Sunday, January 21, 2007

News round-up

Peter Hitchens: Should Saddam have been executed in public or at all

Probably the most intelligent and perceptive article I've read on this subject. Hitchens makes some good points, amongst them how we find executions of those found guilty by trial more troubling than 'accidental' killings, by the police or military, of those who are innocent or who have not had the benefit of a fair trial. Equally, he points out how throughout history, we've had a tendency towards Human sacrifice, and how Christianity basically ended this through stressing that Christ had died on the Cross to save all of us, and that this was now enough to atone for all our sins (therefore no more Human sacrifice was neccessary. And if you study history, you will see how disturbingly frequent such barbaric and unneccesary acts were).

The author of the bestselling 'Dangerous book for boys': Superdad will make a man of you, lads

The success of this book is surely a sign of how people are sick of boys being overly constrained in our misandric and risk-adverse culture.

Robots: Robot nurses ready for hospitals in three years

The technology of robotics seems poised to make a greater impact on our lives within the near future. Bill Gates wrote an article for last month's Scientific American making the point that home robots will soon be common.

Back to the moon: It's been 35 years since man walked on the moon and now NASA plans to go back

Anyone else notice how the stalling of the space program co-incided with the rise in feminism? All these things are probably connected at some level. I think it's something to do with as the political and economic power of women increased from the '70s onwards, we became more of a culture that liked to play it safe, and make baby-steps towards things rather than take on big bold risks. Ironically, the space shuttle turned out to be anything but safe, and the International space station turned into pretty much an expensive dead-end. Maybe theres an important life lesson there? Sometimes by thinking you are playing it safe by taking baby steps, you aren't, and you'd have been better off making the big bold risk in the first place.

Also, less seriously, if you are considering a career as a space engineer perhaps it might be worth growing some big whiskers, as Professor Colin Pillinger (the man behind the British Mars robot Beagle 2) and Burt Rutan (the maverick American behind SpaceShipOne, which Richard Branson is turning into the centerpeice of a business that will be taking members of the public into space within a couple of years) demonstrate:

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