnet Yacht Race turned into one of the greatest yacht-racing disasters ever. 21 people died, many boats were dismasted, abandoned or sunk as the race became a fight to stay alive. On one of those boats was teenager John O’Donnell. (2019)
Tagged with “race” (12)
Music in Strabane; Donegal fiddle playing; life before Riverdance; Trinity College and Dublin; homesickness and music
This week, Eric sits down with Watchmen writer Cord Jefferson (The Good Place, Succession) to talk about what makes the show so singular in its unflinching look at race in America.
Installing Windows might take 5,000 years without the compiler, a remarkable innovation which made modern computing possible. Tim Harford tells a compelling story which has at its heart a pioneering woman called Grace Hopper who – along the way – single-handedly invented the idea of open source software too.
The compiler evolved into COBOL – one of the first computer languages – and led to the distinction between hardware and software.
A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived | Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 3:08 pm on 20 September 2016 | Radio New Zealand
Each of us carries an epic poem in our cells. DNA tells the story of our murky origins, shaped by evolution, to our current obsession with tracing our ancestry.
That nucleic acid has the genetic information needed to make all living things. But it’s not the whole story, not even close according to former geneticist, now host of the BBC’s Inside Science.
Adam Rutherford says the human genome should not be read as instruction manuals, but as epic poems.
His new book A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived separates the myths about what DNA can and can’t tell us about ourselves, where we came from and where the human race is going.
He uses a metaphor to help people get their head around what DNA is – that of sheet music and an orchestra.
“More often than not people have referred to DNA as a blueprint or an instruction manual.
“Sometimes that can be quite misleading because if something’s a blueprint it implies that all the plans are laid out and it has this association with biological determinism – what your genes are is what you will be.”
And he says we now know that’s not true.
“The sheet music for a piece of music is the same whether you buy it in 1906 or 2006 but the interpretation of that is down to the conductor and the orchestra and all of the annotations, the layering and the performance.
“This feels like a better way of describing nature and nurture which results in the symphony which is us.”
As to forking out hard earned money to find out your ancestry, through DNA profiling don’t bother, he says.
“We now know about ancestry that we’re all incredibly inbred, the last common ancestor of all Europeans was only about four or five hundred years ago.
"If you pay them to tell you your ancestors were vikings, it’s true, but only because everyone is. The truth is all of us have ancestors who were vikings and Jews and Indians."
Author, developer and web standards evangelist Aaron Gustafson returns to the show to discuss progressive enhancement and how fundamental concepts are still relevant today. We discuss development philosophies as well as dive into development specifics of progressive enhancement, how planning and responsive design fits in, as well as the business and user case for always developing with progressive enhancement in mind.
Samuel R. Delany is a grand master of science fiction. Literally. The Science Fiction Writers of America association named him a Grand Master for lifetime achievement. He’s a gay, African American author who writes fearlessly about sex and race… and the future.
The evening began with a short version of Isao Ishimoto’s animation of all the world’s atomic explosions in the period 1945 to 1998. The total is shocking to most people—-2,053. Rhodes commented that seeing the bomb tests on a world map over time shows how much they were a strange form of communication between nations. He also noted how the number of tests dropped from decades of intensity to near zero after 1993. In this century only North Korea has tested bombs, and those could be the last explosions.
Most Americans, he’s found, think that we don’t have nuclear weapons any more, and that may reflect a realistic perception that we no longer need them. But our government keeps looking for reasons to keep them, and maintaining the current much reduced arsenal still costs $50 billion a year.
How much did the Cold War cost everyone from 1948 to 1991, and how much of that was for nuclear weapons? The total cost has been estimated at $18.5 trillion, with $7.8 trillion for nuclear. At the peak the Soviet Union had 95,000 weapons and the US had 20 to 40,000. America’s current seriously degraded infrastructure would cost about $2.2 trillion to fix—-all the gas lines and water lines and schools and bridges. We spent that money on bombs we never intended to use—-all of the Cold War players, major and minor, told Rhodes that everyone knew that the bombs must not and could not be used. Much of the nuclear expansion was for domestic consumption: one must appear "ahead," even though numbers past a couple dozen warheads were functionally meaningless.
Rhodes noted that people fear the blast and radiation effects of atomic bombs, but it’s really the fires that are most destructive. The fireball ignites everything far beyond the blast effects. As a result, nuclear winter remains a threat. Former researchers of nuclear winter used sophisticated new climate models to assess what would happen if, say, there was an exchange of 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs (1.5 kilotons) between India and Pakistan. The smoke clouds would disrupt the weather long enough to collapse some agriculture, leading to starvation of as many as a billion people.
Serious efforts are underway to get the world’s nuclear weapons down toward zero. All weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU) is being tallied and secured. Sophisticated, unrestrained inspection systems are gaining ever more access. In some cases, arsenals are being "virtualized"—-nuclear capability substitutes for weapons stockpiles. India and Pakistan, for instance, have disassembled their nuclear weapons into widely separated parts that would take considerable time and deliberation to reassemble.
In the course of his research, Rhodes shifted from opposition to nuclear power for electricity to becoming a strong proponent. Among its benefits is offering a way for the thousands of warheads to be converted into something useful when diluted into large quantities of reactor fuel. Also the international fuel banking proposed for bringing proliferation-free nuclear power to developing nations can help enable more thorough inspections of all fissile material.
At dinner Rhodes reflected that nuclear weapons may come to be seen as a strange fetishistic behavior by nations at a certain period in history. They were insanely expensive and thoroughly useless. Their only function was to keep a bizarre form of score.
June 29, 2007
25 years ago this week, Blade Runner debuted in American theaters. It was set in a Los Angeles of the future, but its portrayals of race and racism had plenty of resonance in 1982. Reporter Phillip Martin looks back on a classic of cyborgian social criticism.
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