June 20th, 2012
At BLDGBLOG, evidence that the Swiss take the concept of national security very seriously:
McPhee describes [...] how the Swiss military has, in effect, wired the entire country to blow in the event of foreign invasion. To keep enemy armies out, bridges will be dynamited and, whenever possible, deliberately collapsed onto other roads and bridges below; hills have been weaponized to be activated as valley-sweeping artificial landslides; mountain tunnels will be sealed from within to act as nuclear-proof air raid shelters; and much more.
[Via Bruce Schneier]
January 30th, 2012
Reflections by danah boyd on her first visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos:
Comparing WEF to any other event is hard, but I cracked a smile when Nick Bilton remarked that WEF is a lot like Burning Man. In so many ways, he's right. A lot of people overwhelm one extreme weather location and battle non-normative conditions (Davos is crowded, covered in ice, and extremely difficult to navigate) to interact with others. In both events, there are so many different kinds of communities colliding – sometimes interacting and sometimes not. And both cost gobs of money to attend, thereby excluding all sorts of people.
September 20th, 2011
Abroad: they do things differently there…
Swiss animal lover Priska Küng runs a kind of matchmaking agency — for lonely guinea pigs that have lost their partners. She lives with around 80 of the furry, squeaky little creatures, in addition to six cats, a number of rabbits, hamsters and mice in the village of Hadlikon, some 30 kilometers from Zürich.
Küng, 41, rents out her guinea pigs, a service that has been in high demand in the Alpine nation ever since animal welfare rules were tightened up a few years ago. Switzerland has forbidden people from keeping lone guinea pigs because the animals are sociable and need each other's company.
As a result, the sudden death of a guinea pig, shocking enough in itself, can also place the hapless owners outside the law if they only had two of the pets. [...]
[Via The Awl]
July 8th, 2010
The hazards of keeping a solar-powered aircraft aloft for 26 hours:
Just 17 hours after takeoff, a blog on the project's Web site reported, "André says he's feeling great up there."
It continued: "His only complaints involve little things like a slightly sore back as well as a 10-hour period during which it was minus 20 degrees Celsius in the cockpit."
"That made his drinking water system freeze up and worse of all his iPod batteries die."
[Via James Fallows]
April 25th, 2010
December 20th, 2009
This Swiss Mountain House, half-submerged into a hillside, looks lovely and cosy. A house worthy of a Hobbit.
August 3rd, 2009
The Biggest Swiss Flag Ever.
(Which, impressive as it may be, isn't a patch on the Largest Flag in the World.)