The $2.5 billion that it cost to launch Curiosity Rover may sounds like a lot, but as the Facebook group “I f**king love science” noted, that’s pocket change compared to the cost of the London Olympics … The group compared Curiosity’s $2.5 billion number from The New York Times and the Olympic’s $15 billion estimate from Forbes in a pie chart. (A pie chart suggests Curiosity and the Olympics were dipping from the same pool of money.)
ZiL lanes (also sometimes called “Chaika lanes”) are lanes on some principal roads in Moscow dedicated to vehicles carrying senior government officials. Known officially in Russian as rezervniye polosy (“reserved lanes”), they took their nickname from the black limousines produced by ZiL and the luxury Chaika cars that were used by officials of the Soviet Union as their official vehicles. ZiL lanes emerged in the 1960s during the rule of Leonid Brezhnev, replacing the previous system of having other vehicles flagged down to make way for those of top officials. The lanes were inserted into the middle of some of Moscow’s main highways in place of the central reservations and were off-limits to all but authorised civilian and emergency service vehicles.