Linkspam Time

XKCD makes you feel really sorry for the Spirit rover. This is an example of a device that has performed well beyond any original hopes, though – it was only designed to last for 90 days and it’s been going for more than 2000.

Here is a Supreme Court decision from the file marked ‘Batshit Insane’. It came in the same week as Obama’s healthcare initiatives finally died a painful, slow death. In the long run, this decision may well be just as bad for America as the reform-failure. It won’t kill anyone directly, but by putting elected officials even further into the pockets of large financial institutions, it will distort the decision-making. This will hit things like infrastructure projects – like electricity generation, or water supply. Or indeed healthcare policy. And these are things that can hurt people, very badly indeed. (Also, expect the RIAA to get a lot more powerful.)

Worst of all, it doesn’t appear to be particularly-controversial, either. During the Bush years I formed an impression that American democracy is at-best sickly, and more probably dying. I wonder if all that November 2008 brought was false hope? Oh well, at least it’s not my country.

Oh, talking of our country? A certain man has been at it again – almost as if he feels he didn’t spread enough poison during his term. It only strengthens my opinion that the Chilcot inquiry has been little more than a painful sideshow. Was anyone seriously expecting that it might lead to the truth?

In less blood-pressure-raising news, the paper that I’m on has been picked up by the Bad Astronomy blog. Admittedly I’m only 8th author, but it’s still kind of cool!

Ah. I said something about infrastructure, didn’t I? Well, what about step wells? A fascinating and ingenious solution to the problem of storing water between monsoons in India, and also one that happens to look visually-stunning. They’re fascinating structures, as much works of art as infrastructure projects, and all the more amazing because they were built before centuries before the start of the modern age.

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