The Long-Ago View

More late-night panoramic tinkering. Photoshop CS6 is a lot better at stitching than a circa-2001 copy of Canon’s panorama app for the Ixus, so some old scenes that didn’t turn out well in 2002–04 do today. Here are the British Museum, Hadrian’s Wall, Canary Wharf at sunrise, the Peak District at sunset, and a re-done Louvre.

30 October 2013 · Site News

Shetland Panoramas

My photo-sorting has been gathering pace. I’ve added four more Shetland Panoramas to the first couple posted in August to create a new gallery of windswept scenery. Non-panoramic scenes to come.

29 October 2013 · Site News

In the Lost and Found

When privacy jumped the shark.

How hard is it to vanish in the digital age?

Dead and going to die.

An Elliott Smith oral history.

You Suck, Sir (via Mefi).

Million-year data storage. Yes, please.

OS X 10.9 Mavericks: The Ars Technica Review. Seems okay to me so far. Two annoyances are the way list view in finder windows greys out everything except filenames, and command-clicking a folder opens a new finder tab rather than a new window. The usual little things.

Lost wormhole.

Why Do I Study Physics?

A new look at climate tipping points.

Unprecedented recent summer warmth in Arctic Canada: “The indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years.”

29 October 2013 · Weblog

Expedited Shipping

“Welfare is need mistaken for desire. Wealth is desire mistaken for worth.”

How many ships would a ship ship ship if a ship ship would ship ships? Part 1, part 2.

The story of Saroo Brierley absolutely floored me. Shame his ebook isn’t available in the UK (but you can Look Inside at its opening pages, at least).

Steven Poole’s Unspeak, now in documentary form.

Lowering My Standards by Jack Handey.

The art of Robert Wechsler (via Mefi).


“The ocean is broken.”

21 October 2013 · Weblog

Well this wasn’t what I was expecting to do last night.

Eddie Izzard at the Brunton

Twenty-two years since I first saw him perform “Wolves” on a TV benefit gig, and I’d never seen him live—and now I have. Not on a distant Wembley stage seen from the back row, but standing about three metres away, performing an impromptu gig in front of an audience of four hundred.

Very, very funny. One of those performers whose flights of insanity as he riffs off ad libs are as funny as his prepared material. Virgin sacrifice, British colonials, high-pitched leaders, dressage, a call-back to a certain pasta-themed bit... all great stuff. The scheduled 60-80 minutes stretched past two hours, and we would happily have stayed for more.

Many thanks to Andy for scoring me a ticket.

21 October 2013 · Comedy

First Aid

Band-Aids can’t fix everything. Paperclips can be dangerous.

Mothers as furniture.

MacPaint lives!

How the UK thinks wealth should be distributed, how we think it is, and how it is.

The 29 stages of a Twitterstorm.

Logo mashups.

The Sagrada Família, completed in 90 seconds.

“What we call creativity is simply an expression of professional consensus.”

“The internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left.”

I sat on the links I was gathering in August about Miranda, Manning, Snowden and the NSA for too long, but these are still worth sharing:

The abyss from which there is no return.

The whistleblower’s mad moral courage.

Manning and the two Americas.

14 October 2013 · Weblog

Having spent a couple of weeks following long Metafilter discussions of the U.S. federal government shutdown, it’s slightly staggering how little attention the British media are paying it now that the novelty has passed. That’ll change sharpish if the debt ceiling is breached. For those who haven’t been following along, here are a few links that caught my attention in those threads.

A U.S. default would be a catastrophe dwarfing Lehman’s fall.

What happens if the debt ceiling is breached?

Absolutely everything you need to know about the debt ceiling.

Why are we talking about the debt ceiling crisis as if it’s normal politics?

A federal budget crisis months in the planning.

The little rule change that guaranteed a shutdown.

Even if the debt ceiling crisis is resolved, the shutdown has already managed to derail a whole summer’s worth of Antarctic science at a time the world can ill-afford it.

12 October 2013 · Politics

Ravaging Time

Tim Minchin’s advice to new graduates.

Who killed Britain’s Bronze Age forests?

Across the Ravaged Land, part 1, part 2 (via Mefi).

Photos of Eyjafjallajökull erupting in 2010.

Watch World War II unfold over Europe in 7 minutes.

How would the U.S. media report on the shutdown if it were happening to another country?

Better Than Kittens.

6 October 2013 · Weblog

The Big One

Last week I became a founding friend of Australia’s Climate Council, which seemed the least an expat could do in the face of the Abbott government’s short-sightedness—if not wilful ignorance—in axing its predecessor, the government-run Climate Commission. This week, the new IPCC report has demonstrated just how important bodies like these now are.

Climate change has been one of the main subjects occupying my attention in recent years (in fact, for as long as I’ve been aware of it), but you wouldn’t know it lately from this blog. The reason is I’ve been storing up links to write The Big One, the post that would go into carefully argued detail about the whole deal, converting deniers and consoling the despondent... but...

It hasn’t happened. Last year’s turbulent summer came and went, and then America copped the left hook of Sandy, and not long afterwards the right of Sandy Hook, which although it was nothing to do with climate change made it a bad time to bring the mood down even further. And then there were fires close to home with their own climate implications, and the winter that ate spring here in Britain, and it seemed that there would never be an end to new stories, new links, and my ever-growing hypothetical post.

Read More · 1 October 2013 · Events

September 2013