CRRRaSh! 260 Bitter Lemon

By Roy Mathur, on 2019-04-28, at 12:32:40 to 12:57:02 BST, for Captain Roy's Rocket Radio Show, Listen

Sick

Amazing. Upset stomach, crusty eye, zits on an in my nose. The IBS was the worse, and took me down for a couple of days. Disgusting, yes? Well, that is why I've been absent. Back today, though.

I Havenít Forgotten About Doctor Who.

Notre Dame Rebuild Cost

Depending on where you read it, new articles estimate the rebuild cost anywhere from 1 billion to several billion pounds. Personally, I think it's going to cost more and take longer than anyone thinks.

There have also been complaints of billionaires helping to fund the rebuild, while not willing to fork out to help the poor. Well, that's what tax is for, and if you can't close ridiculous offshore loopholes for the very wealthiest people on the planet, then you only have yourselves to blame.

I've been complaining about greed for years, but governments, not just France's, always go for the easy pickings, i.e. tax the poorest to subsidise the richest.

Climate Change: The Facts (2019), Our Planet (2019), and Extinction Rebellion Continues

It can't be a coincidence that David Attenborough's climate collapse programme, Climate Change--The Facts (2019), was aired a few days after the Extinction Rebellion protest started. Our Planet (2019) is another David Attenborough series out on Netflix now.

Oh, and Extinction rebellion demonstrations are still going on London and other places. Yesterday, the London Stock Exchange was peacefully blocked and today, apparently, Banksy may have fiddled with Nelson's Column. There's a Banksy-type mural at the base depicted a girl using a paintbrush with the Extinction Rebellion logo to paint graffiti saying, "FROM THIS MOMENT DESPAIR ENDS AND TACTICS BEGIN".

Favourite and Least Favourite Podcasts

Although I listen to hundreds of podcasts for entertainment, I don't generally recommend other people's podcasts. Why help the competition? They don't help me, so why should I? (Yes, I have become that petty. Not so much sherbet lemon, as bitter lemon). However, sometimes I'll hear an episode that is so good, I would be remiss not to recommend it.

The first is an old episode of RadioLab from February 2013 called Million Dollar Microsecond about how network infrastructure can affect stock market trading; trust me, it is fascinating.

The second is the latest episode of 20,000 Hertz, which is about Voyager's golden record.

Least favourite? Zuck's new and terrible and boring podcast that makes that twenty-five minute ramble I once made about washing machines almost bearable.

Sri Lanka Social Media Blackout

The bombing has been something of a family topic. 911, Norway 2011, New Zealand, now Sri Lanka, and countless other mass murders has left us disgusted and tired with this constant grinding bad news.

The tech angle is that the Sri Lankan government killed social media for a few days, not wanting a repeat of reprisal attacks that occurred in 2018. It's a fraught decision to make because social media can help people stay in contact in emergency situations, but can also lead to uncontrolled speculation and misdirected hatred, like the mess Reddit caused in the wake of the Boston bombing.

Neo-Nazi Garbage Still for Sale on Amazon

Amazon.co.uk, as of this time of writing, still has a disgusting underbelly of sellers pushing neo-Nazi paraphernalia. I say "still" because this has been a recurrent problem over the years. Just Google.

Every now and again, it becomes a news item, then Amazon may or may not do something and everyone forgets about it. The last time this caught big media's attention was late in 2018.

If you see something like this, keep a record of the URLs to the items, report it by phone or by email, if you can find a valid address (after a lengthy search, I tried complaints@amazon.co.uk and resolution-uk@amazon.co.uk). If you aren't concerned about anonymity, also tweet your complaint to @JeffBezos. Wait a decent interval, then check to see if Amazon has banned the seller or removed the items.

Personally, I found and reported some of the many particularly repulsive variations of the Celtic cross flag that Neo-Nazis use. No good deed goes unpunished.... with Amazon's "Recently Viewed" feature, the garbage I reported started popping up every time I logged into Amazon. I have since switched this delightful tracking option off.

Everything Doesn't Orbit Everything

I said that everything orbits everything in 256. That isn't strictly true.

While many astronomical bodies, formations, and other things in space do orbit something denser, only some of the smaller galaxies orbit other galaxies. Antlia 2, the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Sagittarius Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy and others orbit our own Milky Way. The Milky Way galaxy doesn't orbit anything.

Overly Conservative Take On Zombie Brains

In 259, I said, "In recently published research in Nature, the disembodied brains of pigs were partly revived by Yale University scientists... several hours after death... The research does hold out slight promise for preserving brain or other organ function for use in lab research."

I was being highly conservative when I said that. I'm sure there are more awful, as well as promising, implications should these revivification techniques improve. Law: when is someone legally dead? Moral: when should life-support end for a comatose patient?

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Great concept, but the plastic screen breaks really easily at the fold, as a bunch of tech journalists have recently found out. How much does it cost again? Samsung even went as far as making iFixit remove their teardown of the, and I think it's fair to say this at this point, flawed device.

Strangely, I can't see any sign of Samsung backing down from their launch date, as you can still pre-order the phone in the UK.

Doctor Who 1972

Coming soon.