How to fly

High Ground Adventures and some headlines:

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Patient Zero

unnamed Patient Zero

Expose your diseases to friends, family, even perfect strangers!

Patient zero is a hybrid cell phone/meatspace game where Android users (suck it Apple) compete to infect the largest number of people possible.

Patient Zero is a virtual pandemic simulator where you get to infect real players. Infections get transferred by players coming within proximity of each other in the real world. Players infected with your virus will carry it and infect more players. See how quickly your unique virus spreads!

I wonder if they have plans to take the data they gain and see if it can be used to model actual epidemics and other disease maps.

I don’t wonder about having a device that constantly tracks where I am and what I’m going. Google totally does that anyway.

Also, it’s free. Knock yourself out; see if you can kill millions!

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Intermission: Turkey Dubstep

Turkeys + Dubstep = TURKEY DUBSTEP

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Modelling air traffic to slow epidemics

Lost Links and Mid Air Collisions The Problems With Domestic Drones 450x277 Modelling air traffic to slow epidemics

"This is clearly an important species we're dealing with, and I don't think you or I or anybody has the right to arbitrarily exterminate them." (img by DoD)

A couple of academics at the Newcastle University, Jose Marcelino and Marcus Kaiser, tackled the very question that keeps us all up at nights, “How effective would shutting down air travel actually be in an epidemic?” The answer, according to their models, is lots.  Lots effective.

The problem is that it would choke society as much as it reins in the spread of disease. What’s way more interesting is that they were able to achieve the same level of spread reduction by grounding just one in five flights, isolating certain hops based on their likeliness to spread contagion globally.

They found that shutting entire airports only had a significant effect on spreading if it reduced travel by 95 per cent. By contrast,  they could achieve the same effect by removing just 18 per cent of flights between cities ranked by a network measure called edge betweenness.

At best shutting entire airports could only cut infections by 18 per cent whereas removing specific flights reduced infections by up to 37 per cent.

“Selecting highly ranked single connections between cities for cancellation was more effective, resulting in fewer individuals infected with influenza, compared to shutting down whole airports,” say Marcelino and Kaiser. This approach has the added benefit that it disrupts far fewer individuals.

Eventually, everyone will be exposed to the pathogen, that’s not in question. Even you, Japan, with your hand sanitizers and around-town face masks. And God help you ’cause you know your immune systems are shitier than shit.

This dovetails in nicely with a recent set of models by Fuck Yeah Molecular Biology tackling different types of zombie apocalypse scenario, based on several zompoc contagion precepts. (By the way the search term “zompoc precepts” yields delightfully few results.) Long and short: you better hope there’s a cure.  (more…)

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Very high French balls

highline Very high French balls

"J'ai des couilles massif." (img by Faith Dickey)

Speaking of fun things you don’t have to kill yourself learning how to do:

‘Tis the season. Go find your local slackline group and try it at ground level. Then maybe make a pilgrimage to Verdon.

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Life starts at two hundred

1970 Porsche 917K 450x299 Life starts at two hundred

img by Brian Snelson from Hockley, Essex, England (1970 Porsche 917K)

I try not to inflict my racing geekdom on complete strangers, but every now and then I come across something that is just too cool to not share.

Five time winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours Derek Bell sat down with Motorsport Magazine for about an hour and talked about his racing career and specifically about his time with Porsche at Le Mans, and the experience of driving the iconic Porsche 917 (and others) flat out down the 3.7 mile Mulsanne straight.

We always knew an hour spent with five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell would be an hour well spent.

But we didn’t realise just how amusing it would be. Indeed – this is the first podcast that finishes with an impromptu round of applause.

The interview is targeted at racing fans, but just about anyone should be able to appreciate listening to someone who mastered an exceptionally difficult and dangerous craft.

Listen to it here.

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