on the edge

computers & technology, books & writing, civilisation & society, cars & stuff

Greg Black

gjb at gbch dot net
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If you’re not living life on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.

FQE30 at speed


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Worthy organisations

Amnesty International Australia — global defenders of human rights

global defenders of human rights

Médecins Sans Frontières — help us save lives around the world

Médecins Sans Frontières - help us save lives around the world

Electronic Frontiers Australia — protecting and promoting on-line civil liberties in Australia

Electronic Frontiers Australia


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)


(Coming soon…)

Software resources

GNU Emacs


The FreeBSD Project

Wed, 17 Nov 2004

Train crash puzzle

I’ve just read a news item about the tilt train crash which contains the quote: “Queensland Rail say the train was travelling at 112 kilometres per hour along a section of track where the limit is 60kph”. This is just hearsay at present, but they do have data recorders and it’s quite possible that the quote is correct.

Although I have always been alarmed by computer systems that have the capacity to override the pilot of a passenger aircraft, on the basis that the number of factors that need to be considered is quite likely to be beyond the foresight of the programmer sitting on the ground, there’s no reason at all not to enforce speed limits on high-tech trains. After all, if you’ve assembled enough technology to get a train moving at 150 km/h, then adding such safety overrides is a trivial matter.

If the crash could have been prevented by such a system, then the responsible people include those who approved the deployment of that train without obvious safety devices.