Just asking… #2 – Time bombs


There’s a pretty good chance you’ve already seen a few movies or TV shows where a time bomb will go off once the timer reaches the dreaded 00:00. Unless of course the good guy succeeds in dismantling the device – typically at 00:02 or thereabouts, and typically by cutting the red wire, after having had an nerve-wrecking argument with a sidekick character about the color of the wire that needs to be cut first.

That is of course fiction. But what you see in movies is often at least partially linked to reality, so I guess colored wires actually play a role in some real incidents that involve explosives. So: why hasn’t anyone come up with the idea of creating a tool that will cut all wires at exactly the same time, and made this part of the standard equipment of all bomb squad members? Just asking…

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What is the problem with economic migration?

For a number of years now, migration has been one of the most prominent topics in the media – with local peaks in some countries, often caused by upcoming elections, as it has become quite obvious that it is a topic that has the ability to move voters, in one way or the other. In the Western (a.k.a. ‘developed’ or even ‘civilized’) countries, generally speaking a clear majority of the population agrees that, in the context of the migration which is covered so abundantly in the media, refugees fleeing for war should be allowed to migrate to those countries for humanitarian reasons.

But if it comes to migration for economic reasons, the willingness to allow access to the territory is dramatically lower – even amongst large parts of the population that would never even consider voting for extreme right and/or populist parties, traditionally the loudest anti-migration voices. I am wondering why this is the case. As I see it, large scale economic migration has existed for centuries without outbursts of Western protest, so what is causing this change of attitude? Perhaps I should attempt to figure out what is different now from the way it was happening before…

Let’s try breaking it down into separate elements, by looking at factors such as the areas that have been source and destination, the objects migrating, the consideration of who took the decision, the beneficiaries of the outcome, etc. Continue reading

Quote of the day #88

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

Just asking… #1 – Soccer


Around this time of year, in most European countries the soccer competition is starting again. The basic underlying concept is that you have 20 or so teams playing 1-on-1 games of soccer against each other (11 guys or girls kicking a ball from left to right in an attempt to kick it into a goal at the right end of the field and 11 others – conveniently outfitted with shirts of another color – doing exactly the opposite). The team that wins a match gets 3 points, the team that loses obviously get no points. If both teams have scored the same amount of goals during the match, both teams get one point. The teams that has gathered the highest amount of points at the end of the season is that year’s champion.

But now I am wondering: what happens if all matches in the season end in exactly the same score? Say 1-0 or 1-1. By the end of the season, each team will then have the same amount of points and the same amounts of goals scored (usually the second element taken into consideration to determine the ranking). So who will be champion then? Just asking…