It’s always interesting when you come across a paper that makes you say to yourself ‘Yeah! That makes sense’. I had that feeling last week when I saw this one pop up on the pre-press website arXiv.org.
Dr Timo Nieminen of the University of Queensland explores why armies in China and Mongolia persisted with bows and arrows, despite inventing gunpowder. He concluded that it was the composite bow – a complex construction that took a year to build and was far superior to firearms up to the 17th century – that kept them shooting arrows at their enemies.
It’s an interesting read and you can read Stuart Gary’s story about the paper on ABC Science Online. I wonder what Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs and Steel, would think?
We were warned that the weather would be bad and conditions ripe for bushfire. It still didn’t prepare us for what happened.
Nay, Zac and I spent the afternoon beating the heat in a friend’s pool. I was amazed at how quickly my hair dried and saw later that it was 40 degrees C.
Later that night I spoke to my mother in Melbourne. She told me it had been 47 degrees and windy. There had also been fires to the north near Kilmore. When we got home we read that 14 people had been found dead. This sounded serious.
It was next day that the enormity of the fires was revealed. Although the number of dead continues to rise, it seems evident that this is the worst natural disaster in Australia.
It’s obvious that despite our modern technology we are still at the mercy of fire when it is at it’s worst. Already there is debate over issues such as stay or leave, how prepared can you be and how should people be warned.
There are certainly ways to reduce the risk, nut it can never be totally reduced.
While I agree that any persons found responsible for these fires should be prosecuted, I cringe at the mob mentality of calls to ‘hang em’ or ‘burn em’.
One theory that is being banded around is that a cigarette butt may have started the main fire. It’s a reasonable one as it started near the Hume Hwy. That day I was behind a female driver who did the same thing.
Could there be someone now sitting at home who realises that they threw a cigarette butt out the window and are now responsible for deaths of more than 100 people? Probably a good reason to ban cigarettes completely.
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Posted in Blog
Tagged bushfire, history
It’s amazing how my television habits have changed in such a shirt space of time. Last year we subscribed to Foxtel so we could watch more football. It came with IQ which is a hard drive recorder. Being able to pause TV, record and schedule, and watch shows ok demand has been great. We haven’t been watching more TV, rather more selective.
At the start of the tear I purchased an iPod touch. In the past few months I’ve been using it to watch video ppdcasts. Two that Ive been watching are Life – an amazing program following Australian children each year. The second is First Australians from SBS. This is a beautifully put together documentary telling the history of the first Australians and the invasion if European settlers more than 200 years ago. It’s powerful stuff, probably because it’s told with honesty. Every Australian should watch this documentary to get a true understanding of our country’s history.
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Having shared breakfast with Nay and Zac, I snuck out for two quick caches.
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