Self Loading Freight

Sure, all the people travelling on the train each day are people, with problems, jobs, dreams, friends, enemies and occasionally umbrellas. However! On occasion I like to forget about the complexity of the whole collection of people and think merely about how much they weigh. Collectively.

In fact, let me lay it all out for you so that you too can ponder the sheer heaviness of the pile of bodies surrounding you on your morning commute. We’ll need a couple of ingredients:

  • The average weight of an Australian: 76kg as of 2005
  • How many people can fit on a train: 904 seated on a millenium train.

So let’s combine these facts with maths! I was on a particularly packed millenium train the other morning. I reckon there were about half again as many people crammed in standing as were seated. So let’s say on a fully packed train, we can fit about 1350 people.

76kg x 1350 = 102600kg

Yep, a well packed commuter train in Sydney has about 102 tonnes of people in it. 102 tonnes of problems, dreams, aspirations, fears … well basically 102 tonnes of meat and bone, really. About the same weight as two unloaded train carriages.


Electric Butterfly!

This is too cool to be a mere shared Google Reader link. This mechanical butterfly in a jar is like one of those magnetically actuated aquaria, but amazingly realistic. Gaze upon its fluttering glory!

(via Engadget)

Here, an interesting book on the tenets of Christianity

Well, I suppose I’ve put a bit of my politics out there – I probably should throw some religion in too, to further my lack of manners.

When I was about 16, I read “Resurrection: Myth or Reality?” by John Shelby Spong, a former Anglican bishop. At the time, I still went to church, but was just beginning a proper examination of the whole business.

As someone who had always asked a lot of questions, I found the book to be a pretty novel and challenging way of looking at Christianity. Spong digs deep into the historical and cultural context within which the Easter myth exists. He takes quite a scholarly approach, and the exploration is certainly not for those who’d rather their literal interpretation of Easter (or indeed, Christianity) remain unchallenged.

Thanks to a little inspiration from Pharyngula – “Sunday Sacrilege: Metaphorical Acid“, it’s popped up in my mind again and I might have to give it another read. I’d be interested to see what over a decade and a large shift in perspective might bring to the re-reading. From what I remember, I’d recommend it if you’ve got any interest in the Easter mythology.

God Damned Creepy Facebook

I only just noticed this tonight, no doubt this has been happening for a while. If you have the Facebook iPhone app installed, it has an option to “Sync” your contacts. Perhaps I didn’t read carefully enough when I first enabled it, but I had the impression it would search for contact matches on Facebook and download their birthday and current profile pic to your phone. What I didn’t realise was that it also uploads your entire phonebook to Facebook who kindly hang on to it for you, “just in case”.

You know, to help match you with friends and slowly assimilate everyone you’ve ever contacted into the ever growing collective that is Facebook.

Here, check this out (click for full-size):

This is just the start of my Facebook phonebook – consisting of some 400ish entries, perhaps 250 of which are not actually Facebook friends. See those entries with no picture and the invite link? Yep, they’re unmatched phonebook entries, straight from my mobile.

Am I being unreasonably bothered by this? It seems really, really creepy to me.

Bear Gryllz (Grillz?)

I’ve had a few ranty, politicalish sorts of blog posts lately and thought it might be time for something a bit lighter. On Saturday night, I sat around watching the antics of a pug named Bear Gryllz. Could be Bear Grillz actually, I’m not sure. He looks a lot like the pug above.

It seems right somehow.

And in unrelated news, I accepted the letter of offer for my new job today! I’ve updated my about page accordingly.