Black Rhino Standoff

South African, Kim Wolhunter, a renowned wildlife film-maker, was shooting in South African bush for Discovery’s “Man, Cheetah, Wild” when they happened upon a Black Rhino.

Black Rhino have a notorious reputation for being aggressive and will readily charge at anything it perceives to be a threat. And this particular Rhino took a misliking to this cucumber cool South African.

Find out who wins the stand-off by watching the video.

Black Rhino Standoff

Science Saturday – The Super Supercapacitor

Richard (Ric) Kaner has always wanted to be a scientist, with the end goal of discoverying something that would change and revolutionise the world. Guess what, it looks like he’s achieved his goal.

He and his colleague, Maher El-Kady, set out to find a new way to make graphene, the thinnest and strongest material on earth, the discovery of which led to Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov at the University of Manchester winning the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010.

But as with many things in science, the search for a particular solution resulted in them stumbling upon a completely new discovery and application never even thought of before. The result? Kaner and El-Kady have discovered a new way to power the world!

To call this revolutionary is probably the understatement of a life-time! And the applications for graphene’s new discovered applications as a super supercapacitor now mean things like electric cars, cleaner energy and less pollution from old chemically based batteries are all possible. It’s like generations version of the invention of the incandescent light-bulb.

Watch the video to learn a little more about what graphene is, and how it will change the world we live in.

Science Saturday - Graphene

Meanwhile in Russia – Russian Aquapark

Those crazy Russian’s are at it again. Only this time it doesn’t involve a dash-cam. Instead, they’ve reverted to their old reliable, the excavator.

As with most Russian’s I’ve met, the old adage of “laughing will turn to crying” is lost on them, as is the concept of “health and safety”, especially when there’s some fun and frollicks to be had.

Russian Aquapark

BatDad

An Atlantan Dad has summoned his inner Batman and impersonates the caped crusader as a mentor, educator and parenting tool for his four children. The videos are uploaded to Vine, but here is a compilation of some of the best ones.

I’m just wondering when his long suffering wife, Jen, his going to kick BatDad’s ass 🙂

BatDad_2 BatDad

Governments – An Outdated Concept

Government Help Herself and I got all philosophical the other night over a few glasses of wine. She asked a very valid question….”what is the point in having a government?”

I, of course, began in my usual diatribe of explaining the purpose of a government, in a utopian society, and very quickly realised that her question did not warrant an answer. It was more of a “what value for money am I getting from my government, because they’re making a fucking balls of it and I don’t get ANYTHING in return”. And she’s right

We came to the conclusion that Government, as a concept, is outdated and not fit for purpose. Belgium got along pretty well without a government. It lasted 541 days without a government, and even managed to survive without passing a fiscal budget in 2011. So do we even NEED a government at all? Think about it.

Everyone today pays taxes (or at least they SHOULD be paying taxes). Whether you live in a communist country, such as the Netherlands (52% income tax), or an enlightened capitalist country, such as Russia (13% income tax), we all pay SOMETHING to the government.

And the rationale ALL governments around the globe use to justify and substantiate why I should be working my ass off and pay into the coffers of the exchequer more than half of what I earn is that I get various different services, support and safety, in return for the taxes I pay. But today’s 21st century citizen gets less and less as each new tax year passes.

When I was growing up, the benefits an average citizen received, covered a plethora of services, such as free education, healthcare and a nursing home/home help for the elderly and infirm.

But nowadays, we have to pay separately for all these various services we used to receive for free, and which USED to be funded from our taxes. So if I have to pay for these services separately AND still pay my taxes, then what the fuck is the government doing with my money, and why do I even need them to administer something which I’m paying for privately?

Making a simple list makes it even worse.

Government Services Removed

The list above is only a small fraction of the types of services that were paid for through my taxes, but are now charged to me directly as a separate fee or mandatory insurance.

And there are a lot more. About the only TWO things I can think of that would be difficult to privatise are the armed forces and the judiciary. And in my mind, with the exception of the Dutch judicial system, we should be only spending money on the judiciary. If you take the UK as a model example of how a judicial system SHOULD be run, and the quality of judges sitting on the bench, it’s about the ONLY thing I would feel that would warrant the existence of a government. Looking at the VERY lenient sentencing practices here in the Netherlands, and the fact that their prisons are better appointed than some four star hotels, I have trouble reconciling the money spend in the Netherlands on it’s justice department and the sentences handed down upon sentencing.

As for the armed forces, well, perhaps if we abolished governments altogether, we wouldn’t find ourselves getting so pissed off with other countries all the time to warrant spending huge amounts of money on maintaining a standing army or on wars, just to make sure you protect the price of petrol at your local petrol station.

And looking at the numbers doesn’t help the cause in favour of a government either. For instance, the Netherlands have had only 5 budget surplus since records began! FIVE. Can you imagine running a household budget or a business like that? You CAN’T! So how can a government think that they are run a country that is almost ALWAYS in debt, oh and we’ll still take your taxes and you get nothing in return.

So what the fuck are you spending my taxes on then? Last time I checked it was on government ministers debating if it was a good idea to install a GPS in every car so they could “charge me road tax”, but in reality would have been a great way to spy on me and sell my data and whereabouts to the likes of the NSA. Or it was spent on some clowns in the EU who spent millions putting rules into place about what was the ideal shape of a banana and went about preventing the importation of bent banana’s into the EU, in an effort to “protect” their citizens. MADNESS!

My simple answer to that original question “Is government an outdated concept?” is a resounding YES! We could all do very well without one.

Government Red Tape

Science Saturday – Cleaning The Worlds Oceans

Boyan Slat, a young Dutch aerospace engineering student at TU Delft, and a keen S.C.U.B.A. diver has managed to come up with, what seems to me, to be an elegant solution to cleaning up the worlds ocean’s from the debris and detritus that we humans have simply discarded and polluted during our everyday lives, whilst making a tidy profit at the same time.

Millions of tons of plastic kill ocean life and poison food chains, accumulate in areas such as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which are located at the top layers of the ocean’s five gyres, and Boyan sees opportunities to combat this. Combining environmentalism, creativity and technology to tackle this global issue, and at the same time, creating a new money spinning industry, he believes current prevention measures have to be supplemented by active removal of plastics in order to succeed.

His concept, called Marine Litter Extraction, won the Best Technical Design award 2012 at the TU Delft.

While researching ocean plastics during his school holidays, he analysed various fundamental topics (including particle sizes, plastic/plankton separation and the amount of plastic in the oceans), leading up to the first realistic concept for cleaning up the world’s oceans. Take a look at the video to find out how he proposes to do it.

And if you combine Boyan’s capture concept with Akinori Ito’s plastic recycling idea, mentioned in a previous Science Saturday post, then you have the makings of something truly great for the environment, whilst making a few quid on the side too!

turtle plastic bags Great Pacific Garbage Patch garbage in ocean