Science courses online

The Office of Science and Society at McGill University has posted full online versions of some of their science courses. The presentations are recordings of the lecturer’s slides and cursor movements and the classroom sound. The courses are mostly second-year chemistry and biology. But I did notice one third-year Computer Engineering course. Their motto is “Yesterday’s lectures today.

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Shuttle failures and the Law of Unintended Consequences

It’s a law of ecology and other complex systems, including politics, that “You can’t do just one thing.” So regulations must be crafted carefully to do, as much as possible, only what their makers intend them to do.

An article on Digital Journal lays out how well-meant environmental regulations caused NASA to change the materials it used in constructing space shuttles. Those changes were the direct precursors to both shuttle failures.

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