Friday, March 24, 2017

Things I learned lately - 24 March

  • Over the course of a month, the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) can decay as much as a full kilometre above the earth. This decay is caused by atmospheric drag. Booster rockets push the ISS back into the proper orbit, roughly once a month.
  • In the 1700's, it cost 3 half pence to visit the Tower of London, but if you brought a cat or dog to feed the lions, you got in for free.
  • Tesla wants to bundle insurance and maintenance into the price of future vehicles.
  • Last year, China invested $103 billion into renewable energy, and in 2016, its total installed capacity was 77 gigawatts, which pushed the country well ahead of other leaders in renewables such as Germany, Japan, and the US. There's much more coming.
  • North Korean defectors have successfully shipped in several thousand USB sticks containing banned content like South Korean soaps, Hollywood films, and global news. The goal is to spread information about the outside world to North Koreans, who have practically no access to the open internet. "Flash Drives for Freedom" by the Human Rights Foundation, has been asking people to donate spare flash drives to send to North Korea. The foundation has received more than 10,000 drives in the last year, and is handing them to groups of North Korean defectors operating out of South Korea. The sticks are smuggled in by drone and by foot. North Koreans can watch the files on common, portable DVD players called Notels and cheap Chinese smartphones with USB ports. PC ownership is rare. There are around 25 million people in North Korea and it's estimated that about 30% have any idea that the outside world is better off.
  • Wendy Melvoin and Lisa Coleman (you might remember them from Prince's Revolution band) wrote the theme song for the TV show Nurse Jackie. They have also done session work and/or written songs with Seal, k.d. lang, Joni Mitchell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Pearl Jam, Terence Trent D'arby, Liz Phair, Michael Penn, Grace Jones, The Three O'Clock, Sheryl Crow, Victoria Williams, Rob Thomas, Gwen Stefani, Scritti Politti, OK Go, Madonna, The Like, Nina Gordon, The Family, Nikka Costa, and Eric Clapton.

No comments: