Sunday, February 22, 2009

Violent Video Games are Good for Boys

When I was a boy we used to kick a ball around outside or play army or tag. The current generation seem to have a limited concept of what playing outside means, or people are increasingly living in areas where this is isn´t possible. In any case, the games console has become a surrogate for real social interaction.

With all these cries against violient video games and the effects they may have on the youth, this article from Ars Technica was a welcome relief. Peg Tyre´s book The Trouble With Boys covers something which is perfectly logical if you think about it. Some kids have more energy than others and playing is a part of growing up and learning social interaction. If children cannot be exposed to the traditional methods (football, army, tag) which are all perfectly natural and healthy boyish pastimes, then games like Halo might actually be a good substitute. Shielding children too much in our over-politically correct world may actually be hindering their development.

Nuclear Fusion - A Star On Earth?

Horizon had a programme last week about the current state of nuclear fusion research and whether it would be possible to get beyond the research phase and supply electricity with it before 2030.

There were some interesting points regarding the actual facts and figures of global energy usage and that alternative energy sources alone can´t plug the gap because of the amount of energy oil contains. There were also some insights into current research such as the mini nuclear blast tests in the Z-machine at the Lawrence Livermore labs and projects in the short term in Korea and in France (ITER). The concept is to ignite a mini-star that is then fed with fusion to glue deuterium and tritium to produce energy and helium.

When Nuclear Subs Collide

How big does an ocean have to be to prevent two friendly nuclear subs from straying into each other's path? An collision between HMS Vanguard and Le Triomphant early in February has been confirmed by First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Jonathon Band according to the BBC. The collision occured at low speed and there was no danger of a nuclear incident, though the British sub got scraped and the French one suffered a damaged sonar dome. Of course it could have been a lot worse and reassurances that this will not be a repeated have been requested by MPs. One explanation is that the anti-sonar equipment was so effective that the vessels didn't hear each other coming, which says something about their stealth capabilities.