The Whirlyhole

The lost wonders of medieval Britain.

The unfolding catastrophe of Arctic archaeological sites.

Changes in Atlantic circulation could cause global temperatures to surge. Unsurvivable heatwaves could strike the heart of China by 2100. “More carbon has been released into the atmosphere since [1989] than in the entire history of civilization preceding it.” Back to the future.

Read More · 7 August 2018 · Comment · Weblog

I can see why a British populist would name himself after First World War soldiers known for going over the top, but not so much the UK’s biggest-selling brand of squash. He’s less concentrated fruit, more concentrated bull. Tommy Bovril.

6 August 2018 · Comment · Politics

Panoramas VII

Time for another gallery in Detail: more panoramas of the Tasman Peninsula, taken in July 2017. Won’t be the last.

20 July 2018 · Comment · Travel

Worst-Case Scenario

As the risk of a no-deal Brexit becomes ever greater, the Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Project has been told to prepare for massive civil unrest.

Hey, Brexiters: Spam and other tinned goods are still widely available. It’s still possible to make homemade wholemeal bread and mock apricot tarts out of carrots. You can even dig a hole in your back yard, put a tin roof over it and go and sleep in it, and pretend the traffic noises are Home Guard armoured cars driving past. You can live out your own personal “Very Well, Alone” fantasy without dragging the rest of us into it.

Read More · 20 July 2018 · Comment · Politics


The beautiful, ugly, and possessive hearts of Star Wars.

Emmy Noether changed the face of physics.

Usborne are giving away PDFs of their Computer Guides from the 1980s.

Coral forests have been discovered around deep-sea volcanoes off Sicily.

Drought has revealed ancient sites in Welsh farmland and a massive unknown henge at Newgrange.

Global warming is destroying Arctic archaeological sites.

Icelandic whalers may have killed a blue whale.

Rogue Chinese factories have been using CFCs. My home state ends up under the ozone hole every summer.

China’s dystopian dream: A.I., shame and lots of cameras.

How blogs broke the Web. Whoops.

20 July 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Two by Four

As feared, Trump is making impossible demands of NATO allies as a pretext for pulling out. They don’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny.

Half of the US’s 3.5% of GDP defense spending must relate to its other spheres of influence, such as the Pacific and the Middle East, including standing bases that can’t just be moved elsewhere at a moment’s notice. So if other NATO countries started spending 4% of GDP on their armed forces, Europe would quickly exceed the US in military capability in the Atlantic.

To pick up on one of the countries already exceeding the 2% target, UK GDP in 2016 was US$2.619 trillion, so raising its defence spending from 2.1% to 4% of GDP would cost almost an extra US$50 billion, or £37.5 billion at current exchange rates. That’s two Brexit buses’ worth a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.

12 July 2018 · Comment · Politics

The London Thylacines

A serious plumbing snake.

Werner the Herzog.

Wonders claimed by lava.

Wonders reclaimed from a canal.

The London thylacines.

On boredom.

2 July 2018 · Comment · Weblog

Trial Runs

British democracy “may be under threat”.

How little the UK government understands.

Trump is saving Germany’s liberals.

Bible Stories with Jeff Sessions.

“At least during the Internment...”

Trial runs for fascism.

Ferdinand Marcos’s greatest trick.

Lessons from the Norwegian Resistance.

2 July 2018 · Comment · Politics

Marching Against Brexit

A gallery of photos from the People’s Vote March last weekend.

30 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

Some more thoughts from the Mefi thread I started this week.

Read More · 27 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

My post to Metafilter about the People’s Vote March and the latest Brexit developments has spawned a vibrant thread (and was even featured in the Best Of sidebar, quite an honour). Here it is, with some of my subsequent comments in edited form.

Read More · 27 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

The March

I made it down to London in time for the People’s Vote March on Saturday, and was proud to have been there. It may be ignored by the government and mocked by Leavers on social media, but when we’re all scrabbling around for our last tin of beans next year, those of us who were there can at least take some solace from having tried.

I took a ton of photos, and will put up a gallery of them here in the next few days. But first up, here’s a compilation of the short videos I took, as posted to YouTube.

27 June 2018 · Comment · Politics

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