Google’s “Olympic Charter” Logo Stands Up To Russia’s Anti-Gay Legislation

The Rise and Fall of Australia’s $44 Billion Broadband Project – IEEE Spectrum

The Tampa children reflect on their rescue 12 years on | Herald Sun

The Tampa Children - From scared youngsters to smiling adultsThey and their families were en route to Christmas Island. They were rescued by the Norwegian container ship the Tampa. Lawyers fought for them in the Australian court. Politicians argued to keep them out of the country.

Two weeks after their rescue, as planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, these faceless, nameless boat-people turned from troublesome “queue jumpers” into potential terrorists.

But New Zealand took the children and their families when Australia would not.

The Tampa affair was the start of Australia’s debate over asylum seekers arriving by boat.

For 12 years, the argument has grumbled with each new batch of boats, getting louder again as another federal election looms.

Full story at

Map correctness and its consequences

I’ve had a globe for years and prefer it when looking up countries with my kids, as obviously it provides us with the most accurate perspective on our world (Google Earth too now, of course). There is no shape/size filter or projection involved.

But on paper, we are used to looking at the world in Mercator projection. It’s what on most atlas pages.

World map in Mercator projection

The Mercator projection originates in the 16th century, and is really useful when navigating the world’s oceans by boat. However, it does very little for giving you even a remotely adequate idea of what the world really looks like – specifically, proportions.

Sure, we know and can see that since earth is roughly a sphere, in order to do this projection we need to stretch the world horizontally the closer we get to the poles. But what you may not usually spot is that the equator is located about two thirds down the page. Hmm….

Below is our world in Peters projection:

Peter's Map

One of its main features (at least to me) is that it puts the equator in the middle.

You can further mess with your brain by putting Australia in the centre, and/or turning the whole map up-side-down. All that still amounts to the same earth, it’s just a matter of perspective. And perspective matters. It matters a great deal.

Generally speaking, larger is regarded as more important, and by convention things at the top of a page similarly so. What proper proportions (and positions) teach is a better sense of where we (you and I individually, and our respective countries) are in the world in relation to everything else.

This clip from The West Wing TV series covers the topic awesomely well:

See for some more maps and info on true relative size.

A case can easily be made that these days, map projection amounts to politics. Your projection will define how you view the world and your own relative position (and size) in it. Interesting, isn’t it?

6 ‘Harmless’ Fads That Caused Widespread Destruction

It turns out some fads have poisoned thousands, started wars, and enslaved entire nations, all for the sake of some dumbass thing people wanted to ride, wear, or eat.

Average CO2 levels rise past nasty threshold | NYT

The average carbon dioxide reading surpassed 400 parts per million at the research facility atop the Mauna Loa volcano on the island of Hawaii […] The best available evidence suggests the amount of the gas in the air has not been this high for at least three million years […]

What Most Schools Don’t Teach

Via my good friend and fellow traveller Jaap van Till… every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn to code. Software is now in nearly everything around us, and many are needed to define and create it.

Even if you don’t (want to) create code yourself, a better understanding will help you get to what you want and need to do.

NBN vs Coalition alternative | ABC

The Coalition’s broadband policy slogan states that they will “Complete the current NBN cheaper and faster.” This simply isn’t true.

See for the full story.

mathematicians offer unified theory of dark matter, dark energy – Indiana University

Stanford biologist and computer scientist discover the ‘anternet’ | School of Engineering

A collaboration between a Stanford ant biologist and a computer scientist has revealed that the behavior of harvester ants as they forage for food mirrors the protocols that control traffic on the Internet.