Hannah Waters | Scientific American | 29 January 2013
"Every year billions of birds and mammals are killed by free-ranging domestic house cats. And millions of reptiles and amphibians on top of that. If we are honest with ourselves the best solution to this problem is to kill cats. Kill them, with their cute little faces, their soft fur and their snuggles. Some of the cats need to be dead"
Randall Munroe | What If? | 29 January 2013
"What would happen if you tried to fly a normal Earth airplane above different Solar System bodies?" Most planets have no atmosphere. You'd fall to the ground. You could fly over Mars, but only at very high speed. Or over Venus, but your plane would catch fire. Best bet: Titan. Thick atmosphere, low gravity. Flying as easy as walking
Liam Vaughan & Gavin Finch | Bloomberg | 28 January 2013
Depressingly sleazy story of how banks rigged world interest rates. “The biggest financial fraud of all time.” How did it happen? Regulators slept. It's all there in one line from Alan Greenspan: “Through all of my experience, what I never contemplated was that there were bankers who would purposely misrepresent facts to banking authorities”
Simon Kuper | Financial Times | 25 January 2013
"It’s the eternal paradox of Paris: why is the world’s most charming metropolis also the most unfriendly? When I moved here in 2002, I was determined to learn Parisian codes, break through the Parisian rudeness. More than a decade later, I can say: beneath the snooty unfriendly façade, Paris is a snooty, unfriendly city. I can even explain why"
Mike Dash | Smithsonian | 29 January 2013
Family flees Siberian village during Stalin's terror in 1936, hikes into tundra, stays there more than 40 years. Found by geological survey in 1978 living in a burrow near the Mongolian border lined with potato peelings and pine cones. Parents had raised two more children in the wild, making four in all, and never seen another human being
Avishai Margalit | New York Review Of Books | 28 January 2013
Short answer: More good than bad. "British colonial rule in Palestine never threatened to displace the indigenous population and to disinherit it (though it did infamously prohibit Europe’s displaced Jews from entering Palestine). But Israeli colonial rule did threaten and disinherit the Palestinians, and continues to do so"
Thought for the day:
"I’m not happy. But I don’t think any great man ever is" — Orde Wingate