1. Brexit happened
The Brits went to bed on Thursday thinking they would stay in the EU, but woke up a 6am to find that they had decided to leave, by a clear margin. The simple version is that immigration was a bigger factor than economics, where many decided they didn’t believe the economists and capitalists anyway.
On another count it was an anti-establishment vote. People just want change. But in effect the Brits decided they would rather be screwed by their own one per cent, rather than the EU’s one per cent.
There is masses of coverage at the BBC, which gives eight reasons. The last is that Britain was always somewhat alien towards Europe. My school history teacher reckoned that England’s main reason historically to intervene on the Continent was to ensure that they were divided equally enough to keep fighting each other. They weren’t natural candidates to cooperate in a zone of peace.
Here’s how they voted:
It was London, Scotland and Northern Island that wanted to stay.
For our election, Brexit works in favour of the Coalition and Malcolm Turnbull. For us it’s a safe pair of hands, ignoring that Labor have been shown to be the better economic managers, and got us through the GFC.
I heard tonight that roughly half our services trade with the EU goes through Britain. We may have to find different pathways in the future.
Anyway Professor Anand Menon gave Tony Eastley a good run down on what it might mean on Thursday night.
One in every 113 people on the planet has been the subject of “forced displacement”. That’s over 65 million, and 51 per cent of refugees are children, according to the UNHCR’s Global Trends report. That’s on average 24 people forced to flee each minute in 2015, four times more than a decade earlier. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi:
- “At sea, a frightening number of refugees and migrants are dying each year. On land, people fleeing war are finding their way blocked by closed borders.”
3. Unhackable credit cards are here
New Scientist has an article about credit and debit cards that can’t be hacked (paywalled):
- At least one US bank has started supplying its customers with cards that contain what is known as a physically unclonable function – or, more snappily, a PUF. Every silicon-based chip gets this unique fingerprint from the way it is manufactured, and it is almost impossible to replicate.
“It’s a biometric in a way,” says Boris Kennes at Intrinsic-ID in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. “Each chip is born with unique characteristics that are completely uncontrollable and different, just like a fingerprint.”
Sorry, that’s New Scientist paywalled again.
In 1858 a cable was strung across the Atlantic and people on different continents could talk to each other at the rate of a few words per hour, if they didn’t fall asleep.
In 1992 the internet was shifting a gargantuan mass of 100 gigabytes of data per day. By 2014 that amount was shifted every 60 microseconds.
Problem is, there are limits to the current optical fibre cables, thought to be about 10 times the current traffic. But guess what, we might get there by 2020.
The article then goes into new technologies, for example optical conjugators, or hollow-core fibres where 99.99 per cent of the signal journey is done in air. Better still in a vacuum, where speeds can go near the speed of light. But as far as I can see it’s all still in the lab.
At present you’ve got everything from the conspicuous consumption of movies and games to share trades in microseconds.
- The … surge in data could lead to big downloaders paying hefty charges for clogging up the system, leaving the rest of us sharing an expensive, throttled service. This could, in turn, spell the end of the idyllic era of net neutrality, in which no user has priority in how their internet traffic is handled. If we want to avoid the capacity crunch in a way that is fair to everybody, we’re going to need an upgrade.
So by the time our NBN is finished the golden age of the interwebs might be over.
Introduction to Saturday salon
Because of the way the blog currently presents posts on the home page I think it’s better to remove the introductory material to a different place. For new readers, here’s the rationale for this space.
An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.
For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.
The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.
Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.
The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:
The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.