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Since I returned we've been dealing with the recent plane crash in DR Congo and then our office in Belgium issued a press release. I only know the vague outlines of mine action, but I do know humanitarian demining is dangerous work - without the additional risk of flying in Africa.



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On September 5th, 2008 11:21 pm (UTC), congogirl commented:
I heard from a friend that there were HI people on that flight. It's awful.
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On September 6th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
HI was mentioned in some of the wire reports, as was MSF and Doctors of the World, I think.

I wonder what it'd be like to have a normal job.
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On September 7th, 2008 12:09 am (UTC), congogirl replied:
BORING. As much as this is a tragedy, I keep coming back. Last fall there was a crash in Kinshasa not far from my study site. I can't remember being here once when something crazy didn't happen.
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On September 7th, 2008 02:32 pm (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
Too true!
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On September 7th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC), vodun commented:
I actually think about mines quite a lot. They're a scourge. And it's depressing that the most common demining tools are a length of poking wire and patience. Too often held by children.

My thinking was always along the detection and defusing line, but another Australian has come up with an idea which is elegant in it's application of brute force: he basically built an armoured earth tiller that explodes them in situ. (Although, looking for the link, this isn't a new idea either)

Interesting note on Wikipedia about neutron imaging. Finally a practical application for the Farnsworth Fuser?



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On September 8th, 2008 01:20 am (UTC), ticklethepear replied:
I'm holding out for the plant that turns colors when it detects landmines....
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On September 8th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC), vodun replied:
Indeed! I was reading about that, but alas it looks like the project is being derailed somewhat by the requirement to stop the plant from reproducing in the wild, (using a growth co-factor) so as to prevent genetic crossover into the environment. Bah. As if this wasn't one plant that you WANT growing everywhere like a weed. (And as if nature isn't going to take that gene out in it's first field patch.)

This is exactly the kind of application of genetics us Mad Scientists have been telling people about for years. But now it's here, Monsanto has already poisoned the well. Grrrr.
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