Satellites to the Rescue

Here’s a piece I wrote for the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation on how satellites and space technology are helping, and might help, in the case of big medical emergencies, from earthquakes to Ebola. It’s a slightly different tack for me and perhaps not the usual fare for loose wire blog, but I thought …

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Flying Posteriors

  Discards Asses and Butts    Originally uploaded by Loose Wire. Couldn’t resist this: my wife discovered cigarette ash was blowing in through her window so we asked the apartment super if he could do anything about it. The result was this wonderful sign that has just gone up in our building: “Do restrain from …

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“It Says Take a Left Up This Impassable Mountain Track”

  photo from Reuters Apparently technology is making us so dumb we need signs to jolt us back to common sense. Reuters reports that Britain has started trials of special road signs warning “drivers about the dangers of trusting their satellite navigation devices (satnavs)”: Some have reported that software glitches have sent drivers down one-way …

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Cellphone Spikes and Disaster Management

Steven Levitt makes a good point on the Freakonomics blog about the spike in cellphone usage after the Minneapolis bridge collapse which alerted at least one carrier to an emergency before the news hit. His conclusion: This would seem to hints at strategies that could be useful for coordinating quick emergency response more generally, as …

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Indonesia’s Quake

For anyone interested in helping the victims of the Yogyakarta earthquake, in which thousands of people have been killed inside their heavy stone and slate homes, here’s Indonesia Help – Earthquake and Tsunami Victims. Sadly, this website was originally set up for the tsunami, now 17 months ago, but has been quickly resurrected to provide …

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Love Is In The Air, Or At Least A Captive Audience Is

Was reading a piece in the Journal (subscription only) saying Delta Air Lines’ Song division is going to plug the CD by Better Than Ezra (a band that last had a hit 10 years ago) to passengers, a captive audience Delta have just realised they can sell anything to so long as they batter them …

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Earthquakes, Power Laws and Sparklines

The Asian tsunami, and the quake near Nias, bring home how volatile the region is, particularly Indonesia. (Another quake this morning sent Nias residents fleeing into the hills in panic.) But I thought an interesting way of illustrating this volatility might be to do a sparkline of earthquakes and their magnitude around the world in …

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